Monday, 12 May 2014

Flick Wars: a strategic dexterity game ending soon on Kickstarter.

Flick Wars is a really cool new dexterity game by Andrew Tullsen of Print & Play Productions that's running on Kickstarter right now. There are only three days left and you should go back it. Seriously this game is good and fills a niche and you should back it, I will tell you why in a bit. I'll make it easy for you, here's a link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/printplaygames/flick-wars

Okay, now that you've backed it let me tell you why I think that was a good decision. I was given a prototype copy of the game and have been playing it at a variety of local events. It's been a hit at pretty much every session. Even my wife who hates dexterity games and won't even touch games like PitchCar rather enjoyed it. Note that the copy I have is a prototype and all comments are based on the version I received.

What is Flick Wars?

Flick Wars is a rather unique dexterity game. Compared to every other dexterity game I've played it has the most strategy to it. Added to that it's a quick filler game. I don't know of any other dexterity game that plays this quickly, except for maybe Villa Paletti but that's quite a different game.

What you get in the box.
In Flick Wars 2-4 players take on the roles of opposing armies. The armies range from giant mecha to tanks and infantry, there's even a fantasy army of dragons. Each army is represented by a large circular base with individual units represented by smaller, circular wooden tokens. Each unit type also has a set of cards associated with it. The goal of the game is to eliminate the opposing player's army which happens if at the end of any turn they have no units left on the field. The cool bit is that all moving and attacking is done by flicking your units.

Setup

Each player chooses a colour and takes the base and all of the units of that colour. They also take 25 "Unium", the currency in the game, which is represented with black chips. You then set up the battlefield. My prototype copy came with a play mat. These are available as part of the kickstarter and I really do have to recommend using one. They are made of the same material as a mouse pad and work very well for this game. Sure the game can be played just on a table but the mat really adds to the gameplay. Each player is going to place 1-3 items of scenery on or under the battlefiled.

A battlefield with a significant hill.
That's right I said under. The best part about the play mat is that it works really great when you put stuff under it. A base that isn't being used, a belt buckle, a pen, anything that's not too tall works well. Actually that's worth noting, anything can be used as scenery. We've used candle holders, the box top and all kinds of stuff that was scattered around my game room. You could always make your own custom scenery for the game as well, something I'm going to consider doing when I get the full production copy.

Once the battlefield is set players place their base onto the field as well as two units. These units are bought with your starting Unium. This is done hidden so that the other players don't see what you are buying. Once everyone's base is placed the game is ready to start.

Each unit type in Flick Wars is represented by a stickered wooden disk. There are three different types of units in each of the four included armies. Each of these three different units are represented by a few different cards. There are a set of basic cards meant to be used for your first game, then a set of variant cards that greatly increase the strategy of the game. The card you pick for a unit represents all of your units of that type. So all your infantry discs in play reference your infantry card. 

Sample unit cards for the red army. Click to view full size.
The cards themselves show the stats for each unit and any special powers that unit has. Each unit has three basic stats. Cost is what you pay to field the unit. Flicks is how many flicks you can take with the unit when you activate it. Range is how close you have to be to an opposing unit to take an attack flick.

Under the stats every unit has special abilities. Here is where you really see the variety between the unit types and the various armies. Most of the abilities give you bonus flicks with your units. Some give you a bonus for being close to allies, others for being far from the enemy, etc.

Game Play

Each turn in Flick Wars you choose between only two options: 1) Activate a unit or 2) Take 2 Reposition Actions. At the end of your turn if a player has no active units left on the field they are eliminated. If you are the last one standing you win.

Nearing the end of a two player battle.
The Reposition Action - I'm going to explain this one first because it's easier and shorter to explain. When you reposition you choose between two options twice. You can either take a flick move with a unit or you can deploy a new unit. Taking a flick move is just that, flick any of your units on the field to move them. For this it doesn't matter what their card text says (even if they have 0 flicks). To deploy a unit you pay the cost in Unium and put the unit on the field. If using the advanced rules you can also swap up what card represents that unit if there are no units of that type already on the field. This is rather cool as it lets you adapt your army as the game goes on.

Activating a Unit - This is the 'meat' of Flick Wars. Pick one of your units and try to use it to take out the enemy. There are two kinds of flicks, a move flick and an attack flick. During a move flick you can go anywhere, bounce off anything and try to get your unit into a good position. An attack flick can only be made if you have an enemy unit in range. There's a range ruler for figuring this out. If you are in range you can declare an attack flick. If that flick hits, you destroy the opposing unit, flipping it over. That's the basics.

A four player battle with a massive ridge.
Being a card based games means that the rules are exception based and that means that the cards break the rules. Most of the cards let units take multiple flicks under the right circumstances. Some even let units attack more than once. There are also some that give shields that need to be depleted before a unit is destroyed. It's this variety that really ads to the strategy of the game.


Final thoughts

I'm a big fan of dexterity games. A friend sold me on them a few years back and I've been hooked since. The problem I find with many of the current dexterity games on the market is that they don't have much meat to them. All the skill is in the dexterity part. I really like that Flick Wars adds a whole other level of strategy to the game. Both in army building and in using your units effectively once in the field. Now my wife, she hates dexterity games with a passion. She will walk out of the room if I pull one out to play. That said, I found she will play Flick Wars with me. While it's not her favourite game, it's one she does enjoy.

That Celtic candle holder has become our favourite piece of scenery
I really loved the concept of putting stuff under the play mat to create a 3D battlefield. It's so satisfying pulling off a cool banked curve flick off the side of a hill that takes out your opponent's last unit. At first I wasn't a fan of the random stuff around the room for scenery thing but I grew to like it. A few bits of my gaming area have become favourite pieces now, like a Celtic candle holder and a well I use for D&D scenery. 

I also really liked that I could get a game of Flick Wars completed in well under an hour. I own tons of longer games but not a lot of fillers which are great to have at our local events for when one group finishes up before another group. It's nice to see something different at that filler time level.

Personally I really dig this game. I like the components, I dig the mechanics and I really like the army building aspects of the game. I really hope this one does well on kickstarter and I'm looking forward to seeing more unit types and cards in the future. I sincerely do recommend you back this one if you haven't already. 

The last thing I will leave you with is the video from the Kickstarter:

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