Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 30 July 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Game Title: Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Designer: Kevin Lanzig

Manufacturer: Indie Boards and Cards

Year: 2011

We really enjoy co-operative games. I think it’s because it avoids any risk of a sad-faced Yellow Meeple. So far we’ve also found that all of our co-ops work great for just 2-players. I’ve listened to a few ‘Top Ten Co-operative Games’ videos and podcasts, from the Dice Tower and the Broken Meeple to name just a couple, and Flash Point came up on a fair few lists. With these credentials and its pretty unique fire fighting theme it went straight to the top of my list of games to play and perhaps purchase. I patiently waited for it to be brought to a board game group (perhaps waiting as long as 3 weeks!!) and then caved and bought myself a shiny new copy. Needless to say, a week later someone brought it to the group, but did I regret my purchase?

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a co-operative game for 1-6 players. In the game you are a team of fire fighters whose aim is to rescue at least 7 members of the family whose house is on fire. You must do this by carrying victims to safety, whilst ensuring that the house does not collapse and that you minimise casualties of the fire. Each fire fighter has a number action points to spend each turn which they can use to put out smoke or fire, move through the building, chop down walls, open doors, carry people or hazardous material out of the building or drive the ambulance or fire engine and even use the fire engine’s water cannon.

Choices of actions and their differing Action Point (AP) cost.

At the end of each player's turn, the fire advances. This is achieved by rolling two dice. At the coordinates shown, smoke appears, however if this smoke is new to fire it becomes fire, if there is already smoke in this location, it becomes fire, if there is fire or hazardous material in this location it EXPLODES!! and spreads fire in all 4 directions and if a person is consumed by the fire they are lost. If an explosion hits a wall it is damaged and if it hits a closed door, this door is blown out. The fire can very quickly become a chaotic mess that can only really be tackled by water cannon.

The game is won if 7 or more victims are rescued. The game is lost if the house collapses (when all damage cubes have been placed on the board) or more than 3 victims are lost. In our household, a moral victory is also won if you save the puppy, regardless of how many other victims are lost!

The game has two main difficulty settings; the family game which users a lot fewer components and is therefore much simpler and easier to win, and the advanced game which uses the full rule set. However within the advanced game there are a further three difficulty settings. Not only this, but there are two sides to the board which present players with a choice of an easier house, with a more open layout and higher number of external doors (ie. more escape routes) or a more difficult house with fewer doors and a more complicated layout which leads to an easier collapse and more spread of fire. It’s definitely worth playing on the advanced mode to play with all of the rules and special player powers, but we have found it really challenging to win! When teaching the game we now compromise and use the easy board with the Recruit level of the advanced rules.

The game set-up for a 2-player game using the Advanced Rules at recruit level. The three initial explosions have targeted the living area and a bedroom, but not too much structural damage has occurred.
All of the above gives the game amazing replayability. No two games are ever the same due to the random set-up (in the advanced version) and the random nature of the advancing fire on each turn. This random-ness however is perhaps the only down side I can think of to the game. Sometimes it really wouldn’t matter how well you play as a team, you might not even manage to rescue one victim before the house collapses and crushes you all! But this makes a victory all the sweeter!

We absolutely love this game and it’s great to have a slightly less well known co-op to bring to the table. I’m sure it’s one we’ll expand, as I’ve heard that the expansions do make the game even better, but I’m waiting to be convinced which is the best one to start with and in the meantime there is so much more play left in the base game. For now the base game gets an 8/10.

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