The original version of Flick ’em Up was a work of art, with wooden components giving you a fantastically made and wonderful to play game of cowboys trying to shoot each other and complete various objectives before the big town clock hit midnight. By flicking some small wooden discs around the table you could move your cowboys around, try to take pot shots at enemies and generally be a pain in the ass to your opposition. Everything felt good, everything felt perfectly weighted, and so the news of the plastic versions release filled me with some concern… would this game, which I was so taken with when I played it at the UK Games Expo, still work when everything was made out of plastic instead? Even with a huge price cut for this version, I still opened the box and set up my first game with some trepidation.
I needn’t have worried though. Even in plastic, this game is awesome.
And that sentence above is the one which potential buyers should be focusing on. With both versions available, there’s a decision to make between the far more pricey but ultimately more luxurious wooden version, or this cheaper and less fancy plastic edition. But ultimately, when the sun sets over the saloon and one team of plastic cowboys lies dead in the dust, the likelihood is everyone around the table will still have huge grins on their faces, and that’s the primary objective from a game like this.
For those unaware of what Flick ’em Up even is, let me briefly explain. After either picking a scenario from the several included in the rule book or setting up one of your own creation, you organise the buildings and other items on the table as outlined as part of the scenario. You’ll need a table or smooth floor where people can walk all the way round, which will be awkward for some who game in a smaller room, but unless you want to be flicking towards yourself (which is every bit as tricky as it sound) then moving around is a must. On each turn a player can choose to move their cowboy or shoot at an enemy, both of which are done by flicking a small disc without using your thumb to help you flick. You can also enter or leave the buildings around the table, which needs some impressive accuracy, and depending on the scenario you’re playing against there are several other actions such as collecting something or starting a duel between two cowboys. Once the scenario condition is met, or the towns clock hits midnight, it’s game over and you can declare a winner. It’s simple enough to get the hang of quickly, but the flicking action can be tricky to master and you’ll spend a fair bit of time picking things up off the floor at first until you get the hang of how hard or gently to flick things around.
Each side can be controlled by multiple players, giving this game a range of players between 2 and 12, although a higher player count will leave each person with less to do. It does, however, give you responsibility over a single cowboy, which can leave you feeling more responsible for the actions your individual takes. It also opens up a good level of communication and planning between your fellow cowboys, which is pretty cool but isn’t missed if you only play it with two people – this is absolutely a game which bends to suit however many players you’ve got to hand.
I think what appeals most to me about Flick ’em Up is how it combines so many things that myself and a lot of other people miss about what they played when they were younger. There’s the clipping together and positioning of the buildings in the town, the flicking system which feels instantly familiar to those who played a certain football game in the 80s and 90s and the fact that you’re playing at being Cowboys – it’s a big kid’s dream game, and that in itself is reason enough to keep an eye out for this when deciding what to buy next for your gaming collection.
So while this new version has ended up with plastic components, they’re still excellent and the game itself is certainly no worse off for it. Yeah, the general feel isn’t quite so up-market as the more premium wooden version, but for getting a few games in and just having a laugh this is an excellent, and lower cost version of a fantastic, highly enjoyable game.
Flick ’em Up
Available Now, RRP £32.99
Find your local stockist here