Few fan bases are more vocal and enthusiastic than the Firefly crowd. Forever wronged by the untimely end of the beloved show, enthusiasts for Joss Whedon’s sci-fi universe carry a torch that continues to burn. For those always hungry for a return trip to the Verse, Gale Force Nine’s Firefly: The Game is an easy recommendation. Filled with nods to the fiction, beautiful components that call to mind the best elements of the show, and mechanics that feel like you’re playing out new Firefly episodes, the board game version of Firefly is a fitting homage to and extension of the cult favorite franchise.

In this month’s tabletop spotlight, we take a closer look at Firefly: The Game, and help you decide if a journey through space with Captain Reynolds and crew is the right fit for your gaming group.

Getting Started

Firefly is a competitive game for 1-4 players that has each gamer captaining a Firefly-class ship on its journey across the Verse. Like Mal and his misfit crew, each player must find jobs to complete and keep flying in the face of constant threats, whether those come from a lack of fuel, an Alliance cruiser, or the deadly Reavers. 

Gameplay unfolds on a large board that depicts the stars and planets of the Firefly universe, with lots of empty space between them to be crossed in the pursuit of jobs both legal and illicit. Unpainted but colored plastic ship minis add some vibrancy to the otherwise dark-colored board, but it’s the components that sit beside the board that really impress. Beautifully designed cards show off images from the TV show, and each character has a player mat representing his ship and cargo. Perhaps the most impressive visual pieces in the game are the 150 currency bills – they’re the best-looking money I’ve ever seen in a board game. 

Setup involves a good bit of deck shuffling and dispensation of starting money and supplies, which I found could drag with new players at the table – I recommend presetting the table for a set group of players to get things going quickly. 

In a cool twist, each game session carries its own story – like a single episode of the TV show. The six included scenarios offer fun variations on the experience, including a solo option for new game owners to familiarize themselves with the rules. With a full group of three to four players, plan for a full evening of gaming. My playthroughs averaged around three hours apiece, though the box implies an hour shorter -- which might be a possibility with an experienced group. 

[Next up: Telling your own story in the Verse]