Fire fighters, brave men and women who rush in, when others run away. Children dream of becoming one as they see the shiny fire trucks zoom down the road. I admire their courage, their daring, and their tenacity. They truly deserve the title of hero.
This is why Flash Point is such a compelling game. The theme is amazing; saving victims from a burning building, who can't get behind this one? It's a co-op, so we win or lose together. And even if you don't win, you usually rescue a few victims. And, for a few of us, we get to live out that childhood dream of being a fire fighter.
Object of the Game:
In Flash Point players are trying to rescue victims before the fire gets out of control or the building collapses. They win when seven victims or rescued and lose if four victims are killed or the building collapses. It is a cooperative game, so players win or lose together.
Components / Set Up
The game board is double-sided. Each side shows a different building. The board reminds me a lot of houses from the computer games SIMS, and truthfully the way fire are randomly starting in the game it makes me wonder if the victims are Sims. This doesn't mean I don't like the artwork. It's very good! The Building is divided into rooms and the area outside consists of spaces with numbers, die faces, and four corner spaces. These outside spaces are used during the game.
The board is a grid and each space has a coordinate. These grid coordinates are marked in the lower right of each space with easy to identify symbols. The symbols show the grid location of the space and correspond to the dice. Players will be rolling dice many times during the game to determine where to add markers (fire/smoke tokens or points of interest). The red symbol represents the red, six sided die. The black symbol represents the black, eight sided die. Together these symbols mark a board location.
An important point to remember is that, when referring to adjacent spaces, these spaces are up, down, left, or right from a space. Diagonal spaces are not adjacent. Closed doors and walls prevent spaces from being adjacent. If the wall is destroyed they are adjacent. Walls must have two markers to be destroyed, only one marker means it is damaged..
Players should choose the side they will play, place the door markers to the closed side. The door markers are thick circular cardboard disks that are double-sided. One side shows a closed door the other an open door. All the components are very nice and of high quality.
The game also comes with six fire fighter pawns. If you were lucky enough to be a Kick Starter supporter you would have gotten the awesome fire person meeples. But alas for me, I passed and didn't get these neat little guys.
Other components included are 33 double-sided threat tokens, one side showing fire, the other smoke. The 18 point of interest tokens that have a question mark on one side. On the flip side they are either a false alarm blank or a victim. 24 black wooden damage counters, 24 hot spots, 21 action markers, 3 heal markers, 6 hazmat markers, doubled sided ambulance and engine markers, and six player cards.
The game also comes with player aid cards for each player and eight specialist cards.
If playing the advanced rules players will need to choose a difficulty level. The game comes with a family game set-up but I won't go over those rules in this review. For a Recruit level players will place 3 initial explosions and 3 hazmats, at Veteran level there are 3 initial explosions, and 4 hazmats, and at heroic level there are 4 initial explosions and 5 hazmats. All unused hazmats are placed back in the box.
Now players must set up the board. To set the first explosion one player rolls the back eight sided die to determine the Target space as follows: 1= Red three, black three, 2= Red three, black four, 3= red three, black six, 4=red three, black six, 5= red four, black six, 6= red four, black five, 7= red four, black four, and 8= red four, black three. Players place a fire and Hot Spot marker and resolve and Explosion in the Target space.
An explosion spreads from the target space in all four directions (up, down, left, right.). Each adjacent space gets a fire marker, fire side up. Any wall that borders the target space gets a damage maker and all doors are removed.
For the second explosion the players roll both dice, if it already on fire, they roll again and resolve the explosion.
For the third explosion, the black die is flipped to show the opposite face and the red die is re-rolled. If this space is on fire roll again. Then, place a fire and hot spot on the target space and resolve an explosion.
Now, roll to place the hazmat markers. If the target space has a fire marker already, re-roll. Place the hazmat on the target space.
Remove two of the victim markers and one false alarm marker and put them back into the box. Flip all the other markers so the question mark is showing and shuffle them. Roll the dice three times, and place one POI (Point of Interest) marker on the target space. If the space is on fire re-roll.
Next, players choose their specialist and take a fire fighter pawn and the card in their player color. A player may play more than one fire fighter. The remaining fire fighter pawns, cards, and specialist cards are placed back in the box. The Specialist cards may be used during the game. Don't put them too far away.
If needed roll to place additional hot spots. As always, if the target space already has a hot spot, re-roll. Veteran and Heroic difficulty calls for three more hot spots. If you are playing with three fire fighters three more and four with four.
Place six, or twelve at the heroic level, hot spot markers on the board (small yellow circles) for later use. The rest are put back into the box.
All the remaining tokens and damage markers are placed near the board. Each fire fighter is placed on the board on any of the boards spaces outside the building. The group decides where to place the ambulance and fire truck and players decide who goes first.
Playing the Game
From the start player, play goes clockwise around the table. On your turn you must do three things
1. Take an Action:
2. Advance the Fire:
3. Replenish POI makers
1. Take an Action
Each turn a player receives four action points (AP). Each action has an action cost and a player may do any available actions in any order. An player may do an action more than once per turn, as long as they spend the AP each time.
Players may pass and save unspent AP up to a maximum of 4 AP. They take an action marker for each unspent AP that they may spend on a later turn.
Move - move the fire fighter to an adjacent space. This costs one to move to a space without a fire, two to move to a space with a fire, and two to carry a victim to an open space or space with smoke. They cannot carry a victim into or end their turn on a space with fire. They may move through a destroyed wall. When they moves into a space with a POI, flip it to show if it a victim or a false alarm.
False alarms are removed, this does not cost AP.
Open / Close Door - A player may flip the door marker for 1 AP.
Extinguish - A fire fighter may fight a fire in their space or adjacent space. It costs one AP to flip it to smoke and 1 more AP to remove it. Smoke may ignite to fire so it is good to remove smoke.
Chop - Using their axe a firefighter can demolish walls to reach victims or create an escape route. It costs 2 AP to place a damage marker on a wall segment. A wall with two damage markers is destroyed and fire fighters and fire can pass through. Be careful using chop. If no damage markers remain the building collapses, killing everyone still in it. Players lose the game.
Vehicle Actions - Vehicles are used only in the experienced game. They may be driven by the fire fighters to their spots on the board. Each occupies two spaces. In the experienced game, victims are rescued when carried to the Ambulance.
Drive: It costs 2 AP to drive a vehicle. Fire fighters must be in the same space to drive the engine. The Ambulance can be called on the radio. The fire fighter that drives the engine must go with the engine but it is optional to go with the Ambulance.
Vehicles can be driven in either direction around the building, but must start and stop in their parking spots. Driving a vehicle to the parking spot on the opposite side of the building takes two drive actions, or 4 AP.
Fire fighters that are in the vehicle parking spot of a vehicle while it is being driven can ride the vehicle for 0 AP. Riding is optional.
Fire the Deck Gun: Players may use the hose to quickly extinguish fires. It costs 4 AP. The deck gun is aimed at one quadrant of the board (Quadrants are shown by the dotted red lines on the board.)
Fire fighters must be in the firetruck to fire the deck gun and it can only be fired at the quadrant that borders the engine's current parking spot. Also it can only fire if there are no fire fighter in the quadrant.
To fire, the player rolls the dice to determine the target space. Because the full range of the dice rolls are not in the target quadrant, the numbers on the dice may not be in the quadrant you aimed at. If this happens, flip over the dice that are out of range and determine the deck guns target. The deck gun will extinguishes all smoke or fire in the target space. It also splashes over into each adjacent space, extinguishing any fire or smoke.
The splash over can go beyond the quadrant boundary and has no effect on fire fighters, POI, victims, or hazmat. Walls prevent splash over.
Crew Change - For 2 AP players may change specialists. They can swap their specialist card with any specialist not currently in play. The player's fire fighter has the AP (less than 2 AP required for a crew change) and special abilities of the newly selected specialist for the entire turn. To do this, fire fighters must start their turn in the same space as the engine. The Crew Change must be completed as a player's first action of their turn. I'll talk more about the different specialists later.
2. Advance Fire
After their actions the current player must Advance the fire. They place a smoke marker on the board in the rolled target space. Sometimes placing the smoke has a greater impact. After you place the smoke marker, check to see if any of the following situations are created.
1. If smoke is placed on an existing smoke - flip the smoke to fire and remove the other smoke marker from the board. Remember: smoke plus smoke equals fire.
2. If the smoke is placed adjacent to fire - Flip the smoke to fire. Remember: smoke adjacent to fire equals fire
3. If the smoke is placed on and existing fire - You have just caused an explosion! Resolve the explosion.
When the fire advances into a space already on fire, an explosion occurs. Explosions spread the fire quickly, knock down fire fighters, and kill victims.
As with set-up, explosion radiate from the target space in all four cardinal directions. A fire marker is put in each adjacent space without fire. Smoke markers are flipped to fire (even outside the building), place a damage marker on walls, and remove any door markers that border the target space.
If the adjacent spaces are on fire, a shockwave occurs. The shockwave continues to travel in its respective direction passing through all the spaces that are on fire until it either encounters an open space, smoke filled space, or wall or closed door.
What happens with a shockwave depends on what it hits first.
- Open space (without smoke or fire) - place a fire marker in the open space, even if it is outside
- Smoke filled space - flip the smoke to fire
- Wall - place a damage marker on the wall, remember a wall that already has a damage marker is destroyed and will not stop a shockwave
- Closed door - remove the door marker; it has been destroyed. A doorway with no door marker is treated as a destroyed wall (don't place damage markers)
A shockwave travels through destroyed walls and open doors. If a shockwave travels though an open door, remove the door maker.
Now it is time to check for any secondary effects that might occur.
Flashover - flip any smoke marker in a space adjacent to a fire marker to fire. Repeat this as many times as needed so there is no smoke adjacent to fire.
Any victims in the same space as fire are lost. The POI or Victim marker are put on the Lost space on the board. If it wasn't identified flip it over (at least point you are hopeing it wasn't a victim), if it is a victim place it in the Lost space.
Any firefighter in a space with fire is Knocked Down. This means they are placed in one of the two spaces of the Ambulance. If they were carrying a victim, the victim is lost.
Remove any fire markers that outside of the building.
The Advanced game adds two more possible effects: Hazmat and Hot Spots.
Hazmat - Hazmats are flammable materials that may cause an explosion. After resolving flashovers, any Hazmat in a space with fire causes and expulsion. Multiple explosions can be triggered by different hazmats in the same phase. Players can choose which explosion to resolve first. They remove the hazmat marker and add a Hot Spot marker were the Hazmat exploded.
Hazmats can be carried as victims are: same costs/ same restrictions. Hazmats can be disposed of by carrying it outside the building. These will be removed from play and placed in the Rescued spot.
Hazmats have certainly made my games interesting. During the Advance Fire stage of my first turn one game, I caused the explosion of three hazmats which killed two victims and nearly made the house collapse. It was quite remarkable!
Hot Spots & Flare Ups - Real fires get harder to fight the longer burn - the building heats up and combustible materials are brought closer to their flash points. Hot spots and flare ups are used to simulate this.
When the target space of the advance fire roll contains a hot spot you have triggered a flare up and will cause an additional advance fire roll.
There is no limit to the number of flare ups that can occur, keep rolling every time the advance fire roll target space has a hot spot.
Flare-ups also increase the number of hot spots. Add a hot spot to the target space of the last Advance fire roll when all flare-ups are resolved.
Order of Resolution
In the experienced game the Advance Fire phase has a number of different steps. Complete them in this order:
1. Roll for and resolve Advance Fire
2. Resolve any explosions if needed
3. Resolve any flashovers if needed
4. Resolve any hazmats explosions if needed (add hot spot marker to hazmat space)
5. Resolve any flare-ups if needed
6. Resolve any knock downs, Lost POI or victims
In the experienced game a POI may only be placed in a space without a threat marker, firefighter, or another POI. IF this happens, use the diagram on the board to redirect the POI. Begin with the target space and follow the path of arrows until you reach a valid space. If there are no valid spaces, re-roll.
The game ends when the building collapses, the player have won (7 victims rescued) or the players have been defeated (4+ victims lost).
Building Collapse - The game ends immediately when the building collapses. This happens when all 24 damage markers have been placed. Place any remaining victims and POI on the lost space on the board.
Victory - The players are victorious when seven victims have been rescued. If you would like, you can continue to play to see if you can rescue all ten victims for a perfect game.
Defeat - The players are defeated when four or more victims have been lost.
Firefighters with special abilities are introduced in the experienced game. Each specialists has unique abilities to help the team out during the game. A player may choose a Specialist are select one randomly. I think its wise to work together even when choosing the specialist to build the best team possible.
Paramedic: The paramedic receives 4 AP per turn but can treat a victim for 1 AP. They put the heal marker under the victim to show and a treated victim may be moved by any fire fighter without carrying them, one at a time. They may carry a victim and lead a treated victim at the normal movement cost to carry a victim (2 AP). The paramedic does pay double AP to extinguish a fire.
Rescue Specialist: The rescue specialist has 4 AP per turn plus 3 free movement AP per turn. Chop costs 1 AP. She pays double AP to extinguish fire and /or smoke.
Imaging Technician: Receives 4 AP per turn, and can identify, or flip a POI marker anywhere on the board for 1 AP.
CAFS Firefighter: Receives 3 AP plus 3 free extinguish AP per turn. (Free extinguish can not be saved).
Generalists: Receives 5 AP but has no other special abilities or actions.
Driver / Operator: Receives 4 AP per turn. They pay 2AP to fire the deck gun. They can also re-roll one or both dice. After re-rolling one die, he may then choose to re-roll the other. They only get a single re-roll for each. The second roll always replaces the first.
Fire Captain: Receives 4 AP plus two free Command AP per turn.
He may use their AP to command any other firefighter to Move / or Open / Close doors, carry hazmats, or move with treated victims on the Fire Captains turn. The Fire Captain spends AP at the cost of the commanded firefighter would normally have paid for the movement. Free command may not be saved and no more than one command AP may be spent on the CAFS firefighter.
Hazmat Technician - Receives 4 AP per turn. They may dispose or remove a hazmat from the firefighters space and space it in the rescue spot for 2 AP.
Playing co-operative games isn't always relaxing for me. I fear making a mistake, doing the wrong actions, or losing the game for the other players. This game compelled me when I first saw it on Kickstarter. But, I stayed away; knowing that I really didn't need another co-op that would rarely get played.
But the buzz and the draw wouldn't go away. I kept hearing about it; about the fire trucks, and ambulances, and cool roles. After all the positive praise I decided to give it a try. I wasn't disappointed. I actually found a co-op game that I will play anytime!
The first thing that gets me is the theme. Fire fighters are true life heroes that sacrifice to save others. You take on their role and work as a team to rescue people and pets. What a wonderful theme. I like fighting dragons, and running a vegetable stand, in other games, but this theme could to appeal to so many people.
It is also a wonderful for families with older children. (Younger children may not like knowing the victims are killed). Even new gamers might be willing to give it a try because of the theme.
I also like the scale of the game. You are concentrating on one home during the game, not the neighborhood or an entire office building. Most games I play concentrate on whole worlds, large maps, or an entire battlefield. Focusing your attention on such a small scale is a bit novel, for me. The board isn't small but the scale lets you center your concentration. People who might be intimidated large scale boards may find Flash Point much more inviting.
More positives for the game are the roles and special abilities. The games I have played have shown me the importance of a well balanced team. Using both the paramedic and Rescue Specialist during a two person games isn't quite a good idea. But combine the Fire Captain and Rescue Specialist or really any other role in a two player game and you have a strong team. Okay maybe you may not want to use the imagining technician in a two player game.
But, the great thing is that you can switch roles. You aren't stuck with a specialist who is no longer as useful. Yes, it costs AP, but sometimes it's worth it. So don't be afraid of taking that risk. I also like using the Fire Truck, though I haven't been the one to roll for the deck gun, I think it's awesome that it was included. It's also meant the difference between a win and a loss in a few of our games.
One of the reasons I think I really enjoy this co-op is a reason some people really don't like the game. I really like the randomness. I think it takes some of the pressure off of me making a mistake. Rolling for the smoke and POI placement makes the game more interesting and less overbearing than other co-op games for me.
The dice decide and, yes I could have made a better choice of where to be or what fire to put out; but not being able to plan out every last move makes a more enjoyable game. I also think it keeps some people from overtaking the game and ordering other around. It's random, you can guess what may happen but you never know for sure until you roll the dice.
In general, I think Flash Point has changed my opinions of co-op games. I really do enjoy the strategy discussions and the team work that happens in the game. It's great for bonding with friends and family. Playing Flash Point just makes me feel good inside. To me, that is the marking of a great game.
Designer: Kevin Lanzing
Artist: Luis Francisco, George Patsouras
Publishers: 999 Games, Indie Boards and Cards
Number of Players: 1-6
Game Length: 45 minutes
Travis Worthington, Ender Wiggins (EndersGame), Henk Rolleman (henk.rolleman), Mike Hulsebus (mikehulsebus), Chris Norwood (kilroy_locke), Jonan Jello (Hex_Enduction_Hour), and Daniel Danzer (duchamp)
- Last edited Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:15 pm (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Wed May 9, 2012 12:46 am
Great review. This one has been on my radar for a while, and I think I might bump it onto the "most wanted games" list.
We picked this up at the beginning of the year and I must say that it fell kind of flat for my wife and I. We are big fans of Pandemic and a lot of other Euro games, but while the theme was great and my nine year old son liked it, it wasn't as elegant as Pandemic.
This is one fine review. I have been interested in this game for a while. Now I am even more interested!
A thoughtful and attractive review. Hope to see more from you.
The Compulsive Completist
One of the big complaints about Pandemic is that one person can end up controling the game by telling everyone what the "best move" is. Is that a similar concern with this game? Is there anything different in Flash Point to eliminate that?
Duke Of Lizards
Livin's mostly wasting time, and I waste my share of mine
I am a breathing time machine
Great review although I don't think you needed to write so much for such a simple yet fun game. Would be great to see you do this on more complicated games though!
Disagree. You did a wonderful job describing all aspects of the game.
Hockey Mask wrote:
One of the big complaints about Pandemic is that one person can end up controling the game by telling everyone what the "best move" is. Is that a similar concern with this game? Is there anything different in Flash Point to eliminate that?
Because of the randomness of the dice, the best move often cannot be known. I think that helps alleviate that problem a bit, but I tend to think of it as more a problem of the players than of the game itself.
well written review, my compliments.
What I like very much in some of the other review here on the geek
is the credit given to the photographers whose pictures are used in these reviews.
I read you don't have the firemeeples yourself,
but I see them on the pictures included.
May I humble suggest to credit the photographers?
My 2 cents,
Thanks for the praise and the advice. First, I think I'll keep doing my overview the way I have been. There are a lot of great reviews that offer a shorter version and I really like those. I'm trying to go for the more in depth look. I get my inspiration from The Spiel, I guess. Just read the "My Thoughts" section to get the short version and my take on the game.
As for giving credit to the photographers I should have been doing that all along! There is so many talented photographers on this site. I took it for granted that the pictures are linked. I've added their names to the review. Now if I can only figure out how to link their names.