Review: Windup War

Windup War

When the kids are out of the room, the toys come alive! In Windup War from Bellwether Games, players control a set of super cute windup toys that are ready to do battle. Are you going to play as the fierce dinosaurs, the tactful toy soldiers or the far from cuddly teddy bear army? No matter which team you pick, it’s going to take strategy to take out your opponent.

Programming Your Win

Up to 6 players choose an army of 3 windup toys from their faction. Then players program 5 actions face down that will be played simultaneously around the table. Having the right cards programmed at the right time can make a huge difference.

Each toy has a total health and one or two colored ribbons that designate what colored cards you can play when they are active. The programming cards are colored blue, pink, purple, green, gold and black. The black cards can be played with any toy and will sometimes be the best bet when you’re low on options.

It’s tough to predict exactly what’s going to happen during battle, but that is the strategy in this game. Will my toy be destroyed 3 cards into the program? Should I plan to survive with that one toy during the first round? How much defense should I play against the other players?

Windup War Infantry

The game is really rewarding when a plan works out and you are left with your army in tact after the first round. It’s satisfying to look around the table and see other windup toys fall away and know that you survived a round.

The cards that you program can attack everyone at the table, one person to your right or left, or even deal damage to anyone that attacked you that turn. The card options are really great and forces you to plan in order to take out another player. Playing an illegal card can result in an action “breaking” and this can only happen 3 times before your army is eliminated.

Our Final Thoughts

After the first game, everyone we played with completely understood the mechanics. There is a slight learning curve just like most games. If a person has played a tabletop game with this “programming” mechanic, they might get the concept within the first round.

The game plays in about 20 minutes which was great because we could play a couple matches during lunch at work or before the kids hit the bed. Bellwether Games did a great job on making the illustrations fun and engaging.

My biggest complaint would be the card size, but even that comes with some positives. The cards are slender and not a common size. While the card size is a hassle for someone with big hands like myself, the game is super portable because of this decision. The final card that is going to print will be wider than the prototype we received which is good news and I’ll be excited to see the final prints.

Overall, Windup Wars is a really great family game that pushes players to make decisions that are not impulsive. The artwork is cute and you can imagine these little toy armies going into battle with each other. I’m pumped to see this Kickstarter launch because it’s bringing another fun game to the table for both kids and adults.

Visit the Kickstarter for Windup War today.

Editors Note: Bellwether Games sent us a prototype copy of Windup War prior to the Kickstarter launch. This complimentary copy in no way influenced the content of this review.


  • Strategy matters when planning your attack
  • Game plays in about 20 minutes which is perfect
  • Great artwork and a fun theme


  • Younger players can get frustrated when their program goes wrong
  • Cards are an odd size