|Our Recommended Age:||9+ (Verify content is ok for your child first)|
|Play Time:||45-90 Minutes (Varies based on type of game played and players)|
|Contents:||500 cards 1 Full color game mat 1 Full color rule book Card Inserts Foam separators|
I am a big fan of Legendary Encounters games but Firefly has to be my favorite. We love the show and the movie so this was a must have game for us. Play through 3 episodes of Firefly in order to win, but be careful, you have to keep at least one member of your team AND Serenity alive to the end!
I know I’ve reviewed a couple of Encounters games already but this one plays a bit differently…so I love it more for that. First you have Serenity as a “character” that you can use and upgrade. Second, there are always 5 characters in play even if you have less than 5 people…I’ll explain in a bit but the changes are perfect for the theme of this game and we tend to play it a lot on Game Nights.
Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game is meant for ages 14+ but if your child has seen the show they are old enough to handle content of cards…Reavers, Bandits etc. They don’t get into as much detail as the show does so that’s even better. That being said I’d say the game dynamics are easily playable by a kid as young as 8 but probably closer to 10…I’ll say a safe 9.
However, once again I stress that adults play first and check content before letting a kid play. You know your child better than anyone so you know if they can handle (or whether you want them to or not) the content of any game. Just because they CAN play a game doesn’t mean they should. My kids don’t play this one yet though my son can play other deck building games…It’s all about personal preference so play first!
The box is a standard lift top lid which is common with Legendary games. Sturdy material so the box isn’t easily torn and can hold the weight of all the cards. Also, there is room for expansions or a second game, like half a box and more! Upper Deck is great for adding extra room so you don’t have to have a million boxes…I love that and the level of organization they put into the contents of the box.
There is a spot in the middle of a divided insert for the Mat, which they provide. On either side is an area for the cards. You don’t just put the cards of a Legendary game in the box any which way, oh no, they provide separator foam and divider cards with a few extra for organizing your game how you like it for easier set up and putting away. So pretty…but moving on…
The cards are standard size and material. Smooth and pretty like you expect from Upper Deck. The artwork is gorgeous. For the record, no it does not look exactly like the characters from the show. To me that is how it should be though. Otherwise they would just use pictures from the show. I like the artwork and it reminds of a comic style. The characters resemble those on the show and some more than others but again…I like it and feel the artists did a good job.
Other than the Mat which is beautiful and of good quality there isn’t anything else to the game besides the instructions. This booklet explains how to play the game with 1 – 5 players, how to adjust difficulty to either easier or harder and even how to play by yourself….yes a solo game play option…awesome! There is also a way to play called Campaign which you play through all of the episodes! That makes for a LONG but extremely fun night…especially if you win!
I think, personally, that game companies who have added ways to play are fantastic and understand the Gamer’s love for games. The replay-ability is already high without these additions so they just make it MORE re-playable…well to us it does. Now I’ll go into the details of how to play…but I’ll go over the first time player version.
The objective will change depending on how you are playing…so for simplicity I will just explain the “This is your very first game” way…with 3 people playing. So in this case you have to work together to complete a set of Objectives for each of 3 episodes from the show. You lose if everyone dies…or if Serenity dies…so work together and heal players and Serenity as needed.
If this is your first time playing you will want to follow the setup guide in the instructions otherwise you can choose or randomly choose 3 episodes to play. Serenity is a two parter so you would use both of those. You can play them in order (the “First Game” instructions have you use episodes 1 which is a 2 part and episode 3) or mix them up. Decide and set aside the cards for those.
Put the play mat in the middle of the play area facing the most people or those who don’t like playing with a mat upside down hehe. All 9 crew members will be used in the game one way or another. Some cards even have positive or negative effects based on who is in the game as a player! Love it!
I am going to assume you sorted the game based on the sorting guide in the instructions. Now it’s time to pass out each player’s starting hand. Seven Shiny cards, Five Misbehave and One Talent card are passed out to each player. This is your starting hand and each player should shuffle this up really well.
Each game there will be 5 Main characters and 4 Supporting Characters. This ensures all 9 crew members are in play…some how. Every player now has the option to choose their Crew Member or you can randomly decide who is who…when I get the option I always choose Zoe…and the Comedian…surprise! chooses Wash more often than not.
Once everyone has chosen, in our case 3 people, you should choose 2 more so there are 5 total Main Characters in play. These extras go on the Mat below the Bridge space. They are Main Characters but don’t count as players…it makes sense as you play.
Now the 4 remaining members of the Crew are Supporting Crew. This is how you determine which Crew cards to use. Take the 14 card deck for each of the 4 remaining Crew Members, shuffle them all up together (breath…it’ll be ok and you’ll sort them again at the end) and put them in the space marked Crew Deck on the Play Mat. Put the actual Avatar cards back in the box though.
Your card stays in front of you during the game and shows you how much health you have, your Defense is for specific cards or if you mix other Encounters games where people can fight each other…yeah that’s possible! Your Rank determines who goes first based on the number…Mal goes first for example. He is the captain after all.
Not quite ready to play yet, although it looks like a lot of set up it goes by pretty quick and is worth the set up time. Now shuffle the Upgrade cards and put them on their spot on the Mat. Do the same for the Browncoats, the Ship Strikes, and Crew Strikes. There spaces for these on the Mat as well. Also, put the Talent and Flaw stacks face up above the Mat.
Now you need to get the Objectives set up. If you noticed in the instructions each episode is listed as either an A, B or a C. It is designed so you can play in order or mix and match but you need 1 A, 1 B and 1 C to be used and in that order. You have to complete Objective A in order to move to Objective B and you need to complete all 3 in order to win. So choose or randomly choose an A, a B and a C Objective and put them in the designated spot on the Mat.
A bit more set up left…hang in there. Remember, all worth it. Each of the episodes Objectives also have a mini deck which has more of well a lot of extra fun stuff for the game. You do have to set it up so you fight through Episode A’s mini deck and then move on to B.
First find A’s mini deck, should be 10 cards, shuffle in the number of Side Job cards based on how many players there are. In our case 3 players means 2 Side Job cards in each mini deck. Games with 4 and 5 players also have special rules so read through instructions carefully. Then grab a random Inevitable card and put it on the bottom of this deck. It acts as the marker where B begins but also as a sort of timer for finishing Objective A.
Now shuffle in the required amount of Side Job cards into B’s mini deck and put a random Inevitable card at the bottom and then again with C’s mini deck and the final Inevitable card. The instructions have you put Objectives B and C off to the side and put A on the Mat. However, we normally put C on the bottom, then B, then A on top…so we don’t see Objective B or C and don’t knock them around the table a lot. The Objectives should be on top face up of each deck.
Almost ready! Take the top 5 cards from the Crew Deck and put them face up in the Bridge area on the Play Mat. Make sure every player has shuffled their personal deck and then they draw 6 cards. Again, Highest Rank goes first…Mal always will go first and play continues clockwise. Now we can begin!
There are 4 Phases you will go through on your turn and in order. Episode Phase, Action Phase, Strike Phase and Cleanup Phase. So at the beginning of your turn you should have 6 of your deck cards in your hand. Before you even do anything else you have to take an Episode card, face down, and put it in the ‘Verse.
If there is already a card there then it moves a space to the left so you can add one. A card goes from the ‘Verse to the Combat Zone on the Mat if it is the left most card and it gets pushed. Whether it is face up or down it becomes face up in the Combat Zone which can hold any number of cards…yikes! These cards are you get your Strikes…and can die…just FYI…This is the Episode Phase.
Now for the Action Phase: Before we get into what to do you should understand your cards a bit. During this phase you can Recruit (get more cards for your deck) Scan (look at or flip face up cards in the ‘Verse) or Fight (fight the cards in the Combat Zone or ‘Verse if they are face up).
In order to Recruit you need Recruit Points which is the number in the Star on cards that have them. Character Cards will have a Cost which is identified by the number in the Circle on the bottom right. Some cards have a special ability and some just give you more Attack (the number on the claw mark in the bottom left of the card) or Recruit Points.
To do any of that you have to play cards from your hand. One at a time in any order you choose, but order does matter. Some cards give you abilities IF you play a card with a certain Class first. The Class Icon is in the top left of a Character Card. So make sure you play your cards in the right order to maximize your turn. When you play a card you do what it says immediately.
If it is just for Fight or Recruit you can add them all together once you have played all your cards to Fight or Recruit cards. Your cards stay face up in front of you until end of your turn and keep in mind you do NOT have to play all the cards in your hand. Sometimes it is better NOT to play a card.
You can also play a Talent card during this phase. Just play the card and follow the instructions on your Avatar’s card and don’t forget to draw a card. Once you activate your Talent the Talent card is defeated…which means it goes back to the Stack of Talent cards…you can choose to give it up which puts it in your discard pile instead.
If you have a Flaw card in your hand…sorry…at the start of the Action Phase for your turn you MUST play each of them…one at a time…If you draw a Flaw card at any time during this phase you have to play before you do anything else. Follow the instructions on the Flaw card and then put it back in the Flaw stack…at least you don’t have to keep it!.
Once you have played all the cards you want or in between playing them you can Recruit which is just like buying a card from the Bridge. Spend Recruit Points equal to the cost of the card you want. Simple! Once a card is chosen take another from the Crew Deck and immediately put it face up in the empty spot.
There is the option to recruit a Browncoat as well which cost 3 RP. You don’t get to see them first but they are helpful as there is one for each of the 5 classes and allow you to Coordinate (play this card on someone else’s turn to let them use the Attack or RP on their turn). Your recruited card goes in your discard pile (unless some other card says otherwise) and if you have more points you can keep buying or if you have Fight, fight something.
To do that a card has to be either in the Combat Zone or in the ‘Verse and face up. If you choose to spend the required Attack to Scan a card in the ‘Verse it gets flipped face up. Some abilities let you scan but sometimes bad things happen when a card is revealed…it’s always a gamble. I’m usually the one that Scans and gets hit with something bad…seriously almost every time..I gave up Scanning for awhile and wound up with more Strikes…I can’t win…
The Enemy cards have an Attack that is like it’s cost to defeat in the bottom right as do the Enemy Ship cards. Yep we have neglected poor Serenity up to now but she can be attacked….and die..which means you lose cause you would be technically inside her…
I don’t want to go over all the cards or abilities or anything. It is more fun for you if you discover these on your own…just read the cards really. I will say that Side Jobs, once revealed just get left where it is and it moves along the ‘Verse like an enemy.
This is why you want to Scan. You can choose to complete the mission and get what it says for the Success but if you don’t complete by the end of the turn it enters the Combat Zone in you Fail…and have to follow THOSE instructions…try to do these. When an Event card is revealed just follow it’s instructions and put it in the Defeated cards space.
After all that is done…you enter the Strike Phase. This is the phase that can suck…a lot. If there are any cards in the Combat Zone during this phase on your turn you get to draw a Strike Card. Start with the right most enemy and go left if there are multiples, one at a time.
Draw your Strike, put it on your Avatar card and follow its instructions. You could get lucky and get a really low Strike or have bad luck and get like a 5…which I tend to see in games. Cards can heal Strikes but if you ever get more Strike points than your Avatar has health you get a space funeral…
Now comes the Cleanup Phase. This is the end of your turn, you’ve played your cards, Recruited or Attacked, got a Strike or not and are ready to pass the torch so to speak…All the cards you played and any in your hand still now go into your discard pile. You are allowed to go through your discard pile at any time which is great because you can get cards that let you take a card out of the pile.
Now that you have discarded all the card there were in your hand or in play you will draw 6 new cards from your pile. If you have run out of cards simply take your discard pile and shuffle it up and then draw your 6 cards.
You cannot shuffle you discard pile into a new deck unless you have run out of cards in your deck. Sometimes you will draw 6 cards and then have no more but you still can’t shuffle yet. Only when you need to draw a card and cannot, then you shuffle the discard pile and draw your card.
I will not cover every little detail. There is too much to the game and I feel like once you set it up and start playing it will all make sense…so I don’t want to confuse you. I will cover a few things though like Objectives, Inevitable Cards, Ending and Episode and Intermission…but not everything about them.
The Objectives can be completed in any order for that Episode and there are many different types. Some have you use special abilities of Goal Cards and some just have you defeat certain enemies. Follow the instructions on the card for every situation and you should be fine. The Episode ends when every Objective for that Episode is either completed or fails…unless it was a Mandatory Objective…then you lose the game.
The last card of each Episode deck should be an Inevitable card which lets you know when you have run out of cards for that Episode and now have to finish it. Basically you do NOT want this card in the Combat Zone or something bad will happen..to everyone. They cannot be scanned, fought or interacted with in any way. Like it has an anti everything force field around it! Or that’s what I….I mean the kids say…ahem….
If it is in the ‘Verse then any effect that says to add a card to the ‘Verse just moves this one up one instead. Once it does hit the Combat Zone reveal it, but remember no other cards can be added after it. It will go through a normal Strike Phase but if it makes it through a Strike Phase for every player, the Episode is over and any Objectives you have not completed have now failed.
Once all Objectives are completed or failed the Episode is over and if it was C then the game is over too. Otherwise you start to do a large scale clean up to prep for a new Episode. I could explain this…but I won’t. Read the instructions on what to and then move on the the Inter-Mission phase.
This only happens between Episodes 1 & 2 and 2 & 3 because after 3 the game is over. You have to do a list of things in a specific order, which the instructions have clearly outlined. Normally I go to the bathroom at this time or get a snack or drink and everyone chats about the just completed…or failed Episode. Well chat or whine depending on how it went really.
You get to spend Credits and buy Upgrades for Serenity here but you should all agree how to spend the Credits…if you can’t then Highest Rank decides. Chain of Command people…it’s the chain I go get….you know the rest. Make sure to Repair Ship Strikes or Heal the Crew and then Draw cards and set up for the Next Episode!
As mentioned before the game ends when Objective C is completed, when Objective C is failed, when a Mandatory Objective is failed, when Serenity dies OR when all the Crew die. You can only win, however, if you complete the Mandatory Objective of the last Episode. You can win even if you fail Objectives A and B!
You can also keep score if you want to see if you win big or not. We don’t normally do scores…we just care if we win or die…lose.
The instructions have a lot of information and more detailed descriptions of how to play, what certain cards do and things like that, but since you can read them I’m not including them here. I’ve explained enough. I will say that although it seems overwhelming at first, after that very first game you will not only want to play again but you will find it is easier to set up, sort and play through after that. Actually, after about a round or two you will want that and it will all make sense.
You can adjust difficulty, play a Solo game or play a Campaign which we are trying in the next week…I’ll post pics and let you know how that goes. We anticipate a “Everything’s Shiny, Cap’n” outcome (85-99 points) but realistically will get a “Keep Flying” outcome 51-84 points)….or quite possibly the “Time to Retire and Give Up This Life of Crime” outcome (0-50 points)…you want to try for the 100 Points “Big Damn Heroes” outcome but I’m thinking we won’t get that…possibly ever but I know it’s possible…at least I think it is.
No matter how you play you will have a great time whether you love Firefly, don’t know what it is or don’t like the show or movie (we might hold that against you though…). The game is fun by itself so we haven’t combined it with another Legendary Encounters game but it IS possible…there are not instructions for how to combine them in this game’s rulebook but I imagine it would work the same as combining the others…let us know if you have done this!
If you get the “Big Damn Heroes” outcome in a Campaign tag us in your post…you WILL want to post that! @MyGeeklings #Firefly #Legendary @UpperDeckSports