• Critical Grind Gaming

Browncoats for Life

I am going to make my first board game review about a game that I do consider to be a favorite. However, my review may not always seem that way.


They all look so young! (Picture of game from ThinkGeek.com)

"Firefly: The Game" is a beautiful game for anyone who is/was a fan of the prematurely cancelled treasure, Firefly and it's fan-demanded follow-up movie, Serenity. It is everything a super-fan would want it to be. You can play as your favorite, or not-so-favorite, characters. You fly around the 'Verse in your very own Firefly-class transport ship doing transport or smuggling jobs for seedy characters such as Patience, Niska, and Badger. You travel to Persephone, Ariel, Londinium, Beaumonde, and more. You hire your crew, buy supplies for your ship, and typically avoid the Reevers and Alliance. The cards have fun flavor text that take you right back into the show or movie. Below are a few of my favorite cards. Also, the fact that Wash's Dinosaur is the turn marker is the best thing.



First, I'm going to "fangirl" for a minute. I am a big fan of this game. I personally own the base game, the expansions (Blue Sun and Kalidasa), the ship expansions (Jet Wash, Artful Dodger, and Esmeralda), the Crime & Punishment card expansion, the card boosters, and the set of 9 Firefly dice, and the Broken Token box to fit it all in... although I haven't put it together because Broken Token is basically the Ikea of game boxes and I'm really intimidated by all the parts.


Now, I'm going to be honest with you. While the actual mechanics of the game are a lot of fun, my biggest issue with it is the rules. The rule book is really poorly written. It doesn't cover everything. There are a lot of questions left open. Some things don't make a lot of sense. I am very grateful for the installation of House Rules. We have come up with so many House Rules that I don't know if I'd know how to play by the written rules anymore.


Confusing Rules:

In general, on your turn you move, or 'mosey', one space. That's it. Just one. With a game board so large it takes up my entire kitchen table, moving one space at a time makes it near impossible to do anything productive quickly. After two or three rounds of moving, you forget where you were trying to go. There is a 'ship upgrade' that lets you mosey two spaces at a time but once you play the game once or twice you learn where to buy that upgrade and some people *cough* Shaun *cough* will camp at the planet to buy the upgrade. By getting this upgrade you will be able to move faster than everyone else in the game and will dominate. So, to make things a little more fair, we created our House Rule. It's a standard mosey two. The game moves faster when ships can, well, move faster.

There is something called 'Full Burn' which is when you spend one fuel to move 5 spaces. But every time you enter a new space you have to pull a card from the Alliance or Reaver decks and terrible things can happen and while I understand it's part of the game to do it that way, I still think one space movement is to little for a game board as large as this one.


One of the things I enjoy about the game is the references. They use slang and quotes and all sorts of fun little things throughout the whole game that really makes you feel like you're part of the crew. But I feel that sometimes the references are so forced, it makes the rules unintelligible. In fact, I was just rereading the rules for this post and FINALLY figured out what they're talking about when they refer to 'Solid' and 'Reputation'. When you complete a job for a contact, you establish reputation and become solid. Should you get tagged with a warrant from The Alliance while doing a job, you lose all reputation already established, and you lose that solid.

But it is not worded like that. They use the words "Solid" and "Rep/Reputation" so many times that it sounds like it's the same thing. Which is why for the last 5 years, we have been playing by our own House Rules that require you to finish 3 jobs for that contact before you're Solid.


Game play is pretty straightforward. Everything else is pretty simple once you get into it. There are multiple overall game objectives and the first person to meet all the goals to complete the objective wins. In the meantime you'll be doing everything I mentioned before; buying ship upgrades and weapons, hiring a crew, and doing jobs to make money.


This is the 50"x20" game mat with both expansions built in. (Photo by fireflythegame.com)


Find a Crew - Find a Job - Keep Flying.


Game: Firefly the Game

Publishers: Gale Force Nine

Cost: $35-$50

Pros: All the fandom joy one would expect from a Firefly game

Cons: Slightly confusing rules - though I think I just corrected myself.

Recommended?: For fans of strategy games and Firefly, 100% Yes


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