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Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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When I saw the low average score I figured there were some art critics invading my hobby. The art isn't even bad; it's just inconsistent. It's similar to Dominion. From what I understand, the art of the comics was also inconsistent due to the range of artists hired for different installments. I'm tempted to inflate my rating to counter some of the simpletons judging this book by its cover, but I'll be honest and give a real review:

I like Firefly but I wouldn't call myself a fan by any stretch so you aren't seeing my predisposition of the theme taking over this rating. Having played Legendary and the first Encounters (Alien) game, I personally think that the system better fits a cooperative environment. The semi-cooperative nature of Legendary feels weird since you're all superheroes working together (or are you superheroes? How come we both have Spiderman in our decks?....) It brings out the worst in a competitive group, with players trailing having potentially some capability of tanking the game and making others' decks less efficient. This is more of a flaw in the new trash heap of Legendary Big Trouble in Little China.

The Encounters system makes you a part of the game even when it's not your turn as you may see a card come up on an ally's turn that would fit your deck perfectly. Since you're all working together to beat the scenario, chances are you can get your partner to leave you that card even if it looked good for them. It feels very cooperative, and it takes the random 5 card offering first seen in Ascension and makes it strategic from a group perspective. So I like Encounters a lot more than Legendary, but what do I think about Firefly?

Let's discuss the changes and additions:

Characters: They changed the way classes work. Instead of playing with a "medic" class you will be choosing a character (Mal, Zoe, Jayce) for your class. Interestingly, you will build the crew deck out of the characters NOT in play. It's strange to be playing as Zoe and not have a single Zoe card in your deck. But there is something to like about the new character system: you now start the game with a talent card, which can be activated and then returned to the supply for an added effect. It allows you to plan when to use your big ability, but also there are certain negative effects in the strike deck that get canceled by a quick reveal of a talent card. Some other strikes force all players to discard a talent from hand. "Do I hang on to that card or play it?" is a persisting choice you may be faced with constantly the game. Some talents are more obvious (activate to cancel a strike) while others give you a choice. There are also flaw cards that replace that force a character-specific negative event. Simply put, the flaw/talent system provides immersion and variability as different characters have a unique set of not only skills but also shortcomings. Several events will key off of certain characters being in play, which I'm sure will make fans of the show happy as they relive the episode. For me, I thought that specific feature was the weakest addition as it essentially made a certain set of characters the "ideal" crew for the scenario, which hampers replayability. On the whole I find the crew cards you'll be adding to your deck flavorless (Simon healing makes sense, but why is River milling cards in my deck?) with abilities reminiscent of established deck-building mechanisms. It does, however, provide a firm mechanical basis.

Ship: Yep, you're on the Serenity. Thus, you'll be taking ship strikes (that's the bad damage cards) and also adding upgrades. Upgrades are purchased after finishing episodes using the credits you've acquired during the previous episode. It adds a whole extra layer to the game as you try as hard as you can to accomplish objective worth credits without losing sight of your main objective. Ship strikes are negative effects that occupy an upgrade slot and can be removed in lieu of purchasing a new crew card. The ship was executed extremely well and greatly enabled my next point, which is...

Campaign: You can play as a campaign, conserving your ship and making decisions that will impact how you start future episodes. Progression is a welcome addition to the Encounters system. Do you deliver the medical supplies or keep them for yourself? Both have benefits so you'll need to make the call as a group.

Episodes: The structure of episodes was changed from Encounters Alien to suit the world of Firefly. Gone is the downright fear lurking around the corner with the threat of a chestburster. In fact you can even come back after you've been "knocked out". I personally like both flavors and appreciate that they didn't simply rip off of Alien Encounters by slapping a "reavers" card to imitate the chestbursters. There's a unique challenge they faced in designing the episodes: you play them in groups of three. How do you make the action rise and fall over the course of three episodes? I really don't know, but they did. The Alien movies made sense because they were full length feature films, but I'm impressed by the design of the episode decks and how their design strengthens that feeling of progression within the episode.

Overall: Any time a game is released based on a specific system, I expect it to do something to distinguish itself. Otherwise it's a cash-in. Legendary Encounters Firefly avoids that characterization with an excellent new campaign system, a ship that progressively changes along with events and upgrades, and a slick new talent/flaw system that broadens the game in a way that feels consistent with the character development from its source material. Not all of the modifications feel welcome, such as events that always target certain characters (or whif if they aren't in play). However, as a successor to a system that tailored Marvel Legendary more to my discerning taste, I'm impressed.
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Tim Royal
United States
Kirkland
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Nice review.

Regarding the art, I will agree that it's inconsistent in its quality from card to card, but where it's bad, it's really, really, really bad.

I do like the refreshing changes of the game, and am glad that it's not a clone of previous games.


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Chris G
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
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Good review, the art is kind of a mess. Which is a shame because it's getting the focus over the game. Which is another good interpretation of the Encounter system. The game also is the first Legendary game where you are actually playing a character, which I find to be particularly appealing.
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Antonio Capo
Puerto Rico
San Juan
Puerto Rico
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I ordered the game based upon how beautiful the map and the cards look when put all together from this playthrough by Ant Lab Games on youtube:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yaz7lE8AfGk

Maybe the beautiful map absorbs all the bad art from the cards.
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Tim Royal
United States
Kirkland
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antoniocapo wrote:
I ordered the game based upon how beautiful the map and the cards look when put all together from this playthrough by Ant Lab Games on youtube:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yaz7lE8AfGk

Maybe the beautiful map absorbs all the bad art from the cards.


The map is wondrous. Just wondrous. I just want to lay down on it on the beach and take a nap.

The art is all over the map, but the more I play, the more I just let the Wash bad over me... er, the bad wash over me.

Sure, Inara looks like a cross between her beautiful self and a California Raisin, but that just keeps me focused on the game and not her, right?

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Mark Blasco

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I agree with most of what you said, but the art really is terrible. Not on all of the cards, but even the best cards are mediocre at best. The inconsistency is really annoying, and some of the cards (including all of the strike cards) are so bad I almost feel like I could do a better job.

I agree that it's strange to play as characters, but not have their cards. I understand the idea, but I don't know that they really succeeded in the way they had hoped.

Great review, thanks!
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Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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After playing another game tonight I have to add another notch against it for inconsistency: difficulty.

There's a certain card in the first episode that can basically end your game if it's very early. Had that happen tonight and we were done-zoe in 10 minutes. I think that card should be planted lower during setup. You wouldn't just shuffle all the epidemics in randomly right?

My thoughts on the art:

80% is ok, while inconsistent
15% is unimpressive and bad
5% is so bad you show the people at the table.

Edit: fixed typos.
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Tommy Brownell
United States
Twin Oaks
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The art is not great, at all...but I've found after a few weeks of playing it that I don't notice it (as I figured I would)...it's just not a deal breaker for me.
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