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Native Americans vs the Cooper Clan


Coffee & Dice, a board game cafe in Bournemouth, Dorset

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Native Americans vs the Cooper Clan

Marc Kenobi

We were kindly offered a review copy of the second expansion to Flick 'em Up: Red Rock Tomahawk, which adds Native Americans to the mix. Time to break out the wonderful wooden pieces for another adventure in the Wild West...

I must admit a little apprehension about the theme of this expansion given the treatment of Native Americans historically and that most depictions of the Wild West are riddled with fiction wherever they are mentioned. This game is deeply rooted in that theme, so the downside is that you will find several of the stereotypes of Native Americans being played to. However in what feels like an attempt to counter that, the creators have made the conflicts in these scenarios between the Cooper Clan (the original game's bad guys) and the Native Americans, casting the later in a heroic light. 

Setting that issue aside I was curious to see what they'd added with this expansion. As with the original game a lot of care has gone into the production of this expansion. The cardboard features and the wooden figures and weapon pieces are all wonderfully well made and the artwork has that same great vibrancy and simplicity. Despite my best efforts I can't quite get everything into the fantastic wooden box from the base game so the flimsy cardboard box is a bit of a shame, particularly given the contrast.  

We jumped right to the first "real scenario" ignoring the practice fields - we highly recommend you don't do this, or at least make sure you shoot some arrows and fling some tomahawks before you start to play with them!

The meat of the content in the expansion is the Native American's weapons and the way they work is different enough that without some practice you're likely to miss a lot and have a much less satisfying game.

So about those weapons...

The bows really require that you hold on to the Native American figures to fire effectively and that's a bit counter-intuitive given that you try so hard not to touch the figures in the base game. Also as you need to use both hands, bows become much more difficult to use when there's a lot of scenery, but with a little practice these are highly effective and accurate weapons.

The tomahawk is really for close up work, it gets inaccurate really quickly the further away you are from your target, but I really like the fact that it changes the way your opponent has to play their turns forcing them to move with the first of their actions.

The Gatling Gun is just as horrifying to face as you think its going to be, I wont go into the rules for it, but if you're playing a scenario with it in you're going to be hoping it's on your side...

There's also new rules for the mountain which acts like a modified building you can shoot at people from on top of (and kick people off of), flaming arrows and the option to hide in the woods. 

Like the base game the scenarios can feel weighted in favour of one side or the other and this is mostly done by giving one side a mission and the other the job of preventing the mission. This is good in that the scenario doesn't devolve into "ignore the mission and just try to do as much damage as possible" seen in some of the original missions, but unfortunately means one team can be encouraged to spoil.

In one scenario we played the Native Americans needed to collect fire arrows (difficult and time consuming given the accuracy of movement required) and then set fire to a building by shooting arrows through the doorway, the Cooper Clan were tasked to prevent them. Given the time limit imposed, at one point it made more sense for the Cooper player to stand cowboys in such a way that the Natives couldn't possibly shoot through the doorway (and if the cowboys got shoot they'd just block it worse) and that just didn't feel fun.

I will admit this may have been more of an issue because I couldn't shoot arrows particularly well as we hadn't practised.

Overall Red Rock Tomahawk adds new ideas and some great twists on how you play Flick 'em Up! but doesn't change the overall feel of the game. So if you're looking for something that dramatically changes the game this isn't going to do it for you. However if you're looking for more of the same there's some great additions to your experience. The expansion challenges you to learn some new skills, has some interesting new mechanics and adds a host of wonderful new pieces to an already visually amazing game.