A couple of weeks ago I had the very great pleasure of reviewing Firefly The Game. I thoroughly enjoyed the offering from Gale Force 9 with very little in the way of criticism. It is both a must have for fans but a superb board game for those completely naive or indifferent to the Firefly ‘Verse. A case in point, the play test involved myself, Mat and Neil (of The Chaps) who are all die-hard Firefly fans, and Lee who’s never seen the show. And whilst Lee didn’t get every reference, sidebar or in-joke he still thoroughly enjoyed the game.
So when the expansion deck – Breakin’ Atmo’ – was released I got the same group of people together and sat them down for another trip out into the Black.
If you’re expecting a lot for your money you’ll be disappointed. It’s a deck of cards. No sense in pretending otherwise. It’s a deck of cards. But it’s a deck of very cool cards. It contains new missions from each of the contacts and a raft of new equipment and characters.
Whilst this may not seem like much or that important it actually makes quite a bit of difference. For a start, the Harken missions are actually worth doing. A lot of the other missions are staggeringly hard though but the reward is well worth the risk. Basically the mission in Breakin’ Atmo’ go a long way to shaving off game play time, providing you’ve got the crew to pull it off. There’s also no shortage of illegal jobs. In that most of them are illegal. Which adds another layer to the game. Namely warrants getting issued left right and centre forcing players out of alliance space. On the raggedy edge. As it were.
To off set the ball crushingly hard missions and the equally harsh consequences when you inevitably fuck them up are various upgrades, items and crew. It’s a healthy mix with the odd gem thrown in although it may not be abundantly clear at the time. Mainly because they’re all crazy expensive and it’s easy to get dazzled by that. But if you can get your hands on Two-Fry and the all new card of his rifle you not only get +2 shooty men bonuses (shut up, I can’t remember the name the symbol is called) and the rifle allows you to re-roll any shooty men test results that come up a one. That’s a huge advantage. It’ll cost you mind, and considering how quickly you can churn through crew some games you may think twice but it’s a tasty combination.
Pretty much all the new characters are worth taking to a greater or lesser extent and just about all of them will be instantly recognisable to fans of the show. And I suppose that’s the point: Breakin’ Atmo’ is a nice to have. It is by no means a must have or even a need to have. But it is good fun. and adding cards to the decks is no bad thing, especially when the game is heating up.
I kinda feel like, considering it just a deck of cards, they should have just been included in the main box as there’s nothing that changes the game up, just broadens the horizons a tad.
All that said, if you’re a fan you will buy it because the option of taking Elder Gommen or getting your hands on a Cortex Uplink is too tempting to pass up. And for the money you’d be silly not to.
Breakin’ Atmo’ is available from Firestorm Games priced £9.00.