*Note* Copy of the game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Theme and What is It?
Flip City is a quick deck builder where players are building a city. Using a set of city cards purchased from a communal marketplace they slowly increase the number of buildings they have access to. Trying to balance the civic pride, income, and unhappy residents in order to have the best city.
The principal mechanic used in Flip City is deck building. Players begin the game with a limited number of cards to represent their town. They can purchase new building from stacks of different buildings set out in the center of the table. The players have to balance the income that their city builds with the needs of the people. Players also need to keep obtain larger buildings that produce points.
One of the things that sets Flip City apart is that all of the cards in the deck are double sided. With one side being an upgrade for the other. A large portion of the game is knowing when to pay to upgrade your buildings or when to recycle them to their lesser version. This addition adds a unique feeling series of decision that made upgrading your buildings as difficult a choice as buying new buildings.
The game also has a minor push your luck element. Every round a player places cards from the top of their deck into play. Some of the cards have frowny faces to represent upset citizens. If you ever have three upset citizens in play at a time you immediately lose your turn. Since you can see the top card of your deck this shouldn’t be a thing that happens. However, some of the cards force someone to play them or the next card in your deck which can cause you to play a third unhappy citizen ending their turn.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of Flip City when I first sat down with the rule book. I enjoy deck builders, I own several, but this small game only had a few cards available and I’m used to much larger productions. It wasn’t until I played my first game that the various strategies began to slide forward and reveal themselves. The more I’ve played this game, the more I’ve become enamored with the thought and planning necessary to do well.
Quality of Components and Insert
The cards are excellent. Their sturdy, and hold up well to constant shuffling. Since they’re double sided if you want to sleeve them you’ll need clear sleeves. This might not be a bad idea here since the cards are constantly shuffled and because the side that’s on top regularly changes could result in fading and damage over time.
The art in serviceable. It isn’t particularly spectacular but is colorful and pleasing. They images are just isometric views of buildings and there isn’t much you can do with that.
I had fun with Flip City. When I started the game I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it, but the more I played it, the more I enjoyed myself, and wanted to play again. It’s fast and easy to understand. There are multiple ways to get to victory that lets a player try new things.
Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion
The rules are pretty simple, the box says 8+. While I think that might be a good range for how difficult the game is to play, to play well I think you have to be a bit older. If you’re looking for a game with simple mechanics then this is great, if you’re looking for something to play with young children maybe look somewhere else.
The game is fast, being more of a filler game to use in between larger games or as a nice start to an evening while waiting for the last few people to show up. Everything flows together well and I was happy with the end product. It does suffer with the same problem of most deck builders in that it you are mostly playing a solitaire game. There is one card that you can play at someone else, but it’s expensive and spending your turn doing that instead of something else never feels like the most worthwhile decision. That said, it’s a nice socializing game. You don’t really have to pay attention during other player’s turns and can’t plan out your own turn until you start playing cards so you can chat around the table while waiting for your turn. If that’s something you value then you might want to check out Flip City.