Game review: Flatline simulates hospital ER with cooperative dice rolling
Posted June 21
Flatline by Renegade Games is a cooperative dice game that simulates working together in an emergency room situation aboard a spaceship. The intense dice rolling, time limits and risk of life and death make this an exciting and fast-moving game.
From one to five players work together as medics on a spaceship. Fellow crew members have been injured and are arriving in the ER. They need help — and fast. Each patient has different emergency needs and these needs must be met.
That's not all, though. At the same time, there are crises happening around the ship, and these need to be addressed as well. Needless to say, it is pandemonium, and the players are at the center of it.
Crew medical needs and ship problems are represented by symbols. Each turn, all players roll a set of dice with symbols. These dice are then allocated to help resolve the different emergencies players are confronted with. For example, there is a crisis on the ship represented by three different symbols. The dice are rolled and the three needed symbols are present. The dice are allocated to this problem and the crisis is resolved. Whew!
But wait, there's more. All of the dice allocation and rolling happens under the threat of a one-minute timer. If it's not placed within the time, it's wasted. This is where the game breaks into full team play. Everyone consults together to place the dice in the right places (every doctor has an opinion, right?).
This cooperation is further enhanced by the fact that dice carry over to future turns and a crisis can be resolved by multiple players contributing a die or more to help. For example, an emergency that requires four dice symbols can be resolved by one player contributing two dice and two additional players contributing a die each.
A variety of rules regulate how dice can be placed, too. Sometimes a crisis requires that only a single player can contribute dice to resolve the challenge while another crisis might require every player to contribute at least one die.
To win, there are a certain number of patients to cure before time runs out. If the goal is reached, the players share a hard-earned victory. If they lose, well, there's always next time.
Flatline is a great game but it is noisy, intense, crazy and frantic. The game play is unique because of its cooperative nature and intense because of the time restrictions and theme. If this game sounds interesting, it is. It comes highly recommended. However, if it sounds too intense, there is always Scrabble. Find out more about Flatline on the Renegade Games website.
(I reviewed a similar but less complex game than Flatline called Fuse from Renegade Games. It has a similar theme and real time action. Consider it Flatline's little brother. Be sure to read the review and consider it for purchase if you want a less complex or less expensive game with the same feel.)