Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a very popular and successful cooperative game in the style of Matt Leacock's Pandemic. It appeared in a Kickstarter project in 2011, and has been making steady progress to the BGG Top 100, on account of its compelling and thematic gameplay. The Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Urban Structures expansion pack was made available as part of the original Kickstarter, and is being released as a reprint in connection with the Kickstarter for the newest Fire Rescue expansion, and is thus expected to get a wider distribution later this year.
This expansion pack may look small in size, but it certainly does a great job of extending the mileage of the original base game. Urban Structures comes with a double-sided map featuring two buildings: The High Rise and The Brownstone. There's also a new specialist card: Structural Engineer. Finally, also included are scenarios for the base game and for the expansion, as well as variant rules.
I've scoured the personal comments and skimmed through some reviews and other articles, and carefully organized some key quotations to bring you the important things you need to know and what other people think about the Urban Structures expansion. The parts in bold express my own conclusions, which are then expanded upon and substantiated by the citations that follow, to give you a feel of what most people are saying on each point. Perhaps you could call this a kind of "consensus of opinion", somewhat biased because I'm the one who gets to pick the quotes to include, but overall a well-rounded and fairly objective viewpoint. So here you have it, an at-a-glance overview of some of the majority opinions that you need to know about this game.
NB: For more reviews like this, see this list.
1. The key additions that come with this expansion are two new maps and a new specialist role.
"Two new maps and one new character." - Olli Mäkiketola
"Cool maps and structural engineer!" - Alan Fu
"This expansion provides an additional scenario--an urban apartment building--with its own game board map." - Doug Faust
"This is a pretty small expansion pack: 2 new maps and one new character." - Andrew I
"A solid expansion. It adds a sorely needed role and additional boards." - Pinto
"Good expansion for a good game, like getting a new specialist along with a new double sided map." - Nordiska
"This expansion is a great value. You get two more maps that give a very different feel, special map rules, intriguing scenarios, and a new role card. All that for a reasonable, low cost." - madhatter
2. The base game is already tremendously replayable, so this is not an essential expansion, but is geared more to fans of the original.
"I have not yet moved beyond the 2 original maps, and don't really have a desire to." - Steven McBride
"Unnecessary, unless you are a huge fan of the basic game." - Griselda Scarlatti
"After a few games of Flash Point we had to go further into the theme." - Marco Riemann
"Nice for variations. Definitely not needed. At least not for your first 10 or so games." - Mike B
"The stuff helps it get a replay value bump, though I didn't see why that was necessary." - Sander Kammeraat
"Variety only expansion for those who've played the base game to death and are looking to re-invigorate it a little, which it does." - Patrick Brennan
As such it does add even more replayability to the original game.
"A nice addition for extra variety." - Doug Faust
"I wouldn't call this expansion essential, but for the price point you get a whole lot of game and is a must for those who have played out the original maps." - Steven McBride
"The additional board adds replayability and variability to the game." - Star IP
"The base game boards were a challenge for the first two or three games until the most effective strategy was cracked." - Mezike
"If you enjoy the base game, this will soon become an essential purchase." - Adam on the Geek (Adam78)
"Fun expansion that helps replayability." - Anthony L.
3. The expansion comes with two excellent new maps which are very fun to play.
"Excellent addition with the variety of two new boards, each providing slightly different challenges." - Brian Modreski
"I'm glad to have the variation in buildings, though this doesn't add a ton of nuance or variation to the game." - Ken Rufo
"They both have a very different layout from the original 2 which seem more similar, plus the office has some special rules for operating above ground floor." - Andrew I
"Good additions to the base game, and having more buildings to save (or just destroy) is a good thing." - Steve Berger
"Good maps with interesting choices." - Ben Kirman
"One side has the high-rise building, with elevators and light walls. The second side has a simpler duplex apartment, with limited access between two adjacent flats." - Adam78
"More maps = more variety = more fun + more gameplay hours logged. Buy!" - Mark Choo
"I've tried both the brownstone building and the high rise. They both play well and change up the game just a bit. I like these options." - Brad N
"Love the two new boards, very challenging and fun." - Rick Baptist
"Nice problematic structures that change the game a lot." - Daniel Westman
"I love these boards, especially the brownstone." - Tim West
"The new maps are fun and keep the game fresh." - Brian Chung
4. The new maps are also harder, and provide more of a challenge than the original maps.
"Initially seems tougher than the base boards, but it may just be that a different strategy is required. The base game boards were a challenge for the first two or three games until the most effective strategy was cracked." - Mezike
"This is very hard to manage, especially the high rise board." - Marco Riemann
"New maps are perhaps a tad harder and have some special rules." - Olli Mäkiketola
"The additional maps look interesting, and much more difficult than the originals." - Martin Ralya
"The additional boards provided a tougher challenge, too." - Pinto
"Hard expansion for Flash Point." - AndySzy
"Both maps in the Urban Structures expansion are more difficult to succeed at than the basic maps." - Adam78
"The high rise map is crazy and really changes things up." - Charles Theel
"The apartment complex is a tricky one with its big dividing wall, but the office building is a really, really mean board! Love it!" - Corran Horn
"Seemed too hard when we tried it." - Wes Baker
"The new maps are a lot harder, which is needed, because the base game maps get easy fast." - heya
"The new boards are significantly more difficult, especially the office building." - Pau
"These are tough boards, but fun!" - Bobby Warren
"Two additional, more difficult maps. I think the additional difficulty adds to the game, and in a better way than just by adding more fire." - Andreas Krüger
"The suburban house is manageable but the high rise is downright evil in a good way." - Daniel Westman
"Adds some interesting new ideas to the base game, and so far these scenarios seem much more difficult. Enjoy the challenge." - Jason Nachtrab
"The skyscraper really ramps up the difficulty." - Garry Rice
"The maps are fine, with some extra rules that can make them both confusing but also quite challenging." - Michael D. Kelley
5. The new Structural Engineer specialist role is also a very solid addition to the game.
"The Structural Engineer is a neat addition, but removing hot spots is just too good." - Brian Modreski
"I've only tried the structural engineer, but he was the key to winning our first game." - Martin Ralya
"I have only played the base game with this expansion -- the structural engineer character is interesting." - latindog
"Also, the new role is quite welcome, with a major flaw (no firefighting) but an excellent ability to control those hot spots and save the day when collapse is imminent." - Michael D. Kelley
"Aside from anything else, you will want the structural engineer on your team! The Structural Engineer is not an exciting role, but he is a very useful team player, especially in the high-rise office block, where there are many internal walls." - Adam78
"The new role (Structural Engineer) is great and adds a bit more variety." - Charles Theel
"The new role of the engineer is a much needed addition. He doesn't always pull his own weight, but when he does he can make a huge difference. Because of that he is balanced." - heya
"The Structural Engineer specialist is nice to have the ability to repair walls and remove hot spots." - Ludovic Roy
"Really enjoying the new role as well." - Rick Baptist
"The new role is a very interesting addition." - Tim West
"The structural engineer is a crucial specialty that adds another layer of strategy to the game." - Brian Chung
6. Urban Structures also comes with some solid scenarios and variant rules which add further depth and replayability.
"In this expansion at the end of the instructions there are a variety of scenarios that can give a new depth to the game." - Roberto M
"The suggested variants look interesting." - Dan Neher
"Urban Structures describes rules for 8 new scenarios to add variety to your games, including more realistic rules for retrieving knocked down firefighters." - Adam78
"In the rules for the expansion is half a page with 'scenarios'." - Phreaky Hamster
"The optional rules are, for the most part, things that could be house-ruled by most players, but it's good to have them in one place." - Barry Kendall
7. Overall there is a strong consensus that this is an excellent value, good quality, and worthwhile expansion that helps add real life to the base game.
"Definitely worth acquiring." - Charles Theel
"It's a great expansion for a great game." - Adam78
"This is a very solid addition to the base game." - heya
"Does what you would want for an expansion. If you enjoy the original, this is a must-have." - Rick Baptist
"Excellent expansion with a double-sided board that's even more fun than the original - awesome! Nice new role as well." - M.J.E. Hendriks
"The new boards are great, the high rise is quite challenging, and the new specialist is actually quite interesting." - Shawn George
"Production values are just as high as the base game -- this is a nice expansion." - Martin Ralya
"Wow, I love it - more maps for my latest favourite coop!" - Sharon Khan
"A small expansion that makes a great game even better." - Brian Chung
"Excellent expansion to an already great game." - Clint Herron
The bottom line: what you need to know
Do you enjoy Flash Point: Fire Rescue? If you've played it a lot, and are looking to mix things up just a little, or even to ramp up the difficulty level, then Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Urban Structures is small expansion that is well worth while. You get two great new maps, which provide new and harder challenges, a fun specialist role, and a variety of scenarios and variants to explore, all of which should keep you busy with the game for many years to come. This is definitely an example of a small expansion done right, which adds to the original game in a good way!
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- Last edited Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:46 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:39 am
Excellent analysis of the expansion. I feel madhatter's comments are particularly spot on.
Excellent analysis of the expansion. I feel madhatter's comments are particularly spot on.
The man is clearly a genius.