Updated: Nov 20, 2019
Fire towers are lookout posts stationed at high vantage points in wilderness areas to search for wildfires. When they spot a fire, those manning the fire towers are expected to alert the appropriate services to tackle and suppress the blaze. I imagine it must be boring work constantly scanning the horizon. How tempting then, if a fire occurs, to instead compete with your opposite numbers at the other edges of the wilderness for who can best direct the fire to destroy towers other than your own. At least, that seems to be the premise behind Fire Tower, the game designed by Samuel Bryant and Gwen Ruelle, and published by Runaway Parade.
In this 20–30 minute ‘take that’ family game, 2–4 players are each playing cards from their hand of five to put up barriers to protect their own fire tower while directing the forest blaze towards towers at the other edges of the board. The fire always grows according to wind direction, so players are constantly vying to manipulate the direction using cards and a compass spinner.
That’s pretty much the entire game in a nutshell. It can be played as a team game or as every man for themselves (albeit that that option has player elimination). The game is quick to set up and simple to play but it’s surprisingly good fun – thanks in no small part to the big bag of alluring chunky plastic crystals used to represent the fire. The version shown here is a prototype so expect the final version to look even better.
Fire Tower has just launched on Kickstarter, where it funded almost immediately. The Kickstarter campaign is due to run for the next 30 days.