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Subject: So what's your strategy? rss

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George Krubski
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In a game like Firefly, there's not necessarily going to be an easy answer, since each story card is different, and solo is different from 2-player, which is a very different animal from 4-player...

But what works for you? What are the weaknesses? The "must have" Supplies?

I typically play something I like to call "True Crime" (where I start off with Crime Jobs, rather than cutting my teeth on "easier" Jobs before plunging in to Crime). My preference is to start at Persephone (unless I have a Mechanic, in which case I head to the Space Bazaar. Between those two locations, I can usually put together a full Crew, possibly with some Gear, too, fairly quickly. Meanwhile, I either make-work to cut down on expenses or Deal with Badger to get a strong hand of three Crime Jobs.

WHEN DOES THIS WORK BEST? Most of the games I play are solo or 2-player, and this is a good tactic for those. With more players, there would be more competition for resources, which would slow shopping.

It also works better with "story" based Story Cards rather than money grabs. With story-based cards, the Goals require the same abilities I'm investing in for Crime Jobs anyway.

WHAT ARE THE WEAKNESSES? With too many players, there's too much competition for resources. With money grabs, players who are playing "the straight and narrow" will be earning while I'm still building up my crew. In the long run, I'll catch up, but there's definitely a "sweet spot" where they can pull ahead and I'm forced to race to catch up.

Racing to catch up is, overall one of the biggest potential flaws. Almost every game I've lost has been against an opponent playing with similar tactics but better luck with the cards (which forced me to begin Working before I was ready).

ANY REQUIRED RESOURCES? One of the great things about Crime is that it's flexible. Since my goal here is to be able to breeze through Misbehaves, my target is about 6 in each skill, a TRANSPORT, maybe a Cry Baby, and as many other keywords as I can grab.

I target 2-skill Crew, and prefer those who are neither wanted nor Moral when possible to avoid complications. Special abilities may factor in, but I'm really looking to hit a target number as quickly as I can.

So what else is out there? Anyone play fully legal? Enjoy Shipping or Smuggling? Salvage Ops? Let's hear about it!




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Marvin Ramirez
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I wish I had a strategy. I seem to always be teaching new people how to play. So I rarely win and when I do win it's against noobs. I guess I should say my strategy is to start playing with the people that know how to play.
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dave boulton
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a diverse crew is a good idea

a hacking rig, fancy duds and sniper rifle make difficult misbehave cards a LOT easier

get solid with badger and then being an outlaw doesn't get too expensive...

avoid the alliance cruiser, it will often want to stop you going where you want to go

try not to ever have less than 3 fuel and 1 part in your hold

choose jobs that work in a nice straight line instead of having to go forward and back over lots of different planets

also it pays to keep the goals in mind, I have seen people (myself included...) just having fun going form place to place writing a story rather than concentrating on what you should be doing

 
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Stephen Williams
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I'm more of a sandboxer. I like the game for the theme and the fact that the mechanics don't suck is like a bonus. =P

My strategy will vary depending on the story card, but generally includes picking up two or three crew and whatever gear looks handy, then striking out into the 'Verse and getting lost in the theme.

I haven't won a single game to date, but I've loved every minute of it. =)
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adaptation. My strategy is to adapt to the current game-card rules and goals as well as to work with what I can get rather than seek out specifics.

There are still specifics, of course, but I don't rely on trying to farm river and simon and kaylee etc. The specifics I go for are usually the most common ace in the hole cards -- transport etc.

My favorite captain is still corbin. He just saves trying to find a lucky 2 wrench person or a bunch of mix skilled wrenches. Mal is probably better but wife won't let go of him.

As for the rest, I play a high risk game. I tend to go for badger jobs right off, seeking 1-2 misbehave jobs and trying to pull them off with whatever I have found in the first 2 or 3 rounds. From there, the money either piles up to meet a money goal or goes toward a top setup for a roll to win goal card. Or luck turns against me and I lose.

funny you should ask, my current match I am trying legal. I have burgess in the walden doing shipping and salvage, trying to get as many free goods as I can. Payout is fine; with a cargo to sell and low crew cut, it matchs a higher paying illegal job that loses 1k to crew. Also doing the cheezy bounties as they come, grab them off decks when they show up.
 
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Carl Bussema
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I've had a lot of success with this:

Start as Corbin at Osiris. Keep your Harken job, probably the Duul job, and either Badger or Patience depending on what you see that you like. A Niska job is going to clog your hand too long.
Priority upgrades: ideal: 6-engine with mosey-2 ignore breakdown. Will settle for upgrade for mosey-2 and ignore breakdown. Also look at the NEEDS for your early jobs. Use make-work and spend up to 3 turns shopping if you're leaving good things in the discard or if you're not seeing anything you want. Avoid taking more than 1-2 crew yet (not likely to be a problem at Osiris anyway).

Next priority: do the Harken job (if you can arrange a "pickup" for one of your other jobs go for it). You want to be solid with him to ignore customs inspections and to be able to tip off the cruiser to those other, less righteous captains.

From here, head for Space Bazaar ideally, you want that pilot before much longer (unless you happened to snag the one that's not there in Breakin' Atmo). Duul may have a decent job if your crew is still small.

Once you've got your pilot/mechanic and a couple jobs done, hopefully you've saved/earned to have $2-3k left. Time to grab some crew and look for FANCY DUDS and FAKE ID. TRANSPORT is essential. A COMPANION will do you well (did you find Inara?) and a SNIPER RIFLE is OK, but those are mostly at Silverhold, where you probably won't be going much.

You can't afford all of that, so pick whatever you see and do some low-difficulty misbehaves or high-value legal jobs (rare) to supplement as you're moving from supply to supply. If this is a money-grab scenario, you'll have to take more risks. The TRANSPORT is important here because it is the only "out" if you don't have River on two otherwise very nasty misbehave cards. Any of the "reroll" characters or gear is always good and worth going out of your way for (just watch the timing--no point burning a fuel and a turn to go out of your way only to have another player get there first). [Money grab? Try focusing on the transport illegal jobs; they have fewer misbehaves, so you're more likely to get lucky and pass without a full setup. just watch your pickup/deliver destinations and try to arrange it so you're working 2-3 jobs that overlap nicely.]

If you're not Corbin, you probably want a Hacking Rig. Otherwise, it's probably ok to just get a couple extra tech icons on crew/gear and save the cash for that.

Once you get up to about 5+ (ideally 7+) in each category with TRANSPORT, FAKE ID, and FANCY DUDS at least, and whatever other keywords you've found, then you should be able to pass most misbehaves without too much work. Crime is your friend since it takes less time. Reinvest money (if you're not saving for a particular goal) into better crew/gear/upgrades only when it is convenient to do so. Carry a cry baby at all times. Keep a few extra fuel handy; you don't want to have to stop when you're in the middle of a good run.
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George Krubski
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Although you have a preferred starting Captain and location and I usually go draw a random Captain, the rest of our strategy is pretty similar after a certain point.

I'd argue that Fake ID and Fancy Duds aren't bad, but are overrated, and not as "must have" as folks think. Both are used primarily for two reasons: passing Misbehaves and Job requirements.

Here's how it breaks down:

FAKE ID is an ace for four Misbehave cards: Denied Docking Rights and 3 copies of Alliance Patrol. Assuming you're shooting for a decent Talk (in the range of 5-7), you can Bribe your way past Denied Docking Rights pretty easily (and that's assuming you don't already have a Tech of 5, which will let you auto-pass the second option. Alliance Patrol is tougher (requiring Talk of 7 and no Warrants to auto-pass), but if you're not confident, you can Botch with the Transport.

FANCY DUDS show up three times in the Misbehave Deck, but a 6 Talk (or a 5 Talk and 6 Tech) will get you through just as easily.

Job-wise, there's one Job (Badger) that requires FAKE ID, 4 Jobs (Badger and Niska) that require FANCY DUDS, and one job (Niska) that requires BOTH -- as well as HACKING RIG. These are 6 good jobs, but they only account for 10% of what Niska and Badger have to offer (pre-PBH).

I definitely think these are GOOD items to have, and I snatch them up opportunistically, but to me, they're nowhere near in the same league as TRANSPORT. Because it shows up on slightly more jobs and CAN be the deciding factor on at least one Misbehave card, I would value HACKING RIG over either of these.



 
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Joshua Ingram
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I haven't tried it as much with the new expansion, but I like starting with Marco at Silverhold. Two or three buys will get you a crew with 7 or 8 fight, some decent keywords (including Marco's transport), and maybe a little socializing. Especially with Niska's Holiday - it will often be enough for a quick burn through the first goal before the cutter starts moving. Next up is the pilot and mech. Diversify a bit, then do every crime job I can
 
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Royce Banuelos
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With each story being different the strategy changes but I always focus on one goal at a time. Picking a good captain/leader is very important to how your game will pan out. A balanced crew is a good place to start but the more you play the more you'll find out not only what works but what you like. I like crime/immoral jobs so a lot of times I avoid moral crew. With the new expansion I really like using Jubal and loading up on the fighting skill so I can start piracy jobs early. Always focus on goals though and always look through the discard piles so you can start building up your crew in your head first. That one card you really like might be on the bottom of the deck so don't spend too much time milling through one deck.
 
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gwek wrote:

Here's how it breaks down: *snip*



I rarely get duds. The gear I go for (if the decks cooperate) are transport, hacking rig, and fake ID, and keyword companion is huge but takes too much luck. While its possible to just pass the tests, I find the items before I find that many tech & talk points, and often the items count toward my point total. The alliance patrol is the card that most often gets me if I don't ace out.

The only fancy duds I will buy is the sword, unless I have a sleek job that needs them.

The cortex uplink is also sweet if I can get it, but I won't farm for it.

I think I am gonna swap to jubal for captain. Pilot is not found on many top chars (even wash is only a 2 skill).

 
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Jody Lent
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Jonnin wrote:
I rarely get duds. The gear I go for (if the decks cooperate) are transport, hacking rig, and fake ID, and keyword companion is huge but takes too much luck.


THIS.

My strategy is: do legal (bounties are even better, but luck of the draw) until I have put together the following: TRANSPORT, HACKING RIG, FAKE ID, and one other keyword. By the numbers, the best other one is Companion, but it's impossible to find reliably. SNIPER RIFLE is probably next best, as it's cheap and always brings FIREARM with it.

At that point, I begin misbehaving, usually with a Badger job. After a couple more crew or keywords, I'll graduate to Niska jobs, and ride crime all the way home.

I prefer playing as Mal, or now as Jubal Early. Pilot is possibly the best crew attribute after companion, and it enables SkyHooks and Crazy Ivans and many nav cards.

Jubal, however, allows an easier jump to crime--he's not moral, like Mal, and his ability to carry TWO GEAR is huge--it lets you finish all jobs that don't require misbehaving by himself, and bounties by himself.


My favorite card in the game is the Enhanced Graviton Accelerator, aka "God Drive," (6 burn, 2 mosey, ignore breakdowns), as it allows you to skip tech so long as you have a Hacking Rig + Transport.



I tend to lose money grab games, however, as you just can't catch up to legal quick enough if you go Big Crime. Early, however, probably wins money grabs on his own, especially with the Artful Dodger, as he can carry enough gear to handle nearly all legal jobs. With a Skyhook upgrade, he could even misbehave, carrying a Hacking Rig and Fake ID all by himself.


I'm loving the expansions, and find them well-balanced to flesh things out, I simply wish that certain keywords--specifically Pilot, Mechanic and Companion--had been fleshed out, as some of the core components are simply impossible to find (reliably) anymore.

I'm thinking of removing some of the lesser-used cards that no one ever buys from each deck. I mean, come on, does Osiris really NEED to have 4 moral medics?
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George Krubski
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MightyToucan wrote:
Jonnin wrote:
I rarely get duds. The gear I go for (if the decks cooperate) are transport, hacking rig, and fake ID, and keyword companion is huge but takes too much luck.


THIS.


I also agree with that priority for Keywords. I would add (as indicated below) Fancy Duds and Sniper Rifle as the "next best." Companion probably trumps everything but transport but is too hard to shop for.

MightyToucan wrote:
I tend to lose money grab games, however, as you just can't catch up to legal quick enough if you go Big Crime. Early, however, probably wins money grabs on his own, especially with the Artful Dodger, as he can carry enough gear to handle nearly all legal jobs. With a Skyhook upgrade, he could even misbehave, carrying a Hacking Rig and Fake ID all by himself.


Have you tried staying legal the entire game on money grabs? You avoid the investment to swap over to Crime. Heck, that MIGHT even offset the bonus to Illegal Jobs from Respectable Persons of Business.

BTW, although he's risky because he makes you an Outlaw Ship, I've found Tracey to be a great investment for a Captain looking to run Legal. 2 skills and the cheapest Grifter in the game. He generally pays for himself with one Job with a Grifter bonus.

MightyToucan wrote:
I'm loving the expansions, and find them well-balanced to flesh things out, I simply wish that certain keywords--specifically Pilot, Mechanic and Companion--had been fleshed out, as some of the core components are simply impossible to find (reliably) anymore.


Agreed. I like all the new stuff, and I appreciate that there are now more and different ways to circumvent some key problems, but I'm concerned at the increasing difficulty in pulling a Mechanic, Pilot, or Cry Baby. The rules go out of the way to note how important those three things are -- yet the only new ones introduced have been Jubal and the Helmsmen.

Personally, I'd love to see "conditional" resources for some of these, like "Dance Hall Girl: Counts as Companion when Carrying Fancy Duds." That would give more options, and increase the value of some gear or circumstances while letting folk like Inara and Saffron retain their own value.

MightyToucan wrote:
I'm thinking of removing some of the lesser-used cards that no one ever buys from each deck. I mean, come on, does Osiris really NEED to have 4 moral medics?


Those Medics DO feel like filler, although I suspect they're there just so everyone has a shot at a Medic of some kind for their Crew. Rather than remove cards, I often double-prime the supply decks now.
 
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MightyToucan wrote:

I'm thinking of removing some of the lesser-used cards that no one ever buys from each deck. I mean, come on, does Osiris really NEED to have 4 moral medics?


I am seriously considering this as well.
I prefer the 1/2 price mosey 2 ignore breakdown upgrade to the engine, because 1 burn range for 1200 is a lot of wasted money, and if offered both in one turn I would even take the 800 no breakdown over the 2400 engine every time. Regardless, ignore breakdown is sweet unless you are stacked with tech.

I am also thinking of removing the less used cards. We just never use tons of stuff --- 1 skill crew is rarely bought, 6 and nothing else engine is useless, rarely buy cargo space (unless interceptor is in play), and many others could go from our decks.

I would not mind seeing "hit" cards. Like a bounty, these would be "illegal" bounties offered by the contacts or others; for example "bring a qualified medic to the hill folk, paying 1000 each" .



 
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Jody Lent
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Jonnin wrote:
I would not mind seeing "hit" cards. Like a bounty, these would be "illegal" bounties offered by the contacts or others; for example "bring a qualified medic to the hill folk, paying 1000 each"


Hahahaha, I love this. New house rule: "If you successfully Misbehave past the card 'Kidnapped By HillFolk,' keep it. It counts as a bounty for medics, paying $1000, deliverable on Jiangyin."

True to the show, true to theme, gives a use for the filler on Osiris.
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Carl Bussema
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Those filler cards are no good after the very early game, but sometimes, a single fight icon is what you really need to be able to work 1 or 2 of the jobs you started with, and since you want to keep crew costs down early, these characters can be a very good buy.

Also, I'd be afraid of distilling the decks to just the "good cards" since it would increase the chances for someone to "get lucky" with a draw of two top-tier cards.

Double-priming (i.e., flipping 6 cards at start of game instead of 3) seems like it wouldn't be too bad. Slight increase for the player who starts there to get a lucky draw (e.g., one top-tier card in discard + 2 blind draws or even 2 top-tier in discard), but everyone has a crack at this, since you can all start at different supply planets (or you can start next to the supply planet and just mosey before they even get their turn, but you have to really want something specific and hope it's going to turn up during the prime).

I still don't get the hype over hacking rig. I guess it comes from playing the same captain in my last few games (hey if the others aren't going to take him, I'm going to stick with one I know works for me). With that starting 2 tech, it's not hard to collect a few more points here and there. If I recall right, the tech checks on cards with Hacking Rig as ACE are pretty low difficulty, too.

I also stand by my range 6 engine... there are plenty of times when that extra range either lets me reach a planet that would normally take an extra mosey, or lets me safely plot a course that never goes adjacent to the alliance cruiser (why burn a cry baby if I can just preemptively dodge) / reavers (even crazy ivan is going to stop my movement). Is mosey-2 more important? Yes, for sure. But both is better.
 
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Having played various games with five people, there is no one sure strategy. Starting places and jobs can make a big difference, a twist of luck here and there can dramatically alter your strategy. New ships require different tacks. Also, since purchasing supplies can get so competitive, and you'll be wary of some players gaining an early lead, it really impacts what crew and gear you'll accept/settle for before setting out to make money and/or achieve goals. It's a new experience each time and that's what I love.

I will say that, yes, there is a benefit to balancing out skill points but more than a few times I've also seen fight skill heavy crews blast their way through jobs, especially if they manage to get Stitch. The only real constant I have actually seen is that the player with the Artful Dodger always wins (except when it didn't come up in the last game due to new ships). Among our group, only two people have never won a game, though it's always been close. Definitely feel the Artful Dodger is a huge advantage.

The more free-form goals are definitely better when there are so many people (Niska's Holiday can just cause a pile-up at Silverhold) since there are no real 'barriers' either and it really helps the sandbox elements shine.

The PvP elements, now that my group has got to grips with them, should make a difference as well since you're more able to keep any potential runaway winners in check or simply go after wanted crew.

In terms of general strategy, Persephone or Regina can be good for getting a mixture of things but, otherwise, Silverhold is great for at least early game. Grab a bunch of cheap gun hands but with some powerful gear, you won't mind losses so much or you can skimp on the salaries, then you can start giving that gear to better crew if need be later on. If you can attain victory through piracy or bounty-hunting then it's even more viable.

Though, I will echo George's general sentiment that Pilot, Mechanic and TRANSPORT are essential. You don't want to get caught by the Reavers, and you'll want to escape those nasty Misbehaves if you don't have River. Not to mention, most transport gear can pay for itself across a game.
 
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Jody Lent
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InfoCynic wrote:
*stuff on priming*


You make some good points. I'm not inclined to agree that top-tier cards are that game-breaking, but that's because I find half my players "do the math" and the other half, well, Lose.

InfoCynic wrote:
I still don't get the hype over hacking rig... the tech checks on cards with Hacking Rig as ACE are pretty low difficulty, too.


The basic explanation is this: if you have a hacking rig, you can skip tech almost entirely. If you have hacking rig + no breakdowns (3 cards give it), you almost never need tech alone--a strong Fight/Negotiate crew with no tech and a Hacking Rig + Transport and a good upgrade can handle all obstacles.

InfoCynic wrote:
I also stand by my range 6 engine... Is mosey-2 more important? Yes, for sure. But both is better.


I am inclined to agree here. Dodger is a very powerful ship because of the number of runs it can make that a Firefly can't. I'd have to count, but off the top, it allows Persephone-Silverhold, and puts Regina/Niska into "Burn + Mosey" territory from that One World To Rule Them All, where Persephone-Ezra/Regina would normally be 2x Burn.

Mosey-2 may be the most powerful single ability in the game. As someone once said "Any element that decreases randomness is in the favor of the players, not the DM."
 
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InfoCynic wrote:

I still don't get the hype over hacking rig.


Hacking rig is required for a number of jobs, passes a number of ace in the hole tests, and counts for a wrench.

If you are already loaded with wrenches, it may not fit your needs. If you are sitting on 3, though -- a typical 1 from your captain, 1 from a crew, another from a second crew, buying a rig makes sense. If you are sitting on kaylee and simon, you can probably save the money. Its like buying a sniper rifle --- if you don't need one, its wasted money. If you do need one, it can be very useful.

 
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George Krubski
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What he said.

Personally, I don't think ANY of Hacking Rig, Fake ID, or Fancy Duds are must-haves, but all are good to have. I value Hacking Rig as the highest of the three simply because it's the most commonly needed as a Job Requirement.

Previously, Hacking Rigs were also harder to come by. PBH balances it slightly, but I think it's still may be the rarest of the three.
 
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Carl Bussema
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Sniper Rifle tasty. But usually expensive. Still, 2 fight, firearm, and sniper rifle for one piece of gear... solves a lot of problems. I usually don't get one of these either, since I rarely find myself at Silverhold. I think maybe the frequency of jobs that hit that area might be smaller but haven't done the analysis.
 
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George Krubski
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For comparison:

Jobs starting/ending on Silverhold or Triumph: 11
Jobs starting/ending on Persephone or Pelorum: 17
Jobs starting/ending at the Space Bazaar: 19

I don't have the map in front of me, so I'm not sure what other planets should be reviewed as adjacent to each.

 
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gwek wrote:
For comparison:

Jobs starting/ending on Silverhold or Triumph: 11
Jobs starting/ending on Persephone or Pelorum: 17
Jobs starting/ending at the Space Bazaar: 19

I don't have the map in front of me, so I'm not sure what other planets should be reviewed as adjacent to each.



There are quite a few more down there. Motherlode (2 sectors) has several (2 mailman heavy load jobs, 1 badger raid, 1 patience raid) not counting 3 or 4 more that target the planets in the motherlode ring. A couple more target jubilee, at least 2 hit the bottom corner world (ansons? -- three hills counterpart anyway, far away but a job target) and if they count another 5 or more target the dual planets of hrimwhateveritis sectors.

A lot of those are long range jobs the distant contacts though. The main reason I go down that way is usually late-game niska jobs -- he has several around triumph & valentine and london --- or early game mailman jobs.

A standard firefly with the default engine can do at least the following in one fly turn:
osiris to silverhold.
pers to osiris
silver to baazar
pers to baazar
regina to osiris

and you can cross most of the map in 2 turns. Usually you can find something to do between any 2-turn travels. At times, the map seems too small or the range of ships too large.
 
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Yeah, there are quite a few in that corner of the board, although personally I think of them as "near the Space Bazaar" rather than "near Silverhold." (For the record, I was trying to look only at jobs at the location itself or in an adjacent sector).

You bring up some interesting points about the map that I think help explain why Silverhold may be "marginalized" a bit (same holds true to a lesser extent for Regina).

I think the game designers did a great job of making sure the destination hubs (Supply Planets, Contact Planets, even planets with tons of Jobs) are well within striking distance of other destination hubs, a place like Silverhold isn't really "on the way" to anything. If you're deep in Red Sun, you can exit toward Silverhold (which is only really advantageous if you're heading to Valentine) or the Space Bazaar, which is a gateway to the center of the board.

On the surface, Persephone might seem similarly marginalized, but Persephone is within one turn of all Contacts except Niska (Harken is relative), whereas Silverhold is only within one turn of Amnon Duul.

Silverhold is similarly isolated with respect to Supply Planets. You can get to Osiris and the Space Bazaar, but the same is true of Persephone (and I think in both cases, it's a shorter run). Osiris is actually the most centrally located Supply Planet, within range of all other Supply Planets and all Contacts. Still, since there are so many ways around that area of space, and Osiris has so much dead space to one side, I find that in my games, it's often largely ignored.

I think traffic through some of these sites is governed less by what's around them than by what are they on the way to?
 
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Carl Bussema
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I rarely see people back at Osiris after the start of the game, unless there's a specific card in the discard they're interested in. As noted, I like starting there for upgrades/engines, and it's an easy hop to just about anywhere in Alliance space, where most of Harken's jobs are, so you can quickly establish your SOLID with him.

But after that, you're probably flying runs to/from Red Sun (Space Bazaar) and Georgia (Niska/Patience), possibly by way of Lux (Badger), which feels less "out of the way" (even though it's not necessarily; for example, a direct Duul to Patience flight is 7 spaces, and it's 1 more out of the way for either Persephone or Osiris).

What might make the difference is the geometry; you can easily skirt the edge of Alliance space to hit Patience and still not add extra distance to your Georgia destination, whereas going to Osiris without taking extra space means definitely cutting right through the heart of the Alliance, where the cruiser may be more likely to be hanging out, or at least have an easier time catching you unless it's already near Lux.

Finally, Osiris has mostly ship upgrades / drives, obviously, and while many of these are nice, very few directly help with misbehaves or skill checks, which are what win you the game after all.
 
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George Krubski
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I have a feeling that the southern expansion of the board, whether it's Blue Sun or Kalidassa, will be done in such a way that it makes Silverhold less out of the way.

The northern expansion is more of a challenge.
 
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