When it comes to flicking games, I tend to prefer games on the lighter side of the spectrum. I like them to be quick and easy to get to the table. Something like Ice Cool, where I can just drop down on the table and start playing. Which is one of the reasons Flick ’em Up fell out of favor with our group. It was too much setup for such a light game. Although there are notable exceptions of course (see Seal Team Flix). But exceptions aside, that brings me to today’s review of Pitch Out. It’s a flicking game that promises to let you get it to the table quickly and start the mayhem. Did they succeed? Let’s find out.
Playing games of Pitch Out is easy. In the Quickstart rules, each player gets an identical team of five units (discs), each of which has a special ability. Players will deploy their units to their half of the arena and then take turns flicking a unit. If you can knock an opposing unit out of the arena, it’s eliminated. The goal is to either eliminate your opponent’s Captain unit, or all their units but their Captain. There are a few other rules when using the “complete rules”, but they basically change the deployment and allow for teams to be up to 7 units. They also add in a few unique units for each player.
I was a bit dubious with Pitch Out when I received the game. The rulebook wasn’t the best and the components felt pretty minimal. Yet once we sat down and started playing, it was the kind of goofy fun you don’t always expect. I’ve long since described the game Coconuts as “more fun than it has any right to be” and that’s kind of the feeling I got here with Pitch Out. The game is super simple, flick a unit, try, and knock something out. Yet out of that easy interaction comes moments of flying discs, clutch flicks at the right time, or trick shots for the win. It’s those moments where the game shines and you feel good about the 10 minutes you spent with the game.
I also appreciated how that even though the units have special powers, most were pretty easy to grasp. A unit like the Guard, who is basically a Red Shirt and can take a hit for a fellow unit. Or the Runner that can move twice in a turn. Our favorite was the assassin that, as you might guess, eliminates another unit just by hitting it. These were all small twists that helped to give the game just a little bit more interest. Plus, when you start assembling squads, you have a few different options to choose from.
The only other thing to be aware of is your playing surface and available area are going to affect how the game is played. Ideally, you’ll want about a 3-foot square surface that’s flat. Smaller than that and the blocky obstacles will be hard to maneuver around. Bigger than that and it might take too much time to get to your opponent, causing the game to drag on longer than it should. And you really can’t play this on the floor as you need a smooth surface. Just all things to consider with this one.
Pitch Out obviously won’t be taking the gaming world by storm, this isn’t the next Ticket to Ride. It’s a filler game through and through, but that’s OK. For those looking for a quick diversion, this is an excellent title to kill some time and have a bit of fun. Even if it’s just a “once in a while” title that you pull off the shelf, its rules are super easy to understand, so you can still get it to the table with minimal effort. Just be aware of your playing space. Despite Pitch Out’s small size, it’s not a title you can play on the table at your local pub, especially once discs start flying.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A surprisingly fun flicking game that’s both easy to get to the table and quick to play.
• Unit powers give it a bit more depth
• Fun, frantic action
• Easy to grab on the go, makes a great filler game
• Need to have the right table to for the best experience