There isn’t much to set up. In a few minutes, after you decide what difficulty you wish to play, you’ll have the cards laid out and the bomb deck shuffled (this includes the Fuse cards). The manual instructs you to lay out the bomb card pool in a line, but if you’re playing solo, I recommend having the five face-up bomb cards in whatever configuration you feel will allow you to transfer them from that area to your area in front of you. Of course, this also depends on the table space you have.
The only other thing you have to do is set up a timer. There is a Fuse app you can download (iOS/Android) to countdown from 10 minutes, but any timer will do: your phone, a computer app, or an online countdown.
Once you start your timer, Fuse consists of grabbing dice from the bag, rolling the dice, and matching them to your current bomb defusing area. The cards have difficulties 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, with 1 being the easiest to complete. Each card contains ways to defuse it which involve either a number from a die or the color of the die or sometimes both. Straightforward cards have you matching exactly what’s required in any order. Other cards have you stack dice in a pyramid where the bottom row must be finished to add dice. And many cards force you to complete a stack of dice in a particular order as indicate by a rightward facing arrow. Yes, there is some math on the occasional card, but don’t be frightened: it’s not Trigonometry.
You have 10 minutes defuse as many bombs as you can. You'll be rolling, keeping an eye on what you need to complete a card, pulling from the bomb deck, and strategically snatching a card whose difficulty fits in when how you're progressing. Sometimes you’ll be doing all four at once! The bomb deck will also have 6 fuse cards, which tell you to remove from a bomb card a die with a specific number or color. These fuse cards can either help you or hurt you. They can hurt you if you are close to finishing a bomb card and you have to remove a die; they can help you if you’re struggling to finish a bomb card and you’re not getting the dice you need – you can start over. You win Fuse when you have no more cards in the main bomb pool (you can have the cards in front of you - at the end of the game, these cards are duds.)
This is one of my favorite solo games, and I actually prefer it solo rather than multiplayer. It’s fast, frantic, and I can make it as hard or easy as I want it to be. Since the bomb cards are shuffled, each game is different and challenging, no matter what difficulty mode or variant you chose (there are a few variants listed in the manual). I can get in quite a few games in a short amount of time, even with setup and transition time. While the box is a little larger than it needs to be for transport, you can fit everything into the dice bag to throw in a suitcase, backpack, or other case.
This inexpensive cooperative game, I feel, is essential for the solo gamer. There’s a great balance of randomness (shuffling the deck, dealing out the bomb cards) and strategy (deciding where to play what dice) to keep you coming back to this game. Solo play with Fuse is about beating your highest score, but there are so many ways to achieve that that this game doesn’t get boring. Sometimes I’ll play 10-15 games in a row before I realize I need to stop.
Or play just one more.
4.5 out of 5 We Roll Solos
• Quick gaming sessions (10 minutes means 10 minutes!)
• Great Solo play.
• Fast setup and transition into the next game
• Easy to learn (instruction manual simple)
• Multiplayer can get too hectic to enjoy sometimes
• Some difficulty modes too hard for the randomness the game offers