Flip City

 

3 Chits, 3 Giggles

Usually flipping a table in the middle of a game is frowned upon… usually. In this game however you can flip an entire city and get away with it!

Notice the way the cards line up to form streets? A neat touch

Tasty Mintrel’s new innovative deck builder ‘Flip City’ is a lot more involved than I originally thought when I first started playing. It reminds me of a time in a foreign town when I decided to take a simple shortcut through a small alley in order to get to the beach. Little did I know that when I entered this alley, it was a twisting maze of laneways and paths and I ended up at the beach 2 hours late, churro in one hand, wooden souvenir in the other and a stray puppy at my feet (I named him Clive). It wasn’t the simple short cut I thought, but it was tremendous fun!

When you first look at Flip City you will notice there are only 6 different cards. "Only 6 cards in a deck builder?" I hear you ask. Well upon closer look at the fantastic artwork you will soon see that these cards are double sided and this is one aspect that makes this game so genius. The double-sided nature of these cards is in no way a gimmick; it is a solid mechanic with some interesting effects on gameplay. The next interesting twist in this game is that it includes a push your luck element. A double-sided, push your luck, deck building game…. I know right?

Each player starts the game with an identical set of cards and these will form your deck. On your turn you will play cards from the top of your deck and place them down onto the table. As these cards are double sided, you can always see the top card of your deck which is the next card you can play. Similar to other popular deck builders, these cards will generate income that you can spend on new cards to add to your deck. However, along with the income are some sad faces. These faces represent unhappiness in your little city and act as a restriction, so you can’t simply play every card in your deck as you may only have a maximum of two unhappiness points in your city. If you ever have three, you go bust and your turn ends immediately letting you buy NOTHING!

There is one rascally nuisance card that pops up a lot in your deck, and this is the residential area. Not only does it give you one unhappiness point, but also, if it is on top of you deck, you must play it. This creates an exciting push your luck element into the game that keeps you on your toes and creates some tricky decision points in the game.

Along with buying cards during your turn you can also flip cards in your discard pile. This effectively upgrades the cards and opens up some new abilities. You can also recycle cards and even pass nuisance cards to your opponents. There are a surprising number of choices and strategies that you discover the deeper you get into this game.

Flip City manages to fix some small issues that are inherent in many deck builders. Many people refer to games like this as multiplayer solitaire games, where the player interaction is low and there isn’t much you can do to affect other players. I find that when playing Flip City, you are always watching the other players’ actions and cards are being exchanged like flu in a college dorm. There is interaction aplenty here. Flip City also rides the luck/skill curve nicely, giving you some options to push the luck if you like but many ways to mitigate it.

For a while I have been considering if Flip City could be my new go to deck builder for new players getting into this mechanic. I have however hesitated due to a few little issues. Due to the double-sided nature of the cards I would recommend holding your deck in your hand when dealing the cards down onto the table. You also need to be very careful when dealing these cards that you do not accidentally see any cards further down the deck that you shouldn't see. I find inexperienced gamers have a lot of trouble with this. You'll also spend a lot of time interacting with cards in your discard pile. You can flip, unflip and even give these cards away. This is also a little different to most other deck builders and has become a sticking point to some new players.

Flip City is a very clever, innovative deck building game and I would definitely recommend you give it a go. It is simple, affordable, amazingly fun and original. Every game I play, I discover new strategies and card combos that I want to try out. When playing this game, my spidey 'expansion' senses do start to tingle. It feels as though it is ripe and ready for extra cards and that there is an addition to it just around the corner. The base game already comes with a simple “expansion” of an office card, but I would not be surprised if there were more where that came from. That being said however, this does feel like a complete game and seeing its low price point, it's definitely something worth picking up next time you’re at your FLGS.

Review by Ben Miles