Review: Firefly - Shiny Dice

Review: Firefly Shiny Dice

Designer: Scott Morris
Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment
Players: 1-5
Year: 2015
Type: Dice, Push Your Luck
Based On: Firefly TV Series

Millions of fans were sad when Firefly was cancelled by Fox in 2002. It remains one of the cancelled television series people are confused about since it had a consistent viewership and even won an Emmy! You can find the series on DVD and some streaming services, but that’s not all. There are numerous games based on the show you can play to relive the stories and characters created by Joss Whedon. Firefly: Shiny Dice is one such game.

There’s not much story to the game. You fly Serenity around with crew members to complete missions and battle Foes that are trying to hinder you from getting your maximum payment. The game uses characters from the show and lines from the episodes on the Mission cards, but that’s it. A little disappointing, but the scope of the game isn’t meant to be deep.

Typical setup after rolling.

Setup is quick when playing solo. Roll out the mat and place the cards around it. There are Victory Point cards, supply cards, and Mission cards. You can choose to use the player screen, and I highly recommend it, but with the rulebook handy.

My biggest gripe is the rules. The rule book is thin and gives the impression you can jump right in on one read through. Unfortunately, that’s not the case: There are steps, then phases within steps, then If-Then statements to keep track of. Even after 20 plays of Shiny Dice, I still keep the book handy despite having a player screen to help.

You play over 3 rounds. After rolling the 15 dice, you place them in the appropriate spots on the mat, then apply any bonuses before getting a mission.  The Mission card can be completed by anyone. Playing Solo means either you complete it or you don’t. If you have the dice listed on the card, then success! Some Missions are activated immediately, some only if they are completed.

The next step of the round involves fighting Foes. At the beginning of the, you go through and perform the appropriate actions on the Foe dice. Nishka KOs (takes crew out of the rest of round) Crew dice. Saffron moves 1 Crew Dice to the Cargo Hold. For each Badger dice you rolled, you put one Supply with Badger since he’s captured them. After that, you use the rest of your die and character’s powers to defeat Foes. This is the easiest part of the game. Either you have the Crew to fight or you don’t. For example, if you have a Zoe dice, then you deal 2 damage, spread however you want. There are also non-battle powers. Simon allows you to move 1 Kaylee from the KO pile to the ship.

The core mechanic of the game, so you can maximize your Victory Points, is to either “Lay Low or Keep Flyin’”. If you Lay Low, then the round is over, you collect your points, and start the next round. To Keep Flyin’ you must consider how many Crew dice you have left and in the Cargo Hold (KO dice cannot be use). Then you roll the available dice and go through the steps again.

Victory Point cards

Three isn’t any specific solo rules. You play the game as if you were in a multiplayer game. Sounds strange, since the game isn’t cooperative or has those solo rules or even a minor change for solo play. It’s fun solo, and then again, it’s not. I dislike looking up rules almost after every time I do something. Roll the dice, look at the rules. Ok, I rolled a bunch of Saffron, does that mean anything? I remember there being something that it does. Look up the rules. You get the idea. But it’s a beat-your-high-score type solo game that keeps me coming back when I have 10-15 minutes.

Firefly: Shiny Dice isn’t for everyone. In fact, it might only be for Firefly fans and fans of press-your-luck board games. The custom dice are fun, and the use of scenes on the Mission Cards will make you nostalgic for the show, but constantly referring to the rules distracts from the game and the press-your-luck mechanic is barely chosen due to the fact most of your dice are used so you don’t incur any consequences.

2.5 out of 5 We Roll Solos

  • Firefly game!
  • Playmats are a nice addition
  • You can make it a small footprint
  • Cute custom dice

  • Rules are convoluted
  • Don’t really get to Keep Flyin’ every often (press your luck)

Gregory Gregory Author


  1. Yup. That was also my exact experience with the game. It's a little better if you draw the mission card before you roll. However, there's still the major problem that you can't really ever Keep Flyin' - the whole point of a push-your-luck dice game.

  2. Some problem with the probabilities here. In short, the dice rolls seem to provide too good results. As a proof case, try rolling 2d10 and see how long it takes you to get a result that sums to less than 10. dadu online at click here