Firefly: The Game – A Shiny Game Set in the ‘Verse!

Firefly: The Game - A Shiny Game Set in the 'Verse!
Firefly: The Game

Aim to Misbehave as a captain of your very own Firefly class ship.  Hire some crew, take on jobs and keep flyin’. That’s the aim of Firefly: The Game

Aim to Misbehave as a captain of your very own Firefly class ship.  Hire some crew, take on jobs and keep flyin’. That’s the aim of Firefly: The Game.

Firefly: The Game is a highly thematic game with heavy pick-up-and-deliver mechanics. Five Contact decks (Amnon Duul, Badger, Harken, Niska, and Patience) provide the jobs you can take on: some are perfectly Legal, some not so much (requiring Misbehaving) and others are downright Immoral. Types of jobs you might take on include: shipping (picking up and delivering Cargo), smuggling (picking up and delivering Contraband), transporting Passengers or Fugitives between planets, and Crime (Misbehaving at a particular location). Do the Job – you Get Paid, sometimes with a Bonus if you have the right crew. Successfully completing a Job for a Contact also makes you Solid with him. Get a Warrant while Working a Job for a Contact and you’ll lose your Solid reputation with him. Players can maintain up to three active jobs at a time and hold three potential jobs in their hands.

To work your jobs, you’re gonna need a good crew and some useful equipment like weapons, Transport, maybe even a Fake ID or Fancy Duds. Both crew and equipment are available at the five Supply Planets in the ‘Verse, each with its own Supply Deck (Osiris, Persephone, Regina, Silverhold, and Space Bazaar). They don’t all carry the same selection, though.

To get wherever a job takes you, you’re gonna have to Fly through both Alliance territory and Border Space. If you’re flying at Full Burn, it’ll cost you some Fuel and you’ll have to draw from the appropriate deck (Alliance for blue-bordered sectors and Border Space for yellow-bordered sectors) and resolve any story events you encounter which are reminiscent of events in the TV series. Moseying Along is always a safe option: it doesn’t cost any fuel, but you only move one sector at a time. If you’re carrying Contraband or Fugitives, you’ll probably want to avoid the Alliance Cruiser (they’ll seize your Contraband and Fugitives, may arrest Wanted Crew and will impose fines for any outstanding Warrants). Of course, you’ll always want to avoid Reavers – they’re just mean and ugly no matter what.

Firefly: The Game - the Captains

Firefly: The Game – the Captains
Photo courtesy of Christopher Ross.

Players begin the game with some Credits, fuel, parts and a handful of jobs, then take turns selecting a ship and a captain (highest roll goes first). In reverse order, they choose their starting positions – no two ships in the same sector. One of six Story Cards sets up the scenario and tasks necessary to win.

Game play in Firefly: The Game is pretty straightforward. On your turn, you can perform two different actions in whatever order you like. Possible actions include:

Fly – You can fly at Full Burn, burning fuel and drawing a card for each sector traversed or Mosey Along one space.

Buy – If you’re at one of the five Supply Planets, you can hire Crew and/or buy Gear, Fuel and Parts or send your crew on Shore Leave with a few Credits (helps soothe Disgruntled Crew).

Deal – If you’re at a Contact’s location, you can acquire Jobs. If your reputation with the Contact is Solid, you can do other business with him, too. For example, Badger will Clear Warrants for you – if you grease his palm with 1000 Credits, and will pay decent money for both Cargo and Contraband. When you’re Solid with Harken, you may ignore Customs Inspections and buy Fuel from the Alliance Cruiser. Each contact offers his or her own special service, so it’s good to be Solid with as many as you can.

Firefly: The Game Misbehavin card

Aim to misbehave when working a job in Firefly: The Game.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Ross.

Work – Working a Job is how you Get Paid and keep flyin’. Some jobs have a list of Needs you’ll have to meet before you can begin the job.  Legal jobs are no problem, they usually involve picking up Cargo or Passengers and delivering them somewhere else. Illegal Jobs, however, will require you to Misbehave a bit. To Misbehave you’ll draw one or more cards from the Aim To Misbehave deck and deal with them one at a time. This deck, in particular, is rich with story events from the Firefly television series. Each Misbehave card will end in one of three ways: Proceed (allows you to continue working the job), Attempt Botched (oops, something went wrong, you’ll have to try again later) or Warrant Issued (something went really wrong, you failed and now the authorities are aware of your involvement – you’ve also lost your Solid reputation with the Contact who gave you the job).  When you complete a job, you Get Paid and pay your Crew their cut. If you don’t pay them, they get Disgruntled. Moral Crew also get Disgruntled when you complete an Immoral job. It’s good to keep your crew happy. Disgruntled Crew can be hired away by other Captains (players) and will Jump Ship if things get worse. Instead of Working a Job, you can alternatively use a Work action to Make Work – mucking out stables or some such – to earn 200 Credits if you’re in a planet sector and have nothing better to do.

Firefly: The Game ships

Firefly: The Game ships. The blue, green, orange and yellow are player ships. The red is the Reaver cutter and the grey is the Alliance.

As my husband likes to say, “Firefly: The Game is just dripping in theme!” The incidental stories that arise as you complete your turns, scenes right out of the series, are what makes playing Firefly: The Game fun and memorable. For me, a major Firefly fan-girl, it made the decision to purchase the game a no-brainer. I’ve got all of the expansions, too!

Pirates & Bounty Hunters introduces a heavy dose of player vs. player interaction to the ‘Verse while the small card expansion Breakin’ Atmo adds 25 new Jobs and 25 new Supply cards. The Blue Sun Expansion is a must-have if you loved the movie Serenity or want to add even more thrills and  excitement to your ‘verse.

Firefly: The Game - Blue Sun Expansion

Firefly: The Game – Blue Sun Expansion
A must have!

Firefly: The Game – Blue Sun Expansion adds a whole new Rim Space board with the Blue Sun system containing a new Supply Planet, Meridian, with lots of new Gear for purchase and Crew for hire, and Reaver Space attempting to contain the Reavers around Miranda. Two new Job Contacts – Mr. Universe and Lord Harrow – provide new opportunities and game-changing challenges, while the original Job Contacts acquire new Jobs for you as well. Three new Story Cards and two new Leaders provide new strategies for players to execute. Rim Space is not for the faint-hearted, though. A new Nav Deck for Rim Space, two more Reaver Cutters, and new rules for moving the savage cannibals, puts Reaver activity on the rise and the entire ‘Verse on high alert! Any ship pushing past Border Space out towards the raggedy edge of space had best be ready to deal with what’s out there.

I highly recommend Firefly: The Game to anyone who loves the Firefly television series or the movie Serenity. If you’re not a Firefly fan the story references will be lost on you, but you might still enjoy it if you like highly thematic games like Arkham Horror, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, etc. Firefly: The Game, however, is not a cooperative game at all. It’s every captain for herself: Find a Crew, Get a Job – Keep Flyin’.

Firefly: The Game supports 1 to 4 players – yes, you can play it solo – ages 13 and up and plays in 2+ hours. Five can play if you have the Artful Dodger promo expansion, though it makes for a really long game.