Flash Point: Urban Structures Strategy

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a new cooperative boardgame by Kevin Lanzing. Players take on the role of firefighters, and must collaborate to rescue trapped victims from a burning building. The Urban Structures expansion provides a new double-sided game board, including the High Rise, the most challenging building in the game. Having pulled out a victory on this board after a couple of false starts, I posted my strategy as an article on BoardGameGeek.com, which I’m cross-posting in its entirety here:

That High-Rise is Coming Down a Lot Faster Than You Think

The High Rise board presents a lot of problems beyond the obvious one of limited access to the building. Check out all those little offices, and the hallway surrounding the elevators and bathrooms. Sure, all those enclosures help to prevent flashovers. But they also mean that explosions have much less room to spread, and an explosion that doesn’t spread means structural damage. You need to treat the whole place as being in serious danger of collapse from the word “go.”

Assume that most if not all of the locked office doors are either going to be blasted down, or need to be chopped down. The latter is painful, but once there’s a fire inside an office, you probably can’t afford to conserve one damage cube at the risk of placing four later. Once you write off most of those walls, your supply of damage cubes is down from the usual 24 to more like 17. That’s a severe disadvantage!

For that reason, the Structural Engineer is an essential team member in the only solution I’ve come up with yet. Every damage marker he can return to the supply will be a great comfort to you later, I promise. Everyone else should be dedicated to aggressive fire suppression (to prevent explosions, and let the Engineer use his abilities) and HazMat disposal. Explosions are your enemy, which is always true, but more so here than ever.

Keep the hallway clear, and drag victims away from the fire when you must, but I don’t think you can afford a Paramedic or Rescue Specialist until you deal authoritatively with the building. Those victims are just going to have to wait a bit.

Your first goal is to get the blaze down to just isolated pockets, and mostly smoke, with few if any hotspots. Then the Structural Engineer’s job is done, and he (along with maybe one of your fire suppression team) can grab the elevator with the first batch of victims (you are planning on taking them down in batches and not one at a time, I hope) and switch to rescue roles.

If you can reach this point, you’re not quite out of the woods. You’re probably down to a very small number of damage markers, despite your best efforts. So you now have a goal of zero additional explosions, while the rescuers do their work. Without individual fires big enough for the talents of the CAFS Specialist or Driver/Operator, your best bet here is sheer legwork using the Generalist and Fire Captain. Don’t be afraid of having your rescuers suppress isolated fires and break up chains of smoke, if they get the opportunity. Remember, zero explosions, and they can’t rescue people if the building comes down.

Good luck! The High Rise is a challenging board, and you can take pride in mastering it.

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