$20.00
$15.00
$5.00
$30.00
Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
77 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

Firefly: The Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Increasing deck size - does it need to be dealt with? If so, how? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
George Krubski
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
The size and consistency of the decks, especially the supply decks, is of interest to me as both a player and as a customizer who regularly attempts to dump more cards into the game.

When the game started, each supply deck had 25 cards, so after you “prime” by flipping over 3, you can get through most of the deck in 7 turns; flipping that final card will have to wait to turn 8.

With various additions, the standard supply deck has now increased significantly, to 41 cards, but if you include promo cards and Ship Packs, some go up even higher (Persephone, at 46, is currently highest). It now takes 13-14 turns to get to the bottom of a deck.

If you start factoring in homebrews like ACES & EIGHTS and Bill's Star Wars cards, some of these decks are going to get close to 60 cards, which means that getting through the deck would take 19 turns - or pretty much the entire game!

Now, I don't mean to imply that every deck SHOULD be gotten through, but as the decks get bigger, some resources become harder and harder to find. For example, at Persephone, the number of Mechanics and Cry Babies has remained constant while the size of the deck has almost double, making them, in theory, twice as hard to come up.

So, as the decks get bigger and bigger, is it okay that the way of going through them remains constant, or should it change?

I've taken to double-priming the pumps, but I'm not sure that's enough anymore.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darin Bolyard
United States
Oak Grove
Missouri
flag msg tools
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
badge
In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
mbmbmbmbmb
gwek wrote:
...as the decks get bigger, some resources become harder and harder to find. For example, at Persephone, the number of Mechanics and Cry Babies has remained constant while the size of the deck has almost double, making them, in theory, twice as hard to come up.

So, as the decks get bigger and bigger, is it okay that the way of going through them remains constant, or should it change?

Whatever the official answer to this↑ question is, I'm firmly on the side of changing it. We've been double-priming since Blue Sun, but since the addition of Kalidasa, it definitely doesn't feel adequate alone. My Aces&Eights/White Lightning cards will be arriving soon, and I'm looking forward to simply tossing them in. So one thing I've heard mentioned, and intend to start doing, is "consider 4/buy 2," but only when shopping the 5 main supply planets. The rim supply planets--Meridian & Beaumonde--don't need any help, as they're still sittin' pretty at only 25 cards.

My buddy and I have been discussing this recently, and here are a few things we tossed around in addition to double-priming, but I haven't committed to trying them:
#1. Flip a card at each supply planet after each full round of play + 1 turn. The "+1 turn" would ensure that a fresh card isn't coming up at each supply planet on the same player's turn each round. But this again may only be for the 5 main decks.
#2. Similarly, flip "X - # of players" cards at each supply planet after each full round + 1 turn. "X" is the number we haven't thought too much about.
#3. Flip cards at each supply planet equal to the number of goal tokens that have been acquired each time a goal token is taken. Reduce this to 1 at the rim supply planets. This solution may also provide a catch up mechanism to someone who is behind with a weak crew. Then again, it can also provide the leader with a crew or piece of gear needed to reduce risks on future goals. And perhaps this would reward risky play minutely (not sure if that's good or bad). This is really just too convoluted and I'll probably never try it, but it was an idea that arose.
#4. Or again with "X - # of players" cards flipped at each supply each time a goal token is taken. This is a more manageable version of the previous I think.

I like simple solutions, but I'm not sure any of these are as simple as I'd like. Though I think numbers 1&2 above will work to make finding stuff a bit more manageable. 3&4 may do a bit more than that, and perhaps a little too late.

I'm leaning toward #2 to try, but since I don't know what "X" should be, I'll probably try #1 first among them.

For now, it's going to be:
-double prime
-"consider 4/buy 2" at the 5 main supply planets

edit: "Flip cards" = place cards into the discard pile
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Krubski
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
For the record, I'll be doing my best to make the Rim systems somewhat problematic as well.

Bill had a nice rule that was something like, at the end of your turn, you can flip over a card at every non-occupied supply planet. There are a few different ways this can be spun, but the key thing is that it doesn't apply to planets that a player is sitting at. Makes the other locations suddenly more interesting.

One thing I've been thinking about is making the initial prime bigger, but tied to the size of the deck. If it were 20% of the deck rather than a double-prime, the Rim planets would (currently) start with 5 flipped, which is a little less than double-prime, while the core planets would have 8 or 9, which is a pretty nice start.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darin Bolyard
United States
Oak Grove
Missouri
flag msg tools
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
badge
In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
mbmbmbmbmb
gwek wrote:
For the record, I'll be doing my best to make the Rim systems somewhat problematic as well.

Interestingly, we also discussed reducing the rim planets to "consider 2/buy 2," but figured that would be detrimental overall. Outside of starting at one of the rim planets, Meridian and Beaumonde don't get a lot of action in our games. I think the thin decks [which are choc full of goodies] are a fair incentive for traveling out that far. But we have also discussed banning them as starting planets, especially Beaumonde--it's a veritable gold mine!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ralph Stratford
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Another factor is the number of players. The base game with the base decks was for 4 players (5 if you count the Artful Dodger). Now the game with all of the expansions supports 9 players.

So the number of players is a factor to consider. But it isn't as straight forward as that because a deck of 45-50 cards which only 1 player is farming in a 9 player game is still going to take a long time. Even if other players turn up later to help farm it, that card you are looking for could still be between number 45-50 in the deck and take you 10 Turns to get to even with some help!

For me the most practical solution to date has been to look at the number of players and what map size is being used to decide what, if any, changes to priming the deck are best to suit the game and Story Card being played.

Generally, in games with 6 or more players I favour no changes as the starting point and maybe a double priming of the pump if the Story Card is one that lends itself to giving players a boost. I do however like the Browncoat way with strip mining as a good combo and perhaps using this with a few changes (for example no supply deck can be chosen twice) would be a good way to boost players but prevent a deck being stripped clean before the game starts!

But with full version of Aces and Eights and the Star Wars Card and Ship additions making their appearances in games I may have to modify my current approach (currently with everything official and the full version of A&E my 5 main Supply Deck sizes now are:

Osiris - 46
Persephone - 52 (includes the 2 Loot Crate Cards)
Regina - 50
Silverhold - 50 (49 if Zoe is chosen as a Leader)
Space Bazaar - 50
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gerald Bocook
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
It's sometimes a slog to get something you want with just the base game. My girlfriend'll sit on Regina all dang night just to get Kaylee, and little miss sunshine has a tendency to be the last gorram card in the deck. So I can just imagine how much of a pain in the rutt is must be when you have Breakin' Atmo, Piracy Jobs, and who knows whatever else.

Perhaps (for the base game planets, of course,) priming the pump with (X2) cards and changing the supply planet rule to "Consider (X2-1), buy 2", where X = the number of players?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thorfinn Skullsplitter
msg tools
mbmbmb
gwek wrote:


Bill had a nice rule that was something like, at the end of your turn, you can flip over a card at every non-occupied supply planet. There are a few different ways this can be spun, but the key thing is that it doesn't apply to planets that a player is sitting at. Makes the other locations suddenly more interesting.


This one seems reasonable, and simple to implement, with no math involved.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Rowley
United Kingdom
Stafford
Staffordshire
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
gwek wrote:
Bill had a nice rule that was something like, at the end of your turn, you can flip over a card at every non-occupied supply planet. There are a few different ways this can be spun, but the key thing is that it doesn't apply to planets that a player is sitting at. Makes the other locations suddenly more interesting.


Sounds like this could be very beneficial with low numbers of players.

Think I might suggest this next game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Saunders
United States
Hot Springs
Arkansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Scarbuck wrote:
gwek wrote:


Bill had a nice rule that was something like, at the end of your turn, you can flip over a card at every non-occupied supply planet. There are a few different ways this can be spun, but the key thing is that it doesn't apply to planets that a player is sitting at. Makes the other locations suddenly more interesting.


This one seems reasonable, and simple to implement, with no math involved.


Yeah, I tend to play only 2-player games, so we wanted to find a good way to address the larger decks. I think it's the best option we came up with, as it helps encourage us to fly around more, but it's really hard to remember to do it. We tried it for the first half of a game we played, but after forgetting to do it for like the 5th time, we abandoned it. We just started drawing 4 instead of 3 because it's a lot easier to get into the rhythm of it. I might try the other way next time and see if we can get it to work better.
2 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thorfinn Skullsplitter
msg tools
mbmbmb
You could tie a string around your finger. The numbness from the lack of circulation would make you remember any time you went to pick up cards or roll dice. whistle
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C David Dent
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I wonder if it might be possible to divide the decks into a premium stack and a common stack. The Common stack could just be the discard pile. Perhaps a limit of draw 1 from the premium stack. Still Consider 3 and purchase 2 but you could only consider 1 from the premium stack.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Hanson
United States
Arkansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
MrDave2176 wrote:
I wonder if it might be possible to divide the decks into a premium stack and a common stack. The Common stack could just be the discard pile. Perhaps a limit of draw 1 from the premium stack. Still Consider 3 and purchase 2 but you could only consider 1 from the premium stack.


That's an interesting idea, but I am personally not a fan of anything that would add time to set up for this game. Separating the decks would have to happen before (or after) each game, which means that we are spending more time doing things that are not fun.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Krubski
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Agreed. I think separating the stacks would also mean too many decks.

One interesting variant, though, would be a "common" stack that merges stuff from all decks, paired with a premium deck for each supply planet. This would be an intermediate step for the folks who like the idea of one huge random supply deck - so you might find a Scrapper Pilot at any planet, but Wash will will always be at the Space Bazaar.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Hanson
United States
Arkansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe the solution is to just add more of the generic cards to the decks? We could just stack the decks with more copies of Scrappers, Gun Hands, Med Staff, Pistols, Knifes, Cry Babies, etc.

That would have the perk of making it easier to get specific Keywords, skills, and other needed abilities (like evading the Cruiser); but would make it harder to find specific "named" crew. Players that tend to dig for a favorite character would not like this, but I don't usually play that way so it could be a workable solution.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting discussion. I only have about half of the expansions (Esmeralda, Jetwash, P&T, Kalidasa--what can I say? Those were what was available.), but I'm beginning to see some of the issues mentioned. I find that I'm sitting & milling a supply deck longer than when it was just the base game. I can see how it will get much worse once I finish out acquisition of the rest of the official expansions (yes, Blue Sun is #1 on the list), much less adding the fan expansions.

Some of the proposals sound interesting, but there is a lot of mental overhead to try and remember to implement them. I like the simple concept of double-seeding at the start and consider 4/keep 2 for the 5 base worlds. I'll propose that change next game & see how it goes.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J M
United States
Scottdale
Georgia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Is the problem that some players are grabbing quick Mechanics and Pilots while others have to go without? Maybe it's different for solo play, but even in the base (plus Breakin Atmo) I would not always camp a planet more than two turns, and if I have to throw a merc to the reavers, so be it.

If everyone is in the same situation, you can camp Persephone fora card and I'll deliver those cattle while you sit there.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darin Bolyard
United States
Oak Grove
Missouri
flag msg tools
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
badge
In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
mbmbmbmbmb
turambur wrote:
MrDave2176 wrote:
I wonder if it might be possible to divide the decks into a premium stack and a common stack. The Common stack could just be the discard pile. Perhaps a limit of draw 1 from the premium stack. Still Consider 3 and purchase 2 but you could only consider 1 from the premium stack.


That's an interesting idea, but I am personally not a fan of anything that would add time to set up for this game. Separating the decks would have to happen before (or after) each game, which means that we are spending more time doing things that are not fun.

Adding time to set up is a big downer for us too.
Another idea my buddy and I had discussed, but dropped completely due to the cumbersome and potentially messy nature of it was this:
Create a common supply whereupon visiting any supply planet you can "consider 4/buy 2" and return any unchosen cards to their respective supply planets' discard piles. Whatever ends up in a specific planet's discard pile is available as one of your consider/buy options as usual. But this would mostly erase the ability to seek a specific crew, gear, or keyword, as they'd all be lumped into one pile. And I didn't relish the idea of somehow shuffling them all effectively...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trueflight Silverwing
United States
Waverly
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the bigger decks. It means that people can't, or are at least less likely, to sit at a planet and farm the deck until they get the upgrades that they want. It makes things a little more random and adds a bit of variety to the game.

That said, I feel like I should point out that we do not use any of the unofficial expansions or add ons to any of the decks, so the number of cards in our decks are pretty low compared to some peoples.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Hanson
United States
Arkansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm in a similar boat as Ender. We play with all of the official expansions but none of the fan made cards.

My experience is that if you play the cards that you get instead of digging for specific cards in the decks you will have fewer issues with the larger decks. There are circumstances where specific keywords are hard to find, but not often enough to become a true problem.

We have reached the point in Firefly where perfect is the enemy of good in crew building. Sometimes you just have to work with what you get and make the best of it rather than chase the best cards in the decks. The usual exception to this is the Rim decks, which are still small enough that you can build a very specific crew out of them.
2 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Krubski
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
turambur wrote:
Maybe the solution is to just add more of the generic cards to the decks? We could just stack the decks with more copies of Scrappers, Gun Hands, Med Staff, Pistols, Knifes, Cry Babies, etc.

That would have the perk of making it easier to get specific Keywords, skills, and other needed abilities (like evading the Cruiser); but would make it harder to find specific "named" crew. Players that tend to dig for a favorite character would not like this, but I don't usually play that way so it could be a workable solution.


We actually did that a while ago in one of the PBS that playtested custom cards. If I recall correctly, we added 3 "filler" cards to each deck, and they were things like Scrappers, Knives, Pistols, Cry Babies, and Hill Folk.

To be honest, one of my final steps for customs (if there ever IS a final step!) would be these "balancing" cards.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Krubski
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
AceAceBaby wrote:
Is the problem that some players are grabbing quick Mechanics and Pilots while others have to go without? Maybe it's different for solo play, but even in the base (plus Breakin Atmo) I would not always camp a planet more than two turns, and if I have to throw a merc to the reavers, so be it.

If everyone is in the same situation, you can camp Persephone fora card and I'll deliver those cattle while you sit there.


Here's the problem to me: math.

When the game started, Persephone had 25 cards and 5 Mechanics, so 20% of the deck, 1-in-5, were Mechanics. Law of averages says you're going to get a Mechanic once every two turns (assuming you're drawing 3 new cards).

There are now 46 cards in the deck, but the "share" of Mechanics has gone down from 20% to a little over 10%. On average, you can expect that it may take 3-4 turns of mining to unearth a Mechanic. If you've got multiple people looking for the same resource, it's going to take even longer for whoever loses the resource race.

Now, to me, this isn't so bad in most cases, but some resources - Mechanic, Pilot, Cry Baby - are so strategically important that it can be problematic.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Helms
United States
Council Bluffs
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The biggest problem I have run into is that with Kalidasa added to the mix, travel got a lot more dangerous. If your captain isn't either a pilot or a mechanic, you can be stuck for a long time trying to find both of those keywords.

What I would like to see: a separate deck of generic characters and gear that could be bought during the set-up phase that would at least help you out a little. Some Gun Hands. Pilots and Mechanics that only cost $100 to hire, but give you the keyword and nothing else. Equipment like Cry Babys, Pistols, Hastily Forged Documents, Explosive Charges and Improvised Hacking Rigs.

You could also make it so that, if there are any left that deck, they could also be bought at any supply planet once the game has begun. That way, if your crappy mechanic dies, you can at least hire on another crappy mechanic somewhat easily.
4 
 Thumb up
0.27
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darin Bolyard
United States
Oak Grove
Missouri
flag msg tools
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
badge
In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
mbmbmbmbmb
matt h wrote:
What I would like to see: a separate deck of generic characters and gear that could be bought during the set-up phase that would at least help you out a little. Some Gun Hands. Pilots and Mechanics that only cost $100 to hire, but give you the keyword and nothing else. Equipment like Cry Babys, Pistols, Hastily Forged Documents, Explosive Charges and Improvised Hacking Rigs.

You could also make it so that, if there are any left that deck, they could also be bought at any supply planet once the game has begun. That way, if your crappy mechanic dies, you can at least hire on another crappy mechanic somewhat easily.

Interesting idea thumbsup
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Johnson
United States
Cedar Falls
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
matt h wrote:
What I would like to see: a separate deck of generic characters and gear that could be bought during the set-up phase that would at least help you out a little. Some Gun Hands. Pilots and Mechanics that only cost $100 to hire, but give you the keyword and nothing else. Equipment like Cry Babys, Pistols, Hastily Forged Documents, Explosive Charges and Improvised Hacking Rigs.

I understand the generic Pilot and Mechanic idea, but what would the generic Gun Hand give you? just the Merc keyword?

Alternatively, what if each of the 5 core supply planets had something that was always available. possibly:
- Space Bazaar: generic Pilot ($100 crewmember, Pilot keyword, no skill points)
- Persephone: generic Mechanic ($100 crewmember, Mechanic keyword, no skill points)
- Osiris: generic Medic ($100 crewmember, Medic keyword, no skill points)
- Silverhold: Pistol? (maybe pull the Pistol cards from the Silverhold deck, and just have them always be available there)
- Regina: Fast Horses or Crybaby (not sure which would be more appropriate. Would an abundance of Crybabies nerf the game?)

Acquiring these crew/items would still require using a Buy action at that planet, and would still take a slot in your Consider/Buy total (so you could, for example, consider the generic Pilot and draw two regular cards from the deck, then buy up to 2 of those 3), it would just be something that is always an option while there.
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Krubski
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Dalek1 wrote:
Another factor is the number of players. The base game with the base decks was for 4 players (5 if you count the Artful Dodger). Now the game with all of the expansions supports 9 players.


You raise an interesting point -- how many players is the game supposed to support?

Although there are enough ships to support 9 (and I know we do PBFs with that many now), I don't believe the game is intended to really be played with 9 players. The most I've seen on any of the products, I think, is 6.

I get the argument that there are 9 ships, so you can play with 9, but I'd counter that by saying that 1) Strip Mining doesn't work with more than 6 players, and 2) when we do PBFs with 9 players, has there really been a game where all players have been competitive?

Also consider the number of supply planets. The game started with 5 (which was more than the number of players), and we now have 7 planets. I would posit that the increase of +2 in both cases is intentional.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying you CAN'T play with 9 (or 12 or 15!) players. Those are some fun PBFs! I'm just saying that I think the rules are designed to accommodate up to 6. Get beyond that and some things start to bend.

Dalek1 wrote:
So the number of players is a factor to consider. But it isn't as straight forward as that because a deck of 45-50 cards which only 1 player is farming in a 9 player game is still going to take a long time. Even if other players turn up later to help farm it, that card you are looking for could still be between number 45-50 in the deck and take you 10 Turns to get to even with some help!


Agreed. It doesn't especially bother me that it's harder to find River Tam -- a specific card -- but the decreased usability of Hill Folk is problematic.

Dalek1 wrote:

For me the most practical solution to date has been to look at the number of players and what map size is being used to decide what, if any, changes to priming the deck are best to suit the game and Story Card being played.

Generally, in games with 6 or more players I favour no changes as the starting point and maybe a double priming of the pump if the Story Card is one that lends itself to giving players a boost. I do however like the Browncoat way with strip mining as a good combo and perhaps using this with a few changes (for example no supply deck can be chosen twice) would be a good way to boost players but prevent a deck being stripped clean before the game starts!

But with full version of Aces and Eights and the Star Wars Card and Ship additions making their appearances in games I may have to modify my current approach (currently with everything official and the full version of A&E my 5 main Supply Deck sizes now are:

Osiris - 46
Persephone - 52 (includes the 2 Loot Crate Cards)
Regina - 50
Silverhold - 50 (49 if Zoe is chosen as a Leader)
Space Bazaar - 50


I was going to ask you how you arrived at those numbers -- even started to list things out -- then realized you're including White Lightning also, yes?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.