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Subject: Ship Builds Based on Bioware Video Games rss

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Phil Lovas
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Here is my first foray into creating my own content for Firefly. These are copies of 2 ships that I created for my wife and I to use based on our differing playing styles in Firefly, our favorite Bioware games, and the fact that I got the customizable ship packs for the holidays.
Any feedback is welcome. I want to make them the best I can.
Hope you like them.




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Gerald Bocook
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Neat! Not what I was expecting, so I'm glad to see my expectations shattered!
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Joe Kepler
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Most excellent ship cards! They look awesome!

Very cool idea with the wanted crew in the stash.
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George Krubski
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Hi, Phil. I wanted to weigh in with some feedback. I think most folks on the Variants sub-board will attest to the fact that I can be pretty strict, so the value of it will vary depending on where you stand on the scale of "I'm doing this for fun" to "I want this stuff to be 99.9% like the official expansions."

Before I dig in, I'll say that the ship cards look nice overall, and these are strong initial passes.

ISABELA

You priced the ship at 9500, which I think may be slightly low - only by a few hundred, but this is important because this ship is already out of the standard GF9 "price range" (7500-8600). Based on the precedent of the Series 4 ships (Esmeralda and Jetwash), you should be paying out of starting money for anything above that.

Although everything generally ties together nicely, there's a lot going on with this ship. The Stash is the largest in the game... by 100%! I don't think it's necessarily a problem to have a bigger Stash than the standard Fireflies, but I would suggest 6 rather than 8. This still keeps it high, and also makes it sort of the inverse of the Artful Dodger.

On the Special Abilities: With the exception of the Interceptor - which has one positive one and one negative - each ship has, at most, a single Special Rule. No reason you can't exceed that, but since there's already quite a bit going on, perhaps it could be refined.

The WANTED space is nice, but it opens up questions to me. Does a Fugitive receive any special benefits if placed in the slot? How about Contraband? Presumably, stuff CAN be placed in the slot, yes?

Perhaps this could instead be done as an Upgrade. I forget if it was Upstarter of Phideaux, but one of them came up with something similar (that I stole for The Black Market), which was a 2-Stash Upgrade and if the slots were empty, you could hide Wanted Crew (and I think maybe Bounties) in it.

I'm not necessarily recommending that you use someone else's work over your own. I only point it out a potentially cleaner version of what you're working on.

The other part of the ability (the Cry Baby part) seems to get needlessly fiddly. I would recommend EITHER money or Part(s). Or perhaps doing away with the need to get a Cry Baby at all and instead giving the ship a Starting Upgrade.

Also, the ability to make a Cry Baby permanent is problematic because you are now completely immune to the Alliance Cruiser. I get that you want this pirate vessel to have some protection, but I think totally immunity is too much. Perhaps something conditional, like the Xunsu Whisper Drive, would be better balanced?

As a minor aside, I think you're missing an opportunity with respect to the logo (the white "product" logo, not the ship logo). I know there are various symbols associated with Mass Effect. I assume there's some for Dragon Age, too?

On the Drive Core, I don't think you need "Only for" with the Ship name. Based on the Series 4 ships (which this is closest to - a dedicated Drive Core that can be replaced), the name on the bottom is enough. You also don't need to note that it's the Starting Drive Core for the Isabela.

I see that you have the "image box" from the standard upgrade still visible. If you're using my template, I think that layer can be shut off.

The variant of Optimal Spec should probably be on the ship rather than the Drive Core... if at all. It's nice flavor, but it's weaker than Optimal Spec (which has a variable effect based on number of upgrades), which only costs about -500. On one hand, you might need that to offset some of the cost of the ship; on the other hand, simple is often the best approach.

With all that you've got going on, I would be inclined to "build" this ship more like the Series 4 ships, probably with 2 Upgrade Slots that come pre-filled, but you need to pay for them.

I've probably said enough at this point, so I'll wait for a reply. I can come up with a few variants on suggestions for a version 2.0, but I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, including what's most important to keep in.

Similarly, I'll hold on any comments on the Maco for now,too.


 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Is Isabella a Series 4? She looks like a 4. If so, where'd you get the picture. I'm looking for series 4 images.

I think a permanent Cry Baby is too much. You could do something where you get to use it a second time for a cost (like Parts or Contraband), or where you spend something and roll to see if you keep it.

Alternately, an interesting and different starting Upgrade might be something like: Cry Baby Launcher - You may stack an unlimited number of Cry Babies on this card.

So the launcher takes up an Upgrade Slot, then, you place any Cry Babies you buy on the Launcher card instead of in its own Upgrade Slot, and it allows you to have multiples, where you can usually only have one of any Upgrade (if I recall correctly).

You could also call it a "Decoy Launcher", and it would be something like: You may stack an unlimited number of Cry Babies and Decoy Nav Sat Clusters on this card.

As Gwek said, another option is to build an ability like that into the ship, like giving it the Whisper Drive as a starting Core, but I'd be hesitant to make a ship too good out of the gate. Part of the fun of the game is looking for and finding and equipping those things that make your ship or crew better. If you start off with your ship as good as it's likely to get during the entire game, you're cutting out part of the fun and challenge. Abilities and starting Upgrades should be there to add flavor, and make the ships different from each other, not be super-awesome-best-ship-ever stuff.

The large Stash is kind of wonky to me. I don't know if the Stash should be larger than the Hold, particularly in a ship which already has an established Hold size, which here you've made smaller. The "fluff" behind the Stash come from the comment Harken makes about "these old Fireflies having lots of hidden spaces" or words to that effect. The series 4 are the new model, so supposedly, those spaces are a little harder to come by, which is why they only did a dedicated Fuel Stash when they did those two.

That's not to mean that you couldn't have a normal Stash in a series 4, but I'd start from the existing series 4, and modify from there. Maybe convert some of the Fuel slots to normal Stash and maybe convert 1 or 2 Hold slots to Stash, but nothing too drastic. Thematically, yes, you could partition off half the cargo hold with a wall with a hidden door. But when you get boarded - and you WILL get boarded - they're going to be like "This cargo hold is half as large as it should be. What's behind that fake wall? Tear it down Corporal."

On the Mako, what if Soldier of Fortune gave you a bonus for having MERCs on board. Something like: When you complete a Crime Job, Take $100 for each Merc on your Crew. Then you could do something similar with a thematically connected Leader for SOLDIERs. Each works fine independently, but together they have a synergy and work better.

Just some thoughts...
 
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Phil Lovas
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gwek wrote:
Hi, Phil. I wanted to weigh in with some feedback. I think most folks on the Variants sub-board will attest to the fact that I can be pretty strict, so the value of it will vary depending on where you stand on the scale of "I'm doing this for fun" to "I want this stuff to be 99.9% like the official expansions."

Before I dig in, I'll say that the ship cards look nice overall, and these are strong initial passes.

ISABELA

You priced the ship at 9500, which I think may be slightly low - only by a few hundred, but this is important because this ship is already out of the standard GF9 "price range" (7500-8600). Based on the precedent of the Series 4 ships (Esmeralda and Jetwash), you should be paying out of starting money for anything above that.


I was definitely trying to make it in the range of the series 4 ships so that's good that I was close for this attempt.

gwek wrote:
Although everything generally ties together nicely, there's a lot going on with this ship. The Stash is the largest in the game... by 100%! I don't think it's necessarily a problem to have a bigger Stash than the standard Fireflies, but I would suggest 6 rather than 8. This still keeps it high, and also makes it sort of the inverse of the Artful Dodger.


Makes total sense now that I have seen the Artful Dodger board and I agree that I should cut this down a bit. Kinda like Scarbuck said, it would be way too obvious.

gwek wrote:
On the Special Abilities: With the exception of the Interceptor - which has one positive one and one negative - each ship has, at most, a single Special Rule. No reason you can't exceed that, but since there's already quite a bit going on, perhaps it could be refined.


I agree that it should be refined. I was looking at the interceptor when I designed this so I ended up with two.

gwek wrote:
The WANTED space is nice, but it opens up questions to me. Does a Fugitive receive any special benefits if placed in the slot? How about Contraband? Presumably, stuff CAN be placed in the slot, yes?

Perhaps this could instead be done as an Upgrade. I forget if it was Upstarter of Phideaux, but one of them came up with something similar (that I stole for The Black Market), which was a 2-Stash Upgrade and if the slots were empty, you could hide Wanted Crew (and I think maybe Bounties) in it.

I'm not necessarily recommending that you use someone else's work over your own. I only point it out a potentially cleaner version of what you're working on.


The plan was that things could be put in that spot so that you had to weigh leaving it open to protect a crew or not, kind of a decision on playing styles and how you wanted to play it, but have it built in.

gwek wrote:
The other part of the ability (the Cry Baby part) seems to get needlessly fiddly. I would recommend EITHER money or Part(s). Or perhaps doing away with the need to get a Cry Baby at all and instead giving the ship a Starting Upgrade.

Also, the ability to make a Cry Baby permanent is problematic because you are now completely immune to the Alliance Cruiser. I get that you want this pirate vessel to have some protection, but I think totally immunity is too much. Perhaps something conditional, like the Xunsu Whisper Drive, would be better balanced?


This is definitely a work in progress. When playing a test run with it the cry baby part came across as the most awkward. I am planning on testing the Whisper Drive idea and Scarbucks idea on it.

gwek wrote:
As a minor aside, I think you're missing an opportunity with respect to the logo (the white "product" logo, not the ship logo). I know there are various symbols associated with Mass Effect. I assume there's some for Dragon Age, too?


This was my wife's doing because, as she said, "every good ship needs a hot girl painted on the side (a la the Bonnie Mae)." She also has a scary amount of Dragon Age knowledge so I let her choose.

gwek wrote:
On the Drive Core, I don't think you need "Only for" with the Ship name. Based on the Series 4 ships (which this is closest to - a dedicated Drive Core that can be replaced), the name on the bottom is enough. You also don't need to note that it's the Starting Drive Core for the Isabela.

I see that you have the "image box" from the standard upgrade still visible. If you're using my template, I think that layer can be shut off.

The variant of Optimal Spec should probably be on the ship rather than the Drive Core... if at all. It's nice flavor, but it's weaker than Optimal Spec (which has a variable effect based on number of upgrades), which only costs about -500. On one hand, you might need that to offset some of the cost of the ship; on the other hand, simple is often the best approach.


All of this is getting fixed for sure. I didn't notice I had placed the picture in the wrong spot. And the variant is getting tied in to the ship somehow to balance the cost a bit.

gwek wrote:
With all that you've got going on, I would be inclined to "build" this ship more like the Series 4 ships, probably with 2 Upgrade Slots that come pre-filled, but you need to pay for them.

I've probably said enough at this point, so I'll wait for a reply. I can come up with a few variants on suggestions for a version 2.0, but I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, including what's most important to keep in.

Similarly, I'll hold on any comments on the Maco for now,too.




Thanks a ton for looking this over. I am definitely looking at making this (and the Mako) a valuable edition to the game. Having the feedback really helped me better understand some of the shipbuilding.
 
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Phil Lovas
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Scarbuck wrote:
Is Isabella a Series 4? She looks like a 4. If so, where'd you get the picture. I'm looking for series 4 images.


Not sure where I found it. I will post it in my gallery so you can get it.

Scarbuck wrote:
I think a permanent Cry Baby is too much. You could do something where you get to use it a second time for a cost (like Parts or Contraband), or where you spend something and roll to see if you keep it.

Alternately, an interesting and different starting Upgrade might be something like: Cry Baby Launcher - You may stack an unlimited number of Cry Babies on this card.

So the launcher takes up an Upgrade Slot, then, you place any Cry Babies you buy on the Launcher card instead of in its own Upgrade Slot, and it allows you to have multiples, where you can usually only have one of any Upgrade (if I recall correctly).

You could also call it a "Decoy Launcher", and it would be something like: You may stack an unlimited number of Cry Babies and Decoy Nav Sat Clusters on this card.


I really like the Decoy Launcher idea and am going to test it out next playthrough.

Scarbuck wrote:
As Gwek said, another option is to build an ability like that into the ship, like giving it the Whisper Drive as a starting Core, but I'd be hesitant to make a ship too good out of the gate. Part of the fun of the game is looking for and finding and equipping those things that make your ship or crew better. If you start off with your ship as good as it's likely to get during the entire game, you're cutting out part of the fun and challenge. Abilities and starting Upgrades should be there to add flavor, and make the ships different from each other, not be super-awesome-best-ship-ever stuff.


I agree with you here. As a house rule when it is just my wife and me playing we cannot use pre-set upgrades (we also have removed the engine and upgrade that allow a mosey of 2 for competitiveness). The upgrades are a good idea when we play with larger groups and you are trying to play quicker.

Scarbuck wrote:
The large Stash is kind of wonky to me. I don't know if the Stash should be larger than the Hold, particularly in a ship which already has an established Hold size, which here you've made smaller. The "fluff" behind the Stash come from the comment Harken makes about "these old Fireflies having lots of hidden spaces" or words to that effect. The series 4 are the new model, so supposedly, those spaces are a little harder to come by, which is why they only did a dedicated Fuel Stash when they did those two.

That's not to mean that you couldn't have a normal Stash in a series 4, but I'd start from the existing series 4, and modify from there. Maybe convert some of the Fuel slots to normal Stash and maybe convert 1 or 2 Hold slots to Stash, but nothing too drastic. Thematically, yes, you could partition off half the cargo hold with a wall with a hidden door. But when you get boarded - and you WILL get boarded - they're going to be like "This cargo hold is half as large as it should be. What's behind that fake wall? Tear it down Corporal."


I fully agree there and I can totally picture Harken saying that. This is already being changed.

Scarbuck wrote:
On the Mako, what if Soldier of Fortune gave you a bonus for having MERCs on board. Something like: When you complete a Crime Job, Take $100 for each Merc on your Crew. Then you could do something similar with a thematically connected Leader for SOLDIERs. Each works fine independently, but together they have a synergy and work better.

Just some thoughts...


That's a really cool idea and is probably a bit better connected/worded to the game in a way.

Thanks a ton.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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No worries. I appreciate it when people chime in to help with my stuff, so I try to do the same.

And I love a woman who encourages you to paint hot chicks on your spaceship. Keeper.
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Phil Lovas
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I found myself going through some old posts here and realized I never posted the updated cards here based on the original feedback.
Also here is that Series 4 picture Scarbuck (if you still want it).

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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Awesomeness. Thanks.
 
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