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Subject: Strategy and Contact Job Design rss

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Jon Snow
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Usually when I play a board game, I like to be surprised when drawing cards. But in Firefly, besides knowing that Border Space Navigation Cards are more dangerous than Alliance Space Navigation Cards, you REALLY need to know something about each contact's mix of jobs. And no Captain would fly the black without some knowledge of what he'd expect to find on a Contact Planet. That would be inefficient...or suicide. I suspect that new players who are dissatisfied with the game have not been given any tips on them by their Game Master. I'm currently working on a player aid that does just that for the Files section below. Even though I've now played nine times, what I'm finding while going through the job decks methodically is surprising me. Kudos to the designers for all the subtle work they did on these Job Cards.

Job design is one of the more ingenious and initially overlooked part of the game. I have to admit that it is one of the last elements I'm analyzing. Some jobs are Legal but Immoral! Some require key words (Crime) or skill tests of their own to attempt; some times in addition to Misbehaving. Some have occupational bonuses. Some have payouts that depend on how much cargo you deliver.

When I started playing, an early poster gave the payout range by contact lowest to highest: Harken, Amnon Duul, Patience, Badger, and Niska. And the risk increases along the way, so you need a better combination of crew and items as you increase job payout. Perhaps the next most important job element is plain astro-geography. Holding and working two or three jobs at once which share identical or close pick up, drop off, or performance planets allow you to maximize your trips across the board. This is extremely important to how I play the game. Navigating the 'Verse efficiently means minimizing your trips between the 'Eastern' and 'Western' sectors of Border Space. Coordinating these trips with visits to Supply and Contact Planets, and even "normal" planets for Make Work, is just as crucial.

Its important to know the job environment, because you still can't control the order in which the jobs appear. You'll have to get good at shopping for jobs as well as for supplies. And that means monitoring the discard piles all the time. Yes, Firefly is a "pick up and delivery" game. But if you don't know the Firefly/Serenity Universe, or even if you do, you'll need to fly the job design learning curve as well as your ship.

(Edit) The Contact Jobs Design player aid is now in the Files section below.
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Christopher Ross
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Do you hear that sucking sound?

That's the sound of the strategy players sucking the fun out of the game by emphasizing winning strategy over the experience of playing a game based upon your favorite sci-fi show.

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George Krubski
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jedijawa74 wrote:
Do you hear that sucking sound?

That's the sound of the strategy players sucking the fun out of the game by emphasizing winning strategy over the experience of playing a game based upon your favorite sci-fi show.



Seriously? To me, it's basic common sense to want to play to win, and Firefly is a complex enough game that without some research, that's just not going to happen.

For example, want to play Mal? That's great, but since he offers a bonus on Crime jobs, you'll probably want to maximize the number of Crime jobs you take. Which means no Harken or Amnon Duul. If you enjoy playing with a large crew (as I do), even Patience isn't that great.

Jon, if you haven't downloaded it already, I'd like to direct you to http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/96355/sortable-spreadsheet.... The second worksheet has jobs for 4/5 contacts. I need to update with Niska soon.
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Chris Malme
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"And now, before we show Episode 1 of our new series 'Firefly', here's a short program that details all of the characters and terminology you will encounter during the season, so you, the viewer, know what it is all about. There may be spoilers."
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James Fung
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This thread does not suck too much fun out because it contains few new tips and, while the author states he analyzed the decks, he shares little quantitative or qualitative information. To summarize the OP:

1) Knowing the job decks makes you a more effective player.
2) The job deck is well designed.
3) Summary of strategy article.
Tips added by author:
4) Try to get jobs to make the most of those long trips along the long-axis of the board.
5) While you're making those long trips, stop off at decks along the way.

I can only speak for myself, but I knew #1, 4, 5 before playing my first game or looking through the decks.

A better analysis of the decks would include numbers about the composition of the decks. For example: How many full burns do the jobs in each deck take? With 2 scenarios: 1) starting on the planet you got the job; and 2) starting from the start planet of the job, assuming you have some other jobs that take you out there. What decks could you stop off at along the way?

Here's one tip from me:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Did you know that about half of Harken's deck has jobs that start on Londinium? So if you want to start the game getting solid with Harken and avoiding Customs inspections (for all those east-west trips) before hiring crew that you need to pay, consider starting there. Londinium is also within range of several decks if the starting jobs you draw change your plans.

The rest of Harken's deck starts somewhere in the Core. Their destinations generally take you further out toward the other decks.
 
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George Krubski
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Chris__M wrote:
"And now, before we show Episode 1 of our new series 'Firefly', here's a short program that details all of the characters and terminology you will encounter during the season, so you, the viewer, know what it is all about. There may be spoilers."



Just a thought, but if you don't enjoy discussing strategy, maybe don't come to the Strategy sub-forum?

No more trolling please.
 
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George Krubski
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fusag wrote:
This thread does not suck too much fun out because it contains few new tips and, while the author states he analyzed the decks, he shares little quantitative or qualitative information. To summarize the OP:

1) Knowing the job decks makes you a more effective player.
2) The job deck is well designed.
3) Summary of strategy article.
Tips added by author:
4) Try to get jobs to make the most of those long trips along the long-axis of the board.
5) While you're making those long trips, stop off at decks along the way.

I can only speak for myself, but I knew #1, 4, 5 before playing my first game or looking through the decks.

A better analysis of the decks would include numbers about the composition of the decks. For example: How many full burns do the jobs in each deck take? With 2 scenarios: 1) starting on the planet you got the job; and 2) starting from the start planet of the job, assuming you have some other jobs that take you out there. What decks could you stop off at along the way?

Here's one tip from me:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Did you know that about half of Harken's deck has jobs that start on Londinium? So if you want to start the game getting solid with Harken and avoiding Customs inspections (for all those east-west trips) before hiring crew that you need to pay, consider starting there. Londinium is also within range of several decks if the starting jobs you draw change your plans.

The rest of Harken's deck starts somewhere in the Core. Their destinations generally take you further out toward the other decks.


The Cortex Uplink (from Breaking Atmo) looks like it may be a bit of a game-changer for those running non-Crime jobs on a regular basis, so I think it may make Harken and Amnon Duul a litle more viable.

With respect to the info you've said would be useful, my spreadsheet DOES list pick-up and drop-off planets... but I haven't done the math yet. I was kinda hoping someone else would do that.
 
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Barry Siebenthall
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Quote:
Do you hear that sucking sound?

That's the sound of the strategy players sucking the fun out of the game by emphasizing winning strategy over the experience of playing a game based upon your favorite sci-fi show.


Whether you study the cards up front, or simply play the game often, you will eventually know what types of jobs to expect. I don't think insulting the OP about strategy in a self-described "strategy" forum is an appropriate approach to conversation. However, if you disagree with his analysis, fire away [in a respectful manner].
 
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Jon Snow
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My new player aid "Contact Job Design" was submitted earlier today, and should be appearing soon in the Files section. I think those who want them will find some of the useful related statistics there. (Edit) For some reason there was a long delay in getting it cleared and posted. A second submission was finally made and approved).
 
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Jon Snow
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arrrh George,

Wow! Can you tell us more about the Cortex Uplink, or are you a playtester who signed an NDA? I'm very glad to hear that some of the new cards in Breakin' Atmo will be interesting design modifications to the game, rather than just a 'plus one' to this and that.
 
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Gale Force Nine LLC
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The Cortex Uplink is one of the new Gear Cards from Firefly: The Game - Breakin' Atmo and it, along with 3 other cards from the Game Booster are spotlighted on the front page of fireflyboardgame.com.
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Christopher Ross
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I was feeling cranky. Mea culpa.

I should be excited that someone is considering the game as more than just a luck fest that is on par with Monopoly.
 
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chas59 wrote:
arrrh George,

Wow! Can you tell us more about the Cortex Uplink, or are you a playtester who signed an NDA? I'm very glad to hear that some of the new cards in Breakin' Atmo will be interesting design modifications to the game, rather than just a 'plus one' to this and that.


Some pretty cool stuff. As the GF9 rep points out, nothing special on my part -- just a visit to the official site.

I'd been toying with two custom ship upgrades to expand Buy and Deal options while I'm the black. I was thinking something like "Illegal Cortex Uplink" that wouldn't let you deal with Harken (and thus be a loophole to avoid the Alliance Cruiser encounter), but it's nice to see the official version will be streamlined.

My other option, the Shuttle, would have allowed a Shop action (possibly within a certain range) by spending 1 Fuel. I'll be curious to see if I was anywhere close on that one.
 
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Jon Snow
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Thanks, GF9. Its always great to hear from you here. I was checking the site daily, but you got one past me!

I assume BFG stands for "Big Fatherly Gun." Or something like that?

Yeah George, its a trip designing mods with so many Official ones coming out, isn't it? You were pretty on the money so far.
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George Krubski
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"Fatherly." Yes, I'm sure that's exactly it...

What's going on with the Contact Job Design doc? I haven't seen it show up yet.
 
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Jon Snow
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George,

I haven't heard anything from a site administrator. Its only my second File post on bgg, but I had no trouble with the first one (also Firefly, and there in the Files under "by Chas"). Yeah, this thread was meant to be a commentary on it, so its too bad; hopefully it will appear soon.
 
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James Fung
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Files go through admins, not geekmods. It may take admins several days to get to it.
 
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Chris Malme
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gwek wrote:
Chris__M wrote:
"And now, before we show Episode 1 of our new series 'Firefly', here's a short program that details all of the characters and terminology you will encounter during the season, so you, the viewer, know what it is all about. There may be spoilers."



Just a thought, but if you don't enjoy discussing strategy, maybe don't come to the Strategy sub-forum?

No more trolling please.


The original poster started by saying "Usually when I play a board game, I like to be surprised when drawing cards", but then made an interesting case why that might not be true for Firefly.

I mildly disagree (for my own gameplay; not saying that you guys shouldn't analyse cards if you so wish) and my post indicated why, in the context I view the game.

You might disagree with what I said (and I did say it in what was intended to be a humorous fashion). But trolling? Really?
 
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