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Subject: Re-Thinking the Crazy Ivan rss

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Matt Helms
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Over in "Increasing deck size - does it need to be dealt with? If so, how?", the discussion briefly touched on ways to make Pilots and Mechanics more accessible given their importance in travelling outside of Alliance space. After a couple of days reflection, though, I wondered if my ideas in that thread were approaching the "problem" from the wrong direction.

Maybe you shouldn't need a Pilot and a Mechanic to Evade the Reavers.

The Crazy Ivan, as a game mechanic, is based off a single scene in the pilot episode, in which the crew of a Firefly (no longer the only ship type available) which happens to have aboard a Pilot and Mechanic (who was not actually doing anything other than directing 2 crew with no Technical skill) was able to get away from a pursuing Reaver Cutter. The maneuver is never mentioned again throughout the brief life of the series.

So, players already have the ability to Evade the Alliance Cruiser by spending a fuel. Maybe that ability should be extended to Reaver ships as well.

In a game as with as many interlocking mechanisms as Firefly, there will of course be some ripple effects:

- Pilots will become slightly less valuable. I think there enough navigation cards requiring Pilots, and the Pilots themselves have enough inherent abilities on their cards that it won't be a major issue. On a related note, Leader-Pilots tend to be some of the best in the game and this may equalize them somewhat.

- Mechanics will become less valuable. There a few jobs that offer Mechanic bonuses, but there aren't too many other situations I can think of that rely on that keyword. You could change it so that a Mechanic is required in order to make a Breakdown check, but that might swing the pendulum too far to making them too valuable.

- The Electronic Defense Suite gets pretty nerfed, unless you are playing a pretty confrontational game. But, in that regard, so is something like the Sonic Rifle.
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Carl Hanson
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matt h wrote:
So, players already have the ability to Evade the Alliance Cruiser by spending a fuel.


I don't have the time at the moment to write a full response, but this sentence jumped out at me. What leads you to this conclusion, as I don't recall seeing this rule before now.
 
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Matt Helms
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turambur wrote:

I don't have the time at the moment to write a full response, but this sentence jumped out at me. What leads you to this conclusion, as I don't recall seeing this rule before now.


I was remembering incorrectly. I thought it was on the Alliance Cruiser contact card but it is not. It must be from a navigation card - Customs Inspection, probably.
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Brian Piippo
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I would say no. My experience with this game is that every time I try to mess with the rules or mechanics via house rules the game is worse for it. The additions of new content have added variety and made mining for card you want less certain, but has not broken the mechanics of the game itself.
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Ralph Stratford
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Since everyone can fly a ship a Pilot and Mechanic allow you to fly your ship more skillfully. So when the Reavers come calling being able to fly more skillfully is what you need to get away, otherwise you are no better at flying than the Reavers chasing you and you eventually are chased down and boarded.
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Bone White
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I find this thread interesting. If anything I find the crazy ivan in gameplay too powerful, and we house-rule that you can only do a crazy ivan if you're in a planetary sector (as in the show)
 
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Brian Debler
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The only problem I have with the Crazy Ivan is that it really pretty easy to pull off. You get your Pilot, your Mechanic, and keep fuel on hand (as best you can) and you really don't have much to fear from the Reavers. I can't recall the last time they actually caught me and I WASN'T able to Crazy Ivan away with their presence being a small delay for me.

I'm not certain what the cure for that should be (or if it should even be cured). It would be interesting to see the Reavers be more-threatening, but as it stands, the game is pretty solid with them as mostly a distraction ... so I have mixed feelings on that thought too.
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Jay Johnson
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matt h wrote:
I was remembering incorrectly. I thought it was on the Alliance Cruiser contact card but it is not. It must be from a navigation card - Customs Inspection, probably.

it's only on the Customs Inspection Nav cards, and it not only requires burning a fuel to Evade (which ends your Full Burn), but it also draws you a Warrant.
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Jay Johnson
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speaking of the Crazy Ivan, when you start your turn with a Reaver ship in your sector, and resolve the Reaver Contact event (either through a successful Crazy Ivan, or by feeding them your passengers, fugitives, and some Crew), does that Evade count as your Fly Action for that turn (leaving you with only one action under normal rules), or are you able to then take a normal Fly action after Evading to start your turn?

obviously when you pull a Reaver attack reshuffle Nav card, you've already initiated a Full Burn, so that Evade ends your Flight, but when you start your turn with the Reavers, you haven't yet taken a Fly action.
 
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Brian Debler
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JayJ79 wrote:
speaking of the Crazy Ivan, when you start your turn with a Reaver ship in your sector, and resolve the Reaver Contact event (either through a successful Crazy Ivan, or by feeding them your passengers, fugitives, and some Crew), does that Evade count as your Fly Action for that turn (leaving you with only one action under normal rules), or are you able to then take a normal Fly action after Evading to start your turn?

obviously when you pull a Reaver attack reshuffle Nav card, you've already initiated a Full Burn, so that Evade ends your Flight, but when you start your turn with the Reavers, you haven't yet taken a Fly action.


Evade only ends your movement if it was during a Fly action. You can Evade at the start of the turn, then do a Fly action.
 
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Salty
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Martyr of the Cause wrote:
The only problem I have with the Crazy Ivan is that it really pretty easy to pull off. You get your Pilot, your Mechanic, and keep fuel on hand (as best you can) and you really don't have much to fear from the Reavers. I can't recall the last time they actually caught me and I WASN'T able to Crazy Ivan away with their presence being a small delay for me.

I'm not certain what the cure for that should be (or if it should even be cured). It would be interesting to see the Reavers be more-threatening, but as it stands, the game is pretty solid with them as mostly a distraction ... so I have mixed feelings on that thought too.


Huh. That deck dilution thread had me worried about the pilot and mechanic shortages being a problem, but now I'm starting to wonder if it might actually be a solution to Crazy Ivans being too easy. I remember thinking in some of my earlier games that it seemed anticlimactic and too easy to escape the reavers, but as we added expansions they became more and more of a threat. Now obviously Blue Sun played a huge part in that, but I'm wondering if making the pilots and mechanics harder to come by might be playing a subtler role in making the reavers more menacing. On a similar note, I might have to check to see if Transport has also been diluted, since I've been noticing a vaguely similar trend with the Misbehave deck.
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Nathan Christianson
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I agree that the Crazy Ivan is too easy of a mechanic. In my custom house rules, I have set that you also have to do a Tech test, in order to pull it off.

As far as spending a fuel and evading the Reavers, the entire scare in the show was that they would be chased. Isn't in the pilot episode, where they all wait quietly as a reaver ship passes by. They didn't want to full burn because that would have attracted its attention and came after them.

I believe that is why the mechanic of the game states that you deal with Reavers at the beginning of your turn. They may have "floated on by" during the wait, or maybe not.

So, the only way for you to evade Reavers, is through an action that they cannot repeat (and continue to follow you). = Crazy Ivan. Not everyone should be able to pull a crazy ivan. I don't expect Bester to be able to do one. So, that is why there is a Tech Test.

This was my personal solution anyway
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Bob
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Good discussion and interesting to see the different perspectives. My group counts Crazy Ivan/Evade as your move action for the turn. For us, getting a free move from the Evade plus still having a move action further reduces the threat posed by the Reavers (even from a blocking perspective).

For those making a skill test, how are you handling it? Perhaps similar to a Boarding Test?
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Johns H
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I have always liked the idea that doing a Crazy Ivan damages your ship slightly. While Serenity and other Firefly class ships can do it, they are not designed to do it. As such a house rule that I like is that when you do a Crazy Ivan you must place a Disgruntled Token on your ship (it is damaged) which can be removed by spending 1 or 2 Parts (to conduct repairs). While you have a disgruntled token on your ship you are unable to do another Crazy Ivan. I particularly like using Parts for this because I feel that they are an under utilized resource in the game.
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John Watts
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"Crazy Ivan" makes things *FAR* too easy. Once a player has a Pilot and a Mechanic, the Reavers suddenly become toothless.

I think the solution to this would be to leave "Crazy Ivan" in the game for a "normal" Reaver Contact. However, perhaps some cards could be inserted in the Nav deck which give different instructions for how the Reavers are to be handled.

For instance, something like:

"Reaver Attack!

The Reavers have jumped you and your fate may be sealed! Ignore the usual Reaver Contact procedure and instead use this card.

Tech Roll to get away. Something like a 9 or 10 target number. If you succeed, you get to evade. If you fail the tech roll, then you have to fight.

Fight Roll of something like 10 or 12. Low roll and you lose 2 crew. Middle low roll and you lose 1 crew. Make the roll and you fight them off. The Reavers move one space away, destination chosen by the player who was attacked (or maybe the person to their right)."

This way you have "normal" Reaver contacts which allow the "Crazy Ivan" to be used but there is also the possibility that the Reavers can still get you.

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No Cat - No Cradle
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ForeverZero6 wrote:
I have always liked the idea that doing a Crazy Ivan damages your ship slightly. While Serenity and other Firefly class ships can do it, they are not designed to do it. As such a house rule that I like is that when you do a Crazy Ivan you must place a Disgruntled Token on your ship (it is damaged) which can be removed by spending 1 or 2 Parts (to conduct repairs). While you have a disgruntled token on your ship you are unable to do another Crazy Ivan. I particularly like using Parts for this because I feel that they are an under utilized resource in the game.


I like this idea, which just tweaks the rule, without making it too complicated. I am going to work it into my house rules and make it necessary to do some "Patchin' up" after a Crazy Ivan.
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Johns H
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Fennic wrote:
ForeverZero6 wrote:
I have always liked the idea that doing a Crazy Ivan damages your ship slightly. While Serenity and other Firefly class ships can do it, they are not designed to do it. As such a house rule that I like is that when you do a Crazy Ivan you must place a Disgruntled Token on your ship (it is damaged) which can be removed by spending 1 or 2 Parts (to conduct repairs). While you have a disgruntled token on your ship you are unable to do another Crazy Ivan. I particularly like using Parts for this because I feel that they are an under utilized resource in the game.


I like this idea, which just tweaks the rule, without making it too complicated. I am going to work it into my house rules and make it necessary to do some "Patchin' up" after a Crazy Ivan.


Thanks! like they say: the simplest solution is often the best one. Thats why I try to avoid anything that requires extra bookkeeping, often means it is too complicated, which on top of a game which is already rather complex just means it is more likely that something will slip through the cracks.
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James Williams
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I like the damage/part cost for a Crazy Ivan, but in most cases this will be nothing more than a minor inconvenience (having to stock up another part next time you're at a supply planet and a 'repair' action.)

How about to make it just a little harder, making the part an up-front cost? i.e. if you don't have a spare part, you can't do the Crazy Ivan. It may just make people less inclined to spend their final part during a Breakdown, but worth a try.

I guess there's already the fuel cost. This would just make it a fuel + part cost.
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Bob
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As a similar approach that reduces a little bookkeeping, how about just adding the "parts" requirement to Crazy Ivan? So to perform a Crazy Ivan you need:

Pilot, Mechanic, 1 Fuel, and 2 Parts

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James Williams
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Ashitaka wrote:
As a similar approach that reduces a little bookkeeping, how about just adding the "parts" requirement to Crazy Ivan? So to perform a Crazy Ivan you need:

Pilot, Mechanic, 1 Fuel, and 2 Parts



Snap!
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Bob
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jlwill wrote:
Ashitaka wrote:
As a similar approach that reduces a little bookkeeping, how about just adding the "parts" requirement to Crazy Ivan? So to perform a Crazy Ivan you need:

Pilot, Mechanic, 1 Fuel, and 2 Parts



Snap!


Like minds... thumbsup
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George Krubski
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That really makes the Electronic Defense Suite worth it's weight in gold...
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Johns H
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jlwill wrote:
I like the damage/part cost for a Crazy Ivan, but in most cases this will be nothing more than a minor inconvenience (having to stock up another part next time you're at a supply planet and a 'repair' action.)

How about to make it just a little harder, making the part an up-front cost? i.e. if you don't have a spare part, you can't do the Crazy Ivan. It may just make people less inclined to spend their final part during a Breakdown, but worth a try.

I guess there's already the fuel cost. This would just make it a fuel + part cost.


Slight clarification to my other post, you would have to spend the parts during a Buy action to remove the disgruntled token from your ship, meaning after you do a Crazy Ivan once you cannot do it again until you stop for repairs. The intent is not necessarily to make it more expensive to be safe but to make it so that after you do one Crazy Ivan you are then vulnerable to another group of reavers, thus making them an actual threat to you. I will have to try out adding the parts to the upfront cost, but it seems to me, at least on paper, that if you can keep stocked on parts you would be just as safe as you are now, it is just more expensive.
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James Williams
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One thing that has struck me about reaver contacts lately is how rarely they seem to occur. In all my games (which I'm sure is small compared to the rest of you), I can only remember one Crazy Ivan being done.

I had my first Blue Sun game this week (3 reavers) and while it was fun using them as blockers, there were no contacts. If the player is mid-flight, then (unless I've been playing wrongly) moving a reaver onto their location allows them to just fly on, as contact doesn't happen until the start of a turn. So we tended to place them in front of a player, but then the player just has to make a detour.

My thought is that to make them more of a danger, the rules about reaver contact need to be changed. Perhaps an immediate contact, similar to the alliance ships.
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John Coxon
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jlwill wrote:
One thing that has struck me about reaver contacts lately is how rarely they seem to occur. In all my games (which I'm sure is small compared to the rest of you), I can only remember one Crazy Ivan being done.

I had my first Blue Sun game this week (3 reavers) and while it was fun using them as blockers, there were no contacts. If the player is mid-flight, then (unless I've been playing wrongly) moving a reaver onto their location allows them to just fly on, as contact doesn't happen until the start of a turn. So we tended to place them in front of a player, but then the player just has to make a detour.

My thought is that to make them more of a danger, the rules about reaver contact need to be changed. Perhaps an immediate contact, similar to the alliance ships.


Strategy tip: If you want to affect someone with a reaver contact event, the trick is to move the reaver ship onto a different player than the one who is currently flying. This is easier to do with a lot of players at the table, because it's more likely that one of them would occupy a sector next to a reaver ship. Another suggestion is to use any set up card other than the standard game setup, so the reaver cutter cards get shuffled into the decks from the beginning.
 
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