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I like physical games. I love the feel of M.E.E.P.L.E Force as I could not state loudly enough in my preview of it. I’m really excited for Starflix which I’ll be reviewing soon and Bez’s Yogi was a blast to try at UKGE. So, in theory I should love Physical Elements.
Physical Elements is a flick game in which you take on the role of one of the four elements (water, wind, earth, fire) and must knock the enemy’s lord off of the board. Each faction has their own unique shapes without feeling terribly skewed in any elements favour though earth and wind both get some advantage with how their barrier pieces connect.
During set-up, you place your lord, four attack pieces, and your barriers on your portion of the board. Then, starting with fire and moving round the elements, you take it in turns to flick a piece at your enemies and this is, sadly, where the game falls apart.
In most flick games, the pieces are either rounded or at least not required to be flicked hard – often encouraged not to use a “power flick” which is still a funny term. In Physical Elements the pieces are hard plastic, made of sharp edges, and power is key. The designers seem to be aware of the issues of this and have included 2 cheap rubber thimbles (keep in mind this is a four player game) but its a case of one-size-doesn’t-fit-all. If you’re unfortunate enough to have little fingers, the thimble is either going to ping off with every flick or not sit on in the first place. When we played it on the convention floor, one of our reviewers actually burst her finger open with a hearty spray of blood. (She won and the rest of us didn’t have the nerve for a rematch).
It saddens me that this obvious design flaw holds back what could otherwise be a fun flick game. Maybe rounder edges (though fire’s sawblade like pieces remain a hazard) or rubber coating on the sides? I’m not sure and as it stands, I have to say stick to marbles.
Or hey, bring back Crazy Bones. It was the same idea with some fun collecting involved.
After finishing up this review and checking developer Four Element’s website, it turns out that there are updated pieces which addresses fire’s saw blade shape.
You can find Physical Elements (and katana umbrellas)HERE