Review: Fliptales, a dice free tabletop RPG for all ages!
Age target for FlipTales: all ages, from 8 to 108!
FlipTales is rated for ages 8 and up on the box, but we were able to play with my kid (2.5yo) as long as we helped him with the parts requiring reading and watched him with the coins.
We played the sample version that can be found by signing up here, and the mechanics and story, at least from this kit, were quick to pick up and understand, even for my little one.
There are plenty of non-combat challenges that are appropriate for all ages in FlipTales, but there are also combat options to choose too. The premade story that we ran had a scuffle the resulted in a non-violent conclusion. It is very possible to tweak the stories to match you and your family’s intention with the game.
FlipTales‘ varied and modular game settings:
FlipTales provides multiple settings that any character can play, and includes a walkthrough of the levels to progress the game. Each setting is modular and takes less than an hour to play – they would be equivalent to short one shots in Dungeons and Dragons, but much easier to jump into if you wanted to play at a party or with someone not familiar with D&D’s mechanics.
For the story that we played, we started out joining a medieval local law enforcement group and were given a mission to investigate a lighthouse! It was a fun adventure to play with my kid, and we were able to run it from start to end in about 30 minutes, which was great timing for keeping my kid engaged with a new game.
Your unique FlipTales characters:
Character creation is one of FlipTales‘ key points. It was super easy to set up but still provided a ton of customizability and depth for what you play.
There’s a deck of creature cards and a deck of ability cards. You choose one of each (either by choice or randomly), and between those two cards, they contain all the information that you need for your character’s description, stats, and special moves. You still create their backstory like with most other tabletop RPGs, but the framework is all there so you don’t need to spend a ton of time spec’ing out your character.
Another awesome part of character creation is that the creatures for this game are interesting and varied. They aren’t just variations on a humanoid, they cover all kinds of creatures from tree beings, to insects, to birds, and more. It allows for some additional creativity with your character, and we had a lot of fun trying different combos.
FlipTales‘ intuitive dice-less mechanics:
Coins instead of dice:
For both combat and skill checks, instead of rolling dice like in most tabletop RPGs, FlipTales uses coins!
You total up the number of coins you get to flip based on what is on your character and abilities cards. Each character and ability card gives you different numbers, so you can try to combine them to get a really high number of coins for say your strength pool.
Then, you flip all those coins at the same time and see if you got enough heads to pass the combat or skill test!
At one point, my kid pulled off a special move from his card (with some help from my partner) that let him flip 10 coins at once, and… wow that was really satisfying watching him get excited throwing them all in the box! And for counting, it can go past 10, but generally it stayed about there, so he was able to count without much help.
The link between health and flips:
It is possible to lose health in the game, so there are stakes for your character – it isn’t just playing story-mode (though I suppose you could modify in this way, especially for young kids).
If you fail a skill or combat check or a scenario says damage is taken under certain circumstances, you start to lose coins from your strength pool. If your strength pool goes down to zero, your character is no more (you can play as they either have died or got exhausted).
This also means that as you lose health, it becomes harder to make successful strength checks. So, even if you don’t think taking some damage will remove your character from the game, it can still make the game more challenging. It gives a good risk/reward balance to putting your character into dangerous situations.
What did my kid think about FlipTales?
My kid had a lot of fun flipping (or in his case throwing) coins and being able to count high enough to play that part of the game on his own.
He also decided to play as an insectoid character with a fungus lord ability card. It was an interesting choice, and he unknowingly min-maxed his magic skills, so he ended up being a stronger player than my partner’s picks. It led to some funny situations, and my kid had a very fun time defeating the boss using mushrooms.
We did help him with reading the ability card details, but that was really the only help my kid needed. The dice pools are color coded, and once we showed him that his magic skills (clearly color coded in red) were really strong, he was off pretty much on his own.
My overall thoughts on FlipTales:
FlipTales was super easy to pick up and understand, and it is very picture and color coded focused, so even pre-literate kids can grasp most of the content. I do consider this an all-ages oriented game despite the 8+ rating and would very much recommend for both kids and adults who are looking for some quick modular role-playing adventures or a first introduction to tabletop RPGs in general!
Where to find a copy of FlipTales:
You can find FlipTales at the game’s website: https://playfliptales.com/
You can also pick up a free printable sample adventure if you sign up for the FlipTales email list at the bottom of this page.
And, please check out the TTRPGkids interview with Ryan, creator of FlipTales, for some history on the game development, his goals as a creator, and more information about the game!
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