Flip, Switch and Roll is a devious puzzle of a dice manipulating card game for 2-8 players designed by Dexter Churchus and published by Word of Mouth Games.
The game consists of three dice, 64 switch cards and 28 number cards ranging from 3-18.
The Initial Roll
Flip, Switch and Roll is setup quickly and easily taught. Each player is given a number card with a number from 3-18 and three switch cards which will be used to alter and manipulate the dice or to sabotage your opponents.
The objective here is to play the switch cards in your hand to change the numbers on the three dice so that they match the number on your number card. The player with the most completed number cards when the deck of number cards is emptied, is the winner.
The game then begins with the roll of the dice which is the only time this happens without the influence of the switch cards.
Switch cards come in a few different flavours.
There are the dice manipulation cards which will allow players to alter the numbers on the dice. These cards have instructions such as ‘Roll 1 dice’, Flip 2 dice’, ‘Change 1 die to any number’, ‘Change 3 dice to the same number’ or ‘Add or subtract 2 from 1 die’.
Then there are the sabotage cards which allow players to affect the actions of their opponents. These cards allow the player to ‘Swap number cards with an opponent’, ‘Block a players switch card’ or ‘Force a player to skip a turn’.
When my turn comes around and I need a 13 but the dice read 2, 5 and 5 totalling only 12 and my switch cards allow me to ‘Add or subtract 3’, ‘Flip 1 die’ and ‘Change 3 dice to the same number’ I can find myself feeling like I’m doing a primary school maths question. If the train leaves Bristol at 6.32pm and Brad has bought 10 apples, how long will it take for Susie who is 5 years younger than her older brother but 6 years older than the train driver, to get to Nottingham.
I start calculating the options in my head. The top and bottom of a die always add up to 7 so if I flip the 2 then I’ve got 15. I can subtract 3 and get 12 again so that’s no good… Can you change 3 dice to equal 16 or 10 so I can add or subtract 3? Ooh, what if I change them all to 6’s and then flip 1 over? BINGO!
The luck of the draw means that you might not always be able to solve the problem, but I quite enjoy the puzzle I am presented with each time. It is especially satisfying completing a number card with only one switch card so that you can draw a new number and keep going until you run out of cards. Getting a streak of luck that lets me complete multiple number cards in a single turn makes me feel like a genius.
Flip, Switch and Roll uses a mechanic where you can only draw back up to three cards by taking that particular action, which uses your turn. When I first played, I thought that might be annoying as if you use up all your cards, you then wait for a whole round to draw and then another round before you play again.
However, in practice I think it makes things run quicker. As people use their cards at different rates it means that different players are using their turn to draw cards rather than having to solve the dice puzzle. This means that at higher player counts there is often only half the people needing thinking time, which speeds up the rounds.
Flip, Switch and Roll also contains attack cards, allowing players to force their opponents to skip a turn and block their cards from working. This sort of action does not usually gel with my style of play as I like to avoid conflict. I find it hard to use them on other players and after having spent a couple minutes working out a system that actually solves my little puzzle, it can be disappointing when someone shuts it down.
However, on the other side, it is interesting if you can find the right time to stop a particular action so that the dice are in a beneficial position or skip a player entirely so when they get round to you it is possible to complete a number card without doing anything.
Flip, Switch and Roll is a fun little puzzle game with the feeling of completing a little suduko while your friends try to stop you completing that suduko because they have their own suduko that uses the same grid.
When I first played, I did not manage to complete a single number card, but I enjoyed failing enough to buy the game anyway. If you are looking for a puzzley card game that does not take itself too seriously then this could be for you.