Dale Yu: Tiny Review Thursday – Flash 10, Speed Cups

For the next few weeks, I will be writing up some tiny reviews – shorter pieces on smaller games.  This edition focuses on two games from Essen 2013 published by AMIGO – Flash 10 and Speed Cups.

Flash 10

  • Designer: Wolfgang Kramer
  • Publisher: AMIGO
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 20 minutes

Times played: 3, with review copy provided by AMIGO

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Flash 10 is a cleverly revision of the classic game Rack-O.  The game is comprised of 120 cards – 20 lightning bolt cards and 100 numbered cards (0 to 99).  The cards are placed facedown in the center of the table and each player draws 10 cards (still face down) and places them in a line.  When all players have a line of cards, the round starts.  In real time, players flip up their cards, making sure NOT to change the order of the cards in the line.  Then, players reach into the center of the table, grab a facedown card, look at it, and then place it on top of one of their cards in their line – so that there are only 10 face up cards in their line at any given time.  The goal is to get the ten cards in lowest to highest order when reading from left to right.   The lightning bolt cards take up a space in line and have no number value.

When a player has his line in order –with all ten cards numbered and in order, he yells out “Stop” and the round ends.  (The round could also end if the last card was drawn from the center, but I’ve not yet seen this…)  The player who triggered the end of the round gets a two point bonus for being the first to finish.  Each player then scores points for as many cards as they have in number order from left to right.  Then, each lightning bolt card is worth minus one point and each card that ends in “0” or “5” is worth positive one point (they have little lightning bolts in the corner to remind you of this).  Scores are tallied, and the cards are shuffled for a new round.  The game continues until someone has scored more than 50 points.

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My thoughts:

I really like Flash 10.  It’s a quick game, taking about 15-20 minutes, and it’s one of those games where everyone is laughing or groaning from their luck in drawing cards (or perhaps their awful skill at placing cards).  The kids picked this one up after about the first hand, and they are constantly asking to play it again.

There is a variant which allows players to call Stop even if they have lightning bolt cards in their lineup.  After playing a few times, this is the version of the game that I like the most with my kids because it really makes for a fast game.  In a game where the hands often take 90 seconds or less, there is a lot of excitement going on.

There is a second variant in the rules that asks you to make a line that ascends and then descends.  We haven’t yet tried this one out.

My initial rating:

I like it.

Speed Cups

  • Designer: Haim Shafir
  • Publisher: AMIGO
  • Ages: 6+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 10 minutes

Times played: 3, with review copy provided by AMIGO

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Speed Cups was given to me at start of 2013 SPIEL in my visit to the AMIGO booth.  I was warned from the get-go that this was meant to be a family game for the German mass market.

The idea is simple.  Each player gets a set of 5 colored cups, and they are set out in a line in front of each player.  There is a deck of cards – and on each of these cards is a graphic which has those 5 colors in some order – the subject might be flowers, cars or balloons – but what really matters is the orientation of the colors.  Each round, one card is flipped up, and the players simultaneously try to stack their 5 cups in color order matching the order seen on the card.  The first player to get their cups in correct order slams down their hand on the bell, and if their cups are confirmed to be correct, they take that card as a victory point.  You play through the whole deck and whoever has the most cards collected at the end of the deck is the winner.

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My thoughts

At first, I thought that AMIGO must have just had a bunch of extra Halli Galli bells around and needed to make a game to use them all up.  But, my crack investigative team (W. Eric Martin) figured out that the designer of Halli Galli and Speed Cups is, in fact, the same person.

There is something satisfying about smacking the bell in both Halli Galli and Speed Cups, and it takes an otherwise average game and makes it oh-so-slightly-above-average as a result.

There honestly isn’t much to the game, but it definitely fills a slot in the family market shelve at the toy store.  I definitely cast no aspersions toward this sort of game, especially because I have co-designed two games for that market which will hopefully be on sale later this year in Germany!

I have played three times, but only once did we get all the way through the deck.  In the first unfinished game, the other players were simply not interested enough to finish.  In the second, the game was aborted early because one of the gamers was so much better at the rapid cup stacking that he won 6 of the first 7 cards.  Everyone else pretty much gave up as it was clear who was going to win.  I have found this to be a common problem with speed games – where people that are 5% better at an individual task will end up winning 95% of the games…

My initial rating: Neutral.


Nathan Beeler: I think Speed Cups is a delightful little game, worthy of space on one’s shelf.  It’s not one I’d want to play all the time, but it is a feather weight filler that offers a unique experience anyone can enjoy.  Of course, I played it with quite a few different people and never ran into a savant like Dale did.  I can see why that would ruin it.  I will be picking it up at some point.  Rating: I like it.

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About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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