Firefly Misbehavin’ is a deckbuilding game for 2-4 players that can take anywhere between 45-60+ minutes. Each player takes a faction from the well-loved franchise and tries to accumulate enough power to reach their victory threshold. This includes Serenity, Niska, Eavesdown, and the Alliance.
Once players have their factions selected, they get a starting faction deck of 10 cards and their player board as well as a verse token and a credit. The goal of the game is to reach your victory threshold of power based on the number of players in the game. This power has to be the total amount of the power on cards located in your player board. While you only start with 10 faction cards in your deck, you begin to expand and build your deck from the different markets located on the market board. This is where luck and strategy come into play as most of your points come from acquired cards.
The main way to build your deck is going to be by making deals and recruitment. Both of these use power and influence from your cards to pull new items onto your player board and into your deck. You can supplement this with credits as well, allowing you to bring in some higher cost cards to your deck and making you more of a threat at the table. The supply board allows you to bring some items into your deck that are set every game and immediately return to the supply upon use. Both the market and supply allow you to build up your deck and is where most of the action is centered.
On each player’s turn, they can take 1 action and conduct a couple of other things. Your main action is going to be playing cards to your player board, triggering activations on your board, fighting, or making a deal. Playing a card to your player board cost your action but is how you get cards into active play. If a card’s already in play you can activate it. Fighting is how you can stop your opponent’s momentum by stealing their cards or causing them to be discarded. Making deals allows you to exert power to buy cards from the market and supply. You can also recruit which is a more “generic” form of buying something, but it places the bought card into your discard pile instead of your hand.
One of the final moves players can do on their turn is to generate and spend ‘verse tokens. Each faction has its own way to generate ‘verse tokens which allow you to do a variety of extra things such as take extra actions or retains cards that might have been lost in combat. Players continue to take turns until the power victory threshold is shown on their boards.
When I played Firefly Misbehavin’, I was only able to do two player games, but I feel that having three or four players would only make the game longer and not necessarily add to the enjoyment of it. Each faction of the game is super unique, allowing players to focus on their strengths when acquiring cards or interacting with others. The cards do have some flavor of the Firefly show, but sometimes felt more like a Firefly skin pulled over a designed card game.
Speaking of acquiring cards, it was really confusing on which resource to use when and for what cards. Between power, influence, and credits it took a full game before we felt like we had a handle on how to spend our resources to either deal or recruit. This was a major discouragement during the first game as we were constantly trying to find out if it took an action and what cards needed to be used.
The game is slow to take off but over time you can build your resource engine nicely, allowing for extra actions and resource generation. The main way to derail that with your opponents is combat and forcing them to take The Black cards. Combat just felt more about knowing when to strike more than any sort of luck. There are some combat trick abilities that can surprise your opponents but not enough to say the combat is deep. Forcing your opponent to place The Black cards into their deck is way more effective and can essentially clog up their card draws and actions with useless cards, allowing you to gain an edge in card scoring.
There are some variant forms of play in the box too. This includes adding Reavers or playing with different episode cards during setup. Reavers are dangerous cards that hide in the market deck and cause negative effects for all players on their turns, forcing players to spend resources to eliminate them. Episode cards influence the supply and victory conditions. Honestly, these two sets of cards should be mandatory in any play through after the first. They add some much-needed depth and variation to the game.
Firefly Misbehavin’ is an ok game if you like engine builders and deck builders with light interactions. The factions felt distinct due to the core decks, and the game snowballs and accelerates well as your resource generation picks up speed. I found myself not wanting to interact with my opponent in the first game and only focusing on building my deck up until I was forced to stop them from obtaining enough power to win. I think many episode cards could fix this with alternate win conditions though.
It may take a game or two to get the hang of how to spend resources as well. We still had to look up exactly which action took up our 1 action per turn and which could be done freely with which resources. Overall it was an okay game with some good mechanics that allow you to enjoy a deck builder with a light Firefly background.
Final Score: 3 Stars – An okay engine building game that revolves around bolstering your deck with minimal player interactions.
• Cards feel like a Firefly skin over another card game.
• Combat lacks a large of amount of combat tricks and deep strategy.