When I first saw the box for Hi Lo Flip by Gamewright, my eyes were drawn to the background. I recognized the ROYGBIV rainbow of colors arranged in a mesh gradient. It is familiar to me because I used a similar feature when designing the final board layout for Hues and Cues, albeit arranged in the opposite direction! With a background in printing, I am always drawn to colorful games and their packaging.
Hi Lo Flip is a card game for up to six players and features a deck of 100 cards and a plastic Hi-Lo chip. The cards also feature backgrounds that cover the entire visible spectrum, but that is only part of the design. Color does not play into the game. Ho Lo Flip is probably best described as a trick-taking game, even though it isn’t played with standard tricks. That should make more sense in a moment.
After grabbing pen and paper to keep score, shuffle the deck of cards and deal out seven to each player. The rest of the deck is laid face-down in the center of the play area and forms a draw pile. The Hi-Lo chip is flipped to determine both the first player (lo = youngest, hi = oldest) as well as the order in which cards must be played (lo = descending, hi = ascending).
On your turn you simply play any card from your hand that is higher or lower than the previous one, depending on the state of the Hi-Lo chip. If you cannot, draw one card from the deck and play it if you can. If you still have no valid cards to submit, you will re-flip the chip and try to get the opposite result so you may play a card from your hand. If the result of the chip-flip is the same as before you flipped, the table is “reset”. The person who played the last valid card collects the entire stack and keeps it face-down in front of them. The current player then plays any card from their hand to the table, starting a new discard pile.
Certain cards have special powers and have symbologies in their corners to remind you of what they do. Cards ending in the number “1” forces the next player to skip their turn and draw a card into their hand. If the card ends in the number “2”, you must immediately play a second card to the discard pile, unless it is your final card in your hand. If you cannot play a second card, you immediately reset the table and the pile is awarded to the player who most recently played a card prior to you. Cards ending in a “0” don’t do anything special during the game, but are worth 10 points each if you collect them during the round.
A round of Hi Lo Flip ends immediately when any player has played all of the cards in their hand. That person collects all of the cards currently in the discard pile and also receives a bonus of 10 points for being the one to complete the round. All players count cards they collected, remembering to add 10 for any cards that end in zero. Scores are tallied on paper and the next round is played with the player with the lowest overall total becoming first player. The game ends once any player has accumulated 75 points or more at the end of a round. Whoever has the highest overall total wins Hi Lo Flip!
No doubt you’ll see some similarities to UNO, especially when you force other players to lose a turn and draw cards to their hand. Typically the player who “goes out” will score the highest for the round, but since a full game is played over multiple, games should end with reasonably close scores. You can find copies of this inexpensive card game at your favorite local game store, direct from Gamewright in their webstore or on Amazon with free Prime shipping! Curious about what else you might flip out about from Gamewright? Follow them on Twitter or Facebook to determine which of their newest games you’ll want to experience next!
Have you ever purchased a game just because you loved the box design?