We cross-collaborate everyday, so what better way to unwind and have a team-building activity than playing a cooperative game? This Friday, our board game gang played Flash Point: Fire Rescue, where your mission is to work together as firefighters to rescue victims from a burning building at risk of collapsing!
There are a number of scenarios, but all boards are a top-down floor plan view of a building, showing different rooms and various means of ingress and egress. Although most of us were new to the game, with reassurance from our board game master Tony, we played using the “Experienced Rules.” In this more advanced mode, the setup is more random and each player assumes a character with unique abilities and limitations. Each character skillset balances out the team, so effective teamwork is essential to succeed in this dangerous and unpredictable environment!
Each player has a number of action points to spend each turn; actions include moving to an adjacent tile, extinguishing a fire or smoke, carrying a victim, driving the ambulance or firetruck, and so on. Each turn ends with a dice roll that randomly spawns smoke on a tile, which could potentially lead to an explosion that may kill your victims or injure a player while edging the building towards collapse!
Flash Point is a well designed system where characters’ abilities also come with limitations. For example, the Paramedic can heal victims to accelerate the rescue process—a very helpful ability when the winning condition is to rescue 7 victims—but they need twice the number of action points to extinguish fire or smoke. As such, it quickly becomes evident who should be relied on for certain tasks. When facing an urgent situation (like if your victim is trapped in a sea of fire!), we often brainstormed together to figure out the best use of available resources. Do you use up your action points to extinguish the fire first and let the Paramedic storm in and rescue the victim? Or do you try to carry the victim out yourself while still being close to danger?
And it’s not all extinguishing fire and rescuing victims. With a variety of roles and elements on the board, there is a lot of tactic and decision-making to be done. For instance, a Structural Engineer (an expansion character) can repair walls so that the building doesn’t collapse (and end the game), which is very useful when you need to open walls up to get to a victim faster while taking the risk of adding more damage to the building. There’s also the Rescue Dog, which everyone at Pug Pharm is excited about but haven’t even played with yet!
When playing a co-op game like Flash Point, players must constantly develop and change tactics together to come up with a plan with room for contingencies. The element of randomness happening each turn also adds a sense of danger. An unlucky dice roll can trigger a chain reaction, necessitating players to move efficiently and think ahead. It’s a unique game because it’s your team versus the board and the elements of chance! Having a common goal, strategizing out loud and discussing all the possible scenarios makes this an awesome cooperative experience!