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Review: Flash Point: 2nd Story

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She demands to be taken seriously
She demands to be taken seriously

Flash Point is a highly enjoyable cooperative game in which players take on the role of firefighters saving people from a burning building. But when one building is saved (or burns to the ground), there are still more buildings just waiting to light up, and only you can prevent that from happening!

Well, actually, you can’t prevent it from happening. But you can keep fighting the fire when it DOES happen, and this time you better bring a ladder.

How It Plays

Flash Point: 2nd Story makes no major changes on the core gameplay of Flash Point. If you’re not familiar with that game, first of all, go read our review, and second of all, go buy yourself a copy.

2nd Story does add a few things, though, otherwise what kind of expansion would it be? The primary addition is a new set of buildings to fight fire in. In accordance with the apt name of the expansion, these buildings are both 2-story buildings; you’ve got a 2-story house on one side and a small hotel on the other.

This house is burning
This house is burning

Along with the second story of the building, these additional rules were included:

  • Structurally weak  walls, which are destroyed with only 1 Damage cube
  • Windows, which can be opened like doors, but count as structurally weak walls (and still take a damage cube when destroyed, unlike doors which simply get blown away
  • Ladders, which can be carried from the fire engine and set up anywhere outside the house to create additional access points at windows or destroyed walls.
  • Stairways, the internal connection between the two floors that can move firefighters AND fire

Finally, a few new components were included that don’t add new rules:

  • An Explosion marker to serve as a reminder where the explosion just occurred as you figure out the results
  • Action tokens, including specialized Action tokens, that can be used to track what you’ve done during your turn so far, whether you’ve used your free actions, and make it easy to see how much left you can do
  • Ladders, which are used for the new Ladder rules, and feature a bottom and top element
  • Windows, used to mark when a window is open
The new tokens are helpful
The new tokens are helpful

Does It Burn?

Flash Point: 2nd Story is a great way to “extend the life” of Flash point, adding more replayability to the game that already had plenty. Nothing drastic has changed, but the difference created by the new board layout is enough to present unique and interesting challenges.

The 2-story buildings are half the size, in terms of length, as the original buildings, just doubled in height; but the reduced area makes it a lot easier to traverse the building and get you to where you need to go. The stairs are pretty close to the middle, and if you plan well, you can set up ladders around the outer wall to add many access points between the two stories. The windows provide additional easy access points, which means you probably won’t be chopping any walls down to escape. If you coordinate with your team, you’ll be able to arrange an exit point within a few spaces of any Victim you find.

flashpoint-secondstory-orangeonladder
Orange rushes up the ladder, dives through the window, and is about to tackle the POI to safety

The caveat is that due to the smaller area of each story (and also due to the design of the buildings), there are a lot more internal walls that are a lot closer together. Explosions are increasingly deadly as the empty spaces acting as buffer zones just aren’t around and damage cubes will pile up on the board fast and furious. If you remember, the easiest way to lose is by running out of damage cubes, so while it is a bit easier to move around and get to victims, you’ll need to watch the fire carefully and keep it under control.

It certainly doesn’t help the challenge that fire can move around pretty easily; when fire explodes on the stairway it explodes in all 5 directions – the 4 normal ones, and also to the other stairway space.  Whereas in the original game a fire on one side of the house was generally contained there, fire can suddenly jump from floor to floor.

Just fightin' fire, all in a day's work
Just fightin’ fire, all in a day’s work

Vehicles are slightly more mobile – you don’t have access to one side of the building, but you can Drive to any vehicle position for 2 AP instead of spending 2 to Drive one vehicle space left or right. The fire truck, which provides the supply of ladders, is a bit more limited in regards to the deck gun; there are 2 zones  for the deck gun to be fired from, but instead of being limited to a single quadrant of the home, the dice will determine if you hit the 1st or 2nd story, and there’s no spillover between stories. This means if there’s a raging, out of control fire on the 2nd story and you want to use the fire engine, you might end up hitting the wrong story over and over again, and it might be better if you just climbed a ladder and fought the blaze in pure hand-to-hand combat, or whatever.

The most dislike I get out of this expansion is the additional list of action point costs. It’s free to carry a ladder, but costs AP to set up or to carry a Victim/Hazmat down one, and it costs a different amount of AP to take the ladder down.  There’s no convenient player aid with the new costs listed, so I’ve found myself keeping the rules handy to remember the cost.  Oh well.

This explosion marker is rather useful.
This explosion marker is rather useful.

The components are the same quality as the original game – the tokens are good cardboard and the boards are nice and thick.  I think I would have preferred there to be just one board with the 2 stories depicted on it, but they come in 2 parts, I guess so you can orient them however best makes sense to you.  The expansion comes with no box, so you’ll have to fit the new items back in the original box, if you can. I use a plastic organizer for all the bits, and while the new components fit into my organizer, there isn’t enough space for everything to fit.  You’ll have better luck if you simply have everything bagged.

If you enjoyed Flash Point, 2nd Story is definitely worth the upgrade.  It gives you 2 new buildings that present new challenges, and the additional rules add fun new ways to plan and attack the fire. You may just want to write down the action point costs on your own player aid so you don’t have to have the big rules sheet handy.  But, for a nice low price of $14.99, you get plenty more game.  A whole new level, you might say.

iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Indie Boards & Cards for providing us with a review copy of Flash Point: 2nd Story.

Summary

  • Rating 9
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Summary

Pros

  • New board(s) provide new challenges
  • 2-level buildings add new strategies
  • Fun to climb ladders and dive through windows
  • Useful new tokens

Cons:

  • New action point costs are not listed on a player aid
9 Excellent

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

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