Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over 18 months and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every other Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Small World



GameSmall World

ManufacturerDays of Wonder

Designer: Philippe Keyaerts

Year2009




For a gateway level game, we added Small World to our collection quite late. Like most Days of Wonder games it is a very high quality production with great artwork and is simple enough to teach to new players, so we are very happy to have added it to our shelves and are still trying to add a few more Days of Wonder titles – it won’t be soon before I run out of patience and buy Quadropolis too.


In Small World, each player selects an available combination of a race and a special power and takes a pile of tokens equivalent to the total number shown on the race/power cards. This allows strong powers to counter balance slightly weaker races, although every so often there is a killer combination that becomes available by chance. Your tokens are then used to take over different areas of the fantasy land (hills, mountains, swamps etc.) by outnumbering the number of tokens which are already on that piece of land –wither neutral tokens or your opponent’s tokens.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Estate agents would call it "cosy":- Small World



Legends tell of the ancients who used to live here, tall giants that strode across mountains as if they were flat land, rumors say that if you head to the tallest peaks you'll still find them, surviving off the few fools that venture so high. But they don't know the true threat of the high mountains. Two words: Flying Skeletons! The world might be small, but it sure is bizarre!

Small world Is a 2-5 player domination game where you take a variety of fantasy races and fight over an inexplicably small amount of land. As a general rule the more land you own the better, though some races might be particularly good with certain land types while others might be more concerned with the whole conquering thing than actually holding territory.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Yellow Meeple's Top 5 Board Game Apps for Android



There was a time not too long ago when I would only play apps that were free to download, simply because an average of around £3-4 per app seemed a lot to pay in comparison to having the physical copy. This meant I was playing Blokus, Neuroshima Hex, Star Realms, Hearthstone and Hive.

However, when I started commuting in January I started to need a few more distractions and ones that I could play on my Android phone rather than carrying a tablet to work. This meant that I expanded to Ticket to Ride, Catan, Kingdom Builder, Suburbia, Carcassonne and Ingeneous. We’ve also had Smallworld and Talisman on the PC at various times, but never used them on a smaller device.

After 3 months of significant play-time. Here are the Yellow Meeples top 5 Android Apps for board gamers;

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- LEGO Heroica



GameHeroica

ManufacturerLEGO
Designer: Nicolas Assenbrunner, Cephas Howard, Thomas Robert Van der Heiden

 Year2011

A few years ago the LEGO craze hit – I don’t know where it came from but suddenly LEGO was c ool again with adults and kids alike. I was one of the first on the band wagon, getting my first ‘adult’ LEGO set, a Sopwith Camel, for Christmas 2012. LEGO quickly became one of my main hobbies and we found Heroica shortly after when LEGO were pumping out interesting games for a year or two – including some by well known designers such as Reiner Knizia. Heroica is arguably one of the games which would most appeal to gamers because of its fantasy dungeon theme.

Heroica is an expandable game and although its expansions are standalone, the idea is that you connect the buildable elements of the board together to create new areas of your dungeon. Fortaan is the castle, Nathuz is the caves, Waldurk the forest, Draida the desert and Ilrion (the first of a second series of expansions that was never continued) which appears to be water filled catacombs. I think this is in fact the only game on the shelf which we have fully expanded.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Over-thinking by the Yellow Meeple: The Golden Geek Awards 2015



The last time I wrote a blog about board game awards was the Dice Tower awards back in June 2015. As we were quite new to gaming at the time I had only played one winner – Star Realms. Now, reading through the Golden Geek Awards after over 12 months in the board gaming hobby I can actually feel quite accomplished.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A dungeon made of bricks:- Lego Heroica



Our boat crashed against the beachy shores of Draida, salty air filled our nostrils, joined with the unmistakable smell of goblin. It’s hard to mistake that unique blend of fecal matter, blood and sweat that is so characteristic of the green monsters. Before we could catch our bearings the barbarian charged off into the distance, the knight looked back and me, shrugged and then ran after them. I soon lost them both in the haze of battle, the map said we needed to pass through the forest, but I saw no evidence of 2 heavily armed warriors trampling the foliage. I did however find werewolves, and the less said about them the better. Eventually I found myself at the gates of the dark castle of Fortaan, I used my great magic to burn down the gates and stormed inside only to find a scene of carnage. The knight was lying on the floor, bleeding heavily, but surrounded by dead goblins in chainmail. I threw him a potion before following the blood trail deeper into the castle. In the throne room I saw him, the goblin king! Or at least part of him, rolling along the floor towards me after being decapitated by the barbarians axe.

Heroica is an expandable 2-4 player dungeon delving adventure game in which you take control of one of a handful of heroes and fight your way through to defeat a boss monster at the end of a dungeon. It’s probably worth noting that this is a Lego game, everything in the game, from your health points to the monsters, to the dice itself is made of Lego!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions – 12th-19th March 2016



This week we had the opportunity to try out Board in the City – the first board game cafe in Southampton. Interestingly they are a community interest company which means that it’s free to play games before 4pm. Their collection is currently quite modest but there are around 10 new titles we want to try, so I think we’ll be trying to visit at least a few times in the coming months. They have plenty of space and grand ambitions including an event space. We’ve also heard good things about the food and the ways in which they are trying to engage with different members of the community are a real credit. I’m encouraged by the support they’re getting from the local board gaming groups too and they’re also getting a lot of interest from non-gamers too with their bright signage and offering something new.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple: Survive: Escape from Atlantis!

GameSurvive: Escape from Atlantis!

ManufacturerStronghold Games
Designer: Julian Courtland-Smith

 Year2011




Survive: Escape from Atlantis! is a re-make of the classic Waddingtons game Escape from Atlantis in which players are trying to escape from the island of Atlantis which is sinking. Standing in their way are sharks, whales and sea monsters, but most importantly the other players who are generally quite selfish in their efforts to find a boat or swim for freedom.



In Survive, each player takes 10 coloured meeple who they need to place on the island of Atlantis. The island is made up of hex tiles representing the beach, the forest and mountains. The beach is the least safe place to be as it sinks first, followed in order by the forest and the mountains. Players take turns to place one meeple each so that they can decide which are the best strategic positions on the island. Once all meeples are placed each player also places two boats which are the quickest means to escape the sinking island on Atlantis. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Fish are friends! Humans aren't!:- Survive: Escape from Atlantis

GameSurvive: Escape from Atlantis!

ManufacturerStronghold Games
Designer: Julian Courtland-Smith

 Year2011
Survive :Escape from Atlantis is a 2-4 player hate-simulator in which you vindictively murder your opponent’s meeples while desperately trying to escape with yours. Alliances will form as you share precious boats, then fall apart as soon as it’s no-longer convenient for one of you. Wars will begin as sea monsters eat boats and meeples alike in a horrible bloodbath of unfairness. If you can’t handle being angry at your friends then this game isn’t for you!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Top Ten Games Off The Shelf



We’re creeping towards the 1 year anniversary of The Game Shelf blog, so at this point we’ve played a lot of titles, as I particularly enjoy trying new games, but sometimes it feels like we’re not actually getting the value out of some of our favourite titles on the shelf. When we recently finished playing Pandemic Legacy we were prompted to look at our logged plays on BoardGameGeek to see how it rated amongst our top played games – it was definitely high, but not the highest.

We started logging plays on BGG about 3 months after we started playing board games, so some of the games we started playing early are probably a little low in the rankings, for example Dominion, Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, X-Wing Miniatures and Ticket-to-Ride Europe. But, as of 10th March 2016 these are our top 10 most played games.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Sentinels of the Multiverse



GameSentinels of the Multiverse


ManufacturerGreater Than Games


Designer: Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, Adam Rebottaro


Year2011


  

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a co-operative card game for 1-5 players. The game is set in an universe of superheroes who are not part of a franchise but who are obviously based on many well known super heroes from comic books. Your group of super hero characters must fight against the odds of the environment and against the tactics of each of the unique villains.




In each game of Sentinels of the Multiverse you will select a group of superheroes, each with their own unique theming and style of play. With two players we always play with two characters each. You also select a different environment and villain which are the causes of evil in the game. On a hero turn you have a hand of cards and choose one to play – this might be a one shot to deal damage to one or more targets, some equipment or an ongoing ability. You can then play one power – where some characters deal significant damage, but others, such as Legacy, are important for co-operative play in helping boost the other heroes.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Because comics can't stay in one universe:-Sentinels of the Multiverse Enhanced Edition


GameSentinels of the Multiverse


ManufacturerGreater Than Games


Designer: Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, Adam Rebottaro


Year2011

 

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a 1-5 player cooperative card game in which you control one of a group of heroes fighting to save the world from one of a series of supervillains. The game has a strong focus on replay-ability with a selection of 10 heroes to choose from, 4 villains to fight and 4 locations to fight them in.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Rhino Hero


GameRhino Hero



ManufacturerHABA

Designer: Scott Frisco, Steven Strumpf


 Year2011


  

A children’s game by HABA is not what you typically find us reviewing at The Game Shelf. We don’t ever play games with kids (we’re waiting for our nieces to get a bit older) but I think we’re probably big kids at heart! We tried Rhino Hero a couple of weeks ago on a visit the Thirsty Meeples in Oxford and had a lot of fun with it, so we’ve got ourselves a copy and played it with a few different groups.





In Rhino Hero you are building a tall thin apartment block from different cards. Each player starts the game with a hand of cards which represent the floors of the tower, which are placed horizontally. On you turn you have to place two walls (folding cards) on the lines depicted on the previous floor and then balance a floor card from your hand on top. It’s then the next players turn, unless you played a floor card with a modification such as reversing the play order or skipping a player. This can really mess with people, because, like games like Uno, the aim of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your hand. You win if you empty your hand, but you lose if you knock over the tower. If someone does knock it over (which has happened in every game we’ve played) then the player with the fewest cards left in hand wins.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The hero we deserve:- Rhino Hero



GameRhino Hero

ManufacturerHABA

Designer: Scott Frisco, Steven Strumpf
 

Year2011


It was a warm early-Autumn day when Richard Hino decided to walk to his job at the construction yard. The suburbs of Animalopolis were always pleasant at this time of year, a gentle breeze took the edge off the last of the summer sun. But wait, what was that crying? Richard, unbeknownst to those around him, used his Super-sight to see a kitten, caught up in the tall branches of a tree! Sneaking into a nearby alleyway Richard used his Super-speed to change into his costume. From the alleyway emerged Rhino Hero, the bravest, and only, superhero Animalopolis has ever known! Using his Super-flight Rhino Hero flew up to the tallest branch of the tree with the kitten in it. Rhino Hero began to talk to the kitten telling him that “He should always stay near his mother” and “Make sure you brush your teeth after every meal”. In fact Rhino Hero was so caught up with is Super-lecture that he hadn’t noticed that his Super-heaviness has bent the tree down to the street and the kitten had wandered off! Join us next time for more adventures of Rhino Hero!

Rhino Hero is a competitive tower building game for 2-5 players in which you attempt to build a tall tower by using all of your cards, or at the very least not be the person to knock the tower down. Tower building will be “assisted” by the titular Rhino Hero who will move around the tower being super-heroic… and heavy. It should be noted that this is a kids game, you shouldn’t be expecting much in the way of strategic play, but if you’re willing to play a silly game then you’ll be surprised how much fun could be had.