Fun fire fact for kids: did you know a candle flame burns at around 1800° Fahrenheit (1000° C)? That’s right, not only do we review games but also provide educational science tidbits for your learning pleasure. While we won’t be playing with fire today, we will be fighting fires. So let’s roll out the hoses for In a Flash Firefighters from HABA.
This is a family game for 2-4 players that takes about 15 minutes to play. In a Flash Firefighters is suitable for players of ages 5 and older.
In a Flash Firefighters is a real-time tile laying game. Players will pick a starting location for their hydrants and choose a starting hose tile. After that’s set and the other hose tiles are laid out, everyone grabs one tile at a time, trying to extend their hose to the fire and ensuring that each subsequent tile lines up with the previous one.
Whoever reaches the fire first with a complete hose, gets a trophy. The winner takes a starting position one space further back than they started and the round starts anew. The first player to get three trophies is the winner.
My son really liked the trophies that come with the game, which are round, water drop tokens. He thought these should have been water bombs and treated them as such in his fire fighting. My daughter found the hoses to be very snake-like. I think it’s because she knows dad doesn’t like snakes.
In a Flash Firefighters is advertised as a game for kids five and older, but I felt this game, despite offering scalability, might need a little more modifications for kids younger than seven. The game suggests where players start their fire hydrants and hoses, but adults can place theirs further back to help even the chances. Depending on how your kids function under high-pressure situations, substituting taking turns from real-time might help alleviate that. If you have an older child or one who can better handle some of the chaos that can come from the real-time aspect, they will enjoy this a bit more I’d suspect.
Another reason this might be a better fit for slightly older kids is the components, specifically the hoses and their fit into the board. The hose pieces are varied in their locations, with five possible spots. Each location is probably 1/8″ offset from the previous space, which isn’t much. If the pieces were larger and the spacing more obvious, I don’t think this would be as big of a problem for younger kids. It’s easy to tell that hoses in position 1 and position 5 don’t meet up.
But coupled with the fact that the boards give the tiles a little room to move around side to side, a younger kid could easily mistake having their hoses correctly connected, especially those adjacent in the position order. An older kid or adult would likely catch this, look at the art and how the tile is in the track and correct the mistake, so if you’re playing with your younger ones, give them a pass for this mistake.
In a Flash Firefighters is a fine game for kids seven and older. Depending on how your kids handle real-time games will determine if they’re going to take to it or not. If you’re unsure, it’s at an attractive price point, so there wouldn’t be too big of a loss if they don’t enjoy it. This game might be most successful in homes where kids want to play competitively and independently. If you have kids younger than this, some creativity may be in order to maximize their engagement and enjoyment from In a Flash Firefighters.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – An introductory real-time tile game for kids.
• Real-time tile-laying might still be too cumbersome for kids under 7
• Loose-fitting tiles in the track make it difficult to tell whether some hoses are lined up