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Flick 'em Up!» Forums » Reviews

Subject: I'll Be Your Huckleberry - A Board So Never Bored Review of Flick 'Em Up rss

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Quick Word

Once upon a time there was a little boy who liked to play Cowboys and Indians. A little boy who loved to recreate the shootout at the OK Corral. A little boy who yearned to grow an epic western mustache. A little boy who dreamed of becoming just like Doc Holiday in Tombstone and shoot him some banditos in a drunken, awesome haze. Instead, when that little boy became a little adult, he worked as a Change Analyst instead of a gun fighter. He spent his days in an air conditioned office instead of the dusty streets of Dodge City. His mustache looked less hard core and more creepy van-stalker. The closest that little boy ever got to a showdown was the time the office party served bad chili and the second restroom was out of order.

And then one day, that little adult begot himself a little boy of his own. His son started playing Cowboys (but not Indians because apparently that is no longer politically correct) and the cycle begun anew.

Enter Pretzel Games Flick ‘Em Up.

Brief Game Synopsis

Teams of players control either the Outlaws or the Cowboys and take turns activating player pawns and take two actions that include moving and/or shooting. Setup, rules and win conditions vary by selected scenario.

Toys With Rules

Flick ‘Em Up comes with a Rulebook and a Scenario Book. Both are quite purrdy to look at and laid out in a logical order so that it can be easily referenced when need be. The game itself is not overly complicated but I will say that the rulebook is somewhat vague on a number of issues. For my part, I am unbothered and have not encountered an issue with any of my playthroughs where both parties could find a logical conclusion in less than a minute. That being said, it would be nice if they were somewhat clearer but I doubt many would be too bothered by this. Most games I have played the players just want to get back to frenzied flicking fun of the game to get bothered with even cracking the rulebook.

I will say both duels and building entry and shooting from buildings can be a bit awkward in practice but I have not seen many strong complaints from my group or son about it. I think I have more issues with it then they do. It is a cool concept it just feels odd to execute.

The game is easy to teach and really doesn’t require a lot of hand holding although I would recommend some practice flicks to get shooting and movement down before the game begins and if the Winchester or dynamite are used in the scenario for new players.

Boards ‘N Bits

This game is beautiful as a cold sarsaparilla on a hot and dusty day. The wooden box and bits ooze with theme and instantly get you in the mood. The barrels and cactus and haystack bits get you right in the mood. We even bought some wicker balls from Hobby Lobby to serve as tumble weeds.

The way that you track turns with the Clocktower and flip hats to show who has been activated is an interesting mechanic and a fun addition (especially for my son who loves flipping the hats and advancing the clock).

I will say that there is only one lady character and she is not really one of the characters so it would have been nice to have some…Cow Gals? Dudettes? Desperada’s?...included in the game. My son is actually the one to complain about this and when a gamer friend brought his fiancé to a session she also complained about this. My son actually pointed out to her (despite having made the same complaint himself) that a Cowboy would never shoot a lady, even a bad one (he is always the Cowboys).

The town itself is easy to assemble and looks nice on the table but even with the stickers they give you to protect the buildings, ours have started chaffing and breaking. I had to tape them together after a bunch of plays and now they barely slide in.

Overall the components are obviously awesome. There is enough included to give the game a strong sandbox feeling that encourages you to Homebrew your own Campaigns and stories. This is kind of funny because I have played the game about 30 times and have yet to actually play every scenario in the book (I think there is only like 10). After seeing the bits and what not people want to make up their own game and win conditions before even hearing the rules (I am looking at you Gallows…everyone wants to see the hangman).

My Thoughts

In case it was unclear, I really like this game. It makes me feel like a kid again, playing Cowboys and Indians. I have some issues with it but overall it is one of my favorite dexterity games that I do not see tire of playing too soon. As soon as one scenario ends I am always up for a second.

I will say due to the nature of the game it lends itself pretty heavily to House Rules. The most frequently used ones by us are when moving and accidentally hitting a building or object, you do not reset your piece but instead you just end your movement (thematically represented as running or sliding into something hoping for cover). If your pawn is within an inch of a building or objective that does not require shooting then no movement is required for entering. Downed pawns blocking entrances are moved for entry. When you are in a building you set your pawn on the building ledge and if he gets shot off it counts as someone shooting him through the window and he takes a damage and is set back on the ledge on his side.

My only major complaint is the scalability. I found that the game lags too much when playing with more than four players due to the boring downtime.

I would like to see more character tiles to choose from with different abilities including women folk. Because of the sandboxability of the game, it would have been nice to have one or two more meeples to assign to new roles. More specialized weapons would have been fun as well as more scenarios (even if just online) and more buildings (maybe some that come with their own special abilities).

Also, I hate to say this as I am a Lovecraftian nerd but hate games that jump the shark (jump the Cthulhu?) but how awesome would a Cthulhu upgrade be? Think about it, Cowboys vs Aliens…er, I mean Elder Gods.

Son’s Thoughts

Here is my five year old son, Judah, had to say (he is my gaming buddy):

I really like the Cowboy guys. They look really cool. I like that I can use bullets and dynamite and the long rifle thing even if it doesn’t seem to help you very much dad. Knocking the barrels out to save the guy about to get hanged is really hard to do but also fun. I was not so happy that you poisoned me the one time (one of the scenarios setups). In fact, each time we play it looks different (different scenario’s setup differently). The story it tells is silly and fun and I like that the people do not die because they go to the Cowboy or Bad Guy hospital to get better. I want to get the horsey upgrade so my Cowboys are harder to shoot.

A follow up to his statement, my son was troubled when we first played the game and I said you killed my bandit. When he plays with nerf guns or toys he always pretends they shoot knockout bullets or water and it never really occurred to me he didn’t use bullets. When I asked the, he said he wouldn’t do that because it is wrong to kill someone even when playing. This led into a deep philosophical debate about the morality of killing and how sometimes it could be justified depending on your view point (soldiers, police, spider, Canadians, etc.). I wasn’t expecting such a deep discussion would stem from the middle of fun little boardgame. But, I am glad it did.

Without getting into the politics of the death penalty or anything with the internets, I will leave it at that it was sort of a moot point because my son decided the guys had to go to either a Cowboy hospital or a Desperado hospital. His reasoning was solid. He said in the end it didn’t really matter if killing was right or wrong because the guys didn’t kill because they showed up in the next scenario, and how could they be killed if they came back? So because they came back for the next part of the story they clearly had only been sent to the hospital.

We didn’t get into a discussion about zombies.

Pro’s

+ Quick to setup
+ Simple concept to explain
+ Visually appealing enough to always get on the table

Con’s

- Set up time takes longer than expected for such a simple game
- Vague rules
- Scalability – Too much downtime with more than 4 players

Purchase, Play, or Pass

Plain and simple, dexterity games are not for everyone. I like them even though I am horrible at them. If you like Catacombs or Dungeon Fighter then this should be a no-brainer. I think this is easier to setup and explain then those and is easier to create a unique story with. For me, it is a definite Purchase if you like dexterity. If you don’t, I recommend Playing if at all possible because I have seen this change the minds of more serious gamers regarding dexterity games.
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I have received several emails since the posting of this (in like, the 30 minutes since it posted, lol).

Lemme just say I did not really check into the expansions and did not know that one has playable Cowgirls and another Indians.

I also did not know that the Flick 'em Up! / Dead of Winter crossover was a real thing that is actually going to happen.

Thank you for the heads up everybody. When I got more $$$ I will have to check into the expansions for my son.
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Joe Donnelly
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A thumb for the first paragraph alone!

Not sure about that reference to Canadians, though.
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Jeff Dunford
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Sunray11 wrote:
A thumb for the first paragraph alone!

Not sure about that reference to Canadians, though.


Well, we do have flapping heads and beady little eyes...
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iNano78 wrote:
Sunray11 wrote:
A thumb for the first paragraph alone!

Not sure about that reference to Canadians, though.


Well, we do have flapping heads and beady little eyes...


It was intended with much love. My grandma was Canadian, so I am like 25%. Because that's how it works, right?
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