This is an account of my first game of Firefly, which was also a solitaire game. This game actually took place about two weeks ago. I wrote it down at the time because I was thinking about joining this site, and because that's what I do when I have a memorable game of anything. I bought Breakin' Atmo with the base game, and that Booster quickly proved its worth. I must also explain that I was an indifferent card shuffler. I read through the decks before shuffling and starting the game, but a lot of cards didn't shift position much. Firefly has subsequently given me a lot of practice and the decks are much more random.
I chose the Solitaire Story Card but I didn't pick one specific Victory condition. I chose to take a Goal when I accomplished one and see how many I could get. I started with Monty, Inara, Kaylee, Wash and Lund in the Bonnie Mae. I wanted to have Bridgit for a Grifter and thematic reasons but the skill balance wasn't perfect. I chose Lund because as a $200 soldier with 2 Fight and not Wanted he is unique and cost-effective.
I began at Londinium with the Alliance Cruiser so I could get an appropriate job to get Solid with Harken. I got one that took me to Persephone, even though I lost $400 for the Crew's Cut on it. I went right there because I saw the Cortex Uplink in the discard pile. Due to my poor shuffling I got several jobs to hit Contacts for other Contacts. I did some shopping and got a Legal Job. I bought a Hacking Rig but neglected to get the available Transport because it was for Crime Jobs. I assumed I could get the smuggling Transport from Breakin' Atmo at Regina. Then I moved to the Space Bazaar and did some more shopping. I found Tracey which gave me a Grifter, which was a handy bonus for the Jobs I was seeing.
I decided at this point that I was too low on cash and had to do some work. I had two jobs from Amnon Duul for Hera and one for Three Hills from Badger, all Legal. I went through Alliance Space without a problem straight to Hera, did those jobs and then to Three Hills. From Three Hills I Full Burned to Regina ... and brought the Reaver Cutter down on myself. I evaded to Ezra, which was some consolation. I only found 1 Transport Job from Niska that I didn't really like. Then I went to Athens. I picked up two Crime Jobs from Patience, one to hit Badger and one to hit Amnon Duul. In Badger's discard pile there was a job to hit Duul.
I moved to Persephone and while doing so used the Cortex Link to get a Crime Job from Niska. I bought the 4WD Mule and then did my first Misbehave, successfully. Then I moved to the Space Bazaar and hit Duul twice, for Badger and then Patience. I was Solid with everyone but Niska. I also got a big break. Thanks to my poor shuffling, I got the the Misbehave cards ("Everything that's not nailed down") where you can load 3 Contraband if you have Transport back to back, so I had 6 Contraband to sell. I Dealt with Duul and picked up my only Smuggling Job of the game. I headed for Osiris to do Niska's Job. Being Solid with Harken paid off hugely when I got to ignore Customs Inspection with 8 Contraband on board. I did Niska's Job, took a Goal for being Solid with all five Contacts, then went to Regina to finish the Smuggling Job. I moseyed to Ezra, sold Niska $4,800 in Contraband, counted my money, sold him $800 in Cargo, and took a second Goal for having $15,100. I only faced 10 Misbehave cards, though. I had a lot of fun.
I thought some things over and decided to start a second game. I swapped Bridgit for Inara so that I wouldn't have to find a Grifter. I found a lot of Smuggling Jobs but I didn't have very good luck with useful Supply draws and the Nav deck stopped me a few times, once with the Distress Call that you have to answer unless you want Disgruntled Crew, and once with a one move chance at a Salvage Op which I perhaps shouldn't have taken. I stooped to an Immoral Job for Niska in order to get Solid with him and get that win condition, on Osiris again oddly enough. I only made about $5,000 before I ran out of time tokens.
The main thing I felt I learned (back then) was that you need Transport and a Hacking Rig to be safe and effective against Misbehaves, but you don't really need Fake ID or anything else if you have solid Tech and reasonable amounts of the other skills. It's not as challenging as I thought it would be, although there is the big advantage of starting with a carefully chosen Crew. I also started to see why some people hate the Nav Decks and their randomness, which reading strategy guides here and around the net hadn't quite prepared me for.
For my money, the most valuable keywords are, in order:
It's also nice to pick up some Firearms along the way.
If you're skills are balanced, you can really get away without Fake ID and Fancy Duds and even Hacking Rig if you have to.
Once you're comfortable and looking to make the solo game more of a challenge, there are a few things you can do.
I like to pick my crew semi-randomly, only from the "primed pump" cards (although I also like to double-prime, so there's usually a good selection).
You could also say "No Serenity" crew. Bridgit, Lund, and the Helmsman (if you have Breakin' Atmo) make a solid start for Monty, although not as potent as the Serenity crew.
You can also use the solo story rules to play other cards, such as Harken's Folly and Niska's Holiday. To me, that's where it really get fun.