From TV show to Film….To Board Game!
The TV series of Firefly has a cult following, only one full season was produced for Fox, before they axed it. Rumours that the patriotic Fox didn’t quite go for the future shared between the United States and China, hence the mandarin dialogue throughout the series. After the series ended, Joss Wheldon give the fans a look at what would have happened in future seasons with the movie Serenity. In the past, TV themed board games have not had a good track record in the crossover, however with rave reviews from Gencon, the board gaming community and fans of the series couldn’t wait to get their hands on this Galeforce 9 produced boardgame.
Cowboys in Space…You are a Browncoat lickin’ your wounds!!
Now the Firefly series is based on a western cowboy adventure space thyme, with the story arc of most episodes based on western drama; gunfights, bank jobs, pay heists and smuggling contraband in the shape of goods or people. There is even a backdrop of the failed Confederates against the Union with the Independents, known as Browncoats having failed in a rebellion against the Alliance. Guess which side you were on! Galeforce 9 has stayed true to the TV thyme with this game. You have your ship, you find a crew, negotiate and complete a job and keep on flying to the frontier worlds.
A Solo Adventure…Don’t Forget there are Goals to Achieve!!
The FireFly board game can be played solo, you pick a story card randomly or you personally select one you fancy doing. Each Story card has a main objective with sequential goals to complete the story objective. To achieve these goals you are going to have to progressively improve your crew, gear and ship. It is so easy to get carried away with the adventure of flying through space, getting jobs to accumulate the money to improve your crew and ship, fighting off Reavers and dodging the Alliance ship. That you can forget that you have to complete the goals to win the game.
An Adventure…But You have to Race to the Finish!!
This game play is carried over to a multiplayer session, each player has a crew and flies around getting work and improving their ship, gear and crew and hopefully be the first to finish all the goals to complete the story card. There is very little player interaction, if you land in the same sector you can trade anything with another player. If one of your crewmembers is disgruntled, the other player can pay the bank the hiring cost and the crewmember will jump ship. Apart from other players moving the Alliance and Reaper ships, that is the only interaction in the base game. So it feels more like a pickup and delivery race game in that aspect, but trying to reduce this game to that simple category would do it a great injustice. It is a very much an adventure game.
Solo Play…..It Doesn’t Feel that Lonely in the Deep Black!!
Solo play is an enjoyable experience, you start off with the standard leader and ship and drive core of your choice, pick a story card and four crew chosen from one of the supply decks and off you go. This greatly speeds up the initial take-off time of the game. Playing solo you are able to do all four actions in a turn; Fly, Buy – gear and hiring crew, Deal – Talking to Contacts opening up new opportunities and Work – completing jobs is how you get paid. Once you fly you will end your turn. In a solo game you start will all the 20 disgruntled tokens and at the end of each turn you discard one, this is used as a timer, so at the end of the 20 turns your game is over. It can get to be quite a tight affair, even though you start off with four crew and in effect you could start off at a supply planet and max out you crew in the first turn. All in all though I have enjoyed my solo plays in Firefly.
Multi-play…Flying the ‘Verse with All Guns Blazing!!
The multi-play version of the game is slower to start off, as you don’t start with any crew and you are confined to only doing two actions per turn. The plus side of this is that there is no time restraints to the length of the game, with players pacing themselves to achieve the goals of the story card. It could be that to achieve the first goal, you will need more crew with the negotiate skill and fight skill. Only for you to hire other crew with tech skill to complete the second objective. With limited funds, you might find yourself chasing those well paid, but risky jobs to be able to hire the right crew or ship parts. There is also the danger of the Reaper ship attacking you or the Alliance cruiser seizing all your contraband and issuing warrants. So you will want fake id and transport to negotiate and succeed at the misbehaving tests. Also if your crew gets disgruntled they could leave you and if you leader gets disgruntled he could just dump the rest of the crew off at the nearest planet. There is a lot to think about and if you over push your luck, it could backfire with disastrous results.
Theme…Does it all Fit!!
At the start of this blog we talked about the TV series and the film. This game drips in the theme, the rule book, the artwork on the cards, the money, which is gorgeous by the way, all fit. Any fan of the Firefly universe will GET this game, they won’t be looking at the mechanics of the game, the fact that you have to flip over a navigation card for every space of movement you do, that there is very minor player interaction, they will just simply get the game. That is important, because Firefly the boardgame is not some heavy space orientated game like Eclipse, it is an adventure game that is heavy in theme but not that heavy in gameplay. It just feels good and is fun to play, it makes you want to dig out that drizabone coat and strap that Malcolm Reynolds metal-plated pistol prop replica you bought and play some Martin Robbins soundtracks. Ok maybe that is going a bit too far, but I think you get the point.
Expansions…What they do for the Game!!
The Breakin’ Atmo game expansion introduces fifty new cards; 25 job cards and 25 supply cards. New jobs present new challenges for captains and their crews with payouts based on their skill levels. The additional supply cards offer new resourceful crew members for hire and specialized gear to help you pull off the big scores. This adds extra spice to the game, especially for solo play. In April we will see the Pirates & Bounty Hunters, the first full game expansion introducing a heavy dose of player-versus-player interaction to the ‘Verse. Raid rivals’ ships with piracy jobs. Hunt down wanted fugitives and collect bounties. Ready your crew for showdowns with brand new supply cards! Explore the ’Verse with two new ships. Aggressive new leaders specialize in anti-social strategies while Lawmen reward those bringing justice to the ’Verse. So as you can see Galeforce 9 has quickly reacted to any criticism to the game and this is a good thing, it means they care, enough to make Firefly the Boardgame a successful gaming experience.
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Paul Matthews is a Sales Manager for Gamesquest Ltd, as well as a part-time Board game Demonstrator and Blogger. After several years playing Yu-gi-oh at Tournament level, his latest passion is all things board gaming. Besides playing board games, Paul is a part time author and enjoys reading and archery. Paul has a Degree in Humanities Psychology/Counselling and several Life-skill Degrees in Parenting, Horse Management and Ecommerce.