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Game review: Flip Ships is out-of-this-world fun
Flip Ships is a cooperative dexterity game where players take on the roles of brave pilots defending their planet from an onslaught of firepower. Flip your ships to take out the encroaching enemies, and to take down the powerful mother ship before its too late. - photo by Ryan Morgenegg
An alien mother ship is hovering over Earth and a group of enemy fighters is attacking. Players will take on the cooperative roles of Earth's defenders in the board game Flip Ships by Renegade Games.

The cooperative, dexterity game of Flip Ships requires one to four players and lasts about 45 minutes. Players will be flipping discs, representing their defending ships, at invading alien ships in an attempt to stop their progression to Earth. Think "Space Invaders" for the tabletop.

The game is best played on a table with a flat edge. Earth's surface will be close to the edge of the table so players will flip discs from Earth's surface up through higher zones to defeat oncoming alien ships.

A long cardboard column is placed on the side of the table showing the different zones of the game area from the ground of the planet (bottom) all the way up into outer space (top). Alien ship cards will start in the highest outer-space zone and progress down to Earth. Alien cards are played to the left of the cardboard column in certain zones, and defending ship discs will be flipped at the alien cards from the Earth's surface. If a disc can land near or on an alien card, its destruction is most likely guaranteed.

If an alien ship breaks through to the Earth's surface without being destroyed, it damages Earth's defenses and returns to space to fight again. It's worth mentioning that the mothership, which sits on the table above the top space zone, is a three-dimensional ship created out of four cardboard walls forming a square. The center is hollow and players are trying to flip their discs into the center of this ship to destroy it. Shots at the mothership can be attempted at any time during the game, but it is only defeated after all of the smaller alien ship cards are destroyed.

After the initial setup, there will be a number of alien ships headed to Earth in the top zones of the game space. Players begin their turns by flipping and resolving their ship discs. For a defender's ship disc to be considered valid, it must be flipped from the edge of the table, do at least one full rotation and land on the table in one of the game's zones.

The next phase of the turn requires all enemy ships to march forward. Depending on the type of ship, this could be an advancement from one zone to another or a complete dive to the Earth's surface below. Some alien ships also have shields to protect them from damage.

The final phase is to clean up the play area by returning all the player's ships home, placing new enemies to the back two rows of the board and moving the start player token to the next available player.

When all enemies have been defeated, it's time for the final assault. The mothership must be defeated, and because it sits high up in space and is three-dimensional, it is hard to defeat. It can also absorb multiple hits, so a player's aim must be true. Players only have one round to defeat the mother ship and the game is over. Defeat the mothership and all the enemies and players win. Take 20 points of damage and lose.

One of the cool aspects of this game is the unlocking of more powerful ships as players take damage. Play begins with players using two first-level ships but can end with the use of second- and third-level ships containing extraordinary powers. Defending ship tokens are cumulative, so a player will slowly get more and more attacks each time new ships are unlocked.

The charm in this game is in the actual flipping of the tokens to destroy the invading ships. By performing this test of dexterity, players will actually feel like they are physically manipulating the world around them. Instead of the game being defeated by the smartest player at the table, it is defeated by a cooperative effort of disc-flipping. Children will love this game because they can make great shots and contribute to a win just as well as the adults.

Flip Ships is a fun game and definitely worth a serious look. The components are good quality, the rules are easy to understand and the gameplay changes every time to keep things interesting. This is a game that gets people up, moving and involved. To find out more, visit Renegade Games website.

The game is best played on a table with a flat edge. Earth's surface will be close to the edge of the table so player's will flip discs from earth's surface up through higher zones to defeat ships.