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Subject: GWEK's Grand Plans -- feedback sought! rss

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George Krubski
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If you poke around the Variants boards, you've probably seen my name and know that I'm working on a number of projects. For my own sanity -- and because a few people have asked some questions -- I'm compiling a single thread that will reference the other threads.

Please note that I'd love feedback (of multiple sorts) on all of this. I'll break things up into expansions and other projects.

EXPANSION #1: ACES & EIGHTS


This expansion is well underway, with an offical release expected in April. The primary thread is here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1092658/virtual-expansio...

That release will include:

* 25 new Supply Cards
* 1 new Leader
* 1 new Ship (The Aces & Eights)
* House Rules, probably including Advanced Careers, modifications to Morale Booster, Exclusive Deals, First Mates & Mutiny (all found in this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1075300/gweks-house-rule...)
* Possibly additional tokens to facilitate appropriate house rules

* Other possible House Rules may include:
-- Increased Impact for Alliance and Reavers (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1124121/increased-impact...)
--- Crew Relationships (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1088489/relationships)

Although I would love feedback on ANY of these, the last two probably require too much playtesting to be ready in a timely manner.

So what happens with the release?

I will produce final versions of all the cards and make a deck available for anyone who wants to print it. My understanding is that this can be done on various sites. I've heard Artscow mentioned multiple times, but if anyone has alternate suggestions, let me now.

If there are sites where something like the ship card or custom tokens can be printed, I'd appreciate a bump in the right direction. This stuff is all new to me.

I want to be clear that in no way am I trying to make money on this. It's all just for fun and to support the community.

EXPANSION #2: LOCAL COLOR

This expansion is primarily a deck that offers additional opportunties and threads, similar to an option version of Nav cards. The primary thread is here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1116752/local-color-a-ne...

As noted in the thread, Corvin is working to make these pretty. In the meantime, however, if anyone is willing to playtest these PLEASE do so and offer feedback! I know that some of the cards can use fine-tuning but I would love community feedback.

Again, once finalized, this will be offered as a deck to anyone who is interested.

The LOCAL COLOR expansion will likely include any House Rules that didn't make the cut for Aces & Eights, and may also include Side Quests (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1096580/side-quests), which I think would be thematically appropriate.

EXPANSION #3: THE BLACK MARKET

Once again, this is based primarily around a deck, this time, a new Supply Deck, The Black Market, full of scum and villainy, and accessible via any Supply Planet under the right circumstances -- the Black Market is everywhere and nowhere!

The primary thread is here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1121339/virtual-expansio...

And you can see some of the Supply Card ideas (largely from other franchises), here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1114853/custom-crew-card...

Like the other releases, this one will include House Rules. It will also includes at least 3-4 new leaders (thematically tied to The Black Market) and possibly some new ships. It's too early to tell, but I suspect this will tie pretty well with Pirates & Bounty Hunters.

OTHER PROJECTS

Although not strictly an expansion, another large scale project that I'm working on is the idea of a solo campaign, where you would play through various games ("Seven Seasons and a Movie!"), with each having impact on the next. For example, a Crew killed in Game #1 is not available for the remainder of the campaign, and jobs can only be used once throughout the campaign. Further, the results of each game will impact how you start the next.

My initial thread is here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1078809/solo-campaign-id...

You can also find a solo version of First Time in the Captain's Chair (which would likely kick things off), here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1079335/first-time-in-th...


In addition to my own projects, I've been pitching in and making cards for HarleighDhai, a gentleman who's Firefly-based ambitions match my own. You can find some of his stuff here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1116734/new-crew-types

And here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1122414/new-leaders

And here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1121258/new-gear-types

OFFER FEEDBACK -- PLEASE!

Sure, I'm doing this stuff because it's fun, but I'm also doing it because I hope people will enjoy it. So, please, offer feedback either here are on the linked threads.

What works? What doesn't work? What interests or excites you? (One of the reasons Local Color rose up to it's pole position is because people responded with such interest to the idea.)

Obviously, I can playtest this stuff myself, but there are tons of different play styles and approaches out there, so the more the merrier!

Also, as noted under Aces & Eights, if there are folks with more experience than me with something lilke this, let me know some of the best resources I can use to share the stuff with the community.

Thanks!



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James Fung
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I've used Artscow in the past, however, I'm thinking of using Superior POD for my next project: http://www.superiorpod.com/category/custom-card-decks#.UxdhU... Main benefits:

-- They come in batches of 18 instead of 54, so less waste
-- I think they're cheaper (about 8 cents per card)
-- You can customize the front and back of each card (Artscow says all 54 cards have to have the same back)

Note: I haven't used Superior POD yet. It may be 2+ weeks before I get my project ready for printing. Also, I've heard that while their products are good, their customer service is slow to respond.
 
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James Fung
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I can't playtest anything right now because my game is still with a friend. But here's my advice/suggestions:

1) Try to make the expansion modular. Lots of games (Eclipse, Space Empires 4X, Curse of the Lost Temple off the top of my head) have expansions that players can pick and choose from to customize the game to be what they want. You will probably get more play if fans don't have to import everything just to use one thing they want.

2a) Less is more. It's very easy to design a complex game. It takes work and rethinking ideas to design a sleek, elegant, low-fiddliness game mechanic. Players like more choices, more strategy options, but try not increase the burden on the players. One example is that the basic game of Down in Flames is elegant and fast-playing. But if you play a campaign, you see that the added rules are clunky, slower, and feel tacked-on.

2b) In a game like Firefly where many people agree there is an issue (namely, that getting a good crew and doing crime is such a strong strategy), it's better to address that issue rather than add on something else and leaving the issue to remain.
 
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George Krubski
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Thanks for the feedback, James. Let me know how your experience with SuperiorPOD goes. (For the record, you CAN do custom on both sides with Artscow, but you're completely correct about the size limitations).

On Modular: That's what I'm trying to, especially with LOCAL COLOR and THE BLACK MARKET. They're "add ons." ACES & EIGHTS, admittedly, is a bit more of a melting pot because it's also my attempt to get my head around the mechanics of things.

One thing I plan to do with the House Rules is have each as a card, so when you're playing, you can actually lay down the House Rules in play, if you want.

With respect to addressing existing issues, I agree. A lot of the bits in ACES & EIGHTS are designed to deal with quietly deal with pain points or support other play styles (in this case, specifically, Transport jobs).

I'll definitely keep your points in mind as I continue to fiddle, and may go back to reevaluate if there's more I can do with ACES & EIGHTS to achieve this.

Thanks!
 
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Wade Hobby
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After some pondering I was thinking there should be some negative repercussion from a really bad roll. Perhaps on a '1' or natural '6' (the firefly logo) you have to make a negotiate roll to avoid a combat roll and then possibly lose some crew or goods. The reason I suggest a natural 6 is because no one should be able to just get lucky and contact the market, you should have to be the unsavory type or someone willing to pay to get that access. There should always be a chance that the contact goes bad and a risk for sticking you nose into the wrong gorram den!
If you survive the fight you can always try again but next time you might get a +1 because you've earned a rep.
 
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C David Dent
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DeadmeatDad wrote:
After some pondering I was thinking there should be some negative repercussion from a really bad roll. Perhaps on a '1' or natural '6' (the firefly logo) you have to make a negotiate roll to avoid a combat roll and then possibly lose some crew or goods. The reason I suggest a natural 6 is because no one should be able to just get lucky and contact the market, you should have to be the unsavory type or someone willing to pay to get that access. There should always be a chance that the contact goes bad and a risk for sticking you nose into the wrong gorram den!
If you survive the fight you can always try again but next time you might get a +1 because you've earned a rep.


I do not agree. I don't feel a need for an "automatic fail" result on any roll. I'm fine with an automatic success in tests. In fact, the game promotes it with "ace in the hole" on misbehave cards.

If you feel a need to have some sort of fail result on your game, then feel free to "house rule" that, but it isn't something that I think the game needs.
 
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George Krubski
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I think Wade is specifically referring to the roll to access the Black Market.
 
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Wade Hobby
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MrDave2176 wrote:
DeadmeatDad wrote:
After some pondering I was thinking there should be some negative repercussion from a really bad roll. Perhaps on a '1' or natural '6' (the firefly logo) you have to make a negotiate roll to avoid a combat roll and then possibly lose some crew or goods. The reason I suggest a natural 6 is because no one should be able to just get lucky and contact the market, you should have to be the unsavory type or someone willing to pay to get that access. There should always be a chance that the contact goes bad and a risk for sticking you nose into the wrong gorram den!
If you survive the fight you can always try again but next time you might get a +1 because you've earned a rep.


I do not agree. I don't feel a need for an "automatic fail" result on any roll. I'm fine with an automatic success in tests. In fact, the game promotes it with "ace in the hole" on misbehave cards.

If you feel a need to have some sort of fail result on your game, then feel free to "house rule" that, but it isn't something that I think the game needs.


I do believe that's the case for almost anything in the game but I also think the black market deck is a dangerous and powerful place to go. It is tough to get to and take advantage of but the rich and powerful (or criminal) can no more guarantee their safety than the moral and weak when it comes to the types in that deck. It's like doing business with Niska, bad luck and/or poor planning can get people killed. Of course I also don't see why so many folks playing the game are distraught over the fact that crime pays and is often a winning strategy. The Black Market deck will make it even more lucrative to turn to crime. I am looking forward to this fan expansion and love the new crew options! They should hire you Gwek!
 
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Kurtis Miller
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I recently had a deck of over 200 cards printed at PrinterStudio, and they turned out great. I've gotten stuff through TheGameCrafter before and was a bit bummed at how dramatically their stuff had drifted - some of the cards were off by more than 1/8 inch. I'm not sure how PS does it, but their cards were dead-center.

Both of these printers will allow you to have as many backs as you want in an order. Downside of PrinterStudio is that they haven't got an official way for a designer to upload a project and then sell it through their UI - the hacky workaround is for each person who wants to buy a copy to basically clone the entire project into their own account before ordering. (Supposedly, PS are actually working on this, but no idea when it might be ready...)
 
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C David Dent
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gwek wrote:
I think Wade is specifically referring to the roll to access the Black Market.

modest That wasn't apparent. My bad.

Yes, I think I mentioned in the Black Market thread that "hunting for the Black Market" can attract unwanted attention (and should!)
 
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Wade Hobby
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That's what happens when I rush a reply in the last couple of minutes before my lunch is over at work (I still got back 5 minutes late). I wish I could get paid to talk Firefly and boardgames all daycry Perhaps I can hit the lottery and spend all day doing this kinda stuff. That'd be shiny.
 
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C David Dent
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I wish I could too! Fortunately my job allows me some leeway as to time allocation. I can slip in and poke around during the day a little on slow days.
 
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Jon Snow
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arrrh Best of luck with it all, George. Of course I've already chimed in a bit on many of the threads referenced. The danger of an ambitious project is of course that it will end being duplicated or overlapped by one of the official expansions. So I'd try NOT to do what you think GF9 will do!
 
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George Krubski
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Good to see you, man!

Agreed! That's one of the reasons I picked one of the crews from the RPG as the foundation for the first expansion. Much as I WANTED to do Jubal or Dobson, I had a feeling (even before we saw the next expansion) we'd see them eventually...

I'm delaying a little on ACES & EIGHTS to see if I need to adjust based on PIRATES & BOUNTY HUNTERS... which I suspect will also have big impact on THE BLACK MARKET.

For the most part, keeping in mind what Fusag suggested, I'm trying to keep things sort of "plug in", so that if something suddenly doesn't mesh with the official direction, it can be "unplugged" without damaging too much around it.

 
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James Fung
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Speaking of the RPG, one direction you can go is to make the game less of an objective-oriented game (get the cash, finish the story card, save the cheerleader, save the world) but turn it into a narrative-generating game. Some of your ideas are already going in this direction, such as the campaign that continues the story of a particular captain/ship.

(Aside: my "grand plan" for a variant is basically this. Make the focus of the game the journey, exploring and surviving in the 'Verse, rather than racing to the finish. However, development has stalled because of time and because my game is with someone else.)
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Jon Snow
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Yes, if I ever get back to working on my own Original Story Card, it will be a co-op game set ten years after Firefly the series/movie, and so will also try to add a new kind of play to the game, which could have further additions if successful, without impinging upon what GF9 will be doing (hopefully).
 
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Yosef Bender

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Local color deck has been used now in two games with good feedback and enjoyment.

As you know I reworked the deck into a rim planet deck, still working on the core planet deck, to be used whenever you land on a non-supply planets you Immediately draw one of these cards. It makes stopping at planets quite fun thank you for the contribution
 
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George Krubski
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Are you using the exact cards from my version of Local Color or do you have a different version? If different, I would love to get a look at it!
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