I also picked up Flip City which takes deck building to the next level. Design town is a short filler. You have a small deck of 9 starting cards. Your deck is face up so you know the first card you'll play. This is one of the neat things about the game. The cards are double sided with different buildings and functions on each side. You have to be careful not to accidentally flip the cards.
Like it's predecessors you play cards to your tableau and you can use them to purchase more cards and use their special abilities. There are 4 types of cards you can purchase. The new mechanism is that you can also choose to upgrade your cards in the discard pile. This means the card is now flipped to it's other side and has new values and functions.
The goal of the game is to get cards with 8 VP markers
in your tableau in one turn or to play 18 cards. It sounds easy enough but the trick is that some cards have frowny faces.
If you play 3 frowny faces to your tableau your turn ends immediately. Yes, you are allowed to see the next card in your deck but some cards must be played and of course they have frowny faces so it adds a nice Can't Stop or push your luck element to the game.
I'm generally not a huge fan of deck builders, but Design Town adds a few more interesting twists to it. After my first play I was kind of "meh" but 5 or 6 plays later I've enjoyed exploring it. I prefer it with 2 players. The cards are very well balanced with the "take that" cards cost just enough to make a player think twice about using them. I've seen wins with 8VP and with 18 cards being played.
Flowering Snail is in the microgame family.
It's a 2 player area enclosure game. Each player has 9 cards, snails which have value from 1 to 3 and two flowers. The game comes with a double sided paper board with spaces for card placement. In phase one players place snails and flowers. On each turn a player must place 1 or more snails and may place 1 or 2 flowers. The active player places snails until the sum of the value of the snails placed exceed the opponents. After all snails and flowers have been placed, flowers are awarded to the player whose adjacent snails have the highest value.
In phase two players take turns removing snails. Snails with values less than or equal to adjacent snails are removed. You may remove your own or your opponent's snails. Snails left on the board score their value and flowers score 2 points each.
It's a good 2 player filler that about 10 minutes to play. It's small enough to take and play almost anywhere. While the strategy isn't too hard to figure out, trying taking advantage of it in such a short game is the fun part.
Flatten out Monsters Is another small card game with cute little monsters. You have 3 columns of monsters and a group of 2 weapons under each column of monsters. Your goal is to defeat the monsters and score the most VP.
On the active players turn the swap 2 weapons and flip them over. Yes, the weapons are double sided and have a different weapon with a different value on the other side. If weapons from 2 different columns were swapped you have two fighting groups, if you swapped weapons in the same column only one. Then monsters are checked to see if any are defeated by the active weapon group(s) (the group(s) where the cards were swapped).
Some monsters have special abilities, like discard a monster from another player or can only be attacked by a weapon group in the same column. They also have variable VP on them (stars). If a monster is defeated the player keeps the monster and the next monster in the column slides down for the next turn. It's possible to capture all 3 monsters. The game ends when 2 of 3 columns of monsters are defeated.
This game has an obvious memory component. I had fun playing while not trying too hard to keep all the cards memorized. In fact, it was harder than expected to remember where the cards were. For the length of game and as a filler I think the game works fine and not having a good memory isn't too much of a spoiler. Would be a good Beer and Pretzel game.
Finally some quick thoughts on the little solo games from Homosapiens Lab. I love a challenge and these three little games provide just enough puzzle to make it challenging and yet solvable so I don't feel like a complete idiot.
Flip 9 consists of 9 double sided cards numbered 1 to 9. One side has a nice panoramic countryside and the other a cityscape.
You shuffle them up and for the introductory game you place them the same side and try to get them in order. To do this you swap two cards and use the sum value of the cards to determine one of the next cards to be exchanged. The advanced game takes it a step farther where you start with the cards mixed so that both views are face up and then must get them in order and be on the same side at the end.
Flat Cube has only 6 cards. Each card has half a cube on the right and left edge of differing colors. You shuffle and place them so they make 6 slots. There are two "empty" slots on one side. You try and match all the cubes by moving 2 neighboring cards to the empty slots without rearranging them. There can only be the 8 original slots during play.
You win if you match the cubes and have no empty slots between them.
Finally there is Flakes of Ice. You have 7 tiles, the central hex is ocean. The surrounding hexes have ice on one side and ocean on the other. The hexes also have differing symbols on each side. The ice or glacier is melting and you must try and end the game on the last ice hex on the sixth turn. You start in the middle. The 6 ice hexes are randomly arranged around the center. Before you move you may rotate a hex 60 degrees or swap two hexes without rotation. Then you move your meeple from one hex to an adjacent hex or the hex directly across from it by matching the symbols. Then you flip the hex you've left o become water. You can't land on water during the game and the game consists of only 6 turns.