Disclaimer: This preview is from a reviewer’s copy of the game that was provided by Weird Giraffe Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Game: Fire in the Library
Publisher: Weird Giraffe Games
Designer: Tony Miller, John Prather
Artist: Beth Sobel and Katie Khau
Main Game Mechanisms: Press Your Luck
Number of Players: 1 – 6
Game Time: 20 to 40 minutes
Description: Oh no! There’s a fire in the library and you, the librarians, are scrambling to try and get as many books out of the library as possible before it all burns to the ground. In this 1 to 6 player game, you are competing against your fellow librarians in order to try and get the most valuable books out of the library.
Each round, you will draft the order in which you will play. Your turn consists of pulling a number of different cubes out of the bag, which represents you pulling books out of the fire. Your turn order card has safe spaces (blank spaces) and risky spaces (represented by a fire symbol).
As you draw the cubes out of the bag, you’ll put them on the spaces on your turn order card, from left to right. The problem is – there are also fire cubes in the bag. The first fire cube drawn and placed on a safe space is fine, but the second fire cube on a safe space (or the first on a risky space) means that you’ve burned the books, which advances the game and makes the books from that wing more valuable. You can always stop grabbing books before you start burning things down – but you won’t get the bonus bravery points if you run out too quickly.
The good news is, while you’re trying to put the fire out, you’re also finding tools, like a library cart, a slingshot, a pair of gloves, and even a shovel to help get things under control. You get two tools at the start of the game, and can get more when you push your luck too far or if you stop pulling cubes when you’re still on a safe space.
When one wing of the library is completely burned down, the game ends and whoever has the most victory points is the winner.
Review: If you’ve been following the blog for any period of time, you know that I love push your luck games. Any sort of game that requires me to push my limits and try to get the next thing at a higher risk absolutely catches my attention and keeps it, and Fire in the Library is no exception.
We first tried the game at PAX Unplugged back in December, and we fell in love with it and told Carla and Nick Kopp (the publishers/developers at Weird Giraffe Games) that we would be waiting for the Kickstarter excitedly. We got to try it again at Unpub in March and the heart and soul put into this is very apparent.
Beth Sobel is one of my favorite artists in the board gaming industry, and let me tell you, the art on the library and tool cards from the preview copy are absolutely stunning, and I can’t wait to see the final art for everything after the Kickstarter ships.
Speaking of the art, Carla has put a lot of time and effort into making sure that Fire in the Library is as colorblind friendly as possible. From choosing cube colors that are easier to distinguish, to making the icons that indicate when you can play the tools more distinct, you can tell that accessibility for everyone is a priority to Weird Giraffe Games.
One of the most interesting things about this game is the fact that, even though it’s a push your luck game, it doesn’t drag on when you change the player count. We have played at every player count from 2 to 5, and while it takes a bit longer as you add more people, you will still be surprised at how quickly the game ends.
One of the biggest problems that comes up with a lot of push your luck games is that they can feel like an uncontrollable luck fest (I’m looking at you, Zombie Dice), but the mitigation makes you feel like you have a lot of control and some very significant choices throughout the game – which is a big deal for a small box game like this. Even if you have a string of bad luck (which has totally happened to me), it’s short enough that you don’t feel “stuck” when you’re losing. You’re constantly looking to see what tools you can use to make things easier on yourself and you’re trying to work out all that you can do to maximize your points, as well.
Most of you already know that I try my hardest to be critical in my reviews so that I can give you the best overview of a game – but the fact of the matter is, all I have are minor quibbles about it (like I haven’t found a really good use for the library cart yet, or I need good lighting to see the numbers that tell you what wing to burn down at the end of each round). The development that was put into this game is excellent, there are plenty of chances for expandability later on, and it’s just a well-done push your luck game.
Try, Buy, Deny: This is 100% a buy for us. This game is stunning, unique, quick, and fun. With tons of ways to mitigate the luck involved and a different game experience every time you play, Fire in the Library is a game that we’ve backed ourselves and that we can’t wait to share with other friends and family. With an affordable price point ($19 for the game on Kickstarter) and the option to buy a second copy to donate to a library ($38 pledge), it’s more than worth it.
It’s on Kickstarter right now, so if you want to support a small publisher that is producing a well-developed, attractive, and fun game, get over there and pledge. The whole team will appreciate your support for this game!
Wanna see more previews? Here are a few more from our Punchboard Media friends!
- BJ of Board Game Gumbo’s Interview with Carla Kopp
- Draft Mechanic mentions it in Episode 71
- Eric (What’s Eric Playing)’s Preview
- One Board Family’s Preview