RogerBW's Blog

Firefly Jetwash and Esmeralda: unboxing and first look 20 July 2015

My copies of the Jetwash and Esmeralda ship boosters for Firefly arrived on Friday. What's inside?

Each booster gives you one new ship. They could replace ships from the base game, or be used together to run a really huge game (up to nine players now, though downtime would be a problem).

Jetwash

Inspired by the Float Out comic, this ship seems to be intended for dealing with the hazards that nav cards present; it looks as if it should be particularly valuable in the early game, and for Transport jobs.

The ship's special ability allows the player to discard a Part to gain the Pilot keyword temporarily, and the standard drive core allows extended travel for extra fuel. (It can be swapped normally.) The Stash is limited to carrying Fuel, thus making it difficult for a pirate to strand it in deep space, but reducing its utility for illegal transport jobs; the main cargo bay has twelve slots rather than the usual eight. (I suspect this will make the Walden less appealing.) Crew is limited to five, and upgrades to two.

Those two upgrade slots will be filled at the start of the game with set items, which must be bought using starting cash, though if you use a scenario where ship costs matter those costs include the upgrades. Here those are Xùnsù Emergency Ram Jets (which let you use an action, not necessarily a Move action, to Full Burn, thus allowing a turn with two moves in it) and Decoy Nav Sat Cluster which allows you to prevent Reaver and Alliance ship movements. Both go out of the game when used. There's also a copy of each for general purchase at Space Bazaar.

Zoe as Captain displaces Zoe on Silverhold if she's in play. A new ability allows her not to pay Soldiers in her crew.

The new Set Up card gives players more starting cash, but they have to buy their ship with it, as well as any Fuel or Parts. The new Story card selects random planets (by drawing three Jobs per player) and puts Goal tokens on them: if you complete a job in a sector with a goal, you can claim it, and first to three wins. Players don't get starting Jobs, though.

New tokens include a Haven marker, four Goal/Warrants, four Disgruntles, five passenger/fugitive, seven fuel, eight parts, and ten cargo/contraband. And of course there's the ship miniature, a new sculpt shared with Esmeralda, and the ship-coloured die.

Esmeralda

Esmeralda is a similar ship, with the same cargo hold and fuel-only stash. Her special ability is that fugitives on board cannot be seized by the Alliance (wanted crew are still out of luck), so that makes her good for transport-of-fugitives jobs – of which, I can't help noticing, there are only twelve even in a fully-expanded game. Still, most of them are for Niska and pay well.

She has the same drive core as Jetwash, but comes with Starting Upgrades of a Full Mess Deck (in effect, you can take a Family Dinner whenever you're flying for one cargo/contraband) and a set of Caravan Pods (two hold spaces only for Passengers/Fugitives, and +1 to maximum crew). As with Jetwash, these are bought with starting cash. Two Caravan Pods and a Mess Deck are added to Persephone's supply deck; there's no new captain here.

The new Set Up card is a fast start: one Supply Deck is chosen and passed out among the players, in sets of cards equal to the number of players with a rotating first choice. The Story Card sees all players competing for the same set of Jobs, one per contact, held in common: when you start a Job you claim it and turn up a new card. There's less choice, but since you don't have to go to a contact to pick up a job this may well lead to faster play.

General notes

If one of them was going to be green, why not make that one "Esmeralda"?

The ship dice still look good.

Expanding the ship die and miniature collection means I can finally no longer claim to be keeping everything in the original box. (And the next expansion, Kalidasa, is due out around September, and will bring the board size up to 80" × 20".) Really Useful Boxes to the rescue!

[Buy Jetwash at Amazon] [Buy Esmeralda at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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