Review – Fuse

Phuong and I were at a birthday party a few days ago. We were enjoying, with the company of friends, a great meal in Chinatown. During the night, I get a text from Connie. She wrote, and I quote:

“Hey Justin and Phuong ^_^. U guys busy now? we just picked up a must play game called Fuse :p. Need to play now*** lol”

I received this text at around 9pm and we hadn’t finished our meal yet. Now knowing Connie and Alex for quite some time, they have a good judgement in board games, and are usually rational and levelheaded when it comes to gaming. So I found it a little odd, that they would request to have a games night so late in the evening.

I replied back saying that we could play after we ate dinner and asked if the game was that good. I wanted to know if it was worth it to try Fuse at such a late time. I got an immediate response:

“Yes!![…]It’s a cooperative game about defusing bombs!”

They were really wanting to play. We finished our meal and headed home and they came shortly after, super excited to play Fuse. And after playing that night, I can see why they were so willing to have an impromptu games night.

Fuse 1Fuse is a fast paced cooperative dice roller created by Kane Klenko. You and your team are aboard a hi-tech ship, when suddenly intruders have breached the hull and have planted at least twenty bombs. Your bomb defusal team has now been called to neutralize the threat, but have only 10 minutes to do so. It is your job to defuse bombs and prevent the ship from total destruction.

In the setup, each player is given a set of two bomb cards. Each card has a set of conditions that need to be met through dice rolls and the difficulty of the bomb can be found in the upper right corner of the card.  In addition a set of bombs are dealt in the center, and finally a deck, full of bombs, is placed to the side. The number of cards in the deck is determined by the difficulty that the team wants to play; the more cards, the higher the difficulty. To make the game even harder, fuse cards are put into the deck. These cards are meant to hinder the team’s ability in defusing bombs, which we will see later. You also need a timer or stopwatch, but to make the game more authentic, you can download the companion app which provides the 10 minute timer, a digital scorekeeper, as well as a British voice-over that will continue to press you to defuse the bombs as quickly as possible.

Once everything is set up, start the timer and start defusing bombs by picking up dice from the bag and rolling them. In order to defuse a bomb, the team must place a chosen die on a matching icon found on one of the bomb cards. Some of the bomb cards require that the dice be stacked on top of each other in a specific order, while others require players to create a pyramid with the dice. The game also states that if players knock over any of the stacks or pyramids before the bomb is defused, then the dice that were knocked down go back into the bag. This is to give the illusion that bombs need to be treated delicately.Fuse2

The one thing you need to remember is that you have to use all the dice that you picked up from the bag. Any dice that are unused must be rerolled and players must remove one die from their bombs that match either the colour or number of the die, thus making it harder to defuse the bombs. Fuse cards also act the same way. If one of those cards are drawn, all players must remove a die that matches either the colour or the number on the card.

If the squad is able to defuse all the bombs from the deck before the ten minutes is up, then the game is won.

Fuse is one of the best up-and-coming dice rollers this year. This game has similar elements to Escape in that, it has a quick dice rolling element with the added pressure of a timer. However, Fuse forces teams to think together methodically as to where the dice should go. Once a die has been locked up, you can’t move it to another card, so players have to consider the probability of certain outcomes on their bomb card to occur, and make decisions based on how difficult it is to obtain that outcome. This becomes even harder when a timer is going down, and the companion app is sarcastically commenting on your poor bomb defusing abilities.

Although Fuse is easy to teach, it is difficult to master since the game is changing rapidly. One minute you could be easily putting dice on the cards and the next you could be putting dice back in the bag for drawing fuses or not matching dice. And with the quick set up, players can try again on the same difficulty, or consider making it harder if they are not finding it challenging enough with little downtime in resetting everything.

I also experimented by playing the solitaire version of the game and it is ridiculously hard to beat even at the standard level. I can see why Connie and Alex wanted to play this game alongside them. Having more players in the game means more bomb cards being dealt out, which in turn allows the team to dump dice easier. However, more voices in the game, mean more cooks in the proverbial kitchen, and  the game becomes more difficult to get organized unless you have a really cohesive team.

In addition, I appreciate Fuse’s scoring system.  Games such as Pandemic, Escape, or Dead of Winter for example have either the team winning collectively, or the board defeating the team, but nothing else. The only cooperative game that comes to mind that has a scoring system is Hanabi, and even then, its scoring system reminds me of one of those personality quizzes you take in magazines or on BuzzFeed in that your score determines what level you’re at. Fuse has a scoring system that reminds me of an arcade game, your score is determined based on whether or not you completed the game, the amount of time that was left on the clock,  the level of bombs that your team completed and the number of fuses successfully overcome during the 10 minute time limit. This means that even though teams can successfully complete bombs at the same level, a team’s performance can be considered better than another if they defused more difficult bombs and finished it in a faster time. And the companion app does a great job in keeping an updated rank in your phone with all of these scores.

Fuse is a great dice roller to have. It’s portable, easy to play, but challenging to beat.  Combined with the companion app, Fuse provides a highly immersive experience for teams who want to try a timed challenge. It provides a great teamwork opportunity for players and the quick set up allows them to try the game over and over again. This game is definitely recommended for any gamer, both casual and hardcore.

Pros:

  • Amazing cooperative dice roller game.
  • The game is quick, at most 10 minutes long.
  • Portable with an easy setup.
  • Game can be adjusted to meet the teams needs; you can make it super easy or insanely difficult.
  • The companion app provides an even cooler experience, providing the timer and scorekeeper for the game.

Cons:

  • The app is highly recommended for this game. If you don’t have a smartphone, a simple timer is available, but not as good.
  • Not recommended for players who dislike pressurized situations.

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2 thoughts on “Review – Fuse

  1. Very cool concept! I feel like games with a strict time limit can be hit or miss depending on how it’s handled, but it seems like adding the pressure of a ten minute clock works well in this setting. I definitely plan on adding this game to my ever-growing list!

    Like

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