Category Archives: Reviews

Crown War by Advance Games

Edit: Contest extended till the end of July

Brandon: Today we have a fast-paced fun game that’s for absolutely everyone!

Finn: Um, it’s not.

Brandon: What are you talking about? This game can definitely be fast-paced. I mean, you could play it slower too if you want. That’s kind of one of the neat things about it. You can play super fast or whatever pace you want to really, so I…

Finn: I don’t disagree with that. It’s the “for everybody part” I’m talking about, but we’ll get there.

Brandon: Ah! Well, where should we start?

Finn: How about with what you first see when you get Crown War!

Brandon: Oh yeah! When I first opened they box they sent us I was surprised and impressed. Just look at this container!

Finn: This is a text review, not a video.

Brandon: Well, insert a picture, would you?

A picture of the Crown War box

Finn: Here you go.

Brandon: Thank you! Look at how fun that is. It’s a crown shape, but it’s also a battlement tower. 

Finn: Imma open it and show everyone what’s inside.

Brandon: This isn’t a video, remember?

A picture of the coins spilling out of the Crown War box

Finn: Yeah, yeah. Here’s the picture.

Brandon: That’s a lot of pieces. 

Finn: And they’re very well made. These are solid and have a great design on them. They feel really good in your hand. 

Brandon: But how do you play?!

Finn: You know how to play. We’ve played this before. Together. 

Brandon: I’m using a narrative device for the people reading this article. 

Finn: Oh! I must have been using a comedic device to play off of that then. Anyway, you put all of these coins face down and then you take turns flipping them over until every coin has been revealed and then you add up your points. Whoever has the most points wins.

Brandon: Wait, you just turn over coins and count? That seems boring.

Finn: Dude! You’ve played this game before, you know that’s not all there is…oh, narrative device?

Brandon: Narrative device!

Finn: Ok, for the audience: There are special coins with special powers. The king, queen, prince, and joker all bring something to the table such as winning all numbers and then there’s the bankruptcy coin that means you lose the round AND give half your stash back to the pile. 

A picture of the special coins next to the box lid

Brandon: So, mostly luck.

Finn: Yes, and it’s interesting that you bring that up because there is a luck variant can actually be strategic. Each player grabs one coin from the scattered pile before you start and then can use that coin at a strategically appropriate time to make everyone reveal their luck coins to see if that changes the outcome of a round. It’s still luck, but it brings more suspense and thrills to the game. 

Brandon: I certainly had fun playing this.

Finn: So did I, but that does bring me to my original point about “for everyone”. I do think it can be for everyone, but your middle-schooler and high-schooler kids probably won’t like it as much or may just like one play and then move on to something else. This will be great for those 10 and under though. 

Brandon: I’d say it could be fun for a family game night with all ages and that grown-up adult type folks might enjoy it in-between other heavier games, but I agree with you on the 10 and under set. 

I have an idea…

Finn: What’s up?

Brandon: How about we do something nice and give this away to someone who could really use it right now? A lot of people are at home, and sure jigsaw puzzles are being restocked finally, but I say we send this to someone absolutely free of charge. 

Finn: I love this idea. But how do we figure out who to send it to?

Brandon: How about they contact us in one of any of the available ways. Comment on this post, email us, tweet at us, or make a comment on any of our sites and formats.

Finn: That sounds perfect. So, if you’re someone who would like this game, contact us in/at any of the ways mentioned above. We’ll announce a winner in a week on July 6 and contact them for shipping details.

Brandon: I like this game, and I like this plan. Oh, and sorry Quebec. We may plan ahead next time and try to get you included: Quebec




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Finney: Whatcha playin there?

Brandon: Elementos, my dear Finney!


Brandon: What? At least I didn’t title this review “Elementos, my dear Watson”. Though, I still could…


Finney: How do you play?

Brandon: It takes only moments to learn, but a lifetime to master. You will think, at first, that you will be able to win easily. You will then assume that it’s like Tic Tac Toe and that the only winning move is not to play. Then you will realize that it is more challenging than chess, yet more fun than a family game night of Pit. Then..

Finney: Seriously, how do you play?

Brandon: Right. Sorry. It’s a two player game. Each player picks their color of these round elements pieces, black or white, and sets them up on their side of the board with three of each element showing.

Game set up

Finney: I see fire, water, and a tree. The wood element?

Brandon:  I guess. I hadn’t thought about it. 

Finney: What’s this?

Brandon: The wand! You place that in the center of your elements.

Finney: I bet the goal is to get your wand across to the other side of the board. And, the elements consume each other. Water consumes fire, fire consumes trees, trees drink the water! Hey, these are two sided. Can you flip them?

Brandon: Yes! And you can move the wand between your own pieces. Oh, and the piece with the wand in it can’t consume or be consumed. 

Finney: Let’s play!

A few games later…

Brandon: So, what do you think?

Finney: This is a fun game!

Brandon: What do you like about it?

Finney: It’s a great strategy game. It seems simple, and it can be if you want, but it’s also complex. The flipping of the pieces adds an extra layer of strategy.

Brandon: Yeah, I also found that flipping a piece over could really turn the tide of the game…

Finney: It’s also easy to pack and take with you. The box is the board! Other strategy games aren’t as portable.  And the art style on the game pieces and the box is straightforward and well executed. I don’t think it needs the exterior packaging.

Brandon: The little cardboard wrap?

Finney: Yep. 

Brandon: Yep. Also, we do have to talk about the one big problem. 

Finney: Oh yeah. I mean, they did address it in the instructions…

Brandon: They did, but still…

Finney: Still…

Brandon: Shall we delve into it?

Finney: Yeah, there might be a point where the players are just flipping the same two pieces over. Back and forth, back and forth. ‘My fire is now a tree!’

Brandon: ‘My water is now fire!’

Finney: The instructions say, basically, just don’t do that over and over and be reasonable. 

Brandon: That they do. 

Finney: I just wish there was a more specific rule about this. Maybe something like you can only flip the pieces 3 times when it’s clear that it’s just going to go back and forth like that. 

Brandon: Not much of a drawback though. Let’s go ahead and house rule that. Deal?

Finney: Deal.

Brandon: I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes light strategy games that offer deeper play should you want it. 

Finney: Me too! Let’s go again. 

You can buy Elementos at the Tyto website or at your Friendly Local Game Store.

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Spaghetti & Meeples Looks At TableFlip! feather

Spaghetti & Meeples Looks at Math Fluxx and Mad Libs

It’s a Looney Labs twofer!


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Spaghetti & Meeples Looks at Batallas Históricas Verdún 1916

Today we finally take a closer look at Batallas Históricas Verdún 1916 from Runica Art Games. It’s a light 2 player game about trench war fare. Closed captions in Spanish. Subtítulos cerrados en Español,

Previously: feather

Tiny Sword Tactics

Brandon: Good morning! Is it morning? I can’t even tell anymore; with the student teaching and having to set our clocks back an hour, and the election for the President of the USA. Happy election day! Where was I? Coffee! No. I mean, yes. Of course yes. Because, well, coffee. Right?

But, no, because Tiny Sword Tactics. Tiny Swords Tactics is an interesting game and I’m not really sure how to classify it. Is it a tile laying game? Technically. You do lay tiles down. You also move these tiles. Is it a fighting game? Absolutely. Is it an elimination game? Yes! Unless you don’t really want it to be. Well, it is regardless, but you can still give those who are eliminated purpose….

Let’s back up. You start with a Heart Of the Fight tile and then everyone takes turns laying down tiles from their team that they chose until all their tiles are down. Hold on. Let me set this up for you.

All setup and ready to go. Also, coffee.

All setup and ready to go. Also, coffee.

In this picture you can see how the game gets set up. You will notice that the tiles must touch sides. There’s no diagonal tile touching here! But now what? Hold on. Coffee. Mmmmmm, coffee.


rock, paper, scissors

Now you take turns moving, flipping, or fighting. Why? To kick your friends off the table, defeat their team, and win! Moving allows your team to run away from someone who might defeat them or even allow you to push someone else’s tiles along or even out of the game. Flipping tiles can limit or expand a tile’s actions. Fighting, well, is fighting. You defeat a tile or you lose a fight. Fights are mostly simple affairs that play out as rock, paper, scissors. I say mostly, because there are also damage tokens that come in to play based on how the battle goes. A player wins by having the only remaining tiles.

That brings us to player elimination. You can play that way, but there is also a variant where eliminated players get to move the Heart Of The Fight Tile. It’s a great way to mess with everyone who destroyed your team.

What is it like to play this game? Hold on. More coffee.

OK, this game has a lot of strategy and a lot of making plans only to have them immediately thwarted. Think of four way chess. Now think of four way chess where the battles aren’t as easy as rook takes pawn. Now add in fun retro 16 bit graphics.

Look at the graphics on these captain tiles.

Look at the graphics on these captain tiles.

Tiny Sword Tactics is a lot of fun and has a great look. We really enjoyed playing. You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, aren’t you. Go ahead and get your own cup of coffee. I’ll wait. Just know that it’s not so much a shoe as it is a flip flop.

Does this game look great? Is it fun? Is there good player interaction? YES! There is, however the issue of player elimination. Sure, you can use the variant where the eliminated player messes with those still in the game, but it’s not as long lasting in the fun dept. as one might hope.

I forgot to mention something fairly important. Tiny Sword Tactics is currently on Kickstarter. As of the publishing of this review they have 10 days to go. $30 gets you a full version of the game. It seems a little high, but this is a kickstarter and with the total amount they are looking for I get the sense they’re trying to actually kickstart a business and not just create pre-orders.

So, my two concerns are player elimination and the price. That being said I still play Axis and Allies (hello mega player elimination) and I really want this game to make it. Tiny Sword Tactics looks good and plays well. Definitely check it out!

Here’s a link for you: feather


Brandon: I once made a dice tower based on the Porkins’ Dice Tower and helped Tarehna make a birdhouse themed dice tower for herself. You can get a good look at them both in this video! In that video you can also see a dice tower I purchased from Troll Works with cashy money. Well, with an electronic card thing over the internets. Thank you internets and thank you cashy electronic card thing. The first dice tower I purchased from Troll Works is a Memoir ’44 themed dice tower and I love it. The construction is excellent and the fake little rivets are all turned different directions. This dice tower fits in so well with the theme of the game. A Glen Miller playlist on Pandora, Memoir ’44,  and this dice tower (pictured below) make for an excellent evening.

It came completely flat and I got to assemble it!

It came completely flat and I got to assemble it!

I enjoyed the Memoir ’44 tower so much I kept going back and looking at the Trollworks Etsy shop. One of the products that stood out to me was a fold-down (or up) tower. It appeared to have the same great quality as the dice tower I had purchased and presented additional benefits. It folded up, or down, or both. Space saver! Also, there’s a lid that goes on the top so that you can plop your dice in it, put the lid on, fold it up (or down), and travel to your next adventure!

I had a dilemma on my hands though. I already had a Memoir ’44 themed dice tower, and I was eyeing yet another Memoir ’44 themed dice tower. I couldn’t do it. There was no way that I could justify two Memoir ’44 themed dice towers. Or could I? No! I could not. Not to worry. Zpocalypse to the rescue! I did a review of Zpocalypse for the now defunct, but you can read the text of that interview at my BGG page. You can also read my review of the excellent expansion Zmergency. How did this help? Time for a zombie themed dice tower! It is a thing of beauty.

Toxic Dice Tower

Toxic Dice Tower

I can report that the construction and attention to detail are excellent. The dice flow and bump their way to the built in tray. The dice tower folds down (or up) and, with the lid on, does in fact keep my dice within for travel. The color is an excellent toxic green and really accentuates the feel of a game of Zpocalypse.

I do, however, have two issues. First, I wish I had purchased these in the reverse format. The fold-down (or up) tower seems more appropriate for Memoir ’44 to me. But that’s just me. Or maybe it’s you too. Go us! Second, I feel like I need to purchase all of the dice towers Troll Works has to offer. Castle designs, Star Wars (or Trek), Cthulhu, D&D. So many options. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space and I’m pretty sure that my being in grad school means my cashy money electronic card thingy just won’t be able to handle the strain. And that’s not all! Troll Works also offers box inserts and various game accessories. You should check it all out.

Visit Troll Works at this fabulous internet location and tell them Brandon sent you.

They don’t know who I am, but maybe they will if you tell them often enough.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the lovely smell of freshly laser etched wood! Yum!

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Spaghetti & Meeples looks at PWNs

Due to Brandon currently being neck deep in Student Teaching we were unable to do a video review as we intended. Instead, please enjoy this old timey textual teleplay script and do your own reader’s theater at home!

Gaze up the game box for PWNs

Gaze up the game box for PWNs

Brandon: You probably shouldn’t be playing Pawns.

Tarehna: PWNs.

Brandon: Pawns is a game wherein you control cute, but disgusting, little military men and try to destroy your opponent by farting on them or vomiting on them, only not really.

Tarehna: It’s pronounced “PONES” you dilettante!

Brandon: What?

Tarehna: P-W-N-S is pronounced “pones”. Like “to be pwnd”.

Brandon: Like your mom’s friend, Pone?

Tarehna: Sure.

Brandon: That doesn’t make a lot of sense. You see I have these military men and they are like under my control and stuff. That makes them my pawns.

Tarehna: Whatever.

Brandon: Anyway, you have this board. Do we have a picture? And then you have these terrain tile thingies you put on the board, and then you place your pawns..

We have a picture!

We have a picture!

Tarehna: Ugh!

Brandon: …pawns on the terrain tiles. Not in the water though. You can’t really swim and if you get pushed in the water it hurts. Like you fell from a great height or had the wind knocked out of you, but then you got back up. Go ahead and put your Pawn…

Tarehna: PWN!

Brandon: Whichever.

Tarehna: Whatever!

Brandon:  Exactly! Put your…military men on grass, dry grass, dirt, ice and fire. No! Not the fire. Fire bad! Then you have these cards you can play to attack or defend or heal. All this kind of stuff. Like, you can use a dead rabbit slingshot, or a dead rat slingshot, or a smelly bag of smells. It’s kind of a lot of gross stuff. One pawn…

Tarehna: PWN!!!!!

Brandon: That bit keeps on being funny. One of the…dudes…is named Queasy. There’s this whole potty humor component, but it doesn’t run all the way through. There’s one card that’s just called “Reflector”, not potty humor at all.

Tarehna: Your point?

Brandon: Other than this review has gone on for awhile without saying much? This game was kind of blah. The components are nice and the look, feel, and theme are all solid and work together but it’s just kinda…

Look at these cards and Queasy!

Look at these cards and Queasy!

Tarehna: Awesome? Yes. I know! This game has “Leaky Bag of Leftovers” and “Scary Mask” and is 2-4 players. You’re not just moving your pieces and playing cards and having some sort of board game version of magic. There’s strategy; especially when you have four players. Sure you could just attack and hurt an opponent, or you could use the aforementioned “Scary Mask” and knock an opponent into water, fire, or even into the path of yet another opponent and start a fight between them. Did I mention that the terrain tiles allow for you to use different setups so you don’t all fall into the same ruts of attack and defend this way or that on this specific part of the board?

Brandon: I think you just did.

Tarehna: Go me! And, as you mentioned, the theme is  cohesive and solidly put together. So, given all that, why do you think people shouldn’t play it?

Brandon: Oh I do. I had a lot of fun with this game. So did our friends. But Awry Games should really redo that instruction manual. How some things resolve was a little unclear and visually it’s a lot of boxes. Also, I’d prefer if the different characters had special abilities. I don’t get naming all of them if it’s just for flavor text.

Tarehna: Like King of Tokyo?

Brandon: Totally like King of Tokyo.

Peep the plethora of boxes!

Peep the plethora of boxes!

Tarehna: But other than those minor things you liked it and would play it again and would recommend that other people check it out.

Brandon: Tots.

Tarehna: You mean “totes”.

Brandon: Yes.

Tarehna: So if you like it then what’s with all of that rambling you did up above?

Brandon: Cheap literary device! You’ve been pawned!

Tarehna: PWND!!!!

Brandon: Always funny.

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Gnork Games and Field Tactics

This was meant to be a quick 20 minute intro to field tactics, but we had a good time with tangents!



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Spaghetti and Meeples Looks at Uglydoll Loonacy

This was Finney’s project. He picked the game and the format!


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