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"Firefly, the board game, a quick look." Topic

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675 hits since 5 Jan 2014
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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artslave Inactive Member05 Jan 2014 11:08 a.m. PST

I bought this game for my Godson for Christmas. I had seen many positive reviews and a special recommendation from a friend. I have had a chance to play twice, and enjoyed it immensely, even though I lost both games by a wide margin. I will confess to being a "Firefly" fan, so perhaps predisposed to a favorable acceptance of a few flaws. I was very pleasantly surprised! It is a terrific game! It drips with flavor, and game mechanics are quite simple and reflects the universe without getting in the way.

At it's core, this is an economic game of picking up goods and delivering them for cash. This was the plot motivation of the show, so this works. Along the way, players need to crew up and equip for the contracts. There are key skills that are needed to accomplish tasks, and equipment helps get a player out of sticky situations, as well as add pips to dice rolls. The goals of the game are determined by the Mission cards. Here is where it gets tricky/challenging/fun. There are legal and illegal, moral and immoral jobs. You will not be able to glide through with just legal jobs. Risk comes with reward, and there are many decisions about how, when and with which crew you can best succeed. It most often comes down to a series of contest rolls with the "Misbehaven" deck. Also, some jobs require a special devise or crew member. The missions are all challenging, and I recommend that beginners start with the introductory mission available on the game website. It will take you through a fun but less challenging game to get you familiar with the rules and strategies.

The components are high quality, and there are a lot of cards and counters, so plan on a large table for play. The money has the Chinese influence of the series, and is beautifully printed, 2 sided on very nice stock. This is a wonderful detail, and the most attractive game money I have ever seen. The attention to just this one aspect is very reflective of all the detail in every part of the game design. At first glance, I though the area movement board was rather simple-looking, but after playing 2 games, I realize the complexity of the movement grid. Players need to plot out moves very carefully. I love the Firefly ship tokens, and the Reaver and Alliance ship are also well done. These last two ships act a bit like the "Bandit" in Settlers of Catan. Movement cards often specify moving these ships, and deciding where to move them can effect other players.

All-in-all, this is a great game that is loaded with details and really captures the flavor of show. My one complaint would be the small number of Mission cards, but this should be corrected with further expansions. Not many games can make me feel I am playing an "almost" RPG in a board game format. I give it a "solid"!

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2014 5:15 p.m. PST

I'm sure there's a game in there, but I found it a little too random and too long for the payoff for my tastes. I haven't seen the series but still found the concepts engaging and the overall feel very thematic.

Definitely do NOT suggest you add the fifth player expansion – it adds too much to the playing time.

I'm willing to give it a third try, however.

artslave Inactive Member06 Jan 2014 1:13 p.m. PST

Many board games on my current play list take a couple of hours, so I don't find the playing time a problem. Also, as it is so seeped in Firefly story, the time is quite enjoyably spent. If it is a space trading game you seek without the link to a particular genre, then Merchant of Venus would be a better choice. I own both the old and the new version of MofV, and really enjoy it. I find the new game's "Standard Version" a very good solo game, and much better at that than the old out-of-print game. The "Classic" is still the best version for group play. It also has many elements, like missions and pilot advancement that makes it feel very similar to "Firefly". Both games rely on "Randomness" to build in re-playability. I think this is a strength and good selling point. I am quickly bored by games that are solved with one or two strategies.

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