Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Fall 2012 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Price: $39.95

Flash Point is a well-designed, incredibly-detailed cooperative game for 2 to 6 players. The game includes a two-sided game board, six firefighter playing pieces, and over 100 additional pieces to simulate various situations, people, and actions. This number of components is overwhelming upon opening the box, but once a game is set up and it gets going, everything falls into place. Reference cards and an extensive set of illustrated instructions also help keep things going.

There are two levels of play, family game and advanced game, but the objective is the same in both: save at least seven victims from a burning building. The game ends if the building collapses or if you fail to save four victims. In the advanced game there are specialists like a paramedic and a hazmat technician. Also, fire trucks can extinguish large areas of fire and ambulances aid victims.

A player takes four actions on each turn. This could be moving a space, opening a door, removing smoke, putting out a fire, chopping down a wall, or carrying a victim out of the building. But with every turn, new smoke is applied to the building and this can result in more fire or an explosion. Everything happens at once, so players have to work together to deal with all the action. Testers usually had one player focus on rescue and others focus on the fire, but that could change with one explosion.

In the middle of a game, testers realized how emotionally involved in the game they had become. The situation sometimes seemed hopeless. Every time they got the fire out in an area, more smoke would pop up and explosions would spread the fire further. There was a heightened sense of urgency to take a turn and stop the fire. How often does this happen in a board game? Surprisingly though, players won that fraught game.

Even testers new to cooperative games appreciated the concept. They noted that younger kids can quickly learn complicated games with this approach. Even children younger than the recommended age could play this game with help. Our reviewers' only caveat in recommending this game was their wish for more gender and racial diversity in the depiction of victims and firefighter specialist throughout the game's illustrations.

Ellie and Don Homce   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

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