The life of a firefighter is exciting but dangerous. Fighting wildfires requires skill and bravery. The board game Hotshots, by Fireside Games, brings firefighting to the tabletop. It is a cooperative, press-your-luck dice fest by Justin De Witt.
In Hotshots, one to four players will become a crew of outdoor firefighters. Each crew member is unique and has a special ability that can help bring the fires under control. There is the crew boss, swamper, spotter and sawyer.
The board game is colorful and captivating, with a layout containing multiple hexagon terrain tiles depicting forest locations. Locations include such things as the airport, log cabin, radio tower, the lake and the logging site. The artwork style has a realistic comic feel and is pleasing to the eye.
The action of fighting fires is represented by rolling dice. During the game, fires will break out on different terrain tiles, and the firefighting crew will move into action. Each terrain tile shows a set of six dice icons on its bottom. The six dice included in the game contain symbols on them that match the symbols on the tile. To put out the fire, players must roll matching symbols.
The more matching faces you roll, the better you fight the fire. But a player must roll at least three matching symbols. If not, the fire can spread. The dice are rolled in a series of "press your luck" rolls. As long as a player rolls at least one matching terrain symbol, he or she can re-roll the non-matching dice. However if a re-roll does not produce a matching symbol, the previous dice are all rendered inactive, and the turn ends.
A player's turn consists of moving up to two tiles, rolling dice to fight a fire and then drawing a fire card. Players win when they have put out all the fires on the terrain tiles. Reward tokens are given for putting out fires with gusto by matching five and six symbols on the dice.
It's important to note that the fire spreads in the game by drawing a fire card each turn. The wind can blow fires from one tile to another, and new fires can spring up, even on tiles where fire has been extinguished. Fires are represented by the coolest red plastic fire molds I've ever seen. Each tile can handle a certain number of fire tokens before it explodes and becomes scorched. If eight tiles get scorched, the game ends in a loss.
Rolling the dice with the press-your-luck mechanic creates fun, dramatic tension. There is more strategy here than people might think because there are a variety of ways to fight the fires. Bonuses are given when players work together on the same tile. The variety of tile layouts creates a different game each time. The best part is that this game is excellent for families. Find out more at firesidegames.com/games/hotshots.