One of my favorite recent games has been FUSE. Especially as a solo game, it’s a blast to play. Very tense, very fun. Now there’s a sequel coming out called
Flatline is a new game from FUSE designer Kane Klenko and publishers Renegade Games. It’s a cooperative dice game (as was FUSE) for 1-5 players. This game is set in the aftermath of FUSE – you have survived, but not without taking heavy damage to your ship and crew. You play as Medics, trying to treat all of the injuries and deal with all the other disasters before it’s too late.
The game comes with a 5-piece interlocking board, a life support dial, 40 medic dice, 2 emergency dice, 20 large patient cards, 29 emergency cards, 4 double-sided power meters, 20 cleared line tiles, 10 power cubes, and 4 lock-down tiles. After assembling the board and placing the emergency cards and dice in their proper spot, you’ll deal a number of patient cards into a face down stack based on player count and difficulty level (6-13 for training level, 7-15 for standard, 8-17 for expert). The top four of these are flipped face up and placed on the board, with the life support dial tuned to the first space of one of them. The power meter for the number of players in the game is turned to the difficulty level you want (standard or expert) and is placed on the board – this will control how many emergencies come out. The power meter will be filled with cubes. One player is named the Chief Medical Officer and another is the Intern. Players choose a color of dice, and take six of them (seven in a 2-player game) with one die set to the side.
The Chief Medical Officer will guide the round by following the steps on the player aid. Each round will proceed as follows:
- First, you will lose power. Remove the left-most power cube from the power meter.
- Next, add emergencies. The just-removed power cube will have revealed a number. This is how many emergency cards you must reveal. Some will be placed in the stat area, and others will go in the emergency area.
- After this, you will roll the emergency dice. These are placed on the matching numbers in the emergency area. Emergency cards in these areas are activated, and are resolved from left to right.
- In the planning phase, players discuss strategy for the round. Determine your priorities and a plan of action. There is unlimited time for this, but you can choose to put the pressure on by starting a one minute timer.
- In the Countdown phase, players have one minute to place all of their dice. Players roll all of their dice once as the timer starts. They then distribute their dice collectively to the patient cards, emergency cards, and recharging stations. The dice have different icons on them, and you’re trying to treat patients, clear emergencies, and recharge for extra rounds. There’s a reroll track that one player can sacrifice a die to in order to get one reroll for any player.
- After the minute is up, resolve stat and emergency cards. Any stat cards that were not cleared are turned to their red side. Get too many red cards, and you’ll lose. Any cleared stat cards are placed in the green area and become triage cards, giving a one time benefit. Any cleared cards in the emergency area are discarded from the game.
- Next, resolve the patient cards. Each line that has enough dice gets a cleared tile. Once a patient is completely cured, it will trigger an effect based on where the life support marker is.
- To resolve recharging stations, look to see if the appropriate number of spaces are filled. If so, add a power cube back to the power meter.
- The last step is to advance the life support dial.
The players win by curing all of the patients before the time runs out. They lose if the last power cube is removed from the power meter or if there are ever three face down red cards.
This game seems like it has a lot more going on in it than FUSE. FUSE is a ten-minute dice game, and it’s a very frantic ten minutes. This one has one-minute dice allocation phases each round, but there is time to discuss strategy. It seems like more of a cooperative game in that players are really working together, not just trying to diffuse their own bombs. It also seems very difficult, but that’s probably the point. It looks like a very stressful game, which is thematically appropriate, and I look forward to trying it out.
Thanks for reading!