Thursday, February 28, 2019

Review: Flashpoint: Fire Rescue

Flashpoint: Fire Rescue
Players: 2 – 6
Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards
Year: 2011

Being a firefighter is easily one of the most admirable professions in the world. These brave men and women risk life and limb in order to save others from danger. To create a game about this, isn’t an easy feat. Let’s see if Indie Boards & Cards managed to live up to the challenge.

Gameplay in Flashpoint: Fire Rescue is very straightforward. You and the other players are a firefighters and by working together you need to rescue the people inside the house. In order to do this, you are given 4 Action Points (AP), and you can use them for a variety of purposes, such as moving, rescuing people or extinguishing fires. After you have done this, you roll the dice to spread the fire. With roles, such as the generalist, who has 5 AP or the Hazmat Technician, who can remove dangerous materials, and more advanced rules, which allow the fires to flare up again, the game becomes more complicated, but also challenging. All players work together to save the required number of victims, before they perish in the fire or the building collapses.

The reference cards, listing all possible actions and the turn sequence

The game contains everything needed to start straight away. Bright colored miniatures symbolize the different firefighters and the cards, for instance about turn-sequences or the amount of AP certain actions costs, are big and sturdy. The board is two-sided and contains two different buildings. The rulebook is easy to understand and easily flow from an introduction or family-friendly game towards more challenging experiences.
A selection of roles
There are quite a few things I like in this game. What I really like is how they managed to incorporate the theme into the game. You’re trying to save people or pets from a burning home. You aren’t just moving around with a watergun, it’s a desperate race against the clock in the more advanced games. You need to co-operate as having a single strategy for the entire game, will result in a failure. The whole experience is amazing and due to the introduction scenario, it’s easy to teach as well.

The downside is that the roles might make the actions obvious, such as the deck gun operator, who fires the main gun and can drive the fire truck around. This can be reinforced by people who have a dominant character. There is also a certain degree of randomness. A few bad rolls can really ruin your game. While I don’t consider this a flaw, I can imagine that some people would disagree. Lastly, in bigger groups, the downtime can take quite some while, as everyone does their actions and needs to spread the fire. However, these are minor details compared to the whole experience.

Everything together, this game is just great and I would certainly recommend it to anyone. A few minor detractions are present, but it’s still an amazing game. All the elements blend in together really well. It’s a theme that’s interesting to a lot of people, but also easy to learn. Unlike many lighter games, this co-op game can be made as difficult as you want by tweaking the rules.

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