Get Flicked

I know what's happening here. I totally do — the guy is walking away from an explosion in HARDCORE MODE, while others are flung back by the blast. But with just a glance, the only thing I see is a space marine with an exploding ass.

Everyone with a soul loves dexterity games. Maybe it’s their inherent lightness, the way they push the most diehard rule-memorizing gamers off their pedestal and onto a level playing field with the rest of us. Or maybe it’s just the fact that everyone likes flicking things around a table and trying to cause as much damage as possible, from smacking quarters into other kids’ knuckles in the cafeteria to games like Catacombs, Ascending Empires, Rampage, and Disc Duelers letting us vent a little of our carefully suppressed anger.

Well, today we’re looking at another dexterity game, and like the best of them, it’s going to let you smack the hell out of anyone who stands in your way.

Not pictured: flicking around the flailing limbs of Baby Cate.

In the shadows of colossi we fought…

The basics of Flick Wars are roughly the same as those found in every dexterity game, so I won’t waste too much space covering what they are. In essence, you have some discs, and you flick those discs into enemy discs. To kill them, of course. What did you think your guys were doing — delivering flowers? Nope, they’re killing folks. Murdering them dead.

What sets Flick Wars apart is that you can’t just blast stuff across the table with immaculately-measured long-range shots. Sure, the ability to set up a position at range will come in handy, but unlike Catacombs or Ascending Empires or Rampage, your warrior/spaceship/kaiju can’t just charge across the dungeon/void/city and land a kill. Rather, this is the sort of dexterity game that rewards careful shots more than giving your soldiers whiplash with each and every move. Why? Because hitting an enemy disc without first getting your own disc in range doesn’t actually hurt them. And since a unit’s “range” is usually an inch or two, it’s best to gently slide them up next to your enemy and then declare the attack that will blast their brains out. And if your careful setup shot didn’t get you close enough, run away or flick your guy behind an obstacle so the enemy can’t take advantage of your proximity on their next turn.

In making Flick Wars more about careful slides than gargantuan feats of flickery, it becomes a somewhat more deliberate game, full of pushes and withdrawals. Which isn’t to say it’s too deliberate. The whole thing takes maybe fifteen minutes to play, after all.

The factory reminds me of that old Total Annihilation game.

One of the four factions, in one of many configurations.

Okay, so slide to get into range, then attack. Straightforward enough, right? Not quite — there are a few other things to keep in mind, all of which ramp up the required amount of tactical thinking considerably.

First of all, each unit is unique, or at least unique-ish. The basic units are fairly boring, very samey between each of the game’s four factions, but adding in the much more interesting advanced units lets you determine the composition of your forces. Suddenly, rather than each side having slight variations of the same infantry-tank-air theme, each faction is doing their own thing. The middle-of-the-road yellow team, for example, gets “blink” units, which allow you to pay resources (which I’ll talk about more in a moment) to jump their units across the board into range of friendly troops, giving them unprecedented mobility. The purple Zerg-ish team not only swarms their enemies with slightly weaker units, they’ve also got specialized troops like the flying Fire Breather, who’s great against ground forces but can’t hit other flying units at all. The red team fields the game’s most powerful tank, complete with massive range and shields that absorb the first hit, while the blue team has lots of airborne troops that stay off the board until they’re deployed from above. For such a simple game, there’s lots of variety.

And that variety manifests in different ways. I’ve mentioned the more flashy abilities, but little things matter too — infantry with the “melee” ability make a second flick so long as their first one didn’t hit an enemy unit, so they can make a positioning move and then attack; while other units with the “hit and run” ability can move after they’ve killed someone, letting them hide from counterattacks. There’s more to consider than first meets the eye.

Second, dead bodies stay on the table as obstructions. Hide behind them, then murder your enemies when they come around the sides. Awesome. Every game that features killing should make the heaped corpses of your enemies matter. And most train games should too. Somehow.

Third, though the most tempting option is always to activate one of your units, smart commanders will quickly realize that they have to divide their time between attacking, positioning, and deploying. Losing all your units makes you lose instantly, whether or not you have resources left over to buy more troops, so it’s not uncommon to find yourself in trouble when you realize you have one unit in a great offensive position — but that’s your only unit. Should you push your luck and hope they don’t kill your last guy on their next turn, or deploy another troop or two back home as a safeguard? Or deploy a troop and withdraw your main soldier? Or just retreat?

A critical art shot.

Lining up a critical shot.

Best of all, Flick Wars is an incredibly simple and compact game, and only takes a few minutes to play. It has enough depth and options to appeal to adults, but it’s also easy enough that kids should be able to play. So long as they aren’t so young as to think the discs are edible, anyway.

Flick Wars is on Kickstarter right now, and there’s a good chance it won’t fund. That would be a shame, because this tiny dexterity game caught me by surprise. Check it out.

 

Posted on May 6, 2014, in Board Game, Impressions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Looks interesting, and sad that it probably won’t make it’s kickstarter goal. I noticed you can buy a two player prototype for 10 bucks though, might grab that.

    • I’m sort of curious whether they’ll just put out a print-on-demand version of the full game anyway, seeing as how it’s on Print & Play Productions and there isn’t much to it besides the game mat — which my preview copy didn’t even have, since it isn’t a strictly necessary component.

      • I wouldn’t be too surprised. The kickstarter looks iffy, so that would let them get some backing and maybe try putting it out again someday.

        Also, about the mat–what kind of mat did you use? And how necessary is a mat? While I’m sure a mat is ideal, both as a surface and for theme (at least with the ones they’re selling with the Kickstarter) I have to wonder if a decent table surface wouldn’t work fine.

        Maybe not, I don’t have any real experience with game mats and little with dexterity games (just Rampage), but it seems like it would. If so, 10 bucks for the sampler kit would end up being a cheap, easy duel dexterity game, which is like 3 niches I like and don’t have much of.

      • For the mat I used a fabric cutting board that we often levy from the sewing room for dexterity games. If you have a regular wood table it probably wouldn’t be necessary to have a mat, but on our felt game table there was far too much friction unless you really pelted the discs, at which point there isn’t much fine control.

        And when it comes to price, the Flick Wars sampler set is really quite a good deal. My favorite dexterity games are the ones I listed in the review — especially Catacombs, which is fantastic in every way. Also Ascending Empires, though that one rates lower than Rampage for me. But Flick Wars does indeed fill the niches you list.

        There’s another game that fills them in much the same way. It’s called Disc Duelers from Level 99 Games, and I liked that one pretty well too. It comes with more variety than Flick Wars, but it’s also more expensive and a bit harder to find.

  2. For some reason I can’t reply directly. But yeah, I looked into the ones you mentioned. Ascending Empires in particular sounded like something I would love, but sadly it’s out of print with no sign of a resurrection. I missed the Kickstarter for Catacombs, but maybe I’ll grab it when it’s retail again.

    Also, wanted to say I love your site, and found it through your articles on Metro 2033, which I love, but it’s been a big part of getting me into board gaming. I’ve picked up some of the games you’ve recommended, but even the ones I didn’t came from searching for games I’d like and the interest was partly sparked here. So thank you!

    • Thanks for your kind words, and welcome (formally) to Space-Biff! I’m always happy to hear when I’ve been able to help introduce someone to something fun.

      The reply thing on this WordPress theme is weird. The only way to do it is by replying to an earlier reply, and then it stacks the new reply afterwards. Kind of goofy.

  1. Pingback: Today in Board Games Issue #169 - Rolling Dice & Taking Names - Today in Board Games

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