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Despite the best efforts of you and your fellow Librarians, a fire threatens the sum of all human knowledge. You must save as many precious tomes from the flames as you can before the consuming inferno collapses the Library forever.


  • 39 Tool Cards
  • 26 Library Cards
  • 8 Reference Cards
  • 6 Turn Order Cards
  • 22 Book Tokens
  • 17 Fire Tokens
  • 1 Library Bag
  • 1 Scoring Track
  • 6 Librarian Figures
  • Instructions

Object of the Game

Fire in the Library is a press-your-luck game about saving books from being burned. Push the odds and channel your courage, earning Knowledge Points and Bravery Points which are needed to win the game. The player with the highest combined point total when the game ends is the winner!


Game Setup

  1. Separate the Library Cards by type: Fables (Purple), Geography (White), History (Black), and War (Yellow)

  2. Order each type of Library Cards sequentially, based on the Book Value, the number next to the book icon. Place the highest value card on the bottom of the stack and the lowest value card on top.

  3. Place each of these stacks together in the center of the table within reach of all players as shown in the image above, forming the four Sections of the Library.

  4. Place the Scoring Track near the Library.

  5. Place all 22 Book Tokens and 7 of the 17 Fire Tokens into the Library Bag. Set the remaining 10 Fire Tokens aside; they will be used later.

  6. Shuffle the Tool Deck and place it near the Library. Reveal three Tool Cards and place them beneath the Tool Deck in a row; these make up the Tool Market.

Individual Player Setup

  1. Each player chooses a Librarian Figure and corresponding Player Reference Card. Each player should then place their Librarian Figure near the Scoring Track.

  2. Deal two Tool Cards to each player. A player's Tool Cards are not revealed to other players until they are played.

  3. Take a number of Turn Order cards equal to the number of players, shuffle them, and deal one randomly to each player. For example, with four players, take and use only the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Turn Order Cards. The remaining, unused Turn Order Cards should be returned to the box.

1-3 Player Setup

Follow the Setup instructions as above, with the following changes:

  • Remove the Library Cart and Axe Tool cards.
  • Add in the 3rd Turn Order Card for two players.
  • Add in the 4th Turn Order Card for three players.
  • Use all Turn Order Cards for the solo player game.

Game Play

"Routine is the Librarian's greatest asset - if anything ever goes wrong, its effect on your routine will knock your instinct into high gear".

- The Librarian's Handbook, Pocket Edition

Fire in the Library is played over a series of rounds - the precise number is determined by how quickly the Library burns down.

A round consists of three steps:

  1. Step 1: Choosing Turn Order
  2. Step 2: Player turns
  3. Step 3: End of The Round

Step 1: Choosing Turn Order

In the first round, Turn Order is randomly determined according to the Turn Order Cards dealt during setup.

Play begins with the Librarian who was dealt the 1st Turn Order Card; this player begins Step 2 as the Active Player.

In all following rounds, the player with the lowest score on the Scoring Track takes their choice of Turn Order Card, followed by the player with the second lowest score, and so on until every player has chosen a Turn Order Card.

If two players are tied on the Scoring Track, break ties in the following order:

  • The player who first arrived at that score value
  • If multiple players have yet not scored points, the youngest player chooses first.

Except on the first round, players may play tools with the Icon at any point during Step 1, and only during Step 1. Step 1 ends immediately when the Active Player starts Saving Books.

Remember, players cannot play tools in the first round.

Step 2: Player Turns

Each player now has the opportunity to try and save as many books from the Library as they can. However, in their haste to save the books, players may accidentally knock over shelves or by their presence hamper firefighting efforts, presenting an element of risk.

During Step 2, players will take turns according to the order listed on their Turn Order Cards.

On their turn, a player is known as the Active Player, and has several choices available to them: Saving Books, playing a Saving Books Tool, or Scoring Knowledge.

Saving Books

If they have open spaces available on their Turn Order Card, the Active Player may do the following actions any number of times:

  • 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 a Book Token, the Active Player may continue saving books.

    • If the token drawn is a Fire Token, check to see whether it is the second Fire Token on the Active Player's Turn Order Card or if it is the first Fire Token placed on a risky space.

    If either of these is true, the Active Player immediately stops Saving Books and triggers Fire Spreading . If not, the Active Player leaves the Fire Token on their Turn Order Card and continues their turn.

  • Play a Saving Books Tool with the icon.

Whenever a player has decided they do not want to try and save more books, they can choose to stop Saving Books and move on to Scoring Knowledge.

The Active Player's turn ends when they choose to stop Saving Books if they run out of spaces on their Turn Order Card, or if they trigger Fire Spreading .

Fire Spreading

If a player triggers Fire Spreading on their turn, they can play tools with the icon. 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 is unable or unwilling to stop the fire from spreading, they skip the Scoring Knowledge step. They then take the following steps:

  1. All the books that they collected burn in the fire. 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 color.

  2. If only Fire Tokens were drawn, remove the Library Card with the lowest Burn Index Number.

  3. For every fire icon revealed on a Library Section, add one of the ten unused Fire Tokens to the Library Bag.

  4. Return all tokens on their Turn Order Card to the Library Bag unless a Tool Card directs a player to take a different action.

  5. Take a Tool of their choice from the Tool Market or draw the top card of the Tool Deck.

  6. Replenish the Tool Market so there are three face up Tool Cards. There should always be three face up Tool Cards in the Tool Market.

  7. The Active Player's turn is now over. They return their Turn Order Card to the center of the table, and pass the Library Bag to the next player in the Turn Order. That player is now the Active Player.

Scoring Knowledge

"It is only through the courage of our ancestors that this knowledge exists today. Honor the Librarians of old by leaving a coin next to their statues; who knows if there are late fees in the afterlife".

At any point before they trigger Fire Spreading , the Active Player can score points for every book they saved!

There are two ways of scoring points: Knowledge Points and Bravery Points.

The Active Player scores Knowledge Points equal to the current value of each book they saved based on the color of the corresponding Section of the Library and Bravery Points equal to the number below the token farthest to the right on their turn order card.

If this is a tool icon (), take a tool from the Tool Market or draw the top card of the Tool Deck.

Update The Score Track

The Active Player totals their Knowledge Points and Bravery Points and moves their Librarian Figure forward the corresponding number of spaces on the Score Track.

Score Track Order

If multiple players ever achieve the same score, leave the Librarian Figure who scored that value first below the second player's Librarian Figure. The position of the figures is important, as this is used to resolve any ties in determining turn order, as explained in Step 1.

After Scoring

After the Active Player has Scored Knowledge, they may now use Tool Cards with the icon.

The Active Player's Turn is now over. They place all tokens drawn back into the Library Bag, return their Turn Order Card to the center of the table, and pass the Library Bag to the next player in turn order. That player is now the Active Player.

Step 3: End of the Round

Once all players have taken their turn, the round is over and a Section of the Library burns.

To burn a Section of the Library, discard the Library Card with the lowest Burn Index Number.

Each player now has the option to discard one of their tools and replace it with the top card from the Tool Deck.

The next round then begins, with players returning to Step 1: Turn Order.

"Fortune comes to the silent listener, the respectful learner - for they will be the ones prepared when disaster strikes".

- Prikjee, the Seventeenth.

End of the Game

"May you never live in interesting times".

- Old Librarian Proverb.

The game ends IMMEDIATELY when any destroyed Library card, which are worth 10, is revealed - the building has collapsed and all books remaining within are lost.

Any Tool Cards that score at the end of the game are now resolved, and the player with the highest score wins!

Library Cards

Turn Order Cards

Bravery Points

The Active Player scores the Bravery Points listed below the risky space farthest to the right on their Turn Order Card that has a token in it.

If the Active Player did not place any tokens on risky spaces this round, they do not gain any Bravery Points.

Instead, they may draw the top card from the Tool deck or select one from the Market, replenishing the Market as needed.

Tool Cards

"A Librarian's wits are their greatest asset".

- Inukya, the Thirtieth.

Tool Cards are exactly what they sound like: tools to help you save books from the flames. There are four types of Tool Cards, each of which is playable during a different step in the game:

  • Choosing Turn Order: Playable only during Step 1.

  • Saving Books: Playable as soon as the Active Player takes the Library Bag. These cards are no longer playable once the Active Player either causes Fire Spreading or chooses to escape the Library.

  • Fire Spreading: Playable as soon as the Active Player has triggered Fire Spreading .

  • After Scoring: Playable only after the Active Player has chosen to escape the Library, finished their scoring for the round, and before the next player begins their turn.

"There's no substitute for a good robot assistant. None. Change its gears regularly. " - Old Librarian Proverb.

Once a Tool has been resolved, discard the tool and, if any tokens remain on it, return all tokens to the Library Bag.

If two Tools are played simultaneously, the player with the lower score gets to use their Tool. The player with the higher score returns their Tool to their hand. If both players have the same score, the player who arrived at that score first (they should be on the lower half of that value on the score track) gets to use their Tool.

There is no limit to the number of Tool cards you may have in your hand.

Any number of tools can be played on a player's turn, whether by the Active Player or any other player.

No Tool can be used to cause another player to burn books. For example, if one player uses a Slingshot to give the Active Player a Fire Token, another Slingshot cannot be played on the Active Player, as this would cause Fire Spreading .

Sample Turns

The Active Player has the following Turn Order Card with the current Library as shown:

Based on the current Library value for Yellow: 2, and White: 2, plus two points for white being in the risky space above the 2, resulting in a total gain of 6 points.

If the Player instead chooses to draw again and draws a Black Book, in addition to the Yellow Book, a Fire Token, and a White Book, then decides to leave the Library; they would score based on the current Library value for Yellow: 2, White: 2, Black: 4, plus four points for Black being in the Risky Space above the 4, resulting in a total gain of 12 points.

However, if the Player had continued drawing after the Black Book, and drew a Fire Token, they would have two Fire Tokens. This would trigger Fire Spreading and the player would not gain any points, unless they had a Tool that allowed them to put out the fire and return to Saving Books or to otherwise score points.

Technology Books Micro Expansion

Technology Books are very valuable, but also very volatile. Adding in Technology Books to Fire in the Library adds in the chance to score a lot of Knowledge Points but could also lead to the early destruction of the Library!



  • 3 Technology Book Tokens (Teal)
  • 1 Fire Token

To play with the Technology Books Micro Expansion, simply add in the Technology Book Tokens and an additional Fire Token during Setup.

If a Technology Book is successfully saved, it scores points equal to the current highest value Section of the Library.

For example, if no Sections of the Library have been burned, the Technology Book is worth 4 points, as the Fables (Purple) Section of the Library is initially worth the highest amount of points, which is 4.

If Fire Spreading occurs and a Technology Book burns, it burns last and the Section of the Library with the highest Burn Index Number is burned.

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