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Firefly: The Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Multiple Game Campaign/Skirmish setup and implementation rss

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Donald Wester
United States
Ohio
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This is really my first major change in my gaming habits since my friends mom burned all my D&D books back in the late 80s. Soon after I went to college I was introduced to MTG and I abandoned tabletop gaming...

Full Circle.

I dabbled in Mechwarrior and D&D and the one thing I really enjoyed was having a DM and having Skirmishes on off nights. On the nights that we did not have all the players or on nights that we did not plan to get together, our DM had short individual campaigns to help certain players level up or obtain gear/spells/weapons.

I only have 2 or 3 people in my area to play with so we need a different way to play. My idea to remedy this is for everyone to "keep" their ships and a few items from game to game. After each game anyone has the chance to throw their ship upgrades on my scanner/printer and print out a sheet with your ship as is at the end of a game. As each of us continues to play, we can each have a regular character that we slowly develop. I don't think this would break the game, it would just allow each of us to keep our playing style from game to game, without spending the first dozen turns farming for upgrades and crew.

Some of the mission cards turn into 30minute mad dashes if you start out with an equipped ship. starting out similar to "browncoat way" anything glaringly unfair can be pointed out by fellow players and stopped, we are adults, not children.

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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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My #1 rule for games is that as soon as you complete the BUY Action to purchase a game, it's YOUR game, and you can do anything you want with it, short of throwing it at the kids who won't get off your lawn.

I like this idea, and it should work well if your group is all for it, and if you play with the same group all the time, aaaand, if that group wants to keep the same characters all the time. Using the scanner is a great idea. And the size of the scanner bed provides a nice limiter on what can be carried over. IE: you can only carry over what fits on the scanner without overlapping. Might be a ship, captain, an one other card, or four Crew, three Gear, and an Upgrade.

Part of the fun of the game though, is trying out different combinations of ships an crews and gear. If you lock yourself into just keeping the same best stuff all the time, you're kind of missing out on some of the adventure.
 
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Donald Wester
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Ohio
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I didn't like the fact that all the original 4 ships were identical. The firefly universe had many different ships.

I would have liked to have a ship that had a longer range but couldn't use spare parts, or a ship that could mosey 2 but only full burn 4, could only full burn 7 for 2 fuel... nothing that broke the game of course, just reasons to use different ships.

Someday I will have an ArtFull Dodger.

If I ever decide to custom make ship cards I will probably remake the bonanza into that horrid looking piece of junk the dealer was trying to sell Mal in the episode "out of Gas"

Our "space monopoly" game just started out too generic for some reason. Thank god for Boardgamegeek community.
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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You just have to look at the game in perspective. When it started, it started simple. It only had Fireflies because that was THE ship from the show, so everyone would want to play it (it was also cheaper to only have to sculpt one ship).

And it left room for expansions. First, a special Firefly, then two new ship types with built-in upgrades, and finally a new ship class with built-in and card upgrades. All the while, the custom community has kept pace, if not led the evolution, and today, there are at least a dozen custom ships you can add to your flotilla using existing ship models from the game (thank you resin ship sets), 'store bought' models, and 3D printed models, both DIY and printed through services like Shapeways.

Likewise, there are several sets of custom cards to be found. Everything from serious type characters pulled from the Firefly RPG, to adaptations of characters from movies and tv shows, and goofy Characters like Wayne Newton (the version of Wayne Newton from the Vacation movies). Services like Printerstudio have allowed us to print out whole sets of professional cards that are all but indistinguishable from the official ones, though if you just want to add Leaders and ships, you can print those out at home or at Kinkos or Staples or the like, as they don't have to match a set, so it doesn't matter if you don't cut them perfect, and you don't need to do a back, as you can put them in card sleeves.

AND, if all you're working with are the basic ships, you can assign each a Starting Upgrade to make them all different. Gwek has a list of suggested ones (being used currently in PBF 29), but you can come up with your own, or even make a list and roll up random ones. You can also find the card for Artful Dodger online and print your own copy to use with the ships you already have (or one of the resin ships), or make up your own version of Artful Dodger (call it the Crafty Git, or the Dodgy Artist, or whatever).

As I said before, it's YOUR game now, and you can do whatever you want with it, and you're coming in to it at a time when many, many tools have been developed and tested for doing all kinds of custom projects. Go crazy with it.
 
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Donald Wester
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Agreed.
I have a 3d printer, its gonna be a great year.

I have promised myself that i will buy the "whole Damn Verse" map if I can find 5 people to play.
 
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George Krubski
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As Scarback points out, it's your game and you can do what you want with it, but I'm inclined to think that if you go with your approach, at least early on, you're going to be missing out on some fun.

The side of the box essentially defines the game as "Find a Crew. Find a Job. Keep Flying." For me - and I think for many folks - the "find a crew" part is often the most fun.

By denying yourself the thrill of discovery and variety, you may risk making the game a bit one-note. Admittedly, there are enough Story Cards that it will take time to catch up with you, but Firefly, unlike D&D, isn't really about "leveling up". You need a crew at a certain power level (which can be easily achieved within an average 20-turn game), and if you have something increasingly powerful, the challenges of the game fall to the wayside.

Personally, when I play solo or one-on-one I tend to think of it as a mini-RPG experience. We often pick leaders and even ships randomly, so part of the fun for me is thinking about how this particular crew came together for this particular story.

If you want continuity, I get that, but it means a lot of perfectly fun Supply Cards are going to collect dust.

One thing you may want to consider is "prizes" from game to game. These could be ongoing or one-shot. If a player wins Patience's War, perhaps they get a card that they can play at the beginning of any other game to start the game Solid with Patience. Thus, each game has some impact on future games, but the influence is limited and doesn't lead to power creep.

I've also experimented with limited campaign-style solo gaming (stringing together, say, 5 to 7 story cards in a campaign with a single ship), but not with multiple players. Part of the challenge there has been the risk that momentum may build, leading to one player with decisive advantages leaving others in the dust. Even with that, I "reset" to some degree between games (which is what it seems like you're planning to do as well, I think).

Let us know how things go. Those of us who frequent the Variants sub-boards are always looking for new and interesting ways to play!
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John Watts
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Ringgold
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I'm going to agree with George in that, within a bit of time, you'd have a powerful crew and the game's challenges become minor hurdles or no trouble at all. Indeed, one of the weaknesses of this game IMHO is that, with the right crew, many of the challenges (particularly the Reavers) become no challenge at all.

As soon as all of your players can "crazy Ivan", the Reavers cease being the all-encompassing threat of the series and become a joke.

Good luck though.
 
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Donald Wester
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Ive played all the short missions, can't get anyone interested in the longer ones. just looking for a way to chop them down to size.

I will share my setups after I play a few times.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Other start-up options that have been proposed previously are assigning random Crew to each player and expanded early shopping (ie: allow each player to shop from a Supply Deck at start-up, regardless of where they're starting.

One of the official start-up options is to strip mine a deck. A supply deck is chosen, and each player in turn draws a number of cards equal to the number of players. They can keep one card, and pass the rest to the next player. You can modify this by drawing number of players+1, with the left over cards going into the discard pile. You can also allow each player to select a different supply deck to draw from. This is better once you have a group that's familiar with the game and the cards. With new players, looking at that many cards at a time is information overload, and will take forever to process through, as you have to explain how each card works, if it's good for them to take, and so on.

Yet another way, is to go through an prep Ship Crews by theme. For example, the Serenity, captained by Mal, with Zoe, Wash, and Jayne, and their proprietary gear. Walden, captained by Sash, with the various Scrappers that make up his Crew, and their gear, and so on. So everyone is choosing from roughly equal, nicely themed, pre-genned Ships and Crews. They are free to dump any of them as usual, but it allows everyone to start Misbehaving from the start. And maybe that's a way to jump into the longer games for them.
 
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Jack Carlson
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I think this is a good option for when you want to play a quicker game. The more powerful crews will speed things up as well. You could perhaps put a limit on buying for subsequent games once your crews are already built & equipped, sort of a governor to keep crews from getting so powerful that the games aren't interesting. But as a way to jump-start a quick game when you don't have the time or the inclination for a more leisurely one, this is brilliant.

And there's no reason you can't start from scratch on days you have more time--crew building is a funt part of a longer game.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Crew building is HUGE fun. It clicks the same brain button as the LEGO minifig blind bags. You have an idea of which ones you want, but it's always neat to see which one actually pops up. An even closer analog would be buying packs of Magic: The Gathering cards. Anything could come out of that bag, often a bunch of stuff you can't use, but it's fun to see what pops up, and how it interacts with what you already have, or what you want to do.

And then you've got people on the other side of the board turning over cards you want! And you're plotting how you'll get over there to grab them before someone else does.

With so many cards available, there are countless "good builds", and that quest is a very large part of the game, so you should be very careful about speeding it up too much, or trying to shut it down in any way. Heck, some folk will go the entire game just trying to build a Crew just for fun, and completely ignore the goals.
 
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Carter Burke
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Scarbuck wrote:
My #1 rule for games is that as soon as you complete the BUY Action to purchase a game, it's YOUR game, and you can do anything you want with it, short of throwing it at the kids who won't get off your lawn.


I CAN’T throw it at kids on my lawn?
Then why is everyone buying Twilight Imperium IV if not for this purpose?
 
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Donald Wester
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I can throw stuff if I want to....

Yes, a quicker shorter options is what I want, especially for new players that do not understand who,what and where the best upgrades are and how to use them. plus using the printer to make new starter sheets does not "mine" the decks or require any additional setup.

I wish I would have had the time and the money to buy all of this when the game first came out. there were a few local people who played then but I was working 70 hours a week for not much money.

Is anyone paying this on roll20? or similar web sites?
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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If you want a quick startup for new players, try what I suggested with the pregenerated Crews (and Gear). You can balance them all using the prices for the cards, and ships, and throw in some extra parts or fuel or a knife or something to even things out.

Think of it as setting up a demo game at a convention or something. You don't even have to copy the cards, just pull them straight out of the decks. This does a couple of things. You don't have to deal with the duplication issue every time someone draws a Crew already in someone's deck, and the players can look at the card backs to see what supply deck they came from. Similar cards will come from those same decks. So for example, I've got this pistol from Silverhold. Now I know where to go for more pistols.

Players will lose or dump Crew and Gear as the game progresses, and at the end will wind up with something different than how they started, but it's enough of a start that they can begin flying around and Misbehaving and working Jobs without the initial delay of new people shopping and reading and rereading each card.

Once the players are more experienced and familiar with the decks and cards, these turns go quicker, overlap a bit as people start their turns while the preceding person completes their purchases, and generally move along smoother. At that point, you can let them start normally and chart their own path.

If you want to treat it as more of a campaign, that's a different situation, and maybe you allow them to keep one card at the end of each game. Maybe they have to pay for it again at the end of the game (as a limiter for the really expensive ship upgrades and such). After the second game, they can keep the card they kept from the first game (if they still have it) and a new one, paying for both. Third game, they can keep the first two, plus another, paying again for all of them, and so on.

And that's the cards they start the next game with, plus the ship, and however you want to handle the starting cash. Maybe Browncoat Way the first game, then Standard Startup after that. Maybe Browncoat Way every time, and you have to pay for everything you're starting with, even the Crew you kept. This would help keep things balanced, so that no one is starting out with a crew that's particularly more powerful or uneven than anyone else, and theoretically, another player could jump in at any time, starting from zero, and not be severely disadvantaged.

Each player can use different colored card sleeves for their "keeper" cards and captain (which could easily match their ship color). That way, it's easy to see at the end which ones they have the option to keep, and between games, it keeps each player's stuff color coded and easy to reset for the next game.
 
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