Review: Flash Point (Family Rules Variant)

THE PREMISE OF FLASH POINT: FIRE RESCUE

Everyone knows, Smoke + Fire = Fire.

That small equation is something that gets hammered into you as you read the Flash Point rules. Every turn the players have three phases. They can do actions, such as moving, opening doors, and chopping down doors. The fire spreads to a spot coordinated by rolling a D6 and a D8 to give a pinpoint location to where smoke develops. Finally, Point-of-Interest (POI) tokens are replenished. These are the people (or sometimes not) the players have to rescue during the course of the game.

When smoke is deployed it either gets deployed to an empty space, where it is just smoke. It can be deployed to a space that already has smoke, in which case it becomes fire. It can be deployed next to fire, in which case it also becomes fire (because, and say it with me now, Smoke + Fire = Fire. Or it can go where there is already a fire, in which case it causes an explosion. This behaves in a similar way to the Outbreak in Pandemic, with adjacent spaces becoming fire. It destroys doors, damages walls, blows back Firefighters, and kills innocents.

The Start of the Game
The Start of the Game

The basic “Family” game is over when either too many walls have been damaged and everyone in the building dies. Or, 4+ innocents have died. Both of those are losing conditions. The game is won when 7+ innocents have been saved.

Flash Point is a co-op game, where everyone wins or everyone loses. It takes 45 minutes to play. Each player has a different role, similar to the likes of Forbidden Island or Pandemic. These range from Paramedic (who can heal victims) to Rescue Specialist (who can move further), and everything else in between.

The rules do offer additional options, including a more difficult variant that will undoubtedly be reviewed on here eventually.

The game can be played with 1 to 6 players (with varying rule sets), although the box recommends 2 to 6. It takes about 45 minutes to play.

QUALITY AND COMPONENTS OF FLASH POINT: FIRE RESCUE

The quality of Flash Point is very good. Each player plays as a little fireman, made out of hard plastic, that feel like really good quality to the touch. All of the tokens are made out of die cut cardboard, and are easy to pick up/put down (even for those of us without nails). The box comes with a double sided board that has two house designs on it to offer variation to the game.

The instructions are clear and, as mentioned before, come with several variations.

The only criticism would be the player cards which, although beautiful, are a bit thin. This is not a huge problem as the cards are only character sheets (effectively) and are only used for reference during play.

GAMEPLAY OF FLASH POINT: FIRE RESCUE

What a fun game this way to play! As mentioned before, each player can take four actions a turn. It is easy to become complacent about these at the start of the game; however, when the first explosion occurs it very suddenly becomes a game of working together to get to where you need to be.

With two of us playing (myself and my partner, who will probably feature quite a lot on this blog) we found ourselves sometimes working together and sometimes going it alone to just try and get things done. This included panicking and trying to hack through a wall to save a man in the toilet. It worked, but heck did it cause problems later on!

The Final Board
The final board. As you can see, if we hadn’t finished it when it had, it would have been very difficult to get around!

The black counters above represent damage tokens and too many of those would have lost us the game. Every explosion (we has two, one small and one giant chain effect catastrophe) made the game slightly harder, diving the board up, and causing more and more damage.

We only lost two innocents whilst playing. One, who we fondly named Trevor before the cruel twists of fate took him from us, we lost right at the very start. It was before we got our groove on. After that we quickly found ourselves in a motion of putting out fires, saving, and getting people out as quickly as possible. This involved shifting people as quickly as possible from room to room, and occasionally knocking down a wall for good measure. One, when trapped, we took out through the wall just because we could.

We also lost Tiddles, the cat. May he rest in peace.

VERDICT FOR FLASH POINT: FIRE RESCUE

Since this is the first review for this blog, I am still trying to work out how to rate games. Flash Point: Fire Rescue was purchased on a whim at the UK Games Expo. I had heard of it and seen it on the co-op forums, but was in two minds whether to purchase it. It was £31 at the Expo (regular Amazon Price: £31.31 at time of review), and I actually turned away from it the first time around. Then I regretted my decision and went back to purchase. I am very glad I did.

We’ve only played one game so far, but it says enough to say I am looking forward to the next game and trying some of the other rules sets. I would recommend.

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