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Subject: Thoughts on some new Keywords rss

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George Krubski
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Specifically, Gear (or Gear-type) keywords.

There are a pretty solid number of profession keywords (eg, Pilot, Merc, Grifter...) and those of us who do customs haven't been shy about adding a few new ones here and there. In this, we follow GF9, who have introduced both Lawman and Mudder since the initial game's release.

On the other hand, Gear keywords have remained largely static, with only GAMBLING being added.

I think there are a few reasons for that. First, the current range of Gear keywords (FIREARM, SNIPER RIFLE, EXPLOSIVES, TRANSPORT, FAKE ID, FANCY DUDS, HACKING RIG) covers a lot of ground. It's tough to think of a legitimate keyword that would exist in a meaningful way in the world of Firefly that hasn't already been covered.

I mean, certainly, there are other concepts, but many of them exist in a non-keyword form already, so adding them would require a fair amount of retroactive changes. For example, one could imagine ARMOR as a keyword, or KNIFE (which currently exists as a quasi-keyword).

The problem with adding any new keyword is that, since it's being layered on top of existing material, it would have to have an inherent value to the game, which can be a challenge.

That (and some recent threads) got me thinking about some possible Gear keywords, although each of them is something a bit different than standard, perhaps more akin to the role of something unique like GAMBLING.

So, now that I've rambled on for a while, let me pitch three new ideas.

FAVOR
A while back, I played with the idea of a keyword called FAVOR. The idea behind FAVORS is that they offer benefits but don't necessarily have a physical form. In any event, they're not something you bring back to the ship or whatever. Instead, it's about calling in back-up or leveraging a relationship. In most cases, there's a requirement of some kind, often Solid with a particular Contact.

FAVORS are still "carried," in that a Crew member has to manage the relationship connected to it. This management prevents the Crew from being able to use another piece of Gear because of their focus.


PERMANENT
This is something that's popped up from time to time, but appeared in at least two different projects recently. With most Gear, you pick it up and carry it, but sometimes, there might be "Gear" that becomes part of you, a la cybernetics. The idea could even be applied to a long-lasting status change, like the Jade Coins in my Black Market that allow you to become Tong. One could imagine Pilot Training or EMT Training or something similar.

In one thread, I think I posited the idea that a given Crew can have one PERMANENT Gear for free (ie, doesn't count towards Gear total) but that perhaps it requires an Action to sort of activate the Gear. I don't know if we previously discussed this, but I'm thinking if Crew carrying PERMANENT Gear is Killed, the Gear is either discarded or removed from play - If you die, I can take your Pistol to use later, but if you die, your cybernetics are pretty useless to me...

DEPENDENT
I'm not sure if this is quite the right term, but this keyword represents not stuff so much as a person, but a person who is not a Crew member. On the other hand, this is a person who, unlike Passengers or Fugitives, may be pretty close to the action from time to time.

As an example... Over in one of the Black Market threads, we starting talking about the idea of a Niska-themed piece of Gear, possibly one that allowed you to Deal with Niska remotely (similar to a limited version of the Cortex Uplink). I thought of perhaps "Niska's Liaison," or something similar. This guy is on your ship, but he's not part of your Crew. If you want to use him on a job, you need to - like with FAVORS - assign a Crew member to "manage" this character.

Carl pointed out that this sounded something like the Droids from Bill's Star Wars cards, and I imagine you could almost say that someone like River fits into the category.

With that in mind, this would probably be treated like a piece of Gear (might have abilities and keywords of it's own, even), and would need to be "carried." DEPENDENTS might differ from standard Gear in that they could be Killed. For simplicity's sake, I would probably say that you can remove a DEPENDENT Gear from play rather than Killing a Crew, if they're not Carried during a Reaver Cutter encounter they are automatically Killed, and (for simplicity) they are immune to effects from Medics.

Or something like that...

Anyway, that's a few somewhat radical thoughts. As always, I'd appreciated some feedback.

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Jochen Balzer
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I think it's a good idea to add new gear keywords.

gwek wrote:
FAVOR
A while back, I played with the idea of a keyword called FAVOR. The idea behind FAVORS is that they offer benefits but don't necessarily have a physical form. In any event, they're not something you bring back to the ship or whatever. Instead, it's about calling in back-up or leveraging a relationship. In most cases, there's a requirement of some kind, often Solid with a particular Contact.

FAVORS are still "carried," in that a Crew member has to manage the relationship connected to it. This management prevents the Crew from being able to use another piece of Gear because of their focus.

With this I have some understanding problems.
If I understand you correct this could be e.g. a special hat of Badger which offers you a 4th card when looking at jobs?

What I associate with FAVOR:
If you look at the cards during a BUY action and you find 2 weapons, 1 with FAVOR and 1 without, you have to buy the FAVOR weapon first. If you did you can buy the other weapon as well.

So FAVOR could be a "must pick first" keyword.

gwek wrote:
PERMANENT
This is something that's popped up from time to time, but appeared in at least two different projects recently. With most Gear, you pick it up and carry it, but sometimes, there might be "Gear" that becomes part of you, a la cybernetics. The idea could even be applied to a long-lasting status change, like the Jade Coins in my Black Market that allow you to become Tong. One could imagine Pilot Training or EMT Training or something similar.

In one thread, I think I posited the idea that a given Crew can have one PERMANENT Gear for free (ie, doesn't count towards Gear total) but that perhaps it requires an Action to sort of activate the Gear. I don't know if we previously discussed this, but I'm thinking if Crew carrying PERMANENT Gear is Killed, the Gear is either discarded or removed from play - If you die, I can take your Pistol to use later, but if you die, your cybernetics are pretty useless to me...

Trainings, tattoos, cyberware. Very interesting ...
Btw., you can sell cyberware of a dead man. Just rip it out, clean it and sell it. whistle

gwek wrote:
DEPENDENT
I'm not sure if this is quite the right term, but this keyword represents not stuff so much as a person, but a person who is not a Crew member. On the other hand, this is a person who, unlike Passengers or Fugitives, may be pretty close to the action from time to time.

As an example... Over in one of the Black Market threads, we starting talking about the idea of a Niska-themed piece of Gear, possibly one that allowed you to Deal with Niska remotely (similar to a limited version of the Cortex Uplink). I thought of perhaps "Niska's Liaison," or something similar. This guy is on your ship, but he's not part of your Crew. If you want to use him on a job, you need to - like with FAVORS - assign a Crew member to "manage" this character.

Carl pointed out that this sounded something like the Droids from Bill's Star Wars cards, and I imagine you could almost say that someone like River fits into the category.

With that in mind, this would probably be treated like a piece of Gear (might have abilities and keywords of it's own, even), and would need to be "carried." DEPENDENTS might differ from standard Gear in that they could be Killed. For simplicity's sake, I would probably say that you can remove a DEPENDENT Gear from play rather than Killing a Crew, if they're not Carried during a Reaver Cutter encounter they are automatically Killed, and (for simplicity) they are immune to effects from Medics.

Or something like that...

If DEPENDENT persons not being part of the crew would be introduced and would grant advantages as gear does, why shouldn't it just be a gear?
The only positive fact would be to satisfy a blood-smelling Reaver and to reduce the risk of loosing a crew member?
Would this be worth it creating a new keyword?
 
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Carl Hanson
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Would some of these work better as a new card type rather than a Gear Keyword? I know that means that someone would have to build an entirely new card face template, but it would make sense for some of these ideas.

FAVOR
This is a prime candidate for a new card type. Something intangible like a favor. I also have issues with buying favors in a shop. Maybe a whole new deck of Favors, and you can draw one when you meet some condition--like working a job for a contact that you are already Solid with, or using a Work Action at a Contact's location.


PERMANENT
This one works the most like Gear to me, except for the training (which is certainly not Gear, but could be re-themed as training manuals or something). I don't know if the Keyword is necessary, unless you want to attached all of the extra rules to the Keyword to open up text space on the card.

They would have to be truly exceptional pieces of Gear to make me use an Action to active it each time I use it (unless you mean one Action to get it forever, but it would still have to be pretty good at that).

DEPENDENT
This one works as Gear within the game, and there is a precedent of sorts with the Love Bot, but something about counting an actual person as Gear doesn't sit right with me thematically. I don't know if it's worth building a new template for this, but that's my major concern with it as a Keyword.
 
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Roger BW
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Another thought on favours: you take one instead of becoming Solid with a contact. It's better than the Solid bonus, but it only works once. (Perhaps give it a bonus effect if you are Solid at the time you use it?)
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George Krubski
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I'll go over the feedback when I have a bit more time, but I figured I'd post a few FAVORS cards. These are very old (in fact, they're among the oldest cards left in my gallery, given that I typically delete older version when I upgrade cards) so I can't speak to the balance. I'm not recommending these specific cards so much as presenting them as a theoretical "proof of concept."









I get the idea that these intangibles don't seem like they belong alongside Gear, but it's all in how you look at the game.

I don't consider the Buy Action to be walking into a store and asking for a Firearm and a Hacking Rig. You're beating the streets to find good stuff, maybe even engaging to have custom goods made. Sometimes, maybe it's not even that you're buying the item, but the coin you spend is a buy-in for a high stakes poker game during which you win the item...

Hiring is the same. You don't just hire A Scrapper. You probably meet a few people. As for recommendations. Interview. Take them out for drinks to see if they fit with the crew. (Look at Wash.) Or it's even more complicated than that. (Look at Kaylee, Jayne, and Simon.)

For upgrades, you end the turn with them installed, so that's got to take some effort, whether you hire someone to do it, or spend time to do it yourself.

Point is, all of these things have stories behind them.

I would argue that the same could hold true of FAVORS. For Mercenary Back-Up (for example), that initial $1000 is a down payment. Or maybe it's about wining and dining various mercenary companies to get in their good graces. Friends in High Places or Low might be attending appropriate events to make the right connections... I could go through some of the others, but this is just a sampling.
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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Going from back to front...

I think all of the "prrof-of-concept" cards are pretty good as presented. The Browncoat Aid should probably be Border or Rim space, and honestly wouldn't need to be a Planetary Sector (Browncoats have ships too).

Now in those examples, the Favor Keyword doesn't honestly do anything. I think they work fine as Gear cards, plain and simple.

Favor WOULD come into play as a Keyword if there were other cards that circled back to them. Like Crew that allowed you to draw Favor cards from the discard, or a Leader that lets you flip through a Supply deck and start the game with the first Favor card that comes up (then shuffle the deck).

Doing Favors as a separate deck that you can dip into when you meet some prerequisite (like being Solid with x number of Contacts or something) is an option, but again, doesn't really require the Favor Keyword unless other cards will refer to them as mentioned above.

Permanent is something that WOULD make a good Keyword. Like Medic or Merc, which have some built in rules, Permanent has the built in rule that it gets attached to a Crew, and is lost with them. The only trick is what happens if that Crew is only discarded? It's too much to keep the Permanent card with that Crew. Honestly, I'd say that if a Crew has a Permanent ability, they are Removed from play instead of going to a discard pile. They retire, or get hired by another company or whatever - they're no longer available. And there are plenty more Crew where they came from. If they go to another ship, the Permanent card goes with them.

I'd shy away from including people as Gear. There's not really any reason to do it. It's OK to have Crew that aren't spectacular, and whose only function is to help with Niska or whatever. I suppose something like your Kids, or even, for some reason a baby, could be classified as Gear. It avoids them taking a Crew slot, but then negates their main task as a gun caddy. All said, I'm not sure that's necessarily something that needs to be a Keyword.
 
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George Krubski
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Thanks for the thoughts.

On FAVOR - There are currently some minor roles around them - a leader can "carry" 1 FAVOR for free - and if I ever rolled them out, there would probably be some supporting Gear... Maybe Crew who can carry a Favor for free, maybe something that allows you to pick up a FAVOR from a discard pile...

I could even see a rule that allows you to discard a favor with a certain Contact rather than losing Solid. As folks have been discussing, it becomes almost a "Solid plus."

I can see the keyword having significant comparable to (or more than) Medic, Mudder, etc... But I'm wondering if it may be to complicated.

PERMANENT - Interesting idea on removing an "upgraded" Crew from play. I think the main question with PERMANENT is whether they're worth adding, and whether they work well with the time scale of the game. Does it make sense that a character could pick up Medic Training of +1 Fight or whatever during the run of a single game?

On PEOPLE... I get the argument against, but given that we already have Passengers and Fugitives, is this really that big a leap? To me, it's just another way of interpreting individuals who are not necessarily dedicated to the cause of the captain. Consider:

Crew: Work for the captain.
Passengers/Fugitives: Want nothing to do with the captain's schemes.
"Living" Gear: Can be convinced to work for/with the Crew on an ad hoc basis.

 
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Karl Gallagher
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I like the concept of Favor but buying it off the deck feels wrong.

A Favor should be something you receive as part of completing a job. Deduct the cost of it from the payment, or have a roll and receive a favor on a 6.
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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With FAVOR, KISS tells me to not overthink the special rules. Having them not count as Gear is easy, and intuitive. Only being able to have one is also easy and intuitive. If Leaders have different rules, then it starts being more stuff to remember.

"Buying" them off the deck doesn't bother me, because as Gwek mentioned, the Buy action is a very broad and abstract thing. It's not a particular store, but more of a vast open-air marketplace with many, many stalls, basically covering the whole planet. All sorts of things are for sale, and people are for hire, and some might be connections, rumors, or favors, or obligations.

Permanents are cool. I think a cap of 1 is reasonable. It lets you upgrade Crew but not to the point where you're creating a one-man army.
 
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Dave Rowley
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selenite wrote:
I like the concept of Favor but buying it off the deck feels wrong.

A Favor should be something you receive as part of completing a job. Deduct the cost of it from the payment, or have a roll and receive a favor on a 6.

I too think "Buy"ing a Favour feels wrong.

Draw a random one from the Favour Deck and if applicable to the Contact (named on the Card), deduct the cost from a completed Job feels much better.

If the Favour isn't applicable or not wanted place at the bottom of the Deck, and have no discard pile.
 
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