Captain Flip Game Review


12 June 2024
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Captain Flip is a family-weight strategy game, laced with push-your-luck elements – and one which has been nominated for the coveted Spiel Des Jahres award!

Written by Dan York

What is Captain Flip?

Ahoy! Man overboard, literally, flip him over and put him on the board! Captain Flip is a family-weight strategy game, laced with push-your-luck elements that’s all about putting the best pirates down (or up) for the job. It’s super simple, you have a board with some spaces on it, waiting to be filled with characters drawn from a bag. Take a tile from it and decide if you want to use the face you’ve just seen, or if you want to flip it over and use the unseen back of the tile. Careful though, once you decide to flip it over, there’s no going back!

That’s about the extent of gameplay, each tile face could be one of a handful of pirates, each of which contributes to your score in some way. Maybe you’ll collect the combination of Navigators and Cartographers, each of which multiplying your end-game score, or maybe you’ll greedily grab some cannoneers, giving you a burst of points now, but risk blowing up your ship if you get too many at once. Race to be the first to complete columns on your board to secure a few bonuses, once your board is mostly full, the game is over! There’s very little else to say.

You can try out Captain Flip for yourself on Board Game Arena, but keep reading for whether you should!

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Captain Flip Review

I was sceptical about this before I played it, didn’t seem like the sort of thing I was going to enjoy, but this surprised me a lot. The rules really are that easy “pick up a tile, flip it over, or don’t, score it”, but this makes it extremely accessible to a range of ages and skill levels. Certainly, this is the definition of a “family game”, but don’t let me mislead you into thinking that there’s no meaningful gameplay here.

The binary choice each turn is condensed, but there’s always extra factors to consider. Many of the tiles care about their neighbours or their relative positions on your ship, so once you’ve committed to which side of the piece you want, there’s still the question of exactly where to place it. To call out one piece in particular, the Monkey tile allows you to flip over a previously placed piece to its other side, letting you capitalise on both some immediate points and some potential end-game bonus ones.

Not to say that this is a brain-burner, there’s some strategy and a bit of wiggle room to optimise, but there’s also a lot of luck, which serves as an equaliser, much needed to make this an approachable family and entry-level game. It’s tense though, watching other people take their turns is just as fun as taking your own, waiting to see how much a player is willing to risk on a big score gives each round a constant sense of excitement and sizzle.

Captain Flip is also quite a looker; the artwork is vibrant and the backgrounds in particular for each of the various game boards exude a comic charm that underscores the light-hearted nature of the gameplay. It’s always a pleasure to get this out on the table!

Despite my reservations about how simple the concept was, Captain Flip surprised me with just how exciting and fun it ended up being. I really enjoy the easy charm of sitting down to play a quick round while waiting for people to arrive for games night and it’s easily the sort of game I’m willing to take to a family function to show people how great board games can be. It’s not a timeless classic or a revolutionary piece, but between the easy rules and variety in game setups included in the box, it’s hard to see this leaving my collection any time soon.

Should you play Captain Flip?

Yes. It's a great family game with just enough tension and decision-making to be enjoyed by a wide range of gamers.

You should try Captain Flip if you liked Quacks and Co.: Quedlinburg Dash, as they are equally light and tense games, push-your-luck with some room for smart play, baked into a breezy game for all the family!

Captain Flip has also just been nominated for a Spiel Des Jahres award, one of the biggest awards in our industry. 

Looking for more family style games? Try That's Not A Hat, or Andor: The Family Fantasy Game.

About Captain Flip

Designer: Paolo Mori & Remo Conzadori

PublisherPlayPunk

Time to Play: 20 mins

Player Count: 2-5

Age Recommendation: 8+

RRP: £25

What’s in the Box?

  • 10 Double-sided Adventure Plates
  • 72 Double-sided Character Tiles
  • 40 Coins (value 1, 3, 5 and 10)
  • Big Treasure Map token
  • Fabric Bag
  • 3 Game Aids
  • Game Rules
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