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Unpub Preview: Firebreak

Unpub Previews give designers a chance to talk in a little more depth about the development of their games in the Unpub Network.

Firebreak, designed by Charlie Hoopes of HoopCat Games, is a cooperative game where players must contain a spreading forest fire, and save buildings and wildlife areas in the path of the blaze. There is both a basic and advanced version of the game.

Let’s hear what Charlie has to say about the development of Firebreak

What was your inspiration for  Firebreak? Younger son kept asking when I one of my games would be cooperative. A spreading forest fire makes a good mechanism for something that is unpredictable and random.

What is your favorite part of  Firebreak?  The changing wind so that players don’t know which way the fire will spread next.  Also the choices of when to save and when to abandon a tile with points.

To your knowledge, what do other people find most interesting  Firebreak?  The ever-changing wind.

What has been the most challenging part of designing  Firebreak?  With a competitive game, the tension comes from other players. With a cooperative game, the tension must come from the game itself.  Play balance is harder.   If blazes are too easy to contain, players will quickly lose interest, but too hard and it will become too frustrating.

What advice would you give to players attempting  Firebreak for the first time? Plan your airplane use carefully so that you don’t end up too far removed to assist on the next turn.

What has surprised you most in play-tests of your game? I was nervous debuting at the South Jersey Unpub. What surprised me is how many playtesters liked Firebreak its first time out despite the fact that it still needs some adjustments.

People who like___________ will like  Firebreak. Why?  Cooperative games

 Tell us anything else you want to say about  Firebreak  that I haven’t asked or you haven’t said already.  As a teenager, one of my chores was weeding and clearing brush at the edge of my family’s property.  One dry autumn I had a brilliant idea that burning the brush would be much quicker. Oops. But I am proud to report that my friends and I had it out by the time the fire truck pulled up.

For more information and to find out where you can play Firebreak, please visit the game’s page on here on!

Author: Darrell Louder

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