Reach for the sky!
If you’re a fan of western movies, or un-ironically own a cowboy hat, I’ve got a game you might be interested in.
Flick ‘em Up puts you in the boots of a group of gunslingers, either outlaw or lawmen, facing off against your friends or family in a classic western stand-off.
Will you be a ruthless outlaw of the Cooper Clan, in town to raise hell?
Or will you stand with the Sheriff and his deputies to defend the honest folk living there?
Saddle up and I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to play this disc-flicking gunslinging Wild West inspired board game.
Flick ‘Em Up! The Essentials
- Recommended Players: 2-10
- Running Time: 30-45 minutes
- Ages 7 and Up
What’s in the Box?
There are a lot of components to sort through for Flick ‘em Up. Not all of them will be used in every scenario, so keep that in mind:
- 1 Rulebook
- 1 Scenario Book: This has 10 scenarios to choose from. Each one has a different set-up and goals for each team, as well as some special conditions.
- 12 Figures: 5 black cowboys for the outlaws of the Cooper Clan, 5 wood cowboys for the lawmen, and 2 neutral figures (1 pink and 1 blue).
- 12 Hats: These can be placed on the heads of the figures, and help you keep track of which cowboys have moved in a given round. 2 of them have no number. The other 10 are numbered 1 to 5 (2 of each number), with a blue side and a red side.
- 2 Boxes: 1 (black) for the outlaws, 1 (wood) for the lawmen. These are used for a variety of purposes, chiefly keeping track of your team’s cowboys.
- 10 Cowboy Tiles: 5 outlaws (red), 5 lawmen (blue)
- 6 Buildings: These include the Sheriff, Bank, Saloon, General Store, Town Hall (with clock), and Undertaker.
- 1 Gallows
- 72 Tokens: You won’t use all of these every game; some of them are only for certain scenarios.
- 1 Movement Disc: You’ll flick this plain wooden disc when you move your cowboys.
- 4 Bullets: These are grey wooden discs, which you’ll flick at opponents when shooting.
- 32 Other Pieces: These fill in the props of the town such as barrels, cactuses, and fences. Also includes some special pieces such as the dynamite and the Winchester barrel, which are only used in certain scenarios.
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Fastest Flick in the West
Flick ‘em Up earns that title from its central “flicking” mechanic.
In order to perform actions such as moving or shooting, you must flick a small disc with your index finger across the table.
You can probably guess that this means you’ll need a lot of table space for Flick ‘em Up, and gosh darn it you would be right!
Your specific goals will change based on the scenario you choose for the game.
There are 10 scenarios available in the base game to choose from. Every scenario sets up the town differently and comes with its own set of special rules.
To make things easier for a first play, I’ll explain the set-up with Scenario 1: Gunfight at Waldon Lake.
Setting up the Scenario
Each scenario in Flick ‘em Up will include a picture showing you how to lay out the town buildings and other features.
This picture also shows you where to set the cowboys for each team. The cowboy labeled “C” for the outlaws is the Chief, and the lawman labeled with the star is the Sheriff.
For our scenario, Gunfight at Walden Lake, we’ve got a straight-up gunfight between outlaw and lawman on the main street of town.
The buildings are arranged on either side of a large central area, with plenty of obstacles to hide behind for cowboys on both sides.
See the “x” tokens in the doors of the buildings in the image? That indicates that buildings can’t be entered for this scenario. There are tokens provided in the box for you to place in each entry-way, as pictured, to block the buildings.
Every scenario will also tell you what time the clock is set to and what color to put up first on the hats.
For the Gunfight at Waldon Lake, the clock starts at 6:00. Hats will begin red side up.
The goals for this scenario are simple: Kill 3 of the enemy cowboys, and your opponent will be trying to do the same.
Divide up your players into even teams if you can. If you’re playing with an odd number, it just means that one team will have an extra player. This isn’t an issue, don’t worry!
One team is the outlaws, the other the lawmen.
Take the box, cowboy figures, and cowboy tiles for your team depending on which you choose to be. Also take 5 hats, placing them on your cowboys (with the red side up for this scenario).
The box for your team should go somewhere you can easily see and access it, but where it won’t get in the way of the main play area of the town.
Place the cowboy tiles on the front of the box, in the spaces provided.
Each space has a number at the top which corresponds to a hat number on one of your cowboys. This tells you which figure represents each cowboy on your box.
There are also spaces on the top to track each cowboy’s inventory and current hit points.
There might be different starting inventory items depending on the scenario.
You can see what each team should start with right next to the objectives of the scenario. This also tells you who gets the initiative token for that scenario – in the case of the one we’ve chosen, the initiative goes to the outlaw Chief.
Every cowboy starts with 3 hit points, so go ahead and stack 3 hit point tokens on those spaces for all your cowboys.
You’re all set up, time to get shootin’!
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Starting the Game
Before the game gets going, each team should decide their internal turn order if you’re playing with more than two people. Each player in a team will take a turn playing a cowboy in the order you decide.
The team that holds the initiative token will go first.
That team must play the cowboy with the token as their first turn.
You have 3 possible actions with your cowboy:
- Take, Leave, or Exchange. This one requires you to be in a building, so it won’t come up in this scenario. I’ll explain how buildings work, along with some scenario-specific rules, towards the end of the guide.
When you play a cowboy, you can take up to two actions with them. You could take the same action twice or no action at all if you like.
After you’ve ended your turn, whether or not you took any actions, flip the hat on that cowboy to the other color.
This helps track which cowboys can still be played that round. For every round, the clock hand has a color corresponding to the number it is pointing to.
Only cowboys with their hats matching the color the clock hand is on can still be played that round.
The other team then gets their chance to retaliate by playing a cowboy of their own. The round passes back and forth this way until all cowboys have been played by both teams.
When a round ends, advance the clock hand forward 1 hour.
The color switches, meaning all cowboys are once again available for play.
You begin, as before, with the cowboy who holds the initiative token. This means if your team went last in the previous round and you hold the token, you’ll get two turns in a row!
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Moving Your Cowboys
This is where the flicking enters the scene!
To move one of your cowboys, replace their figure on the table with the wooden movement disc. Then, flick the disc (remember, with your index finger, without your thumb) where you want to move.
If the disc touches any obstacles, building or other figures along the path that movement fails. The cowboy gets put back where they started and the action is lost. Return any figures or objects that got moved around by the disc to their original positions as well.
If the disc manages to leave the play area by getting flung off the table, the movement also fails.
Also, maybe just don’t flick it that hard, you barbarian.
If the disc doesn’t hit anything along the path, you’ve moved successfully!
Place your cowboy where the movement disc stopped.
At the end of a move action, success or failure, you can face your figure any direction you choose.
Well, hell. It was going to come to this eventually. Let’s shoot some folk.
When you take an action to shoot, place a bullet (the gray disc) to either the right or the left of your cowboy. Space it about one bullet-length away from your cowboy.
Flick the bullet at your intended victim, trying to knock over their cowboy figure.
If you succeed in knocking over an enemy cowboy, you successfully wound them!
That team removes 1 hit point from the cowboy that was knocked over, and leaves them where they lay for now. That cowboy will stand back up next time they are played.
Fallen cowboys can’t be injured again until they stand, so use that to your advantage!
Keep in mind, also, that if you accidentally knock over one of your own team’s cowboys with a bullet they still take damage. Watch where you’re shootin’, Tex!
If you hit a cowboy but don’t knock them over, you only grazed them and they take no damage. Also, if you knock over extra cowboys with your mighty flick, only the first one you knock over counts. The others are stood back up where they had been.
No special bonus for knocking the hat off, though it is hilarious. It is placed back on the figure, on the color it was on before being so rudely ejected.
If you displace any obstacles or buildings with your wild shooting, leave them in their new positions.
There will come, in the passage of a game, that sad moment when a cowboy’s final hit point is removed. This cowboy is dead. Return their figure and tile to the box from whence they came.
Anything a dead cowboy was holding is placed on the Undertaker’s building. Their hat is placed on their now-empty space on the team’s box. It will still be played and flipped every round, counting as a passed turn.
When the cowboy holding the initiative token dies the one who lands the killing shot steals the initiative token.
If your cowboy has managed to acquire a second gun, you get two bullets to shoot for every shoot action.
When you shoot with that cowboy, place a bullet on both the right and the left of the figure. You’ll get to flick both of those bullets when you shoot!
Take, Leave, or Exchange Items
This mechanic won’t be appearing in this scenario; it requires you to have a cowboy inside a building and those won’t be available for entry.
In many other scenarios, this is the third possible action you could take when you play a cowboy.
To drop off an item, spend an action on a cowboy inside a building and place the item you wish to drop on a support platform of the building. The item is in that building now.
You can spend an action to take an item from a support platform of a building your cowboy is in. Add the item to that cowboy’s inventory.
You can only have so many items in your inventory, though! If your cowboy doesn’t have enough hands for what you want them to pick up, you can instead exchange an item in that cowboy’s inventory for the item you want to take.
Winning this Scenario
Gunfight at Waldon Lake has a straightforward end condition. When a third cowboy dies for either team, the game ends immediately and the other team wins.
If this doesn’t happen before the clock reaches midnight, the team with the most surviving cowboys at that time wins. Both teams have the same number of cowboys too?
In that case, the team with the most hit points (total, among all their cowboys) will win.
Using the Buildings
In other scenarios for Flick ‘em Up, cowboys will be able to enter or exit buildings. Some scenarios even start some cowboys already inside.
To show a cowboy is inside a building, stand them on one of the support platforms at each corner of the building.
Inside a building, your cowboy is safe from being shot. You can shoot out of a building by placing a bullet behind the building and flicking it through the door.
To get into a building, you have to flick the movement disc so it ends up in the zone in front of the door.
It’s okay to hit the supports on either side in this case, unlike other movement obstacles. If an object is blocking the entrance, you can move it to the side to allow entry when moving.
Similar to shooting out of buildings, you can exit buildings by flicking the movement disc through the door. You must completely exit the zone in front of the door to successfully leave the building.
Finally, you can’t just go entering buildings occupied by the other team. Doing so will trigger a duel to see who gets to stay and who gets kicked out!
Resolving a Duel
There are some scenarios that call for duels in the special rules; you’ll find details for how that works in the specific scenario.
As mentioned above, though, that’s not the only time you’ll be facing off in a good old fashioned western duel in Flick ‘em Up.
Whenever a building is occupied by both teams, a duel begins to see who earns the right to stay.
To set up a duel, have both cowboys face off at opposite ends of an open area of the table (outside the play area of the town).
The player who entered the building shoots last.
If the first cowboy misses, which is likely for the first shots of a duel, the other cowboy takes their turn.
Move them forward the space of the movement disc – you can measure this distance easily by placing the disc at the front end of the cowboy’s figure, then moving the cowboy so the back end of the figure is touching the disc.
This player then takes a shot at the other cowboy.
This continues with each player taking a turn until somebody successfully wounds the opponent’s cowboy. This person wins the duel!
The losing cowboy loses 1 hit point. If this kills them, remove them from play appropriately as described in the shooting section.
The winner then removes the hat from the opponent’s cowboy and flicks their figure out the door of the building the duel occurred in. Leave the cowboy knocked over wherever they land and replace the hat.
If there are more than two cowboys involved in a duel, then each team moves all cowboys on their side every time they take a turn.
Flick cowboys out of the building when they are hit as before, but taking down just one of the other team won’t be enough.
These duels don’t end until only one team has cowboys left standing in the building.
Some scenarios let you wreck some real havoc by throwing a stick of dynamite!
To throw dynamite that a cowboy is holding, take the shoot action. Instead of the grey bullet disc, place the red dynamite token next to the cowboy.
The spacing is the same as for shooting, about one bullet disc away from either the left or right side of the cowboy.
Flick the dynamite at whatever you intend to blow to kingdom come, and watch the fireworks!
The blast range for dynamite extends one movement disc in each direction from where the token lands.
Any object caught in the blast is removed from the game. Similarly, any cowboys caught in that radius lose 1 hit point and are knocked over.
Where dynamite really shines, though, is when you throw it into an occupied building.
If a building is hit all the cowboys inside take 1 hit point of damage and are dropped in front the building, knocked over. This is a quick and easy way to clear out a building an opponent has fortified with multiple cowboys!
Flick Your Way to Victory!
Flick ‘em Up is a unique option for a board game night with family or friends. It can be played well anywhere in the range of 2-10 players.
If you’re a fan of the Wild West theme, Flick ‘em Up also offers a great dose of character in that department. The artwork is quirky and fun, befitting the nature of the game.
The flicking mechanic that is central to the game also means there is different sort of skill required than other board games, which focus largely on strategic prowess or resource management.
This can give you a good game to let a different part of your game group shine from time to time!
So strap on your gun-belt, partner, and take a walk down the dusty streets of the Wild West. This living room ain’t big enough for all of us.