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Firefly: The Game» Forums » Rules

Subject: Nav Charts: When can they be played? rss

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John Cluff
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Hello Browncoats!

During a game session the other night we happened across an interesting twist of game mechanics.

As the player in the lead closed in on their destination to seal the win, the 3 other players started using the Nav Charts cards to block that player's destination. The cards were discarded back to their respective discard piles and then each player picked them up again by camping out at each supply planet. We were able to move all the Reaver Cutters in a constant swirl on and around the leader's destination.


Question: When can a Nav Chart card be played?

On your turn only?
Or on another player's turn as a kind of interrupt?

Our group did both on an almost infinite loop to counter the lead player.

What thoughts or rule checks are out there?

Thanks!
 
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Dangerous Partners
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I'd have to say that you only do stuff on your turn in this game, unless defending a boarding.
 
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Jay Johnson
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BeerAndBoard wrote:
I'd have to say that you only do stuff on your turn in this game, unless defending a boarding.

Not true, in the Rules As Written.
Any of these "discard to use" effects that don't specifically require an Action can be used at any time, even outside of your turn.

For instance, if you have a Crybaby, and someone moves the Alliance Cruiser into your sector, you can "activate" (discard) the Crybaby to lure away the Cruiser without going through Alliance Contact protocol.

Of course, like anything else, you're free to adopt a house rule that limits such actions.
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Jay Johnson
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My thoughts would be that once you have that gear card, you can discard/use it at any time, even on another player's turn, but that you could not interrupt an action that is already started.

The scenario that you describe has a fairly rare likelihood of happening, and while it could certainly delay the leader, it also ties up the other players (they have to remain at that particular supply planet, and use one of thier two actions each turn to re-purchase the nav charts. plus they have to spend $300 each time).

Meanwhile, the leader could full burn to get rid of the reaver nav cards from the top of the pile. Or they could mosey into a Reaver-occupied sector and have one action left to try and accomplish their objective (reaver contact doesn't take place until you start your turn with a reaver in your sector, or you draw the reaver reshuffle card)

Alternatively, they could try and bring in the Operative to the region to chase away the Reavers. Or they could track down Reaver-flage, which allows full-burn through Reaver sectors.
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Ralph Stratford
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My response is still the same as posted to the same thread in the Kalidasa Forum:

Dalek1 wrote:
I have identified the same concern, but the answer is far from clear. The text as written on the cards literally suggests that these can be played at any time, which includes any other player's turn (even if they do not take a Fly Action).

In contract other cards clearly state that they can only be used on your turn. For example, the Crew card for Lucy is very clear that her ability can only be used on your Turn and you need to use an Action.

Then there is the Cry Baby, which only requires that you be in a Sector with the Alliance Cruiser to use it. This could be during your Turn or any other player's turn if they happen to Full Burn into your sector and draw a Nav Card that results in the Alliance Cruiser landing there. But since it also states that the purpose of discarding the Cry Baby is to ignore the Cruisers effects implies that you have to be an Outlaw Ship, otherwise the Cruiser cannot affect you and therefore there are no effects to ignore by discarding it.

So, it seems that either the lack of stipulating "on your Turn" could in fact be intentional, rather than an oversight, but that leads to exactly the issue you've identified.

To me one solution is to agree before you play which way you will play these cards.

It will be interesting to see what others think.
 
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Jay Johnson
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"But since it also states that the purpose of discarding the Cry Baby is to ignore the Cruisers effects implies that you have to be an Outlaw Ship, otherwise the Cruiser cannot affect you and therefore there are no effects to ignore by discarding it."

Just because there are no effects doesn't mean you can't ignore them.
Thus I'd say you could still use the Crybaby even if you weren't an Outlaw.

Though the only reason I can see to do that would be to move the Cruiser 1 sector away into a spot where another Outlaw ship currently is (or where you think they are wanting to go)
 
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Dangerous Partners
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JayJ79 wrote:
BeerAndBoard wrote:
I'd have to say that you only do stuff on your turn in this game, unless defending a boarding.

Not true, in the Rules As Written.
Any of these "discard to use" effects that don't specifically require an Action can be used at any time, even outside of your turn.

For instance, if you have a Crybaby, and someone moves the Alliance Cruiser into your sector, you can "activate" (discard) the Crybaby to lure away the Cruiser without going through Alliance Contact protocol.

I'd count that as similar to defending a boarding, where you have been brought into play.
But as mentioned as long as you all agree it's not an issue, I don't know the cards so can't say if any otehrs woudl hint at also being an interrupt.
 
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Ralph Stratford
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JayJ79 wrote:
Though the only reason I can see to do that would be to move the Cruiser 1 sector away into a spot where another Outlaw ship currently is (or where you think they are wanting to go)
I suppose since the Cry Baby doesn't explicitly say you have to be an Outlaw Ship to use it, you could use it that way if you aren't an Outlaw Ship (though on a thematic basis that is not how it was used by Serenity so it doesn't seem quite right to use it that way in the board game).

Though this adds to the problem this thread has raised. Here are some other examples using the Cry Baby:

1) If the Alliance Cruiser is siting in your Sector (whether you are an Outlaw Ship or not doesn't matter) and another player is having their Turn you could play the Cry Baby as they Fly past the Sector next to you to hit them with the Cruiser if they are an Outlaw Ship. At best they get a Full Stop, at worst they lose all their Contraband/Fugitives and maybe some/all Wanted Crew.

2) You could be in a Sector next to another Player, deploy your Cry Baby just before they are about to undertake some Action that requires a Skill Test to hopefully get some of their Wanted Crew captured.

3) Similarly, if the other Player just arrived in the Sector next to you and are about to deliver Contraband/Fugitives to complete a Job you deploy your Cry Baby and move the Cruiser on to their Sector to seize it all. The same could happen if they just started a Job that loads Contraband/Fugitives and before they left the Sector.

You effectively get to do these things for free, whereas if you could only do them on your Turn, you generally have to use an Action to progress that interference which may impact on how quickly you can advance your Goals to win the game. Getting a freebee Action that can potentially have such huge impacts on other players when they are having their Turn isn't quite right in my mind.

So the issue of when can you play Cards that do not stipulate "on your Turn" has a bit more to it than I envisaged when I first read this post.

I still think the best solution is to agree before you start the game on how/when these cards will be used.
 
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Jay Johnson
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which is why if you see an opponent with a crybaby hanging out with ole Harken, you'll want to give them a wide berth if you're riding dirty. haha.

Using the Crybaby doesn't consume an action when it is used on your turn, so I don't see what you're getting at.
 
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Ralph Stratford
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JayJ79 wrote:
which is why if you see an opponent with a crybaby hanging out with ole Harken, you'll want to give them a wide berth if you're riding dirty. haha.

Using the Crybaby doesn't consume an action when it is used on your turn, so I don't see what you're getting at.
Yes, you need to be in the next Sector to get a freebee, but if you can also interfere with another Player's Fly Action as they fly past your Sector and that Player is intending to finish their Fly Action several Alliance Sectors away from you, you can interfere for free by deploying your Cry Baby.

If you had to wait to do it on your Turn you would:
a) have to Fly to an Alliance Sector next to theirs; and
b) draw the right Nav Card to move the Cruiser to your Sector to then use the Cry Baby.

And if by that time they are stopped in Border or Rim Space you can't use your Cry Baby on your Turn.

So it is a very powerful way to interfere with other Players' during their Turns, including in some situations when they are not even flying at the time you deploy the Cry Baby.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Dalek1 wrote:
JayJ79 wrote:
Though the only reason I can see to do that would be to move the Cruiser 1 sector away into a spot where another Outlaw ship currently is (or where you think they are wanting to go)
I suppose since the Cry Baby doesn't explicitly say you have to be an Outlaw Ship to use it, you could use it that way if you aren't an Outlaw Ship (though on a thematic basis that is not how it was used by Serenity so it doesn't seem quite right to use it that way in the board game).

Though this adds to the problem this thread has raised. Here are some other examples using the Cry Baby:

1) If the Alliance Cruiser is siting in your Sector (whether you are an Outlaw Ship or not doesn't matter) and another player is having their Turn you could play the Cry Baby as they Fly past the Sector next to you to hit them with the Cruiser if they are an Outlaw Ship. At best they get a Full Stop, at worst they lose all their Contraband/Fugitives and maybe some/all Wanted Crew.

2) You could be in a Sector next to another Player, deploy your Cry Baby just before they are about to undertake some Action that requires a Skill Test to hopefully get some of their Wanted Crew captured.

3) Similarly, if the other Player just arrived in the Sector next to you and are about to deliver Contraband/Fugitives to complete a Job you deploy your Cry Baby and move the Cruiser on to their Sector to seize it all. The same could happen if they just started a Job that loads Contraband/Fugitives and before they left the Sector.

You effectively get to do these things for free, whereas if you could only do them on your Turn, you generally have to use an Action to progress that interference which may impact on how quickly you can advance your Goals to win the game. Getting a freebee Action that can potentially have such huge impacts on other players when they are having their Turn isn't quite right in my mind.

So the issue of when can you play Cards that do not stipulate "on your Turn" has a bit more to it than I envisaged when I first read this post.

I still think the best solution is to agree before you start the game on how/when these cards will be used.


I honestly don't have a problem with any of this thematically, or gameplay wise. I know it's not how they used it on the show, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have or WOULDN'T have. If there had been an episode where Mal was racing against another ship to complete some goal, and he had the opportunity to push some Alliance attention on his opponent (especially since it takes the attention away from him), I think he'd do it, particularly against someone he didn't like or that he thought deserved it.
 
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George Krubski
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I forget if I weighed in on the other thread, but I have really mixed feelings on when the Nav Charts can be used.

One one hand, I want to say "only your turn." Although this is not stated on the card, it seems pretty clear that the intent of the card is that you're using Nav Charts to help sort out your path to potentially make it easier.

Thematically, it doesn't really make sense that you're using Nav Charts to screw up the other guy, does it? I don't understand how that would work.

Also, the Nav Charts are already one of the best pieces of Gear in the game even if when you use it is limited. JUST as +1 Tech, it's a great bargain, and the option to use it in a second way is a huge boon.

On the other hand...

First, the card doesn't state "only on your turn," which is pretty compelling.

Second, if you CAN only use it on your turn, it sets up a circumstance where you CAN use it to screw up someone's turn... but only the next person to fly in appropriate region of space.
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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I agree.

At the end of the day, there's probably no perfect way for this to work. I'd say that since it doesn't say 'your turn' you can use it whenever.

If you're using it to mess with someone then you're not using it to help yourself, and they could choose to stop moving or just mosey, and pass the stacked deck to the next guy who wants to fly. If it's the type of situation where the group is trying to stop a leader, they may do themselves more harm. If that's the way your group plays, at some point one of the others will be the leader, and they'll get a taste. Sauce for the goose. Karma hurts.

If it becomes an issue where it's creating actual anger, then house rule that you remove it from the game after use instead of discarding it.

Thematically, you could say one of your crew hacked into the Google Space Maps and switched a few files around.
 
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Kevin Rush
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Thematically you could still use it out of turn, who is to say you couldn't use it to help someone else.

Oh, you want to make out to Georgia this turn? Let me whip out my handy dandy nav charts and tell you the best way to get there... For a nominal fee of course.

Also it could be you just know what errors are good and bad, so if someone flies the bad route you don't have to tell them. Since the information is unknown the only change is the decision is knowing someone else knows what is coming. Several times I have used it for myself it hasn't even helped because there was nothing that could stop what I wanted to do. I see no problem using it or if turn.
 
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George Krubski
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Yeah, those thematic explanations go beyond the scope of the card to me.
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Darin Bolyard
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If only the charts included the text, "Before you full burn..."
I know at least one person in my circle who would take advantage of the current lack of clarification and use the charts against other players, repeatedly even. But I don't play Firefly with that person much...at all. It has always felt right that they are intended to assist your own fly action, and that is the only way we've used them thus far.
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George Krubski
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I concur. Too bad the card doesn't.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Krushhhhh wrote:
Thematically you could still use it out of turn, who is to say you couldn't use it to help someone else.

Oh, you want to make out to Georgia this turn? Let me whip out my handy dandy nav charts and tell you the best way to get there... For a nominal fee of course.


I don't know. I would buy that.

"Hey Monty, it's Mal. Yeah, I know I was supposed to get you that lead on a condenser coil. I got tied up. Listen. I need to get to Silverhold in a hurry, but my Nav Charts are out of date. What's the best route there from Triumph? Why yes, I do still have that case of Scotch... Half... ok, fine, the whole case. Don't do a full burn for more than 4 parsecs. Gotcha. Thanks. See you in New Melbourne next month. Yes, I'll be there this time."

And who's to say the information is correct? (He isn't required to show you the cards.) How much do you trust Monty? And did you pay him up front or after the intel pans out?
 
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George Krubski
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Between Mal and Monty, maybe. But Mal and Corbin Or Marco? Or Ahterton? Or Jubal?

If this DOES involve sending another captain off on a wild good chase where they could potentially be killed or imprisoned, it seems like it should be "This counts as Immoral."

Also, sowing misinformation doesn't actually require Nav charts! It just involves creativity!
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