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Subject: Deck Ramifications For Multiple Expansions? rss

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Jon Snow
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PBH is just coming out, and I've seen lists of its components and the rules posted, although I don't have it yet. I've played with BA once so far. But its clear that as more expansions come out, the game changes due to expanded Supply Decks and Contact Job Decks. Here is what I'm starting to think about regarding Supply Decks, assuming that one is adding all the new cards of all expansions as they become available:

1. Changed odds in finding particular Crew or Gear cards by using a Buy action before all cards are sent to their Discard piles.

2. Increased time to get all cards out into their discard piles.

3. Changed likelihood of finding different types of cards at one particular Supply Planet that were not there before expansions came out.
 
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George Krubski
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Agreed all around. This is something I've hit on in various discussion threads, even going back to Breakin' Atmo, but have never clarified like you've done.

With Breakin' Atmo, for example, I was primarily interested in the mix of Jobs. The game became even MORE tilted toward Illegal Jobs in general and Crime in particular.

But with now 36 cards in each supply deck, the chance of any particular card being then one has gone from 4% to 2.78%. I'm not focused enough to worry about things like what's already in the discard, adjusting probabilities, etc, but consider this: in the core game, If you went to Persephone, there was basically a 20% chance that the first card you flipped would be a Mechanic. That's now a 13.9%.

In a two-player game (pre-PBH) it's fairly easy to build a "perfect crew", skill-wise, at least, because there are so many resources available and not a lot of competition. Assuming the game continues in that direction, that same thing will happen in larger games, as more resources are introduced, but competition doesn't increase.

On the other hand, SPECIFIC resources are harder to come by. It's easy to bulk up your Tech skill... but harder to get a Mechanic, or a Pilot, or a Cry Baby.

So what does that all mean? It's harder to fish for a specific resource, so you should probably take what you can get when it pops up. In a certain sense, ironically, expanding the Supply Decks punishes those who rely on them: it's easy to find resources, but perhaps harder to find the RIGHT resources.

Following that logically, it may tilt things in favor of playing legal when possible because that requires less resources, so it's easier to get going. On the other hand, since the JOBS are the inverse (making it tougher to get better-paying [ie, not-Harken] Legal jobs).

My head hurts. I shouldn't have done this before breakfast...

 
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Hardboiled Gregg
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I like it, in that it throws out more micro-decisions and variations on how to play, and you can't just rely on one core strategy, but I can understand the complaints. For one, it could increase playtime.

Otherwise, it seems wise either to sort out which supplies you want to remove from the decks (would take some careful balancing), simply remove all of one expansion (hence those markers used for each, I guess) depending on which story card/style of game you want to play or house-rule some different ways to shop or prime the pumps.
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Jon Snow
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Although I am a strategist, I must admit that I am relieved that for now, the two expansions means for myself that I can more or less stay with my original shopping strategy. Which so far has usually meant not staying to shop for more than two turns in a row at any one planet. I'd rather have an imperfect collection of cards than lose too much time in general.

This also means that it will be harder to come up with a Perfect Crew, which is very, very good. I don't even use the Big Damn Heroes cards, although I use all the other promos, because I feel that the TV "Super Crew" is already superior enough as it is. Will any of the newest Crew be as good as they are? I hope so. Certainly Jubal Early is a major contender, as he perhaps along with his Interceptor and special Gear, allows a whole different play style. True for Sash also probably.

Here's another wrinkle: where I've been allowing players to purchase the Artful Dodger at Osiris so far rather than assigning it at start, I'm more likely to let players now choose one of the three variant ships at start now--but probably they'll have to pay or collect the difference in price to do so.

Another possibility is that with different strategies being offered, there may now be more trading among players trying to accomplish different ways of doing things. But then again, stopping off at the same space to trade means being vulnerable to Bushwacking (aka/Piracy). The TV episode where Firefly has to avoid those Magnetic Grapplers can now be gamed out!

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George Krubski
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chas59 wrote:
Although I am a strategist, I must admit that I am relieved that for now, the two expansions means for myself that I can more or less stay with my original shopping strategy. Which so far has usually meant not staying to shop for more than two turns in a row at any one planet. I'd rather have an imperfect collection of cards than lose too much time in general.

This also means that it will be harder to come up with a Perfect Crew, which is very, very good.


I think it depends on how you define "perfect crew." With more resources available, I think it may actually be EASIER to find sufficient skill points to avoid most tests, but specific KEYWORDS are harder to come by.

That has two ramifications that come to mind: 1) less use of Ace in the Hole (which doesn't matter if your skill is high enough anyway), 2) less access to some of the "premium" crime jobs (which often require 1 or more keyword).

To me, the biggest negative in terms of strategy is the increasing rarity of pilots, mechanics, and Cry Babies.

chas59 wrote:
I don't even use the Big Damn Heroes cards, although I use all the other promos, because I feel that the TV "Super Crew" is already superior enough as it is. Will any of the newest Crew be as good as they are? I hope so. Certainly Jubal Early is a major contender, as he perhaps along with his Interceptor and special Gear, allows a whole different play style. True for Sash also probably.


Agreed. Although the problem is that maximizing these styles requires specific cards, so basically, they've given us a ton of candy -- but it's behind a big, glass wall.

Consider Jubal: If he's flying around on his Interceptor, he has a limited Crew, so he needs either premium Crew or Gear to maximize what space he does have. The official page does a good job of explaining the great synergy between Jubal and his Gear... but what are the changes he's going to be able to nab them?

Similarly, Sash works especially well with Jesse and Billy... but what are the chances of getting one, let alone both?

chas59 wrote:
Here's another wrinkle: where I've been allowing players to purchase the Artful Dodger at Osiris so far rather than assigning it at start, I'm more likely to let players now choose one of the three variant ships at start now--but probably they'll have to pay or collect the difference in price to do so.


When my cousin and I play, we usually draw captains randomly. When I was telling him about PBH this weekend, we discussed that with the Haven takens, we can now draw ships randomly too!

To keep everything unique, I MAY actually pick a default Ship Upgrade to assign to the base Fireflies so no matter what ship you start with, it's unique.

chas59 wrote:
Another possibility is that with different strategies being offered, there may now be more trading among players trying to accomplish different ways of doing things. But then again, stopping off at the same space to trade means being vulnerable to Bushwacking (aka/Piracy). The TV episode where Firefly has to avoid those Magnetic Grapplers can now be gamed out!


That's a really good point about trading. If I'm playing Illegal, it may not be worth it for me to have Sherriff Bourne on my Crew... unless the other guy is maybe playing Legal and would be willing to part with a good pilot or something... Could be a nice win/win.

I think there are going to be far-reaching and subtle ramifications from this expansion.

Now... I wonder what they have planned next?

 
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Jon Snow
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Well, for one thing, they may rebalance the decks by offering more of what you mention above becoming so rare, such as Pilots! An alternative would be new Gear that did part of the same thing ('Navigation Console:' ignore various problems while flying, but no Crazy Ivan)? This is especially necessary as there may be more players in the game. And there is currently no way to Pirate away a crew or passenger/fugitive. Will Kidnapping/Shanghaiing be a new job category some day, since its been so specifically left out?
 
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George Krubski
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Agreed. I'm sure there will be more Pilots in the future (for example), as well as ways to compensate. The Electronic Defense Suite is already one way to circumvent the Reavers (which reduces the need for a Mechanic and Pilot). There are also two Supplies that help with Alliance Wanted Rolls, which is one of the most painful parts of an Alliance encounter.

As a custom-maker, I've been thinking that, for example, one alternate to the Cry Baby might be "Forged Papers" or something that wouldn't work QUITE the same way... I could see similar continued variety in the future.

I think it's also interesting that we're seeing different types of resources. As pointed out earlier, this set seems to have fewer Supplies with keywords and skill bumps (although there are certainly enough). The introduction of Lawmen adds a whole new wrinkle to play style, and I could see there being more possibilities in the future. For example, a Lawman who doubles as a Pilot or Mechanic (or a Plot/Mechanic who won't work Illegal Jobs) presents an interesting dilemma: maybe you're thinking that any pilot is better than no pilot, but if you're hoping to do Illegal jobs, do you go one man liight, or do you risk the wrath of the Reavers? I would anticipate that we may see folk like The Councilor, Haymer, and Harrow as law-abiding citizens in a future release.

It will be interesting to see what the next few expansions look like. BREAKING ATMO was sort of an "adjustment" to the core game rather than its own entity (although it does have a different flavor). P&BH is a major dynamic change -- will it be followed by another "adjustment" product, or by another major expansion?
 
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Jon Snow
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I'd guess that the rest of the expansions will be substantive, since Breakin' Atmo "didn't count." It was said by one of the designers early on to be "the cards we couldn't fit in the box." By which I'm sure he meant the cost/benefit production limit on the original game, rather than actual physical space. But we'll see.

Speculating wildly on what else they could add in all those further expansions, we go back to earlier guesses about new map sections. The next most important option would be allowing more action on "normal" planets, as you and some others have set up in variants. Another possiblility would be NPC ships, with jobs to either pirate or protect them, such as colony ships going out to the border spaces, where Alliance can't easily escort them.

I personally am rooting for more Alliance and Reaver activity and options, and some more lucrative Legal/Moral missions as a major new way to go. You'd probably have to stay in good with Harken to use them, so that would mean a major commitment away from crime job manning and equipping. Even Mal had trouble staying on the right side of the law with the lack of the availability of honest work. But I guess if they are really going to do seven more expansions, they'll have to expand on the TV Show a bit.

Or they could go ahead and license the movie, which I hope they do, but its hard to believe they had that in mind all the time, since they can't count on it being a done deal. If only it wasn't all so secretive.

***

Niska Job #666: Influence Creative Types: Bribe, Hack, or Kidnap a Firefly The Game Designer! It could be pleasant for them. Or not. Requires:

Ply 'Em With Goodness: Diplomacy Test of 8 or

Hack Their Data: Tech Test of 7


Throw a Bag Over 'Em: Fight Test of 6

***
 
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George Krubski
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I'm not too far from you, opinion-wise, but unless there are some "lesser" expansions like BREAKIN' ATMO, I can't even imagine with eight more expansions of substance would look like!

I mean, honestly, we're scraping close to the bottom of the barrel with Crew as is: Meadows? Chani? How long until we have "Third Fed from the right"?

As we've discussed in this thread, there will also be a point of diminishing returns on deck size. Assuming there are, say, 8 expansions with an average of 5 cards per Supply Deck (and, let's be honest, to support any significant change, you DO need additional Supplies), we're going to wind up with supply decks almost 4 times the size of how they started out. That's not a great thing.

 
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Jon Snow
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My favorite old joke from the first Firefly threads was: "When are we going to see Guy Selling 'Good Dogs?'

All I can say is that I do own 12 different versions of Munchkin. Three or four of which I haven't even played yet. Since I also have their expansions, I don't mix cards from different games. But I do have a fantasy where I shuffle them all together and make a stack that reaches to the ceiling of the living room...
 
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