Stay ‘shiny’ Firefly fans! ‘Firefly: The Board Game’ is here to fill the hole in your heart left by the series. Firefly is a game that is dripping in theme, matching the tone of the show well and dropping in plenty of easter eggs and references to keep even the most hardcore fans appeased.
‘They'll take any job, legal or illegal, to keep fuel in the tanks and food on the table.’
Firefly: The Board Game, at its heart, is a pick up and deliver game. The game is usually takes between two and four hours to play for one to four players (though the player count can be increased with certain expansions). You’ll go on missions given to you by contacts such as Patience and Niska, use the money to upgrade your ship and your crew and complete the objective set up at the start of the game.
Travelling around the ‘Verse in your Firefly is a brilliant experience. Just like the experience of the Serenity’s crew, the game is full of unpredictability you never know when you’re going to bump into an Alliance patrol or worse, reavers!
‘I Aim To Misbehave.’ – Mal Reynolds
You’ll have to take on plenty of jobs, both legal and illegal, in order to win. The legal jobs are very straight forward – go to one planet, pick up a thing, and deliver it to another planet. But these missions are not immune to the threat of Reavers. Taking on an illegal job is more lucrative but carries a greater level of risk. The illegal jobs always give better payouts but can be harder to pull off because you will need to ‘misbehave’ to complete them. Misbehaving can take on many forms – from bribing guards to a saloon shoot-out. You’ll need to use your crew’s skills and some fortunate dice rolls to get past these challenging blocks. A better crew and equipment will make this easier but a good crew is expensive so you’ll have to balance the money you spend and the money you might need for the end game goal.
The end game goals can vary from getting a certain sum of money or completing a big ‘misbehaving’ mission. This offers a nice variety dependent on your of your group’s preferred playstyle.
The game is fairly weighty for a TV show tie-in. It has a complexity rating of 2.95 out of 5 on Board Game Geek so comfortably in the medium weight category. There are a fair few mechanics to work around that can feel a bit overwhelming at first but once you’re used to how the game works then it will become second nature.
Size & Scale
This game packs a lot into its very reasonably sized box. A large board, ship minis and no less than a dozen decks of cards that flesh out the world. This is both a blessing and a curse. With the wide variety of both missions and items you’ll almost certainly never play the same game twice. There are also different set up cards and ship captains to add even more variety.
The downside of all this is the inordinate amount of table space you actually need to play this game. The board on its own is quite large and then you need space around the board for all the different decks of cards. This can also lead to frustration as you try to reach the various components that you need.
Firefly boasts a range of expansions to add even more to your game. The great thing about this game is that the expansions can be added depending on what you want to add to your game.
‘Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!’ – Hoban ‘Wash’ Washbourne
Or not, as the case may be! The base game of Firefly does not feature much player interaction. You’ll not often bump into each other when playing and even if you do, there’s not much you can do to actually affect each other’s gameplay. You might have the option of blocking your opponent with Reavers or stealing their disgruntled crew but that’s about it. That’s no bad thing, and there are plenty of games with limited player interaction. However, if you want more player interaction then you’ll love the ‘Pirates and Bounty Hunters’ expansion where you can get bounties for your opponent’s crew, battling and boarding!
Or do you want to explore the WHOLE ‘Verse? Then you’ll love the ‘Blue Sun’ and ‘Kalidasa’ expansions which extends the board on both ends and adds a heap more content from ‘Serenity’ including new missions and new items to add to your shops. Fair warning – if you’re struggling to fit the base game on your table, you might need to buy a bigger table before you buy these board expansions!
There are other smaller expansions available, from individual ships to even more cards to keep the game fresh.
Firefly is a great game for Firefly fans – it feels just like the show! However, this probably means that you’ll struggle to win non-fans to the game as a lot of the charm of this game leans on the references from the series. This doesn’t mean that the game is a soulless tie in trying to cash in on a brand. The gameplay feels polished and the systems within the game work well. Whilst the routine of ‘collect a mission, do the mission, get the money, upgrade, repeat’ could feel stale but Firefly: The Board Game somehow manages to avoid that monotony through good design and endless replay ability.