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Subject: Way more than just a ring of fire rss

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a valiant, pungent reindeer king
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My Kickstarter box arrived, and while I had intended on playing Haggis with my wife she wasn't feeling good. Okay: I had no problem with cracking open a bottle of a Belgian pale ale with brettanomyces and playing some Flash Point solo. Beer and board games: that's about a perfect night, huh?

I punched all the chits and rolled to set up the board. Uh oh: the dining room was in serious trouble.



I was playing with two fire meeples: any more and they would be hard to keep track of, and once you get to three or more players you roll more hot spots and figured I should start easily.



I made one the Driver/Operator (who looks like Steve Buscemi to me)and placed the fire truck outside the dining room, with the plan to quickly douse the fire (at half the AP) while his partner, the Hazmat Technician, disposed of the hazardous materials before they exploded.

And on that note:



Who puts hazardous materials underneath the kitchen table??

Two squirts from the deck gun had made pretty quick work of the dining room fire, so Steve drove the engine clockwise and switched roles to the Fire Captain. This way, blue (Hazmat) could use AP to dispose of the hazmat tokens while green (Captain) helped move him.

It went well... until the dining room caught fire again.



Roles were changed a few more times. After the hazmat tokens were taken care of, blue switched to the Driver and blasted the dining room again. A Medic came in to help guide the victims out. Frustratingly, most of the tokens were false alarms, meaning I had wasted time while the fire spread.

During this time my chances of success evaporated. Some of it was poor luck: bad POI tokens and rolls that always seemed to hit d6:6 and d8:5, which sent shockwaves ripping through the house and destroyed walls, spreading fire farther and father. It was also a hot spot, so each time the "advance fire" roll hit it I had to roll a second time and add more spoke/fire and another hot spot. The fire was multiplying rapidly.

Somewhere in all of this a POI token was consumed by fire. It was a cat. That was sad.

I'm not sure if it would have made a difference, but I split my attention too much with rolls. Having to go back to the engine and spend 2AP to switch roles is necessary in some instances, but while I dallied the fire (which I had only mostly put out, and there's a big difference between dead and mostly dead extinguished and mostly extinguished) spread rapidly.

My meeple did their best, rushing to victims only to find false alarms, which fire spread and spread, destroying walls. At one point I only had one of the 24 fire tokens left unplaced. I wondered what I would do if I ran out, but before that could happen another explosion occurred and took down the house, with my meeple inside.



At least I had good beer to drown my sorrows.

What I learned

- Remember to roll. This should seem obvious but two turns in I said "I'll win this easily!" Then I realized I hadn't advanced the fire at all. Rewind, try again. I also routinely forgot to replenish POI. It was late!

- At least by myself it was hard to remember which turn I was on. I used the extra d8 to mark the active player. This isn't a fault with the game: I was tired and learning, and most of the time you'll be playing with others I imagine.

- With two people, don't try to be fancy and switch roles a lot. Put out fires and rescue POI. The Imagine Technician can "scan" POI to see if they're false alarms which seems very useful, but with only two players I always had better things to do. I'd like to play a larger game where someone can play more of a support role.

- The fire will never stop spreading, and hot spots guarantee that it will only start spreading faster. There is a balance to putting out the fire and rescuing POI, and in my first game I was solely focused on one or the other to the detriment of both.

Round 2

I still had beer, so even though I should have already been in bed I tried again. This time green was the CAFS Firefighter, moving slower but with extra extinguish AP and thus able to completely put out two fires per turn (1AP move, 2AP extinguish x2). Blue started out as the Driver to put out the large fire in the living room but quickly switched to the Generalist, able to use 5AP per turn and get stuff done, and remained so the rest of the game.

It was less varied in that I only really used two roles, but CAFS put out fires like a beast and the Generalist moved around, putting out fires on the way to POI as needed. It got a little tense at the end, as two of the ignored hazmats ignited and the bathroom/bedroom stayed a den of hotspots and explosions, leaving me with only three damage counters remaining. The wreckage proved useful: with barely any walls in the southeastern corner, the final POI was carried out through the wreckage into the waiting ambulance.

I realized afterward that I could/should keep playing until the house collapsed, to see how many people I could get out. It was midnight, though, and I had to get up early. I'm glad I have a better grip on the game for the three Thanksgiving dinners I'm going to this weekend, and I look forward to insisting we play it at each one.
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Mathue Faulkner
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I played a few games last night as well, and had some similar thoughts.

First game: Loss due to collapse
Second game: Loss due to collapse
Third game: Won, but realized I was cheating

- Like you said, it is very easy to forget to roll. In my case, I was constantly forgetting to put POI back on the board.

- It definitely hurts to be switching roles too often. I think that's what killed me the first game.

- If you just race to save the victims, you'll lose....even on the easiest setting.

- How I cheated: I was placing victims outside of the house to be picked up later by the ambulance (which is okay, but can be risky if the fire spreads outside). The problem, however, was that I was counting them as no longer POIs, and so I kept adding POIs. When I realized it, I had 4 victims outside, one inside, and I was about to roll to place two more POIs.

- It's hard to know because I cheated, but I think the Driver/Operator & the Rescue Specialist is a nice combo for two players. I didn't switch to that until the 2nd half of my last game, but everything ran pretty smooth after that.
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a valiant, pungent reindeer king
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mfaulk80 wrote:

- It's hard to know because I cheated, but I think the Driver/Operator & the Rescue Specialist is a nice combo for two players. I didn't switch to that until the 2nd half of my last game, but everything ran pretty smooth after that.

I'll have to try that.

I only took my POI to the ambulance directly. I'd drive it to the nearest door, get out, take my person back and, if needed, drive to a different location. I can see that being an issue with the second side of the board, where there are only two doors.

And you weren't "cheating," just not playing by the rules. Cheating implies knowledge!
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Lutz Pietschker
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Sigafoos wrote:
...once you get to three or more players you roll more hot spots...
That should not be a problem, as the ratio of available action points to fire advance rolls does not change. Playing with only two firefighters should actually be harder, you are a lot more flexible with 3 or 4 of them: Easier to find one near a danger spot or a new POI, less role changes, better chance of teamwork. I usually play solo with 4 firefighters. To keep track of actions is easy if you use a couple of additional markers and are disciplined in following the sequence of play. And if you are not distracted by others.
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a valiant, pungent reindeer king
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Yeah, I think if I solo again I'll play with 3 or 4. Like I said, as it was I was having a hard time keeping up. By the end of my second game I had it all down except for POI replenishing, and muttering "roll for POI, roll for POI" like a crazy person as I did my advance fire roll helped that.
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