Tabletop Time – Firefly : The Board Game

So we’re continuing on with our Firefly theme this month and moving on to a fun little board game. One of the good things about Firefly: The Board Game is that if you have absolutely no friends at all (or no one interested in these sorts of games) then you can play all on your lonesome! It seems a little sad, but it’s an option if you reaaaally want to…on the other hand if you do have friends, then there is a player limit of 2-4 on the base game and more with different expansions. So on to explaining what it is and how to play it!

Editor’s note: Read J&K Reviews’ article on Firefly here.

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What is Firefly: The Board Game?

The game is based heavily on the TV series, with notable characters appearing as job contractors or crew etc. You basically control a captain and your job is to “Find a crew – Find a job – Keep flying” lest you be hunted by the alliance or reapers. The game is set in the ‘Verse and is separated into “Alliance controlled” and “Outer Rim”. These areas obviously have systems of their own in different parts of the controlled areas and in these systems you will find the planets you will need for contracted jobs and restocking fuel/parts. With more expansions means more jobs, more enemies and more chances to find a better crew to outrun the Reapers and Alliance officials.

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After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. The central planets formed the Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain’s goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying.

Welcome to the ’Verse…”

How to play

So this is a rather big game and requires a lot of set up before you even get down to the nitty gritty stuff, so I hope you guys are patient! Once you’ve properly set up the board game and are ready to play, you choose a ship and place it on the board ready to start your adventure. One of the first things you do is obviously, get your captain, so be very careful a read the cards properly before you choose. These are very important as they can either help or hinder your game depending on the special text and abilities there are.

One of the postitive things about this game is that every game has a different story and how you play it is up to you. Want to piss the other players off? Be sure to make them suffer on your way to victory. After choosing your captains (or leaders, whichever you prefer…captains sound more savvy if I’m honest) you need to choose the story you wish to play out and then set the rest aside. As you can figure the story cards are your “how the hell do I win this?” cards and each detail varying objectives to complete to get that win. Depending on what story card you’ve all picked, it may very well effect the rest of the games set up…good or bad, you have to see!

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Each player starts off with a basic amount of 3000 Credits, 6 Fuel and 2 Parts. You must place the fuel and parts on empty cargo or stash spaces on your ship card…if you aren’t hiding anything, then the cargo hold is the best place but if you’re the type of player that likes all the nasty evil stuff (kidnapping, smuggling, stealing etc) then the stash is probably going to be your friend for a loooong time. Anyway…now the story part is over with, each player must now take a job card from each contact deck (Contacts are pretty much the life-blood of your ship since you need money and parts to fly it. They have a variety of jobs in which they will want you to undertake, just be careful when you can’t finish them…things start getting a little ugly if you can’t finish jobs as it can affect your overall score at the end of the game. Or if you’re really unlucky then you get a Warrant out for your arrest. Nice, huh?) You cannot have more than 3 Jobs at a time and you will have to discard any you don’t want to finish.

Completing jobs may entail a sort of “Skills test” to overcome an obstacle or challenge. Each has its own sort of icon and you can see these in the rule book when you play. There’s Fight, Negotiate and Tech. These are written as the corresponding icon, followed by a small dice and a number. The number is obviously your target number and underneath that there will be a list of possible results (so if you get under a certain number, you botch and a warrant is put out for you…or if you get just enough then you get rewards or a pass etc). To make this test you need to roll a dice and add all of your available skill points of the appropriate type to your roll…these can be counted from your crew members and can be increased by buying weapons/items to upgrade them. Be careful however…as some botched results can end in “Kill a Crew”.

Each turn you will get 2 actions. Fly, Buy, Deal or Work. Be wise with what you decide to do and check your fuel when you know you’re running low…don’t wanna be stuck floatin’ out there when the Reapers come…

To find out more, play the game!

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Box contents – Base game

  • 5 Supply Decks – 25 Cards Each
  • 5 Contact Decks – 25 Cards Each
  • 2 Nav Decks – 40 Cards Each
  • Misbehave Deck – 40 Cards
  • 11 Set Up Cards
  • 4 Ship Cards
  • Currency – 150 Bills
  • 6 Story Cards
  • 2 Dice
  • 167 Tokens
  • 4 Firefly Models
  • 1 Alliance Cruiser Model
  • 1 Reaver Cutter Model
  • Game Board & Rules
  • Firefly: Breakin’ Atmo
  • Firefly: Pirates & Bounty Hunters
  • Firefly: Blue Sun
  • Firefly: Kalidasa
Extra ships
  • Firefly: Jetwash
  • Firefly: Esmeralda

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Pros & Cons

  • Variety of gameplay with different stories
  • Good for group play
  • Appeals to fans
  • Diverse crew building and upgrades
  • Short or long, your choice.
  • Quite a lot of set up
  • Expansions are expensive compared to contents of base game
  • Lots of information concerning rules in the beginning

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What made you want to play it?

‘Cause it’s Firefly. Plain and simple! You watched the show and you know there’s a game based on it…you really can’t help but want to play it. We love spending time playing board games with friends and it seemed like a really good option that was different from the rest. The concept was something we hadn’t played before so it was an interesting and enjoyable experience, which we will obviously do again in the future!

 Why we recommend it.

Many play hours of fun and a new experience every time. You’re bound to laugh with your friends, despite trying to hackle each other and slapping your best friends in the face because they ruined your tactic. No game is complete if you don’t piss each other off just a little bit…

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