Posts tagged ‘firefly’

GenCon 2015 Part 2

Blaugust 2015 Day 03

I spent the first half of Friday at GenCon in the Exhibit Haul Hall.

2015-07-31 10.37.18Harebrained Schemes was demoing a new game called Necropolis.  It’s a take on the Roguelike genre, which I’m usually not a fan of, with a really cool art style that reminded me a bit of Massive Chalice, which I really liked. I didn’t get very far the few times I ran through the demo, but it’s definitely something I’m going to keep an eye on despite the fact that I’m not totally sure it’s the kind of game I’ll enjoy. Not to mention my already ridiculous backlog of games to play.

2015-07-31 11.27.44The other video game I demoed was the new multiplayer for Handelabra’s Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Video Game. This is a really great adaptation of my favorite super hero card game. Sentinels the original card game has been criticized for being too fiddly. I can sympathize with that but don’t mind it myself. If that did bother you or your just interested in trying out the game without investing in the tabletop version, the video game adaptation is really excellently done.

The multiplayer session I tried out is still in beta but looks to be just as high quality as the single player game. Too be honest I wasn’t super enthused about it before my demo, but I’m pretty excited to play more multiplayer in the Steam beta and cross-platform on my tablet after it launches.

Besides video games, I demoed and purchased Apocalypse Chaos from Z-Man games. It’s like a puzzly smaller cousin to Space Hulk. I picked up a Kickstarter edition copy of a interesting looking tower defence game called The King’s Armory. And despite my preordering the most recent Firefly the Game expansion through my local shop in order to  keep from impulse buying it at the convention, Gale Force 9 had a gorgeous playmat version of the board for $40 that I just couldn’t pass up.

I only attended one panel the whole convention. The Writer’s Symposium track at GenCon included a panel on Interactive Fiction that Joe Dever was on that I couldn’t miss.

IMG_0303I also go the chance to meet up with Nos (in the center of the photo), one of the hosts of Kerbalcast. We hung out for forty-five minutes with another listener who was there and got to talk about the podcast, Kerbal Space Program, and board games. I’ve guest hosted on podcasts before, but this was the first time that I’ve met someone I listen to regularly in person.

After that I met up with Todd again and we did a D&D session of Harried in Hillsfar. This was my first ever role-playing experience at GenCon and my first in-person D&D session since college. I was a little nervous about it to be honest, but it went very well. I had a lot of fun, and my Dragonborn Sorcerer Kaar narrowly survived his ordeal.

Todd and I finished off the night playing Android Netrunner ( he won) and Apocalypse Chaos (we lost).

2015-07-31 23.53.49

One “small” section of the GenCon Play Hall

It was another early morning, late night for me but well worth it.

As always, it isn’t too late to join in and catch up. Well it is if it’s not still August 31st, but go check out the Blaugust Initiate Page anyway, there’s always next year.

Firefly Online

FFO_bgrdFirefly Online (FFO) was announced over a year ago at 2013’s San Diego Comic Con. I watched the teaser video and got excited. Then I saw in the video description that is was a “multi-user, social online role-playing game that will initially be available for smartphones and tablets” and got depressed. I’ve kept a hopeful eye on it anyway, and over time the direction of the game seems to have changed dramatically. Or it could just be that someone really screwed up the original PR for the game.

IMG_20130723_132123One of the reasons why I kept an eye on the project, aside from sheer contrariness and masochism, was that QMx was listed as working on the project with Spark Plug Games. Quantum Mechanix has made a lot of really nice Firefly merchandise including the Serenity Little Damn Heroes Maquette that I have on my shelf. This gave me a little hope that the game would at least look good and be true to the series.

A game play article posted near the end of 2013 specifically called out the social tag as well as clarified that the game would be available on desktops, both of which helped allay my initial fears. Based on an article about persistent play, it actually looks like the mobile platforms will be for a limited subset of the game features. If the actually game works like the article outlines, it will actually be pretty nice and something that myself and many other players have been wanting for Star Trek Online’s Duty Officer system. It would be great to be able to manage Doff assignments from my phone rather than having to wait until I can log into the full game.

With the Big Damn Heroes announcement earlier this summer, I’m getting cautiously excited about the game. Spark Plug Games has already gotten voice work recorded by Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Ron Glass, and Sean Maher. At the time of posting Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, and Summer Glau were scheduled to come in. And Gina Torres is still getting the timing worked out. I really hadn’t expected SPG to get that kind of support for the game. It’s also interesting from a timeline that Ron and Alan are doing voicework.

The release date has been pushed back two quarters from summer 2014 (which is nearly over anyway) to spring 2015, so I’ll have a while longer to wait and see if my initial skepticism was warranted. I have to say though that I like that the release was pushed back. It says a lot about Spark Plug, QMx and Fox that they were willing to invest several more months into the project rather than just release with what they had and fix it afterwards. Not every development studio gets that kind of support.

Day 22 of Blaugust

Firefly the Game

Firefly BoxMade by Gale Force 9Firefly the Game let’s you return to the ‘Verse to “Find a Crew, Find a Job, Keep Flying.”

What’s in the Box

Let’s talk about the physical bits first. There are a lot of parts. A lot. Starting with cards there are two decks for events while flying (forty cards each), one for Alliance space and one for Border space. There are five decks for contacts to pickup jobs, and five decks for supply planets where you can hire crew and buy gear and ship upgrades (25 cards for each deck). There’s a deck of forty “Aim to Misbehave” cards for use with completing illegal jobs. There’s a small deck of eleven setup cards with ship captains and starting equipment, and there are six oversized an oversized story cards with game goals. That’s two decks for setup and 13 for use while playing. Besides cards, there are also tokens for passengers/fugitives, cargo/contraband, crew morale, parts, fuel, warrants/goals, and a dinosaur marker to pass around to whoever’s turn it is. There’s also money in four credit denominations: $100, $500, $1000, and $2000. There are four ship cards, four ship models, an Alliance cruiser model, a Reaver model, a dinosaur token, and finally the game board itself.

It is a lot of stuff to get out of the box and get set up. Generally it’s been taking me between 15 and 20 minutes to get from opening the box to starting my first turn.

Full four player game setup.

Full four player game setup.

Despite how much stuff comes with the game it is extremely well made. The cards, money, and tokens are all printed on heavy stock. It looks and feels very durable. The art on everything is straight from the TV show and includes quotes to add context. I wanted to specifically highlight the money as it is gorgeously detailed with vibrant colors. As a fan of the show, the game is so well made that I would’ve been happy just as a collector.

Alliance Cruiser Firefly and Reaver Cutter
Alliance Cruiser, Firefly Class, and Reaver Cutter

Gorgeous Credits
Gorgeous Credits

The rulebook is eighteen pages, full color, and includes more photos and quotes from the show. The directions are decent although like any game I ran into some details I wasn’t sure of when I sat down to play. GF9 has been super communicative though and has been answering questions on the Firefly forum at Board Game Geek and has published an FAQ on the site for the game (you can also read the rulebook online).

Travel the 'Verse!

Flying a Firefly

I’ve play four times so far since I picked up the game from GenCon. Three times solo and once with a friend.

My first solo session that game was everything I wanted as a Firefly fan, but when I think solely about the actual game play it’s just a standard pick up and deliver game. So probably not worth getting if you’re not a Firefly geek and already own similar type games.

My first group session was more fun, although it felt a little too short to me. Partly that was because my friend and I were using a newbie friendly Story Card GF9 had on their site [link] which was intended for only an hour session instead of the normal two, and partly because I played the same way in that game as I did in my first solo. Taking legal shipping and transport jobs.

I had a much better time on my third play session (and my fourth). I used the same solo card as the first time but instead of trying to win by finishing 20 turns with $15,000 credits I decided to try the goal where you win by getting solid with all five contacts, meaning you’ve successfully finished a job for each one. Because of this I had to work for Niska and Badger, both if whom I’d been avoiding since all of Niska’s and most of Badger’s missions a free illegal. Doing these jobs required passing challenges from the Misbehaving deck, and that’s really where the fun part of the game is.

Taking legal jobs makes for a pretty basic logistics game. Finding the shortest route, trying to optimize by picking up multiple jobs starting close to one another with destinations along a consistent path. Playing this way you don’t really need much crew outside of a pilot and mechanic in order to avoid Reavers. The illegal jobs however require more planning as you need to try and find crew and equipment to cover all of the different possible challenges that will come up. This means hitting certain planets known for equipment or crew of a certain type, and balancing those expenses against the payouts for the jobs. Hiring crew also means keeping track of if any of them are wanted by the Alliance, and making sure contraband and fugitives are in your stash in case of a customs check. Knowing which crew are moral and handling morale if doing an immoral job. Plus, illegal jobs also pay a lot better. Seriously.

Mal Inara Misbehaving

Mal armed with a Pistol & Inara Misbehaving on a Job

Recommendation

If you are a fan of the TV series and like board games, buy it. GF9 did an incredible job translating the experience of being a Firefly captain to a board game. It’s well worth the $50. By the way, there are no references to the events of Serenity which is a major plus in my opinion.

If you aren’t a fan of the show it really depends on what games you already own and enjoy. As a pure delivery game it is pretty shallow until you get into the illegal jobs. If you’re interested in the outlaw side of the fame, I think there’s enough there to keep the game interesting even ignoring the theme. You’re still missing out on a major part of the experience though.

Firefly Comics from Dark Horse

You know how often you see something but you’re seeing what you want or expect to see and not what’s actually there? Catching up on my news in Feedly yesterday, I caught this story on The Mary Sue (who got it from CBR here) with the title “You’re Getting Post-Serenity Firefly Stories Thanks To Dark Horse.”

My initial reaction was, “More Firefly? Awesome!” Then as I read the article the wording of the title started to sink in.

Post-Serenity.

I had always hoped that if/when the Firefly Verse returned that it would pick up where the TV show ended and just treat the movie like a Marvel What If comic. I didn’t hate the movie, but and I’ll try to say this without spoilers just in case, there were some pretty significant events in the movie that felt contrived to me. They just didn’t feel like they were necessary for the story, it felt to me more like Joss was trying to just go out with a bang.

Regardless, I’m sure I’ll pick up at least the first book when it comes out, because I can’t not at least give it a shot. Still, I would’ve really loved to have seen them pickup from the last episode of the television show and give us the graphic novel version of the series that Fox screwed up.