Cooperative Board Game Review: Flash Point Fire Rescue

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For shorter cooperative game reviews with a specific focus on how well they play with 2-players, visit my BGG Geeklist. And if you like painted mini’s check out Stu’s Painted Games BGG Geeklist.

Flash Point Fire Rescue

flaspoint
Credit: Indie Boards and Cards
Designer: Kevin Lanzing

Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards

# Players: 1-6 players

Playtime: 45 mins

About (from BGG):

The call comes in… “911, what is your emergency?” On the other end is a panicked response of “FIRE!” Moments later you don the protective suits that will keep you alive, gather your equipment and rush to the scene of a blazing inferno. The team has only seconds to assess the situation and devise a plan of attack – then you spring into action like the trained professionals that you are. You must face your fears, never give up, and above all else work as a team because the fire is raging, the building is threatening to collapse, and lives are in danger.

You must succeed. You are the brave men and women of fire rescue; people are depending on you. This is what you do every day.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a cooperative game of fire rescue.

Thoughts:

Flash Point:Fire Rescue was one of our very first board game purchases and we still have it in our collection today. We have every single expansion and promo for it and it still comes out to the table fairly regularly. It was also one of Stu’s very first mini-paint jobs!

flash point painted2

In Flash Point, at the start of the game you choose your character, however unlike most other games you can swap your character partway through the game but it’s not something you should do lightly! Swapping characters uses up most of your precious action points and can only be done when you’re in the right place (so you aren’t chopping and changing every 5 minutes!). There’s an interesting layer of strategy in working out when it’s best to swap and when it’s best just to stick with what you have already.

flash point painted

And talking of roles, there’s a whole host of different roles that you can play which all play slightly differently and can add a different strategy to your game. And it’s not just people you can play as, you can also play as the fire dog! He can run fast but doesn’t like fire and we’ve found him particularly useful during the early stages of a game, although we have house ruled that our dog is clever enough to open doors (for 2 action points) which means he gets a little more play and this change doesn’t seem to unbalance the game.

In our games, we always seem to debate who should swap characters; Stu tends to prefer to stay the same character whereas I quite like mixing things up although to start with we always fought over who got to play the dog as he’s really interested to play in the early parts of the game! One of my other favourite characters for mid-game swapping is the Driver/Operator with the deck gun and (hopefully) the satisfaction of clearing out the fire and getting the map back under control! Although my go-to character now is the CAFS Fire Fighter – he’s slightly more interesting as you are combining and playing off special actions against standard actions.

The rather ubiquitous selection of maps also keeps the game fresh, and of course we own every single one! However, some boards are better than others and I must say I have a preference for the more basic boards; I’ve never really got on with the submarine map but I do really quite enjoy the terraced houses which mixes up with your strategy a bit. Another thing, I really like about Flash Point is that the victims and characters come all all shapes, sizes, genders and races (and animals – the cat is our favourite!) and action points can be saved so you never feel forced into doing something useless just to use them all up.

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But perhaps one of the main reasons Flash Point gets onto our table so frequently is that  referring to the rulebook mid game is one of my major pet hates, as is having to re-read the rules each time we take the game off the shelf. Games that require this don’t get anywhere near the frequency of play even if they may be ‘better’ games in other ways.  But Flash Point isn’t like this: It is really easy to learn and remember, so even if it doesn’t make it on to our game table for a couple of months we rarely have to refer to the rulebook during gameplay.

But what about the latest expansion, Tragic Events? This small expansion adds a Fire Deck and removes hot spots and I think is the final touch for Flash Point. The deck feels a bit like Forbidden Island with Water Rising cards but if a mechanism works why not learn from it? It changes the game just enough to rejuvenate it (and dare I say it, complete) without changing the core or making the game harder to learn/remember. I’m pretty sure from now on we will be exclusively playing Flash Point with this expansion; I’m not sure we could ever go back to the original version!

Summary:

Flash Point provides entertainment to both novice and experienced gamers alike and the multitude of expansions keeps the game fresh. It works well with 2-players but perhaps plays slightly better with 3-4 players.

But why does Flash Point get the privilege of getting onto our table so often? Is it a great game? No. But is it a good game? Yes, absolutely. And sometimes a good game, that’s suitable for 2 tired parents to play, especially when it’s too late to play something more ‘serious’ then Flash Point is often our game of choice. Plus the recent addition of the Tragic Events expansion makes the game even better.

My Rating:

  • 7/10 (base game).
  • 8/10 (with Tragic Events expansion)

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