FUSE: A Game Ahead of its Time

June 14, 2019

There are bombs on your spaceship! You and your team have to defuse them. You have the brains, you have the skills, but do you have the time? The clock is ticking. Can you beat the game… in only 10 minutes?

FUSE is an action-packed co-operative dice game, played in REAL TIME. Your team will work together to defuse a number of bombs by fulfilling the dice requirements on the cards. Some bombs are easier to defuse than others, including some bombs which require players to stack dice on the card. While dice rolls add to the random nature of the gameplay, the game is predominantly strategy based. What makes FUSE so addicting, however, is its simplicity paired with its time constraint. The strategies used are not too complex, but the tasks can feel daunting given the 10 minute time limit. I cannot tell you how many times I have been one bomb away from victory, only to hear my timer beep just before I can pull out the dice I need. You know what usually happens then? I restart the timer and play again. It is that addictive!

FUSE is an example of a game that was ahead of its time. It has many attributes which have only recently become popular in games, as well as some that are still fairly unique to itself. For starters, FUSE can be played as a single player game. Before FUSE, there were few games which individuals could play by themselves. Mansions of Madness and Castle Panic were the two notable exceptions, but for the most part, one needed to have at least one other person around to play games with in order to enjoy tabletop games. To me, this has always been a problem with the industry. Video game makers can market their game’s multiplayer options to gamers who want to play with friends while marketing their game’s single player options to those who want to play solo. Even games that are strictly solo or multiplayer can be shared and played online, real time, with plenty of game play choices for different types of gamers.

Board games have not always had that versatility. For a long time, single player board games were hard to find. These days, happily, that seems to be changing. Games like Discover Lands Unknown, Gloomhaven, Scarabya, and many more include a single-player option. While most of these released in the past two years, FUSE came out in 2015! It was an early adopter of the single-player board game revolution, but receives little notoriety for it. The game is equally action packed and addictive as a single player or multiplayer game. As someone who has moved from one state to another after college, having a selection of games that I can have fun playing by myself is wonderful. FUSE, however, is by far my favorite.

The dexterity element of the game is another example of how FUSE is a game ahead of its time. Currently, it seems that more and more kids games, like Bloxx and Dragon’s Breath are redefining what a dexterity game can be. Games like Flipships and Catacombs are also doing this for hobby games, but it is still a game mechanic which has yet to fully take hold in tabletop games. I predict, however, that we will soon see more board games that utilize dexterity tests within their gameplay, making FUSE an early adopter for another increasingly popular game mechanic.

Other aspects of FUSE are equally, if not more, innovative than its single-player option. With the exception of trivia and guessing based games, there are few tabletop games which use a timer as an integral part of gameplay. The timer adds a higher level of pressure and intrigue to the game without over-complicating it. I find that many games try to appeal to strategic gamers by adding more and more unnecessarily complex rules and mechanics. FUSE is not among them. The game can be learned in minutes, but continues to keep you on the tip of your strategic toes.

On top of all that, FUSE is one of the few games I can think of where the dice are the resource as opposed to being a game mechanic. In most resource games, the dice are simply there to tell you how many or what kind of resources you receive. In FUSE, the dice are the resources you have to collect. Some new and very popular games, like Lucidity and Sagrada, also use dice as resources, yet, somehow, FUSE gets looked over.

FUSE was not played on Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop. It did not win Spiel des Jahres. It did not win an Origin Award. It did, however, win my heart. I am so grateful to such a wonderful game to play with friends, and by myself. Luckily, more and more players are hearing about this great little game—and if you didn’t already, now you know about it too!

FUSE was not played on Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop. It did not win Spiel des Jahres. It did not win an Origin Award. It did, however, win my heart. I am so grateful to such a wonderful game to play with friends, and by myself. Luckily, more and more players are hearing about this great little game—and if you didn’t already, now you know about it too!

Natalie S

Natalie is a barrister out at Bayshore. When she's not playing a board game you've never heard of, she's playing a board game you have heard of. When Natalie is not working, she may be teaching dance, but she's probably watching Critical Role or the Marblelympics, at home, with her cat. Her cat's name is John Conner and he is a good boy. Her favorite games include Stone Age, The Resistance, Castle Panic, and The Fantasy Age RPG System.

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