Flock Review


09 March 2021
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Birds of a feather flock together… and then try to pinch all their worms.

AEG | Worker placement | £23.99 | 2-5 players | 30 minutes | www.alderac.com

Being a bird is tough – you’ve got to build nests, lay eggs, gather food, feed the chicks, then get some more food, while also trying to stop the other birds in the forest or where ever nicking all the good grub and nest spots. Flock attempts to create that experience of being a busy bird with a simple worker-placement mechanic that, unfortunately, never quite manages to soar like an eagle.

To represent this quest for feathered dominance players are vying for the most victory points by triggering events and building up resources. Up to five players choose a coloured bird of their choice and then each round must either place one of their bird token on an action card or activate an action card that already has one of their bird tokens on it.

There are six potential actions in total – feeding, nesting, laying, hatching, dominance and competition. The latter two work a little differently, so we’ll come to those in a minute. At the simple end of the scale are the feeding and nesting cards – for feeding you spend one or more of your birds to generate a worm token, while for nesting you spend one or more of your birds to get a nest piece. Once you’ve got the nests and worms, you can then combine these to get eggs on the laying card and then use all three on the hatching card to generate more birds. Typically the more tokens you’ve placed on those cards, the more resources you’ll generate.

What’s interesting is that once you’ve got a bird on the card you can activate it at any time and all the birds on that card – no matter if they’re yours or not – must be activated too. Therefore you can mess with the other players by activating your bird when the opposing players haven’t got enough resources, in order to force their bird(s) back to their flock. As a result, there’s a great knack of perfect timing to, not only get things like an egg or nest for yourself, but also stop your opponents gathering that resource too.

Things get a tad more complicated with dominance and competition. The dominance card is a little like a big bird of prey coming along and scaring the other birds off. When you activate it, your birds are returned to your flock but the others scatter to the other action cards where they in turn might cause those birds to flap off in a panic. Competition works in a similar way, however now not only do you have move your birds to other cards, you also have to spend resources (nests and worms) to keep them in play, otherwise they fly home. Triggering the competition also ends a ‘round’ and each player tallies up their points so far. Once it’s been activated three times, it’s game over. 

CONCLUSION

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Flock is a fairly light and quick worker placement game that never quite gets going. The theme is certainly interesting – particularly the idea of dominance and competition - but games have a tendency to play in a similar fashion. That said, take the components out the unnecessarily large box, and you’ve actually got a nice little pocket game that’s good for filling time on the go.

IF YOU LIKE DOMINANT SPECIES TRY FLOCK

Want more of the animals vying for supremacy theme but haven’t got two hours to spare? Well, Flock might just fit the bill.

Box Contents

  • Six action cards
  • Score track card
  • Initiative/round track card
  • 30 nest tokens
  • 30 egg tokens
  • 30 worm tokens
  • Sun token
  • 55 bird tokens

This feature originally appeared in Issue 4 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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