Board Game Bento Impressions

Introduction

In December, I saw that Board Game Bento was having a sale.A� In case you don’t know, Board Game Bento is one of those subscriptions services that sends tabletop games every month.A� I’ve tried a few of the services.A� Some (the original Minechest and Tinker Crate) have been worth it, while others (Loot Crate and the Loot Crate Minechest) have not endured for longer than the initial shipments.A� Mostly, unless you like those Pop! vinyl figures, nothing from Loot Crate is worth it in my opinion.

I have seen the various “Bento” subscriptions come across my social media feeds.A� They have one for comics and another for anime.A� I have considered the comics one just because I like comics, but I’ve had to stop buying them again.A� A box of comics/TPB would be welcome.A� I never bit on it, though.

Unless, maybe, it’s this comic book. I Googled “comic book sad” and got this. I, I’m not even going to argue.

We play a lot of games as a family.A� You may remember my article about Ticket to Ride.A� The boys also like Clue, Stratego, Othello, and Scrabble.A� I want to teach them Backgammon and chess.A� Always looking at things through the lens of how it will affect us as a family, that was enough to get me to consider the board game subscription.A� When they ran the sale, there was little reason not to give it a try.

The first box that I got came with three games.A� The second box just came (even though I didn’t necessarily want it, so more on that later) and it also had three games.A� Two of them were board games and the third was a card game.A� The first game that we played was a board game called Flag Dash.A� The other game we played was the card game, which was called Water Balloon Washout.A� The third game, that we didn’t not play yet is called Cottage Garden.A� I suppose the theme of the box must have been spring or something.

Oh, Spring, how I’ve missed you. Please come back soon.

(Note:A� I am going to go out of order for this particular article and do “The Bad” first.A� Always lead with the bad.A� Aside from that, “The Good” references “The Bad”, so it just makes sense.)

The Bad

As I mentioned, we played Flag Dash first.A� Quinn wanted to play both that and the Water Balloon game, we had time on Sunday evening, and everyone else was busy.A� So, I grabbed the game and asked him to play.A� We sat down, I pulled out the instructions, and started to read.A� And I read, and I cross referenced, and I read some more.A� Quinn was getting antsy, so I started to set up the board to get him interested.A� That required me to read even more.

This is a bad sign.A� Sure the game recommended 8+ as the age range.A� But, any game that requires you to spend more than 5 minutes setting it up is not a game meant for children of any age.A� They simply don’t care about your stupid rules set and interactions.A� They just want to put their pawns on the board and roll the dice.

That’s the other thing.A� There aren’t dice in this game.A� It’s movement cards coupled with something known as a priority card.A� Basically, you establish turn order according to the priority cards and then move based on the move card.A� Call me old fashioned, but that is simply overly complicated.A� Quinn just kept wanting to move, but I had to keep reminding him that we had to establish turn order first.A� He got frustrated and it almost got to the point where I just put the game away to prevent a Sunday evening meltdown.

I’m not against a priority system.A� There’s one present in D&D and we spent 4 hours playing that the other day.A� It’s just that for a game that is supposed to mimic capture the flag, you’d think that they wouldn’t want to interrupt the flow of the game so much.A� I mean, capture the flag is about running around like crazy people and trying to grab a flag.

In that regard, it is a poor simulation of the game that it supposedly simulates.A� In other regards, there are just too many damn rules.A� I have no idea if we even played the game correctly because I just started ignoring the stupid rules and playing more simply.A� The game moved more smoothly and we finished quickly.A� Thank goodness because I didn’t want to spend a ton of time on a game that could ruin the last free hours of my weekend.

Granted the game is made for 4 players and we played two with one of them being below the age limit.A� As a result, we had to both act for two players and that might have bogged the game down.A� I don’t know.A� All I know is that this game was not an enjoyable experience and there’s no way I would pay the $17.50 that I saw quoted when I went searching for the game picture earlier.

The Good

We played the Water Balloon Washout game second.A� Okay, now this is more like it.A� I wish that we would have played it first.A� It was, by far, the better of the two games.A� I’ve often read that the best games are ones that don’t have a large rules book.A� While there might be exceptions, that was certainly the case with these games.A� Unlike the complicated rules of Flag Dash, the rules of this game were so simple as to be printed on a pamphlet that fit inside of the card box.A� We were up and playing in no time at all.

Quinn enjoyed this game far more than the other one.A� He didn’t get a chance to get bored during set up because set up took no time at all.A� He was able to grasp all of the rules immediately because there weren’t that many.A� He was able to put together a strategy that allowed him to compete in the game and eventually beat me.A� It was just a much more well designed game for kids.

This game was also suggested for 8+ and 2-4 players.A� It scaled much better to only 2.A� Also, I can’t see why it would be 8+ other than the reading required.A� Apparently our 6 year old reads at an 8 year old level.A� I knew that, but I just wanted to write it to brag that my kid is a super genius.

The Ugly

You’d think that with three games and three sections that the last game would go here.A� It would line up neat and tidy, but we didn’t get a chance to play the last game.A� It is a board game, though, so hopefully it doesn’t have the rules book similar to Flag Dash.A� It’s something about building gardens, though, so I doubt that there can be that many rules to placing garden tiles on a board.

No, the ugly of this service is the same as most of these other services.A� They set you up for autorenewal and you have to go in to the page to actively cancel it and avoid being charged for a second subscription.A� I only signed up for a month and I thought that I had canceled.A� Then, the charge appeared in my account again.

What the hell?A� I wondered.A� In case you are wondering, no, they aren’t the type of company to charge you without your consent.A� I had signed up via PayPal and while I had changed my subscription status on the Bento website, I never did so through PayPal, so I got hit with a second charge and a second box.A� It’s my fault and I could look at it as a positive because now I have a second box to weigh and decide if I want to continue with the service.

The Verdict

One good, one bad, one unplayed.A� One additional box with three more games to try.A� Overall, I’m happy with the service, even if it is a bit on the expensive side when it comes to these subscription boxes.A� It is 50 dollars plus 12 dollars shipping and handling.A� But, you are getting 3 games.A� The MSRP of the 3 games in the “Spring” box was 17.50 for Flag Dash, 39.99 for Cottage Garden, and the Water Balloon Washout isn’t commercially available right now.A� So, just taking the two games into consideration, you are getting almost your money’s worth from the box.

It also introduces new games into a house that sometimes can’t decide what games to play because we’ve played them all multiple times.A� That’s a service that can’t be given a price.A� While I haven’t kept the subscription to every service (I just don’t like what Loot Crate has to offer monthly), I do keep the ones that I enjoy and that seems worth it.A� I can’t say yet whether this one seems worth it, but we did get great enjoyment from one of the games and I’ll be able to make a more informed decision after trying the latest box.

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