Tag Archives: flash point

Update on Dr. Who Audiobooks and a Flash Point: Fire Rescue game report

First, Dr. Who. I downloaded several of them before we headed home from Colorado after Christmas, up to the limit that I could put on my iPad, and found that they weren’t classic audiobooks, they were more like full radio dramas: lots of sound effects and multiple actors. Pretty cool stuff. I should download the rest of them soon and then figure out what devices I can put them on to listen to. So if you were able to take advantage of the audiobook Humble Bundle, you’ve got lots of good stuff ahead of you!

Next, Flash Point! I got the most recent expansion that contains maps for a subway station and an airplane. On the first Saturday of the year I took my car in for some moderately extensive (and expen$ive) work and dropped off my set at my workplace to entertain myself while my car was being mended. (the repair went just fine, then something else broke on my car on my way in to work on Monday to the tune of an additional $300. sigh.)

I set up the airplane and took three roles: Driver/Operator, HazMat, and the Captain. There are two interesting characteristics with the plane. First, the fuselage runs the full width along the bottom of the map. The wing runs the full height, and there’s only the starboard wing, apparently the port wing was torn off in the crash. The wing has two hazmat spots with the engine between them, and you can’t move across the engine: you have to get off the wing then get back on it with a movement penalty. So it takes a fair amount of movement to go between the two points.

There are a couple of new rules for the plane that are interesting. First, if an explosion causes fire beyond the board border, you lose a structure cube permanently. Second, hazmat must be removed beyond the board border, but since I used the hazmat role to neutralize it, no biggie. And foam…. I’ll talk more about that shortly!

The setup is designed to start fires all over the place and with all three initial POIs on the plane. I don’t remember if there was a special starting rule for the additional hazmats.

I started with the fire truck and operator on the bottom right of the board, and they just sat there spraying the plane with foam. Foam is really cool, and the driver/operator (or whoever is operating the fire truck) can choose between foam and water. Foam turns fire to smoke and extinguishes smoke, but deposits foam wherever there wasn’t fire or smoke. And if fire were to advance on to a foam square, it eliminates the foam but doesn’t spread more fire!

This setup worked pretty well. The captain and hazmat entered from in front of the wing tip, took out some fire in the area, then the hazmat went to work on the wing while the captain headed in to the plane while dealing with fire and smoke. By the time he’d gotten in and identified some people needing rescue, the fire was pretty well contained. The driver/operator changed to the rescue dog and started hauling people out. After all of the hazmat had been neutralized, the hazmat guy became the structural engineer and started removing hotspots and repairing damage that could be fixed. Eventually the hotspots were all removed and repairable damage had been repaired, but the fire had gotten a little out of hand in the top right corner of the board, away from the plane, so it looked like a job once again for the driver/operator.

All in all, this was a very effective strategy for dealing with the plane. The rescue dog had to wait a couple of turns for fire to be beaten down to effect a rescue, but overall, the fire never got ahead of me though it came close.

So I rate the airplane as a very good map, and at least this time, no where near as difficult as I’d anticipated. I’m hoping to get to play the subway with my wife next weekend, it has some interesting characteristics.

This is the thing that I love about this game: you never know how a fire will spread. I was lucky in this game by bathing the airplane in foam, it really helped to control the flame and rescue people. But any player of Flash Point has seen maps go from ‘close to winning’ to ‘everybody dies!’ in very little time. And that’s what gives it a great replayability if you’re a fan.

New Flash Point Kickstarter just launched!

Happy, happy!  Joy, joy!  The new expansion is AN AIRPLANE!  I’ve been waiting for this and thought a jet would be totally doable after they went to a 12-sided die for the submarine and splitting the d6 into the front and back halves of the map.  Also included is a new role, a Fire Prevention Officer.  It’ll be interesting to see what they do.  The flip side of the board features a subway station, that should prove interesting.  As an exclusive for Kickstarter, a mini-map is included that adds another basement and attic level for last year’s Extreme Danger expansion.

I received the email  an hour ago and they’re already over 70% of their funding goal and I’m confident they’ll hit it by the end of the day.  The Kickstarter ends July 30 and they’re projecting a ship date (get it?  ship?  the Dangerous Waters expansion?) is estimated for November.  I don’t remember when last year’s expansion was promised for, but it did arrive in time for Christmas.

One VERY important note: the Kickstarter is limited to 3,000 copies, so order now!

My current Flash Point set up

I am unabashedly a huge fan of Flash Point: Fire Rescue.  I think my main reasons are that it’s cooperative, it can be played solo or with only two people, and it has a very visceral feel to it.  I’m not a big fan of abstract games, but that’s just me.  But there is one problem with Flash Point that’s almost inescapable: lots of fiddly bits and maps.  I have all of the expansions, including the bonus Dangerous Waters map that was funded as part of the Kickstarter for Extreme Danger, and I hated my organization.  I had lots of little plastic bags filled with stuff, and prior to Extreme Danger, I was rapidly running out of box space.  Fortunately ED included a second box, but even more fortunately I remembered an old solution used with the 1980’s Avalon Hill classic, Up Front: a fishing tackle box.


I went all over to craft and hobby stores, I went to Home Depot and Lowe’s.  No one had exactly what I was looking for, namely something that I could shift the internal walls to vary the size of the compartments.

I found my solution at Walmart, I think it was under $10.

It works pretty good, though it does take a little longer to set up a game.  But cleaning up is faster, and all I need is my original box with all of the maps and rules and my smaller box and I’m ready to game.


Speaking of gaming, I did a solo Flash Point Saturday that was great.  The first time that I played the submarine I got my butt handed to me.  I was running four roles: chief, veteran, rescue dog, and structural engineer.  Unfortunately the structural engineer and dog got trapped in the bow of the sub, the vet got blowed up, and I couldn’t get the chief from the back of the ship to extinguish the entry point and then get to the bow to free the dog and engineer before the sub sank.  Very frustrating game, but sometimes that’s the way the dice rolls.  Saturday I did a re-match, this time starting with the captain, the structural engineer, and CAFS.  The firefighters were able to clear a path for the engineer to extinguish all the hot spots and deal with initial explosion damage, after which the engineer became the haz mat tech and dispatched the three hazmats, and then became the generalist.

At the end game, I’d almost rescued all of the people and only had one damage cube on the board in a non-vital area.  And I succeeded in extinguishing all of the fire.  I’ll tell ya, that felt pretty good,  The only POI killed by a flashover turned out to be a false alarm, so no deaths!

I got lucky with explosions, and dealing with all of the hot spots as soon as possible was a definite help.  I think on the sub, a better strategy is to keep your non-firefighters working with a firefighter and keep one firefighter in the bow, one in the stern.

Excellent games of 2012, part 1 of many — Flash Point: Fire Rescue

I don’t get to play as many new games as I would like, but I played some exceptional games last year that were new to me and I really want to share them. These games may not have come out in 2012, but that’s when I first played them.

Up first, Flash Point: Fire Rescue by Indie Boards & Cards.

My wife and I first played this over Thanksgiving while in Colorado with our friends, Dave & Kris, they have both expansions. It immediately went on my Xmas list, and surprisingly, my wife bought it for me. It helps that she also likes the game. It is a cooperative game, similar to Pandemic, where everyone is a specialist firefighter trying to extinguish a blaze and save lives. The game is lost when four people die (called POIs, or Points of Interest) or you run out of structural damage cubes (black) where explosions have weakened walls and the building collapses.

The box says the game is rated for two to six players and 45 minutes, I think those are good estimates. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t play this game solo, just play two or three roles and be honest with the dice rolls. The game uses two dice, a d6 and a d8. The boards are divided to use the d6/d8 for coordinates for placing fires, POIs, smoke, etc. It is also fairly compact and can be played on a card table, though there can be a lot of fiddly bits.

Each player takes a specialist role card, and you can change it if you don’t like your role or the needs of the fire suggest a different role would be useful, it will cost you a turn to change roles. Some roles are: Fire Chief (gives extra movement to others), Engineer (repairs structural damage but cannot fight fires). Paramedic (throws bandages at POIs so they can move faster), Generalist (most movement and firefighting capability, but that’s all that role does), Compressed Air Firefighting System (AKA CAFS, amazing firefighting ability but doesn’t move fast), etc. One role allows you to use the water canon on the fire engine, a HazMat specialist, a Thermal Imaging Technician, etc. Text on the card explains what the role can do.

To set up a game, select a map and roll to place explosions, smoke, hot spots (which may cause more fires) and POIs (placed face-down). Depending on the scenario, you also may place HazMat. There are simple rules to relocate a POI or HazMat if the roll would put them directly in fire. Firefighter specialist roles are distributed or selected, then everyone chooses where they are entering from and who goes first. On your turn, you move (optional), perform an action (fight fire, rescue people, repair damage, whatever), then roll for more smoke. If you roll a location that is already smoke, it turns to fire and any adjacent smoke turns to fire. If you roll a location that’s fire, it explodes and the fire spreads and damages walls. After you roll smoke, you roll to replace any POIs that were rescued.

Every firefighter carries an axe and can chop through walls, it takes two actions and places two damage markers on the wall, which means fire can spread through the breech and that it cannot be repaired by the structural engineer, that role can only remove single damage tokens.

POIs die easily. If they’re on smoke and it turns to fire, they’re dead. If they’re next to an explosion and it hits them, they’re dead. Lose four POIs and you’ve lost the game. The tricky bit about POIs is that they’re placed face-down, and all you see is a question mark. You think there’s something there, and you’re going to have to go and check it out, but it might be blank, or it could be a pet. If a pet dies, it counts as one of the four deaths.

To save a POI, get them out of the building. You can carry them, which reduces your movement, or if the paramedic threw a bandage on them they can move with you. They cannot move by themselves. Get them out to the ambulance, and they’re saved.

To win the game, rescue seven real POIs, the blank ones are false alarms and don’t count for winning or losing.

Obviously the rules are a little more complicated than what I’ve described, but not seriously so. It’s a very quick game to learn and lots of fun, once you’re set up the rules aren’t needed much once you’re familiar with the game. Since it’s cooperative, table talk is encouraged to coordinate actions and make sure you don’t screw someone else up if you can avoid it, or to explain that someone’s planned action is a really bad idea or there’s a better way to do it.

The game plays at a brisk pace, which helps maintain a high level of interest. I’ve won games with three roles in play, I’ve won games with six, and I’ve lost them with any number: the number of players/roles makes little difference as to how tough the fire is. The more roles, you have more flexibility but more chances for the fire to spread massively before it’s your turn again. Fewer roles means faster action, but you might not have the role needed at the moment. Changing roles requires you to be at the fire truck and spend a turn. It’s not uncommon for the Imaging Technician to start on the truck, spend one round identifying POIs, then switching to another role.

You always want either the generalist or the CAFS in the game, if you have neither you’re in trouble and if you have both you’re either going to rock the fire or you might be weak for other needed functions.

HIGHLY recommended, this game is a blast. They also funded it and the expansions through Kickstarter, and had some great deals for getting previous releases.


The game is available at, in addition to hopefully your Friendly Local Game Store, at some Barnes & Noble and some Targets, and Amazon, natch.

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