John’s Game of the Week #1: Pic Flip

Six-year-old son John and I made a New Year’s resolution to try playing at least one new game per week every week of 2021. We have a crazy number of card and board games lying around here, especially after Christmas, so I think it could be done without even making any new purchases. We’ll see if this resolution lasts or not, but we’re off to a great start!

The Game: Pic Flip

Players: 2… John, 6, and Dad, 38

Date: 7:20-8:00pm, Friday, January 1, 2021

Pic Flip game
Pic Flip, by Mattell

Pic Flip was one of eight card games that came in a combo pack from Santa this Christmas, and seemed like one of the simpler ones to play. Intended for 2-6 players, the game is said to be appropriate for kids ages 7+. John is pretty advanced when it comes to learning board game rules, so I didn’t hesitate to give this game a shot despite him being younger than the minimum suggested age.

There are 110 playing cards, each with two pictures on it. Someone starts by laying down a card, and describing one of the images. For instance, if there was a picture of a lobster, the player could say “find something that lives in the sea” and all the other players would literally flip through the cards in their hand to find something qualifying, then try to be the first to put it on the pile. Then that player would describe the other picture on his card, perhaps a flag or something, and ask players to find something that starts with F. This repeats until someone is out of cards.

So, yeah, the object of the game is as simple as it gets. But the rules clearly state players must hold their cards and fan or flip through them, not lay them out or anything like that. That put a little wrench in the game for us, for reasons I will now explain.

How It Went

This game took forever with just two players, one of them being 6 years old. The problem wasn’t that he couldn’t make matches or accurate descriptions, it was that 55 was way too many cards for him to hold in his hand and flip through. He couldn’t do the flip thing, so he just kinda browsed through them one or two at a time.

He also kinda cheated… a lot. For instance, if he laid down a picture of an ear of corn, he would say “okay, something you can eat” while looking at his cards, clearly able to see something he could eat, and immediately play the card before he was even done talking. That left me without any chance whatsoever.

The rules also state all players must be in agreement that the picture shown qualifies. Obviously, I let some of his nutty answers slide, like when he saw a picture of a desk and said “something you can put things on” and then played a card of a circus tent. I was like “No way, dude. Even if you could get to the top of the tent, the roof is slanted and the item would slide off.” But more often than not those types of answers were allowed to speed up the game from its snail-like pace.

The game took over forty minutes, with John winning. I had 7 cards left over, and declared, “Okay, you are up 7-0, but it’s the first to 500.” Haha, as if!

John and I were all business flipping through our games on January 1.

The Stats (1-10 Rating Scale)

Ease: 10/10. I am confident a 3 or 4-year-old could grasp the concept of this game.

Entertainment: 4/10. It got pretty boring after a while. Maybe it would have been more fun with more players. John did get pretty giggly at one point, which brought some life to the game.

Meltdown Factor: 3/10. John didn’t come close to any meltdowns, but on the rare occasion where I strung off 4 or 5 straight cards, his frustration began to mount a little.

Time: 1/10. We should have played with half the deck or less for several reasons. It is just too many cards and takes too long.

Likelihood of Child Actually Beating Parent: 2/10. If we had played by the real rules and stuck to them, it wouldn’t have been close. I would have won handily. The adult really has to play down to the child’s level to keep it fair.

Dad’s Review

Rating: 3/10

It got really boring for me after a while, but I could see this being fun with a bigger group. It kept John very entertained, though, and it was a game where I could bend the rules a little and let him win without him suspecting I was letting him win. It gets a point for simplicity; sometimes games that are so obvious you barely need to read the rules are a good thing.

John’s Review

Rating: 6/10

John admitted afterwards that he had a lot of fun, but wished he could have held the cards like me and actually flipped them. He said he could see this being a game where he would cry and melt down if he were losing badly. The nice thing is there is no real score-keeping going on until the very end, and there were so many cards that even a big deficit made a comeback plausible.

The Final Word

While this likely won’t be a go-to game, I wouldn’t mind trying it again with more players. The fact that John has now beaten me means he’ll probably want to keep playing it.

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