Tag Archives: Flash Point

I Am The God Of Hellfire… And I Bring You – Flash Point: Fire Rescue review

Time for a guest reviewer to stick their two pence in! Luke Hector has taken a look at Flash Point: Fire Rescue  to see whether it’s hot stuff or a damp squib… (apologies for the terrible pun…)

Anybody who knows me at a games club will testify that I am a big fan of co-op games. I love the atmosphere that is built up from a group of gamers working together to a common goal with the game as your adversary. One aspect that defines a good co-op game for me is the theme. A team game with no theme is just dull and boring – you’re almost willing to just hit the team suicide button and let the game win just to end the misery. You also have to be careful with an issue that cause some co-ops to get a bit of stick from non-gamers thanks to the Alpha Gamer syndrome where one person takes the leader role a bit too far and starts to dictate everything that the other players should be doing. It’s not fun and doesn’t embrace the element of co-operation between people.

My salvation, helping me to avoid both of these issues, came in the form of Indie Boards & Cards’ Flash Point: Fire Rescue. I unfortunately missed out on the last Kickstarter and didn’t get the special fire meeples and expansions for this game, but with a new expansion on the way you can expect to see everything reprinted in late 2013. Flash Point is a co-operative game for 1-6 players in which you take one of many roles in a squad of firemen and seek to rescue seven survivors from a burning house. The players must work together to keep the raging fire under control whilst locating the survivors and escorting them out of the building.

Characters have a set number of action points which are used to perform a range of actions. Moving yourself / escorting a survivor and extinguishing fire and smoke are the most regularly used, but you can also choose to open doors, chop through walls and even operate vehicles. Point of Interest (POI) tokens are scattered on the board for the firemen to investigate, all of which are face down to begin with. They can only be flipped by reaching them or using a specialist role, but often what you think could be a survivor ends up being a false reading.

At the end of every player turn, a dice roll applied to a grid system dictates how the flames spread as well as where potential survivors might be located, and the team wins by escorting those seven (out of the ten available) survivors out of the building. However should four survivors die from the fire, the players immediately lose. In addition to this, if all 24 damage cubes (used to represent broken walls that have been blown away by explosions or chopped down by firemen) are placed on the board, the house collapses killing everyone inside. And guess what? Yes, you all lose.

Possibly the best feature of this game is just how much it oozes theme when you squeeze the box. Fighting fires and rescuing people is what they make movies about and some kids dream of being a fireman and playing with the siren far too much! Story wise, the game writes itself. The brave firemen rush in and beat back the fire risking their lives to rescue helpless victims… (and pets because apparently they carry equal weighting to humans in this game). The fire is random which adds to the mounting tension and creates a “push your luck” aspect to the game whereby you don’t know whether to leave that room full of smoke in the hope it doesn’t ignite into flame or whether to take a shortcut and hack your way through the walls – even if it speeds up the collapse of the building.

The mechanics in the game make sense and feel right to how the theme is implemented. I’m not a fireman (obviously) so maybe there could be some creative license being involved, but the designer obviously did his research. The game is also very intuitive allowing for people to pick up the rules very quickly and make their own decisions, minimising the risk of an Alpha Gamer seizing control. In the Experienced game (a Family variant is included for outright beginners) players can choose from a plentiful selection of roles which vary the amount of action points  available and provide a unique special ability which either allows a special action or grants bonus actions for specific tasks such as putting out fires. All of these roles are very useful and again, thematic, though in the UK I don’t see many imaging technicians (who can scan POI’s to check for survivors) in attendance!

The only minor nit-pick on the theme is the vehicles. Players can command the fire engine to attempt to extinguish fires on a larger scale and the ambulance represents the point where the players have to escort the survivors to. However the building is one large detached property and you have to drive the vehicles around it to reach other areas or victims, which to me seemed a bit weird. I mean, who designed this property anyway? It must be like a mansion or something! You could argue, however, that in real life victims aren’t expected to make their own way to the emergency services, the ambulance comes to them – they don’t park two streets away!

The game is all about tactical thinking because as the fire spreads randomly from turn to turn. Explosions can devastate parts of the house, turning smoky rooms into raging infernos. Each turn sees players having to assess how much time they want to devote to rescuing victims against how much should be spent putting out fires. Everything might be fine on one turn but it only takes one hazardous material to explode at the wrong time for fires and damage cubes to spawn in quantity!

When comparing strategy to tactics, I prefer a game that revolves around the latter as it forces you to think on the fly and make quick decisions. When combined with the theme in this game, the tension is constant and you can’t let your guard down. Beating the game is very rewarding as you pull that last victim to safety. Components are of high quality and are very colourful with pleasant artwork on the board and the role cards. A fully laid out board always draws a passing eye and helps to add to the theme and immersion of the game. The game can be wrapped up in less than an hour easily and there is very little downtime as the game plays out at a fast pace with a lot of player interaction.

You can tell I like this game and I cannot wait for Indie Boards and Cards to reprint the expansions later this year so I can get my fire gloves on them. The base game already has good replay value due to the double sided board (depicting two different house setups), plentiful roles and varying difficulty levels. The expansions add in multiple storeys, additional hazards and more roles/locations to boost it even further. Some people have criticised the randomness of the fire hoping for a more predictable way of implementing it in an almost puzzle style, but I honestly don’t favour that at all. A real life fire is random. You can’t predict the spread or speed of a blazing inferno; this is why firemen are at huge risk in these situations. The randomness adds to the tension and fits with the theme perfectly.

Components are of high quality and are very colourful with pleasant artwork on the board and the role cards. A fully laid out board always draws a passing eye and helps to add to the theme and immersion of the game. If you like co-operative games I highly recommend giving this one a try for all levels of players.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue was designed by Kevin Lansing and was originally published through Indie Boards and Cards back in 2011. Between one and six players can get involved, with games taking around 45 minutes to an hour. Copies can be picked up for around £25 from Gameslore. Thanks to Luke for the write up!

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Episode 31 – Essen 2011; Day One

Blimey. Having never been to Essen before, I really had no idea what to expect. I knew it’d be busy, but I didn’t realise quite how busy! I wandered, I played, I chatted away and recorded more interviews than I knew what to do with… so here’s the first of four Essen specials, one for each day! Download directly from here or grab it from iTunes – and why not leave a wee review?

Spiel is the biggest games show in the world with over 100,000 people walking through the doors over the four day event. It’s truly a gaming extravaganza, and even though I was there for the whole thing I honestly reckon I missed loads. Whether it’s board games, card games, RPGs, Live Action Role Play, whatever… Essen is the place to be. Roll on next October and the 2012 event!

This episode has interviews with the following lovely people:

Travis Worthington, head of Indie Boards and Card Games, the makers of Flash Point: Fire Rescue, The Resistance and more – http://www.indieboardsandcards.com/

Kevin Lanzing, designer of Flash Point: Fire Rescue 

Lorenzo Silva, co-designer of Cranio Creations’ Dungeon Fighter – http://www.craniocreations.com/IndexENG.html

Gil d’Orey from Portuguese publisher MESAboardgames, designer of Vintage – http://www.mesaboardgames.pt/

Justin Gary from Gary Games, the fine people behind Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and the new expansion, Storm of Souls – http://www.ascensiongame.com/

Nate Hayden, creator of Cave Evil – http://www.cave-evil.com/

Michel Baudoin from Wacky Works, designer of Space Mazehttp://wackyworks.nl/

I’m joined throughout the four Essen episodes by the mighty Paco from GMS Magazine. Go listen to his podcast and read his fine site! http://www.gmsmagazine.com/

The episode is sponsored by Eagle Games’ new Kickstarter project Pizza Theory – check them out over at http://www.eaglegames.net

 

Download the episode straight from here – http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/agvpy2/LMD_Episode31.mp3 

 

 

 

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Little Metal Dog Goes International: Essen 2011

It’s Essen Spiel week! The most wonderful time of the year! If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what I’m on about, Essen is the annual event that board gamers dream of. It’s our equivalent of the San Diego Comic Con, the cardboard version of E3; over 100,000 people flocking to a town in Germany to see what the games industry is going to delight us with over the next few months.

This will be my first Essen – actually, it’ll be my first visit to Germany – and I’m feeling a curious combination of excitement and nerves. I’m sure that once I arrive at the halls that’ll all bleed away as I scramble about looking at incredible games by publishers and indies from all around the world. I know that come Sunday I’ll have that feeling of it all being over too soon, that I should have grabbed more interviews… It’s going to be An Experience.

I’ve been looking through all the lists of new releases for Essen 2011 and – as is apparently customary – I’ve thrown together a few games that I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on. Whether I’ll be able to try them all out, who knows? It’s a big old place and there’s a lot of people to see. Here’s hoping though…

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Alcatraz: The Scapegoat published by Kuznia Gier

Let’s kick off with a co-op, albeit one with a difference. In Alcatraz: The Scapegoat you’re working together to spring yourself from the legendary American jail but someone’s got to be left behind. The aim seems to be to make yourself as indispensable as possible. You’re the guy who HAS to be taken along because you sure don’t want to be stuck on the rock. Part pick up and deliver, part backstabbing exercise in diplomacy, Alcatraz: The Scapegoat looks wonderfully cruel.

Bios Megafauna published by Sierra Madre Games

The mighty Dominant Species holds the crown when it comes to games involving evolution (for me, anyway) but Sierra Madre Games’ Bios Megafauna looks like it could well make a challenge for the throne. Your beasties are graded on a wide range of categories and must deal with competition from other animals as well as changes in their environment. How do you deal with such things? Why, through mutation or starting brand new species, of course. Apparently you can end up with vegetarian velociraptors and flying dolphins… who wouldn’t be intrigued?

Core Worlds published by Stronghold Games

Science fiction, barbarians, the invasion of worlds and deck-building. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away from Core Worlds, a new release from Stronghold Games. They’re a company who have developed quite a name in producing beautiful new versions of some classic titles but are now spreading out into new IPs. In around an hour players will take their fledgling civilisation, develop new technologies, build up energy resources, launch fleets and destroy their enemies before them – hopefully. Core Worlds promises an awful lot but if it pulls it off, this could be one of the games of the year for me.

Dragon Rampage published by Eagle Games

Richard Launis’ strategic dice game has been on my radar a while and after talking with him for The Little Metal Dog Show I am now fully hyped for it. Playing as adventurers trying to blag as much treasure while screwing over your opponents and making sure to react correctly to what the dragon’s doing..? It looks like while there’s plenty of opportunity to take down your opposition, you’ve got to be careful to not dig yourself into a hole and throw away a potential victory. Also, the games available at Essen will come with a “special” board. No more information on that, but I’m a sucker for limited editions.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue published by Indie Boards and Cards

Yes, yes, I missed out on the Kickstarter campaign. I am an idiot. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be excited about this one. Another one scratching that itch for co-operative play, you work together to save victims trapped inside a burning building before it’s too late. Different roles have different special abilities but the thing that really appeals is the power to smash through walls in times of desperation. After raising a ridiculous amount on money, the Essen release comes with a promo role card, a double sided game board and a scenarios book. So much potential playtime! Here’s hoping I can grab a copy.

Last Will by Czech Games Edition

I had a chance to look at Last Will at the UK Games Expo and was immediately taken with it. Think Brewster’s Millions: The Board Game or Go For Broke for grown ups; Players are given a large amount of money which must be frittered away on luxuries like theatre visits and extravagant meals or investing in property that will be left to go to rack and ruin. I love humour in games and Last Will seems to have it in spades. Designer Vladimir Suchy seems like he’s on to a winner with this one, combining a bloody funny idea with some solid gameplay.

Power Grid: The Robots published by 2-F Spiele

I love me some Power Grid and there’s nothing better than having a full requisite of players sitting around the board, filling out and fighting for every space in every town as the game goes on. So what happens if you’ve only got four players? Or even less? Friedemann Friese has thought about that and has introduced Power Grid: The Robots. Acting as AI players, each robot will be given a randomised set of rules for them to follow in the game. The rules come on tiles that will be mixed up meaning that there’s a huge range of potential robot opponents. I’m really interested in seeing how it works. Oh, and there’s the usual extra card for this year too, Der Liefervertrag (The Supply Contract) that lets you permanently move one step back in player order. Could prove very useful.

Rumble in the House by Flatlined Games

Flatlined Games present a mad looking little game where players are encouraged to (virtually) beat the crap out of their fellow housemates. Everyone controls two characters and, in a last man standing kind of affair, must force the opposition out of the house. The earlier you’re evicted, the less points that character scores and after three rounds the player with the highest total is victorious. A very quick little party game (apparently it can be done in twenty minutes, even with six players) I hope this lives up to my expectations.

Schnappt Hubi! published by Ravensburger

I honestly have no idea if I’ll even understand this one but Ravensburger stuff is generally pretty easy to get your head around. Players are either mice or rabbits who need to chase down Hubi the ghost and get him out of the house. Sounds very weird but looks amazing. Schnappt Hubi! has two stages, the first where players build the walls of the house making a maze that – thanks to the electronic gizmo that comes bundled – will be different every time the game is played. The walls come in different types including some with holes that only mice can get through or cracks that can only be reached by the rabbits that jump. Yes, it’s very much a kids game but it really looks brilliant – definitely one to pick up.

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With over seven hundred brand new games launching at Essen along with all the stuff that’s been released through the year, Aladdin’s cave has nothing on Essen 2011. I haven’t even started on the mini expansions that will be there; Small World Tunnels, Airlines Europe: Flight Ban, Carcassonne: Die Schule, Mr Jack Pocket: Goodies, Alhambra: Magical Buildings, 7 Wonders: Catan Island… How the hell am I going to get all this stuff home?!

If you’re there and you see me, do stop and say hello. Look for the bald guy with the wild look in his eyes wearing a shirt with – what else – a Little Metal Dog. This one, in fact!

See you in Germany!

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Episode 27 – Back to Normality

The Little Metal Dog Show is very much like a London bus – you wait ages for one to show up, then get two within a few days. This one is back to the normal interviews format as I’m joined by the founders of two independent companies who are creating some great games. First of all, from Indie Boards and Cards, I speak to Travis Worthington – currently finishing off their biggest game ever (Flash Point – Fire Rescue), they’re a small company who are responsible for some great titles, especially The Resistance. I also get to talk with Justin Gary, a former Magic: The Gathering pro-tour champion who moved on to designing his own stuff and formed his own company, Gary Games. Makers of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and the follow up Return of the Fallen set, we cover card gaming in all its glory…

You can get the episode from iTunes or download it directly from here. As always, if you’d like to get in touch with the show, if couldn’t be easier – you can email me over on michael@littlemetaldog.com and find me on Twitter under the name of @idlemichael. Do get in touch – it’d be a pleasure to hear from you!

Don’t forget, we’re ramping up for the year’s Essen SPIEL show. I’ll be heading over to Germany to interview as many people as possible, finding out what they’re up to at the moment and what games they have planned for the future. Of course, if you fancy helping out and donating to the show that’d be welcomed – it’s a little difficult walking across the English Channel…

Right. Enough talk, more links!

Indie Boards and Cards site – http://www.indieboardsandcards.com/

Flash Point – Fire Rescue’s Kickstarter site – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2012515236/flash-point-fire-rescue

Gary Games’ / official Ascension site – http://www.ascensiongame.com/

The Story of the GenCon Ascension Championship – http://www.ascensiongame.com/news-archive/item/aaron-sulla-the-godslayer

 

 

 

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