- For ages 8 and up
- For 2 to 8 players
- Approximately 20 minutes to complete
- Active Listening & Communication
- Counting & Math
- Hand/Resource Management
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- Up in the Great North Woods, lumberjacks compete to be the number one chopper (of wood)!
- Gamer Geek rejected!
- Parent Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
Ah, the great outdoors! Smell that pine! Look at that blue sky! This is the life, my friend! Let’s go chop down a tree or two, retire for a hearty breakfast, and then chop more trees! Grab your axe, pull on your stocking cap, and lace your boots! Time to venture forth into the woods and make a name for yourself! Just be careful of the wandering Sasquatches! (queue Monty Python’s “Lumberjack” song)
Flapjacks & Sasquatches (2nd edition), by Prolific Games, is comprised of 5 six-sided dice (1 black, 4 white), 25 Chop tokens, 35 Tree cards, 125 Jack cards, and 1 Dice Roll reference card. If you are familiar with the 1st edition of Flapjacks & Sasquatches, you’ll note the higher number of available cards. This is because the 2nd edition comes with the Side of Bacon game expansion.
Game Set Up
To set up the game, first separate the Tree and Jack cards. This is pretty easy as the Tree cards have a green card backing and the Jack cards have a red card backing. Once the cards are separated, shuffle each deck thoroughly. Before shuffling the Tree deck, find and remove the Dice Roll reference card.
Second, deal each player 3 cards from the Jack deck, face-down. Players can look at their cards and should keep them hidden from their opponent’s at all times.
Third, place the Jack and Tree deck in the middle of the playing area and within easy reach of all the players. Next to the decks, place the Chop tokens, the dice, and the Dice Roll reference card.
You are now ready to play! Determine who should go first and begin!
The game is played in turns with each player completing 4 sequential steps per turn. Once they have completed their turn, the next player going clockwise has their turn, and so on. This continues until one of the players has successfully completed the game’s victory condition. The turn steps follow.
Step 1: Draw a Tree Card
The Tree cards (the ones with the green card backing) represent the majestic forest where the players will be cutting down large deciduous and coniferous trees. A player only draws a Tree card if they don’t have a Tree card currently in front of them. Once drawn, it is placed face-up in front of the player. Turns out that lumberjacks are single-task oriented and can only focus on one tree at a time.
Step 2: Draw a Jack Card
The Jack cards (the ones with the red card backing) represent the equipment, bonus, and penalty cards the players will be using to help themselves and hinder others. Also included in this deck are the mysterious Sasquatches that have been known to kidnap lumberjacks for romantic reasons. The drawn card is added to the player’s hand.
Step 3: Play a Jack Card
The player must play a Jack card from their hand either to themselves, an opponent, or to the Jack card discard pile. No exceptions.
A player’s first goal should be to equip themselves with something that can chop down a tree or steal a piece of equipment from an opponent. There is a wide variety of cards in the deck, but they all boil down to either helping or hindering a player’s progress. There are also a few cards that pit two players against each other in a dice match to win a card or avoid a penalty. A player is welcome to play whatever card they like, with the one limitation being each player may only have 1 unique card in front of them at a time. This means you can’t play a card to a specific player if that player already has the same card showing at the table. Cards with different names have the same effects, however, so it is easy enough to work around this and really pile on the cards.
Step 4: Chop Your Tree
A player can only attempt to chop down their tree if they have a piece of equipment or other card that allows them to do so. If not, the player skips this steps and their turn is now over. If they do have a piece of equipment or card that allows them take a swing at the tree in front of them, they grab a number of dice, as identify by the cards in front of them, and roll. Note that some cards will reduce or increase the total number of dice rolled.
The player is attempting to roll as many “4’s”, “5’s”, and “6’s” on the dice as possible. Each die that shows one of these three values is considered a “chop”. A Chop token is placed on the Tree card for every successful chop made. A roll of “3” is considered a miss, but a roll of three or more “1’s” and “2’s” is a very bad miss and breaks the equipment being used, causing the equipment card to be placed in the discard pile. Note that some pieces of equipment can never break. In such cases, a roll of “1” or “2” is counted as a miss. Game play wise, it is understood that the more dice you roll, the better your odds of not only chopping down the tree, but also breaking your equipment.
The Tree card remains in front of the player, slowly collecting Chop tokens, until the number of Chop tokens is equal to or higher than the Chop number indicated on the Tree card (the number in the axe icon). A chopped down tree is added to the player’s score pile, referred to as the “cut pile”, and is worth a number of points equal to the card’s number in the tree icon. All Tree cards in the cut pile should remain visible to all the players and displayed in a way that allows everyone to see how many points each player has collected so far.
This completes the player’s turn.
King of the Lumberjacks
The game continues until one player has 21 or more points in their cut pile and wins the game. At which time the game immediately ends, regardless of how many turns players have had.
To learn more about Flapjacks & Sasquatches, visit the game’s web site.
This is not a complicated game at all. I don’t foresee any problems with our three groups as far as “learning curve” goes. Based on the game alone, I think it’ll be happily received by the Child Geeks, the Parent Geeks will enjoy it because the Child Geek want to play it with them, and the Gamer Geeks might rip me a new one for putting this on the gaming table.
Yeah, this is not a Gamer Geek game. Way too much luck and randomness, with zero balance or ability to improve one’s position in the game using skill alone. I doubt I’ll get more than one game out of the Gamer Geeks, honestly. We’ll have to see.
Teaching the game, as expected, took very little time. I just went over the four steps and tackled any card questions while we played. It didn’t take long for any of the players to grasp the game in its entirety and play it without assistance. Also, as expected, the Gamer Geeks were not pleased that I put this game in front of them. Turns out the game has something of a reputation, and not a good one. Regardless, I braved their wrath to get the scoop. And so, as I set up the game for my little geek and I to play, I asked him his thoughts on the game so far.
“Silly game with a silly theme. I really like it has Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan in it!” ~ Liam (age 8)
My little geek is a Minnesotan, through and through. Let’s see if his affinity to the Great North Woods and pancakes makes the game a good one or not.
The Child Geeks had a great time with this game. They loved it, in fact. The game play is easy to follow and to learn. The card art is funny, too, making it visually appealing. A few of the Child Geeks had difficulty interpreting some of the card text (not reading it, just understanding “what” the card was saying), but more times than not all it took was a quick look in the rule book to get the answer. It should also come as no surprise that the amount of “love” the Child Geeks had for this game was directly based on how much better they were doing than their opponents. Some of the Child Geeks didn’t care for how much “take that” player stabbing you could push on others, but they didn’t complain one bit when they were putting the smack down on their opponents. Typical crazy double standard. The game was approved by the Child Geeks, much to the chagrin of their Gamer Geek parents.
The Parent Geeks, especially the non-gamers, enjoyed this game and thought it was a good one for the family. They noted it was highly dependent on a player being lucky and there was little in the way a player could do to improve their situation other than simply wait for better cards. Even so, this didn’t seem to bother them much and they had a good time playing it. With their peer group, the game was found to be a fun and sometimes hilarious experience, that no player took seriously. This allowed the game to be played very casually and interruptions from the little geeks did nothing to upset game play. With the family, the game was an enjoyable experience, too, and allowed everyone (game plays up to 8 players) to sit at the table and play together. Because the game was easy to play, easy to learn, and was playable by just about everyone in the family, it was approved by the Parent Geeks.
The Gamer Geeks found this game to be way too frustrating, way too random, and way too dependent on luck. A player had no chance to use strategy or tactics to improve their position in the game. It was not uncommon for a player to go an entire game without cutting down one tree or even having a piece of equipment long enough to try. Some Gamer Geeks actually got emotionally angry. I can relate. There is nothing more frustrating than being asked to play a game that you cannot do anything with because either luck is not on your side or you never get the cards. A game with zero balance is very rarely tolerated by the elite gamers. Flapjacks & Sasquatches is no exception.
I don’t mind Flapjacks & Sasquatches, but it’s not a game I would ever recommend to a group of Gamer Geeks. I play it all the time with my little geeks because they want to, and for a quick and casual family game, it’s a good one. But overall, this is not a game I enjoy or will seek out to play. I have played it enough times to know that it’s perfectly possible to NEVER get an axe or score points. My 8-year-old still likes to remind me of the time he scored 21 points to win the game and I had zero. My Tree card didn’t have a single Chop token on it when he claimed victory! Absurd!. Every cell in my Gamer Geek body rages when this happens because the game feels broken and twisted. But it’s not. It’s a game designed to be random, highly dependent on luck, and not taken seriously.
Which I don’t, and nor should you.
If you are looking for a game that is easy to teach, easy to learn, has a lot of opportunities to mess with other players, and allows for younger little geeks to be as competitive as the most seasoned of Gamer Geek veterans, than do find the time to play Flapjacks and Sasquatches. With the right group of people, the game is certain to be a fun time.
This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.