So, I got an opportunity at the local Meetup group in Albuquerque to play Firefly with one of the system leads, Mark Truman. I was interested to see if someone with familiarity in the game would run it dramatically differently than I had, and whether my opinions regarding the game would change. We ran through one of the canned adventures from MWP, and he had obviously run the game a few times. It was well tailored to the selection of characters we had. The experience as a player was much easier than that of GM for the game. I found I was having a good time (as I did running the game), but was able to focus on the mechanics and how they played because I only had to focus on one character. (I played Zoe.)

So how did it play? I thought the players dove in well and utilized the rules much more enthusiastically than my group had. This is a typical experience for one-shots and convention games, I’ve found. The simplified character attributes and skills (as compared to Serenity) worked well for the pacing, and the distinctions allowed for some good mechanical advantages for the dice pools. As the night went on, especially in the main action piece, the dice pools ballooned and were hard to keep track of as assets and complications were created. At one point we had over a dozen stickies with notes on the table to keep track of the action. In the hands of a gamemaster with experience in running the game, it seemed to flow no better or worse than it had for me.

So in the end, what is the verdict as a player, rather than a GM? One — it’s still a good game, and I think the rules could be adapted very very well to other settings (Star Trek or Star Wars particularly!) Two — the assets and complications quickly get out of hand, even if players are spending plot point to step them back. Three — the asset/complication mechanic seems is supposed to enhance player contribution to the narrative, but I found it hampered the gamemaster while only allowing a little extra power to the players. How? I noticed that the asset or complications on the table felt, often, like they had to be taken into a account…whether that was the case or not, the sticky was there, crying to be used. Four — the assets and complications, and the plot points, are much, much more manageable than they were in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

The final verdict: Firefly is a good game that is potentially a great one for new players. There are still a lot of moving parts to the game at times, and I think that could swamp a new gamemaster. It’s a buy.

[p.s. A lot of people are getting frustrated (myself included) by the constant delays in the release. This seems to be tied to coordinating all the publishing nonsense that goes with a simultaneous international release — copyrights, shipping, yadda yadda…]

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