Firefly Boardgame (@ NAGA 18-03-2015)

Following the de-boxing and review of my Firefly game at the back end of last year I had been itching to give it a go with other players.  I had already tried it on my own as it is a game where players play against the game rather than each other. 

Last night at NAGA Derek Maynard offered to run a game.  So armed with my basic knowledge of the rules I set off to play in the shiny shiny ‘verse of Joss Whedon’s Firefly.

The Firefly game board without the Blue Sun expansion extension.

We had a few players;- Scott Moore, Owen Cartwright, Derek and myself.  We each rolled off to see who would pick ship and captain first.  Derek won, then I got to choose, then Scott and finally Owen.  I picked the Bonanza, a Firefly class ship from the original game, with Jubal Early (a bounty hunter who boarded Serenity with the intention to kidnap River Tam in return for a bounty in the Firefly episode “Objects in Space”) from the Pirates and Bounty Hunters expansion.  Once my ships hold was loaded with parts and fuel I was ready to pick some missions.

Capt. Jubal Early

The Firefly Class Ship cards, including mine.....the Bonanza.

I placed my ship at Silverhold, in the Heinlein system, on the game board allowing me to immediately buy some crew or gear to get going.  From the missions I had received I picked one from Harken, one from Patience and one from Amnon Duul.

Amnon Duul Job card.

Patience Job Card

Harken Job Card

Looking at them I chose to set course for the Red Sun system to collect my Cargo and hopefully swing by Londinium in the White Sun system to pick up my third cargo before dropping it all off at the various planets of the Georgia system.

The original gaming board with the Blue Sun expansion adds about another 1/3 or the board again and introduces Reaver Space and Miranda (from the Serenity movie)

The game itself takes an inordinate amount of space to set-up and play but I do think its worth the effort.  The mechanics of navigating the ‘verse aren’t cripplingly difficult but take some getting used to as you move between Alliance Space, Border Space and Reaver Space.

The trading element of the game is quite simple and adds flavour as you build a crew, get jobs and keep flyin’.  You might think that the big names of the series such as Mal, Wash, Zoe, Simon Tam, etc are the best cards and whilst they are powerful they may not be the crew you need or want for your jobs.  Some jobs are legal, others less so.  All crew need paying for jobs they participate in.

There are a number of large trading ports (Silverhold, Meridien, Osiris, the Space Bazaar, Persephone and Regina) that ships can dock at and buy fuel, pick-up crew and install upgrades to their ships.  You can also pick up additional job from the ne’er do wells or locals that frequent these locations such as Niska, Patience, Lord Harrow, Harken, Badger, Amnon Duul.

All set-up ready to blast into the 'verse!

Now we’re all set-up we got underway.  Immediately I picked up some additional crew to help me start my jobs.  Saffron and a Lawman joined Jubal and we set off for Motherlode and Harvest in the Red Sun System to pick up jobs from Patience and Amnon Duul.  Having collected my cargo from each I set forth for the Georgia system perilously close to Reaver space to drop off my cargo and get paid.  It was my intention to visit Londinium to collect the cargo for Harkens job too but the other players movement of the Reaver and Alliance ships made crossing Alliance space difficult.  Also one of my jobs was putting a strain on my fuel supplies so I was “burning” only when necessary.

I stopped off at Persephone to collect more fuel and pickup more crew.  Helen, the companion was a handy addition adding to both my ability to fight and negotiate.  Some toy dinosaurs were also picked up as no Firefly class is complete without toy dinosaurs stuck to the dashboard.

I then had a run in with the Reavers.  My choice was option 1, try to evade and maybe lose a crew or two or option 2, fight them and possibly escape but the repurcussions for losing were far worse.  I had crew to spare having already started my jobs and didn’t need them any more.  I took option 1 and even with my re-roll from Wash’s Toy Dinosaurs I lost and had two crew killed.  Given that I would need to pay my crew if I finished the job this was a blessing in disguise.  Saffron and my Lawman got eaten by Reavers but I evaded and lived to fight another day.

I snuck past them as one of my opponents pulled a bounty card with my new companion on it.  She had only cost me $200 to hire but by turning her in I could get paid $2600.  Seemed like a good trade as I was close to finishing, plus it saved me paying her.  She got dropped off at Newhope in the Georgia system and my coffers were swelled with $2600.  I just had to finish my jobs, get paid and I had won.

I crept to Regina and unloaded my cargo.  I got paid and was now “solid” with Amnon Duul.  I drifted to Boros and dropped off Patience’s cargo, again picking up my pay and becoming “solid” with Patience too.  This achieved my first goal of being “solid” with two traders.  By holding over $6000 (I in fact had $7800) in my hand I was ready to pay off Niska for my ship and win.  I just had to get to him at Ezra one space over before Scott’s pirates came and stole all my booty.  They had been lingering around the edges of Reaver space running jobs between Burnham and Meridien.

In my next turn I “moseyed” one sector along docking at Ezra and delivered my $6000 and won, with Scott and his pirates hot on my heels.

Tense game, fun game.  Its probably not the right sort of game for a quick evening at NAGA as anything other than the scenario we played would probably take far too long to finish.  As it was we just about managed to finish the game and with set-up and take -down it had taken close to three hours.

Definitely worth playing more, just need to fins some players to join me.  Any takers?

Mancave Superbowl Sunday (01-02-2015) – Part 2

In the second part of the Mancaves Superbowl and Gaming extravaganza Tris and I were joined by Derek.  We decided to play a three way basic Star Trek Attack Wing game.  Previously I’d created 99pt fleets for use for beginners so we decided to use them.  Derek would be fielding my “go-to” Dominion build:-

Cardassian Keldon Class (24)
Gul Dukat (5)
Boheeka (2)
Dorsal Weapons Array (3)
Ship SP: 34

Cardassian Keldon Class (24)
Gul Danar (2)
Glinn Telle (3)
Dorsal Weapons Array (3)
Shroud (1)
Ship SP: 33

Cardassian Keldon Class (24)
Sar (1)
Seskal (4)
Dorsal Weapons Array (3)
Ship SP: 32

Total Build SP: 99

Tris would be playing Federation:-

U.S.S Enterprise-D (28)
Jean-Luc Picard (6)
Ship SP: 34

USS Voyager (30)
Kathryn Janeway (5)
Ship SP: 35

U.S.S. Defiant (24)
Benjamin Sisko (4)
Positron Beam (2)
Ship SP: 30

Total Build SP: 99

I would be a Mirror Universe fleet:-

ISS Defiant (26)
Miles O’Brien (3)
Rebellion (5)
Jadzia Dax (2)
Tasha Yar (2)
Quantum Torpedoes (5)
Quantum Torpedoes (5)
Cloaking Device (4)
Ship SP: 52

USS Enterprise-D (28)
Benjamin Sisko (2)
Indy Rom Fleet Captain (5)
Strafing Run (0)
Julian Bashir (2)
Jennifer Sisko (3)
Tactical Officer (3)
Aft Phaser Emitter (0)
Aft Phaser Emitter (0)
Aft Phaser Emitter (0)
Aft Phaser Emitter (0)
Aft Phaser Emitter (0)
Aft Phaser Emitter (0)
Cloaking Device (4)
Ship SP: 42

Total Build SP: 99

The game would be played on the same GaleForce9 gaming mat by girls got me for X-mas.  Instead of the asteroids of Star Wars X-Wing we fielded three planetary tokens and deployed our fleets in “opposite” corners.

Early rounds both Mirror Universe ships cloaked and headed for the centre of the map.  The Federation split their ships with Janeways Voyager and Siskos Defiant arcing round one planet to hit the MU fleet in the flank and the Enterprise of Picard going the other way to meet them head on.  The Dominion also split its forces with Gul Dukat heading to face Picard and the Mirror Universe fleet in the centre as Sar and Gul Danars Keldons took a wide route to engage the other Federation ships and the rear arcs of the Mirror Universe ships.

Some early firing from the mid skill captains stripped the shields from both Dukats and Sars ships.  Sars crewman Seskal would now be effective as Sars Keldon unleashed an 8 dice primary attack into the rear of the MU Enteprise leaving it limping towards Picard and Dukat.  It wouldnt survive another round.

Firing from both Picard and Dukat finished off the Mirror Universe Enterprise before both ships turned their attentions to one another.

Picard chose to fire upon Dukat damaging the hull of his ship before Dukat returned fire and stripped the shields from the Federation vessel.  Janeway and Sisko jousted with Sar and Damar and both sides trading shields and hull points in a tense and tight battle.  Having previously Target Locked Dukat’s Cardassian vessel Smiley O’Briens ISS Defiant fired its payload of Quantum Torpedos into the side of Dukats vessel destroying it.

Once the smoke and debris had cleared O’Brien had escaped and began to repair shields and hull ready to return into the fray.  The Keldons of Sar and Danar had passed the Voyager and Siskos Defiant.  Janeway had norrowly avoided crashing into a planet and began the slow arc round to meet the Cardassians as she passed through the planets.  Sisko took a detour to engage elsewhere in the map.

Janeway eventually faced off against the twin Keldons on Sar and Danar.  Firing first she took the shields down for one of the vessels before the combined firepower of both Keldons tore her ships to pieces.  Picard rejoined the battle hitting the Keldons in their left flank as he engaged from between the two planets.  With initiative and superior poistioning Picards firing destroyed Sars vessel.  In response Danar fired upon the Enterprise and destroyed it.

Now the only ships left were Danars Keldon, Siskos Defiant and O’Briens Mirror Defiant.

The faster Keldon was able to traverse the map quicker and re-engage as O’Briens Defiant got caught in the arc of the ship.  Some deft maneuvering by O’Brien jinked his ship into the rear arc of the Dominion ship with its Dorsal Weapons disabled.  Before O’Brien could fire Sisko moved into arc behind the Mirror Universe Defiant and fired from close.  With no evasive response to Siskos firing the ISS Defiant went down in an explosion of anti-matter.  Before it was done in one last act of rebellion Tactical Officer Tasha Yar fired upon Danars vessel cripping the Keldon and leaving it easy prey for Sisko to finish it off.

The Keldon of Danar engaged its warp and attempted to outrun the Federations vessel but an excellent display of long range shooting saw the Cardassian ship destroyed.

Victory for Tris’ Federation fleet.

Another great game at the Mancave.

Welcome to 2015

Uuurrrggghhhh…….so alarm clocks are ringing all over the country to signal a return to work for the masses.  Christmas and New Year are over and I sit here trying to formulate the first talesfromthemancave update of 2015.

Firstly I hope the Christmas holidays brought you all happiness and cheer and that Father Geekmas and his Elves (no not the High, Dark or Wood varieties) delivered you all sacks bulging with geeky goodness.  It certainly brought me more work to get cracking with over the next few weeks.

Starting with Necromunda…..well after a good rummage in the loft some 18+ year old scenery was discovered loitering in a stack and store box so I resolved to clean it up and take stock.  I now have 82 original Plastic Bulkheads and the scenery from two Necromunda boxes and an Outlanders box.  This should be enough to get a decent sized game going.  I do need to flatten out some of the cardboard components as some have warped slightly over the 18 years.  Not a huge problem though!

This also meant that other goodies were found.  A whole heap of older miniatures which will need a good clean up but can be used or will fetch a few pennies via Evil-Bay.  A 11 player Naggaroth Nightmares Dark Elf Blood Bowl Team, a full 5 man squad of Adeptus Arbites for Necromunda, three Catachan Imperial Guard troops which will sub in as Orlocks and join the Orlock Heavy with Heavy Bolter.  I also found some very badly painted Skaven Blood Bowl players, an original Commissar Yarrick model, two Eldar Warpspiders and some Dark Angel models (a Captain and a Deathwing Terminator).

Some old school boardgames were found in various stages of completion and to be honest the only salvageable ones were MB’s Battle Masters and Waddingtons Key to The Kingdom.  I’m going to try and get the kids to play these at some point.

Santa (courtesy of my girls) brought me some Star Wars X-Wing Minitaures to add to the Mancaves collection.  I was lucky and received a Starter/Core Box, an A-Wing and an E-Wing for the Rebels but knowing me very well the bulk of my goodies were Imperials.  I got a TIE Bomber, a TIE Defender, a TIE Phantom, a TIE Interceptor and the Imperial Aces Expansions.  So I was a very happy geek.  I also received some pennies to go and get a good deal on some other ships so I managed to add a Decimator (£23), a Lambda Shuttle (£18) and a further TIE Fighter (£9.50) expansion.

It seems that every geek who didn’t already own a copy got a copy of the game of 2014 left in their stocking too….Cards Against Humanity.  My stocking was no exception as it contained a copy of the core game and the first expansion.  Lessons have been learnt.  Played a couple of games and my only advice would be never play it with your parents and definitely never play it with a recently remarried parent.  I am going to need therapy.  Cheers Dad!

I didn’t manage to get a great deal done with regards to advancing the many projects I currently have but I certainly managed to expand existing collections and start new ones.  Courtesy of an Amazon Wishlist and relatives who cant decide what to get you I managed to end up with some X-mas pennies and some Amazon Vouchers.  Knowing that 2015 will bring me some PRODOS Crusading to be getting on with I invested some of these pennies in a Warzone Resurrection Starter Force Boxset (Cybertronic) and a rulebook which over the coming months I shall be adding to and bringing you reviews and more information on via this blog.  My aim is to add a unit every month until I have a well rounded force to use in demo games and against more experienced players who will be teaching me to play along the way.  More about this in a later entry.

I received a 3ft x 3ft gaming mat from Gale Force 9 from my better half and kids too.  So I will now be able to take some better pictures of the items I receive and update my Star Wars and Star Trek collections with so look out for that!

In terms of games played well we visited friends and had family visit so we managed to get a few games in.  The game of the moment Cards Against Humanity was played lots and provided me with a therapy inducing insight in my fathers private life.  We also managed to teach my Dad and his new wife Smash-Up.  We had Bear Cavalry Spies vs Magical Monstrous Creatures vs Vampiric Ghosts vs Zombie Ants.  After 4 hours of playing the Vampiric Ghosts came out on top closely followed by the Zombie Ants and leaving the Bear Cavalry Spies trailing in third with the Magical Monstrous Creatures in last place.

I attempted to teach my daughter (and Step-Mother) Family Fluxx and Munchkin.  Whether the gin made this prohibitively difficult or she genuinely didnt get the premise I dont know but Munchkin was a disaster.  Family Fluxx was easily taught and small enough to carry other places and take on holiday etc.  So that was successful.

Overall a happy restful and enjoyable Xmas break at Hairy Gamer HQ.  I feel refreshed and ready for the assault on my various gaming projects.

Bring on 2015, bring on AvP, bring on Warzone Resurrection, bring on the Necromunda and bring on Star Wars & Star Trek.  Happy gaming guys and gals!

Gale Force 9’s Firefly Deboxing Review


Some time ago I reviewed and deboxed my shiny new copy of Gale Force 9’s Firefly.  Anyone familiar with the Joss Whedon SyFy series and movie set in the same ‘verse will be familiar with the basic premise.  Its a sci-fi western.  Enjoy!  Further reviews for the expansions will follow in time.