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Subject: Leaders: An analysis rss

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George Krubski
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Those of you who’ve known me for a while know that I like to deconstruct elements of the Firefly boardgame to improve my understanding, and so that I can try to reverse-engineer things to help with my customs.

Up today, we have Leaders.

Although there are a large number of factors, I want to primarily focus on the “frame” of the cards: skills and traits such as Moral. Keywords and special abilities may play a factor, but will not be my focus.

Some numbers to think about: There are 10 different possible skill combinations: the “generalist” who has 1 of each skill, a combo of 2 of 1 skill with 1 of another (there are six possible options), or an “all-in” leader with 3 skills of the same type. I’m going to address each of these in turn.

There are 13 official leaders – 7 from the core game, 2 each from PBH and Blue sun, 1 from Kalidasa, and 1 from the Jetwash. Those 13 leaders cover all of the “combos,” the generalist, and 1 of the all-in options (with 3 Tech and 3 Negotiate not appearing).

My customs more than double that number:

3 Leaders in Aces & Eights
3 Leaders in the Ship Packs
7 Leaders in The Black Market
4 Leaders (probably) in SyFy’s Friday Knights
A few more in Better Worlds

In addition to “no muss” vs Moral, my customs introduce Ruthless and Wanted leaders, leading to a larger number of possible flavors for each frame.


FIGHT-FIGHT-NEGOTIATE – “The Officer”

There are two official FFN Leaders: Womack and Malcolm, the cop and the criminal. If we can use these two as a model, the FFN Leader, or “Officer,” is capable of holding their own in a fight, and their leadership comes from structured authority. This doesn’t mean they might not also be charming or inspirational, but they’re leaders because they’re the boss. Still, they will likely feel loyalty, if not responsibility, toward those serving under them.

CUSTOMS: Currently, the only custom to fall into this category is Dutch (Moral, SyFy’s Friday Knights). She’s definitely a fighter, but has some social skills and is very much the captain of her ship. I might not have gone with “officer,” but it works for her.


FIGHT-FIGHT-TECH – “The Expert”

Once again, there are two official Leaders, one Moral, one not: Marco and Monty. As a gunrunner and a smuggler, there’s a certain degree of balance here. Much like the Officer, the Expert can hold his own in a fight. His leadership is based on expertise and knowledge. This is a guy who knows his stuff, but he or she may not be especially compelling as a leader. Their authority is based on the fact that they know best.

CUSTOMS: Currently, I have four leaders who fall into this category, so I may be abusing it a bit: Boss Johns (Moral), Eight (Wanted), Sadie Qin (Ruthless), and Two (Moral/Wanted). With the exception of Two (Friday Knights), they’re all from The Black Market.

Boss Johns, Eight, and Two definitely fall into the Expert archetype. They’re all fighters and better at keeping their folks alive than necessarily inspiring them. Sadie Qin, as an original character, could or could not fall into this model. It’s theoretically possible that she, or even Eight, could slip into a different frame, but Boss Johns and Two especially seem well-suited here.


NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-FIGHT – “The Noble”

Again, two official, balanced examples: Atherton and Nandi (Moral). Noble does not necessary refer to nobility per se, but these leaders are consummate leaders, willing to farm out work to others who may be better suited. At the negative end of the spectrum, they may be bullies. They’re confident, but they’re also generally smart enough to know when they’re in over their heads (would Atherton really have dueled Mal if he wasn’t basically certain he would win?). The Noble is probably likely to be supported by lackeys rather than potential equals.

CUSTOMS: Right now, I’ve got two from The Black Market: Elgyn and Santana (Ruthless). Santana fits the model perfectly. Elgyn could, but he might also belong elsewhere.


NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-TECH – “The Fast-Talker”

The first of combo types with only one official example: “Sash.” The Fast-Talker might be a conman or liar, and is adept at selling his stories to others because he can support his honeyed words with a solid base of knowledge and expertise.

CUSTOMS: Currently, I have two customs for this frame, Big Daddy (Moral, White Lightning) and The Jade Fox (Moral, Wanted, The Black Market). Both are definitely Fast-Talkers, so I’m comfortable with them staying his this category. As with Sadie Qin, The Jade Fox has some flexibility, but I envision him as sort of an aging Danny Ocean or a Cary Grant character, so I think he works well here.


TECH-TECH-FIGHT – “The Manager”

Only one example here, too: Murphy (Moral). Honestly, this is one of the hardest to pin down because it shares a bit with the FFT/Expert archetype – so much so that I want to call this “other expert.” The two archetypes are very similar, both smart and technically competent, but probably not especially inspirational. You follow the Manager because it will lead to a good payday, not a great crusade.

CUSTOMS: Currently, I have no customs slotted for this archetype. To balance things out, I may move Elgyn, Sadie Qin and/or China Malone here.


TECH-TECH-NEGOTIATE – “The Entrepreneur”

Once again, only one example – Corbin. The Entrepreneur straddles the line between the technically knowledgeable Manager and the slick Fast-Talker. The Entrepreneur knows their particular business cold and has enough social skills to lead and maybe even inspire. The Entrepreneur has no inherent Fight abilities, and maybe not enough Negotiate to talk themselves out of tight spaces, so they’ll likely surround themselves with experts and/or muscle to do the heavy lifting.

CUSTOMS: A few of my upcoming customs fit in here: Wexler (Ruthless, Friday Knights), Caron (Moral, Better Worlds), and Truffault (Friday Knights). I think they all belong here, although I could see Truffault or possibly Caron shifting to the Manager.


FIGHT-TECH-NEGOTIATE - “The Generalist”

With a bit of each skill, the Generalist is a jack of all trades. These are likely to be tough, independent-minded folks who are capable of taking care of themselves in a variety of circumstances. This category gives us the most official leaders: Burgess, Jubal Early, and Wright.

To be honest, I’m a bit surprised that Wright is here rather than Manager, although we only see him for a single scene. I’m also a little surprised that Mal himself isn’t a generalist, given that he’s not a match for most of the 2-Fight Crew out there, and he also does have a modicum of expertise… well, at least he can fly the ship…

CUSTOMS: Not surprisingly, I have the most custom leaders in this category right now: China (Wanted, Aces & Eights), Doc Steel (Moral, Aces & Eights), Cross (Huntingdon’s Bolt), Ming-Mei (Moral, CanTankerous, Toombs (Ruthless, Black Market), and Petaline.

Somethings gotta give here, although I’m not sure who. I think China is an easy move somewhere else (probably Manager or Entrepreneur). Doc Steele, Cross, and Ming-Mei are all really a mix of combat skills, expertise, and social skills, so I think they need to stay here. That leaves Toombs and Petaline.


FIGHT-FIGHT-FIGHT – “The Warrior”

There’s only one example of The Warrior (or, indeed, any of the all-in skill frames): Zoe (Moral) from the Jetwash ship pack. The Warrior is an alpha pack leader. At the “good guy” end of the spectrum, he or she is a champion; at the other, a might-makes-right monster. Either way, if you’re under their protection, you can rest easy, but if you cross them, you’re in for a world of hurt.

CUSTOMS: Currently none.


NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE – “The Wordsmith”

The Wordsmith lives and dies by their words. Whether they’re inspirational or manipulative, their words are their best tools. A Moral Wordsmith may be “ambassador” like Inara, while a less scrupulous one is manipulative and scheming. There are currently no official examples.

CUSTOMS: Jack Leland (Aces & Eights) is a Wordsmith, gambler and conman. Although he can handle himself in a fight if need be, his goal is to never be in the fight.


TECH-TECH-TECH – “The Genius”

There are currently no official leaders that fall into this category, not ro I have any planned, but I imagine that it would be someone who leads on the strength of their knowledge rather than any social skills or personal toughness. This is Reed Richards, perhaps Tony Stark, and Sherlock Holmes.
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Alazṓn Theatre
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gwek wrote:
TECH-TECH-TECH – “The Genius”

There are currently no official leaders that fall into this category, not ro I have any planned, but I imagine that it would be someone who leads on the strength of their knowledge rather than any social skills or personal toughness. This is Reed Richards, perhaps Tony Stark, and Sherlock Holmes.


I would agree with Sherlock. Tony Stark is probably more Entrepreneur- definitely a negotiate skill there. River Tam should be here, but fantasy being what it is, most Tech-Tech-Tech types wish they had fight skills - so she is created as such (also think also 011 in Stanger Things) - This is pure projection.
Maybe Steven Hawking? Although he has certainly honed his negotiation skill over time (Hacker-rig equipment add-on?)
Maybe Marvin the Robot (HGTTG - Don't Panic) is the Archetype here.


 
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Jack Carlson
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Interesting as always and helpful as I complete a BIG batch of crew cards. But, hey, does this mean you'll resurrect your analysis of the contacts? Please, please, please!!!
 
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George Krubski
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What are you looking for with Contact analysis? How they collectively fit on the spectrum, how each is structured, the narrative behind each, or something else? (I think I've dabbled with all of these, haven't I?)

I'm not opposed to go back to it, but it ain't gonna happen until next year.

How are things going, man?

 
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Jack Carlson
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Things are going very well. Expect an update soon.

What I was thinking of above were 3 posts you did in December 2014; each was titled "What's the Story:" and subtitled w/ a contact's name. The three you did were Harken, Amnon Duul, and Patience. They looked at the contacts through a narrative lens, rather than a numeric jobs breakdown. They were tremendous fun to read, but they stopped after three. Not as heartbreaking as Firefly's cancellation, but still: Midseason, George, midseason! laugh
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George Krubski
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Ha! Well, at least I'm consistent.

I'll see if I can find time to refresh and revision the series in 2018.
 
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Wydraz
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I'm looking forward to that!
 
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George Krubski
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Not to divert from my leader thread, but when I revisit the contacts, I may do a full analysis, including thematic elements/"story," how their jobs are designed, when it's best to deal with them, etc.
 
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George Krubski
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So, I was thinking a bit more about the leader breakdown.

FIGHT-FIGHT-NEGOTIATE – “The Officer” - 3

Malcolm
Womack
Dutch

FIGHT-FIGHT-TECH – “The Expert” - 6

Marco
Monty
Two
Eight
Boss Johns
Sadie Qin


NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-FIGHT – “The Noble” - 4

Atherton
Nandi
Elgyn
Santana

NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-TECH – “The Fast-Talker” - 3

"Sash"
Big Daddy
The Jade Fox

TECH-TECH-FIGHT – “The Manager” - 1

Murphy

TECH-TECH-NEGOTIATE – “The Entrepreneur” - 4

Corbin
Wexler
Caron
Truffault

FIGHT-TECH-NEGOTIATE - “The Generalist” - 9

Burgess
Jubal Early
Wright
Doc Steel
China Malone
Cross
Ming-Mei
Toombs
Petaline

FIGHT-FIGHT-FIGHT – “The Warrior” - 1

Zoe

NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE – “The Wordsmith” - 1

Jack Leland

TECH-TECH-TECH – “The Genius” - 0

None.


So, that's a total of 32 leaders spread across 10 types (one of which is not used). If we sort of push the last 3 to the side, it's 30 leaders and 7 types. with some types represented pretty unevenly.

Although there doesn't have to be 100 percent balance, these numbers bother me.

So, shifting a few around...

FIGHT-FIGHT-NEGOTIATE – “The Officer” - 4

Malcolm
Womack
Dutch
Boss Johns

Boss Johns moves here. Although I could see him under Expert, this helps balance things. I don't love that 3 out of 4 are Moral, but what can you do?

FIGHT-FIGHT-TECH – “The Expert” - 4

Marco
Monty
Two
Eight

Sadie Qin and Boss Johns move elsewhere. Two Moral, two not Moral, but no Ruthless.

NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-FIGHT – “The Noble” - 4

Atherton
Nandi
Elgyn
Santana

A nice spread, with 1 Moral, 1 Ruthless, and possibly 1 Wanted (Elgyn).

NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-TECH – “The Fast-Talker” - 4

"Sash"
Big Daddy
The Jade Fox
Petaline

Petaline moves here. I'm actually not convinced that she deserves 2 Negotiate, but she also doesn't merit 2 Tech or 2 Fight, so as long as she may be a leader, this may be the best place for her. At least 2 Moral leaders (possibly Petaline, too), but no Ruthless.

TECH-TECH-FIGHT – “The Manager” - 4

Murphy
China Malone
Sadie Qin
Toombs

China, Sadie, and Toombs are all new to this category. 1 Moral, 2 Ruthless, 2 Pilots.


TECH-TECH-NEGOTIATE – “The Entrepreneur” - 4

Corbin
Wexler
Caron
Truffault

Stays intact. 1 Moral, 1 Ruthless.


FIGHT-TECH-NEGOTIATE - “The Generalist” - 6

Burgess
Jubal Early
Wright
Doc Steel
Cross
Ming-Mei

A few folks left this category, but it's still the most robust one.

FIGHT-FIGHT-FIGHT – “The Warrior” - 1

Zoe

NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE-NEGOTIATE – “The Wordsmith” - 1

Jack Leland

TECH-TECH-TECH – “The Genius” - 0

None.

With these changes, the categories lay out pretty evenly, with 4 in each of the first 6 groupings.
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Now you've got me trying to come up with a genius. yuk
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Gerry Smit
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gwek wrote:
TECH-TECH-TECH – “The Genius Wizard”

ftfy
 
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Joe Kepler
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Fennic wrote:
gwek wrote:
TECH-TECH-TECH – “The Genius”

There are currently no official leaders that fall into this category, not ro I have any planned, but I imagine that it would be someone who leads on the strength of their knowledge rather than any social skills or personal toughness. This is Reed Richards, perhaps Tony Stark, and Sherlock Holmes.


I would agree with Sherlock. Tony Stark is probably more Entrepreneur- definitely a negotiate skill there. River Tam should be here, but fantasy being what it is, most Tech-Tech-Tech types wish they had fight skills - so she is created as such (also think also 011 in Stanger Things) - This is pure projection.
Maybe Steven Hawking? Although he has certainly honed his negotiation skill over time (Hacker-rig equipment add-on?)
Maybe Marvin the Robot (HGTTG - Don't Panic) is the Archetype here.




Tech Tech Tech is easy to picture.

Doctor Emmett Brown
Doctor Horrible
Doctor Bunsen Honeydew




 
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Karl Gallagher
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JediKep wrote:

Doctor Bunsen Honeydew



I would so take Bunsen Honeydew as my Leader.

Beaker, of course, would be a Tech version of Meadows.
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