Designer: Kevin Lanzing
Manufacturer: Indie Boards and Cards
Flash point is a 2-5 play co-operative fire fighting game. You'll have to balance your time carefully in order to control the blaze, investigate points of interest and rescue survivors all before the inferno destroys the house for good.Each turn you have a set number of action points depending on your role, these can be spent to move around, open/close doors, fight fires, operate the fire engine's hose and a variety of other tasks. Not all actions are equal in Flash point, walking around might only use 1 action point, but if you want to do it while carrying a victim then that costs 2. However you can be prepared for this, if you don't use all your action points on one turn you can save them up to spend on future turns when you need them more.
Ultimately your true enemy in Flash Point is the fire, and this is a losing battle. Every turn you roll the 2 dice which give you a grid reference to spawn 1 smoke tile. If you roll a tile that has already got a smoke card then that ignites and becomes a fire, roll a tile that already has a fire and you get an explosion, which causes 4 fire tiles to be spawned (one in each cardinal direction). If an explosion would hit a wall then you put down a damage token instead, if all of the damage tokens are on the board then the house falls down, killing everyone inside and losing you the game. Since one of the more useful actions is to cut holes in walls with your axe, which causes damage tokens, this lose condition can come faster than you think. In addition there are hazardous containers which cause explosions as soon as they are rolled, though you can take them out of the house. There are also Hot Spots which make you roll a second time when you roll them, after placing your second roll you place another hotspot down on that area, just to encourage you to win quickly.
|The game set up for the family version in the easy house, Those fires can spread quickly if you ignore them, but then again people won't rescue themselves, so you better be able to prioritise.|
The other loss condition involves the points of interest. Some of these are blanks, but most are people that you need to save, lose more than a couple and it's game over, save 7 and you win the game. It's important to note that the most important one is the dog, saving the dog wins you a moral victory, sloppy kisses and the admiration of your peers!
The game actually comes with a basic and advanced version, and as a warning the advanced version is a big difficulty step up. It adds a lot of rules that an experienced gamer might be comfortable with like the different player roles and hazardous materials, while the base game is much more simplified and more suitable for new/younger gamers. The game board is also two sided, each side having a different house layout to rescue people from, one is notable more difficult than the other (open plan designs are a fire hazard apparently).
|The 8 different classes, they have a good degree of variety, from the staple 'move other players' to the Paramedic who can heal people enough that they don't need to be carried, but at the cost of being awful at putting out fire.|
Flash point is an enjoyable game that I constantly find myself craving. The game does feel a bit more random than over co-ops, but I think that's just an artefact of using a dice for randomisation rather than a deck of cards, often in other coops you know that card X has come up so you don't actually need to worry about it appearing again until the deck gets reshuffled. In flash point you have no such luxury and it's possible to roll the same point 3 times in a row if lady luck particularly hates you. The game is brutal even in the easiest difficulty setting of the advanced game, especially so with more players where a safe room can transform into an inferno between turns. There is also the risk of one player being stuck as the fire engine driver, because frankly the hose is insanely good and the ability to use it for half the action points and re-roll is too good to ignore. It's fine so long as someone is happy with the idea of being a massive help to the team, but never actually saving anyone. Despite its flaws Flash Point is a solid game, and a wonderful tribute to fire-fighters who risk their own lives to protect others.