Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Firefly the Board Game

Product: Firefly the Board Game

Producer: Gale Force Nine

Price: ~$60

Set-up/Play/Clean-up-3 Hours

TL;DR– Take me back to the black! 90%

 

Basics: Time to see the Verse!  This game is based on the popular, cancelled-too-soon television show.  Now, you need get to get a job, get a crew, and keep flying.  Each turn a player can take two actions.  These actions must be different.  The actions range from moving your ship, doing/starting a job, shopping, or getting new jobs.  You can either move your ship one space or burn fuel and move up to your engines’ speed.  Moving the full amount also makes you draw event cards from an event deck for the type of space you’re in, either the central space or the outlying regions.  These events can range from nothing, to “finding” salvage, to having the reavers attack your ship.  Jobs form the bulk of the game.  As an action you can start a job.  When you start a job, you must be in the location indicated on the job card.  Starting may entail picking up a passengers, fugitives, cargo, or contraband.  Later, at any point in the game as an action, you can finish the job when you get to the right planet.  When you want to finish a job, you must have and pay the amount of items needed.  You may also have to do “Aim to Misbehave” card(s).  The Aim to Misbehave cards give you several options to succeed.  Usually, you have to add up the number of skill icons your crew and objects and add a die roll or have a key word/item to succeed.  When you finish the job, you get paid.  Also, when you finish a job for an individual you completed the job for, you also become solid and get extra options with that person.  Shopping lets you look through a deck of cards at a planet or draw random cards and buy two of them.  You can buy fuel, cargo, crew, and ship upgrades to keep your ship flying.  Dealing lets you draw two jobs from a deck of a specific job deck when on a planet. Players compete to complete a mission.  Missions range from pulling off a heist to getting a lot of money.  Often these missions have multiple parts and require going to multiple planets and misbehaving.  First one to complete the mission wins the game.

 

Theme:  This game oozes theme.  You feel like you’re in the Firefly universe.  You get to go to iconic places and meet people from the show.  The game pieces, mechanics, and board all help with this also.  For me, this game sets the bar for theme for games going forward. 5/5

 

Mechanics:  The game has some simple mechanics that really help with the theme.  The random encounters, aiming to misbehave, and missions all feel like they belong on the set of Firefly.  The game also has some simple resolution mechanics with the simple dice roll plus numbers.  Those are all great, but parts of this game are completely broken.  The companion captain is amazingly broken by getting free crew.  Some items and crew are completely overpowered.  Some combinations are completely unbeatable.  And this game has a runaway victor problem.  That doesn’t kill the game, but it does hurt the game a bit. 3.5/5

 

Instructions:  The instructions are clear and well written.  I liked what I saw and was able to figure out how to play pretty quick.  I did have some questions, but these were not game ending questions like some games.  Heck the instructions have that mix of modern and cowboy slang that was famous from the show. 4.5/5

 

Art/Execution: This game has some of my favorite parts of any game.  This game has Firefly universe money and its real cash!  You don’t know how amazing that is till you hear it slide against each other and feel it in your hands.  The other pieces are great too.  I liked the art.  It’s all feels like it just “fits.” 5/5

 

Summary:  This is right up there with my favorite games of the year.  I get lost in this game, in a good way.  When I play, I get so wrapped up in the world and doing jobs that I forget about the game wining mission.  Heck, most of the other players do to.  That’s the mark of a great game.  When you want to keep playing so much that you don’t even want to win, you just want to keep playing. 90%

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