Though it has been out since 2013 the Floating Citadel’s first encounter of this board game was at Salute 2015. We got to play a demo game and we loved it, so much so that two of our members purchased a copy that day. Since then a number of us, along with a few other regular gaming buddies have played it several times and we’re starting to get a real feel for the game…even if Servitob happens to have an uncanny ability to win every game…guess he’s just better at the whole smuggling thing ;)
The premise of the game of the game is that each of the players gets one firefly class ship with a captain and spends their time doing jobs, salvaging wrecks and avoiding the reavers. There are a number of missions that you can choose from to set the scene for the game. The default one is to get ‘solid’ with two of the five contacts (people you get jobs from – Badger, Patience, Niska etc.), then make 6000 credits and then give that to Niska so you can buy your ship. Jobs can be legal or illegal and come in a variety of flavours from simply cargo/passenger carrying from planet A to planet B to train robberies and bank hold ups. Money can be spent on ship upgrades and crew that will make completing these jobs easier (and all the characters from the show are in there). Sounds simple enough doesn’t it…except for the fuzz and the Reavers.
Above is our group playing a game recently.
In the centre of the board is Alliance Space with an Alliance Cruiser patrolling and if it lands on you, your firefly will be subject to a customs inspection and any contraband or fugitives may be confiscated which can really screw you over when you’re about to drop said contraband off at your destination…
It gets even worse if you’re in the outer systems where the Reavers roam as if they catch you not only will you loose your passengers but also a good number of your crew too. Both help keep the game interesting…
“Define interesting” – Mal, “Oh God, oh God we’re all going to die” – Wash
The game works on a turn based system, but can have two players working out their turn at the same time, with a a dinosaur token indicating who is controlling play at that moment. This allows one player to move their ship whilst another player shops or looks at potential jobs. This has the great advantage of speeding up play.
Picking up jobs or buying stuff is pretty self explanatory: you can look through 3 and choose 2. Jobs are active when you start them and upgrades, crew and items are bought and paid for. An interesting point is that your crew have to get paid after of each job you do and if you don’t pay them they get disgruntled allowing another player to buy them if they land on the same space. If they gain a second disgruntled token then that crew member will abandon ship, so keep your crew happy by paying them. You can of course give them money to spend on shore leave when you get to a planet.
The interesting part of the game comes in moving. You can choose to mosey (move 1 space safely) or spend fuel to do a full burn. If you do a full burn you turn over a movement card for each space you move. There are two decks; blue for use in Alliance space and red for when you’re in the outer systems. This adds a good degree of randomness as you may have an uneventful journey sailing into the black, get stopped for customs inspections, savage opportunities, break downs etc. There are also cards to move the Alliance cruiser or Reaver ship or worse case they turn up on your square immediately allowing both other players and card randomness to screw you over.
“Ah curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal” – Stegosaurus (yeah if you’re not getting the quotes I encourage you to watch the show…hell I encourage you to watch the show anyway).
The game has a high level of replay-ability, despite that fact that Servitob seems to win a lot. The randomness of the movement cards and the large number of jobs means that each game won’t be the same. If you’re a fan of the show and a decent board game I recommend giving it a go. It should take about 2 hours depending upon the number of players (1-5).