James W
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"Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds.

And that's what Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats is all about. Do a job and get paid. The unkind words are optional. Not every job will go smoothly and some you'll bust.

It's a co-op skirmish game where you and your friends play as the crew of the Serenity against various AI controlled goons. There is a variant where one person plays the goons turning it into a one versus many game.

Rulebook
The rule book is decent but lacks both a table of contents and an index so be prepared to thumb through a lot the first few plays. It does have a lot of examples, good pictorial references, and uses themed phrasing to help immerse you in the 'Verse while you're reading.

Some rules, however, are not well defined. These are rules around adding Goons to the board and Goon behaviors. If there's confusion, that's also because each of the four jobs in the game have some custom rules. Some are obvious, some vague, and some very poorly defined. There's a pretty good FAQ on BGG now.

Gameplay
In F:B&B you play one or more of the crew from the show Firefly. The characters are Malcolm, Wash, Kaylee, Zoe, and Jayne. Each one has three skills (tech, negotiate, and combat) as well as a handful of actions they can take. Each player board is double-sided. One side is the casual side, where they are calmly walking around trying not attract attention to themselves. The other side is when you're performing thrilling heroics which attracts attention from the Goons who can see you. It's an action to transition back to casual, but going heroic is free! Unfortunately, if you're bleeding; you're automatically heroic. As the rule book states, "you can't casually bleed all over the place."




You select a mission booklet, set up the board using 4-6 tiles and a series of small boxes inside the main box which act like buildings for your miniatures to run around and duck into. The box bottom may even be on the board as a large room. Place tokens and other items as needed and then start aimin' to misbehave.

The setup felt a little tedious to try and find the correct building, orient it the correct way (the art on the floor plans isn't always the same for the building as it is on the booklet - but just line up the doors properly). Placing the rest of the minis and tokens was fairly fast and once you have the components out of the box, it goes fairly quickly.

Each character can take two actions and each action takes some time. Perform your actions and then move your marker forward on the time track. The token earliest in the time track is who gets to act next. This initiative track reminds me of Red November. Completely down to the star icons which means things get interesting. Up to and including "oh god oh god, we're all going to die" type interesting as your fate is tied to the roll of the dice. In the picture below the Roper will go, followed by Kaylee (under Zoe), Zoe, and last the bodyguard. When either Kaylee or Zoe get to the alarm, that will trigger. Likewise, first one to the star triggers a special effect. Since Kaylee is under Zoe (Jayne: I'll be in my bunk) she's distracted and can't assist anyone.


Skill checks are roll higher than the target and add your skill (0-3 points depending on character) and any items or abilities. Pass and you succeed, fail and do what the card says.

Lock door? Pick up the token and see if you have to make a skill check or if it's open. They're not all tech, so you can't just use Kaylee as a locksmith.

"Been a long time since Patience shot me and that was due to a perfectly legitimate conflict of interest." - Malcom Reynolds
Combat is also fairly straightforward. For ranged combat just roll higher than your target adding bonuses from weapons and combat skill. You also need a gun to shoot.

"Well, they tell ya, never hit a man with a closed fist, but it is on occasion hilarious." - Malcom Reynolds
Melee or brawling, is both attacker and defender roll and the person with a higher roll inflicts one wound on the looser. It's also possible to have nobody take damage or both of you take damage.



Goons get activated when they see a Goon body (you can move these to try and hide your handiwork) or if they see you in your heroic pose. There's two types of Goons who have different AI. There's Thugs who want to roll up and brawl. And then there's cowboys who shoot first and approach second. Each of the five different thugs of each type have their own unique model and card which gives them each a special ability. You can also play with all of them being identical, which is recommended for the first few plays.

As an example of the fun Firefly type moments this game creates; In one mission Wash is carrying the objective and running to the mule. Goons keep intercepting him and brawling. And he, somehow, keeps winning rolls so they take damage. On his turn he brawls, knocks them out, and keeps running. This led to an image of Wash running and almost accidentally knocking out goons as he frantically tries to escape.

Components
The miniatures look pretty good and the buildings add a lot of character to the board. There's 20 unique miniatures in the box (5 cowboys, 5 thugs, 5 casual crew and 5 heroic crew). The art for the items and weapons look great but the character's depictions look a little off. Considering GF9 made this, I'm surprised they didn't use photos from the show like they did in Firefly the Game. The paper money is the same (and is very high quality for paper money).

The practical side of the buildings is - they really aren't. I found it difficult to move figures in and out of the buildings without disrupting that building and everything adjacent to it. In many cases the buildings are adjacent acting like multiple rooms. I wish the game would've come with clips to hold them together. Likewise, the tiles don't interlock together and they should to avoid earthquakes shaking the battle-field.

Overall Impressions
If you couldn't guess by now, I'm a fan of the show and the universe which makes me partial to most things involving the 'verse. The gameplay is quick and enjoyable.

One of the missions I was rescuing a hostage and I found him in the first building I searched (hooray me!). It still took me almost the entire time limit to get him to the landing pad. But maybe I was making life hard on myself with moving him as an object, like I had the rule wrong. All of the missions have been close to the end. After stringing three together I just barely made the $10,000 to "win" a campaign. While I "won" all three missions, one was basically a bust, one I did really well, and the last was somewhere in the middle.

Pros:
1. Thematic Firefly game where you get to be big damn heroes
2. Fun components that makes the board pop
3. Simple and fast combat and gameplay

Cons
1. Set up is Fiddly McFiddilsome and her Fiddly Fiddlesticks (not that bad but it's something to nitpick)
2. Very random
3. Poorly written rules without an index or table of contents (here's where Sheppard Book should focus his sermons. Maybe the one about the special hell or the one about lepers).

Overall if you like Firefly and skirmish games, this should be an easy decision. If you don't like either, likewise, keep on walking. If you're torn, this is a fairly random and lighthearted skirmish game. It's not too tactical nor is it a lightweight Euro.

Edit 1: Mentioned its a co-op and the one vs. many variant.
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Mattias Elfström
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Re: Sweetie, we're crooks. If everything were right, we'd be in jail.
Nice review. The game has a lot of charm.

Note that it is a coop game (with a fairly weak competitive option). As a coop it does have some tactical decisions to make.

The omissions in the rules are inexcusable and the FAQ is necessary.
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Jonathan Starr
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Re: Sweetie, we're crooks. If everything were right, we'd be in jail.
Agree with it all. The one game I played was intense, all of us bleeding on the ground, crawling to the landing pad to get there in the nick of time. It's a fun game, and has potential with more scenarios hopefully in the future.

It does have fiddly rules, but the FAQ at least helps with some of those interpretations. I find it's mostly issues with the goons for me. I suspect it's because making an AI for a character who isn't a mindless robotic creature, like say a zombie from zombicide, gets a bit more difficult. So in the end I think your own interpretations of certain situations are necessary.
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Mark Eldridge
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With regards to keeping the buildings on the board, I use circular 0.5mm thick magnets. One in each building and one beneath the board, keeps the buildings nicely in place.
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Jonathan Starr
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marke67 wrote:
With regards to keeping the buildings on the board, I use circular 0.5mm thick magnets. One in each building and one beneath the board, keeps the buildings nicely in place.


Cool idea, but doesn't it make the tile imbalanced? Or do you have enough magnets spread out that it doesn't wobble?
 
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Mark Eldridge
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I just put one or two in each building and then in the same place under the board. As they are only half a milimetre thick, you don't even know they're there. The board lays perfectly flat. I think i bought 20 off of ebay for £5, so cheap as well.
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Jonathan Starr
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marke67 wrote:
I just put one or two in each building and then in the same place under the board. As they are only half a milimetre thick, you don't even know they're there. The board lays perfectly flat. I think i bought 20 off of ebay for £5, so cheap as well.


Nice. I might look into that. But that gest in the way of moving inside the building. If it works well maybe glueing them underneath the building will work, assuming they still fit nicely in the box.
 
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Philip Kitching
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JonathanStarr wrote:
marke67 wrote:
I just put one or two in each building and then in the same place under the board. As they are only half a milimetre thick, you don't even know they're there. The board lays perfectly flat. I think i bought 20 off of ebay for £5, so cheap as well.


Nice. I might look into that. But that gest in the way of moving inside the building. If it works well maybe glueing them underneath the building will work, assuming they still fit nicely in the box.


You can buy self adhesive magnetic or steel sheets in A4 sizes.

The steel sheet is very thin and easy to cut with scissors.
The magnetic sheet is about 1mm.
 
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Jayson Deare and Sammy G
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The FAQ only addresses minor issues with the rulebook there is a lot more in there that needs clarifications not to mention the grammar and spelling errors and the graphics errors on the jobs themselves
 
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