Updated: Sep 28, 2021
So today we get to live out a common childhood dream; yes, that's right, we get to be gorram FIREFIGHTERS!
Today's game for review is Flash Point Fire Rescue, a cooperative game for 2-6 players ages 10 and up. Although if you ask me I'm sure most kids will be able to grasp this game with their families. It plays out quite quickly, at less than an hour.
Players: 2-6 Ages: 10+ Game Time: 45 mins
Designed by Kevin Lanzing and published by Indie Boards & Cards, Flash Point Fire Rescue is a cooperative game where you play as firefighters responding to the building fire depicted on the board. As a crew, you take it in turns to perform actions to fight the blaze and rescue the people trapped within, hopefully before the building collapses.
Each turn you get to complete a number of actions up to your available action points. If needed, some of these can be saved between rounds, which can give you a great deal of flexibility. Actions include moving, extinguishing fire or smoke, using the deck gun on the fire engine, or chopping through walls (there are more actions available, especially when you start to use the specialists). At the end of the turn, the fire advances and you populate new POIs (Points of Interest - potentially people or pets that need saving) if needed.
... or worse still the building collapses due to damage
If you manage to save at least seven people/pets from the fire you win. However, if the blaze claims four or more people/pets or worse still the building collapses due to damage, then you lose.
The board is double-sided, with two different floor plans in a 6 x 8 grid. When you need to populate anything on the board you roll two dice (a D6 and a D8), which tell you which space on the board you need to use. This is how you identify how the fire spreads at the end of each turn, and where new POIs are populated.
You need to watch out for flash-over, or you can be facing an inferno.
The way the fire advances is quite neat really: you roll the dice to determine which space in the grid the fire ignites:
If the space rolled is blank, a new smoke token is added
If it was smoke already, it becomes fire
If there was fire there already, an explosion occurs.
When an explosion occurs, the fire is spread in each orthogonal direction to the first space which is not already on fire. If there is a wall in the way, it is damaged instead (represented by the black cubes). If you run out of damage cubes, this means that the damage to be building is too extreme and the building collapses.
At first glance, smoke doesn't seem to be much of an issue. However, you need to watch out for flash-over, which occurs when an adjacent space catches fire. It will immediately ignite the smoke into fire. This can cause quite the chain reaction, and suddenly you can be facing an inferno all over again.
The initial scenario has you all playing as generic firefighters. As you explore the game more and start to use the experienced rules, you can choose from a variety of specialists with unique actions or bonuses. As you get better characters, there are also more challenges to consider like hot spots and hazardous materials, which can spread the fire much quicker. There are also some cool alternate rules to change how the game plays, and overall this means that there is quite a lot of replayability.
Like all good cooperative games, the difficulty settings vary greatly from an easy introductory game for novices to the heroic action of legends. On the heroic difficulty setting, your brave firefighters really feel like they are noble heroes stepping into hell and more often than not are doomed to a grim fate.
The game quality is great, with nicely sized cards and a clear but comprehensive rulebook. I love the detail in the miniatures too, and these would paint up quite nicely if that's your thing.
There is a lovely mix of art styles in this game, from detailed heroic paintings of the specialists to the almost cartoonish board and token style to appeal to younger players.
The only thing I would like is a modular building to add more replayability and variance into the game. However, I appreciate I'm being picky because that's the sort of thing that appeals to me.
In general, I really don't have a bad thing to say about the production value.
Co-operative games are always a nice change of pace, working together rather than always looking to beat your fellow players. It is a great game for the whole family, and it's certainly simple enough for kids to comprehend with a little help.
I really struggle to find anything that I don't like about this game, as it has huge amounts of replayability and a great range of difficulties to help match it to every game group. The only thing I want is more options for building blueprints in the base game, or even some sort of modular option to construct a different sort of building. That said, expansions do provide more options in this regard, and I look forward to trying these out soon.
Firefighters! Yeah, it is a little kid's dream (and a big kid's dream too). Overall, I would highly recommend this game and at its price point, I think it is an absolute bargain, 6/6 for me.
Your friendly DoaLG rules lawyer
George E Ohh