Cooperative Board Game Review: Fuse

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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 minis check out Stu’s Painted Games BGG Geeklist.

Fuse

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Credit: Renegade Games Studio
Designer: Kane Klenko

Publisher: Renegade Game Studio

# Players: 1-5 players

Playtime: 10 mins

About (from BGG):

Intruders have made their way onto your ship, and their goal is total destruction! More than twenty bombs have been detected onboard, and the countdown has begun. Your elite Bomb Defusal Team has been called upon to neutralize the threat. Does your team have what it takes to work through the intricacies of the bombs and defuse them all in time?

Fuse is a real-time co-operative game that employs tools (dice) and bombs (cards). Bombs each need a specific combination of dice to defuse it. Each game is a strict ten-minutes, during which time players must work together to defuse all of the bombs before their ship explodes!

Thoughts:

Fuse is not a game that I would have ordinarily thought of purchasing or even playing for that matter. In general, I dislike real-time games, especially ones with dice (Escape: Curse of the Temple is the game to blame for this). However, given our ever decreasing time to play games I asked for some recommendations on Reddit on what I could buy my hubby Stu for his birthday. My main requirements were that the games were short, cooperative and work with just 2 players. Fuse was recommended and given that it’s not a particularly expensive game I thought we’d give it a shot.

For our first game we decided to skip the introductory variant and go straight to ‘standard’ difficulty – I mean, how hard could it be to match a few dice to some cards? Needless to say, our first play was quite chaotic and we did abysmally. On the plus side, we quickly worked out the importance of the dice we couldn’t use, and also realised we were playing with the wrong rules making the game much harder than it should have been. So we re-grouped and immediately played again for another hectic 10 minutes. And you know what? I really enjoyed the real-time nature of it and the game is so cooperative! I can’t overstate enough how important it is to communicate and work together else you are destined to lose.

And so we played for a third time in a row! It’s been a while since after finishing a game I just wanted to play it again, and again (last note-able example was Pandemic Legacy: Season 1). Although the short length does lend itself to this sort of play. After 3 play-throughs Stu wanted to stop. He was finding the game too stressful! I was a little disappointed, I wanted to crack the game. I wanted to win! But needless to say, Stu was saved by the bell, or rather the pitter patter of little feet as our daughter woke up from her nap. Fuse was unceremoniously put away and our day resumed as normal.

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A few hours later, Stu said: “You know what, I actually really enjoyed Fuse“. I breathed a breath of relief; I had been worried that he’d hated it. The next day we played again, three games in a row and we finally won a game! Wahoo! I loved playing it; the puzzle nature of the game, especially the optimum use and sharing of the dice as well as the careful selection of bomb cards really appeals to my technical mindset. And the time pressure forces you to make quick decisions which I also like. It stops analysis paralysis if you want any chance in winning. Both Stu and I like playing games with our gut, although I tend to do a little more (fast) analysis than him, so it really does appeal to us both.

On our next game night, we tried Fuse with 3 players. The game felt distinctly easier – less re-rolls and elimination of dice as it’s easier to take 1 dice when you have a choice of 2 cards compared to taking 2 dice with a choice of just 2 cards for 2-players.

Fuse is fun with 3-players but the dynamic is a bit different. There’s a little more time to think and it’s a little less chaotic. Also, I found that most of the time I could take pretty much any dice and we rarely had a dice that one of us couldn’t use. Although, we still lost! I enjoyed playing with 3-players but I think I prefer the challenge of 2-players;  you really, really need to work well together creating a fun but significant challenge. However, it does help (a lot) if you know the other person quite well!

Summary:

Fuse is not a game I would usually lean towards, but I loved it. I think it plays brilliantly with 2-players, especially if you like fast action puzzles. If you like a little more time to think, I’d recommend playing with 3+ players instead. If you’re looking for a game that plays quickly (I’d say you’re going to play at least 2-3 games in a row so 20-30 mins) then Fuse is perfect. However, if you are easily stressed, then perhaps Fuse isn’t a game for you!

My Rating: 8/10

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