Idle Remorse

Review: Fun Funky Fingernails

Review: Fun Funky Fingernails
Publisher: Milton Bradley
Year: 2000
Tagline: A Hand Full of Fun for You and Your Friends!

Cover shows 3 young girls wearing fake fingernails and smiling at the camera
I completely forgot to take a photo of the cover of Fun Funky Fingernails before I donated it so this is something I texted to Keri after I picked it up. Sometimes items at by-the-pound thrift still have price tags on them. I did not pay $1.99 for this.

how we met

I found Fun Funky Fingernails at a by-the-pound thrift stop. I know that sounds difficult to believe, but it’s true! I am just that lucky!

This particular day the store had a lot of games of all kinds, which is kind of unusual. But most of the games you see at by-the-pound thrift are the same types of games that you basically trip over trying to enter regular thrift shops. So I was pleased to have anything catch my eye. And it was unscattered and complete. And I could amuse myself by trying on fingernails while I was there.

how it plays

Fun Funky Fingernails is a roll and move game where the object is to obtain the golden nail plus nine funky nails – no chipped nails. Then you win!

Players start the game with whatever sad excuse for fingernails they have naturally, and nothing else. On a player’s turn they roll the die and move in any direction that number of spaces.

The pawns are semi-clear sparkly plastic nail polish bottles
The lovely pawns

One side of the die says GOLD and allows you to take the one and only Gold Nail. No matter where it is.

The pink die showing numbers and the word Gold on one side
I didn’t get a nice photo of the die, but it’s pink and behind it is the dish full of fun, funky fingernails!

Most spaces on the board will require you to spin the spinner to see what kind of nail you get! No matter what color flower you land on, it just means you can choose one nail of any color – something that initially tricked me. If you are unlucky and land on one of the Chipped Nail spaces then you must take a Chipped Nail! Bummer!

The chipped nail is brown with a clear bit meant to make it look cracked
So really the only point of having to spin the spinner after you roll is because you might get stuck with a Chipped Nail OH NO!

Other spaces on the board allow you to steal a nail, swap a nail, or fill an entire hand with funky fingernails! The first player to collect the Gold Nail plus 9 Funky Nails (no Chipped Nails) wins Fun Funky Fingernails!

how it went

The fingernails really hurt your fingers after awhile, so players beware.

Fingertips looking pinched
What better way to teach kids young that beauty knows no pain than playing a game that pinches their fingers?

We played this one on a game night full of good, old games. And it happened, for sure. Set collection at its most dull.

The game board with a spinner in the middle
That is the spinner in the middle of the board. We had to let Bill and John play with Gobots during this one

There’s not much to say about Fun Funky Fingernails. And you can berate me by saying I should have known and why did I even pick it up. I picked it up because of the fake fingernails. I literally picked it up because of the fun, funky fingernails. And because it was basically free.

Fun Funky Fingernails actually reminded me of Pretty Pretty Princess, which Keri and I played together in about three and a half minutes many months ago. I never intended to review Pretty Pretty Princess (it was only in the house for resale), but Fun Funky Fingernails was chosen for our group. But the two games are very similar, and there’s not much to say. Pretty Pretty Princess requires more luck because you have to land on specific pieces of jewelry in order to complete the set. Fun Funky Fingernails has more “take that” but most spaces on the board and the spinner just let you add any fingernail to your hands that you want.

Two hands showing one gold nail and 9 funky fingernails
The winning hands

Keri won Fun Funky Fingernails!

play or pass

Oh, pass. If you told me you were looking for an alliterative kids set collection game that lets the children play dress-up and is girly I would hesitantly point you to Pretty Pretty Princess. Plus Fun Funky Fingernails may be harmful to fingertips.

Review: Pom Pom Game

Review: Pom Pom Game
Publisher: Sears
Year: 1963?
Tagline: AGES 3 AND UP

Two children are launching balls into the basket on the cover

how we met

Bill and I were popping around the few but mighty thrift options in our town in June, and there was Pom Pom Game.

There are plenty of vintage games that don’t resonate with me for whatever reason, and the older they get the less interested I often become. But Pom Pom Game was cheap and simple, has a funny old cover, and I haven’t played anything by Sears yet (to my knowledge). So I was sold.

how it plays

Each player is given seven balls of their color. When all players decide it’s time to start play, they try to flip their balls into the basket. After all seven balls of each color have been flipped one time, play stops and each player gets a point for each of their color ball landed in the basket. The player with the most balls in the basket wins!

A close up of the level showing it can move
The lever can be moved ever so slightly from side to side to change the direction of the ball, but it didn’t make much of a difference in my experience

how it went

We played Pom Pom Game twice during the July 4th holiday. The game requires almost no explanation, but it does require some learning as you start to play. There is a softness that has to go into flicking your Pom Pom into the basket without overshooting. And once you get it, you get it.

Our play showing many balls in the basket
One of few shots of our play

It is not uncommon for balls of another color to land in your launch zone. Even on the cover, the girl is clearly launching a red ball from the yellow player space. And she appears just as invested in the outcome as if that were a yellow ball. This does happen.

The board without any balls showing
One criticism is that the box is not large enough to store the basket without squishing it. I assume it is squished brand new even

Our play did not contain a lot of memorable moments. We were flipping our balls into the basket as prudently as we could. Some of us had longer learning curves than others, but we equalized pretty quickly. We played twice, since play only takes moments.

An overview shot showing all the balls
Lay your eyeballs on these colorful balls

Keri was the best at landing balls in the basket, and she won Pom Pom Game!

play or pass

Pass for sure. Pom Pom Game is light fun and does not claim any strategic depth. This is just flicking balls into a net and dealing with the aftermath of missing balls. But I feel lucky to have found it.

If you find Pom Pom Game at thrift pick it up. It is rare and some people want it. And then you can help the people that want Pom Pom Game, find it. And as long as the game is in decent condition, you can’t hurt it by doing a play through or two while it rests in your home.

Review: Lost Treasure

Review: Lost Treasure
Publisher: Parker Brothers
Year: 1982

This cover shows a diver at the bottom of the ocean

how we met

Thrifting Minion Josh gave me a copy of Lost Treasure. He found it at thrift one day, and all of the other thrifting minions already had it. Lucky me, again.

how it plays

Lost Treasure is one of the most interesting vintage electronic games that you can still reasonably find. Your goal is to make $1,000,000 dollars. In order to make this amount you must dive for treasure and also secure the loot you find.

There are always two treasures in play, gold and silver, randomly placed on the game board by the ELECTRONIC DIVE CONTROL CENTER. The game gives you four pawns, or BUOYS, that represent what you know about the current location of each treasure. These start in the four corners of the board initially, when you know nothing.

The buoys, four gold and four silver
Let’s hear it for the BUOYS

NOTE: In my limited anecdotal play, I couldn’t see a difference between going for gold or going for silver in Lost Treasure. I suspect their values are random. Either the rules don’t say this or I keep missing it.

Players begin the game on one of the PORT spaces, indicated by red circles on the board. Each player receives $150,000. If you run out of money completely during play, you can stop at a PORT and get $150,000 more. PORTs are also where you turn treasure chests into cash. More on that soon.

This close up of the board shows two possible ports
Here is a look at two of the available PORTs to rest your weary boats at

NOTE: Everything that happens on the ELECTRONIC DIVE CONTROL CENTER is public knowledge, so no hiding it! Lost Treasure is hesitantly cooperative.

on your turn

A player may do any or all of the following on their turn, as long as they do these things in this order. None of these things are required:

1) Search for treasure: A player can punch in the number of the area they are currently on and ask the computer if either the gold or silver treasure is either east or west, or north or south of the player’s area. The ELECTRONIC DIVE CONTROL CENTER will blink to indicate the correct answer, and you would then move the corresponding BUOYS to narrow down your focus. If the compass blinks in the middle it means the treasure you asked about is in the same either row or column you are in, depending upon which you asked about.

2) Roll the dice and move your boat: You want to make your way toward the treasure, or at least toward a spot where you can ask questions to narrow down its location. You roll two dice and can move up to that number of spaces. You can move right, left, up, down, or diagonal; the only rule is you may not move to or through a space that has land on it. (You’re a boat!)

3) Dive for treasure: If you think you landed at a numbered area with treasure, go ahead and try to dive. You have to pay $50,000 to obtain diving rights. As long as you stay in that area you are allowed to keep diving without paying again.

HINT: Remember that searching for treasure is optional. If it would help out your fellow players and not yourself based on your goals or where you are on the board, just skip it.

An overview of the board showing islands and a grid
The high seas

diving for treasure

Diving for treasure is super fun. When you get to an area that you think has treasure you pay your diving fees, punch in the number, and then press the AIR button. If you are right, you will hear and see your diving tanks fill with AIR. Keep your eyes on this meter, because you need to get to the surface again before your AIR runs out. And the clock starts right away once your AIR fills, so you should too.

The dive control center has a compass on the left area, a grid on the right, and a couple of other button columns
Ladies and gentlemen, your game master

Now you know there is treasure here, but you don’t know how much or where it is. Choose any of the nine numbers on the grid and hold it down to dive. You don’t need to be on that grid on the board, just in the general numbered area. You will hear a sound indicating whether you are ascending or descending and it will end in either a low bummer tone indicating no treasure or a fun little gleeful noise indicating you got something.

More info on the beeps and bops at our video on how to use the dive control center:

HINT: If another player is diving, be sure to pay attention to the numbers they are diving into. If you get there yourself you can use that info to limit your dive to remaining spaces.

After you explore one number in the grid, quickly decide if you want to keep going. Once you start to hit a number on the grid you must complete it to the end. You can’t change your mind. If you decide not to go for another one and just come up to the surface, hold down the UP button. Again the tones the control center makes will help determine whether you are successful. If you are not, you don’t die or anything. You just lose all the treasure you found in that dive, so you need to go back for it (or someone else can).

The ELECTRONIC DIVE CONTROL CENTER will indicate whether you found all the treasure in this area and how much treasure you get at the end of a successful dive. Treasure is received in treasure chests where each chest represents $50,000. You must get to a PORT in order to turn your treasure chests into cold, hard cash.

Small, brown, plastic logs represent the treasure chests
That is not brown licorice, these are our desired treasure chests!

But the high seas are treacherous and your terrible friends are terrible. If another ship pawn lands next to you when you have treasure chests they can attempt to PIRATE you. This is merely a roll off; you each roll one die and the highest roll gets all treasure chests from the other ship. Once chests are converted to cash, the cash can’t be stolen. So treasure chests are a liability that you want to get to a PORT asap.

There are a couple of instances where you are allowed to roll the dice again and move on your turn, mostly to escape attacks. If you are successful in a treasure dive you can skedaddle to avoid any attacks, but you don’t have to. If enemies are not near or if you feel lucky and there is more treasure in that area you may want to stay put.

This shows gold treasure narrowed down to area 82, and one ship is diving while one is blocked by islands
The board offers some strategic advantages and disadvantages throughout play. Here you see one hungry boat (green) needing to go around an entire island to join the diving fun

You can also roll again after a successful PIRATE win, whether you were attacking or defending. That allows you to get away from the enemy and keeps the treasure from going back and forth endlessly.

Once all of a treasure is found, another one is hidden somewhere new by the ELECTRONIC DIVE CONTROL CENTER. So if you dive and find all of the gold treasure, the ELECTRONIC DIVE CONTROL CENTER will automatically hide a new gold treasure. Reset the gold BUOYS and get hunting!

NOTE: In one of the games I played there were two instances where someone was diving for treasure and it was unclear whether it was the gold or the silver. This may not happen if you aren’t playing with gamblers like us, but just in case it does you may want to house rule asking the dive control center a question to settle it before you keep playing.

The first player to get $1,000,000 cash (not treasure chests) wins Lost Treasure!

The money
Money, money, money!

how it went

I have played Lost Treasure a couple of times now, and only recently with my regular group. We had a grand time diving for treasures.

an overview of our play
A shot of our play where the gold treasure appears to be narrowed down, but our BUOY placement is lacking

We only played with 3 players, and I think that’s a good number for Lost Treasure. The more people playing the faster you can usually deduce where treasure is, but then there’s also more pirating, more shenanigans, money split in more ways. The game only offers 2-4 players, but keep it on the light end for a reasonable length of gameplay.

In our play, John was some kind of treasure magnet. I would say at least half the time he asked the computer whether a treasure was east or west of him, the computer would beep, “It’s right in your column, buddy.” Or north and south, “You stay right where you are, we brought the treasure to you.” It was pretty funny. And, honestly, unexpected. I guess the same thing that draws John to coal chutes also draws diamonds to him.

Original price sticker from KayBee toys shows 38.99 marked down to 15.99
Speaking of diamonds, who would have guessed this was $38.99 new? Does that seem high or low to you?

I mentioned already that we gambled a bit. If we had the treasure narrowed down to three or four or sometimes five spots, sometimes we would just pay the fee and dive lazily where we were. And sometimes that worked! But most of the time it didn’t. I don’t recommend that approach. It’s hard to lose $50,000, especially early in the game.

The pawns are boats
Them’s the boats

The game board is pretty large for three players, so we actually didn’t run into each other a whole lot. Especially since the treasure was constantly getting planted wherever John happened to be. There was not a lot of pirating in our game, but there was a bit.

An overview of our play where two pawns are in treasure territory and one is pretty far away
I don’t remember *for sure* that I was green in our play, but I’m *pretty sure* that is my pawn in the ocean like derp, facing the wrong way

I tended to go after the silver treasure because it usually fell way across the board from other pawns. Mostly I was diving for silver treasure alone, and one time I even completed it in one dive!

John was ahead most of our gameplay, with Keri following closely behind. I was way, way behind because deep dives with no returns was kind of my jam. But in the end Keri navigated to victory in Lost Treasure!

play or pass

Play. This game is so well executed. It brings deduction, take that, electronics, and racing to port all together in a game that will have you gasping for air. Okay maybe not literally. But it’s a pretty fun time, easy to learn, and the theme is very well applied.

Most Lost Treasure copies still work great. You can pick it up for a reasonable price, or even find it at thrift if you are patient. If your gameplay goes long, just lower the win condition of $1,000,000.

Guest Review: Spy Alley

Today’s review is provided by Stef of HappiMess Media!

Review: Spy Alley
Publisher: Spy Alley Partners LLP
Year: 1992
Tagline: The Game of Suspense and Intrigue! 

Cover shows a dark figure in the shadows

how we met

I was on the hunt for some two-person games, since my fiancé, HB, and I are usually on our own when it comes to games. Unfortunately, the thrift store didn’t have anything old and/or weird enough. But I’d never heard of this game (even though it’s a multiple-award winner!), and I liked the promise of “suspense and intrigue,” and it was for “2 to 6 spies.” Thus, it seemed worth a shot.

how it plays

The bare-bones gist: You—an international spy—need to collect your spy stuff and end up at your embassy before those other pesky spies learn what country you’re from.

The worst part about a new game is learning the rules, but this wasn’t so painful (considering it’s for ages 8 and up). In this roll-and-move game, you scoot around the board and land on squares that let you buy passwords, disguises, code books, and keys. You can do this via the following board spaces:

  • Those specifically labeled Disguises, Keys, Code Books, and Passwords
  • Free Gift, where you pick any item for free
  • Black Market, where you buy any one item of your choosing
  • Confiscate Materials, where you buy any item of your choice from a fellow player

However, you don’t want to get just your country’s spy gear, because that would give away your identity. All spies need to buy items from all the countries in an attempt to throw everyone else off their trail until it’s too late.

All the components laid out

When you’ve got all your stuff, you’ve got to make your way to Spy Alley—a path cutting through the center of the board—and land on your country’s embassy before someone guesses who you are. Someone can make a guess about a spy’s identity at the start of his or her turn. If the guesser is correct, the player who is guessed is out of the game, and the guesser gets all that player’s money and items. If the guesser is incorrect, the guesser is out of the game and the guessed player gets all the stuff. You can also guess all players’ identities—without penalty to yourself—if you land on the Spy Eliminator space.

In short: It’s part Clue, part Monopoly Jr., part Mall Madness (with the buying stuff and putting pegs in a board).

how it went

We happened to play this on the rare occasion when we had a third player! HB, PC, and I poured ourselves some spiced rum over ice and got down to biz. I was the Russian spy, so when I saw PC buying the Russian key right off the bat, I thought, “LIAR!!!!” 

A close up of the Russian SPY ID card

PC (the American spy, who was predictably overweight) landed on the Spy Eliminator space and guessed HB and I were French. He was right regarding HB, but when he took HB’s items he forgot to keep the money. This is an example of just one of many hazards of drinking while playing. This was also good news for me, because I kept getting crappy rolls that forced me through Spy Alley, which is primarily comprised of embassies and too few options to get items. 

We spoke in horrific accents (which the game itself actively encourages you to do), often mixing them within the same sentence. It was surely my reliance on my dreadful Italian accent that led PC to guess that I was from Italy, but NO! So I won, and that was nice. 

play or pass

Play, if you’re in the mood for something silly and relatively effortless (and you need an excuse to bust out a bad accent). 

The box next to sleeping hound dog Max

Review: Charge It!

Review: Charge It!
Publisher: Western Publishing Company
Year: 1972

This cover is very 70's with an orange background and a pink arm holding out a green credit card

how we met

I found Charge it! just recently for 50 cents. The cover is cute. I like the 70s colors. I looked Charge It! up on BGG and saw that most of the ratings are above-average and it is full of delightful art, so I thought I’d take a chance on it.

how it plays

Your goal in Charge it! is to be the first player to collect $50,000 in debt over the course of however many rounds it takes for someone to win.

Players begin the game with 6 cards in hand, and players should always have 6 cards in hand. On their turn, players first draw a card and then play a card. The gameplay is very similar to Mille Bornes.

NOTE: The rules state that a player can draw from the deck or from the discard pile, however we only allowed drawing from the deck. If a game allows drawing from the discard pile, the order in which things get discarded is very important. Since the instructions did not address this we just skipped the drawing from the discard part.

Your goal is to play CREDIT CARDs and charge those puppies up. There are four different CREDIT CARDs in the game, and you can only play one of each in front of you at a given time. Each card has a different credit limit.

The cards range in limit from $1k to $6k
Meet our heroes, the credit cards

Once you have a CREDIT CARD in front of you, you can start to charge merchandise to it! You do this by simply placing a MERCHANDISE CARD face down under the CREDIT CARD. But here’s the trick: you can’t look at that merchandise again once you have played it, so you have to remember all of your charges to make sure you don’t exceed your credit limit!

The game also has EXTENDED CREDIT if things are feeling tight, or if you aren’t sure you went over. These all extend credit $2,500 and are also played face down under a CREDIT CARD.

The game also has LOST CARDs that you can play on another player’s CREDIT CARD to cancel it! You must play the matching LOST CARD as the CREDIT CARD you are trying to cancel. That player must immediately play a matching CREDIT CARD or an INSURANCE CARD from their hand to save their card. The INSURANCE card would stay on the CREDIT CARD to protect it through the end of the round. There are only four INSURANCE CARDs in the whole deck.

After a player plays either a CREDIT CARD or INSURANCE CARD to protect their card, they would also draw right away to make sure they continue to have 6 cards in hand.

Some of the random cards like LOST card, INSURANCE card, and EXTENDED CREDIT card
Here are examples of LOST CARDs, INSURANCE CARDs, and EXTENDED CREDIT cards

Once any player thinks they have accumulated at least $10,000 they end the round. All players count up the merchandise under their CREDIT CARDs. If a player went over their credit limit on any card then they receive no money points for that round.

The player that declared the end of the round gets a $2,000 bonus if they are over $10,000 and did not exceed any of their credit limits. If either of those terrible things happened, they get no points at all and no one gets the bonus!

The rules do not address whether play stops immediately when a player says they reached $10,000. We played as though play stops immediately and then the next round begins with the next player.

The first player to reach $50,000 wins Charge it!

how it went

We played Charge it! recently on a game night where Bill was absent, so we played 3 player. It took us five rounds until one of us hit $50,000 in winnings and won the game. So we had five separate, interesting rounds where different things were happening.

Keri set the tone every time she put a MERCHANDISE CARD under her CREDIT CARD and said something like, “Charge it!” or “I’ll put that on my Phoney Express!” or after losing her CREDIT CARD and drawing a new one declaring, “I reapplied!” I swear she is a professional cheerleader and just hasn’t told me yet.

Example merchandise cards
Some of the MERCHANDISE CARDs, but I see prominent ones are missing, like trucks of Sod

In my first round, I had such a hard time finding a CREDIT CARD!! You need a CREDIT CARD in front of you before you can start to really participate in play – except for LOST cards – so lacking a CREDIT CARD is a drag. But I think I only had to discard one MERCHANDISE CARD because I had a tiny CREDIT CARD with EXTENDED CREDIT, rather than no CREDIT CARD at all.

The deck in its plastic holder
What is waiting for you in this deck?

In the fourth round, I had a fully maxed A-LA CREDIT CARD with an EXTENDED LIMIT, so $8,500. I had a couple of other CREDIT CARDs too, but the funny thing about this round was that I kept drawing that same CREDIT CARD! I am not complaining, but it was so funny. I was holding what I think must be most of the high limit CREDIT CARDs in the game, in my hand. At one point John tried to cancel my super card, and all of the cards in my hand were face down in front of me. I mixed them up and drew one, showing the high-limit card and canceling his LOST CARD, and being grossly smug. When you play a card to cancel a LOST CARD you have to draw again right away, and I drew another high limit card. It was insane.

This same round Keri had a tough time. She could not find even a single CREDIT CARD to allow her to play any MERCHANDISE CARDs. She had to discard multiple items, cheerily asking, who needs a Player Piano? Who needs a truck full of sod?

Finally Keri had a $2,000 limit CREDIT CARD that she lovingly played. John immediately tried to cancel it, even though it had no purchases under it. This was perhaps my favorite part of the game. Keri yelled, “$&^@ you! Eat a #&$%!” and played an INSURANCE CARD on her only, empty CREDIT CARD.

John meanwhile seemed to be a magnet for INSURANCE CARDs. His CREDIT CARDs were unstoppable, but his luck drawing larger MERCHANDISE CARDs was less dependable.

The rounds varied quite a lot for us.

I was ahead most of the rounds, so I only needed a small amount of money to win during the fifth round. But Lady Luck certainly made me work for it. In this round I had more high level CREDIT CARDs, so I could play one somewhat safely. But I became alarmed as play continued and instead of drawing MERCHANDISE CARDs, I drew LOST after LOST after LOST CARD.

I don’t want to play LOST CARDs all willy nilly. Ideally a LOST CARD can be played strategically instead of played-or-discarded. But that round, I seemed to only have and only draw LOST CARDs. What’s a terrible friend to do? I came clean by saying to my friends, “This game wants me to rain hellfire down on you.”

A sample of gameplay in nice times
In nicer times, I have credit cards with multiple cards underneath, like here

I have an awful memory, as you know, but I actually did pretty well in this game. I tried to wait until I could make even bursts of $1,000 whether it took a combination of cards or not. There was only one round where I was uncertain whether I hit $10,000 so I waited for what felt like a $1,000 buffer, but I only squeaked by with just $10,000. So that was a close one.

And I won Charge it!

play or pass

Play. There is inherent humor in a 1972 game encouraging you to play and charge up as many credit cards as you can, and to be the first to hit $50,000 in debt. I can see gameplay becoming too long, but as with all games where you play to a specific dollar goal, you can just lower the goal to shorten gameplay.

In addition to playing like Mille Bornes, this game reminds me of Burger Battle which we play every so often. Both require you to draw and then play one card on your turn. Both have nasty “take that” cards that extend gameplay. Both have fun art. The differences are that Burger Battle explicitly addresses discarding, and drawing from the discard pile can be important. That game also has an explosive game-resetting card. And Charge it! introduces the memory aspect of gameplay that Burger Battle does not. But for the record, I recommend both going on your credit card.

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