Firefly

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Firefly: The Game
Firefly The Game.JPG
Competitive adventure game published by
Gale Force Nine
Authors Aaron Dill, Jown Kovaleski, Sean Sweigart
First Publication 2013

This is about the boardgame, not the TV show. We ain't that type of wiki.

Firefly is a board game by Gale Force Nine using the Firefly TV show as a theme... and as TV-show themed games go, it does a pretty great job of it. Yeah, all the items and characters are taken from the show, and yeah, it has that promo-game feel at times, but sometimes it actually helps you feel immersed in the setting. Well, as immersed as you can get from a board game, anyway.


Gameplay[edit]

General Play[edit]

Each player has their own captain and their own ship. In the base game there are five locations you can go to buy goods / get crew, and five locations you can go to get jobs from five contacts. Early on you probably can't get much done by yourself, so the first turn or two generally starts with a shopping spree to try and get the good stuff before the other players. Get jobs from your contacts, complete the jobs to make some money, spend money to upgrade your ship and crew, repeat. The most basic version of the rules sets the goal at 'first ship to 15k in cash wins', but the rules also include several variant conditions, including objective based play.

Movement[edit]

You have two options for movement. You can 'mosey' for a single square per turn (and your objective could easily be a dozen squares away), or you can spend fuel to do a full burn. If you do that, you have to draw a card from a deck based on what part of space you're in. Sometimes the cards say you're fine, and nothing happened. Sometimes you get a breakdown and wasted a fuel to move one square. Sometimes a Reaver shows up and kills everybody on your goddamn gorram boat. Each deck has one card for the worst case scenario (reavers out on the rim, an alliance cruiser looking to take all your stuff and possibly jail you and your crew in the core). When that card is hit, the whole deck is reshuffled, so it's always a possibility. When the deck gets down to five cards, you better hope you don't have anywhere important to be in that sector.

Stats[edit]

There are three core 'stats' of note, Combat, Speech, and Mechanical skill. Each captain starts with some of these (usually +1 in one, +2 in another, or some combo like that). Each crew member generally adds to these, and there's plenty of equipment to give you bonuses as well, though you can only use one equipment card per crew member. Most missions have some mandatory minimum score you must have before you're allowed to start them, thus further encouraging your lone captain to start the game by heading for the nearest store. Challenges are 1d6 + relevant score against a target DC.

Missions[edit]

Missions come in three varieties in general: fetch quests (go here, grab this, take it here), crime (go here, beat X random encounters from the 'I aim to misbehave' deck) or both (misbehave to get this thing to take there). Misbehaving can screw you up pretty bad if you fail, and if the above wasn't enough to convince you that you need a crew, consider this: your first misbehave card could have a DC12 check. Problem is, every crewmember on a job takes a cut from the job's profits.


But how does it play?[edit]

It sure as hell ain't this.

It takes a little bit to get into, but not as much as, say, Arkham Horror. Once you get going it's quite fun, and lends itself to a pseudo-roleplaying feel. There's a great feeling of tension present when you've got six warrants out on you, your objective is on the far side of alliance space, and you just don't have the time or fuel to risk sneaking through or doing a hard burn the long way around through the rim. The mechanics and special rules, even sometimes without any fluff on the cards, all feel logical and fitting with the setting. For instance, the crew member 'Stich' gives you the option to turn one social check into a combat check instead. Suddenly that "talk your way past the customs inspector or turn and run" card gains a new option: just shoot your way out of this.

The game is one of managing risk and reward, and daring moves can either put you in the lead quickly, or burn you out entirely. It's a lot of fun with the right sort of group. With the wrong sort, well, it is a competitive game. Some of the random event cards give you the choice to drop a Reaver ship or Alliance cruiser on somebody, a prospect that makes them roll to see just how bad it's going to be.

The game has a good amount of depth to it for several playthroughs at least, and there's a ton of expansions that can radically change the game (one of which turns the game into Arkham Horror, where if you don't win fast enough the Reavers swarm the board and everybody gets bad stuff. Get them all only if you've got a big table, or if trees killed your family, sending you on an insane path of vengeance.

See Also:[edit]

Board Games
Classics: Backgammon - Chess - Go - Tafl - Tic-Tac-Toe
Ameritrash: Arkham Horror - Axis & Allies - Battleship - Betrayal at House on the Hill - Car Wars
Clue/Cluedo - Cosmic Encounter - Descent: Journeys in the Dark - Dungeon!
Firefly: The Game - HeroQuest - Monopoly - Snakes and Ladders - Risk - Talisman - Trivial Pursuit
Eurogames: Agricola - Carcassonne - Settlers of Catan - Small World - Stratego - Ticket to Ride
Pure Evil: Diplomacy - Dune (aka Rex: Final Days of an Empire) - Monopoly
Others: Icehouse - Shadow Hunters - Twilight Imperium