Some time ago we reviewed Flick ’em Up, a cowboy game which revolved around you flicking counters across the table in order to take out cowboys, complete missions and generally be a Wild West badass with your index finger. It was cute, it was fun, and it was a pretty cheerful game to play.
We also reviewed Dead of Winter. It wasn’t cute, it wasn’t cheerful, but good grief it was great to play. Between characters not surviving the game length, people stealing supplies and the general struggle involved it was a far cry from the quick, snappy Flick ’em Up feel, so there’s no way the two games could co-exist in the same box, right?
Wrong. Flick ’em Up – Dead of Winter is a perfect example of just what can happen when you take two great games and combine them into one awesome title. Somehow it keeps its feeling of danger from Dead of Winter, while also keeping the fun and enjoyment of Flick ’em Up. It brings laughs and smiles to the table, even though you know someone is probably out to stab you in the back and quietly screw everything up. And it has a zombie dice tower. Oh yes.
So the premise is quite simple; the rule book has a series of scenarios with instructions on how to lay out the various buildings, players and zombies as well as instructions on how to play each scenario and how to win. Players move their characters by flicking a round counter to where they want to move to, and will also have the option to attack zombies by flicking your weapon of choice towards the undead beasties trying to have a snack on your internals. What’s cool about the weapons though is that they’re all different to flick, and do different things. A knife can take out a zombie quietly, but is a pain in the backside the flick accurately. A baseball bat can knock out a zombie, but won’t keep it out of the game for long. Or you can use a gun, which is easier to flick (being a round “bullet” disc) but will, as you’d expect, attack nearby zombies. But even then there are varieties – a sniper rifle offers you a guide to drop your disc into, giving you far more accuracy in your shots, and a shotgun lets you flick much smaller discs in a clump which, through the use of a slightly different guide, spread out in a shotgun-style blast.
Whenever you get attacked, the awesome zombie tower comes into play. If you’ve made a quiet turn, the nearest zombie will be placed on top of the tower, then released to tumble down and land… somewhere. If it hits your character then you’ve got hit points to contend with, but get lucky and the zombie will just end up somewhere else. Use a weapon like a gun though, and other nearby zombies will come running. As such you can end up with 4 or 5 zombies quite easily sitting atop the tower, and when the support is removed and those zombies come charging the likelihood of you getting out of it without a scratch is severely reduced. It’s such a fantastic way to deal with zombie movement, and most definitely one of the coolest mechanics I’ve seen in a game for ages. It’s almost worth buying the game just for these moments. Zombies can also end up inside buildings with you, at which point you and the zombie have a bit of a face off where you’ll be trying to kill it as it moves closer to you with every flick. Push your luck too much and the zombie’s card might show an attack, instantly hurting your character and annoying anyone else on your team for being so greedy.
Crossroads cards also come up as previously seen in Dead of Winter, and when they occur can offer some really interesting tweaks to your game such as offering certain characters additional moves or various other actions. These are drawn when certain tokens are found throughout the game, although where these more useful tokens are is generally unknown until you arrive there, so some scavenging is a useful thing to try and do every now and then. They’re not as complex as the crossroads system in the fully fledged Dead of Winter, but are a nice addition to the game and a pleasant nod towards the main game.
So whether you’re a fan of Flick ’em Up or Dead of Winter, or just want to try out a game that had some really cool mechanics and ideas then Flick ’em Up – Dead of Winter is a great place to start. It’s a hugely fun game, is light enough to understand while still being quite tough at times, and can be played with older kids who would be happy with the cartoony zombie theme. It most certainly works better when playing alongside others (as opposed to as a competitive game) but however you fancy approaching this you won’t regret picking it up.
Flick ’em Up: Dead of Winter
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