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Firefly: The Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Creating Co-Op gameplay thats more Univesal rss

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Aaron Johnson
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So been playing this Board game, and really enjoyed it, and was thinking about just playing 2 players with my girlfriend, but we only play Co-op games for the sake of our relationship. So in trying to find a way to make this game a work Co-op, looking at other threads on the matter, the best one was “Slaying the Dragon” but it’s the only one I could find, and it seems to me like the addition of the game clock would take away from the other aspects of the game (at least initially), rushing things more than I would care to do. So what I’m looking for here is other ideas, if anyone else has figure out something and would like to share? As of right now I have some ideas myself I will throw out there, but still need to test, but any suggestions would be welcomed

Idea 1
I think the game clock -could- work, just not right off. Thinking maybe of using a trigger to activate it, so once the trigger happens the game begins the countdown and the final co-op mission is revealed (a random story card base on idea 2? Or maybe just one of the 3 endgames for the solo story card at random?). So you would just be playing the game in a sandbox for a while building a crew and resources not knowing the end game, the bam now you have to finish a story/mission with a timer on it. My initial thoughts on this is to make the trigger when the ether Nav deck reshuffles, but I’m worried in two player that may take forever (unless we put in the reshuffle cards in right off but maybe only mixed in on the bottom halves?) Any other idea or thoughts on this? And what would be the best time to use on the countdown clock?

Idea 2
Another idea that could work with or without the first idea. Make the story cards Co-op-able where you just work the mission together and just multiply the Challenges based on the amount of ships attempting it. So for example if player were doing “The king of all Londinium” story card Goal 3 with two players playing would be x8 Aim to misbehave cards (split between them?)and Fight Icon +20 with 1-18 being attempt botched & warrant issued, and 20+ being success! Multiplying everything x2. This also could work 3 or more players as well (x3,x4 and so on). Another thought based on this could be to let the ships individually do the first couple goals, then team up on the final goal allowing for more specialized crews to play there part (and could make them get done quicker if the countdown was around too)
 
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George Krubski
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Certainly, you can -- and should -- play whatever way makes sense for you, but without a decent foundation of how the core game works, how do you know if you WANT to play it co-op? And, if so, what changes will make the game most enjoyable for you?

Removing a timer as an outside pressure will definitely work to give you a "sandbox feel," but part of the challenge is that it will likely give you too much freedom, especially once you have a decent understanding of the priorities of the game.

In my experience, the game typically goes about 20 rounds, and they breakdown like this:

* 8 rounds or so to build up a Crew
* 8 rounds or so to work some jobs and fine-tune the Crew
* 4 rounds or less to complete goals and win the game

Without outside pressure, you can very easily do one, maybe two, moderately paying jobs, then develop a nearly unstoppable Crew that can dance through the remaining challenges.

That may be fun for a game or two, but I doubt it will be very challenging or entertaining in the long-term.

(Note, by the way, for a 2-player game, you should NOT be removing the Reshuffle cards... although the problem with using them as a trigger is that things before completely random. You might get 20 rounds before you trip one, or it could be the first card.)

Multiplying the number of Misbehaves and target numbers could also work, but the game is not designed for numbers of that scale, so you will bend (if not break) something.

For a simple Co-Op game, put the 20 turn limit in place, and try Respectable Persons of Business or Desperadoes, but double the amount of money needed to win. See how that goes, then fine-tune accordingly.
 
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Aaron Johnson
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Thank you for the response, on the reshuffle for that nav decks, just wanted to clarify that would always use the reshuffle card, but the idea would be to use the first reshuffle as the trigger for end game, or mix the reshuffle into the -bottom half- of the decks with the same effect. The second way would random it a bit but still make sure it doesn't happen for a while. The downside to this is from what I understand the Nav deck takes much longer to cycle through with less people, so it might not even be an option.

I think some outside pressure would be nice so as you said not to develop a nearly unstoppable Crew. but I just feel that right at the start is a little much. Just don't know what could be the trigger of the end game with out taking forever or making it a countdown.

On a side note with your experience saying about 4 rounds to complete story cards, maybe when end game triggers, give them 6 rounds to finish the game?

 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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When you're talking about co-op, are you mixing crews to misbehave and such?
 
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Aaron Johnson
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really only in the end game was my thought, but I guess you could share Jobs too, could be fun to transport cargo/contraband/passengers to a half way points and then transfer to another ship to go the rest of the way and to receive a cut of the take. could be a neat way to get around some warrant issues.

Maybe make it as simple as let jobs be trade-able/transferable. The big issues I see with that is how to split the cuts?

just spitballing here, but I think the player who finishes the job should be the only one who qualifies for the complete mission effects but maybe 50/50 or 60/40 split with the cash and cut the crew cost half when paying them out when "partnered up". Also thinking the person who takes the job gets the solid since the other play might get more money from the completing jobs from the crew and/or captain.

 
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George Krubski
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Aaron2449 wrote:
really only in the end game was my thought, but I guess you could share Jobs too, could be fun to transport cargo/contraband/passengers to a half way points and then transfer to another ship to go the rest of the way and to receive a cut of the take. could be a neat way to get around some warrant issues.

Maybe make it as simple as let jobs be trade-able/transferable. The big issues I see with that is how to split the cuts?

just spitballing here, but I think the player who finishes the job should be the only one who qualifies for the complete mission effects but maybe 50/50 or 60/40 split with the cash and cut the crew cost half when paying them out when "partnered up". Also thinking the person who takes the job gets the solid since the other play might get more money from the completing jobs from the crew and/or captain.


Specific to shared Jobs, let me throw this out:

1) Two captains who are cooperating may "hand off" a job. (This would normally be a Transport, Shipping, or Smuggling Job... as I'm seeing it, there would be no real benefit in taking on a Crime Job).

2) Depending on how challenging you want to make this, the trade-off could occur ANYWHERE or only at a designated spot, like a shared Haven.

3) To hand off a job, the first part must be complete (eg, Passengers must have been picked up, etc). The second captain pays the first captain half of the base pay of the job when the transfer occurs. (This would not work with Jobs from Breakin' Atmo).

4) The second captain, who delivers the job, receives full payment, including any appropriate bonuses, and becomes Solid with the contact. Badger won't care who started the job -- he'll care who FINISHED it!
 
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Wydraz
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I too have wanted to play a sandbox type game that puts no pressure on you until something triggers a timer. This would work well for co-op as well as solo games.

I wonder if there is a middle ground for this. What is the usual trigger for the end-game? What if it's something like once any Captain earns $1000 the timer starts 10 rounds to End-game? Or if a wanted crew is hired? Or if a Niska job is completed? What might be the proper, balanced trigger for such a timer?
 
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George Krubski
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Aaron2449 wrote:
Thank you for the response, on the reshuffle for that nav decks, just wanted to clarify that would always use the reshuffle card, but the idea would be to use the first reshuffle as the trigger for end game, or mix the reshuffle into the -bottom half- of the decks with the same effect. The second way would random it a bit but still make sure it doesn't happen for a while. The downside to this is from what I understand the Nav deck takes much longer to cycle through with less people, so it might not even be an option.

I think some outside pressure would be nice so as you said not to develop a nearly unstoppable Crew. but I just feel that right at the start is a little much. Just don't know what could be the trigger of the end game with out taking forever or making it a countdown.

On a side note with your experience saying about 4 rounds to complete story cards, maybe when end game triggers, give them 6 rounds to finish the game?


The challenge in having a countdown that triggers only that "end game" is that the end game in Firefly is an amorphous and largely undefined thing. Just because *I* like completing the goals in quick succession doesn't mean that everyone does. It's certainly not the only approach.

I understand that perhaps you don't want to feel pressured at the beginning of the game, but, frankly, the game is so freeform in many ways, that any artificial countdown trigger will only work under certain circumstances. For example, a few that I thought of include:

- Begin countdown when 1 player has a full Crew complement... but you can circumvent that by keeping the crew 1 short until you're ready.

- Begin countdown when X amount of money ($4000? $6000?) has been paid to the bank. You can game the system here by working Legal jobs with a small Crew then launching into a spending spree when the countdown begins.

Honestly, I have to ask -- have you tried the game yet with a 20 turn count? If not, I encourage you to. That's really the way the game is designed to be played (over the course of approximately 20 turns). Anything else will be forced and potentially uneven.
 
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George Krubski
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wydraz wrote:
I too have wanted to play a sandbox type game that puts no pressure on you until something triggers a timer. This would work well for co-op as well as solo games.

I wonder if there is a middle ground for this. What is the usual trigger for the end-game? What if it's something like once any Captain earns $1000 the timer starts 10 rounds to End-game? Or if a wanted crew is hired? Or if a Niska job is completed? What might be the proper, balanced trigger for such a timer?


Further the message I just completed, there are ways to dance around any and all of these triggers. And that's the challenge.

How about this for a trigger? "You have 5 turns to complete the game. This countdown triggers after the end of turn 15."

I see what you guys want to do, but I'm not sure Firefly is built that way.
 
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Wydraz
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Yeah, I see that and agree. I just wish there was a definitive method to determine that trigger.

Maybe it needs to be determined by the Story Card. If there is a set of Goals, there can be a set trigger based on those Goals.
 
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Steve Osmanski
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A different way to approach this might be to have a random end to the game. Something like:

Beginning on turn 20, roll one die at the start of each turn. If a 'one' is rolled, the current turn will be the last turn of the game.

This way, all players know that the end is near, and everyone will know when they have one more turn, but no one knows when that last turn will be.
 
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George Krubski
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I had a variant of that a while back (although my count started from turn 1):

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/18834619#18834619
 
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Michael Statarius

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My group has toyed with several options for timers, including:

-# turns/rounds elapsed
-# money acquired/paid/spent
-# jobs revealed/taken/started/finished
-# Misbehaves proceeded/botched
-# Nav cards flipped
-# real-time minutes/hours elapsed

The last one was REALLY fun.
 
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Aaron Johnson
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I’ve used the countdown system before, and doing it that way I feel rushes you a bit too much for my taste. So I did some testing yesterday and tried to figure some things out, ran a 2 player game and applied a couple of the ideas here.

First to get it out of the way, Trading jobs worked with really no issues, the way I had laid it out (person who takes the job gets the solid, 50/50 cut of base pay, person who completes it get bonus if applicable). Just have to cut all the crews payouts by half for it to be profitable to do, made sure the hand off went down while the 2 ships were in the same sector. Though I do like the idea of “The second captain pays the first captain half of the base pay of the job when the transfer occurs”, would settle the logistic issue RP wise of how the money gets to the first captain, only issue is if the job fails, then the first captain it out a chuck of money. Another thought on this is that it could not be done with Niska jobs, only for the reason that it’s stated in the show that he is the type that would start and end business with the person he hires by Sheppard Book.

Now for the trigger, while playing I ran it with multiple ideas for triggers in effect. Had a turn counter going, was checking when the Nav Reshuffle occurred. Kept in mind the full crew as a trigger (had the same idea myself) which happened around turn 12 without trying too hard. A couple more ideas was to count the thrilling heroics tally which didn’t work out to well mainly because of low rolls (got like 1, and was thinking 5 or 6 to trigger), and first person to be Solid with certain amount of people (was thinking 5), but your right people could dance around most of them.

When the countdown timer hit 15 turns still were not ready for the end game honestly, plenty of money, but crews was not up to par, which would have been fixed in a couple of turns but also the Alliance NAV deck was about ¾ done. At this point just having fun in the sandbox, and was just going job to job shopping along the way. The NAV deck trigger could work well, but if one player stop doing jobs and shops around for a bit, may prolong the game a long while, or if Co-Op was able to work with more than 2 players, say 3 or 4, the NAV deck would go to fast. The countdown system would be the most consistent way to do it, just feels too firm/definite and just would be an overshadowing thought during the game.

Only other thing I could think of would be to add another system in to triggers the end game, maybe something like the Omen system from betrayal at house on the hill board game? Roll dice based on the Jobs completed, but I would have to think about that more.
 
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Chris Poor
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wydraz wrote:
I too have wanted to play a sandbox type game that puts no pressure on you until something triggers a timer. This would work well for co-op as well as solo games.



Check out the "Ten per cent of Nothin'" Variant elsewhere in these forums. (No affiliation). Played this with my son the other day for about 4 hours and it was very pleasant. Sandboxy, thematic and fun, but not the kind of competitive bloodbath we usually enjoy in our games.

Crispy.
 
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dug fromthearth
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My thoughts:

use a timer - token countdown.
Either have a randomizer at the end - when you run out of tokens roll a die and on a 1-2 the game ends
Or have events in the game speed up or slow down the timer: the alliance cruiser is moving but cry baby moves it back and gives you an extra turn, fuel is the timer and every fuel you buy reduces the timer, etc.

Allow crews to join for a job. They cannot mix. Each roll or misbehave card must be performed by a single crew. All crew who are assigned to the job must be paid or be disgruntled - even if they did not end up helping out.
 
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