Full disclosure: A review copy of Flapjack Flipout was provided by Mind the Gap Studios.
Maybe the one negative about usually writing these reviews kind of late at night is that there really isn’t much time to think about breakfast foods, or games themed around breakfast foods? I’m not sure. Thankfully, pancakes are an anytime food, so, this is kind of a moot point. I’ve been sitting on this game for a while, to my great frustration (and I gently imagine the publisher’s), because there was literally no way for me to get this played due to the ongoing pandemic. As you might imagine, as I am a huge fan of family-weight dexterity games, this was an incredibly frustrating development. Thankfully, good fortune struck a little while ago, so I was able to get a few games in, and here we are. It’s been a hell of a year+. This is actually coming out almost a year to the day that I last went to the office before the pandemic really hit us hard, but dwelling on that will make me more depressed, so let’s talk Flapjack Flipout, instead!
In Flapjack Flipout, you’re hired! Yes, you, yes, you start right now, and yes it’s the breakfast rush. You’ve got to flip some flapjacks to meet the demands of hungry customers to prove that you can handle the job that you just got hired to do. It’s going to be exciting, but hey, you could use the practice. Will you be able to feed all of your hungry customers and avoid the sabotage of your opponents? Or will you end up getting flattened?
Not a ton to set up. Each player is going to need a griddle:
Once you’ve given those out, shuffle up the flapjack tiles:
Set them face-down in a circle around the bell:
And shuffle the Order cards, placing them nearby:
One player should flip an Order, read it, and yell “Order in!”, and you should get started!
Flapjack Flipout isn’t too challenging of a game to learn. Playing, on the other hand, is another story. Your goal is to be the best short order cook, and you’ve got the breakfast rush to prove yourself!
As fast as you can, you’re going to grab a face-down flapjack and put it on your griddle. Then, flip it! You’ll see what kind of pancake it is (and you’ll cook the other side; an important step in proper pancake preparation). You can take it off the griddle, now, and store it face-down, however you want. This organization is key, because you cannot look at it again once you’ve set it down. If you flip a flapjack too hard and it falls onto the table, it’s … garbage. Place it face-up out of play in a trash zone.
Once you’ve flipped enough flapjacks, ring the bell (with your griddle, to avoid any smashed fingers!). Now, prove yourself. Reveal exactly as many flapjacks as the Order card demands. If you’re right, you get the Order card as a point! Other players keep their flapjacks, and you return all of yours (and the trashed flapjacks) to the piles, shuffle them, and start a new round with a new Order (that you read!).
If you’re wrong, however, you are out of the round! You, in a rueful act of charity, donate your pancakes to the community, meaning that now, the Order card’s requirements are reduced by the number and type of pancakes you revealed! This helps your opponents complete the order faster!
At the end of a round, if you didn’t score, you may choose to return any flapjacks to the center (in case you no longer remember what they are). Play continues until one player has scored 3 Order cards!
Player Count Differences
I mean, the game only gets funnier and more chaotic with more players. Also, the Daily Special becomes more powerful, as, I have to assume, more flapjacks are ending up on the floor. At two, you run into an interesting problem, and that’s that if a player messes up their order, the other player can essentially take as long as they want with no consequences (or as long as it takes them to find a plain pancake, sheesh) to complete the order. It’s a bit irritating to sit out for that long since there’s no incentive for them to speed up. This is, of course, fixed by having five other players all trying to clean up your mess with the pancakes you kindly donated to them before yeeting yourself out of the round with extreme prejudice. I think a six-player game right now is ambitious, but I’d love to see Flapjack Flipout played in its full six-player splendor as pancakes fly with reckless abandon and nobody remembers what pancake went where. It’s inspiring, in a way. I still had a blast at the lower end of the player count spectrum, but I aspire to a full flapjack sextet, and I hope that one day I’ll get to experience it. All of that is to say, no real player count preference, though I am loosely convinced the game gets funnier and more chaotic as you add additional players. Just watch out! The number of pancakes of each type remains finite.
- Try not to make big, daring flips, otherwise who knows where those flapjacks are going to flop. While strategically it makes the flapjacks hard to catch, it’s also a courtesy thing, because you may hit another player with one and that’s … rude. Small, controlled flips are exactly what you need to reveal a flapjack’s secrets. Plus, you don’t want to end up with too many garbage flapjacks, right?
- You gotta come up with a good organization scheme. This is the key; you’re going to be flipping a lot of flapjacks, and if you’re not paying attention to what goes where, you’re going to poorly place your pancakes. I try to organize them into “relevant” and “irrelevant” piles, but that doesn’t bode well for long-term success. I would put them in piles by type, but then there are too many piles (and I have no idea what to do with the either / or pancakes that are two types!).
- Don’t telegraph your plans too strongly. If you end up making a “relevant” and “irrelevant” pile, a discerning opponent can quickly ruin them with a moldy flapjack. This is why it might not be a bad idea to have relevant “zones” that are one flapjack each? Like I said, it’s impossible to prescribe a perfect pancake pattern because it’s just … memory-dependent.
- If you’re stuck with a flapjack you don’t want, you can make it a table pancake very quickly. Just kind of slide it into your lap or onto the table. Nobody will notice.
- Just don’t make everything garbage pancakes, otherwise a discerning player can swipe them up pretty quickly with a Daily Special, which is gross, but fair. The Daily Special flapjack lets you take two trash flapjacks and serve them good as new. I assume you wash them or at least wipe them down with a napkin, first, otherwise the health inspector is going to have some words for you.
- If a player has a big stack of flapjacks, it may not be a bad idea to add a moldy flapjack on top. At the very least, it will distract them for a bit. It also might reveal some pancakes that you can claim with your Daily Special, if you’re lucky enough.
- That said, my biggest pile tends to be my “discarded pancakes”, so, that may not always hold. Like I said, I just make a big irrelevant pile, so you’re really just doing me a favor, at that point. That said, I’ve had players tell me in games that they read my Strategy section of my review so that they had a good sense of how to beat me at the game we’re going to play, so maybe I’m just writing this whole bit to psych you out, future opponent. Gotcha.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- The entire premise of this game rules. Finally, more breakfast-themed games. We needed those, and I’m glad that one’s here. Plus, I’m a huge pancake fan, so this game is extremely up my alley. I’m a bit too mentally fatigued for memory games, right now, but, counterpoint, if they’re super fun and everyone I play with is burnt out
- It plays very quickly. You are only playing to three points; even with six players, that means you max out at 13 rounds.
- The art is very cute. I actually like the art style quite a bit! It’s evocative of a nice, relaxing diner without being too over the top. It’s maybe a bit classic Americana without tipping into Cracker Barrel? I don’t know, but it looks inviting and welcoming.
- I’m a bit grossed out by the idea of the Daily Special just being floor pancakes, but, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do in order to win. We all make sacrifices.
- Honestly, the game just makes me hungry. The pancakes look really good! It’s actually been a while since I’ve made any … maybe I should fix that.
- I like that mis-calls just mean that you donate your pancakes to the other players. It almost feels collaborative, if it weren’t just … cruel. It also helpfully speeds up the round and prevents situations where players can’t collect their flapjacks because they’re all hidden in stacks, mostly. There’s still the chance of that happening, but it’s relatively low.
- It can be a bit frustrating to have to dig through piles of pancakes looking for the exact one you need to win the round. This is why I just kind of try to go as quickly as possible; it’s a numbers game. It can be a while, though, especially if you need specific pancakes and they happen to be at the bottom of the stack or something.
- There’s also a point where you’ve flipped too many unhelpful pancakes and you’re just emptied out. Your memory can get a bit overtaxed when you’re trying to sort which pancake is which, and you may just end up throwing a ton into a pile out of sheer frustration. Thankfully, the rounds are short.
- Try to de-static the griddles before you play, otherwise sometimes the tiles will just stick to them for a bit. I think there’s some anti-static stuff in the box, but I do have trouble trying to find the happy medium between “flapjack stuck to griddle” and “NOW LAUNCHING FLAPJACK INTO LOW-EARTH ORBIT”. I assume it comes with practice.
- Make sure you’re not playing this in tight quarters, or someone’s gonna get clocked. Players are not going to be safely flipping flapjacks in their first few forays into this game, and I worry someone’s going to get their noggin bonked. Having a decently-sized space to play the game is probably safest, or letting players do some practice flips.
- The griddles are kind of plain, art-wise. Maybe it’s an aesthetic choice, but I would have loved some art on them to make them look more … griddle-y?
Overall: 8.25 / 10
Overall, I think Flapjack Flipout is an absolute delight. I love dexterity games, of course, so I wanted to make sure I gave this game the diligence it deserves, but the act of flipping flapjacks is itself an art form that is exceedingly well-captured in the game. I particularly love the memory element of having to keep your pancakes face-down, because it’s the exact kind of rude anti-player nonsense that you love in a good dexterity game. You might say, hey, that seems mean for no reason! And yes! That’s the point! And I love it. It adds a fun twist because it’s not just the fastest player who wins. It’s the player who can best organize their pancake piles into outstanding orders, and that’s superb. I do … dislike memory elements in games, but I think the real-time element cancels that out a bit, perhaps? Either way, I’m not as bothered by it as I normally am, to be honest, so, that’s good. Speed dexterity can be a bit on the dangerous side, though, so you may want to play this one in an area where you have a lot of vertical and horizontal clearance. The griddles aren’t particularly pretty, but I could absolutely see someone getting clocked by one, painfully. That’s the dream, anyways. I do appreciate that you have to tap the bell with a griddle, otherwise someone’s fingers would definitely get smashed during the game, and we hate that. Beyond the griddles themselves, the art style of the game is very homey, and I kind of love it. It feels like an old-timey diner sort of thing, and I find that comforting, especially since I haven’t been able to leave my house and get good pancakes in … a while. I’m aware I could make my own, but my previous housemates were waffle people and we had to compromise at French toast. We all made sacrifices. Anyways, I am always a fan of a quick dexterity game, but that plus theme plus art really endeared Flapjack Flipout to me, and I’m glad the gameplay and mechanics shone through as well. If you’re looking for a fun dexterity game to play before breakfast, I would definitely recommend Flapjack Flipout! I had a blast with it.