Flash Point Fire Rescue is the first cooperative tabletop game that I was ever exposed to. Now, about 5 and a half years later it sits as one of my favorite games to use to introduce my non-gaming friends to the world of tabletop gaming. One of the things that I really like about this game is that there is a “family game” and a much more complicated “experienced game”. For this review we’ll talk through the gameplay of the Family Game. At the end, when giving my rating I will give it based on the full game. In Flash Point Fire Rescue we are all firefighters working together to rescue victims from a burning building. Will the firefighters save enough victims, or will the building crumble on top of all who are inside? We’ll find out as we play Flash Point Fire Rescue.
The game starts out with all of the colored firefighters outside of the house. There are three Points of Interest, or POI, inside the house. A POI is either a victim or a “False Alarm”, when a firefighter gets to a POI it is revealed. If the POI is a victim, the player must escort them outside of the building to save them. If it is a false alarm, they can continue about their business. In the Family Game, you just have to get victims outside. In the Full Game you have to get them all the way to the ambulance. All of the doors inside the house are closed, and it costs 1 action point or AP to open or close the door. We’ll talk more about action points later on. There is fire in the house when the game starts, and the fire spreads at the end of each player’s turn.
Taking a Turn
Phase 1: Take Action
On each player’s turn, they can use their available actions in whatever way they please. These are the possible actions in the Family game:
Turning a fire to smoke- 1AP- if you extinguish a fire, it turns to smoke. Smoke does not restrict movement, but any smoke that is adjacent to fire in the Spread of Fire Phase automatically ignites and turns to fire.
Removing a smoke from the board- 1AP- removing a smoke from the board is the best way to prevent the spread of fire.
Open or close a door– 1AP- You need to open a door to go through it. Doors and walls keep smoke from being turned to fire. It’s usually a good idea to close doors behind you.
Chop a wall– 2AP- chopping can be used to create shorter routes through the house allowing you to walk through walls. When you chop a wall, you place a black damage marker on it to show that it has been damaged one time. Once the wall has 2 damage markers, players may walk through it as if it’s an open door.
Move to an adjacent space- 1AP- players may move to adjacent, not diagonal spaces.
Move with a victim- 2AP- You move slower while you’re carrying victims
Move through fire- 2AP- You move slower through fire
Save action Points- Lastly, you may save up to four actions to use your next turn.
Phase 2: Spreading the Fire
After a player uses all their actions they must roll the dice to spread the fire. They’ll roll both the red 6-sided-die and the black 8-sided-die. Every possible roll corresponds to a specific space on the board. Depending on what is in the space that you role, something different will happen.
Nothing– Add a Smoke
Smoke– Turns to Fire
Fire– Triggers an Explosion
Explosions send a shockwave in each direction, Left, Right, Up and Down. The shockwave keeps going until it hits an empty space, a wall, smoke or door. Please note that when resolving explosions, spaces with firefighters or POI but no fire or smoke count as empty. Below I have listed out what happens when each of these are hit by a shockwave.
Walls- Receive a damage marker, once they receive 2 damage markers, they may be treated like an open door.
Doors- shockwaves travel through open doors, and destroy closed doors. Destroyed doors can be removed from the board.
Smoke– Turns to Fire
Empty Space- Add a smoke marker, but then it will immediately turn to fire because it is adjacent to fire.
There’s only one more set of stuff to discuss when spreading the fire. What happens when fire spreads to a POI or a firefighter? The firefighter is knocked down and moved out of the building, and the POI is killed. We’ll talk more about killing a POI in our Ending the Game Section.
Phase 3: Replace POI
Throughout the game, some POI will be removed from the board. Either because they die, they are revealed as false alarms, or they are saved. After you spread the fire, roll the same two dice to place new POI. If you roll a space that has fire in it, follow the arrows on the space to find its new location.
Ending the Game
The game ends when either 7 victims are rescued, 4 victims die or all 24 damage markers are placed. If the players successfully rescue 7 victims, they win! If four victims die, making it impossible to save 7 victims they lose. If all 24 of the damage markers are placed, the building collapses, killing everyone inside. Hope y’all try out this game you won’t regret it.
Number of Players 10/10
Flash Point Fire Rescue can support 2* to 6 players. It is entirely possible to play a solo game, but it is not as fun. Hopefully you have more friends than me and you never get stuck playing alone. I think that with more than 6 players, the board would get rather crowded, making 2-6 players the perfect number.
I love the gameplay mechanics in this game. From spending AP to spreading the fire the game is designed in a unique way that is unlike any other game I have played. There is so much that can happen in a single game, all of the players need to be prepared to work together and adapt to changing circumstances. Although the game can get a little repetitive, it’s always a fun game. Lastly, the adjustable difficulty settings and optional rules help preserve the gameplay.
One of my favorite parts about this game is that it isn’t very long. Most of my games last about 30 to 45 minutes with players who know what they’re doing. I think that it is a very appropriate length for this type of game. It is the perfect length that new or non-gamers won’t be turned away and veterans can appreciate the experience as well.
Almost everything in FPFR is left up to chance. The difficulty setting is what’s really used to make the game more or less fair. Increasing the difficulty will stack the odds against players. Fortunately, since this is a cooperative game, none of the players should ever feel that they are being singled out.
Replay Value 4/10
Replay Value is FPFR’s weakest quality. Although almost everything is determined at random, lots of games can feel the same. The Full game helps to ease the weak replay value, but ultimately you’re still just extinguishing fire and saving civilians.
Final Rating 7.8/10
Flash Point Fire Rescue a great cooperative game that the whole family can enjoy. Veteran gamers and new gamers alike can make every game a unique experience. If you have never tried it, it’s well worth the money. If you want to know more about this game, check out Wil Wheaton’s play-through on TableTop at Youtube.com
Until Next Time
Was there something I missed or love this game? Let me know in the comment section or on twitter @james_soler
Stay nerdy my friends,