I had the opportunity to try Flash Point out last open gaming meet (Exploratorium 2012, check out my previous post) and I’m here to write about the game’s mechanics and maybe show why I liked the game so much. Note that I liked it so much, I bought a copy of it 3 days later.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a full cooperative game played between 2 to 6 people. Players take on the role of fire fighters trying to save civilians from a burning building, winning the game upon successfully rescuing 7 civilians. Fire Fighters can do any one of the following in their turn (for the sake of protecting the game’s intellectual property, I’ll leave out some specifics):
- Move to an adjacent square.
- Open/close a door.
- Extinguish smoke/fires.
- Carry a Civilian/Victim to an adjacent square.
All across the building are blue question mark tokens that represent Points of Interest. Fire Fighters going into a burning building don’t really know where the trapped people are, so the various POI markers indicate possible areas where a Civilian is located. A POI token is flipped once any Fire Fighter reaches that spot, revealing either an incapacitated Civilian or a False Alarm. False Alarms are bad in that they result in wasted time for the Fire Fighters. It is assumed that any trapped Civilians in the building are incapacitated for various reasons (smoke inhalation, exposure to heat, miscellaneous injuries, etc.), so moving them out of the burning building involves extra effort for the Fire Fighters.
Serving as the main challenge of the game are Fires. Fires are represented by two types of tokens: Smoke tokens which represent minor fires, and Fire tokens which represent major fires. Extinguishing a Fire takes two steps – turn a Fire into Smoke, and then remove Smoke from the board. Fires are dangerous – anytime a Fire starts at a space with a POI marker, that POI marker is flipped. If a Civilian is revealed, that Civilian is considered lost (or dead – burned alive for those old enough).
At the end of each player’s turn, the fire spreads via a dice-rolling mechanic. This can result in something minor like a Smoke starting in an open area, a Smoke turning into a Fire, or something really bad like an Explosion starting. Explosions are really bad in this game – it can result in more Fires starting and Walls getting damaged. Damange to a Wall is represented by black Damage Cubes, and each Wall can have up to 2 Damage Cubes before they are completely destroyed. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair Walls (who can do that in the midst of a raging fire?), so any damaged Walls remain damaged for the entire game.
The Fire Fighters lose if (1) 4 Civilians have died or (2) if all of the Damage Cubes have been used up which means that the building has suffered too much damage and has collapsed. In order for the players to win, they have to save 7 Civilians before these two situations occur, and that means finding the balance between fighting the Fires and going for the Civilians.
That covers the concepts of the Basic Rules. There is a set of Experienced/Advanced Rules that involve Hazardous materials and Hot Spots that result in more Explosions happening, vehicles like the Ambulance and the Fire Truck, and Jobs for each Fire Fighter. I even got a good deal – the edition that I bought had the bigger Kickstarter Fire Fighter plastic figurines instead of the wooden ones.
Another great game added to my collection, this is different in that the game relies more on strategy and simple mechanics compared to my previous ones.