When I first started playing board games, I almost always wanted to get something to the table that was a real brain-burner. In the last year or so I have started to really enjoy games that are shorter but still intense.
For this review, I decided to go with one of those smaller and shorter games – FUSE. Yes, FUSE involves bombs, dice, and a lot of yelling. If you have ever wanted to feel like MacGyver lite, this is your game. This review is actually part 1 of a 2 part series. Part II will be a review of Flatline, the follow-up to FUSE.
Designer: Kane Klenko
Player Count: 1-5 Players
Play Time: ≤ 10 Minutes
In Fuse, each player is a member of an onboard crew on some kind of spaceship or futuristic machine. Intruders have infiltrated this ship and have planted bombs all over the place. Your group must work together to defuse all of the bombs or they all self-destruct… in 10 minutes!
Fuse only uses dice, cards, and a timer. There are various types of cards:
Bomb Cards – these cards are the bombs planted around your ship that you must defuse. Each card has a combination that is required for defusing it. The combination has blank spaces where players will place dice as a sort of disarming code. Each card has a point total on it that relates to its difficulty. Bombs can sometimes force the players to stack dice, build pyramids, or just place them on the card.
Fuse Cards – these cards are mixed in with the bomb cards and simply have a numbered or colored die on them. When these cards are drawn, they force all players to remove one die that matches the number or color of the card. For example: If a fuse card with a die of 4 on it is drawn, any player that has a 4 die on one of their bombs must take it off his/her bomb and place it back in the bag.
Dice – the dice are normal six-sided dice, but they are colored. The different bomb cards will require some dice to be of a specific color, so the game gets tricky.
Timer – when the game begins, you start a timer of 10 minutes and you start.
The setup for the game is really simple. Each player starts with two bomb cards and the remaining bomb cards (with fuse cards mixed in) are placed in a pile in the middle of the table. The first five bomb cards are flipped over and placed in the middle of the table as well.
On a players turn, they reach in the bag and draw out the number of dice for how many players there are and they roll them. After rolling, each player MUST take one die and nobody can take more than one. This forces everyone to communicate (yell) at each other. If there is a die that no one can take from the roll, that die gets re-rolled and anyone with that color and/or number on one of their bombs must remove that die.
When a player finishes a bomb, they simply put it off to the side, put the dice back in the bag, grab a new bomb from the middle, and then fill in the empty space on the table with a new bomb card. It’s really that simple to play, not that simple to win!
Things I like:
- Time – I love that the game is timed. This makes the game really intense but it also allows you to play several times during a night. There have been several times that I have played this with people and, after playing a game or two, everyone is like, “let’s just play one more. It can only last ten minutes.”
- Cooperative – There are some games that are cooperative because you can have everyone talking and adding an opinion. In this game, cooperation looks like me yelling in your face and you yelling back, but both people NEED to communicate. I love that. Nobody can be the alpha gamer and no one can sit silent.
- Bomb Card Combos – The bomb cards have a lot of really cool combinations that you have to get – build pyramids, do a math problem, build a tower, etc. These make the game really fun. If you knock over any of the dice in a tower, pyramid, etc., you actually have to place those dice back in the bag. So, not only are you panicking and racing the clock, you have to be really careful.
- Ship Computer App – There is an app that is a timer and record keeper that is really cool. It is a really simple app, but it adds some intense music and a lady’s voice that tells you how much time you have left. I’ve never sworn more at a device than when I hear her tell me how much time we don’t have.
- Symbols – The game uses a lot of symbols, but it makes it really easy to use and learn. It isn’t like Race for the Galaxy where you have to study the symbols. These are intuitive and easy to pick up.
Things I don’t like:
- Artwork – I think the artwork is pretty basic. There’s nothing really special about the artwork. I notice this most on the fuse cards, but all of the cards are fairly simple. I’m not really sure where they could improve this because there aren’t many components, but it definitely leaves me wanting more.
- Variety – The game is what it is. After you have played it once and you know how to play it, you simply play it over and over. There is little that changes from game to game. I wish there was a little more strategy than there is. I think there could be a little more meat on the bones here.
There aren’t really any single games that stick out in my head, which I think is often a sign of an okay game, but not a great game. With that said, I have always had fun with this game and it is simply not a big box game. It is a portable, fun, and quick game that anyone can enjoy.
Cade’s GLG Rating – 7/10
I’m with Cade on this one. FUSE is a game that I’ve walked past at the store a dozen times and just haven’t quite pulled the trigger. I really like it, but as he mentioned above, it doesn’t have a ton of variety. That being said, it is a lot of fun. It’s crazy hectic fun, that doesn’t last too long. And I’ve never seen a group only play it one time. It always gets a couple plays. It’s also simple enough that you can teach people without a lot of gaming experience really quickly and start playing. If you aren’t a fan of the stress of real-time, this may not be for you. This gets really stressful, especially as the timer gets closer and closer to zero. All in all, this is a really fun game and I’d recommend it for a quick cooperative experience.
Dave’s GLG Rating – 7/10
FUSE is on BGG Here.
Buy FUSE Here.