If I were forced to pick a single game to play in lieu of any other, it would be crokinole.
It is that wonderful blend of game, sport, reliant on skill only, one where effort can make you better, and it is Canadian in origin (by most sources at least).
Which brings me to Flick Wars, a game from designers Andrew Tullsen and Shaun Austin.
“I love dexterity games and especially flicking games. I play Crokinole (I own two boards), own Pitchcar, play Ascending Empires, Catacombs. I came in first place in the BGG CON 2013 Pitchcar Tournament. So when I saw Shaun’s design that was an army unit flicking, I fell in love with it,” he said.
Austin started design on the game.
“I wanted a battle game that involved the strategy of a war game but had simple rules that my nephews could understand without having to use dice and modifiers,” he said.
“As they liked playing Pitchcar, I thought a flicking mechanism would be a fun way to resolve combat and use other rules to determine range, movement and force selection.
“The Battle theme definitely came first,” said Austin. “A war game between forces was the initial design goal, however my original genre was medieval.
“I am really happy that Andrew decided to change it to the science fiction genre, as it gave a lot more scope for the units and game play.”
“The theme was originally there as a medieval army theme,” added Tullsen. “We originally went with that and developed more stuff, but then once we decided on doing asymmetrical factions, we decided to either go fantasy or sci-fi. I picked sci-fi as I really liked that setting and we could really do anything we wanted with it. The theme was definitely there from the get-go.”
“Trying to get the ideas in your head down on paper,” he said. “It is very easy to look at the way you do something and comprehend it in your mind. It is even fairly easy to sit down and explain it to someone while you are playing the game.
“But when it comes to putting it into the rule book, you need to really cover everything and use images and diagrams to get the point across.
“You have to test it with people who are unfamiliar with what you are explaining to make sure it can’t be taken the wrong way or result in confusion.
“Being a dexterity game makes this a little harder, as so much of the rules involve tactile and physical descriptions rather than a procedure of instructions.”
In terms of the game Tullsen said an add-on really added to Flick Wars.
“Probably I would have to point to the add-on to the game, the mat,” he said. “The mat allows for a smooth surface, and also allows for 3D terrain (sticking pieces under the mat). It really takes the game to the next level without adding on any new rules or anything like that. It’s like a computer game, where you see a hill and you immediately know that it’s going to block line of sight, be harder to traverse. You don’t need to read a list of “+2 defense, +3 move cost” to get a picture of how the hill works.
“I started playing with the mat about a year back, and have never played without one since.”
The play mat is certainly one of the great little innovations for a flicking game.
The mat, in terms of explanation, looks like a hybrid between a regular game mat, and a thin foam mousepad.
Austin sees a much-used game tool as a key element in Flick Wars.
“Probably the range ruler. I know it is something that has been used in many other types of games but using it for a flicking game changed it from a purely physical interaction (luck and/or skill) into something that required thought as well,” he said.
“Sure, the luck element is still there but now you know the exact limit of your enemies attack and you can plan around it. You can choose appropriate units to combat what the enemy has and use the terrain as an advantage.”
Austin makes a good point. The ‘ruler’ element adds some skill-depth to Flick Wars. It’s not always enough to be able to hit a shot from a long distance.
You need to ‘flick’ units to within attack range. It’s a nice mechanics’ twist.
And the exciting news is that as a dexterity game there are plans to grow Flick Wars.
“We are working on some add on material to the game that will hopefully appear in this Kickstarter, or maybe a future expansion,” said Tullsen.
“We have play-tested two more factions (that boost the game to six player, which is really fun!), and they are ready to go.
“There is definitely more opportunities available, it just depends on what the players want.”
Check it out at ww.printplaygames.com, or www.kickstarter.com/projects/printplaygames/flick-wars