First play of 2018 – Flash Point: Fire Rescue
I started off the new year by checking off the first play for my 10×10 challenge. I setup Flash Point: Fire Rescue on Tuesday night. It had been 6 months since my last play of the game and it was great to revisit one of my favorites.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue (FP:FR) was one of the early additions to my collection. I remember watching a playthrough that Barry Reynolds did and thinking that it looked like a fun game and added it to my wishlist. Around that same time, Barnes and Noble was having a clearance sale where it was on sale for $20. It was a sign from the heavens that I couldn’t pass up. As my gaming tastes developed, cooperative games have risen up to be one of my favorite style of games. I enjoy theses games due to the fact that players can drop out and I can continue playing without having to reset the game. My kids tend to like the idea of playing games with me but at the 20-30 minute mark interest starts waning and by 45 minutes it is very likely I’m at the table playing solo.
For this play I decided to use the high rise map from the Urban Structures expansion. This map provided the additional challenge of only being able to access the building via elevators or the fire truck. I setup my typical FP:FR game: Recruit difficulty and 4 fire fighters. This map had specific rules for the initial explosions which led 2 of the explosions to be on the lower right quadrant while the third explosion was in the top left. Luckily the initial Point of Interests ( a.k.a. POI, possible victims) were not near fires so I wasn’t too worried about the setup. An added bonus was one POI was directly outside the elevator doors. Further boosting my confidence was the fact that the Driver/Operator was the first player. Rounding out teams was the Paramedic, Rescue Specialist, and CAFS Firefighter. One thing I failed to notice was two hazmat items with a single empty space between them.
I was correct that the Driver/Operator was able to quickly address the fire in the bottom right. This allowed the rest of the team to head up in the elevators together and focus on searching out the points of interests. Unfortunately, the POI directly outside the elevator was blank, but by the end of the first round the Paramedic had treated one victim, which made them easier to usher to safety. With the fire under control in the bottom right, a shift change swapped out the Drive/Operator for the Generalist. I figured the additional action would be helpful to offset the limited firefighting of the Paramedic and Rescue Specialist. Over the course of the next couple rounds, the fire continued to flare up around the Paramedic and Rescue Specialist. With their limited firefighting ability it was up to the CAFS Firefighter and Generalist to keep the flames in check.
Another challenge that I did not foresee with the high rise map was the sheer amount of walls that segmented out this building. It felt that every time I rolled to place smoke, I rolled a spot that either: 1) I just cleared or 2) was on fire which caused an explosion. With each explosion, more damage cubes were placed out on the map. Firefighters were knocked down at least twice during these explosions and one of those times a rescue victim was lost.
I focused most of my effort on the top left portion of the map where the flames continued to flare up round after round. After a couple rounds, all 6 hot spot tokens had been placed out on the map. These hot spot tokens are bad news because if their location is rolled during the place smoke phase the dice are rolled to place smoke a second time. The game ended abruptly due to the overlooked hazmat items which were now separated only by a single smoke filled space with a hot spot token . As you may guess, this smoke filled space turned up on the dice when I rolled for smoke placement. This caused the smoke to turn to fire. Not a big problem, it was a hot spot so the dice would be rolled a second time. This time the dice rolled one spot above the fire. Yes, the one with the one of the hazmat items. This triggered an explosion that place two damage cubes as well as blasting the fire back through the other hazmat item in the room. Another explosion went off, which placed three more damage cubes, but I only had 2 left in the supply. Effectively the building collapsed due to the significant damage sustained during the fire.
This play embodies so many of my plays of FP:FR. There are times where I think I have things under control, but things shift suddenly with a single roll of the dice. This is what keeps me coming back. FP:FR may feel like a puzzle that can be figured out but the dice introduce a level of unknown variability that cannot be mitigated.
Majority of my losses are due to the damage cubes running out rather than victims being lost. Maybe I should read up on the Structural Engineer role.