Michal Paszkiewicz

the firefly strategy report

Firefly (the board game) Strategy

Since being introduced to Firefly: The Board Game by David and Miriam from Tame The Board Game, I have had hours of fun playing this game with various combinations of people. The game is essentially Freelancer on a board. You collect crew, gear and you complete jobs for money, while trying to finish the main task, which is presented in the form of a story.

I have decided to present a short report that may help you choose which strategy to play with in the game and how to optimise your strategy once you have chosen it. Please be aware that the rest of this article expects the reader to have played firefly at least once before. If you have not, you will most likely just be seeing pretty graphs and not understanding what I'm writing about.

Existing material

Before we get started, I would like to point out that there is already some great material out there that you can use to analyse what is available in the shop decks. First of all, there is a neat article presented by Matters of Interest, which has some useful tables detailing what things you can buy where. There is also a nice open source project by RhialtoTheMarvellous which will allow you to search what you can find in which deck with a lot of detail. It is also hosted on github, so you can download the source code. Landon Sommer has also written a comprehensive article on how to work your way through the job market.

Total cards in deck

Card cost distributions

From the box and whisker diagram, we can see that silverhold has far more cheap cards than any of the other decks. Osiris on average has the most expensive cards and it also contains the most expensive cards. It could be wise to try to shop from the cheaper shops in the game, so Silverhold might be a good starting option, with Osiris visited only later in the game.

Osiris has got the most ship upgrades (if you include drive cores). This explains why the cards there are more expensive. Silverhold has the most crew, which is usually the cheapest, but always remember that you will have to pay your crew's wages if you don't want to disgruntle them. Space Bazaar and Silverhold have the joint most amount of gear. Gear is usually more expensive than crew, but you don't pay it a wage, so it usually pays off to have some. In addition, you will definitely want some of the keywords that are featured on gear - they let you through some of the misbehave cards without a test.

Please not that not all the nav cards details have yet been uploaded (I don't yet own Blue Sun). Some Rim Space cards are therefore missing.

A solid rep with Harken gets you through 4 Nav cards without incident. Meanwhile Patience and Niska solid reps are only useful for 1 card each. You might want to consider getting solid with Harken at the start of the game, while his pay is at least partly worth it.

These three above sets of results show a breakdown of possible options featured in the nav cards. The need for Fight, Tech and Negotiate skills is more or less evenly distributed in Alliance and Rim space. However, Tech skills dominate in Border space - 9 cards need a Tech test there! The pie charts showing the professions needed for various nav cards show that a Pilot is by far the most useful. However, you will also want a Mechanic, since a Pilot-Mechanic combination will let you get away from Reaver Cutters! I have also shown drawn some pie charts showing the distribution of breakdowns and salvage ops in the nav cards. It is surprising that Alliance space is the only space where there are more breakdowns than salvage ops. There are a whopping 9 salvage op cards in Border space, but flying through there you also have a greater chance of breaking down, with the 5 breakdown cards. If you get bonuses from salvage ops, it may be worthwhile considering trying to keep to border space to make use of the extra salvage op cards.

From a breakdown of the things you need to get through the aim to misbehave cards, we can see that Companion is the most useful profession. Fight and Negotiate skills dominate over tech skills, while Transport and Hacking Rig are the keywords that together will get you through 15 misbehave cards! Out of the cases where specific cards are needed, Wash and River Tam are needed the most, although only twice.

So that's it for now, I hope you have found this report useful. Please follow me on twitter for updates on when I post more random things!

published: Sun Jan 01 2017

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Michal Paszkiewicz reads books, solves equations and plays instruments whenever he isn't developing software for Transport For London.