Flip City: Wilderness


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15 November 2019
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Small-box deckbuilder about creating rural resorts..

Flip City: Wilderness is, depending on your perspective, a small-box deckbuilder about creating rural resorts, or the sequel and optional expansion to 2014’s Flip City. It’s got double-sided cards, a healthy dose of push-your-luck, very similar mechanics to its older sibling and some weird ideas about what people like or dislike to find in their countryside – and also in their card games.

Everyone begins with identical decks: you play cards from yours to the table until their value adds to a card you want to buy from the middle, or you’ve accumulated three unhappy face symbols and go bust. You can also pay to flip a card in your discard pile to its other side, or ‘recycle’ it to flip it back to get more cash.

There are only five different cards (which, since they’re double-sided, means ten things you can add to your deck) and some of them are negative ones you can play into other people’s decks; some let you sideline a card or remove it from the game, and others have point-giving rosettes on them. Reveal eight rosettes in a single turn and you win.

It sounds like it ought to be fast and ferocious, with the only way to interact with other players being an interesting take-that element, but the multiple options and special rules on each card slow it down, like Red7 on Mogadon. It is strategic, though once you know what you’re doing you’ll just follow one strategy to win.

The mechanics are tight but they never really engage with the theme. Why do people dislike farmers’ markets more than interchanges or airports? How can you changea  campground to a reservoir and back? Why is the most likely winning hand a mix of airports and reservoirs? It doesn’t feel like you’re building anything or combining anything in a meaningful way except symbols on cards.

With a little more work this could have been more fun. Sadly it feels rushed (one of the ten card faces has an egregious typo in its header). If you enjoyed the original then this is a good expansion, but as a standalone it’s no more than okay.

JAMES WALLIS

PLAY IT? YES

Designer: Chih-Fan Chen

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Artist: Adam P.Mclver

Time: 30-50 minutes

Players: 1-4

Age: 14+

Price: £19

Purchase the game here

This review originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.

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