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Celebratory Promo Giveaway

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To celebrate reaching over 500 followers on Twitter and Assembly coming to Kickstarter on the 24th May 2018 we’re giving away 2 promos to 1 lucky winner. Good luck!!

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Guest Blog: Designing Solo

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Janice recently wrote a guest post on BSoMT’s blog about her experiences of designing games, in particular for solo play.

I started designing tabletop games a couple of years ago when I was on maternity leave with my eldest (now 2.5y). It was my attempt to have a ‘solo’ hobby. When starting out I wanted to design games that my hubby and I would enjoy but also that would have a wide appeal.

My biggest pet hate in games is having to refer to the rulebook (frequently) mid-game. I’d much rather just do what seems intuitive then check at the end so we know for next time so as to not interrupt the flow of the game. Games should be fun and we should be playing for fun. If we do something wrong? So what, as long as it was fun!

Read the full post over on BSoMT’s Blog.


First Preview of Assembly by BSoMT

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Both Sides of My Table have the honour of writing the first preview of Assembly prior to our Kickstarter launch next month.  Here’s an excerpt of their preview:

At first, I have to shamedly admit, I really did think…yikes, this is going to be pretty lame. A circle of cards and a set of counters to place on them. where is the fun in that…But how wrong could I be?

…Everything flows smoothly during a game and the rules are simple, well explained enabling a speedy start and setupteardown is pretty quick too. The backstory and locations all knit together to create quite a compelling game theme.

…It feels odd to consider awarding a score as I do with published games when this is only in its play-testing stage but it is already a most enjoyable concept and one I would highly recommend (5/6).

You can find the full preview here.

Cooperative Board Game Review: Thunderbirds

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For shorter cooperative game reviews with a specific focus on how well they play with 2-players, visit my BGG Geeklist. And if you like painted minis check out Stu’s Painted Games BGG Geeklist.


Credit: Modiphius Entertainment
Publisher: Modiphius Entertainment

# Players: 1-4 players

Playtime: 45 mins

About (from BGG):

Set in the year 2065, Thunderbirds follows the exploits of International Rescue, a secret organization committed to saving human life, secretly founded and funded by the millionaire Tracy family, with the motto: ‘Never give in, at any cost!’ International Rescue has a host of technologically advanced land-, sea-, air-, and space-rescue vehicles and equipment ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

Racing to the rescue from a secret island base beneath the luxurious home of the Tracy family somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean, International Rescue defies government spies and criminals who want the secrets of their incredible machines for their own. To combat this threat, Lady Penelope, the Thunderbirds’ aristocratic English secret agent, and her chauffeur Parker lead a network of agents to uncover those behind the disasters caused by deliberate sabotage.

Thunderbirds is a cult 1960s British science-fiction television series, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. It was produced using a combination of marionette puppetry and scale-model special effects, which was dubbed “Supermarionation”. Two series, totaling thirty-two 50-minute episodes, were produced, along with two films using the same techniques.

Players will work together using Thunderbirds characters and vehicles to complete rescue missions and save the day.


I’m going to be upfront and say that I’m not a Thunderbirds fan – my hubby, Stu is but I never liked it as a child and having recently watched it I still don’t enjoy it. In fact Stu is such a fan he went ‘all in’ on the Kickstarter, including the RPG even though we don’t (yet) play RPGs. He even sourced a companion magazine to go with the game, just in case we wanted to look up the backstory behind the Disaster cards!

That said, you don’t have to be a Thunderbirds fan to like the game, you just may be more forgiving if you are.

When we first played Thunderbirds after receiving it as a Kickstarter backer, we played just the base game. And it was an okay game but overall it was a real disappointment – we were hoping for so much more; we love Pandemic, Forbidden Island and other Matt Leacock games and my hubby really wanted to like it because of Thunderbirds but it wasn’t an instant hit. Something was missing. The game felt flat (particularly for me), feeling like we weren’t really achieving anything. And the metal tokens? As lovely and tactile as they are, they are a bit hard to differentiate at a glance.

Kickstarter Metal Tokens

We also felt that it didn’t work very well with just 2-players (assuming you play with 1 character each), which is our normal player count. Basically, 1 person needs to cover space (and the space ones are hard so you really need to be John or Alan every game as you’re not going to get much ground support), and the other person tries, as best they can, to cover rescues on planet Earth. Being totally honest, I don’t find the space missions much fun. You either spend your whole turn attempting (and usually failing) a rescue or moving to another one and getting one attempt at a rescue. The movement is very linear and there’s limited strategy to it. Plus, once you’re up there it feels like a waste of actions coming back down to Earth to collect more help or swap so basically 1-player is stuck up in space for a whole game.


So after just a few plays it just sat on our game shelf – my hubby refusing to get rid of it as he loves Thunderbirds and me unwilling to play it as we have so many other, better games. And then, 2 months ago, we tried playing again with a friend and incorporated all of the expansion materials from the ‘Tracy Island’ and the ‘Above & Beyond’ expansions (except the timer). And the game was fun. Really fun. With 3 players, the burden of space is shared. Rescues on Earth become more strategic and more importantly cooperative rather than us each playing our own game. The other players even have a chance to help out on the Earth-parts of the space mission! But more importantly than all of this, the expansion modifications brought a sense of achievement – you could level up your character. It became important to distribute the rescues between players to aid in the characters levelling up. All of a sudden it felt like we were improving our characters by doing rescues rather than it just being a chore-like game mechanism. The game was no longer okay, it was fun. Great fun! It’s actually now our go-to game for 3 players when we’re short on time. Stu’s even started painting the POD vehicles!

Stu's Painted Minis

In terms of difficulty, we have been finding the game a little easy so we played on Legendary difficulty last week and had a close win. This week we catastrophically lost (due to those pesky space rescues) but had we played differently it might have been a different story so the fact it has scaling difficulty levels is good – you can tune it to the ability of your group.

As for the ‘iconic disaster vehicles’ from the Above & Beyond expansion,  I really don’t see the point or the need for them (even though Stu loves them and is looking forward to getting them painted). You always seem to need the token reward to complete the challenges so it’s rarely worth going for the vehicle reward – they just aren’t good enough. But I do love the little pod vehicle minis, especially now that they are  getting painted by my wonderful hubby!

Finally, as we didn’t want the little purple minis that came with The Hood expansion to feel left out (we have no intention of ever playing the game competitively), we use them to mark the locations of the Scheme requirements: they stand out nicely against the standard red tokens.


The base game of Thunderbirds leaves a lot to be desired but with the addition of the ‘Tracy Island’ expansion it’s a very good game. It doesn’t work so well with 2-players and the space missions are the weakest part of the game, but overall its a fun, short not too complex game thats perfect for a fun filled games evening when incorporating the ‘Above & Beyond’ (must have) and ‘Tracy Island’ (good to have) expansions.

My Rating:

  • 6/10 (base game).
  • 8/10 (with the ‘Above & Beyond’ and ‘Tracy Island’ expansions incorporated and 3+ players)

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Cooperative Board Game Review: Flash Point Fire Rescue

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For shorter cooperative game reviews with a specific focus on how well they play with 2-players, visit my BGG Geeklist. And if you like painted mini’s check out Stu’s Painted Games BGG Geeklist.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Credit: Indie Boards and Cards
Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards

# Players: 1-6 players

Playtime: 45 mins

About (from BGG):

The call comes in… “911, what is your emergency?” On the other end is a panicked response of “FIRE!” Moments later you don the protective suits that will keep you alive, gather your equipment and rush to the scene of a blazing inferno. The team has only seconds to assess the situation and devise a plan of attack – then you spring into action like the trained professionals that you are. You must face your fears, never give up, and above all else work as a team because the fire is raging, the building is threatening to collapse, and lives are in danger.

You must succeed. You are the brave men and women of fire rescue; people are depending on you. This is what you do every day.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a cooperative game of fire rescue.


Flash Point:Fire Rescue was one of our very first board game purchases and we still have it in our collection today. We have every single expansion and promo for it and it still comes out to the table fairly regularly. It was also one of Stu’s very first mini-paint jobs!

flash point painted2

In Flash Point, at the start of the game you choose your character, however unlike most other games you can swap your character partway through the game but it’s not something you should do lightly! Swapping characters uses up most of your precious action points and can only be done when you’re in the right place (so you aren’t chopping and changing every 5 minutes!). There’s an interesting layer of strategy in working out when it’s best to swap and when it’s best just to stick with what you have already.

flash point painted

And talking of roles, there’s a whole host of different roles that you can play which all play slightly differently and can add a different strategy to your game. And it’s not just people you can play as, you can also play as the fire dog! He can run fast but doesn’t like fire and we’ve found him particularly useful during the early stages of a game, although we have house ruled that our dog is clever enough to open doors (for 2 action points) which means he gets a little more play and this change doesn’t seem to unbalance the game.

In our games, we always seem to debate who should swap characters; Stu tends to prefer to stay the same character whereas I quite like mixing things up although to start with we always fought over who got to play the dog as he’s really interested to play in the early parts of the game! One of my other favourite characters for mid-game swapping is the Driver/Operator with the deck gun and (hopefully) the satisfaction of clearing out the fire and getting the map back under control! Although my go-to character now is the CAFS Fire Fighter – he’s slightly more interesting as you are combining and playing off special actions against standard actions.

The rather ubiquitous selection of maps also keeps the game fresh, and of course we own every single one! However, some boards are better than others and I must say I have a preference for the more basic boards; I’ve never really got on with the submarine map but I do really quite enjoy the terraced houses which mixes up with your strategy a bit. Another thing, I really like about Flash Point is that the victims and characters come all all shapes, sizes, genders and races (and animals – the cat is our favourite!) and action points can be saved so you never feel forced into doing something useless just to use them all up.


But perhaps one of the main reasons Flash Point gets onto our table so frequently is that  referring to the rulebook mid game is one of my major pet hates, as is having to re-read the rules each time we take the game off the shelf. Games that require this don’t get anywhere near the frequency of play even if they may be ‘better’ games in other ways.  But Flash Point isn’t like this: It is really easy to learn and remember, so even if it doesn’t make it on to our game table for a couple of months we rarely have to refer to the rulebook during gameplay.

But what about the latest expansion, Tragic Events? This small expansion adds a Fire Deck and removes hot spots and I think is the final touch for Flash Point. The deck feels a bit like Forbidden Island with Water Rising cards but if a mechanism works why not learn from it? It changes the game just enough to rejuvenate it (and dare I say it, complete) without changing the core or making the game harder to learn/remember. I’m pretty sure from now on we will be exclusively playing Flash Point with this expansion; I’m not sure we could ever go back to the original version!


Flash Point provides entertainment to both novice and experienced gamers alike and the multitude of expansions keeps the game fresh. It works well with 2-players but perhaps plays slightly better with 3-4 players.

But why does Flash Point get the privilege of getting onto our table so often? Is it a great game? No. But is it a good game? Yes, absolutely. And sometimes a good game, that’s suitable for 2 tired parents to play, especially when it’s too late to play something more ‘serious’ then Flash Point is often our game of choice. Plus the recent addition of the Tragic Events expansion makes the game even better.

My Rating:

  • 7/10 (base game).
  • 8/10 (with Tragic Events expansion)

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March 2018 Update

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Assembly Kickstarter Date Announced

This months update includes:

  • First look at Assembly prototypes & launch date announced.
  • Survey to help us form our KS Campaign.
  • Wren Games Ltd is Official! New domain & Email address.
  • New Instagram account.
  • Opportunity to playtest Inca the Tinker, a children’s game.
  • New coop game review blog by Janice.

You can read the full update here.

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Cooperative Board Game Review: Grimslingers

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For shorter cooperative game reviews with a specific focus on how well they play with 2-players, visit my BGG Geeklist.


Credit: Greenbrier Games
Publisher: Greenbrier Games

# Players: 1-6 players

Playtime: 60-90 mins

About (from BGG):

In a land beyond God’s reckonin’ is a place called the Forgotten West — a cursed land of sorts in the American frontier, housing the damned, the mysterious, the unfortunate. You ended up there, God knows why, and you sure ain’t leavin’ anytime soon.

The Iron Witch, a downright mysterious bein’, has turned you into a Grimslinger, a powerful witch imbued with metal, machine, and fancy elemental powers. Now yer maker’s requirin’ all his newly sired to duel each other so that he can make y’all into witches proper for his own purposes.

Grimslingers is a strategic, sci-fi fantasy western themed card game that features two different modes of play: versus and coop.


When this game arrived I had no recollection of ever agreeing that it was a good purchase but apparently approximately a year ago I said ‘yes that looks interesting’ and my hubby backed it on Kickstarter.

Fast forward to a month or so ago and Grimslingers arrived on our doorstep. My first impression was ‘wow – look at that art!’. There’s nothing else I can say, the art is amazing and absolutely beautiful.


But what about gameplay? We only played the coop campaign and have no intention of playing the duel mode (we don’t play competitive games in this house!).

The game is very easy to learn and play; not too taxing but definitely has a fair amount of strategy. It doesn’t take too long to play which is always a bonus for us given our limited (toddler-free) time. It works equally well with 2 or 3 players, and it was easy to add a 3rd player after playing the first mission without them feeling that they had been left behind.


I really like the story nature of the game – it always feels like you are trying to accomplish something and the length of time it takes you to accomplish it is up to you – do you go the direct route or the scenic route? In our first game we took the direct route and the second one the scenic route. Both games were fun from start to finish. The narrative was fun to read with just the right amount of humour and not too much blood and guts. It felt like the right amount, pausing gameplay just long enough to give you sense of purpose but not so long you forget what you are doing.

It didn’t feel too hard to play in terms of level of challenge (but then again I managed to get a super-good card just as we were fighting the final boss during Part 2 which was a pure stroke of luck – things could have been very different! That may make you think that the game is too random – but in reality, I took a real gamble and it paid off; sometimes gambles work, other times they don’t. In fact on many, many occasion my gambles didn’t pay-off!

My main concern with Grimslingers is replayability. Now we have finished the 4 missions in the campaign, I’m not sure I really would want to play these missions again especially as the game is limited to 6 key enemies . The individual character abilities are interesting, but I’ve found I rarely used mine, and the cards in each of the enemy decks did become a little repetitive (the Spectres are a particularly annoying enemy!). However, if you like card counting as a strategy then you’ll love it. That said, I really, really have enjoyed playing it and I’m not sure the lack of replayability is an issue. Legacy games you only play once through so why not this? Also, the expansion is meant to give the game a new lease of life but we’ve not got that far yet – I’ll let you know when we have!

You can find more of my thoughts on Grimslingers on Reddit.


A fun game that isn’t too taxing or too long but with just the right amount of strategy after a hard day at work. Replayability is of potential concern with just the base game (thus a 7 rating), but as a game to play through once and sell on, I’d say it’s definitely worth it, if for nothing else than to admire the beautiful art. As to whether the expansion improves replayability (which it should!), I’ll have to let you know once we have played it!

My Rating: 7/10

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Updated: 8th April 2018 (campaign finished)