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Subject: So controversial...yet so highly rated? rss

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Chris G
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Maybe I'm naive, but I'm a little stuck on trying to explain how this game is in the top 250 when its reviews are so mixed. Am I right in thinking this game's believers or more passionate and active in defending than its detractors are in sorta kinda trying to attack it?

What do you all think?
 
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Duncan Idaho
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chg21012 wrote:
Maybe I'm naive, but I'm a little stuck on trying to explain how this game is in the top 250 when its reviews are so mixed. Am I right in thinking this game's believers or more passionate and active in defending than its detractors are in sorta kinda trying to attack it?

What do you all think?


Reviews and posts are done by a very vocal minority on this site. The vast majority of people who attach a rating to the game are not that entrenched in the BGG community.
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Michael Tyree
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It's highly ranked because it is a good game. It is very thematic and has generally solid gameplay. HOWEVER, it is a sprawling game that can feel like it takes forever. Personally, I don't think this means it is a bad game, just one that I have trouble getting to the table versus other games with a smaller footprint and shorter play times.

I don't think the negatives are enough for me to not consider it a good game. Even though it isn't a great fit for me, I recognize it as worthy of a decent rating.
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Dave Sands
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Having enjoyed the Pilot TV series and movie of the same name, I would guess that the rating is partly based on the "cult" popularity of the title. I own Firefly the Game and have played the it a few times. I rank it a 7.5 which is average in my collection and consistent with the BGG ranking. However, I have a number of games that lie outside the top 250 that I rank higher.
It is a "good" game - basic pick up and deliver with some creative autonomy around crew selection mixed with a nice random mechanism for Reaver attacks. It only gets to the table for me when other Firefly cult followers are present otherwise, people not familiar with the series don't get the hype.

Just my 2 cents.

TLS
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Jay K
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It is highly thematic, which is for me both its strength and its weakness. If I want to play a Firefly game then I will play this. If I want to play a Space based "Pick up and deliver" game I will play Merchants of Venus. And if I want to play the best example in the genre I will play Merchants and Marauders.
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Loren Cadelinia
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It could be that there is a slight majority of people who seek out this game and rate it are fans of the show, or at least familiar with the cult following. I might be in the minority, but I have little urgency in playing a thematic game based on a tv series that I have no interest in (ie Sons of Anarchy). So that might bias the type of people playing and rating it.

This is not to detract from the game, which is a great thematic emersion, but I think people have a good idea of what they are getting into. In my opinion, Firefly accomplishes what it was set out to do, and that's to put you into the 'verse. Fans of the show love it, people who don't know the show... they may not "get" it.

Edit: grammar
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Ian Cooper
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I think it likely that, in this case, both the high reviews and the low reviews may be fatally flawed by either deep love or deep dislike of the series on which the game is based. Some people loved Firefly, some people hated it, and some didn't get to see it, don't know what all the fuss is about and dismiss its fans as dweebs. All of those experiences set up biases, making it difficult to get beyond the reviews of people who are rating the series (or the cult of the series) rather than the game.

Then there are others who just don't get the open world nature of the game, or the original game's lack of competitive spirit. To many gamers, it just doesn't seem like the sort of thing a game is supposed to be. Even the Pirates and Bounty Hunters expansion didn't totally turn the game into a competitive game - many players still avoid going after other players' ships, even when using the expansion. So it's easy to see how some players would be turned off it. Add the tendency of players to spend hours just exploring the game world and ignoring the victory conditions, and you have a sort of perfect storm that is bound to alienate those who need games to be competitive and focused.

Personally, I think it's a good game and I enjoy just wandering around the game board doing my thing - I don't need to be competing or focusing on winning to have a good time. For me, more than any other game, Firefly the Game meets my criteria for getting a game to the table:

1. The rules are short and very easy to learn.
2. The game can easily be picked up and quickly learned on the go by the whole family and by those who have never played it before.
3. Everyone will have fun and no young or amateur player will get beaten down by older or more experienced players, because the game is nicely balanced between luck and skill.
4. The game is suited to friendly co-operative games, but it can also suit more competitive gamers.
5. Most importantly, in all the games I've had, everyone was disappointed that the game had to end so soon - even when the game had gone on for hours.
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dj sabor
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I played this game and loved it before ever seeing a moment of the TV show and having zero investment in it.
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Carl Hanson
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JK777 wrote:
It is highly thematic, which is for me both its strength and its weakness. If I want to play a Firefly game then I will play this. If I want to play a Space based "Pick up and deliver" game I will play Merchants of Venus. And if I want to play the best example in the genre I will play Merchants and Marauders.

[derail]
This is way off topic, but it this really a "Pick up and deliver" game? It does have some pick up and deliver elements, but it is very possible to play, and win, this game without ever picking up or delivering a package.

It feels much more like an adventure game where you roam around the board completing jobs (missions/encounters/etc) and getting stronger in prepreation for the completion of a larger quest; some of those jobs just happen to involve playing delivery boy.
[/derail]

Back on topic, the theme is the key. Firefly is such a big geek property that the game self-selects fans of the show who will be predisposed to like the game more than the average gamer; and people who are not already Firefly fans will be less likely to even try (and therefore will not rate) it because liscensed games have such a long history and being terrible.

The bad reviews are largely due to the type of game it is. Quirky, afternoon eating, table enveloping games like this tend to be devisive like this. There are just some reviewers on BGG that don't like these types of games and will happily tell you about it given the chance. Games like Twilight Imperium and Descent tend to suffer from the dicotomy to some degree.
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Darth Ed
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It's a long game. Reviewers (especially YouTube reviewers) tend to play a lot of games and prefer shorter games.

And, obviously, theme is huge. If you're into Firefly/Serenity, you're just going to enjoy the game more than if you're not.
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A Swagman
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I don't think the rating has anything to do with what reviewers are saying about it. I'm new to the Boardgame Community, both this site and in general, so I can't make observations about them. I choose to write reviews for books and role-playing games because they get an emotional reaction from me. I don't write reviews for products that I consider mediocre, I write them for products that I consider great or terrible. A lot of reviewers seem to be like that, so you get people willing to write low-rating reviews when most other people that don't like something can't be bothered to track it down just to give it a low rating.

That didn't quite make the point I wanted. The rating is not based on some social consensus derived from a 'debate' between the reviewers. People seem to be much more willing to give something a rating if they like something than if they don't.

I think I finally found exactly what I wanted to say: people are rating the game, not the reviewers. And who are you trying to explain this to anyway? No offence, but I don't care what you or anyone else thinks about this game, and I hope you don't care what I think.
 
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Ian Cooper
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ASwagman wrote:
People seem to be much more willing to give something a rating if they like something than if they don't.


Not me. According to my rating statistics on BGG, I'm much more likely to rate a game I really dislike than one I really like.
 
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Darin Bolyard
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I'd like to share some stats about my Firefly: The Game experience:
First, there are 13 people among whom I've played with, at least half of them many times, and some only a few...

6/13 have never seen the series
7/13 have seen the series (I'm among them)
-2/7 disliked the series (as it happens, one of them can't get enough of this game)
-1/7 thought the series was so so
-4/7 loved the series
13/13 enjoy the game
9/13 are male
4/13 are female
1/13 is a teenager
12/13 are adults
13/13 have been exposed to games outside the traditional family fare
3/13 are registered BGG users

-3/3 own the game
-2/3 own the game with all current expansions (sadly I'm not one of them)
-1/3 registered on BGG just because of this game
-1/3 has been registered for a while, but isn't very active (doesn't post)
-1/3 is an active BGG user who also rates games (that's me)

...ratings are overrated. My mom always said about food, "Don't knock it 'til you try it." It's proven to be true for me and board games too. I certainly don't always agree with the majority. Give Firefly: The Game a shot. You may love it...or hate it...or be indifferent. No rating or reviewer can tell you whether you're going to like any game or not.
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Ian Cooper
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dbolyard wrote:
No rating or reviewer can tell you whether you're going to like any game or not.


Well, that's not the point of ratings. Ratings exist to tell people how popular a game is, and to give some sense of the overall quality of a game.

Reviews exist so that the reader can get a better sense of whether a game is attuned to his personal likes and dislikes. If a review is well focused, and if the reader knows how to read a competently written review, it can indeed help the reader to tell whether or not he'll like a game.

"Don't knock it until you try it" might be a good general rule when you're faced with little choice, but if a meal has boiled brussells sprouts in it, I can pretty much guarantee I'll throw up, so I'd be better off avoiding that meal. If a food critic can tell me what I'll be eating before I eat it, I might be able to make another choice so I can keep my dinner down.

In gaming, it's not a case of a mother making a meal and telling a fussy eater not to criticize what he's going to be eating before he's ever tried it. After all, it's not like the kid has much choice - he's either going to eat or go hungry, so he may as well put his preconceptions aside. We have a different problem, in that there are thousands of games, so we need some sort of filter, and ratings and reviews fill that need. Without ratings and reviews, all we'd have as guides would be the publisher's spin, and that's a far worse measure of what's good or enjoyable.
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Mattias Elfström
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chg21012 wrote:
Maybe I'm naive, but I'm a little stuck on trying to explain how this game is in the top 250 when its reviews are so mixed. Am I right in thinking this game's believers or more passionate and active in defending than its detractors are in sorta kinda trying to attack it?

What do you all think?

The BGG ratings are what they are. They only give an indication of which games have an audience.

If you take them at face value Love Letter is a "better" game than Advanced Squad Leader. I like them both, but I would never in my wildest dreams rate Love Letter higher than the most influential war game ever made.

It is also very hard to compare all games on one scale. It is a little like trying to compare a Ferrari to a Fiat 500. They are both nice, but made for completely different audiences.

For the record, I like Firefly and would gladly play it any day. It is not a deep strategy game, but it is fun when played with the right crowd.
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dj sabor
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Random aside: I cannot stand Love Letter.
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Ian Cooper
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djsabor wrote:
Random aside: I cannot stand Love Letter.


I like Love Letter, but cannot stand Squad Leader, because it's so bogged down in details. If I ever want to play a squad-based combat game, I grab my copy of Up Front, or better still, I boot up my computer and start a game of the classic computer game "Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far".
 
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Mattias Elfström
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Beery wrote:
djsabor wrote:
Random aside: I cannot stand Love Letter.


I like Love Letter, but cannot stand Squad Leader, because it's so bogged down in details. If I ever want to play a squad-based combat game, I grab my copy of Up Front, or better still, I boot up my computer and start a game of the classic computer game "Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far".

A Bridge too Far was great (for a computer game).

ASL actually plays quite smoothly. ASL removes a lot of clunk from the SL games.
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Ian Cooper
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Mattias wrote:
ASL actually plays quite smoothly. ASL removes a lot of clunk from the SL games.


That may be the case, but it's like the "Wellington's Victory" or "Terrible Swift Sword" of squad-based combat. No way I would ever get that to the table. I suspect most people who own it do so for bragging rights and keep it in their bookcase to show off like a set of unread Easton Press leather bound books.
 
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Mattias Elfström
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Beery wrote:
Mattias wrote:
ASL actually plays quite smoothly. ASL removes a lot of clunk from the SL games.


That may be the case, but it's like the "Wellington's Victory" or "Terrible Swift Sword" of squad-based combat. No way I would ever get that to the table. I suspect most people who own it do so for bragging rights and keep it in their bookcase to show off like a set of unread Easton Press leather bound books.

I've played all of SL and ASL since the late 70's. It is one of my most played games. It has a bad rep regarding complexity, but is actually quite simple to play. 90% of the rules are there to make it possible to play any WWII scenario, but will not be used in all scenarios.

ASL is also an intuitive game, something that cannot be said about your average euro.
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Jon Snow
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I think that because tie in games are usually bad (or were), a good one gets a lot of attention. A similar event, but very different game for example is Star Trek Fleet Captains, which is the best game of a major franchise in my opinion, but has many drawbacks in the quality of its physical components. I play it with a tube of Crazy Glue nearby, but I play it a lot.

I hope we are finally moving into an era where more tie in games will be of a better quality, and be real games that also reflect their theme. And Firefly The Game is that, although its not for everybody. But then, what game is?
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