Firefly – The Board Game

Burn the land and boil the sea, but you can’t take the sky from me!

Gamers and geeks alike both tend to love Joss Whedon’s short lived TV show about cowboys in space: Firefly.  This cult classic follows Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his rag tag crew of outlaws, fugitives, and respectable “Companions” on daring missions through the ‘verse, outrunning the authorities (known as the “Alliance”) and Revears (a group of men gone mad on the edge of space).

The board game mimics the TV show, you play as one of many possible captains (although sadly, Captain Mal is not an option) traveling through the ‘verse, hiring crew members at one of several possible ports, gaining jobs from some less than reputable characters, and trying to complete a daring mission.

The game uses one of several possible missions to dictate the goals and win condition for the game.  Each game, one of these missions is drawn at random, or if it’s your first game, there is a recommendation for the mission you should run.  Everything you do in the game cultivates in you being able to accomplish the three goals on the mission card.

To take the slow path through the outer edge of the verse, or to move quickly and efficiently through Alliance space… do you remember that dilemma coming up on the show?  Yep, all the time, and you’ll find yourself asking the same question of yourself.  The game did a wonderful job of mimicking this common dilemma, and many others.  Such as running out of fuel and trying to conserve what you have, deciding whether to take risky salvage jobs or stay on course, and of course giving you lots of options to turn on each other, should you wish to capitalize in that way.

Review of
'Firefly'
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The game is fun, especially for a fan of the show.  There is nothing quite like the excitement of finding Wash at one of the border planets, or River Tam.  However, the game has one large draw back:  length.  Every mission in the box says it takes two hours, and the first time I played and it took a lot more than that, I chalked it up to learning time.  However, when the fifth game I played took the same time, I decided that maybe the box lied to me.  This is not a two hour game.  I don’t care how good you are at it.  This is a three and a half hour game, longer if you are inexperienced or find yourself fiddling around running side quests.

Fans of the show are not going to be disappointed, although the jokes, and some mechanics meaning, may be lost on people who aren’t brown coats.  The game holds up as a game without being a fan boy, but it’s coolness factor goes down dramatically, and some cards seem down right “broken” when seen through the eyes of a non-fan.  For example, River Tam is free to pick up, and her ability is crazy powerful.  Even more so when you also have her brother, Simon, as part of your crew.  Of course this makes sense if you have seen the show, but from an outsider perspective, it seems like a major oversight.   But really, Gale Force 9 (the publisher of the game) didn’t make a game about cowboys in space, they made a Firefly game.  They were aiming squarely for the fan boy market, and they hit their mark.

I am a brown coat, and I aim to misbehave.  So I have really enjoyed playing the game.  Mechanically, it’s certainly stronger than many other TV show based games, but it doesn’t stand up next to many other meatier “gamer games”.  Folks who aren’t fans, beware.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Friday, October 4th, 2013 at 12:31 pm and is filed under Theme Games, Uncategorized . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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