At times, the May Getaway makes for odd bedfellows.
The evenings are when the bigger, more narrative games come to the table, and Thursday night set the mood with Firefly and a couple of its expansions hitting the table. This copy includes a single-piece board that rolls, an aftermarket purchase that combines the boards of both expansions with the original. Space aplenty to cruise around.
At its heart, Firefly is a pick-up and deliver game where about half of the card draws are designed to make something go wrong. If you want to play pick-up and deliver, I recommend Merchant of Venus. If you want pick-up and screw-up, Firefly is the game for you. As in the show, no fifteen minute stretch of time will pass without something going horribly wrong, which would be amusing enough were it not for the guy next to you getting a simple, clean ride doing something similar to what you just did, rubbing your nose in your misfortune. Don’t get me wrong, Firefly is a bucket of fun. But it’s like a roller coaster where the ride is the point. You don't actually go anywhere. When things go exceptionally well, it’s a joy to play. When things go wrong, it’s frustrating, and when things go horribly wrong, it’s downright hilarious. With any luck, most of your time will be spent in the first and third categories.
Firefly comes with about a dozen scenarios to play but after 20 sessions amongst our group we’ve come to the conclusion that the best approach is to just play for cash. Find a job, keep flying. One of the scenarios does just this, and the nice part is that you can adjust the length of the game by the amount of money needed to win. We opted for a $25,000 game, which is pretty steep, but moved the finish line to $15,000 because, well, it’s Firefly. This is a game where every third sentence begins with “My original plan was to . . .” followed by a pretty dependable turn of luck where you remind yourself that you’re on the ride for the experience, not the win.
There's a few cards involved in the play.
Firefly is a good game and does what it is designed to do better than just about any other game out there. It’s beautifully tied to the television show it’s based on and downplays the truly awful film that followed. In this particular game, I quickly assembled a +10 modifier on gunfights in a game where you roll a d6 to determine results. Sounds pretty cool, but at the time I was trying to assemble a well-rounded team. Make all the plans you want, Firefly will give you what it wants to and you’ll do well to work with what fate deals you.
At one point I intentionally picked up a crew member with an outstanding warrant so that I could throw him to the police corvette that was camped on the planet I needed to land on. I had other crew with warrants that I wanted to keep, so... "Hey, Bob, need a job? Pays real well." It did pay real well, but only for about 24 hours. Just another day in the ‘verse, and it’s well worth your time to give this game a shot. But fair warning – whatever your impression of the game is when you sit down at the table, Firefly will offer you something different. It’s the most capricious lover in gaming; the one where you have no clue how the date will end or even where. This game is as Ameritrash as it gets and it does it right. The most up-tighty Euro-player will enjoy this walk on the wild side.
Firefly: The Game is available at major retailers and that likely won’t change for the foreseeable future, I consider this a try-before-you-buy title, as its unpredictability may not be a feature every player is looking for in a regular play. The good news is that the base game brings plenty of fun at a very reasonable $36 at online retailers. At that price, give it a shot – what could possibly go wrong?