Fire Shot actually doesn't have a review yet, although this review of the Firepot Specialist does cover some points. However, it's the equipment I've found most common in packs, and is perhaps the most popular equipment piece in the game based on usage.
For reference, this is what the back of the card looks like:
Fire shot is a cheap offensive weapon that can enhance any gunship. Use it to take down larger enemy ships, force them to be scuttled, and to spread fear throughout your opponent's ranks!
Strategies and game play:
Fire shot affects gameplay as one of the cheapest ways to beef up a ship's (literal) firepower. Firepot Specialists cost one point more and are limited to S range, but they still changed the game. Imagine what the cheaper and more versatile fire shot could do! Fire is one of the more effective ways to take down ships, since it can ruin a ship without you needing to hit more than once. Strategically, it's also a fear factor. If an opponent knows or even thinks you have fire shot aboard one of your ships, they have to be careful not to let their ships get hit with it.
Combos with other miniatures:
One of the biggest strengths of this equipment is that it can fire at any range. Therefore, unlike firepot specialists, it's great on ships that have L range cannons rather than ships that only have S range cannons. Since it's an offensive weapon, you'll want accurate cannons as well. When you combine these factors, here are a few ships that stand out, though there are MANY others that would work great with fire shot.
HMS Gallows: With effectively 1L cannons, this ship can deal out a ton of damage very quickly. Any of the cannons could hit with fire shot at 83% hit rate, though if you miss it will be a 1, causing the equipment to backfire.
Selkie: Perfect for equipment in general, the Selkie carries a nice long-range armament that allows her to hit accurately at L-range or sometimes even at L+L range.
El Neptuno/USS Atlanta: With all L-range cannons and the sniping ability, these ships are perfect for setting enemies alight from extreme range.
Due to the horrible thought of rolling a 1 and setting your ship alight and losing fire shot, rerollers of various types can dramatically improve your odds of success. One of these is highly recommended, especially if you're like me and roll lots of 1's during shoot actions. However, the chance of the fire shot backfiring on you is just about 17%, so it's a solid gamble to take, especially for the dirt cheap cost.
If you're facing a ship like the Constitution or La Corse, fire is a great thing to have since it ignores those abilities and goes right through them! (based on mast replacement as opposed to elimination; a wording technicality)
In addition, fire shot goes right through the defensive abilities of catamarans (though they can still roll to ignore the hit) and turtle ships! Even submarines aren't safe, as they can't extinguish the flames just by submerging!
Offensive abilities that improve a ship's cannon ranks (such as a world hater) can help the chances of hitting.
Ammunition: The shot equipment you choose really depends on the situation, but this is a great way to get a free fire shot! (often better than choosing the 3 point exploding shot, since the equipment does count towards the ship's point limit)
Another random thought is to use a cargo master or some other crew to put fire shot on a flotilla. Depending on the cannon ranges, you could have a really nasty combo that allows you to start fires at L+L range without needing to roll a 6 from the sniping ability!
Ships to NOT put fire shot on:
HMS Endeavour: the abilities function separately, so you can't deal a double fire mast with a hit. Better to just do the regular double damage, especially since you're paying so much for the ability.
-Ships with all S range cannons: These ships aren't taking full advantage of the equipment's potential range, and are often better off with the firepot specialist. Still an option though, especially if you only have 1 point to spend.
-Ships with rank-4 or worse cannons: Since this is a powerful offensive weapon, you really want it to hit and not waste your fire shot. Also, since it can only be used once per turn, it's best to use it on the ship's best cannon.
Unfortunately, since fire shot can only be used once per turn, it's not one of the best choices for ships that have the potential for double actions. It'd be nice to shoot a fire shot twice with two move-and-shoots, but you're better off just shooting normally. This isn't to say you should never use fire shot on a gunship with double actions, but more to remember that the number of fire masts you can place per turn is limited to one per fire shot. If you wanted to cause extreme fire damage, you could add exploding shot and a firepot specialist to the same ship, at which point you could start up to 3 fires!
Also, keep in mind that equipment cannot be eliminated when traveling through whirlpools. This is generally a negative of fire shot, since it can't be sacrificed to protect more important things like the ship's helmsman or her final mast.
Ways to counteract it:
-Stay out of range and run away
-Get the first shot against the ship with fire shot and eliminate all of her masts or sink her
-Cancel the enemy ship's captain
-L-range cannons can't hit this ship.
-Runes of Loki
-Potions and Brews
-Cursed Captain Jack
Firepot Specialists are a great way to add fire potential to a ship without the drawback of losing the game piece on a bad die roll. These are better if you can afford the extra point and don't need or want the extra range that fire shot can provide, or if you're simply risk-averse.
Exploding Shot is more expensive but comes with a better drawback and eliminates a crew on a successful hit. Once again, if you have the points to spend, this is probably better than fire shot, but oftentimes build totals fill up quickly and you're better off getting a captain, helmsman, or tiny ship instead of this equipment. (not to mention 3 fire shots on 3 different ships!) If you have the LE version of exploding shot, it can be added if you need a quick boost to firepower.
The other equipment is more situational than fire shot, but can be better depending on the game circumstances and your play style/preferences.
There are only a few bombardiers in the game, and they are all quite expensive for what you get. Fire shot is also far more flexible, though if you use it on a bombardier you can really make the game hot!
-Very cheap; the cheapest way to add fire to your fleet
-Effective offensive weapon
-Fire can be a big fear factor for opponents
-Can shoot at any range unlike specialists
-One of the best counters to ships with different defensive abilities
-Cannot be cancelled directly
-Can be assigned to sea creatures
-Huge negative effect if you roll a 1: major backfire!
-Can only be used once per turn, so not as effective with ships that have double action abilities
Artwork and aesthetics:
The artwork is great: very explosive and fiery!
I give Fire Shot an 8/10. It's an insanely effective offensive weapon that costs just 1 point, but the huge drawback must be accounted for when considering its use. (I think I'd give firepot specialists and exploding shot a 8 and 7.5 respectively)