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Firefly Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics
$34.99 $12.99
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Firefly Echoes of War: Thrillin\' Heroics
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Firefly Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Tim B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/26/2016 13:16:17

A neuronphaser.com review.

Echoes of War – Thrillin’ Heroics is aimed at starters — and makes a couple missteps for it — but it couldn’t possibly have nailed the ‘Verse any better. It’s also surprisingly complete for an "introductory" product.

It has:

The first round of Firefly RPG PDFs, which includes the entire Serenity Crew as well as the adventures (“Episodes”) Wedding Planners, Shooting Fish, Friends in Low Places, and Freedom Flyer. A pretty complete overview of the rules plus 12 Crewmember Archetypes, so you could easily play your own character aside from the crew of Serenity and handle any situation that would come up in an RPG. The “look and feel” of the ‘Verse in all its glory: the scenarios veer across the spectrum from being playful hijinks to serious life-and-death gunfights, much like the show. The open-ended nature of the scenarios make it easy to tailor, and most offer more than enough open space to stop them from feeling like a railroad, but still retain a clear storyline. All scenarios offer (at least) an entire page of follow-up adventure ideas and loose plot threads to expand for future heists, cons, jobs, hose-jobs, and anything else the crew of a boat might face.

It’s missing:

Substantial GM advice outside of the scenarios. The scenarios are very good for this, but if you’re looking for a lot of “how to be a good GM” in the rules section of the book, you won’t find it there. (Hint: it’s in the Firefly RPG Core Rulebook, and it’s incredibly well done.) Substantial character customization options. (Hint: Also in the Firefly RPG Core Rulebook, so this is hardly a criticism at all.) More in-depth examples. While the scenarios provide examples of what the Crew (the Player Characters) might do and plenty of outcomes, there are times when a walk-through might have been useful (or clearer, in the cases where there is one). The big example is the boat race scene in Shooting Fish, where each leg of the race is open to an awful lot of options (grenades from other boats or the crowd, boarding parties, other crowd shenanigans, etc.). There’s a lot going on in that part of the scenario, and it just feels like a case where “more would be better.” Another editing pass. Some of the “Way of Things” and “Lowdown” sections of various scenarios are awfully similar, and could have used a better way to convey the information more succinctly. It’s nice to have everything you need, but it’s hard to parse at the gaming table when it’s split over a couple different sections, both of which can get a bit wordy.

The adventures feature...

An arranged marriage (that can’t possibly workout) and a wedding attacked by pirates. (Wedding Planners) A pedal-to-the-metal boat race with absolutely no rules against blowing up the other boats. (Shooting Fish) A dirty profiteer and a scummy wolf-in-Shepherd’s clothing getting rich off indentured servitude…and they just crossed Mal’s old war buddy, Monty. (Friends in Low Places) A mechanic with a dark history who just wants to be free…but faces a jilted lover, a bad-ass bounty hunter, and an Alliance Major on the road to freedom. (Freedom Flyer) And all of these have tons of room for your Crew to get as personally involved as they ever could…for better or worse.

Conclusion: A

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Jeff P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/03/2015 09:45:47

Let me start out by explaining what this game is, so that you know what you'll be getting for your dollar. "Echoes of War" contains basic rules for the 'Firefly' RPG, stats for the characters from the TV show, and four complete adventures for the game. In short, it contains everything your crew needs to do a job, get paid, and keep flying.

The 'Firefly' RPG itself is a great game, with strikingly different gaming philosophy than you see in most other RPG's. It's also worth mentioning that the game mechanic used in the 'Firefly' RPG is significantly different from the system used in the 'Serenity' RPG a few years ago (which was also published by Margaret Weis Productions). This system is different enough from most other roleplaying games, in fact, that experienced gamers often struggle a bit with its basic concept, while people new to roleplaying often 'get' it almost immediately. Essentially, the difference is that die rolls drive the game's narrative-- creating character advantages or complications in the process which can become major plot elements in their own right-- instead of simply determining success or failure and leaving it to the GM to weave that result into his or her existing narrative. This does a couple of interesting things. First, the prospect of gaining complications actually makes the game better-- don't ask me how, but the game just seems to get better and better the more your character gets hosed by multiple complications. This is the thing that veteran players seem to have the most difficulty with when they play 'Firefly' for the first time, but if you've ever seen the TV show, it makes perfect sense: the show is at its best when things don't go as planned. You don't get to be a big damn hero unless you face unexpected wrinkles and complications, and building random setbacks into the game somehow tends to make characters all the more epic. This runs against the grain of most gamers' experience set, since in other games players try to stack the deck so that their characters always have the winning hand. The other thing that this mechanic does is that the process of assigning assets and complications through gameplay gives the players a degree of agency within the storyteller's overall narrative, which isn't as disruptive as it might sound, but also invests players in the way that story develops and unfolds. This system has a unique feel to it, making roleplaying a much more collaborative experience, but admittedly it isn't for everyone. People who take a very analytic, numbers-oriented approach to roleplaying-- experiencing it as a game-- will probably like it less than narrative- or character-driven players who primarily see roleplaying as a story.

That "not for everyone" quality is part of what makes "Echoes of War" such a great way to experience the 'Firefly' RPG for the first time. The buy-in price for this product (currently $12.99) is relatively cheap for a roleplaying product. While "Echoes of War" doesn't contain the full rules set, it's still more than just a quickstart adventure featuring a streamlined version of the system. Everything you need to play the game is contained within these covers-- and with four complete adventures included, you and your gaming friends ought to have plenty of material to cover to decide whether this game is for you.

The adventures themselves are above-average, with fully fleshed-out NPC's and settings and enough background information provided that the GM is well-prepared to handle situations which don't go quite as expected. As the title suggests, the adventures in "Echoes of War" are all built around the theme of how the Unification War marked and continues to haunt each of the cast members from the TV show. Since they're written for players and storytellers who may not be familiar with the game's full rules set, these adventures also do a great job of suggesting how to apply the game's rules to any number of circumstances which might pop up while playing them.

Browncoats unite! This product is a great way to try out one of the best games around right now, allowing you and your players to step into one of television's greatest science fiction settings ever. So pick it up, do a job, get paid, and keep flying today!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Tim R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/13/2015 16:39:14

Works as both a players-guide style rules summary and character-creation helper as well as containing a number of adventures. The first, with a wedding caper that could've come right out of hte actual show, is the best.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Walter H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/21/2015 17:16:05

Rather than purchasing the individual adventures, I bought this. For the price, this a wonderful supplement for the GM to pick up and use. My crew really loved Shooting Fish and Freedom Flyer. Wedding Planners, not so much... They were pretty neutral on the other. I loved Shooting Fish so much that I even adapted it run in my Edge of the Empire game.

If you're the GM, this is a good book and gives lots of good stories... it also gives a reprint of the characters from Serenity. I actually like the crew sheets from this more so than the ones out of the main book. Having a short section on how to play is also included, and a life saver when at the table... print it out, and have a copy or two on the table. Really helps the new players.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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