Welcome to Cthulhu Mom Games – a blog about my experiences raising a child in a gamer family.
Though Yog often says she “is not the kind of person who plays games”, we have, on rare occasion, gotten her to play with us. One game to which she gravitates is Flashpoint. The age range on the box is 10 and up, but the community rating on Board Game Geek is 8 and up. With a few minor modifications, Yog was playing this at around 4 and a half.
The theme of the game is that a house is on fire and you are the rescue squad there to save the people and put out the fire. I can totally understand if the idea of the house being on fire is too scary for your little one. Yog was able to separate the game world from her own, so we never had an issue with the theme. She also loves the fact that she was playing the hero in the scenario, so maybe that helps make it less scary to her.
One of the great things about Flashpoint is that it’s cooperative. With Yog we’re giving cooperative games a try for several reasons. Firstly it makes it easier to help her with the game without “letting her win” or skewing the player balance, since we’re all working toward the same goal. Secondly, we’re hoping that if we all win or lose together she’ll be more likely to want to try other games. If we all lose together we can model losing behavior for her in a shared way and she can see that it’s not that big of a deal, and really the chance of losing makes the game more challenging and thus more fun.
We always use the starting “family game set up” when playing with her. It’s the easiest version of the game, both in set up and in play. The rule book will tell you exactly how to set up the board. I’m hoping now that Yog is working on reading skills that in a few months she’ll be able to look at the pictures in the rule book and start setting up the board herself. I know it’s not too far off, since the one time I set the board up and was putting cubes in the wrong spot she corrected me. If you would like to read the rules before buying the game, check them out on the game’s website – http://www.indieboardsandcards.com/fpfr.php
The only big modification we make for Yog to play this game is how we use Action Points. Each player gets four Action Points for their turn, which she or he will use to move, put out the fire, and
rescue people. If you do not use all of your Action Points in a turn, you may carry the unused points over to your next turn, however when we play with Yog we do not do this. To help keep track of unused Action Points, the game comes with Action Point tokens. We use these tokens to help Yog track how many Action Points she has available by using them as counters. On her turn we give
her four tokens and as she uses her points she hands the tokens to the next player. This player will do the same, and so forth around the board. I’m going to guess that not carrying over unused points makes the game harder to win, but we’ve managed to win despite that. We felt that changing the number of available Action Points each turn may have been too confusing to start. Once she grasps the game better we’ll add the rule back in, again a not too far off event. From there we can only hope to play the Experienced rules, and, dare I say it, the expansion!
Speaking of the expansion, there is one piece we do use from that when playing with Yog. It’s of a large fire. I haven’t played the expansion enough to tell you what the piece is supposed to be used for. With Yog we use it whenever there is an explosion, always with a loud vocal “KABOOM!” to go with it. We lay it on the space that was rolled during the “Advance Fire” phase, spread the fire, then remove the token. Yog really likes the visual.
I would say that Yog gets the basic rules of this game, but not the strategy. We let her make her own choices, even if that means we come closer to losing due to lack of solid strategy. However, since one of the goals of the game is rescue people, she often makes good choices.
We really enjoy this game (with and without Yog) and I love how well it scales well for the younger set without us having to change much about the game. I would recommend checking it out, or just buying a copy.
Until next time – Happy Gaming!