One last job I have to do. I’ll finally be the owner of a second-hand spaceship. My pride and joy is a series 3 transporter from Coachworks Ltd. But the only problem remains the crew. In order to pay my debts to the loan shark, I have to cancel the salary for my crew this one time. Of course this will annoy them, but they are receptive to convincing arguments and if all this doesn’t help, they should get off the boat. On Osiris, I’ m sure I can find a new crew. Welcome to the world of Firefly: The Game.
Find a crew
There are many conversions to films or series in the board game area. Some of them are simply adaptations of known mechanisms. A Walking Dead Monopoly still remains a Monopoly under the hood, and a Game of Thrones Catan remains a Catan in the end. And then there are games that take a license and build a game around it. The Godfather of CMON, for example, lets you dive deep into the world of the Mafia. And Firefly is one of them. You take on the role of a captain. At the beginning you are alone on your big ship, with a little starting capital and a tank filling, now a whole universe is waiting for you to be explored.
Depending on the scenario, different goals must be achieved. The first one to achieve three of them wins the scenario. It goes without saying that this will not be easy, of course. After all, each scenario takes about one to two hours of playing time. But this time will fly by, because thanks to simple rules, even with four players there is very little downtime. Basically you choose two different actions during your turn: You fly your ship, you buy equipment or hire a new crew, you negotiate a new job, or you do a job that makes you money again.
Find a job
Of course Firefly can be boring, but then it’s up to you. Of course you can be this law-abiding guy who picks up passengers on Londinium, then sneaks them through the Verse, only to let them off again in Persephone. That earns you an impressive 900 credits. But this makes Firefly a full-length game without suspense and above all without a story. Or you are one of those daredevils. One of those captains who boost the engines and then rush through the dark universe at full speed? Sure, that might attract the Reavers or you might run into a customs checkpoint, but you have a job to do.
Firefly gives you exactly these possibilities. How you want to play is up to you. Different factions give you different jobs, more or less lucrative. Money is not the only deciding factor. Depending on the job, you may need some equipment to start the job. Sometimes you need nice clothes to get into the governor’s mansion. Oh yes, and the governor has also written that you have to come with an escort. Not every job can be done alone. You need a crew. You take the crew on your trip, and they want to be paid. So the profit for the job can be used up very quickly and in the end there is not much left if you take too many people with you to be on the safe side.
Much of Firefly is controlled by cards. You fly from one sector to the next, you draw a card and handle it. During a job you have to face different situations, you draw a card and act on it if you can. You draw jobs from the Job Card Pile, and you draw equipment from the Equipment Pile. Many piles of cards means you need a lot of space. Firefly is not a game for the small table. You need a hell of a lot of space. Not only the playing field needs space, but also the amount of cards, your ships and equipment need space. And that is for me personally the only point of negative criticism. Especially if you’re thinking about getting the expansions at some point, there will be even bigger space problems.
What excites me about Firefly is the whole outfit. I just feel that Galeforce Nine has put a lot of effort into the development. The design of the cards with their many flavor texts let you dive into the Verse as well as the different events you can encounter. Especially fans of the series will find something everywhere that will make them smile. Even if it’s just passing the dinosaur to mark the active player. Firefly also requires you to make decisions, something I miss in modern games. Do I take the smuggled goods on board and piss off my crew, or do I let this very opportunity slip through my fingers? Do I solve the conflict with words or with a gun in my hand. No two games are alike, even if you play the same scenario.
Same fate as the show?
Firefly started as an ambitious series – a mixture of Western and Space Opera. Unfortunately, after one season it was already over. But what Fox did not see was the fan base that had formed in the meantime. The fans tried desperately to prevent the end of the series, but didn’t succeed. Over the years the number of fans grew continuously. This went so far that Universal Studios even produced another movie. Serenity at least gave the fans the opportunity to say goodbye to their series. Firefly had managed to secure his place in the nerd verse.
This also led to Galeforce Nine buying the rights and making it a board game – a board game with the best paper money ever. Even though the series was phased out quite quickly, the game had a longer runtime and besides two big expansions, several smaller expansions were also given.
Firefly is one of these games, which you can easily overlook, but once you have played it, you don’t want to miss it anymore. So if you get the chance to play a game, you should take it.