Kickstarter Preview: Fire in the Library

Designer:  Tony MillerJohn Prather

Artist: Katie KhauBeth Sobel

Publisher: Weird Giraffe Games

Player count: 1-6 players

Play time: 15-30 min

A prototype copy of  Fire in the Library was provided by Weird Giraffe Games for preview. I would like to thank them for supporting my blog. Everything you see in today’s preview is in prototype form and does not represent the final product. Fire in the Library is seeking funding on Kickstarter, and their campaign launches on March 19, 2018.

Fire in the Library

Fire in the Library is an exciting press your luck game where players are Librarians trying to save books from a burning Library. You want to save as many books as possible, without causing the fire to spread.  For saving books, you score Knowledge and Bravery points. If you spread the fire, the Library will burn faster than expected. Eventually, one section of the Library will burn completely and the game will end. The player with the most points wins.

 

 

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Gameplay

The game is played over several rounds until the one section of the Library is toast! The acting player will draw tokens from the Library bag and fills their Turn Order card, hoping they don’t find a fire token. You can stop at any point and score points or maybe cause the spread the fire. That’s the short version. Let’s take a deeper look into the structure of a round and a player turn. 

Choose A Turn Order Card

You start a round by choosing from a pool of Turn Order cards based on the amount of players in the game (3 players = 3 cards). The first drafting round, you randomly select someone to choose first.  In the following rounds the drafting of Turn Order cards is a more strategic choice, because the player with the lowest score gets to select from the Turn Order cards first. At some point of the game you have to make a less risky choice or just go for and snag the 1st or 2nd card for a chance at the most Bravery points. Next up, I should talk about the importance of Tools.

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Choose your Turn Order Card wisely! If you go first, you have the highest chance of spreading the fire. Nice Bravery point though!

Tools

Tool cards will help you during each phase of Fire in the Library based on the icon in the top left corner of the card. For example, the Bucket card removes a fire token from your Turn Order card or the Gloves card makes your fire filled 1st player Turn Order card completely safe. The timing of playing Tool cards create huge scoring rounds when Library cards increase in value. The best part about Tool cards, no hand limit.  

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There are Tools that can be played on specific parts of a player’s turn. Use them wisely!

Save the Books!

To save books, you draw from the Library bag and hope to draw book tokens. The book and fire tokens go on your Turn Order card one at a time as you draw them. You can stop at any point and score Knowledge points, BUT there is a chance you will draw fire tokens.  If you draw one fire token, you’re fine as long as the fire token isn’t placed on one of the matching fire spaces on your Turn Order card. If you are willing to press your luck and draw another fire token, the fire spreads. Spreading the fire burns all the book sections that match the tokens you have on your Turn Order card. If you happen to reveal a new Library section with a fire icon, an additional fire token is added to the bag. There are 10 extra fire tokens that can be added to the bag during the game. The pressure mounts up for all players, since there is a higher possibility of drawing fire tokens. Are ya feeling lucky?

 

 

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Score Knowledge

If you stop at any point without spreading the fire, you gain points for the value of each book you saved. Depending on the colors of the books, you could have a huge scoring round. You earn Bravery points if the last token you placed has a space with a number under it. You receive a Tool if your last placed token was not in a risky space (fire symbol). Lastly, you get one Tool for free if you caused the fire to spread. Kind of a nice consolation prize. Examples of scoring and spreading the fire are in the slideshows above.

After everyone takes a turn the round is over. Once section of the Library burns away based on lowest Burn Index Number on the bottom of the Library section cards. Player’s get a chance to get discard and replace a Tool with one on top of the Tool Deck. Play continues and the turn order selection goes to the player with the lowest turn. Rounds are played until one library section is gone.

Got Strategy?

I’m happy to report, yes there is strategy in Fire in the Library. You have to really pay attention to the use of Tools during your turn and how others play them on off turns. There is a decent variety of Tools that all have purpose in the right situations. Usually you find a card or two in a game that seem useless, but the cards in this prototype were all pretty useful based on my playthroughs. Now the Turn Order cards have more purpose around the middle of the game. The value of the Library cards increase and you might want to go first, but there’s a lot of risk with the 1st player card. I started to gravitate towards the 3rd card that has 3 slots for tools and two spots for Bravery points.  I tend to play like I’m the luckiest player on the planet, so I’m glad there are a range of cards to help me make less risky choices. If you get too far behind, Turn Order card choices are really important. There is more strategy than meets the eye.

Solitaire Mode

The solitaire gameplay is challenging and addictive. It takes elements from the multiplayer game and applies more pressure to your choices. The AI can burn multiple Library Cards and potentially score points one or two cards based on the icons on a Tool card. If you make the mistake of spreading fire on your turn, you end up scoring for the AI player. You have to be more aggressive and manage your Tools to remain competitive. The solitaire mode shows more of the strategic side of the gameplay in Fire in the Library.  I think the AI is decent and the randomness make the mode worth playing. Expect the mode to last about 10 minutes after you get the rules down. 

Why should I back Fire in the Library?

  • Great game for family and game night
  • Intense and exciting gameplay that hits the theme
  • Solitaire mode is solid
  • When Beth Sobel art is in a game, you know it’s straight fire!
  • Easy to teach and have fun
  • More strategy than meets the eye

Possible Concerns?

  • May be too light for some gamers
  • If you don’t like any luck based mechanics, this is not your game

Final Impressions

Fire in the Library is a solid game, that will appeal to many gaming groups. I’m surprised by how much tension and excitement is built into this little package. I’m the type of guy who likes a little risky gameplay and Fire in the Library plays right into my playstyle. There are some pressure filled choices that fit the theme of the game. Don’t worry about player count changing the the fun of the game. At every player count it comes down to card play and how many time YOU want to reach in the Library bag.  Everyone I played this game with had nothing but positive things to say. Based on my experience, I expect Fire in the Library to set Kickstarter on fire and you might want to check this one out. The game is straight up fun.

I hope today’s preview helps you make an informed decision about Fire in the Library. What do you think about the game? Have any questions? Please share your comments below. Thank you for your time.

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