Every once in a while we come across games at thrift that bring back memories of game nights when we were kids. Nicole recently had that experience with This Game is Bonkers!, having forgotten all about it until she saw it on the shelf of our local Goodwill. This week the same happened to me when I spotted Flinch. It brought back a flood of memories from when I was only six or seven. It used to be my favorite game!
This particular copy was published by our friends over at Winning Moves Games. Knowing how much I had loved playing Flinch, I was sad to see that the previous owners never gave this copy a chance. While the box had been opened, the cards inside were still shrinkwrapped! Their loss is my gain! Nearly two years ago we found a copy of Spite & Malice which is essentially a Flinch clone. And even though it is the same game, I just had to have the original.
Supporting up to four players, Flinch is a classic card game requiring both a bit of strategy and a lot of luck. To set up the game, each player is dealt a hand of five cards along with a Flinch pile of ten face-down cards. Your goal is to play cards from your hand, your reserve piles and the top of your own Flinch pile to the stacks in the center, laying them in numerical order from one to fifteen.
Each player reveals the top card of their Flinch pile in order, playing any 1’s to the center (all 1’s must always be played). Once all top cards are exposed, the first player plays again, now from either his hand or Flinch pile. If they cannot legally play a card, all five cards from their hand are laid down in front of them, creating five reserve piles.
At the end of each players’ turn, they play one card from their hand to the top of one of the reserve piles. These reserve piles serve as additional choices to pull from when taking your turn. On your turn you may play as many cards to the center piles as you wish as long as they meet the criteria for the pile on which you are laying them.
When playing cards you should play from your own Flinch pile first instead of your hand or reserve piles. If you have a valid card on top of your Flinch pile, but play one from your hand or reserve pile instead (the same number), other players may call “Flinch” and halt your turn. If they are correct, you must draw a card from the center stack and place it on the bottom of your own pile. If they are incorrect, they take the same penalty.
When a reserve pile is exhausted, the next card you play to the reserve area must be used to start a new pile. If the stack in the center is depleted, simply shuffle together any completed sets to make a new draw pile. Once any player successfully plays the last card from their Flinch pile, the game immediately ends and they are declared the winner!
I can’t recall the number of hours we spent playing Flinch while of elementary school age. It was a joy to introduce this game to my own children, and if you were a fan of the game, you’ll most likely get the same excitement I did when you show it to your family. If you don’t find Flinch at a local thrift store or yard sale, check out eBay where you’ll find dozens of different versions all at great prices!
Have you ever played Flinch?