SNAP Review – In A Flash Firefighters

In a Flash Firefighters game

To the hoses! Ready! Go!

We’ll tell you about In A Flash Firefighters in about five minutes, with help from our 6 year old assistant, Elliot. Listen in or read the transcript below.

Game

Race to match the hoses and put out the fire! Which firefighter can untangle the hoses and reach the fire first?

In A Flash Firefighters is a speedy puzzle game designed by Rudi Biber and published by HABA. 2-4 players ages 5 and up can play in about 15 minutes.

In A Flash Firefighters game ready to play
Set up for three players

Art

“I like how they put the little spots where you move your fire hydrant.”

Elliot

The boards and tiles for this HABA game are sturdy (as we’d expect). The wooden fire hydrants are clever and helpful to anchor the starting tile for each player’s “hose”. There’s a hole in each of the starting markers: place the hydrant through the hole and then into the marked spot on your board.

However, it felt like the tiles didn’t always line up quite right. There’s just enough mis-match to slow us down; not helpful in a speed game where every second counts.

The art is, of course, adorable. It’s very cute to look at the hose connected to the fire hydrant and worm its way down the path until it reaches the fire.

Almost there! Just need one more tile to reach the fire.

Mechanics

In A Flash Firefighters is a simple speed puzzle game. The youngest player says “To your hoses, ready, go!” Then all players look for hose tiles in the center of the table.

(This reminded us of Galaxy Trucker, where there’s a pile of tiles in the middle of the table that you need to flip over and find ones that fit on your ship. But with In A Flash Firefighters, there’s no back to the tiles. Instead, each tile is the same on both sides.)

Place tiles into your board, matching the the position of the hose end-to-end every time, to

Your goal is to create a single un-kinked hose that stretches the length of the entire board. Hoses can end in one of five possible positions on a tile: top, bottom, middle, and two intermediate positions. Every time you place a tile, you’ll want to match the beginning of that tile with the end of the last tile placed.

When a player has reached the end of their board, they yell “Water on!” and grab the piece that looks like spraying water. Everyone else stops. Do a quick examination of the winner’s board to make sure their hose is connected for its full length. If so, they get a “firefighter’s medal” (or point token).

The winner moves their hydrant one space backwards, and the player that placed the fewest hose tiles moves their hydrant one space forwards. Players then swap starting tiles and start a new round.

When someone wins their third firefighter medal, they have won the game!

Completed firefighter hose with cardboard water
Winner!

Expectations

We’ve had difficulty playing any kind of speed games with younger kids (under age 10 or so). It’s really easy for them to get frustrated unless there’s a way to slow it down that makes sense.

Speed games always require the recognition of something on the pieces – often this pre-supposes numeracy (counting or recognizing numbers) or literacy (reading a word). Here, it’s just hoses.

HABA seems to do a great job keeping games appropriate for their suggested age ranges, so we were hopeful that they’d have a new take on speed games that would be less frustrating… and it was! But that leads into our struggle with the game.

wooden fire hydrants slotted into holes in thick cardboard printed with grass and flowers
Move hydrants to make it harder for skilled players and easier for younger children.

Surprises

It’s wonderful that In A Flash Firefighters has a mechanism to balance skill levels; unfortunately, it only works if players’ skill levels are relatively close to begin with. Elliot got very frustrated when playing with older siblings – they could match much faster than he could, they would tend to win even when he was given the maximum advantage.

This game highlights the dramatic shift in ability to quickly recognize patterns between the ages of 6 and 10. If you have a larger gap between the ages of your kids, In A Flash Firefighters might not be the best option for your family.

Both of our older children thought the game felt too juvenile (or “kid-ish”). They say that the difficulty never felt quite right; it swung from “too easy” (when played with younger brother) to “too hard” (near the end of a hard-fought round with older siblings and adults).

A game that feels really hard at times but with a juvenile theme was not enticing for our older kids.

hose tiles laid out for In A Flash Firefighters
Let’s race!

This magnifies an issue we had: the top, middle, and bottom “ends” are the easiest to match/identify on the tiles. Since you’re pulling from a collective pile, those pieces will disappear quickly and make it harder to find more pieces for your board. The players who move fastest will pull the easier pieces and make it more difficult for the slower players.

We really want this to be a good game for the whole family to play, but it’s best for just young kids to play together (or silly adults).

Rating

Elliot says In A Flash Firefighters is “really really fun”. We think it’s best for kids ages 5-8. We rate it 3 out of 5 firefighters.

Find In A Flash Firefighters at Amazon or your local toy & game store.


The Family Gamers received a copy of In A Flash Firefighters from HABA Games USA for this review.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

In A Flash Firefighters
  • Firefighters
3

Summary

Number of Players: 2-4

Age Range: 5-99 (best at 5-8)

Playtime: 15 minutes

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