RogerBW's Blog

Firefly: The Artful Dodger 23 May 2014

In the Firefly board game, the Artful Dodger is an optional add-on ship. Is it worth picking?

The Dodger was, I believe, originally a promotional item in Game Trade Magazine #162, but it was included in the British edition of the game and it's now available directly from the publisher. It's not unreasonable to expect a "complete" set to include it, particularly in the UK.

The differences from a standard Firefly are:

  • It comes with a range-6 drive core (taken from the Osiris deck)
  • It has six cargo slots rather than eight
  • It has one extra crew berth

So the advantages are $1200 worth of drive (which could otherwise be gained at Osiris without too much trouble, or a similar effect could be had by recruiting Wash), and a crew slot. More crew means more skills and equipment, but also more to pay them when completing missions; you won't be able to make much money on Shipping/Transport jobs (many of which pay per cargo/passenger delivered), and should probably think in terms of skipping the early game by doing the bare minimum of easy missions to build up your funds, then recruiting lots of crew and going straight for Crime or Smuggling jobs.

I've only run into the crew limit of a standard Firefly once in the games I've played, and while the range 6 is nice to have it doesn't often make a huge difference, so on balance I tend not to play the Dodger. If you have the knack of building up a balanced crew quickly, it's probably more useful; and it could be particularly handy for the Salvage Ops route to wealth (i.e. cruising border space looking for trouble rather than paying your crew for jobs), once you've got a decent outlet for scavenged goods. I should probably try playing it more just to flex my play style a bit and try out new things

If you tend to play with people who always go for the range-6 drive, it's worth noting that playing the Dodger deprives them of one such card.

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