Boardgame Bulletin 23-8: Adventurous Misbehavin’ in Firefly Adventures: Brigands & Browncoats (Gale Force Nine, 2018)

It would be easy for me to call Firefly Adventures: Brigands & Browncoats (Gale Force Nine, 2018) a wargame. After all, it is essentially a skirmish-scale miniatures battle game. But to call this “just” a wargame is a real disservice to the designers. No, Firefly Adventures is clearly in the category of what I call an “Adventure Wargame”…with a heavy emphasis on misbehaving adventures!

Assemble Your Crew

Firefly Adventures advertises itself as a, “cooperative, mission based, skirmish-level miniatures wargame.” Combat, er, fighting will certainly be a major part of most scenarios jobs, but there is also a need for more role-playing game (RPG)-like actions. The mix of cooperative play, RPG, and wargame elements is what makes Firefly Adventures a true Adventure Wargame. At the end of the day, success is not measured in Goons knocked out, but in money earned by the entire crew!

Boxed Out

Playing a skirmish-scale miniatures wargame means you need a table and terrain. Firefly Adventures provides you terrain literally “out of the box.” No, really! The terrain is made out of the box! Overall, the quality of all of the components of Firefly Adventures is high as one might expect from Gale Force Nine, especially if you are familiar with Firefly: The Game (Gale Force Nine, 2013). If there is one weak point, it is perhaps the actual crew miniatures which, although large (28mm scale or better?) are in plain colors.

Making Time

The most important game mechanism in Firefly Adventures, and perhaps the game mechanism that truly sets the game apart from many others is “The Timeline.” Every mission allows a certain number of “segments” which tracks the time allotted for the mission. Actions take different amounts of time which moves a character marker down the track. Whichever character is “last” goes next. Finish the job in time is a bonus; if you can’t finish in the time allotted the job is bust!

Big Damn Heroes

Firefly Adventures has many non-wargame elements. In addition to cooperative play, the players each have characters with skills and equipment. Each player character card has two sides, “Casual” or “Heroic.” Why one ever want to “act casual” is kinda beyond me; perhaps taking a few more jobs I can discover when it it best to not act all casual like.

Second Season

My second-hand purchase of Firefly Adventures includes two expansions which adds character cards to complete the entire Firefly crew. It’s kinda sad that Gale Force Nine didn’t (couldn’t?) keep the game expansions flowing. In a sad sort of way it makes playing the game deliver the same bittersweet taste of the premature series ending.

Firefly Memories

It’s been many years since the TV show Firefly was cancelled. For boardgame players that are fans of the show Firefly Adventures may just be the shot of nostalgia they need. Want to revisit the characters and aim to misbehave a bit? Firefly Adventures truly is your wargame gateway to adventure.

Feature image courtesy RMN © 2007-2023 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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