Base Game: Firefly: The Game
Additional Playtime: None
Producer: Gale Force Nine
Designer: John Kovaleski, Sean Sweigart & Aaron Dill
If you’ve read my Firefly: The Game review, you’d be aware that I love Joss Whedon’s universe more than Zoey likes a bit of slink. When I saw that there was an expansion for this game I was like a Reaver on a cramped transport ship.
Breakin’ Atmo comes with fifty cards, divided into twenty-five supplies and twenty-five contracts. So more crew to hire, guns to shoot, and jobs to pull.
I get excited when games I love have expansions. You’re about as guaranteed to get my money as my girlfriend is if she asks if she can buy lingerie. But this doesn’t mean expansions are always great. In fact they can bog down a game, throw off the meta, or mess with the production value.
So what’s this expansion like? Does it aim to misbehave and provide at least a season’s worth of entertainment? Or does Fox need to teach Gale Force Nine how to cancel this production?
I’m a long time Magic: The Gathering player and a Pokemon: TGC player before that. I’m a fan of the meta, and enjoy looking for the best strategies with decent probabilities. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of metagaming, it’s the simple idea more of something is likely to happen more often and less of something is likely to happen less. If you have four of something in a sixty card deck, you’re more likely to draw it then something you have two in a sixty card deck.
By adding more cards, they’ve thinned the decks. My strategy of hovering around Persephone waiting for Simon, River and/or Shepard Book to show up (a brilliant masterminded scheme if there ever was one) becomes much less likely to yield results.
However, Firefly was never about having your plans go smoothly. The show, and very much this game, is about utilising what you’ve got in front of you to pull off your jobs and earn enough to keep flying. Breakin’ Atmo adds to this nicely. It’s one of those “more of the good stuff” expansions.
The new type of job in Breakin’ Atmo is the ‘Task’. They give you more money based on the amount of Fight, Negotiate or Tech skill your crew has. And it’s nice you can try to specialise in something as a viable option. I’ve seen one or two games where these have meant the difference between a win or a loss. But they’re few and far between.
I will add, although this is a mini-expansion and was never going to blow me away; it doesn’t bring with it any significantly new mechanics or ideas. It’s exactly what I said before. It’s more choice and variety. I would love more of this kind of expansion for Firefly.
Pros: ++More of the Good Stuff
Cons: -Thins the Meta
By adding more supplies and more jobs, the universe feels much more fleshed out. It feels more like you’re putting interesting crew and gear together in unique ways. The Firefly universe was always about the choices you make, and struggling to use what you have to get by.
Breakin’ Atmo adds a few more unique items and characters from the show. I think it’s really subjective if you think this is a pro or con. If you want to grab Nandi’s gun collection, give them to River and imagine her firing them off in style then you can do that. Personally I’ve always been more interested in forging my own story through the universes I love so much and so I’ve always preferred generic items which are similar in theme. But I don’t feel this detracts from the game by any means.
Pros: +More theme
There’s not too much I can say about an expansion of fifty cards. The artwork feels similar and the cards fit in with the base set nicely. So this game doesn’t add or subtract anything to the production.
In case you missed the cleverly worded title in this post (I enjoy my own work, maybe a little too much). Breakin’ Atmo doesn’t break and new ground, but it adds nicely to the atmosphere.
Firefly: The Game – Breakin’ Atmo modifies the base game by: