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Firefly: A Day in the 'Verse

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25 May 2023 13:19 #339456 by Shellhead
I'm looking forward to the June announcement of the 10th Anniversary edition of Firefly: the Game. So far, they haven't disclosed price and only have two options: just the new expansion, or an all-inclusive set with the basegame, all the old expansions, and the new expansion. Once I receive the game, I intend to host a big game, 6 hours long, for up to 10 players. Yes, I have played before, and I know that the conventional wisdom is that this game should be played by just 2 to 4 players. But I ran a big game of Zombies!!! for 9 players a few years ago, and thanks to a few special rules to streamline play, the game ended in under two hours and everybody enjoyed it. I have more than a few local friends who enjoy board games and love Firefly, so I expect that I will get a decent turnout. I have burned three mixes of music (4 hours worth) that blend music from the Firefly soundtrack with some other alt country or fiddle music, plus other relevant songs like Cry Baby Cry by the Beatles.

So I am brainstorming ways to speed up play. Here is what I have so far:

1. Each player will have four notecards: FLY, BUY, WORK, DEAL. They must select one or two of these cards before their turn comes around and commit to taking only those actions on their turn. Each card will briefly summarize options for that action, like Full Burn or Mosey for FLY.

2. Each player will have five minutes to complete their turn, enforced by a five-minute sand timer. If a player hasn't finished their turn when the sand runs out, their current action will not be completed until their next turn.

3. The gameboard will be on the main table, which is big enough for Arkham Horror plus all the expansions plus 8 players. The contact and supply decks will be set up on two separate card tables, so anybody can get up and look through the discard piles at their leisure. I will strongly encourage players to do so when it isn't their turn, and lead by example.

4. If we have at least six players, I will divide them into two groups for purposes of turns. To clarify, let's say that Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Simon, Kaylee, and I sit down to play. Mal, Zoe, and Jayne will take their turns in that order, passing the sand timer between them. At the same time, Simon, Kaylee, and I will take our turns in that order, passing a second sand timer between us. (I have four identical five-minute sand timers, so we have a couple of spares in case somebody finishes their turn early.) In effect Mal, Zoe, and Jayne will be playing a game of Firefly at the same time as Simon, Kaylee, and I, using the same board and other components. At any given time, two players will be taking a turn. Players from either group can freely interact with each other according to the rules: piracy, stealing crew, making deals, etc. Everybody will be playing for the same victory condition according to the story card. If we have at least nine players, I will divide us into three groups for turns.

5. If we have two+ groups for turns, we might not need the sand timers. When I ran that big Zombies!!! game, I found that each turn group had an incentive to play quickly, in hopes of getting more turns than the other group.

Any suggestions?
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25 May 2023 13:23 - 25 May 2023 13:36 #339457 by Virabhadra

Shellhead wrote: Any suggestions?


Invite me! I'll bring mudder's milk.

Make sure that soundtrack has some Punch Brothers on it.
Last edit: 25 May 2023 13:36 by Virabhadra.
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25 May 2023 13:45 #339458 by Shellhead
I don't have any Punch Brothers yet, but I will definitely look into them because I want to burn one more music mix for this event. I live in a suburb of the Twin Cities, so you are welcome to attend if you are in the area. First I need the game, and then I need to set a date.

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25 May 2023 13:59 #339459 by Shellhead
On the fourth mix, I will also include some songs from the Serenity soundtrack, plus the notorious ballad The Hero of Canton.

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25 May 2023 14:06 #339460 by Sagrilarus
Looking forward to your post-game report and lessons-learned.

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13 Jun 2023 13:39 #339668 by Shellhead
The official launch of the Gamefound (Kickstarter-type site) for the 10th anniversary edition of Firefly: the Game was today. I randomly checked in on the countdown during a break this morning, just in time to catch the final five seconds of the countdown. I had a walkaway number in mind, a price that would get a NO from me, but the all-in-one box came in under my limit, at $220 USD. Plus $15 for shipping. I was glad to see that there were some other options besides just getting the new material, but none of them were as favorably priced and they didn't directly address the gaps in my collection.
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13 Jun 2023 16:18 #339673 by Msample
2600 backers/$630K raised already, impressive.

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13 Jun 2023 16:27 #339675 by Shellhead
Their minimum goal for this kickstarter (ok, gamefound) was $100K, so those pledges rolled in fast this morning. Still 23 days to go before they stop taking pledges and set the production in motion.

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13 Jun 2023 16:31 #339676 by Shellhead
One of my potential players says that he refuses to play games with timers. That seems like a warning sign of an AP player, but I have played a few games with him in the past and he was good about taking his turns in a timely manner. On the other hand, he invited a nice couple to my New Year's Day board game day without giving me a heads-up, and the reason I didn't invite them myself was because the husband is one of the worst AP players I know. I have heard that the general rule of thumb for Firefly is about an hour per player, assuming experienced players. No room for AP guys.
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13 Jun 2023 20:47 #339681 by dysjunct
I have successfully talked myself out of this one. I already have a big sandboxy western, just without the spaceships -- Western Legends.

It does look cool though; if Firefly had ever managed to become more than a truncated TV season and a movie, I'd be into it. It would be nice to live in that universe.
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14 Jun 2023 08:08 - 14 Jun 2023 08:09 #339682 by Ah_Pook

dysjunct wrote: I have successfully talked myself out of this one. I already have a big sandboxy western, just without the spaceships -- Western Legends.

It does look cool though; if Firefly had ever managed to become more than a truncated TV season and a movie, I'd be into it. It would be nice to live in that universe.


Yea I've wanted to play firefly for a long time but realistically I have xia which pretty much fills this exact niche already, plus merchant of Venus which is also one of my all time favorite games. I don't think I have a $220 hole in my collection looking to be filled at this point. My wife loved firefly the show at one point, so if she got all hyped about it I could be persuaded but it seems unlikely.
Last edit: 14 Jun 2023 08:09 by Ah_Pook.

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14 Jun 2023 08:11 #339683 by Ah_Pook

Shellhead wrote: One of my potential players says that he refuses to play games with timers. That seems like a warning sign of an AP player, but I have played a few games with him in the past and he was good about taking his turns in a timely manner. On the other hand, he invited a nice couple to my New Year's Day board game day without giving me a heads-up, and the reason I didn't invite them myself was because the husband is one of the worst AP players I know. I have heard that the general rule of thumb for Firefly is about an hour per player, assuming experienced players. No room for AP guys.


I would just assume that this game is going to be very long, and play with people you enjoy the company of. But you do you. If someone pulled out a timer I'd be out, no question.
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14 Jun 2023 09:34 #339684 by Shellhead
Maybe I am overly sensitive about analysis paralysis because I have a few memories of games where one plodding player completely drained the experience of all fun. It's usually only a problem with games that have an excessive amount of open information on the table, but certain players seem to get overwhelmed by that information, even when most of it is irrelevant.

For examples, Zombies!!! is a pretty simple game. A player's turn shouldn't take more than a few minutes, if that. But there might be 50 or even 100 zombies on the table, and you get to move 1d6 of them a single space each turn. Some people can zero in and recognize that the only zombies worth considering are close to players or the helicopter, but some people feel the need to deliberate over all 50+ zombies, every turn. This made every game drag, until I tried my experiment with dividing players into two teams and having each team share a turn marker. The mild time and peer pressure helped people focus and keep the game moving at a good pace, and everybody was happy about it.

My very worst AP experience was during playtest games of the 25th anniversary edition of Divine Right. Game designer Glenn Rahman happened to live just a few miles away from me, so I recruited two friends to help him playtest. Every hour we played consisted of about 15 minutes for our turns and 45 minutes for Glenn's turn. He seemed to be completely oblivious to the game during our turns (unless one of us was in a battle or siege with him), and then would seem slightly startled by the start of his own turn, like "Hmm, what is going on now? What is happening here? And over here?" Two of us gave up after four playtest games, but the third guy found other players and kept going. I think that the game was supposed to be the 20th anniversary edition of Divine Right, but it took Glenn five extra years to finish the new edition and get it published. The publisher wasn't TSR or any other board game company, it was Right Stuf, an American distributor of anime and manga.
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14 Jun 2023 10:16 #339685 by hotseatgames
I can appreciate the pain that a single AP player can introduce. While he's no longer in my group, I used to play with a guy I'll call "Tim", on account of him being named Tim. Tim valued victory above all else, and would over-analyze and suck the fun out of every game, just to make sure he maximized his chance at victory.

Any time I was working on a game design that I wanted to test on the group, I would always strive to "Tim-proof" it. Even now, if someone is taking too long on their turn, we say things like "It's fine, Take your tim" :D
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14 Jun 2023 10:30 #339686 by ChristopherMD
I no longer own it but I've played Firefly dozens of times in the past. Including with an AP player in 4-player games. Here is the important thing I learned. The game is very near to multiplayer solitaire. So you can mostly ignore turn order and have everyone can go at the same time. Most of the game everyone is on different parts of the board anyways. If someone does want to reach a discard pile first or attack or something they just ask for turn order to happen. But most rounds of the game it won't matter. However I do assume familiarity with the rules as we didn't play this way until many games in. In this way a heavy AP player won't hold up individual turns so everyone else can get their shit done and then as a group tell the last person to hurry. And in my experience 50/50 chance we'd all help the AP player talk shit out for what to best do. All friends and just a game.
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