It Came From the Tabletop! - Firefly: The Game

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10 Jan 2019 01:35 #289694 by WadeMonnig

Josh Look wrote: Awesome, glad you got the game to the table and that you enjoyed it.

I only just came across Local Color yesterday when I was looking on BGG for any good variants to speed the early game up. Haven’t had a chance to look into it but I will be.

Speaking of variants, I came up empty handed on my search. I forgot to mention on the epsiode, we do not start with the reshuffle cards in the decks even though the expansion rules tell you to do so. I’m not sure if that’s the right move since we never reshuffle the bigger decks, but that’s how we do it. I guess you could bury it in the last 1/4 of the deck and you could be alright.

I do think that some adjustment should have been made to the shop decks once the expansions came out and bulked them up. I think an easy fix would be to have a bigger starting discard pile, maybe 6-9 cards instead of 3.


Do you have the Esmeralda expansion? Check out the "Blitz" option or simply download the Esmeralda pdf from Gale Force Nine for how it works. Not sure if it would appeal to you or not.
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10 Jan 2019 06:23 #289695 by Josh Look
Just looked that up. Thanks, that’s just what I was looking for!
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10 Jan 2019 09:12 #289705 by Shellhead

WadeMonnig wrote: Funny how you you guys agree no pirates and bounty hunters but others swear by it.


I'm interested in picking up the pirates and bounty hunters expansion, because it would directly address the game's biggest flaw: low interaction between the players. But first I need to make an effort to get the base game on the table. I have only played once with friends, and the game ran long partly due to looking up rules. I have played it a dozen times by myself, and works well that way due to low interaction.

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10 Jan 2019 09:28 #289706 by Legomancer

ubarose wrote: People play IP games specifically because they want to participate in and simulate that IP. Stripping out the IP specific quirks and "nonsense" defeats the point of having a game with the IP.

It's similar to how wargamers want to play simulations of historic battles. You don't just strip out the hill in a Battle of Bunker Hill game because it gives one player an advantage over the other.


I get that, but too often I'm not playing in the world of that IP, I'm just replaying that IP. If Plorb the Mighty HAS to fight the Zagnog and lose his magic hat because dammit, that's how it went in the movie, then I may as well just watch the movie.

I know I'm kind of alone in this. As I said, I usually avoid things like this in the first place. It helps that I was a Doctor Who fan for so long, because all those games are terrible (the newest one isn't bad, but that ship has sailed) so I was okay ignoring them. When the Wallace one came out I briefly got excited but then saw the "jammy dodger" card (as with items in the Firefly game, a card representing a single joke that was referenced once in the show, but had to become A Thing) I knew I was still okay letting them go.

I don't deny that part of my hesitance and annoyance with IP games stems from a general frustration with fandom; that's my own thing.
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10 Jan 2019 09:47 #289708 by Josh Look

Shellhead wrote:

WadeMonnig wrote: Funny how you you guys agree no pirates and bounty hunters but others swear by it.


I'm interested in picking up the pirates and bounty hunters expansion, because it would directly address the game's biggest flaw: low interaction between the players. But first I need to make an effort to get the base game on the table. I have only played once with friends, and the game ran long partly due to looking up rules. I have played it a dozen times by myself, and works well that way due to low interaction.


I can’t advise against that expansion enough. As much as you think you want it, you do not want how this game handles it.

That expansion is what finally broke what years of being at this site instilled into me, and that’s that all games need interaction. It, like any design choice, should be used where appropriate. This game is not one of those cases.

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10 Jan 2019 13:15 - 10 Jan 2019 13:16 #289718 by WadeMonnig

Josh Look wrote: Just looked that up. Thanks, that’s just what I was looking for!


This is exactly the reason I love(d) Gale Force 9. With Spartacus/Firefly/Sons of Anarchy every expansion came with alternate/new/different rules that were presented with simple, straight forward way. "This speeds up the game" "This extends play time but adds a new layer for experienced players". And, by god, every little rule merged right and and gave you EXACTLY what they promised. As I mentioned in the interview with Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks designer, I was hoping for exactly that in the additional Doctor expansions. But, As Shellie mentioned, the ship has pretty much sailed on that at this point. The first expansions were promised a YEAR ago with them trotting out new ones every few months. Now it looks like they will dump them all at once (maybe) early this year.

On the Firefly: The Board Game front: I own the base game, Blue Sun, The Whole Damn Verse' playmat, Artful Dodger expansion, Esmerelda expansion, Jetwash expansion (Zoe as a pilot!), Breaking Atmo, Crime and Punishment, Custom player dice for all expansions, The promo card that came with Brigands and Browncoats for F:TBG, and Pirates and Bountyhunters.

I don't own: The card pack (which includes promo cards like floral bonnet and wash's dinos and Big Damn Hero cards with different stats for the firefly crew), Big Money pack (previously mentioned prop sized money replacement for the smaller cash in the game), and Kalidasa.

I picked up Pirates and Bountyhunters when GF9 restocked all the expansions about 9 months ago. I made a deal with my wife that I would not get Kalidasa right then but I could pick it up after we used ALL the other expansions I own for Firefly. I stll haven't managed to do that.

Edit: I also printed up cards and ordered mini's to add Blake's 7 to the 'Verse, which I do use all the time and if I ever get the expendable cash, I'm going to order professionally printed cards of this fan expansion.
Last edit: 10 Jan 2019 13:16 by WadeMonnig.

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10 Jan 2019 20:29 #289748 by engineer Al

Legomancer wrote: I enjoyed the Firefly TV show. I'm not one of the die-hards who think it was a masterful piece of brilliance untimely ripp'd from the broadcast screen, but it was fun.

The times I played Firefly, it wasn't fun, it was a slog. It was just moving, looking at cards, moving. Having the cards be something I also once saw on a TV show wasn't enough to excite me. And, in fact, coming across things like missions I'd automatically fail unless I have River (the character I disliked most on the show, by the way) was demonstrably un-fun. Seeing nonsense like the incredibly overpowered Jayne's Hat (which of course you HAVE to have because lol Jayne's Hat) just wasn't fun.

For me the game represented the absolute worst excesses of IP games. If I want to watch an episode of Firefly I'll watch an episode of Firefly. I don't want to play a game and have things be unbalanced or frustrating because "that's how it was in the show". I don't want to recreate something that already happened. (This is a large portion of why, almost as a rule, I avoid IP-based games, even if I like the IP in question. The temptation of the designers to value fan service over solid play is too tempting, mostly because the fans will almost always prefer the former. But my anti-fandom in general rant is for another day.)

Basically, in Firefly I guess I felt like the things which other players might enjoy were intrusive and shackling. And that navigating around them just got me to a pretty humdrum adventure/puad. I've got Xia coming to me soon and I think I'd rather that then see a card that reminds me of a thing on tv.


Wow Dave, you sure are passionate about your dislike for this game. I have to admit that when Josh said to me on the show that "some people hate" Firefly, I was kind of shocked for a minute. It's just such a perfect experience for me, hitting on my love for adventure games and science fiction storytelling at the same time. I do have to admit though, that you make a number of good points and I can see where you are coming from. I guess this is a game that either grabs you or it doesn't. Many games are like that, but this one is long. . .

We will NOT make you play Firefly with us.
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11 Jan 2019 08:51 #289779 by Shellhead

Legomancer wrote: The times I played Firefly, it wasn't fun, it was a slog. It was just moving, looking at cards, moving. Having the cards be something I also once saw on a TV show wasn't enough to excite me. And, in fact, coming across things like missions I'd automatically fail unless I have River (the character I disliked most on the show, by the way) was demonstrably un-fun. Seeing nonsense like the incredibly overpowered Jayne's Hat (which of course you HAVE to have because lol Jayne's Hat) just wasn't fun.

For me the game represented the absolute worst excesses of IP games. If I want to watch an episode of Firefly I'll watch an episode of Firefly. I don't want to play a game and have things be unbalanced or frustrating because "that's how it was in the show". I don't want to recreate something that already happened. (This is a large portion of why, almost as a rule, I avoid IP-based games, even if I like the IP in question. The temptation of the designers to value fan service over solid play is too tempting, mostly because the fans will almost always prefer the former. But my anti-fandom in general rant is for another day.)


Your points about your actual experience playing Firefly are all sound. The game can play at a better pace once players have some familiarity and actively focus on speeding up the game by plotting their upcoming turns out during downtime. A single AP player can tank Firefly. And it's true that there is at least one crime job where you can only succeed if you have River. And the expansion items for the Firefly crew, like Jayne's hat, are too good to be free items.

But your complaint about IP games in general is off the mark for the most part, at least with respect to designs by Gale Force 9. Their games do a great job of capturing the essence of the IP, while not forcing the game to be a close re-enactment (that would be the most popular games based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). And Gale Force 9 does a good job of making quality games that are pretty well balanced, given that they design in some assymetry from the start. Compare that with Root, which gradually reveals a strong bias in favor of the Woodland Alliance and the Vagabond.

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11 Jan 2019 09:55 #289786 by charlest
I'm with Dave on Firefly but not on IP games.

This game never worked for me. It's slow (I love/hate the move mechanism), it's all about fishing for people/gear, the economic heart of the game feels way off - worrying about repeatedly paying people and pinching pennies to buy gear, then all of the sudden you explode in cash late game which feels distinctly not Firefly.

I also don't like that the stakes of the game and the focus are not personal. This doesn't feel like the show at all to me, it more feels like you're just messing around in a setting ripped from the show.

I love GF9. All of their other games are a huge hit with me and I still have Homeland, Spartacus, Sons of Anarchy, and Browncoats and Brigands on my shelf. Browncoats and Brigands is a much better Firefly game that actually feels like the IP and creates spontaneous action, fallout, and consequences similar to what we see on screen. It's a much better game.

I see no reason to play Firefly over Merchants & Marauders, Xia, Western Legends, or Dungeon Degenerates.
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11 Jan 2019 10:53 #289792 by WadeMonnig
An odd but surprisingly effective way to speed up the game is have the person to your left flip the cards for movement as you move

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11 Jan 2019 11:00 #289795 by Shellhead

WadeMonnig wrote: An odd but surprisingly effective way to speed up the game is have the person to your left flip the cards for movement as you move


Better still, make it the player on your right. The player on your left should be planning their next turn, but the player on your right has just finished their turn.

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11 Jan 2019 13:31 - 11 Jan 2019 14:59 #289808 by WadeMonnig
True, but if you are moving ahead while the player to your right are looking thorough the buy decks, it can be a conflict. Using the player to the left also gives them a heads up that their turn is next. So you don't get that "oh, is it my turn?"
Last edit: 11 Jan 2019 14:59 by WadeMonnig.
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11 Jan 2019 14:30 #289813 by Space Ghost
I tend to agree with Dave and Charlie -- I never felt like this game captured the "adventure-y" feel of Firefly (I think that I sold/traded/gave my copy to someone here).

While I have always liked geeky things, I was never steeped in geek culture -- so some of my aversion to Firefly might be the uprising of geek culture around it that occurred while I was in graduate school. This makes it difficult for me to like due to the constant exposure (this is my own issues though and I try not to let it influence my game opinion) -- a similar thing happened in college when my roommate would only listen to the White Album for months at a time. I am just now getting to where I want to hear a Beatles song again.

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11 Jan 2019 16:00 #289818 by southernman

charlest wrote: ...
I love GF9. All of their other games are a huge hit with me and I still have Homeland, Spartacus, Sons of Anarchy, and Browncoats and Brigands on my shelf. Browncoats and Brigands is a much better Firefly game that actually feels like the IP and creates spontaneous action, fallout, and consequences similar to what we see on screen. It's a much better game...


It's funny how games mix with different people, my small group of four (very AT conflicty players) enjoy playing Firefly but in the one outing of my copy of Browncoats & Brigands none of us wanted to play it again.
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12 Jan 2019 10:39 #289846 by Josh Look

southernman wrote:

charlest wrote: ...
I love GF9. All of their other games are a huge hit with me and I still have Homeland, Spartacus, Sons of Anarchy, and Browncoats and Brigands on my shelf. Browncoats and Brigands is a much better Firefly game that actually feels like the IP and creates spontaneous action, fallout, and consequences similar to what we see on screen. It's a much better game...


It's funny how games mix with different people, my small group of four (very AT conflicty players) enjoy playing Firefly but in the one outing of my copy of Browncoats & Brigands none of us wanted to play it again.


Man, that game is a mess. Co-ops are a hard enough sell for me, tactical skirmish ones especially so, but B&B had so many fun ideas but was surrounded on all four sides by a wall of frustration. The rules, the physical product itself, the lack of content and the inconsistent quality of what content was there really made me question if what fun I had was worth it. I still don’t know the answer to that question, but that I had to ask it at all caused me to part ways with it.
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