The click of the lock signifies the end of another long week. As you turn around to walk to your desk, the rows of books fill you with joy. There is something almost magical about an empty library. The silence, the smell and the knowledge that surrounds you. There is no other place on earth like it for you, this is your happy place. As you grab your back and head for the door, you take one last look and breath deep. But something is wrong; the smell isn’t right. Suddenly your brains screams at you; FIRE! There is a Fire in The Library.
Fire in the Library is a press-your-luck game about saving books from a burning Library. It’s up to you as a heroic Librarian to gain the most Knowledge by saving books and earning Bravery Points by getting to the books before your opponents do. Fire in the Library is played in Rounds, where players play in a variable turn order. As books are destroyed, other books of that subject increase in value, but the chances of saving books lowers as the fire rages on. The game ends immediately when any Section of the Library completely burns down, so save all the books you can before the Library collapses!
- Separate the Library cards based on the color of book icon.
- Order the Library cards in each color sequentially by Book Value (number next to the Book icon) with the highest value on the bottom and the lowest value on top. Each color is one Section of the Library.
- Place all Sections together to form the Library in the center of the table, as seen in the image above.
- Place the Scoring Track near the Library.
- Each player chooses a Librarian Figure of their choice and places it near the Scoring Track.
- Give each player a Player Reference Card corresponding with their Librarian Figure.
- Place all Book Tokens and 7 Fire Tokens into the Library Bag. Set the remaining 10 Fire tokens aside.
- Remove the Library Cart and Axe Tools if playing with less than three players.
- Shuffle the Tool Deck and deal two Tool cards to each player. Tool cards are not revealed to other players until they are played.
- Place the Tool deck near the Library and reveal three Tools; these make up the Tool Market.
- Take a Turn Order card for each player and return the remaining Turn Order cards to the box.
- For two players, add in the 3rd Turn Order card.
- For example, for two or three players, take and use only the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Turn Order cards.
- Close your eyes, shuffle the Turn Order cards, and deal them randomly to the players.
Brief Game Play Description
Fire in the Library is played over several Rounds. Each Round begins with all players Choosing Turn Order. Each player plays their turn in turn order, trying to Save Books. Their turn could end by either Scoring Knowledge or by causing Fire Spreading. At the end of the Round, the fire grows and a Section of the Library burns. Then the next
Choosing Turn Order
Turn Order is set for the first Round by shuffling the Turn Order cards and dealing them to each player. Play begins with the player with the 1st Turn Order card; this player is now the active player.
Begin all other Rounds by selecting Turn Order cards. Players choose their Turn Order cards in reverse score order, with the player with the lowest score choosing their Turn Order card first.
A Players may play tools with the hour glass icon starting before the player with the lowest score chooses their Turn Order card until the 1st Turn Active Player starts Saving Books. Players cannot play tools in the first Round.
The Active Player may do the following, if they have open spaces on their Turn Order card:
- Save Books: Draw a token from the Library Bag and place it on the leftmost empty space on their Turn Order card.
- If the token drawn is red, it is a Fire Token. The Fire Token is the first Fire Token on your Turn Order card and it is placed in a Safe Space, you haven’t burned yet! If it is placed in a Risky Space OR it is the second Fire Token on your Turn Order card, the fire has blocked your path, you trigger the Fire Spreading and can no longer Save Books.
- If you didn’t draw a Fire Token, then you’ve found a book! Congratulations, this is the reason that you risked life and limb running into a burning building and have now saved a precious book.
- Play a Saving Books Tool with the icon.
- Stop Saving Books, escape the Library, and move on to Scoring Knowledge.
If the Active Player has no open spaces on their Turn Order card, they must stop Saving Books and move to Scoring Knowledge, as long as they have not caused Fire Spreading
- Tools with the Book on fire icon can now be played. If the tool removes the fire token that triggered Fire Spreading, the fire has stopped spreading and the active player immediately returns to Saving Books.
- If the active player cannot stop the fire from spreading, all of the books that have been collected now burn. For each book token on the player’s turn order card, remove the top card from the Section of the Library that matches the book’s subject and color. If only fire tokens were drawn, remove the Library card with the lowest Burn Index Number (smaller number on the Library cards). This increases the value of books of those subjects, but also means that the Library is closer to collapsing!
Anytime a Library card is revealed that features a fire icon, the fire grows! Add one of the ten fire tokens that were set aside to the bag. That fire token stays in the bag for the remainder of the game.
- The Active Player now takes a Tool of their choice from either the Tool Market or draws one from the top Tool deck. Replace any Tool drawn from the Tool Market with one from the top of the Tool deck.
- The Active Player Skips Scoring Knowledge, places all tokens back into the bag, passes the bag to the next player in Turn Order, and returns their Turn Order card to the center of the table. The Active Player’s turn is now over.
After the Active Player has Scored Knowledge, they may now use Tool cards with the icon.
If you were not forced out of the library by the Fire Spreading and your last token is on a space with a tool icon, you may take a Tool of your choice from the Tool Market or draw one from the Tool deck. Replace any Tool drawn from the Tool Market with the top card of the Tool deck.
The Active Player’s Turn is now over. They place all tokens drawn back into the bag, return their Turn Order card to the center of the table, and pass the Library bag to the next player in turn order who now takes their turn as the Active Player.
End of the Round – The Fire Grows!
Once each player has taken a turn, the Round is over and a Section of the Library burns. Burn a Section of the Library by setting aside the Library card that has the lowest Burn Index Number (smaller number on the Library card).
Each player now has the option to discard one of their tools and replace it with the top card from the Tool Deck. They cannot replace it with a card from the Tool Market.
The game ends IMMEDIATELY when the last Library card for any one Section of the Library is removed. The player with the most combined Knowledge and Bravery, which is the highest score, wins!
Fire in the Library is a great little press your luck game designed by Tony Miller & John Prather. The game is published by Weird Giraffe Games and is their first venture into the world of publishing. Weird Giraffe games have previously only published their own game, Super Hack Override and Stella Leap. For such a fresh and new company to be taking a big risk on the publishing of another designer’s game; I knew it had to be a pretty amazing game.
Weird Giraffe Games is truly on a winner with this game and for a first step into the publishing world, they have made such a great decision. Fire in the Library is such a quick, fun and easy to learn game. I personally love press your luck games, especially when they are quick, exciting and have a great depth to them. Fire in the Library is all these things and more.
The game is so easy to teach, and a perfect entry level game for non-gamers, or people that play casually. Yet has a level of strategy, depth and intelligence that will appeal to the more seasoned gamers amongst us. What is even funnier, is that this is almost the exact quote I use to describe about all of Weird Giraffe Games previous games. So many times, I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a game designed by them. As this game fits into their stable of games so perfectly, I’m not surprised they decided to publish Fire in the Library.
My gaming group for this game were actually quite new to the scene. They did learn the game quite quick and they had a lot of fun. But I won’t be playing anything with them again; They picked on me so much. There is a Tool card, Slingshot, which allows you to give a fire token and a book if you have one to another player. The card got the nickname, DezShot. As I got nailed with it every single game, normally before they picked up a book.
There is so much to love about this game, but some of the standout for me are:
- The variable turn order based of your score. This allows for an additional layer of strategy
- The speed of the game.
- The fact that there is a solo mood, and a very solid and well thought out solo mood at that.
- The art and Box design. (the Box literally looks like a book, so much so that my housemate went to open it, as she thought I had a book sitting on my bedside table)
The team at Weird Giraffe Games have hired one of my top 5 board game artists to bring this game to life. As always Beth Sobel did not disappoint. Her use of soft lines and colors, gives the Library Cards and almost ethereal look to it. The idea to use the tree on the strain glass window; is a beautiful nod to the Tree of Knowledge. And the eerie and soft blue tone used throughout the cards just make them leap off the table. Beth has an amazing talent for making subtly sing.
If you don’t like press your luck games, it is only because you have never played Fire in the Library. It is simple and yet strategic, quick and yet full of depth. Weird Giraffe Games have a winner on their hands here. As this is unlike any Press your Luck game I have ever played.
If you would like to back Fire in the Library, you can check out their Kickstarter Page here.