Weird Giraffe Games
A preview by
- 1-6 Players
- 30 Minutes
- 8+ Ages
FIRE! The Library is on fire! Quick. Save the books. You and your fellow Librarians are rushing to save as many books as possible before the building burns down. Push your luck and retrieve the most books. Books are worth saving and the Librarian who saves the most books will no doubt be made the Head Librarian once the Library is rebuilt.
The box art for Fire in the Library is set out to give the impression of being a hardback book. Very much in keeping the theme of the game. While the lettering is designed to give a burning fire impression. It manages to pull this off without appearing ‘tacky’ or ‘cheap’. Upon opening this Tome… sorry I mean box. You are greeted with,
- Book tokens,
- Fire tokens,
- Library bag,
- Score track,
- Library figures,
- Library, Tool, Reference and Turn order cards.
Important Note. This is a preview copy of the game and as such components, rules, presentation and quality are all subject to improvement as the game runs its course on Kickstarter and achieves stretch goals.
OK so Fire in the Library is based around saving books from a burning Library. You and your fellow Librarians try to gain the most Knowledge by saving books. Get to the books before your competitors and earn yourself Bravery points as well. A game of Fire in the Library is played Over a series of variable turn order rounds. During these rounds books will be destroyed by the fire. As this happens the remaining books in that subject will become more valuable. But because the fire rages on the chances of saving those books becomes harder to achieve. Once any section of the library completely burns down the game will end and the Librarian with the greatest amount of combined Knowledge and Bravery will claim the win.
A game begins by sorting the Library cards by both book section (colour) and Value (lowest to highest). You will all then claim a Librarian token and a colour coded reference card (I could find no reason for the colour coding as all were identical). Book and Fire tokens are put into the draw bag. Players are dealt Tool cards. Turn order is randomly allocated and your ready to begin, in following rounds you will choose your turn order with lowest score choosing first.
- On your turn you have a few options to choose from based on what has happened to you earlier in the round.
- Save a Book- Draw a token from the bag placing it onto your turn order track.
- Play a Tool- Play one of your Tool cards. (these may allow you to score a card twice, continue your turn or steal books).
- Score Knowledge- Stop saving books and gain Knowledge.
You need to be careful though because as you try to draw books to save them you risk causing the fire to spread. The more books players save the more the chance of a spreading fire happening. When this happens the player tries to use Tools to stop the fire spreading, if they cannot do this they lose the books they have collected. The Sections of the library connected with each of those book’s colours are destroyed as well. This will increase the value of that section of the Library but also mean that there are less parts of that section left. They score no Knowledge, return their tokens to the bag. Adding extra fire tokens as indicated and drawing a new tool card. Play then passes to the next player.
Scoring within the game is based on the current value of that section of the library (Knowledge) and on how much risk you took on your turn order card (Bravery). After all players have had a turn a section of the library burns. As soon as the last card from any section is burned the game ends and scores are tallied.
Here we have a game which is unashamedly luck reliant on what you draw. BUT and yes it is a big but the potential rewards and options for clever play choices. Do you try for that extra book? Do you have a Tool to help stop the fire spreading and gain you an extra decision? If you are behind you get to choose earlier for the next rounds turn order Gaining a possible scoring advantage in the next round. All these decisions will affect your chance of claiming victory. So clever thinking over the risk over reward level is the key to victory.
So final thoughts time. Fire in the Library is a nice little game that plays quickly. It feels well balanced with the Tool card powers. I enjoyed the solo variant and there was a nice AI option built in to add an extra challenge. If you can allow for the heavy luck element and take it for what it is as a lightweight quick filler you will find it a bit of fun. Suitable for family play and meet-up play. Game group play occasional as a quick snack between meatier products. Like a lot of push your luck games. If a player has a couple of really good draws it can force you to push your luck more than you would do otherwise in an effort to try to catch up. I say this as getting off to a flying start first round and then going a little more conservative in the following rounds. Or maybe even drawing to try to force a spread of the fire to try ending the game quickly are sound tactics. This can be combated by good turn order choices going forward.
So in short, Quick, Lightweight, Luck heavy, Fun. With some luck mitigation possible.
- For my Shelf—Maybe.
- Play Again—Yes.
- Recommend a Friend—Maybe
I was provided with a copy of Fire in the Library to preview as part of the BGE group. I will now pass this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.