Flashpoint is an intense board game that has you hooked on the edge of your seat from the very first move. It challenges all players because you either all win together or all lose together. Flashpoint is described as being similar to Pandemic in the sense that players must work as a team to beat the board game. In saying that, Flashpoint is described as an easier version of pandemic due to the fact that in Flashpoint you have better odds. Flashpoint is a game relying on chance and precision, it builds in intensity as you play.
Flashpoint was designed by Kevin Lanzing and published in 2011. Publishers include Indie Board Games & Cards, 999 games, Asmodee and more. Flashpoint can accommodate up to 6 players, but is best played with 4. The duration of the game stretched from 45mins to an hour. Flashpoint is a fire simulation game that requires co-operative play. Gameplay is based of an action point allowance system, meaning that players receive a certain amount of points per turn that determine what (and how many) moves they can make, and all pieces move in a grid system.
The game art is really quite beautiful. Each token is good quality (firm not flimsy) with decent imagery on it. The fire-fighter pieces themselves are very detailed; you can even see the creases in clothes. It is exciting to see your fire fighter make his way throughout the burning house The game artists responsible for this intricate game art are Luis Francisco and George Patsouras. These artists have featured on similar board games such as “The Resistance” and “Avalon”, which also involve co-operative play.
Flashpoint fire rescue is unlike any board game I have ever played before. Rather than encouraging competition between each other, it focuses on the competition between the game and the players (as a team). In this game, the odds are against you from the very start. Each turn you only get a select amount of moves to make and you can only make as many moves as your action points allow. To make things better, after each players turn, they must roll the dice and place another smoke/fire token which can change the whole dynamic of the board in one move.
Like any chance-based game, Flashpoint requires you to make decisions that will give you the best odds and hopefully result in you completing the game. It is practically impossible to figure out a strategy to this game, given that it is mostly chance. You can purely go for victims… but then you risk building collapse. You can just target fires/smoke, but then you run the risk of fires killing victims. From my experience, team communication is key. It enables team members to point out all the possible outcomes that could happen. This way, each person makes the best possible move each turn because the team has thought it through. Here is a video on the strategies of Flashpoint:
When I played, we always saved 6 victims and then an explosion or something disaster would happen and we would lose. However, the beauty of this was that the game was so short (roughly 45mins), we could try to beat it again. This was good because it didn’t give players a chance to get disappointed.
The Flashpoint: Fire Rescue board game seems to be a very niche genre in the fact that people seem to either hate it or love it. For example, when I played, I absolutely loved it; the thrill and intensity of fighting the fire and saving the victims and I felt like each time a played I enjoyed the challenge no matter the outcome. However, I am not a very competitive person, whereas my teammates are. They didn’t like the game beating them and got frustrated at the game very quickly. It is a game that has potential to create conflict between players because when mistakes are made, the blame game is played.
One critique I do have is that the instructions were difficult to understand, it was a lot to take in and we only did the regular gameplay rather than the advance gameplay. I think the instructions could be clearer. The game itself is quite simple but the instructions just confused us further.
Overall, Flashpoint is a fantastic game that really encourages players to work together as a team to solve a common problem. It’s a simple concept but becomes complex when the elements of chance are introduced. Flashpoint is an intense, thrilling journey that is a whole world of fun.