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Two concepts I enjoy thinking about as a designer: (a) Pick up and deliver, and (b) space. I'm not sure what to think yet, but I did enjoy three plays of this -- with several more to follow, quite likely.
So many characters. So many ships. So many planets. So much STUFF. And yet... not *too* much somehow. It all looks quite epic and grand, but when you actually sit down to play it Firefly manages to feel very manageable -- even to relatively green players. None of the expansions necessarily add anything too notable on their own but as an entire package the amount of choice is fantastic -- if not often rather excessive or unnecessary, but that's okay! The random elements seem to add to the replayability of the game and Firefly feels fun no matter how terribly you're personally doing. 2/1/18: 8 to 7.4. Played again recently with 6 players and game was a complete slog. Understandable with the player count when looking at some games, but an epic space adventure across a board game 8 feet long? No. This game should be more than able to meet the task of entertaining 6 people and yet it utterly fails, miserably. Likely still very fun at 3 players, but damn it is torture at large player counts.
After 5 plays and with the blue sun expansion, here it is. If you are a firefly fan, looking to travel the verse, dodging reavers and staying one step ahead of the alliance all wrapped up into a long evening's entertainment then this ticks all the boxes. If you are after a generic pick up and delivery game, there could be better out there. Having not played them though, I couldn't yet recommend. However, Xia, Merchants & Marauders, Merchants of Venus may be worth a look. A few years on and i've finally played the above mentioned games. Each have distinct features which i really like; - merchants & marauders - the goods change each time from a port. Really disliked the different captain ability, which try to shoehorn you into specific roles. - merchants of venus - the route planning & low, medium & high market pricing are nice touches. Can be hosed by a bad dice roll. - xia - will have to revisit this one. Overall, firefly is for role players who want to be immersed in the verse. Other pick up and delivery games have better streamlined mechanisms but lack character. So it becomes a matter of personal preference.
Overall this is a fun, very thematic game. If you have not watched Firefly or do not enjoy it, then you will not get the most from this game. On the other hand if you are a fan of the show then you should enjoy this. At its heart this is a pickup and deliver game, but the combination of theme mixed with the mechanics just makes the game shine. If you know you are going through Alliance space then there is a reasonable chance of an inspection - that's really annoying if you happen to be doing something illegal. But if you are in Border Space and the Reavers come by ... Reavers man! It's terrifying. The game is not very hard or complicated and a 10yo can play with a little bit of early assistance. The challenge will be the game length - this is a game for rainy afternoon when you want to burn a fun couple of hours. However for short family fun you can easily house rule it. e.g. - When doing a scenario, just do 1 task instead of multiple tasks. - Start with a bit more money all around (or give the younger players a money advantage) - Don't give younger players warrants, or kill their crew. - Don't attack younger players - Tone down the effects Reavers have on younger players or give them "Reaver Cloaks". Fun: 10 Brain Burning: 1 Complexity: 3 Engaging (Time between turns. High score is lower downtime): 7 AP Potential: 3 Luck Factor: 8 (It's a chaotic universe) Puzzliness: 2 Variability: 7 Who Playing With Importance: 2 Filler (0) vs Full (10): 8 Paths to Victory (0 Few, 10 Many): 5 Play Complexity: 4 Rules Complexity: 5 Direct Interaction (0 Low, 10 High): 8 Indirect Interactn (0 Low, 10 High): 8 RATINGS: My First Play: 8 Multiple Plays: tbc OVERALL RATINGS FOR: Play with Kids: 7 Play with Kids & Adults: 9 Play with New/Low Key: 7 Play with Larger Group: 7 Play with 2 players: 8 Play with My Parents: 6 Play with 'Gamers': 8