BrettSpiel is a blog about board game design, written by game designer Brett J. Gilbert.

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Burning Bright: The Great Fire of London 1666

This newly available artwork for The Great Fire of London 1666, the soon-to-be-published debut release from Birmingham-based UK publisher Medusa Games, is starting to make the game look rather wonderful. The game is the brain-child of first-time designer Richard Denning — GP, some-time historical novelist and one of the organisers of the UK Games Expo — and looks like a real labour of love by someone who has clearly done his research.

The Great Fire of London, in case you don’t know, raged for three days destroying much of the medieval City of London, and famously started in a bakery in (where else?) Pudding Lane. Indeed, history records that it was finally extinquished 344 years ago today, on September 5th, 1666.

The designer has posted an overview of the rules on BGG, but the gameplay goes something like this: At the start, the City is filled with multi-coloured houses, some of which will unavoidably be consumed as the fire spreads from the already engulfed Pudding Lane. Players will earn victory points by directing the flames away from their own properties, helping to put out pockets of fire for the general good of the City, and trying to specifically protect a few secret districts from firey doom.

I love the game board’s charming representation of the districts of the old City, and the cover and card artwork look fantastic too. I also love how the game sets out to tell a real story about a real historical event, but does so in a way that feels engaging and fun, and has the trappings, fit and finish of a comfortingly familiar Eurogame. It all looks and sounds like good, clean, flammable family fun to me!

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