It’s not “Awful Lonely in the Big Black” when solo playing Firefly: The Game (@GaleForceNine, 2013) #boardgame

The first play of my 2020 RockyMountainNavy Solo Boardgame Challenge is Firefly: The Game (Gale Force 9, 2013). The play was satisfying, but really left me wanting both more and less.

Included in the base box of Firefly: The Game is a solo play Story Card, “Awful Lonely in the Big Black.” The special setup rules for solo play call for selecting up to four crew (no more than $1K) and placing using 20 Disgruntled tokens as a game timer. A turn consists of four Actions, and whenever you take a Fly Action the turn is over and a Disgruntled token removed. The game ends when you run out of timing tokens. There are three possible Goals to chose from; I went with “The Bad” – Crime Does Pay where you try to end the game with $15k or more.

The Story Card says play time is supposed to be about 1 hour. On the surface that does not look bad with 3 minutes for every turn and no more than 4 Actions a turn. In reality, I find that pace unachievable. Maybe for experienced players, but I found some turns where Analysis Paralysis set in, especially in the mid-game when I started feeling the time pressure. My game took more like 75 minutes; not bad for a solo game. With three Goals there is some replayability out of the box but I already found myself wanting MORE, as in more solo Story Cards. Gotta check out them other expansions…

At the same time playing Firefly: The Game solo-style made me want LESS. Face it, solo or full-play Firefly: The Game is a real table hog. It’s not that the map is too big (its 30″x20″ – very suitable for a game table with multiple players) but for a solo play with all the cards and ship tableaus you need nearly the same space. I often use my 48″x28″ desk for solo play and this game was VERY tight. All those components also need setup, adding a not-insignificant amount of time. There is nothing that can be done here about the size or the components, but it illustrates the challenges of taking a full size, multi-player game and using it for a single solo player. Sometimes it’s alot. Maybe too much?

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Setting up – Space is big but not on this gaming desk….

Having recently played Star Wars: Outer Rim (Fantasy Flight Games, 2019) it is inevitable to make comparisons between these “space western” games. For solo play I guess I will find out later as Outer Rim is #7 on my solo challenge list. Check back….

Overall, I was happy with this solo play of Firefly: The Game. I won this game, passing my $15k goal with two timing tokens left. Thinking about the game more broadly, this box has languished on my shelf too long and playing solo is a good way to get it out and remind myself that we really do need to buy a couple of expansions. The game is good fun and deserves more table love than we have given it.


Feature image courtesy Gale Force 9.

 

I was a bad outlaw in #FireflyTheGame (Gale Force Nine, 2013)

The RockyMountainNavy Boys are back from their summer travels. Before they left, they had found my Customizable Ship Models package for Firefly: The Game (Gale Force Nine, 2013) and painted up their own ships. For our Friday Game Night they wanted to get the models to the table and misbehave!

Since this was really only our second full Firefly gameplay, we went back to the starter “First Time in the Captain’s Chair” Story Card. We had all the Contact Decks on the table so we could work with any of them.

The game was really fun and we certainly created a ruckus in the house!

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Setting up….

I had Burgess as my Leader. I was immediately able to purchases Burgesses’ Gun for a whole lotta Gun Skill. To helped lead me astray as two of my three Starting Jobs were Illegal. So my life of crime began. Along the way I recruited some unsavory types with more guns, a little bit of mechanics, and not enough negotiation.

Youngest RockyMountainNavy Boy tried the lawful approach, getting Solid with Harken early. This gave him easy passage through Alliance Space. He was able to stay lawful until he needed to catch up – and went outlaw! Middle RMN Boy took a mix of Legal and Illegal Jobs.

My first job was Botched and I got a Warrant for my arrest. For the rest of the game I avoided Alliance Space. I did have one encounter with the Reaver but was able to Evade.

Middle RMN got a sweet deal and picked up a job where he was able to ship 10 passengers across the ‘Verse for a $3000 (+$400 bonus) payout. This gave him the money he needed for the win. He was not far from the bank but took his time Moseying Along which caused brother and Dad to desperately race to complete their last job and then Full Burn to the bank. He didn’t let us win and with a smirk on his face arrived at the bank one turn ahead of the rest of us.

Gameplay was much faster than before. We already have the basic mechanics of the game down and can now work on strategies to win. Unlike our first game, we all took on more Illegal Jobs (in my case, all Illegal) and drew from the Misbehaving Deck heavily. After the game we all agreed that we want to try another Story Card next game.

Space Ain’t Big Enough – First Full Play of #FireflyTheGame from @GaleForceNine

Firefly: The Game (Gale Force Nine, 2013) landed on the Saturday RockyMountainNavy Game Night table. Although the game has been in-house a few weeks this was the first chance to get it onto the table for a full multiplayer experience.

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I reckon we gonna need a ruttin’ bigger table!

The RockyMountainNavy Boys and myself made it a 3-player event. Seeing it was our first time, we used the “First Time in the Captain’s Chair” Story Card. I don’t recall who took which ship or what Captain beyond that the Boys “allowed” me to take Serenity and Malcom Reynolds.

After laying out the game (and it’s a lot to lay out) I spent about 20 minutes explaining the basics of the game to the Boys. They both caught on pretty fast, although there were a few hiccups like trying to start a Job without all the right Needs being satisfied. In the end, Youngest RMN Boy made it to Ezra one turn ahead of me and paid off his ship first, thereby winning the game. I was a close to the win, needing one more turn to make it to Ezra. Middle RMN Boy still needed to finish his second job but in doing so would have had enough cash on hand and be nearby to pay off his debt. Total playing time for this first game was about 2 hours.

All of us were very impressed by how perfectly thematic the game is. The whole mantra of, “Find a crew. Find a job. Keep flying” is perfectly captured.

Seeing as the RMN house generally prefers wargames, I was concerned that the low-degree of player interaction would make the game less enjoyable. I need not have worried; the Boys took to their roles with gusto. Youngest RMN Boy especially took on the persona of a ship’s Captain as he fancies himself something of a charming Han Solo-type. I mean the real Han Solo; you know, “Han Shot first.”

He found that attitude last year when he was creating a character for Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Roleplaying Game. During this game, we came to realize that he has heard about the Firefly TV show but has not actually watched the entire series (I know…tragedy!). Will have to rectify that situation soonest….

Firefly: The Game also has many expansions. I usually hold off on getting too many expansions because it is hard enough getting the base game to the table, much less an expanded version. In a bit of luck, I actually have a copy of FIRE007 Firefly: Customisable Ship Models that I picked up nearly 2-years ago for pennies when a FLGS was closing. Today the RMN Boys brought it out and are each painting their own customized ship. Guess I’m near to acquiring a few other expansions (hey, The Games Tavern, are you ready?).

Both RMN Boys asked to get Firefly: The Game back on the table sooner than later. I was especially pleased to hear this from Middle RMN Boy who, though he lost, wants to jump straight to another Story Card. “We got the basics, Dad. Now let’s really misbehave!”

Featured image courtesy Gale Force Nine Games.

 

The New FGLS in Town – The Games Tavern, Chantilly, VA

This past weekend a seemingly random tweet appeared in my feed. It showed several gentlemen playing Flames of War at The Games Tavern in Chantilly, VA. Chantilly is just around the corner from my house but I had never heard of it! So I just had to check it out.

The Games Tavern (thegamestavern.com) is run by Warrior_Streak (@reiddenton on Twitter) and is adjacent to Covert Intervention Games.  The Games Tavern is a new shop that looks like it specializes in Gale Force 9 and Battlefront products. There is a large bright open gaming area (large tables) and a small stock area. The products are mostly Flames of War and Team Yankee. I was a bit surprised not to see Tanks there. They do stock the GF9 Firefly games. As a matter of fact, Reid brought out the store copy of Firefly: The Game and made the sale! They also have many miniatures painting and building supplies. At least one of the staff is a transfer from the now-closed Piper Hobby so there is some modeling expertise available. We took at quick look at what their distributor can get in the way of plastic models (a high interest item for the RockyMountainNavy Boys).

Good to see a new FLGS in the area. Looking forward to doing business (and gaming) with Reid and The Games Tavern gang!

#ModelMonday – Tanks Camouflaged

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Tiger I, Tanks Card, and Osprey 

Little I got Tanks: Panther vs Sherman (Gale Force 9) for Christmas. For his birthday, Brother T got him the Tiger I expansion. In a wonderful show of brotherly love, T not only gave him the model, but then built it and painted it up!

Little I is very excited as his collection is getting much more personalized. T also has shown a natural ability to paint miniatures. I have several old Mongoose Publishing Starship Troopers Miniatures Game sets that I know I won’t get around too…maybe it’s time to turn them over to T and see what he can do!