Updated: Jul 14
For the Bat Flip Card Game Review - I was sent this review copy of the game by the designer and publisher Scott Courlander, Score Lander Games. My opinions are my own though, and I received no additional compensation.
Bat Flip is a two player card game where you play as managers trying to win a 3 inning baseball team. Just like in the card game Smash Up, players will take two teams and shuffle them together to make their deck. Every team has their own asymmetrical abilities and some teams pair better with others. Even if you don't know what you are doing, you can have fun putting two teams together though.
One player will be the away team and another player will be the home team. The away team bats first and places a batter up to bat. The home team can choose to defend via a card in hand. Usually, this first defense will be a decent pitcher. Players compare the defense number to the hit number and if the defense is equal or higher, the batter is out. If the hit number is higher, then batter advances the difference on the bases.
Pitchers stay out on the mound, even across innings, unless they are replaced by a new pitcher. However, they only get their defense number when they are placed as a defender. After that, they stay out and use their control number to limit walking.
In the picture example above the Away team sends Randall Buckingham to bat, who hits a 4 fly ball. The Home team deploys pitcher Tyler Dupe to defend who has a defense of 3 against all types of hits. Randall will be advancing a single base. Pitchers stay out in the game until replaced, even between innings.
Other actions include attempting to steal a single base, walking, or taking a strikeout in order to draw additional cards. Normally, both players draw a single card on an out, but a strikeout allows the offense to draw two cards while your opponent draws one. This can be strategically used to your benefit.
Finally, there is the Bat Flip action the game is named after.
A Bat Flip allows you to flip the top card of your deck and use it as a runner without being defended against. If it is a pitcher, the Bat Flipper is out. Otherwise, advance the hit number. Of course, there are cards which break the un-defendable rule. A Bat Flip may usually on be played once per inning by a team.
All of the rule breaking and usually comes from the cards you play. This is of course from the teams you chose back in the beginning. Different teams really are better are different things. These exceptions are part of what make the game fun. After all, who doesn't like to make their opponent think they are stuck and then all of sudden come up with a surprise which allows them to score the game winning run.
Bat Flip won't be for everyone. But I have found a few people who don't even like baseball have enjoyed the game. There are nods to players and teams from relatively recent history, but no real baseball knowledge is needed to play the game.
If you don't like competitive two player games, absolutely don't like baseball in any form, and don't like shorter games with abilities that can wreck your plans- this game may not be for you.
If you like two player card games similar to things like Smash Up or even Pokemon or Magic: The Gathering, this game may appeal to you.
I like that it's fast, nostalgic, and plays a little bit differently based on what teams each player picks. The base game comes with 8 teams and there is an expansion with another 4 teams. The foil cards are a nice touch.
Designed by Scott Courlander, Score Lander Games
Artwork by WEIRDSGN
Time 20-30 Minutes