Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Flames engulf your family home, you must don your flame-retardant outerwear and dash back into the smouldering ruin to rescue your board game collection (and family members, pets and overnight guests) before the house collapses and crushes you and your precious precious games!
And so we continue our Co-Op adventures on Games Night with Flash Point Fire Rescue. I knew, without a doubt, when I suggested co-op night that Flash Point was going on the list but more on why later. Let’s take a quick look at how a turn works.
A Quick Overview
In Flash Point Fire Rescue you play a fireman (or firewoman). Your job is to rescue 7 helpless victims from the building before the building collapses. On your turn you will receive 4 action points which can be spent in various ways to move, open doors and extinguish fire. Any action points you don’t spend can be saved for a future turn.
After you have taken your four actions you “Roll for Smoke”. Rolling two dice to determine grid coordinates and place a smoke token. If there already is a smoke token on the space then you flip it over to a fire token, if there is already a fire token then an explosion occurs and more fire and or damage cubes are added to the board.
The game ends if 7 people are rescued, by the firefighters carrying them outside or if the 24 damage cubes are exhausted. Players may, if they wish, play for a perfect game and attempt to get all 10 people out of the building if they can.
Why Choose It?
Flash Point was an easy, easy choice for new gamers. It’s incredibly simple, you have 4 action points and a card that explains exactly how they can be spent. Spend your four points and roll some dice for the fire to advance. There are some nuances to the rules, like if a wall takes two damage it is destroyed and allows you to walk through it and walking through fire costs 2 action points instead of 1 but most of these things can be explained as they become relevant.
The second reason for choosing it, is the theme. This is a theme that anyone can get behind, you’re not fighting fantasy creatures like in Defenders of the Realm or preventing the rise of Cthulhu like in Elder Sign, this is a normal everyday activity that everyone can understand. Not only that but it’s exciting, the theme is well represented on the board, when the house is on fire it really feels like it and as smoke builds in a room so does the tension as you all know the chances of it all bursting into flames gets higher and higher the longer you leave it alone.
Teaching the Game
Teaching Flash Point is made easier by the game’s modular design. During your first game you should play with basic firefighters and none of the special rules. As your group becomes familiar with the basic game then you can feel free to add in other modules, like special roles, vehicles or hotspots. As you get good at the game you can also increase the difficulty through 3 different levels.
At The Mercy of Lady Luck
It is true, this is a game with dice and they hate you. Whatever the worst possible result might be in any given moment that is the result you will roll. However, the dice make the game simple and that, I feel, outweighs the luck factor. In addition, although you are at the whims of luck, it’s not like the game isn’t without strategy. Smoke Tokens next to Smoke Tokens are fine, however Smoke next to Fire ignites. So, the longer you allow a room to fill with smoke the greater the odds that the whole thing will suddenly go up in flames.
So You Like It Then?
Yes, I love it. I had passed it by many times, discounting the game because of the artwork on the board, which, let’s face it, is pretty basic. That said, the art on the cards and the cutesy style fireman minis are fantastic and the art style of the board and tokens does grow on you after a while.
When I first played it I knew this was a game I was going to want to play again and again but the problem here is that the base game only includes two boards, which would get repetitive after a time. Thankfully Indie Boards & Cards have got you covered there too, across the 4 or 5 different expansions available for the game now you have tons of maps and special rules to make each game feel and play differently.
But Did They Like It?
Flash Point, at the time of writing, is probably the most played game at Games Night. This is partly due to the ease of play, the level of difficulty (which is quite high, especially on the expansion maps) and the play time, which comes in around an hour. It is not uncommon for this game to get two outings in a single co-op evening.
We’ve had some great games of Flash Point, our attempt to save the high-rise office block was ultimately met with disaster but it was a spectacular disaster as the CAFS Firefighter was engulfed in flames and blown sideways through the window, before the entire skyscraper came crashing down into the street below.
We’ve also had some games where it felt like we did our best, but our best was just not enough, such as when we tried to save the crew of a doomed submarine.
Flash Point, for me, is an obvious choice of co-op for a group of new gamers or even families. The theme is strong, but family friendly, the rules are simple but the game is challenging. There are modules and expansions to allow for different modes of play and varying degrees of difficulty. If you haven’t tried this one out I highly recommend it.