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Good use of the licence, but where's the fun?
on 27 December 2013
Had this demoed to me at Essen and we played pretty much a complete game. First the good - it is a terrific use of the licence, it really feels like it works in the Firefly universe. Some licenses feel tacked-on, or alternatively have a really basic game sold purely on the image on the front of the box. This game is definitely more than that.
Unfortunately the licence is based on solitary ships going about their own business across the 'verse. The game replicates this, but that means that it is basically multi-player solitaire. There is very little player interaction, with a lot of downtime between turns. And often your turn consists of flying a couple of spaces across the board towards your next objective. If nothing happens, that's it - another several minutes of waiting for your turn to come around so you can move another couple of spaces - yawn. The ability to mess with other players is pretty limited - moving the Alliance or Reaver ships can block slightly where they are going, but it's kind of random and not really a strategy.
And when you reach a planet, the decisions are not that fun. Pick up some cards, turn in some cards, have a fight, it's just not that exciting.
The game can be played with several different objectives - ours was simply to be the first to reach a particular amount of money ('"Respectable" Persons of Business'). That simply meant us all doing our own thing, trying to complete deliveries, or committing crimes as fast as possible. I've looked at the other Objective cards on Gale Force 9's website, and frankly they don't look a lot more interesting.
It's a shame because I was really looking forward to this game and really wanted to like it, but it just went on too long with too much time sitting around doing nothing.