|Game: Flip City||Players: 1-4|
|Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games||Ages 8+|
|Time: 30 minutes||Replayability: 9/10|
In high school, a representative from a university came into my physics class to give the students a personality test. She planned to give each of us a wrist band depending on what personality trait each of us carried–safe to say that she ran out of perfectionist pretty early on. I was one of those students who didn’t get that wrist band (yes, I am still bitter about this, haha). At any rate, this personality trait is probably a pain for everyone that plays a game with me (sorry guys) because I ask a lot of questions throughout the first game play and take a really long time to read directions for heavier games. Being a novice, I have a tendency to be a little less question-y when I play with other people I’m not as familiar with, simply because I don’t want to annoy people with my questions.
For all the reasons above, deck building games are oftentimes the most overwhelming games for me to play. When it comes time to play my cards, I always take the longest time trying to make a commitment to the particular card, and I have a tendency to place down a card in the least strategic way possible. This is the result of not having a full understanding of the game and rules prior to game play, but these struggles subside after I give the game a second or third try. My perception of deck building games and enthusiasm has been tainted because I haven’t really given myself time to troubleshoot my mistakes. I have a working list of troubleshooting for the novice tabletop gamer, and would love to share some of these tips with you all in the near future.
At any rate, my fear and hesitation towards deck building games has shifted tenfold. This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to play FLIP CITY, a microdeckbuilding game by Chih Fan Chen with TMG (Tasty Minstrel Games) and I am completely obsessed. I initially just wanted to play FLIP CITY one time through and continue playing the following day when my schedule would clear up a bit. I ended up playing for 2.5 hours with absolutely no regrets. I firmly believe that this microdeckbuilding game has taken away my apprehensiveness towards deck building games, and would argue that it would take yours away as well.
How to Play
In FLIP CITY, your goal is to expand and renovate neighborhoods; however if you build too much, too fast, you can make your citizens unhappy. You start with a preset deck of 4 residential cards, 1 convenience store, 1 factory, 1 apartment, 1 hospital, and 1 central park; these cards will be shuffled (be careful not to flip your cards over while shuffling because the flipped side will be the upgraded side). The game allows you to play anywhere from 1-4 players and the turn sequence is really simple: you have a play card phase and a building phase. Each player will go through both phases, and the next player will continue clockwise. In the play card phase, you will place down the cards from your preset deck starting with the top most card, and continue placing cards until you reach the maximum 3 unhappiness. At 3 unhappiness, you will end your turn, count up the coins and trophies you have earned, and move on to the building phase. In the building phase, you can purchase a card from the general supply using the coins you have accrued during the play card phase and add it to your discard pile, or you can flip a card in your discard pile and pay the flip fee to upgrade your card, or you can develop a card from the general supply by paying the purchase amount and paying for the cost to flip and upgrade and place the card in your discard pile. It may seem a little weird to place all these new cards into your discard, but all the cards in your discard will be shuffled and used by you throughout the game.
The cards are set up with the type of building, the cost for that building, the flip fee, additional functions of that card. Cards can contain a combination of trophies, coins, or unhappiness. The game ends when you can collect 8 trophies in a single play card phase, or you achieve a win condition from the additional function of a played card.
The sequence of the game is really easy to pick up, and perhaps the most difficult thing about the game would be that you need to be mindful about how you shuffle your cards. The overall pace of the game is light and relatively fast depending on how many players you are playing with, and could easily be suitable for a wide age group. Perhaps my favorite feature about the game are the additional functions of each card that changes the dynamic of your play card phase. With the addition of churches, you are allowed an additional unhappiness for that round. With the addition of a hospital, you are granted one coin per unhappiness for that round. You wanted to be wary however, of those darn residence cards that will not only add unhappiness, but force you to play them immediately when they show up on the top of your deck. These little added functions to the game are what make each played card more interesting. You have a healthy level of anticipation and anxiety when you are just about to play a card, because you have no idea when another resident card will show up and completely ruin your round, or even when you take a leap of faith and have a church card immediately to follow.
The amount of thought that went into FLIP CITY is something that I really appreciate and I believe that players will appreciate as well. It is crafted in a way that introduces you to the peaks and pitfalls of risk taking while showing you to the beauty of a deck building game. If you don’t have this game in your collection, you are missing out. FLIP CITY is a thoroughly crafted game that screams perfection and will only get better with age. I would give this game a perfectionist wrist band in a heartbeat.