How the West was Fun: A Flick 'em Up Review

by Corey Whelen
16 October 2019

2-10 Players, 60 Minutes, Medium Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 8+

“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us” growls the stranger, a steely glint shining in his eye. A tumbleweed blows through the dusty street between you. He’s right, it is a really small town made of cardboard and wood, but you’re not about to tell him that. Your hand floats over your tiny wooden bullet-disc, you pull back your finger, aim your shot, flick, and fire. The disc spins across the table and slams into the wooden cowboy, knocking him to the ground. “Dang partner,” he mutters as he stares up at the sky. “Do you play crokinole?”

Crazy Cowboys and Awesome Artwork.

Flick ‘em Up from Pretzel Games is a clever dexterity game that’s absolutely dripping with a wonderful wild west theme. The game is scenario-based, so every game will have slightly different objectives, but it boils down to basically the same premise. There are two teams of cowboys- the Sheriff’s band of do-gooders taking on the villainous Cooper Clan. Players will take turns moving their cowboys and shooting at the opponent’s cowboys until either an objective is won, a set number of rounds have passed, or one team is out of cowboys.

Gameplay is turn-based, and turns are action-based. On your turn, you select one of your wooden cowboy meeples that hasn’t gone yet, flip its hat from blue to red (or vice-versa) to indicate that it’s gone this round and can’t be used again until the next, then you get two actions. You can move twice, shoot twice, or do one of each. If that cowboy has a rifle or some dynamite, you can use those as an action as well. It sounds easy, but flicking these wooden discs takes precision and a delicate hand. While you can fire off a bullet at maximum force with no consequences, moving is a little more precarious. You replace your wooden cowboy with a wooden movement disc, flick it to a new location, then put the cowboy back in its spot. The only problem is that if that wooden disc touches ANYTHING when you flick it, your movement is forfeit. This can be a little frustrating, but it adds to the humour of the game. While trying to hit a cowboy on the other end of the table is tricky, it’s much easier than moving half-an-inch and hiding behind a cactus. Being able to laugh at yourself is necessary in this game, as there are always a few bungled plays. Having a sense of humour is almost a prerequisite.

Each cowboy has several heart tokens, depending on the scenario. These signify the cowboy’s health, and each time a wooden bullet disc knocks them over, they lose one. If they lose their last heart token, that cowboy is removed from the game, severely handicapping that team, although this may become necessary as you race to complete objectives like poisoning the town’s water supply, stopping a bank robbery, or delivering crucial evidence to the Sheriff’s office. There are some other fun rules, like having duels inside buildings, or using dynamite to blow up pieces of the map, but you’ll have to play the game to learn how they work.

There's two of these handy scoreboards for keeping track of your kooky cowboys.

The presentation is also noteworthy. With dexterity games, it would be easy to skimp on the materials and provide some plain wooden pieces to shoot around, but Flick ‘em Up goes above and beyond, providing tiny wooden cacti, barrels, and hay bales to take cover behind, as well as buildings to take cover in. When set-up, your cowboys actually have a tiny western town to move around and play in, and it gives this game a phenomenal table presence. People walking by will watch in fascination as you lean in delicately for a tricky shot, much like a pool player preparing to run the table.

This town is actually big enough for all of us, but we're still going to fight about it.

Dexterity games are a fantastic alternative to traditional board games, rewarding different skill sets and engaging players physically as well as mentally. Flick ‘em Up is a king among dexterity games, with beautiful pieces, silly gameplay, and a lot of tension as your friends line up and perfectly execute shots you would have sworn were impossible. It’s fast, silly, fun, and (probably) unlike anything else you have on your shelf. While it might be a little tricky for younger cowpokes, Flick ‘em Up is a fantastic family game that will have everyone howling with laughter.

Disclaimer: Not distributed by Outset Media