So I’m a few years late to this particular party, sometimes the good stuff takes a while to get there, and this Wednesday I found myself finally getting to sit to the helm and take a burn around the ‘verse.
This is Firefly...
I’ll touch momentarily on the production values before I get to the game proper. They are, as always for Gale Force Nine, Spectacular, there’s no other way to describe them. The ship counters are well crafted, the card counters are solid and well coloured, the cards you’re using for the various parts of the game are as good as any professional deck of cards that you’re likely to pick up, and as the images used are all from the TV show, it’s as close as you’re going to get to running around the ‘Verse yourself.
The game strategy is simple, get a job at one place, pickup whatever crew or cargo you need to do the job, deliver the crew or cargo and get paid. The game works on the premise of everyone having the same goal to work with, so everyone knows what the score is before the game starts and everyone has a clear idea of where all the other players are. It’s possibly to play the game any way you like, you can take all the illegal jobs that require you to misbehave (such as I did), or you can stay on the right side of the law and take less profitable (but less dangerous) jobs.
My first handful of jobs all required that I misbehave to get them done, and this is where I learned a fundamental of the game. If you haven’t got a good crew behind you, don’t misbehave... I spent a good few turns sitting there stuck while Sue and John were Zipping around the Verse because I didn’t have the right calibre of crew.
Once I got clear of the first one, I started stocking up on what I needed.
As long as you have the funds, you can buy any amount of gear or crew that you need, but you only have a limited number of spaces on the ship for both, so choose wisely. Once you’ve got over the idea of only one of a particular action in a turn, the game starts to pick up. If you’ve burned into the middle of nowhere, there’s nothing else you can do, so you start looking at the planets in range when you’re making jumps so you won’t end up sitting in space hoping for nothing to find you.
On the subject of the two NPC ships in the game, the Reaves and the Alliance cruiser, neither made much of an impact in our game, and I suspect that you have to be running around in open space for some time before they really start to cause a problem. I liked that cards have to be drawn for every movement past the first when you’re travelling any distance, each one increasing the possibility of something happening, it made the game seem more claustrophobic, the universe less empty that the board would have you think.
Overall, for fans of the TV show (or the film, which we shall not refer to again here), it’s a good reminder of all the good things that there were, you can easily spin a game into something like the Arabian Nights (http://millionwordman.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/arabian-nights-game-review-bridge.html) and have a great time doing it. For those who aren’t fans of the TV show, it’s not a bad game, but you won’t have half the fun that those who’ve watched the TV show will have.
And the solution for that is to go buy the TV show, you have no idea what you’ve been missing...