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Firefly: The Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Meanwhile, back on the ship..." rss

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George Krubski
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Bill and I had a side conversation about the ways to leverage the ship and who is on/not on the job.

Bill initially noted that a character like Book or Gommen might spend some downtime preaching to folks who don't leave the ship to work, and that there might be an opportunity to remove Disgruntled there. Perhaps Gear (free)? Perhaps a house rule?

Springboarding off that, I thought it might be an interesting model to create sort of a "B-story" during a Work Action (the way there's often something going on with some characters "back at the ship" while Mal and others are heaving involved in the job itself).

However, I was concerned that my idea in particular might lead to potential abuse or imbalance around Work Actions that don't really require a large number of Crew (ie, Legal Jobs or the non-Misbehave end of Illegal delivery Jobs) or even Make-Work.

So... Thoughts?
 
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Sandy Wilson
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Maybe just make it conditional to the job the rest are doing. After all, if you're just dropping off a payment then there isn't a lot of time for preaching to be successful anyway.

How about for every 2 Misbehaves passed during a Work action, you can do one of the following:
Remove a disgruntled from someone not on the job
Earn an extra £100 per crew not on the job

Takes into account a small part of Shore Leave and Make Work, and not too hard to track.
 
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Dave Rowley
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Sandals wrote:
Takes into account a small part of Shore Leave and Make Work, and not too hard to track.


Gives a reason for keeping Book without too much book-keeping! Ha Ha ha
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Johns H
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I really like this idea, give a reason to keep some crew back when working a job. Like I recently mentioned in a topic over on the Rules forum, there is no reason not to just take everyone when doing a job. Having a reason to hold people back would be a great way to add another level of depth to the game. The only concern I would have it that this may slow down the pace of the game if it becomes to complicated or requires extra bookkeeping.

As for limiting the potential for abuse or unbalancing the work action, I would say that any options available would need to have a requirement, likely a crew profession. Additionally these b-plots could be allowed during other actions, during a work action you are limiting your available skills by keeping crew back so something comparable for the others. Fly actions would be similar, limited skills for the checks that may come up, or if your pilot/mechanic is otherwise occupied by the b-plot then no crazy ivans for you. As for Deal and Buy actions why not limit how much you can get (you do have fewer crew out looking for stuff), maybe if you take this option you can only consider 2 and choose 1 instead of the usual consider 3 and choose 2. Just a few ideas, looking forward to seeing what else comes up in this discussion.
 
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George Krubski
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Although Bill didn't say as much, I imagine his initial thoughts may have been influenced by the thread you're referencing. It was certainly on my mind when I created this thread!

Bill's original suggestion, which might be more balanced, was for cheap or free Gear that could be used. I thought house rules might have broader use - although also, as pointed out, potentially more "bookkeeping."
 
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Bill Saunders
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Right. The initial thought was from your Shepherd's Sermon card, and how there's almost never a reason to voluntarily leave crew behind. Just thinking of some ways that it might be beneficial.
 
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John Coxon
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I really like Sandy's solution due to its simplicity. Instead of every 2 misbehaves, I'd probably only provide the reward for completing a whole set of misbehaves. This would keep it more beneficial to assign crew to the job in most cases.

From an RP standpoint, it would be easy enough to come up with a story for how they acquired these rewards. For example, a merc could remove disgruntled by spending time in the local pub. Sheppard Book could get $100 in donations while preaching a sermon to the local populous. He in turn gives it to the crew to pay for his room and board.
 
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Brian Debler
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I've long wondered if there was much point to having crew not on the job when doing a Work Action. Right now, apart from the harder Mr. Universe jobs, I don't see any real value to it at all.

Here is another idea for something simple for crew while not on a job:
"Paid Time Off" - When you complete a part of a job which requires Misbehaves, remove disgruntled from any crew back on the ship. So, if you have a smuggling job that takes 2 misbehaves for the pick-up, you'd remove disgruntled from anyone who stayed on the ship during that part of the job. Tasks or Legal Jobs don't put the misbehave pressure on the crew, so there is no benefit to staying behind for these jobs. Likewise, any part of illegal jobs will likewise not convey any benefit.
 
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George Krubski
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A few of you have headed toward tying this with Misbehaves. I'm not sure I love that idea, since I feel like it favors those with large crews (who already have enough of an advantage).

Maybe there's a reason the game designers didn't include anything like this.
 
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Bill Saunders
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gwek wrote:
A few of you have headed toward tying this with Misbehaves. I'm not sure I love that idea, since I feel like it favors those with large crews (who already have enough of an advantage).

Maybe there's a reason the game designers didn't include anything like this.


That's likely!
 
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Jay Johnson
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gwek wrote:
A few of you have headed toward tying this with Misbehaves. I'm not sure I love that idea, since I feel like it favors those with large crews (who already have enough of an advantage).

Maybe there's a reason the game designers didn't include anything like this.

If there is no Misbehaving, then you aren't really risking anything by having someone "not working" the job. (where as if there is Misbehaving, there is always the chance that the skills/keywords/etc. of the crew being left behind could have made the difference between success and failure). So why reward if there is no risk?
 
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Johns H
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Also being neglected are the profession bonuses, which appear on both legal and illegal jobs. You can't really expect to get your $500 Companion bonus if you don't bring your companion along with you. Just because the Job is legal and requires no misbehaving don't mean that everyone else can always stay on the ship.

Furthermore, wouldn't this option give more incentive to do a few legal jobs here and there since you don't automatically want to take your whole crew for those misbehaves required for an illegal job? Isn't this a good thing, helping legal play be more viable with a larger crew later in the game? Usually once I get going I have found the most legal jobs are no longer worth doing due to their low payout, that in itself is already a pretty decent trade off I think.
 
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George Krubski
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JayJ79 wrote:
gwek wrote:
A few of you have headed toward tying this with Misbehaves. I'm not sure I love that idea, since I feel like it favors those with large crews (who already have enough of an advantage).

Maybe there's a reason the game designers didn't include anything like this.

If there is no Misbehaving, then you aren't really risking anything by having someone "not working" the job. (where as if there is Misbehaving, there is always the chance that the skills/keywords/etc. of the crew being left behind could have made the difference between success and failure). So why reward if there is no risk?


I don't totally disagree with what you're saying, but, on the other hand, why reward people who likely don't need it (ie, those who have a powerful enough Crew that they CAN afford to leave people behind)?

I actually have problems at both ends of the spectrum, which is is why, although I love the concept, I'm having trouble getting my head around a way to balance it.

Forgetting for a moments where it's "unlimited" (ie, a house rule) or "limited" (ie, Gear or similar), if the premise is that you can remove Disgruntled from folks who stay on the ship during a Work Action (indeed, let's limit it to a "Work Action for a Job"), there are a few scenarios:

1) Crew works a Legal Job or the "easy" leg of an Illegal Delivery Job. Most likely 1-2 Crew can cover the Requirements and, if needed, Career bonus. To me, this seems potentially abusive... Well, maybe not abusive so much as manipulating the system.

2) Crew works an Illegal Job and risks things by letting Crew stay onboard to remove Disgruntled. While I think some folks might indulge in this, it would be incredibly situational, and I suspect would be very limited in use... likely so limited that it's not worth using.

3) Crew works an Illegal Job but is large enough that the player can afford to leave some folks back at the ship. This seems like it's rewarding a player who is likely already in a powerful position. Potentially unbalancing and/or abusive.

4) Crew works a Job that requires limited resources (eg, Piracy or Bounty Hunting). The idea of leaving behind the talkers to relax during a Fight-related Showdown (for example) seems pretty silly - and might also inspire people to do PVE Bounty Jobs for the easy win.

Each of the scenarios presents a different angle that could lead to some trouble. I can conceive of ways to resolve some of them - but not all simultaneously. It's like trying to do higher math!

And all of this is just based around the binary decision of on the ship/not on the ship. What happens with a character who returns to the ship in the middle of the job? Can they benefit?

What, for that matter, happens if the job is a Botch? I can imagine a number of circumstances where forcing a Botch to take advantage of "shipside shore leave" is a better route than regular Shore Leave, and that's just gaming the system.

To further complicate things, let me throw out a themati element. Let's assume a player has the nine protagonists of the show as his crew. He Misbehaves for a Job, but all three rolls are Fight-based, so he's really only using Mal, Zoe, and Jayne. Arguably, Book and River (and by extension Simon) are involved, but Kaylee, Wash, and Inara certainly don't participate. They're basically waiting on the ship in case there's a need for their expertise. Even though they're assigned to the job, they don't DO anything - so should they benefit?
 
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George Krubski
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ForeverZero6 wrote:
Also being neglected are the profession bonuses, which appear on both legal and illegal jobs. You can't really expect to get your $500 Companion bonus if you don't bring your companion along with you. Just because the Job is legal and requires no misbehaving don't mean that everyone else can always stay on the ship.

Furthermore, wouldn't this option give more incentive to do a few legal jobs here and there since you don't automatically want to take your whole crew for those misbehaves required for an illegal job? Isn't this a good thing, helping legal play be more viable with a larger crew later in the game? Usually once I get going I have found the most legal jobs are no longer worth doing due to their low payout, that in itself is already a pretty decent trade off I think.


If you're playing with just the original game, I agree that Legal is largely unplayable, but I don't think that holds true with the full board (BLUE SUN and KALIDASA).

While a mechanism like we're talking about WOULD make Legal Jobs potentially more attractive, I'm not sure that's thematically in keeping with the Firefly vibe of desperation and living on the edge.
 
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Johns H
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gwek wrote:
ForeverZero6 wrote:
Also being neglected are the profession bonuses, which appear on both legal and illegal jobs. You can't really expect to get your $500 Companion bonus if you don't bring your companion along with you. Just because the Job is legal and requires no misbehaving don't mean that everyone else can always stay on the ship.

Furthermore, wouldn't this option give more incentive to do a few legal jobs here and there since you don't automatically want to take your whole crew for those misbehaves required for an illegal job? Isn't this a good thing, helping legal play be more viable with a larger crew later in the game? Usually once I get going I have found the most legal jobs are no longer worth doing due to their low payout, that in itself is already a pretty decent trade off I think.


If you're playing with just the original game, I agree that Legal is largely unplayable, but I don't think that holds true with the full board (BLUE SUN and KALIDASA).

While a mechanism like we're talking about WOULD make Legal Jobs potentially more attractive, I'm not sure that's thematically in keeping with the Firefly vibe of desperation and living on the edge.


Maybe it is just my group, but even with the expansions legal work doesn't get much play. Thematically I think it would be fine, there is plenty of honest work out there in the verse that needs to be done, they do a few such jobs in the show too. I don't think it is much of a stretch to assume that there are ships out there with crews who focus on that type of work.

The more I think about this idea the more I am convinced that it was left out intentionally (as has been mentioned), any good solution will be far to complicated. I do have a couple more ideas, not sure I quite like them but maybe someone else can work with it.

1) Have a new deck of 'good works' and the like, skill challenges similar to Misbehaves that must be overcome to gain the bonus. Maybe a few of them even require doing a misbehave or 2 to pass, this might not always be thematically appropriate but then being able to get kidnapped by hill folk while working on a core world is a little odd already. As for the risks, Warrants or Dead Crew probably wouldn't fit, so maybe having to disgruntle a crew that is part of this b-plot? I'm not really sure here...

2) Since several people have voiced concerns with legal jobs not requiring crew, what if they did? For Shipping jobs your captain would certainly want some help carrying all those crates back to the ship and then to the drop off. So provided you have the available crew you need to assign 1 crew per good being transported. For Transport Jobs I am sure you could argue that the people would feel safer with a bigger escort. Task Jobs would already be covered, since you would need the crew working the job to count their skill toward the total for the payment.
 
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John Coxon
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Even though there are a lot of ways to make this variation work, every solution seems to add its own set of complications. I really feel like this area of the game already seems well-balanced.
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Sandy Wilson
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So if we discount this idea at the moment, what advantage (if there is any) is there to not putting crew on a job?

If there isn't any, then the question needs to be asked if there is a need for some reason to leave crew on the ship?

I feel that if you are playing ultra-competitively, then gwek is right and anything that is added will only make the rich richer. However, if you are playing for the story, then adding anything as a bonus may make someone consider leaving people at home.

 
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Jay Johnson
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Sandals wrote:
then the question needs to be asked if there is a need for some reason to leave crew on the ship?

I've never really felt there was any particular need to leave crew on the ship unless there was an explicit reason to [Book/Gommen on Immoral jobs, Lawmen on Illegal jobs, or crew restrictions imposed by a Mr U challenge], or perhaps leaving out an already-disgruntled crewmember when Misbehaves are imminent.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Perhaps the solution lies in a custom Story card.

The victory conditions outline some "thing" that you build up or remove by keeping crew on board at times. Perhaps for Goal X, you must reach a monetary figure AND have no Disgruntled Crew, where keeping Crew off a Job regruntles them, while some overhanging piece of Plotonium makes it easier than usual to get disgruntled.

Or perhaps every job has a requirement to wipe your tracks, or receive some marker, with each person working the job making it harder to do so, such that leaving "unnecessary" folk behind will make it easier to clean up after the job. Maybe it's something like if you fail the roll, each Crew on the Job gets a token (poker chip, penny, glass bead - but not a marble as they roll). If a crew collects 3 such tokens, they're wanted and something bad happens.
 
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Michael Statarius

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My group has toyed with designing and re-tooling crewmembers who do something worthwhile if they stay behind, or who must stay on board to compensate for being otherwise OP:

-A Pilot that counts as a Transport if he stays
-A Mechanic who spends his time scavenging for Parts while the crew is working (decided via 1d6)
-A Grifter who goes out gambling (also via 1d6)
 
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George Krubski
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The latter two are both things I've toyed with to boost Make-Work, although I imagine they could work as side jobs, too.
 
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Jay Johnson
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Statarius wrote:
My group has toyed with designing and re-tooling crewmembers who do something worthwhile if they stay behind, or who must stay on board to compensate for being otherwise OP:

-A Pilot that counts as a Transport if he stays
-A Mechanic who spends his time scavenging for Parts while the crew is working (decided via 1d6)
-A Grifter who goes out gambling (also via 1d6)

What's the point of the pilot counting as transport if you can't make use of that transport on the job? If you can use that Transport on the job, then the pilot is working the job, and that defeats the purpose (if there is any to begin with) of this whole charade.
 
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John Coxon
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If activities are tied to professions, keep in mind some characters like Saffron have multiple professions, and some like River don't have any. The system would have to be fleshed out enough to cover these edge cases.
 
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Brian Debler
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Statarius wrote:
My group has toyed with designing and re-tooling crewmembers who do something worthwhile if they stay behind, or who must stay on board to compensate for being otherwise OP:

-A Pilot that counts as a Transport if he stays
-A Mechanic who spends his time scavenging for Parts while the crew is working (decided via 1d6)
-A Grifter who goes out gambling (also via 1d6)


I like the concept here!
The Pilot would be highly-tempting, as Transport is always a big deal to have on a job.

I could also see this expanding to include other jobs:
- A Moral Booster could remove disgruntled from a crew also not on the job
- A Soldier can do a bruiser job and earn $100 per fighting they have
- A Medic could get $100 per tech
- A Companion could get $100 per negotiate
- Maybe Hill Folk could scrounge Cargo?
 
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