So you or your geeklets have decided that you need to get into tabletop or miniature gaming; problem is, there is a metric ton of product out there and an equal volume of recommendations on what you should buy. What if you could get new games delivered every month? Games that were specially chosen for advanced, casual, or miniature wargaming players?
The subscription service TableTop Monthly looks to do just that, cutting through the chaff and offering subscribers specially-tailored boxes chock full of games and gaming supplies. So what are the subscription options, how much will you pay, and are you getting a good value for your subscription dollar? Let’s take a look!
Tabletop Monthly “Family Gamer”
How much does it cost? $30 + shipping
Who’s it for? According to the site, “[Gamers] that enjoy playing games with the whole family, or a variety of friends.”
What’s in the box? The description on the subscription page told us to expect “…Euro games, card games, dice games, casual strategy games, [and] pick up and play games.”
I was trepidatious when I opened the Casual Gamer box – I’ve often found that when people say “Casual” they’re dismissing the gamer or game. So I was pleasantly surprised to find two heavily-themed, geeky games—one that will appeal to my kids and one that will appeal to just about everyone else. In other words, the best possible interpretation of “Casual” that I could hope for. I hadn’t heard of the Bravest Warriors Dice Game or Tichu either, so not only did I get family-friendly games, I got new games that most likely I would have otherwise missed. The box comes with a handy sheet that explains each game and gives you instructions to win even more loot in the monthly contest.
Is it worth it? According to the sheet, I was looking at $40 worth of games. Amazon didn’t quite bear that out, though, with Bravest Warriors running around $17 and Tichu coming in at $15. So if you were picking these up separately, taking into account Amazon’s fluid pricing, you’d probably break even. Still, like I said, these were two games I had no knowledge of before they arrived in the box and that’s not insignificant when it comes to determining worth.
Tabletop Monthly “Hardcore Gamer”
How much does it cost? $30 + shipping
Who’s it for? According to the site, “[Players] that enjoy competitive war games, RPGs, and complex systems.”
What’s in the box? The description on the subscription page told us to expect “…RPG, miniature war, duel based card games, complex Euro games, [and] fantasy themed games.”
The Hardcore Gamer box I planned on leveling a more critical eye on; after all, it’s not like I don’t know games! If any box was tailored to my needs it would be this one. I was pleased with what I found when I opened the lid. Death Angel Space Hulk is a well-reviewed co-op card game from Fantasy Flight Games that delivers on both the promise of harder games and themes much more in line with what an adult gamer would pick up for themselves. In true FFG fashion, there are a ton of expansions for this one, two of which you could win in the TableTop Monthly contest. The other game, Sellswords, is a dueling card game with a decidedly tactical JRPG feel. While it might not be as dour thematically, the game itself has a lot of fiddly strategy that appeals to expert gamers. I do wish that both games hadn’t been card games, but was again pleased in that I hadn’t heard of either one.
Is it worth it? Again, the sheet listed a slightly higher MSRP than what I found on Amazon; coming in at $36 for the pair of games. But since they’re both games I’m interested in and wouldn’t have found on my own, I’m more than happy with the value on this one.
How much does it cost? $25 + $3 shipping
Who’s it for? This one is for wargamers and miniature painters alike.
What’s in the box? The description on the subscription page told us to expect “war game supplies such as, paints, paint brushes, miniatures, sand, model accessories, etc.”
Having gotten into the miniature painting hobby in a big way with GeekDad Paints!, I was excited to check this one out. As with the game boxes, I wasn’t disappointed. This month’s theme was focused on basing minis, so it included bottles of Vallejo Transparent Water and Sandy Paste, a trio of Reaper “Burnt” paints, and an awesome Army Painter Battlefields Basing Set. All of which I am beyond excited to try out on my miniatures! Would I have found these on my own? Probably not. In fact, in the case of the Vallejo effect paints, I never would have discovered them because my LFGS doesn’t carry Vallejo paints! The contest for this box was pretty sweet too, with the winner getting an Army Painter Quickshade set (and you know I love Army Painter!).
Is it worth it? Big time yes on this one. Buying all the various components of this box would have been well over the $25 subscription fee. The fact that shipping is only $3 for this box makes it even better. If you’re starting out with war gaming or just looking for some new gear, this is the box to get.
TableTop Monthly had a very difficult task. Not just putting together a gaming subscription box, but three different boxes for three distinct populations of gamers. I think they’ve nailed it and would be happy to sign up for any one of these on a regular basis. If you’re curious, go check them out at https://tabletop.cratejoy.com/.
Disclaimer: I received sample monthly boxes for this review. Opinions are my own.