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Ace Calhoon
United States
Fort Pierre
South Dakota
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It feels like my play group is missing something with this game. Either some important bit of strategy, or perhaps a rule... But something feels off. We can make it to the C episode reasonably often, but are consistently failing to meet the thresholds those episodes demand.

We're still working on playing with the recommended card sets from the books.

We've played other Legendary and Legendary Encounters games before, and don't usually get beaten so thoroughly

Here are the issues we appear to be running into:

We are drowning in flaws

From side jobs that pop into the combat zone, events, crew strikes, episode mechanics (e.g. Saffron escaping), etc. It's not unusual to have two to three flaws in a discard pile, with more lurking in deck or hand.

This also leads to turns where multiple players have 1 - 2 flaws in hand over the course of a turn rotation, which is devastating. Not only is their hand crippled for a turn, but the repercussions are often dire (adding two cards to a full 'Verse, or dropping two cards from the 'Verse into the combat zone, or two strikes per player, etc.).

Even Book (either as a played MC, or in the scenarios where he's a support character) doesn't seem to be able to keep up.

Our decks aren't improving

It isn't unusual for us to get 3 buying / 3 fighting hands, even late in the game. Those numbers are tough in the opening turns of the game... They're extremely disappointing later on.

Throw a few flaws into the mix, and it's not unusual for turns to effectively be skipped.

Our bridge is stagnating

Our bridge seems to be jamming up with cards that don't help us. The characters with two buying are worth picking up early game, but we find ourselves increasingly falling behind in combat as the game progresses.

When everyone is low on combat, adding additional purchasing to decks is counter-productive. But there doesn't seem to be a way to keep the bridge moving, without adding more cards to our decks.

The worst offender here is Space Monkeys... It's activated ability is okay, but adding more starter-level cards to the decks seems pretty terrible, given how much we're struggling to put anything together.

We fall badly behind on scanning

You need to scan and deal with roughly one card per turn. With low amounts of fighting we're having trouble keeping up with that. This results in us taking a lot of strikes in the combat zone, as well as making it difficult to complete side jobs (which often require fighting, and/or multiple turns to complete).

This is even worse during subsequent episodes, when the first player starts with three face down cards (two from the inter-episode setup, plus one for their turn) or a full verse (four from inter-episode setup, one for their turn).

Does anyone have any tips (either strategy, or rules we may be missing)?
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Are you discarding flaw cards once they trigger?
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Ace Calhoon
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Fort Pierre
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We are! But we're still generating enough of them that double flaw activations are a thing.

Edit: To clarify, we are actually *defeating* the flaws. I was using discard to mean "throw away" above, but that's a game term with a meaning opposite to what I had intended :-P
 
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Steve Crow
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Agreed on all points raised.
 
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Chris van Someren
Netherlands
Groningen
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How many players are you? Remember that with 4 or 5 players you get 1 or 2 preparation rounds before you start drawing episode cards.
 
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Trevor S.
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Minnesota
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I have to agree with you. I have all of the Legendary games and loved Aliens and Predator. Something is different. I have a hell of a time defeating my starting cards, so deck management is awful. Certain combinations of characters leave terrible bridge choices, so you have to be very careful there. I am not against it being hard or needing to plan the decks you are adding to the bridge, so that isn't the problem.

One turn I ended up drawing a strike from something and it ended up having me draw a ship strike, which turned into the ship strike that has everyone draw an additional strike and two of those were Fear, giving out a total of four flaws. This was the first strike in the game and it was devastating. I knew then and there that it was over, but I gamely played on, and lost... Oh yeah, I also had that damn strike show up right after that makes everyone with a flaw in their discard pile draw a strike. While this is as an extreme example as I have seen in the game, other nasty combinations show up with painful regularity.

There appears to be balance issues that came about through the way they implemented characters. I am going to go through the decks a little more to see what the spread of abilities are, but their mix just seems off. The bridge cards also do not seems quite as powerful, or maybe the enemies are a bit tougher. I also HATE that cards give pretty big bonuses depending on who is a main character. It wouldn't be so bad, but the effects are pretty important to trigger to have any chance as success in this game.

Also, I wish there were ten Browncoats, like there were for the sergeants.

Oh yeah, once again, flaws suck and they hand them out like candy at Halloween!

You know, sometimes nothing crazy happens and I have a great game that is close and down to the wire. Usually, some devastating thing happens and I die in the second episode. It is not like I want it to be easy, but trying to play a game while feeling like I am getting kicked in the genitals is starting to get old...
 
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Trevor S.
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Minnesota
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Christianv wrote:
How many players are you? Remember that with 4 or 5 players you get 1 or 2 preparation rounds before you start drawing episode cards.


I will speak about I have done. I usually play three characters all at once, so not really solo, although I am the only player.

I started adding an additional Talent to starting hands just to see what that would do. No real effect on my results. I then started taking preparation rounds with the three just because I was getting smacked so hard. I then decided to really maximize out the bridge. I made sure that all bridge cards could trigger their effects for the main characters, while also making sure I had enough combat, healing, and flaw mitigation.

Yeah, the game still kicks me in the crotch more often than it doesn't, but I do usually make it to episode 3 before dying and actually win a few of them - although with all of the crutches I have given myself, it really is an empty victory.
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Ace Calhoon
United States
Fort Pierre
South Dakota
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Christianv wrote:
How many players are you? Remember that with 4 or 5 players you get 1 or 2 preparation rounds before you start drawing episode cards.


We've played with a variety of player-counts. It seems to get a bit harder at higher player-counts, but the broad strokes remain the same.

We have done prep rounds for four and five player games. At four, everyone gets a turn without adding an episode card to the 'Verse. At five, everyone gets two turns.

This certainly helps (a starter deck plus two purchased cards is strictly better than a starter deck alone), but hasn't been making the difference.

We *don't* do a prep round between episodes (but then again, I don't think we're supposed to).
 
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Antonio Capo
Puerto Rico
San Juan
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The good news for the game looking so difficult is that now im gonna officially use this variant Trevor S. suggested in another thread:

"One thing I have started thinking about is giving the players the ability to use a Talent card to trigger the talent ability for main characters that are not used by a player. That would give them a little something and make them feel more a part of the crew."

I love having more options make the games more fun.
 
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Brad103
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Skaneateles
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There are several adjustments written in the rules for an easier game. I think it states specifically to use all the rules listed there for the easy variant. Has anyone tried that yet?
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Mark Blasco

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One thing I missed is that the credit cost for healing ship strikes inbetween episodes is not the cost on the card, but the cost printed on the play mat, to the left of where you put the cards.

I played through all 5 groupings of episodes, 1-14 in order, and used the campaign rules until the end of the 4th game. 2 characters (Simon and Jayne), I was able to win all but the 4th game (with the ship that can't be killed, and the character that needs 4 different crew members played in one turn, there was nothing I could do, they just hit me for about 10 turns in a row). They were certainly tough, but didn't feel impossible. The first game I had 4 ship strikes before episode 1 was finished, but managed to heal them up and ended up doing well.

Try to make sure you have simon either as a main character, or use his cards, so you can heal. Rivers cards are also pretty awesome at helping to cycle through your deck.

As for the flaws, they really suck, but I feel like they fit the theme. All of the characters in the show were prone to make big mistakes, so having a way to do this in the game was an interesting way to simulate this.

I like how hard the game is, and I also like that they give you options in the rules for how to make it easier or more difficult. The Aliens version is still my favorite, but I'm hoping this does well enough to get a Serenity expansion somewhere down the line.
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Tim Kelly
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Richardson
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saint1012 wrote:
I have a hell of a time defeating my starting cards, so deck management is awful.

That's been our main complaint.
TK
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Jay Johnson
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Cedar Falls
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reverendunclebastard wrote:
Are you discarding flaw cards once they trigger?

just to clarify, once the flaw triggers, the card should be DEFEATED (returned the the flaw pile), as opposed to being put in the players discard pile.
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Ace Calhoon
United States
Fort Pierre
South Dakota
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JayJ79 wrote:
reverendunclebastard wrote:
Are you discarding flaw cards once they trigger?

just to clarify, once the flaw triggers, the card should be DEFEATED (returned the the flaw pile), as opposed to being put in the players discard pile.


Good clarification But yes, we are defeating them (unless Higgins is around). Each individual flaw hits us once, and then goes away.

But we're getting enough of them that there's usually a new one in the pipe to replace it.
 
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Tom Eklund
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saint1012 wrote:

Also, I wish there were ten Browncoats, like there were for the sergeants.


Well, you could use 5 more Sergeants from Alien or Commanders from Predator. One thing I like about Alien and Predator games is that it's easy to tweak the game to be easier or more difficult (depending on the number of players). I don't believe it's not possible with Firefly.
 
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Steve Crow
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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In our experience, prep rounds don't help much. For one thing, Cbt cards are useless during the 1-2 prep rounds. But they still take up space in your hand. Odds are, you're probably drawing a 4R/2C, or a 5R/1C. These aren't bad, but a 3R/3C means you're probably only going to get a Browncoat. And a 2R/4C... uggh. Hope a 2-Cost card came out, or you might as well have not taken a turn.

Another problem is that there's no "draw to replace" for Flaws. A Flaw is a null spot in your hand. So a 2-Flaw hand not only can really hurt you based on just being double-whammied with Flaws (although there are exceptions: Inara comes to mind). But it also means you essentially have a 4-card hand. Which is pretty much useless late-game.
 
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Trevor S.
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Minnesota
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Azikin wrote:
saint1012 wrote:

Also, I wish there were ten Browncoats, like there were for the sergeants.


Well, you could use 5 more Sergeants from Alien or Commanders from Predator. One thing I like about Alien and Predator games is that it's easy to tweak the game to be easier or more difficult (depending on the number of players). I don't believe it's not possible with Firefly.


Yes, I already did that.

As for tweaking, prep rounds, allowing combat to count as purchase power during prep rounds, adding additional side jobs, and adding a browncoat to each deck are ways you can certainly tweak the game to make it easier (or harder)

Allowing you to use the non-player main character's talents with your own talent cards has helped increase the power of talents quite a bit in my testing yesterday. Also, this is another way to get the other main characters into the game a bit more.
 
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Robert Leonhard
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West Virginia
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I've been using this variant:

1. When you draw a Talent, you can choose to activate the ability of any main character.

2. When you draw a Flaw, you randomly pick a main character's flaw ability.

I've played only episodes 1-3 so far, but won easily. The flaws were fun to play and didn't really hamstring me too badly.

I like this variant, because it feels more like the entire crew is participating.
 
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Steve Crow
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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saint1012 wrote:
As for tweaking, prep rounds, allowing combat to count as purchase power during prep rounds...


Doesn't that just mean everyone has 6 (or 12 in five-player) recruit? If you treat Cbt as purchase power, then Misbehavin' is identical to Shinys.

Maybe if Cbt counted as Recruit at 2-to-1? Then you can squeeze out 1, or 2 extra Recruit power. Round up or down.

We wouldn't want to see Recruit and Cbt during the prep rounds blended into one big blob of Recruit. But we don't want Cbt to be totally useless, either. Right now it's the latter.
 
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Jay Johnson
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Cedar Falls
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Gislef wrote:
We wouldn't want to see Recruit and Cbt during the prep rounds blended into one big blob of Recruit. But we don't want Cbt to be totally useless, either. Right now it's the latter.

perhaps allow "pre-scanning" during the prep rounds?
If you happen to pull 4 recruit during a prep round, you can "pre-scan" the rightmost spot in the verse, and in the first live round, the episode card comes out face up.

Could even allow multiple people to do that (placing a coin or something for each one), and then each time a card is to be drawn from the episode deck, if there is a coin there, it comes out face up (and the coin is taken away).
 
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Ace Calhoon
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Fort Pierre
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A bit of an update...

At the moment we're adding one prep round to the start of the game. So three players get one prep round, and five players get three.

This has shifted the difficulty to a range that we find more enjoyable (if a bit on the easy side).

We tried some of the other suggestions here (pre-scanning, and allowing purchasing using combat), but they both ended up being similar to one extra prep round (and were a lot harder to explain to new players).

We're going to start transitioning from the layouts in the book to random and/or player-selected crew. I expect that to lower the difficulty a bit, so this may need further tweaking.

I'm also very interested in pursuing tweaks that help alleviate the bridge jamming up. Games where the bridge is full of Space Monkies are absolutely miserable.

So far as gameplay goes...

High-value ship upgrades make a huge difference. Doing well in episode 1 and spending your money on an expensive upgrade (if available) makes the game much easier.

Everyone getting combat early needs to be a priority. Even above deck-synergy.

Some objectives can't be completed without prior knowledge of what's going to happen. By the time the twist is revealed (often late in Episode 3), it's too late to change play patterns.

I still haven't figured out how to deal with an unkillable ship that pops up early in episode one (e.g. the Dortmunder or Womak's ship).
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Jay Johnson
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Cedar Falls
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unkillable ship: you have to do your best to keep it from getting pushed to the Combat Zone (by scanning and defeating cards to the right of it).

If it is in the Verse, it won't be inflicting ship strikes, but once it hits the CZ, you're in a world of hurt

You can implement a houserule/variant where recruit points can be used to "replace" cards on the Crew deck. Either setting a certain amount per slot, or a certain amount to flush and replace the whole thing. replaced cards could be put in the defeated pile, or the bottom of the crew deck, or the crew deck could be reshuffled, depending on how you want to play. (frankly, I'm not sure there is much difference between defeating and placing on the bottom, unless you do a whole lot of cycling)
 
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