What Is It?
Flickwerk is a quick little puzzle-solving game for 2-4
players. Everyone starts with identical components and is given a
puzzle to solve with them. The first one to solve the puzzle correctly
scores a point. There are twelve rounds (hence twelve possible points),
and whoever has scored the most points at the end of the 12th round
wins the game. The game takes about 20 minutes to play.
The theme is computer networks: a nine-cubicle office needs two pairs of
computers networked together, with no extraneous wires when you're done.
How quickly can you figure out the best path for the cables?
What Do You Get?
The game is very inexpensive - I paid US$7 for my copy. It comes with a
cardstock board, five sets of twelve tiles each, also in heavy cardstock,
and four wooden disks (two each of two different colors) to represent
computer servers. The board and tiles contain deliberately vague,
pixel-large images of various office equipment: desks, chairs, phones,
filing cabinets, printers, etc.
In addition, the tiles contain cables, which stand out against the slightly
out-of-focus background quite clearly. There are six different types of
cable layout on the tiles:
Unfortunately, all the backs of all of the sets are identical. It would
be nice to have each set of twelve tiles printed with a different back, as
the game comes in a ziplock bag, and they get all mixed up between games.
So you have to start each game by sorting the sets. I've simply written
a letter on the backs: one set has all As, one all Os, etc., leaving
the fifth and master set with blank backs.
- three tiles have a straight cable, running from one edge to an
- three have an elbow arrangement, with cable running from one edge
to an adjacent edge;
- three have a "tee" connection, with cable running off three different
- one has two straight cables crossing each other at right angles
(these are not spliced together!);
- one has two elbow arrangements on the same tile, also not spliced
- one has a plug: cable runs from one edge to a plug in the center of
the tile and does not exit the tile from any other edge.
The board resembles a tic-tac-toe board: 9 squares in a 3x3 pattern.
How Does it Work?
Everyone starts the game with a complete set of 12 tiles, described
above. The master set is shuffled and turned facedown in a pile, while
everyone else arranges their tiles so they can easily and quickly grab
a given type. The board is placed in the center of the table, and one
player is chosen as boss (which is no great honor).
First the boss arranges the computer markers adjacent to the board edges,
on the table itself. My set came with two green markers and two orange
markers. You can put the markers adjacent to any edge square you wish
- corner cubicles can have two markers, if desired, one on each edge.
Make sure it's clear which cubicles have the computer markers, and then
the boss turns the top master tile over and places it in the center of
At this point, it's a race. Each player must find the same type of tile
and place it on the table in front of them, in the same orientation as
the master tile the boss just randomly drew and placed. Then, working
on the table, not the board (which remains blank except for the one
tile in the center), each player tries to solve the puzzle.
You must build a nine-tile network connection in a 3x3 square, just
like the board. (Yes, this means you'll have three unused tiles once
you've solved the puzzle.) The center tile must be of the same type
as the master tile drawn, and with the same orientation. One orange
computer server must have cable running to the other orange marker,
and the two green markers must be similarly connected. (They can all
be merged into one network if desired, but that's optional.)
In addition, you can't have cable leaving the 3x3 space except
where the computer markers are. Likewise, you can't have cable running
to another tile unless that tile also contains cable leading to that
The first one to complete the puzzle calls "DONE!" and the other
players look at it. If there's an error, the player who called done is
out of the round, and the others go back to finishing their networks.
If there's no error - all cables connect to other cables and the
servers are correctly networked - the round ends, and the player who
called "done" collects the master tile as a victory point.
That player then becomes the new boss: they adjust the computer markers
as they see fit, and when everyone is ready, draws the next master tile
and places it in the center of the board. Continue until all 12 master
tiles have been collected, and the player with the most points at the
end of the game is the winner.
That's basically it. In some ways it reminds me of Take It
Easy in that everyone has the same components and is trying
to assemble them into an optimum whole. The difference is in what
is optimum: in Take It Easy it's maximized points.
In Flickwerk it's quickest accurate connections.
You could easily get two sets, by the way, to play with more than four
players. In this case, I'd award a victory point each to the first two
players to successfully complete their networks.
Why Wouldn't You Like This Game?
You might not like simultaneous action games where the winner is the
You might not like puzzle-solving games that rely heavily on the left
brain. In fact, some people are simply slower at such puzzles than
other people, and you really have to play with people of roughly the
same abilities or the game is very boring - see below for a possible
You might not like inexpensive games with flimsier components than most
German games have.
The more I play this, the better I get. This becomes a problem when
I teach the game to new players, as it takes a few games to get really
quick at seeing the network solutions. So I've come up with a handicap
mechanism to help me teach others the game without having to "let"
The better player simply closes his/her eyes for certain length of time
when the new tile is turned over. Only after counting softly out loud
for a set number of seconds do they open their eyes and begin work on
the puzzle. How long? You'll have to experiment. Start with 10 or 15
seconds, and adjust it up or down depending on their level. The ideal
handicap will make for a close race once the more experienced player
opens his/her eyes.
This is a quick, fairly light game (yet one which requires thinking) that
will appeal to those with the type of mind that can solve connection- and
maze-types of puzzles. It'll probably frustrate the heck out of folk who
don't do well at those types of puzzles - be warned. On the other hand,
it's a good trade-off game: "I'll play your word game if you'll play my
network game when we're done ..." It's short enough for this to work,
so everybody can play the type of game they like in the same evening.
I consider it a fine little inexpensive brain-teaser of a game that only
lasts about 20 minutes. For my tastes, that's a perfect amount of time -
I wouldn't want to play this type of game any longer. But I do enjoy it
for 20 minutes, so it was a good design call. Given the low price, and
the fact that I'll pull it out at least once a month as a quick filler,
that means it'll cost me about 55 cents per month for the first year ...
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