Your Gaming Sidekick

Gamify my game playing? I'm in! Here's my 7x7 challenge of 2018

Gamify my game playing? I'm in! Here's my 7x7 challenge of 2018
As 2018 kicks off and I look at all the amazing Kickstarter board games we backed last year, and get excited about the other new release we'll find to bring you - I'm also looking at my own collection and the games I just don't play enough. I've pondered how to balance getting more of these out against all the great new games landing in 2018. Then my social feeds started lighting up with more and more 10x10 (or 5x5, 7x7...etc) challenges

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Thank you for joining our adventure in 2017!

Thank you for joining our adventure in 2017!

As 2017 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on what a great year it’s been. It was this great because of you. I really wanted to pause and say THANK YOU!

2017 is the year Susie and I started our adventure called IRON BEAN Games. It’s the year we started truly disconnecting and playing more table top games than ever. It’s the year I found Guild Ball and kindled a love of miniature gaming. It’s the year we attended our first comic con as a retailer. And it’s the year we started so many great new friendships and connections with amazing gamers and brilliant creators.

It hasn’t always been an easy year, growing our business and growing our young family (of 5, 2 and 1). The stories you’ve shared about your family game night, hilarious rules slip, strategic move or new kickstarter we should check out, kept us energized. Connecting with great creators and designers, talking about their games and ways to bring something new to life, inspired us. This huge community you’ve created and welcomed us to constantly put a smile on our face.

We’re thankful for your support, proud of what we’ve achieved so far and excited about what more 2018 can bring! We’re looking forward to connecting with you more and sharing more new great games to fill your tabletop with.

Happy New Year and Happy Gaming!


Our Holiday Gift and Deal guide!

Is Black Friday your gateway to busy weekends?

It definitely is for me. Not just because of all the holiday shopping. I'm a huge football fan.  Who loves turkey. So I take the day off work and pull the kids from school. We just veg, snack and play, while of course watching all the Thanksgiving Day games. It does also offer some great time for gaming. I finally cleared a workshop table to bust out my new Guild Ball minis and start painting. I also finally bought primer and paints! More on that come.

The couple of days off also gives me a little time to write. I’m sure your inbox this morning exploded with sales messages and your social feed go bombarded with discount codes. Mine did. And if you’re subscribed to our newsletter (thank you), I sent you one too!

It can get to be a lot when you’re looking for a great gift, something hard to find or a great deal. So rather than have you worry about keeping a bunch of emails handy, I collected everything we want to share about Iron Bean Game’s Black Friday Weekend here.


Let's start with the deals

Pretty much the whole store is on sale and will be until Monday night (11pm Eastern). That's 175 board games, role playing games and miniatures! The sale price is listed on the game, plain and simple. Our deals range from about 5-10% off our everyday low retail price. 

Black Friday bonus deals - no codes required - just check our Black Friday - Cyber Monday features collection

  • Magic Maze at $31
  • Zombicide at $73
  • Unique sets such Vikings Gone Wild and Hero Realms with Card Sleeves
  • Bundles with Codenames and Race for the Galaxy
  • Start playing Tales of Equestria RPG or Savage Worlds paired with a 7pc Dice set
  • Infinity and Warmachines are priced to clear
  • Special pricing on all Living Card Games (Android Netrunner, Star Wars and Game of Thrones)

We are also participating in Small Business Saturday. If you’re local to Toronto and choose the local pickup option at checkout you can save an additional 5%. We did have to create a code for that – IBG17SMBSAT **. And you can arrange pick up for a convenient time, it doesn’t have to be on Saturday.


We have a great contest for you win a game too - Spoils of War! Enter the contest here.  


Our new Holiday Game Collections are also gift guides!

While I love customers who browse and ask questions about our games, going through the full collection isn’t for everyone. I crafted a couple of new collections based on who you might be playing with or buying for to give you ideas and highlight some of the best games available right now.

The Holiday Casual Game Night collection highlights great games any group will enjoy. Easy to learn, wonderful themes with fantastic art. Replayable for veteran gamers and really accessible for new or casual players. Plus they all play in about an hour or less. 

The Holiday Family and Kids Favorites collection highlights really fun to play games for families with young kids (6+) into teens. With a healthy mix of co-operation and competition these games are will keep everyone at the table engaged. They can all play in about 30 minutes or less. And you might just get some laughs too. We added KinderPerfect as a great game for parents to unwind with too.

Our Holiday Two Player Game collection is meant to share games that offer captivating play with two, even if they are designed to play with up to 4 or more. As board game gift ideas we selected a range of theme, play style and size to choose from.

This time of year I often get asked about great ideas for Stocking Stuffers or games to give as thank you gifts. So many amazing games do come in small boxes. These games are my go to for quick games on a busy night around a young family. This is a collection I keep posted all the time as our Small Shelf Games Under $30.

The Iron Hot List are some of my absolute favorites games. When GKR comes in you’ll see the Instagram photos of me playing it! These are big, meaty, table filling games, ideally for gaming groups and hardcore gamers. I’d allow two hours or more to play them, with an extra hour just for setup and walking through the rules.


If you’re looking for other recommendations for gifts or have questions about our games and deals, message us on Facebook (use the handy little blue button on the right). If you’ve got suggestions for any of our collections, please leave us a comment down below!

We'd also love to hear what games you're most excited about this holiday season.

Happy Gaming!





** The additional 5% with IBG17SMBSAT is only available to customers who choose local pick up when shopping on Saturday November 25th. If the code appears on orders that require shipping, those orders will be held to resolve local pickup or settle the balance for shipping.


Are you excited for Black Friday 2017? We Are!

Are you excited for Black Friday 2017? We Are!

While Black Friday brings amazing sales, has spawned sibling days in Small business Saturday and Cyber Monday; and offers shoppers chase to finish a big chunk of their holiday shopping – the weekend starts with something so much better. Thanksgiving (AKA American Thanksgiving). While we’re proudly Canadian, over the years we’ve adopted the Thanksgiving holiday and made it our own for pure family time. December can get busy with office parties, friend or neighbor drop in, and family gatherings. Thanksgiving landing near the end of November gives us a chance for kick off the season more intimately. I’m also a huge football fan, so taking a day off to watch the games is an added bonus. We usually head out in the morning with kids, watch football through the day and get the Swiss Chalet festival Specials for dinner (because, yes, we are THAT Canadian). The rest of the weekend includes getting out our Christmas decorations, shopping, and of course culminating in the Grey Cup on Sunday night!

While we will also be doing some holiday shopping this BFCM weekend (new acronym I’ve learned for Black Friday – Cyber Monday); we’re really excited to share the weekend with you through Iron Bean Games. We’re working through our plans and offers now to be ready, and making sure we’ve got enough copies of those hot titles for you. If you’re like us and start your Black Friday shopping prep now, he’s a sneak peek at what we’ll have going from Black Friday right through the weekend to Cyber Monday.

  1. Great deals – a no brainer – the whole store (except pre-orders) will be on sales.
  2. Daily door/keyboard/monitor crashers – we’ll highlight a few amazing games each day with something beyond our holiday weekend pricing.
  3. Bundles and Sets – We know shipping charges aren’t everyone’s favorite so we’ll have deals on game bundles and sets to help start or build a new collection. Getting more games through our flat rate shipping.
  4. Something special for our subscribers – if you’re signed up to our newsletter before November 19 you’ll receive a note about some special deals for you that week.
  5. We will over communicate – We’ll be sharing our deals on Facebook and Twitter through the weekend so you’ll see more posts from us than usual. We’ll also send emails out to kick off the weekend and each day with our deals. After the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend we’ll ease back to our regular schedule.
  6. We have one more surprise coming the week leading up to our Black Friday sale. Details will get posted here on our blog that week.

We can’t wait to share more with you and hope you’re able to pick up that game you’ve been eyeing. Over the weekend if you can’t find your title or something is already sold out, email us and we’ll see how we can help.

Happy Gaming until then.

Your Gaming Sidekick


When we weren't gaming in August, or September, or October...

When we weren't gaming in August, or September, or October...
It's obviously been a while and there's lots to share! We've been getting more into Kickstarters, Print 'n Plays; cracked open two amazing new board games; looking for shows to connect with you at and planning our Black Friday weekend.

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Kickstarter roundup - Our picks for late August and early September

Kickstarter roundup - Our picks for late August and early September

It's been a great summer for gaming! While we're soon to say goodbye to summer, it's had some amazing gaming moments. Kingdomino winning the Spiel Des Jahres and GenCon 50 being two big highlights. As we head into the end of a board game summer 2017 and into early fall there are some fantastic quick play, card based, storytelling games funding on Kickstarter. Here are our picks that wrap up in the next week or so. And I know it's tough think about it now, but with the delivery dates planned for some, they might just be your new winter favorite board games!



Final Boss: The Card Game from Rafael Gonzalez
Ends August 27 – Funded - Why we love it: Quick play (~20 mins) - player options from solo up to 6 - win by victory points - play co-op or competitive - awesome video game theme - sharp card art - we expect it's hilarious. Core pledge is €21. 1-6 players, 15+, 20 mins. Campaign details here. 


Itchy feet the travel game kickstarter

Itchy Feet: The Travel Game from Malachi Ray Rempen
Ends August 30 – Funded - Why we love it: Unique design - designed for travelers - game cards are marked to double as playing cards - comes with postcards - sized for light travel - easy to learn, easy to share - Canadian co-designed. Core pledge $24USD ($5USD Print N Play). 2-6 players, 9+, 10-40 mins. Campaign details here.


Enchanters kickstarter board card game

Enchanters from Gindie-LudiBooster
Ends August 31 – Funded - Why we love it: Quests and crafting in one - build your own gear and upgrade character gameplay - we're a mage at heart - tons of depth without being complex - all the unlocked stretch goals (new cities) add a lot to the game. Core pledge is $39USD. 2-4 players, 14+, 30-60 mins. Campaign details here.


Dark Masts: A Dead Seas card game kickstarter

Dark Masts: A Dead Seas Card Game from Roger Ogre
Ends September 6 – 54% funded - Why we love it: Head-to-Head action - unique fantasy/high sea mix - heavy combat focus - centered on weakening and defeating your opponents base(ship) rather than their heroes - fast paced. Core pledge is $30USD. 2 player, 20-30 mins, unknown. Campaign details here.


Gauntlets and Goblins kickstarter storytelling game

Gauntlets & Goblins from Ian Gibson
Ends September 9 – 40% funded - Why we love it: Light and fun RPG - play with kids to help introduce the game style and concept - gives you all the tools to play out a great story - leaves the storytelling all up to you. Core pledge is $30USD ($15 Print N Play). Our guess: 2-5 players, 30 mins+, 6+. Campaign details here.

Kickstarter roundup - our picks for early August

Kickstarter roundup - our picks for early August

We love new board games and RPGs (role playing games), especially if it means supporting new game designers. We’ve been backing games for a while and thought it was time to share our picks each month. August is an exciting month with GenCon 50 is around the corner. Before it arrives there are some amazing new games already showcased, with Kickstarter campaigns ending this week! Here are our favorite Kickstarter board games and Kickstarter RPGs for early August 2017.

Star Scrappers cave-in Kickstarter board game

Star Scrappers: Cave-in from Hexy Studio
Ends August 8 – Funded - Why we love it: Sci-Fi theme with a unique story arc – amazing art and card graphics – win by victory points – accelerating pace as you play. Core pledge is $25 USD. 2-4 players, 12+, 60 mins. Campaign details here.


Out of the Woods Kickstarter card board game
Out of the Woods from American McGee
Ends August 17 – 80% Funded – Why we love it: Hauntingly beautiful yet dark art – brings a new take on classic storylines – horror themed game that plays in quick rounds. Core pledge is $25 USD. 2-4 players, age and time unknown. Campaign details here.


Firelight Kickstarter rpg one-shot rpg
Firelight: The Questing Card Game (RPG) from HobbyHorse Games, LLC
Ends August 8 – Funded – Why we love it: It makes RPGs more accessible – it packs great storytelling into a card based game – plays as a one-shot rpg in a 60 to 100 minute sitting. Core Pledge is $30 USD. 2-4 players, age unknown, 60-100 minutes. Campaign details here.

Sakura kickstarter board game a-games
Sakura from A-Games (publishers of Ave Roma)
Ends August 15 – Funded – Why we love it: Cool mechanic of paying supporter cards to change game play – easy to learn and play – gorgeous cherry blossom card art. Core Pledge is €20. 2-6 players, 10+, time unknown. Campaign details here.

Spire RPG Kickstarter rpg
Spire RPG from Grant Howitt
Ends August 15 – Funded – Why we love it: The theme – city-bound fantasy horror – tons of story and character depth – straightforward D10 system. Core pledge is £15. 3+ players, age and time unknown. Campaign details here.

Must mentions
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game from CMON
Ends August 14 – Funded – With a popular publisher and popular theme it was going to be a hit. Classic style tabletop wargaming with unit formations and massive armies. Campaign details here.

A song of Ice & Fire tabletop miniature wargame cmon game of thrones got

Star Realms: Frontiers by Robert Dougherty (White Wizard Games)
Ends August 9 – Funded – Another really popular title and publisher, Frontiers is both a stand alone game and expansion for Star Realms. Backers get access to tons of add-ons from the other White Wizard titles too. Campaign details here.

Star Realms Frontiers Kickstarter card game expansion


When we weren't gaming in July

When we weren't gaming in July

What's new with us?

Well, we're finally dry! We had a rainy July in Toronto and this is our first clear weekend of the season. While we love to get outside in the summer, all that rain was pretty relaxing. And who doesn't love some rainy day board games? We played a few rounds of Hero Realms and A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. The kids go to was Candy Land.

July did see us gaming a fair bit. We also got some downtime to keep enhancing our store and find new features for you. We're really excited to share our new look with you. The new store layout (coming this week) offers quicker access into our collections, games with Kickstarter bonuses, Pre-Orders, and Guild Ball; while keeping highlights of new arrivals on our homepage. We also added a restock notification. You can request a restock email directly from the game's page and be the first to know when it's back in our store.

As we start planning our fall collections we've also got some great end of summer (yes it's almost back to school) and flash sales planned in August. We'll give you a heads up a few days before they go live if you're signed up to our newsletter or following our social feeds. Which reminds us - THANK YOU! We're building an amazing community together. Thank you to all our great followers for your engagement and welcome to all our new friends. Together our community is over 700 strong on Twitter, over 300 on Instagram and 200 followers on Facebook.

So what have we been playing?

We mentioned we did fair bit of gaming in July. We're BIG Game of Thrones fans (have you been watching?). In anticipation of the final season this summer we broke out A Game of Thrones: The Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games. We like how game play was built off the main theme of the of the books (and show) - vying for power; and there are multiple ways to acquire it and win. Our full review is up on our blog from last week

We didn't get to Guild Ball as much as we had hoped. However there's no shortage of great reads through the Steamforged forums and reddit. We've been looking at the different guilds and tried some of the models in mini games (3v3) using the print and play content from Steamforged. We're leaning towards the Alchemist Guild with a couple of Union Guild ringers, but need a few more play-throughs. The experience inspired us to try out some Kickstarter board game print and plays. We'll post pics on our social feeds and let you know what we think. If we get in enough play-throughs with those we'll get a reviews up too. 

Keep having an amazing gaming summer and watch for our upcoming end of summer sales in a few weeks.

your gaming sidekick


Seven Hells! Our tabletop taken over by A Game of Thrones the card game!

Seven Hells! Our tabletop taken over by A Game of Thrones the card game!

Thankfully we’re still mid-summer and it means lots of warm nights gaming. We’re huge GoT fans so to warm up for the latest and final season of the show we’ve been playing Game of Thrones the Card Game (2nd Ed) from Fantasy Flight Games.  This was our first Living Card Game so we were keen to see how the play style was compared to a TCG (trading card game).


There’s beauty in Winter but you might think it has come on your first play through

We loved the cards. A set for all the major houses and factions (such as the Night’s Watch). Beautiful looking banner cards plus our favorite (and love-to-loathe) characters. A Game of Thrones the card game is a deck builder. Players build a deck based around their house of choice and then alternate through turns bring new cards into play (called marshalling), attacking each other through challenges and collecting victory points in the form of power tokens. The game seemed a little too complex off the hop - include a 16 page learn to play guide and a full rules reference book. After a first play through it got easier and turns flowed more naturally.


Game play follows a series of actions each turn. Players collect gold, buy cards and then issue challenges. This is where house selection really comes into play as the types of challenges you can issue, and also defend, depend on your characters. As you might expect the Lannisters seem to have more intrigue challenges with the Starks and The Nights Watch heavily military challenge focused. The third type is a power challenge that seems to be common across all houses. Our experience is that the Martell’s are the most balanced house between all the challenge types. Of course all the house characters can be buffed or have challenge types added to them through attachments (item cards), but that part of the game play felt a lot more secondary than how you play items in a typical TCG.

game of thrones GoT Living Card Game board game review yourgamingsidekick ironbeangame

Everyone is plotting something when you’re in the Great Game

 A unique element we experienced for the first time were the plot cards. Plots cards are secondary decks assigned to each player. Plot cards influence the entire round. When played they represent gold the players earn to marshal (play) new cards, which player wins initiative and the claim bonus for winning a challenge. Each round starts with players selecting and the simultaneously revealing their chosen plot card. Selecting plot cards and building your play around them is key to the game play. Do you want a round where you get a lot of gold to bring as many cards into play as possible? You might build an unstoppable force or you might bring through a ton of cards. Do you want to ensure initiative and get an extra claim for winning our challenges? You might finish the round with a lot of power tokens only to have them stolen or they might be the extra you need to close out a win.

Playing with just one opponent was ok, but became predictable and the challenge types (attacking and defending) felt more limited. Playing with at least 3 added the dynamic to really open up the game.


The tl;dr

play at least 2 games with new players, one to learn and one to actually play; best played with 3 or 4 players; plots cards add an awesome element of strategy to each round and keep games fresh; just like in the television series, houses can rise or fall quickly based on a few key decisions/moves and a combined force of multiple characters; we’re really excited for Game of Thrones season seven #GoTS7!


Let us know if you’ve played A Game of Thrones the card game or Living Card Games and which is your favorite!


your gaming sidekick


When we weren't gaming in May or June...

When we weren't gaming in May or June...

What’s new with us?

Wow – the last two months have been busy! First, thank you for support, ideas and feedback.

Along with a little gaming, most of our time has been sourcing and adding games, plus building our newest collections - Nostalgia, full of classic board games and Glamping, full of games perfect for a glamping trip or to take to the cottage. Watch for a full review of our glamping collection on the blog soon.

If you're looking for what's new and restocked you can find new arrivals posted regularly on our Facebook page. Over the summer we’re most excited to expand and play games from our Elementary Age family collection full of easy to learn and quick to play games. We also recently launched our Youtube channel with a short unboxing video of Guild Ball: Kick Off! A new Miniatures game Scott will be playing and painting!

A few of you have asked us about local pick up – so we’re now offering it if you’re in Toronto - and it means you get to meet us!

We love to hear from you in our social feeds too. We're so grateful to all our fans for following us and together we hit some amazing milestones. Just recently we crossed the 500 Twitter, 250 Instagram and 100 Facebook follower marks!


So what have we been playing?

Machi Koro – the card and dice based city building game from IDW. We’ve had it on a table a number of times with new players. It’s easy to learn, quick to play and the card artwork keeps the game light and fun. Winning is part luck with the randomness of the dice. Once you’ve played it, your own card strategy emerges to help mitigate the randomness. We’re planning to try out the 10 card variant rule too. We heard you can make it even more dynamic by playing this rule from the Harbour expansion (you don’t need the expansion, just apply the rule to your setup pf the game). If you’ve got Machi Koro, here are the Harbor Rules.

Playing Machi Koro #yourgamingsidekick #ironbeangames

Up next as our tabletop regular is A Game of Thrones the card game. We'll share our thoughts and lots of pics in the next few weeks.


Have a great long weekend and Happy Canada Day!