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Felt like the game was a bit too random and I didn't get engaged with the theme, both of which were probably due to the fire appearing randomly on the board. Played this after playing a PnP firefighting game (Into the Fire) that we found more fun.
This game gets compared to Pandemic a lot, so I'll start with that. It's a cooperative game, where each player's turn consists of taking a few basic actions, followed by a progression of bad stuff where you randomly select a location and increment the bad stuff there, or, if the bad stuff is already maximized there, spread the bad stuff to the surrounding locations. The team consists of specialists, most of which have an advantage when doing one of the basic things, and your actions help you towards "winning the game" or "not losing the game, giving you more time to win the game". Usually, even when you think you're winning, a few "progression of bad stuff" turns in a row will go horribly wrong, and you'll lose the game every damn time, in an always tense and sometimes frustrating way, the latter case being followed by swearing and muttering about bad luck. So yes, it's just a little bit like Pandemic. If you're looking to buy Flash Point, how you feel about Pandemic is probably a damn good indicator of how you'll feel about Flash Point (I think I slightly prefer Flash Point, but it's close). The main points of difference: 1) More players. Pandemic is designed for 2-4, and you can do 5 if you really want. Flash Point says 1-6 on the box (although 1 or 2 sounds downright miserable without multiple characters per player), and you could probably go all the way to 8 (the number of different characters available). As I frequently game with 5-6, this is a positive for me. 2) More setup. I was always a bit annoyed by the need to separate out the deck and shuffle 4-6 smaller decks in Pandemic. However, Flash Point, not having cards, requires that you first start off by randomly rolling for initial fire placement (3 explosions start the game, each of which has slightly different rules for placement) and the appropriate damage and fire tokens, followed by hazmat placement, hot spot placement, and initial victim placement. On the medium difficulty setting, you'll throw the dice 16 times before you even start the game. 3) More differences between characters. Because Flash Point allows you to switch between characters mid-game, it's more appropriate for the characters to have more specialized abilities than in Pandemic. The specialization, combined with the ability to store actions also creates new opportunities for coordination (e.g., the Paramedic delays her turn so the CAFS guy can clear a path to the victim for her). However, some characters are so specialized that nobody else should bother doing their action, and/or they should do nothing but that action (I'm looking at you, Driver), which somewhat limits the reasonable tactical decisions. 4) A clear path to victory. In Pandemic, since I don't know who is going to draw what color cards, and it's a pain in the ass to pass cards anyways, I frequently can't make any progress towards winning the game on my turn. In Flash Point, there are 3 victims in play. To help win the game, get to them or help somebody else get to them. It's that straightforward.