Time to play: < 0.5 hr (Teaching: 5 minutes)
Best played with: 3 players
Flashpoint: Fire Rescue is a simple pick up and deliver co-op game in which you search through a blazing home to find out if that noise was a person, an animal or just a distraction! It does all this with a set of simple mechanics which allows you to start quickly, teach quickly and repeat ad infinitum! In this review I will try to cover the mechanics of the base game, the good points, the bad points and whether this might be one for you!
So what’s in the game? Firstly, this is a review of only the base game. As per other notes to this effect – I think it’s really important to start with the base game and then I will post separately about expansions as I get experience of folding them in. That said, it’s not lost to me that as I write this a new expansion is live on Kickstarter and if you are reading this wondering whether to buy the expansion or the collection of expansions alongside the base, I hope this provides some base level of help on the game! If you didn’t know about the kickstarter…go check it out!
This is a simple game where you play a firefighter (there’s an advanced rule set I will come to!) on one of two boards and you take a turn by using 4 action points to step into a building, put out fires and rescue individuals. Once you have used (or opted to keep these actions for next time) then it’s over to the game – it will spread the fire by you rolling dice. If you roll somewhere new, then it’s just some smoke. If you roll next to a fire, that smoke will light up and become fire. If you roll in the fire, then it’s an explosion. This can spread the fire rapidly or damage the walls.
If you successfully managed to get a person out you will need to roll for a new person arriving. That person might drop in to a nice safe location near you, or right in the middle of the fire!
All sounds ok, but that’s actually not a lot of actions before the fire spreads / new people drop in. If you are running for the door, you can be sure that fire is growing behind you. That’s ultimately what makes this game fun. It’s also why I have said 3 players is best – enough people to mean that a lot of fire spreads between your turns but not so many that your on the sidelines for the whole game.
If you get through all that, and you flipped the board and played the other side, then you can move on to the advanced rules. Special characters in the base box and harder conditions for spreading the fire. You can be a specialist at putting out fires but bad at moving people, or you can be good at using the fire truck but then you probably can’t do well in doors. You could chop through the wall quickly, but perhaps you can’t deal with the smoke… All these trade offs are really interesting and help make for a varied game.
If it’s good for replay-ability and ease to teach, then it’s bad for being too simple and to random. A tough game stems from those couple of dice rolls that came back to back and caused multiple explosions, or that time when the new person landed right inbetween two fires. It’s a simple game and you can solve it every time unless you are unlucky. Great family game, great intro game, but if you have a group playing Gloomhaven and are looking for your next challenge, this is just not the solution.
Perhaps your thinking – that’s not a bad thing! It’s true, if you like a short, clean and fun game then this has a lot of character and is enjoyable. Just be ware that this game is solved in the first 10 plays, and everything after that is probably just a semi automated run through. I would say the same for the easy level of Pandemic, and hope that this can help bench your thoughts on it.
- If you like a simple introductory co-op game, with scope to provide asymmetric decisions then it’s time to break the glass and grab this game!
- If you want to define a strategy and develop it to perfection, fighting brutal mechanics or a tough puzzle – this is just too light weight
- If you win at this game then well… that’s probably expected. If you lose, tough luck on those dice and go again. By the way, always try for perfect if you are doing well!