With isolation and limited ability to go outside the home, I find myself in a position (along with the rest of you) of nervousness and boredom. One can only watch so much Netflix before you develop bedsores and a stiff neck! So, I’ve set myself a challenge to play at least one board game a day during this time and if possible pair it with a good beer, wine, or cocktail. Why not! Feel free to play along. Today marks day 14 of quasi-quarantine. Just so my readers know, I’m not actually in quarantine yet–I’m a pediatrician and am still going into work on my regular work days. So while I’m not technically stuck at home, I am in a high-stress work environment these days and really need game playing as an outlet when I get home.

Fire Tower

Lemon is ready to play

Day 15 of isolation gaming was passed with one of my favorite games of the past year. This is Fire Tower, the first game by Runaway Parade Games, a game I Kickstarted. The watercolor art is fantastic and the design is slick and unique compared to many games I’ve played.

The small board shows a forest and is surrounded at each corner by a fire tower. The 4 center squares are the Eternal Flame and never go out. There is a small windvane card to show wind direction, which can change randomly with an 8 sided die or by cards played from one’s hand.

The first thing each player does on their round is place a fire gem in the direction the wind is blowing. The goal is be the last fire tower standing, so trying to get the wind to blow in the direction of the opponant is always a good way to go! Cards can redirect the wind direction, put down tokens that are firebreaks to prevent spread of fire, or water cards to remove certain configurations of fire gems.

Lemon has opinions on which way the wind is blowing…

The game has a fair degree of randomness (what cards you get and the wind direction), but there is enough strategy to keep you involved. Each turn involves only one card so there is very little sitting around when other players go–even in 4 player games. Game play is usually pretty fast and I often use this as a starter game prior to a longer game session. I hate the term “filler game” because I feel that has a derogatory connotation, so I call these starter games.

I also like the special Firestorm card that really escalates things and is shuffled into the deck once the players all have their first hand of cards. There are also optional Spirit of the Forest cards that allow the players who have been burned out of their fire towers to have a few actions.

Just so folks know, these guys are poised to do a second Kickstarter with new expansions some time soon so keep your eye out or join their e-mail list.

Our game took about 30 minutes, with Sj triumphantly burning down my tower (as pictured above).

To pair with this game, I did not have a suitable beer so Sj suggested we try a hot cocktail. We took direction from on of Sj’s friends Jim.

El Guapo

“You will die like dogs, Amigos!”

1.5 oz Silver Tequila (I like Don Julio)

1.5 oz Crema del Mezcal (a liqueur of smoky mezcal and agave syrup)

1.5 oz Lemon juice

1 tsp hot sauce (I used a mix of Papaya habanero and mango habenero that Sj brought me home from Curacao)

Shake, strain into martini glass, garnish with lemon twist

With our particular hot sauce this was plenty spicy! I’d make this one again for sure: smoke, heat, tartness, perfect for fighting fires.

For tomorrow we have planned Clank! Until then, keep calm and play games!