I love board games but in our testosterone-filled household a competitive game sometimes leads to grief instead of enjoyment, especially since Zackary is only five and still has trouble sometimes with the fact that he can’t win all the time. That’s why I was immediately intrigued when I heard about Flash Point: Fire Rescue, a new board game from Indie Boards and Cards. Unlike most board games, this game used a cooperative theme that had the players working as a team to win or lose together.
Now I must say that Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a little complicated at first glance. There are a lot of different pieces and it took me a bit of time to sort them all out and read through the instructions so that I could see how the game worked. But once I did, I saw that the game really consisted of three elements: moving the firemen, spreading the fire and adding victims to the board. I appreciated that the game included instructions for both an easier family version and a more complicated adult version. Even if I had been playing with adults, I think I would have started with the family version first to get the hang of the game.
We started by each picking a firefighter playing piece and choosing a spot outside the building as the firefighter’s starting point. We also added fire and POI tokens to the inside of the house. The POI, or Point of Interest, tokens represent potential trapped victims inside the building. To make the game more interesting, some of the tokens are blank, indicating a “false alarm” while others have faces representing a victim that needs to be saved.
On each turn, a player can use four actions points to take action with his firefighter or save some of his action points for the next turn. Firefighters are able to put out fires, break down walls and rescue victims as they move through the house. After the player uses his firefighter’s action points, it’s time to spread the fire. The game uses two dice of different colours and shapes and each combination of the two dice represents a section of the house. After rolling the dice, the player then puts a fire token on the square. The tokens are double-sided with smoke on one side and fire on another and depending on whether or not the section is already on fire, the reactions of adding the fire to the board range from an increase in flames to a full-out explosion!
Finally, the player ends their turn by ensuring that there are still three POI tokens in the house. If any have been removed, the player simply rolls the dice and places a POI token on the corresponding house section. The game is won by rescuing seven victims and lost if four victims are lost to the fire or if the building collapses before the game has been won. It sounded complicated, but with the handy included reference cards to help us remember the rules as we went, it was actually quite easy to play once we began.
Needless to say, getting started with a five-year-old eagerly participating alongside me was a little rocky at first, but I soon got the hang of the game and quickly found myself enthralled. Strategy is a major component of this game since judgements need to be made about whether to put out a fire, save a victim or even open a door. All the actions can have unforeseen consequences when the fire starts to spread and seeing how the game progressed was just fascinating!
Zackary, of course, didn’t really understand all the details of the game, but he did understand the basic concept and he loved working together with me to save the victims. He had so much fun placing the fire and POI tokens on the board at each turn and used his own actions to save victims whenever he could. And of course, since it was just the two of us playing, I could make the game easier for him by changing the rules a little. I loved that there was flexibility worked into the game concept that made it possible for even young children to play.
Overall, though, I would recommend this game for about ages eight and up and it would be a great choice for an adult game night. I’m looking forward to practicing a little and then playing the advanced version with my husband. It features a more complex game board, the option of using fire fighting specialists and extra hazards including hotspots and Hazmat.
But the best thing about this game has to be the versatility that’s possible with the rules. We made the game more kid-friendly by adding extra action points for each firefighter and eliminating the possibility of explosions. But there are countless ways to change the instructions and personalize the game to make it fun for anyone! Flash Point: Fire Rescue is available at Amazon.com and other select online retailers and if you’re looking for a unique and high-energy co-operative board game, this is one you need to check out. Whether you’re playing an easy game with the kids or you’re a board game expert, you’ll get plenty of entertainment from Flash Point: Fire Rescue!