Turns fly by very quickly in Flash Point Fire Rescue, which keeps the action and suspense going along at a fast pace. Players have a certain number of actions, depending on their role, that can be used for movement, fighting fires, chopping through walls, or even using the deck hose on the fire engine. Moving through empty spaces just costs one action, but moving through flames, or carrying a victim through a clear space, takes two actions. Some roles change the costs for these actions, which allows each player to specialize on doing what they do best.
After their action step, players must roll dice to determine where the fire spreads. If the indicated space is empty, it fills with smoke. If it comes up a smoke space, it turns to fire. Worst of all, if the roll indicates a space already in flames, there is an explosion, which spreads the fire in four directions, and can damage walls, kill victims, or even knock down firefighters. Rolling the dice for the spread of fire is a very tense moment, as is placing a point of interest, the final step of each turn. These question mark indicators might be false alarms, but usually are people or pets that need to be rescued.
There are plenty of co-op board games where you race against the clock in order to win, but few of them are as compelling as Flash Point Fire Rescue. Clearing disease cubes from Los Angeles in Pandemic is fine, and all, but it isn’t nearly as satisfying as getting a victim clear from the flames just before an explosion goes off, or using the deck gun to put out fires in a section of the board that is too dangerous to even enter. The theme is well integrated into the mechanics, from top to bottom; you truly feel like a firefighter.
Flash Point Fire Rescue was the first game I ever backed on Kickstarter, and I don’t regret that decision. It might be a bit hard to track down at this point, since it is so new; it can be “pre-ordered” right now from publisher Indie Boards & Cards, and might be available at your local game store, too. If you enjoy co-op board games like Pandemic or Defenders of the Realm, where you sometimes pull out a win only by the skin of your teeth, you’ll certainly enjoy Flash Point Fire Rescue. I highly recommend it.