The Great Fire

London is burning! Can you tame the ever-expanding fire?

London, 1666

Shortly after midnight on 2 September, a fire broke out in a bakery on Pudding Lane. The wood that made up most of the buildings was dry after a long hot summer, so the fire spread rapidly. The narrow streets made firefighting difficult.

The fire lasted for several days. Very few people died, but the city was in ashes. The event became known as…


Make a chain of people passing water buckets to fight the fire!

  • Click on the shore of the river Thames and drag through the streets. Point the end of the path into the flames to throw water.

  • You can change routes at any time by clicking and dragging.

  • To free up people from a chain so you can deploy them elsewhere, click outside the chain and drag through it.

Tip: space bar pauses the game so you can plan at your leisure.

Detailed postmortem and "making of" now available! Check the links in the sidebar.

Voting results


This game entered in the Solo competition (29 entries).

Comments (21)

 • 6 years ago • 


This is a fantastic mechanic I've never seen before. You really ought to give it some more polish and fix up the controls and difficulty. This would make for a great mobile game if it had more time put into it.

Caique Assis
(@caiqueassis) • 6 years ago • 

Man, that intro song was quite cool. I was sad when the game itself didn't have any.

Otherwise, the game is really simple to play, but hard to master. When the fire starts spreading, it's almost impossible to put the fire down!

On a side note, I didn't know about this historical event, so thanks for that too!

 • 6 years ago • 

This was really pretty great, interesting and fun mechanic that I had not exactly seen before. Pretty nice pixel art, a good narrative for the setting. Only had time to play through the first 3 levels so far. Nice audio too. Great work.

  • 6 years ago • 

@GanbareGames Thanks! I deliberately designed the controls to work on touch screen as well (no reliance on hover, no right mouse button). But I'm still working on polishing my previous game for mobile, so it'll be a while :D What would you fix up about the controls?

@CaiqueAssis Thank you! The intro is actually the melody played by Big Ben each hour. I was originally looking for some droning sound in LMMS, just to set the mood and not have the intro be completely silent, when I found this bell instead. And even then it took a few seconds until it clicked. By the way, if you ever find yourself in London, do visit the Museum Of London. They have a whole section about the Great Fire, it's just a great and engaging museum in general, and entry is free!

@automatonvx Thanks for your kind words!

(@OatMealPal) • 6 years ago • 

Good art, neat mechanic. A cool way to incorporate the theme! :)
I don't know why, but when I hear the people yell "fire!" it makes me laugh a little bit.
Is that bad? :-|
Probably not. Anyways, nice work!

  • 6 years ago • 

@ToffieBoey Well, I guess that's good, I didn't want to make game too serious :) I've noticed that voice acting in game jams usually results in hilarity anyway.

 • 6 years ago • 

Really enjoyed this one! Great gameplay I'd play it on the train for sure. FIIUURRR

 • 6 years ago • 

Really interesting and challenging game. It felt a bit unfair where new fires would start sometimes, that they didn't necessarily seem to spread from the existing fires? But other than that the gameplay is solid, the graphics are clear and understandable, and the audio adds to the atmosphere well.

 • 6 years ago • 

You're on fire!

I really enjoyed this game! Pretty interesting gameplay, and the audio is just quite fun and annoying at the same time. When first started, I thought it would be nice to have multiple entries, and then there's level 2! After that I just played and enjoyed all the way till the end. As some has mentioned, I think this does make a very good mobile game =D.

  • 6 years ago • 

@hyperlinkyourheart Thanks! The biggest stage of fire can actually spread over 2 tiles, across the road. So you want to fight those first and foremost. (I thought of showing hot embers flying from one fire to another to show this, but of course didn't have time.)

@terrykim426 Thank you! Initially, the first level was supposed to be just a single road with no intersections, so that you don't need to worry yet about un-drafting and redeploying peeps. But then for some reason I put all the tutorial bits on the first level and that idea went out the window.

 • 6 years ago • 

@thomastc Ah that must have been it - if they went diagonally two tiles across a road it might seem to me like they were starting out of nowhere, especially with so much other stuff going on. Some indication of that happening would be cool, but I understand about the lack of time!

 • 6 years ago • 

Very cool and original idea. I love the way that the mechanics work together with the citizens leaving burning homes to help with the bucket brigade and let you optimize and expand your lines. It fits the theme really well, but the expanding fire is completely rutheless. The simulation really forced me to make tough decicions about letting some homes go while saving others that could be bridges to a bigger neighborhood. Great game with some really cool emergent properties.

 • 6 years ago • 

I had an enjoyable time with this game but I wished the gameplay had more depth as the levels continued. I like the fire animation and all the pixel art. Bucket movement is very creative for this interesting almost reverse player controlled tower defense. My main issue was as a player I wanted new "stuff" every level something different and unique to make them stand out besides more fire. Some ideas: maybe big ben or parliment or some special building that is worth more to the community? Maybe ships or boats that block water and force the player to reposition the root of the chain? there are a lot of things that could happen to mix it up a little.

Here is a link to the stream of your game thanks for making it!

  • 6 years ago • 

@TigerJ Thanks for the great suggestions! If I do end up developing this further, I'll take them into account. The explosive barrels were one small step in that direction, but I didn't really get them right I think.

 • 6 years ago • 

I knew about the Great Fire! This is incredibly polished game. I loved the pixel arts, and the soundeffect and people's voices are totally spot on for setting the mood! Sadly, the control didn't work very well for me. I found Level 2 already very difficult, and l gave up later levels. (However it's nice that I can at least peek at them!) Although the game has a very interesting mechanics (i.e. more fire = more workforce), assigning the right people to the right place was difficult, and with a few misclicks you'll create a loop. Some sort of visual/audio feedback would be helpful. That said, it's awesome you made this much of stuff alone just in two days! Congrats.

 • 6 years ago • 

Awesome game, my absolute favorite so far! The gameplay is very engaging and is a lot of fun. I really liked the controls, they were very intuitive. The sound really helps the mood (e.g. the ringing bell). The game feels really polished.

 • 6 years ago • 

This was really cool! Loved the concept. Felt very fresh! Definitely fit the theme. The look of the intro and the game itself was spot-on. The controls were a bit unresponsive and could've used some polish.

I appreciated the sound effects a lot. Very effective at conveying the mood. Could've used a bit more feedback, though. Some music or at least some further ambience would've been nice. Loved the yells! Would've been fun to even pass them through a bitcrusher to make them sound more like old-school digitized voices. :) Things get actually quite terrifying when the fire spreads too far and the SFX reflect this well.

Overall, great! Could definitely see this turned into a larger puzzle game with more polish and development! Great work!

  • 6 years ago • 

@euske There are small arrows that indicate in which direction the buckets will be passed. Maybe I made them too small after all… Could you explain why you found the controls lacking?

@dorkulon Thanks for your feedback! What did you find unresponsive about the controls? What would you change?

 • 6 years ago • 

@thomastc it might just be a matter of getting into the controls as well, it's hard to tell. Anyway, it seems like it would stop drawing the path midway through doing it. Then I'd let go, and have to continue from where it stopped to the house. There isn't a clear indicator that you've indeed selected a house to save, so it takes a while to realize that the peeps are actually working on that house. It gets a bit confusing with a lot of peeps in one place and shifting the path again to reach a different location. It might be more of a combination of things, rather than a single issue. Maybe the visual could be a bit different. Like, maybe the path (the actual road) should be highlighted, with a little indicator showing which house is active. The character models and everything is very small (as it should be, it fits the style), so it is a bit hard to tell what's happening sometimes without these visual guides. Still, the game was really fun!

 • 6 years ago • 

Bucket duty!

This is Great! Let's get that out the way. Theme fits, an original take on firefighting too.

For once I can appreciate pixel graphics, no sprite rotations or weird gliches. The smooth bucket movement is a rather neat touch. Audio is good as well. Some of the yells aren't quite serious enough (and some sound like goats!)

Little issues:

The random fire propagation is slightly problematic at times. I managed to get 98% on level 2 as the biggest fire burnt down before I could even get the line together leaving nothing but two small fires to threaten the town.

Holding the input down should keep drawing the route until the input is released. Currently the drawing stops if the cursor goes over a house, which happens by accident quite often.

Holding the input down should keep freeing up people until the input is released. Currently it switches back to route drawing if the cursor goes over a river tile and for some other reason too which I couldn't quite identify.

People who flee a building should become available the moment they appear. I kept pausing when I heard a yell only to have to unpause and pause again after a second.

And ah, that's about it. Great work!

Overall: Great (8)
Graphics: Great (8)
Audio: Good (7)
Gameplay: Good (7)
Originality: Great (8)
Theme: Great (8)

  • 6 years ago • 

@HuvaaKoodia Thank you so much for the detailed feedback!

Re fire propagation: Right now, the big fire has a 50% chance once every 3 seconds to collapse the house. It would be far better if houses have a "health" which deteriorates faster with larger fires. That would make it more predictable, and thus also easier to balance.

Re controls: Aye. These might well be part of the reason why people got confused. Actually in an earlier iteration, it worked more like you describe, but it had some other problems. The drawing is now stateless, and only checks what to do when the cursor crosses over to another tile. No reason we can't have our cake and eat it too though!

Re availability of new peeps: I noticed, but didn't immediately know the cause, so postponed fixing it for slightly too long. Looking at it now, it's obvious: to find the nearest peep, I use a flood fill algorithm that only visits walkable tiles. But a peep running from a house is still on the unwalkable house tile until it's fully on the street.

Anyway, great feedback, thanks again!

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