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 the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every 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, 16 November 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Mystic Vale: Mana Storm

Game: Mystic Vale: Mana Storm

Publisher: AEG

Designer: John D. Clair

Year: 2017



Mystic Vale: Mana Storm is the first expansion we've tried for Mystic Vale. Mystic Vale was AEG's first game with the card crafting system where you add to and improve your cards throughout the game, so that you are deck-building, but not actually adding cards to your deck throughout the game. I really enjoyed the system in Mystic Vale, as you can see in my older review, but I've held back from investing in expansions because nothing about them seemed game changing and the price point for a box of cards was very high in comparison to the base game.


Mana Storm makes two or three key changes to the game. Firstly, it adds new cards to all of the decks. Secondly it gives each player a leader card, which becomes one of the ards in your deck and gives you a unique ability which can also be upgraded using mana. Finally, each player has a unique amulet which replaces the double sided mana token, giving you each unique abilities when you spoil and flip the token.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Mana-Mana, Doo-doo do-doo-do:- Mystic Vale: Mana Storm


Game: Mystic Vale: Mana Storm

Publisher: AEG

Designer: John D. Clair

Year: 2017

Mystic Vale is a card crafting game which we previously reviewed in January this year. As a quick refresher, Mystic Vale is a deck building game with a twist, you start with a full deck of sleeved cards. Instead of buying cards for your deck, you buy clear plastic advancements, which slide inside the sleeves adding their powers to the base card. Each card can support up to three advancements, creating an incredibly vast number of unique combinations. I finished my Mystic Vale review by saying that one day the card crafting system would produce a great game, but Mystic Vale wasn't that game.

So, does the Mana Storm expansion change that? Mana Storm brings with it 48 new advancements and 18 new Vale cards for you to play with, but most importantly it introduces leaders and amulets. The new advancements have a strong tendency to be more powerful than the advancements found in the base game, but to balance this out a large number of them have caveats to their function, some require you to collect enough guardian symbols on the card by adding other enhancements before it starts to work, while others simply cost you victory points at the end of the game to balance out their power. It's wonderful to see the guardian symbols being introduced in greater number, making collecting them far more meaningful. The base game didn't really use this mechanic to the fullest, but now you can create a few cards that start neutered, but gain power exponentially as you add more symbols.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 11th November - 12th November

This first impressions blog covers a whole 2-day period! That's because we had the chance to play new games at two different board game cafe's this weekend. We spent Saturday afternoon at  the Ludoquist in Croydon, who are having an amazing first week - so amazing that it's hard to find some table space! Then we spent Sunday at Draughts in London. Both occassions were with friends, so we did a mixture of sharing some games we already know and learning some new, lighter games at the table.

It was a busy weekend, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 5th November - 10th November

Today we're had our second ever Kickstarter delivery. Unlike our first Kickstarter (Gloomhaven) I was really happy to be able to get this one straight to the table! By lunchtime today we had already played Kokoro twice - more than a lot of games on our shelves have ever been played! This week we've also started to look at our small number of Essen games and an old classic to round off the week of new games.

Here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Thoughts from Yellow Meeple:- Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

Game: Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Designer: Brad Andres, Erik Dahlman, Nate French

Year: 2017

The Legend of the Five Rings is a re-boot of an old collectible card game into Fantasy Flight's living card game (LCG) model. In a living card game, you are still encouraged to buy additional content and customise your decks, but you kow exactly what you're getting inside every expansion box. Core sets, like this game just released are the starting point and should include enough for you to play a full game and they are, of course, designed to get you hooked. We have not been hooked into any licing card game franchise so far, having tried Android Netrunner and The Lord of the Rings, so is Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game one that will grab our attention and open our wallets?

Legend of the Five Rings is an asymmetric, 2-player card game. You each pick a faction and in the base set you'll receive two pre-made decks - a dynasty deck and a conflict deck. Your dynasty deck contains people and holdings who you use to start conflicts or defend from conflicts, whilst your conflict deck contains a mixture of items, events and weaker people who you can pull out as a surpise to use during conflicts. Each player has four provinces and a stronghold and your goal is to be the first player to break 3 out of 4 of the other players provices and break their stronghold.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Collect 100 for a 1-up:- Legend of the Five Rings

Game: Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Designer: Brad Andres, Erik Dahlman, Nate French

Year: 2017

Legend of the Five Rings is a 2-player living card game (LCG) in which you take control of one of seven clans and attempt to conquer another clan through the combination of political intrigue and outright brute force. Legend of the Five Rings uses two decks for each side as well as a series of provinces which you must take over before you can finally conquer your opponents stronghold and win the game. However you must be careful, if you fight too shamefully you will be dishonored and unable to win.

Legend of the Five Rings works in a round based system, each round you get a certain amount of fate, the game's currency. This can be spent at the start of the round to recruit troops from your dynasty deck, or held back to pay for surprise cards from your conflict deck. Next both players will bid honor in order to draw from their conflict cards. Honor represents a secondary way to win or lose the game, if you run out then your armies are demoralized and shamed enough to abandon you. Similarly if your opponent reaches 25 they will instantly win. To bid honor you select a number from 1 to 5 on a dial, then both players reveal their dials simultaneously. The number you select dictates the number of conflict cards you can draw that turn, while the difference between your number and your opponents results in honor being given to them/taken from them.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 30th October - 4th November

This week has been very exciting in terms of new deliveries. Our three Essen preorders arrived from Thirsty Meeples, I decided to order the three new EXIT games from Kosmos and review copies of When I Dream and the new expansion for Mystic Vale also turned up on our doorstep. We have so many games to play, as well as keeping on top of our campaigns of Gloomhaven and Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and having friend over to continue Mechs vs. Minions or Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle

There's a lot going on, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Flatline

Game: Flatline

Publisher: Renegade Game Studios

Designer: Kane Klenko

Year: 2017



Flatline is a sequel to Renegade’s hit game Fuse, where you were working to defuse a bomb. Unfortunately you failed at that game and now Flatline reflects the consequences for your ship. Flatline is a game of real-time dice rolling where you need to work together quickly to make the right dice combinations to treat your patients, deal with emergencies and buy yourself time to ensure that you complete all of your tasks before the power runs out. We’ve had a great track record with real-time cooperative games. XCOM: The Board Game is definitely our favourite, but the only one we’ve tried and not enjoyed is Bomb Squad. In that context, how does Flatline fare?




In Flatline, each player has a set number of customized dice, showing 6 different symbols. Each turn there is a one minute timed phase where everyone simultaneously rolls their dice and then you try to use the faces to complete tasks on the board. At any one time there are 4 receptacles on the board representing your patients and on each will be a number of tasks where the right dice must be placed – sometimes by one person and sometimes by a specific combination of people. Once all tasks on a patient are completed, that patient is replaced with a new one until you complete all patients and win the game.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 23rd - 29th October

After a week away hunting for new board game cafes and board game stores in the north of England, we came home to 3 new board game arrivals. In the following days two amazing parcels arrived - our Kickstarter pledge for Gloomhaven was the first excitement, followed by our preorder of Pandemic Legacy Season 2 which stole all of the limelight! 

We've got a lot of new games to play, so, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Nurse, roll me the scalpel:- Flatline

Flatline is a real-time cooperative game in which you assume the role of emergency medics after a bomb blast. You have to cure all of the patients that come to you before your emergency generators run out of power and all your equipment turns off, dooming the remaining patients. When I say you have to cure all the patients I mean it, should you save the lives of 7 out of 8 critically wounded people you aren’t congratulated on a job well done under stressful conditions. No. Save everyone or go find a new job!


Flatline takes place in a series of rounds, each with a preparation phase, a real-time phase and a conclusion phase. Each round you lose a cube from the power supply, which acts as the round timer. After that you draw a number of crisis cards equal to the newly revealed number on the power bar. Crisis cards are either standard blue cards, which have negative effects and form a numbered track or emergency orange cards which need to be dealt with this round or they start to trigger a failure state. After drawing crisis cards you roll the two crisis dice and resolve associated crisis cards. Then comes the planning phase where you can take stock and talk to each other for as long as needed to decide what you want to achieve this round. 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 19th - 22nd October 2017



Last Friday we had a 6 hour gaming marathon at Thirsty Meeples in Oxford where we played new games for the whole session. In addition, we came home from our week away to a small pile of new deliveries, so this week's first impressions could be very, very long - so I'll keep my thoughts on each game brief. In our time at Thirsty Meeples we only played one game that's jumped straight onto our wishlist and, as is always predictable, it's one that's a little hard to get hold of!

So, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;


Saturday, 28 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work:- Week 14

Four weeks later and it's time for another board game night. Everyone who can is still attending and it's really obvious that people are looking forward to it each month! In the last four weeks I know that at least one colleague has bought two games - Rhino Hero and In A Bind - and a few others are talking about buying games as Christmas gifts, so I must be doing something right!

Week 14

Number of Attendees: 7

Games Played: Sushi Go, Telestrations, Codenames

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Contrast

Game: Contrast

Publisher: Pink Monkey Games

Designer: Julien Percot

Year: 2017


Contrast is a small box card name, which at first glance is trying to do something similar to games like Dixit and Mysterium, using weird artwork to create a sociable party game. Contrast is a game for 2-6 players in which each player has the same 6 cards, each showing 12 symbols. These 12 symbols is the way you'll need to describe each artwork card, with one symbol which might be; a circle, the colour green, a small or large weight or a tall or short arrow. If you can get into the same mindset as other players then you're likely to score points, unless everyone picks the same, obvious symbol, meaning that no-one scores points.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

It's more of a Juxtaposition in my mind:- Contrast

Game: Contrast

Publisher: Pink Monkey Games

Designer: Julien Percot

Year: 2017

Contrast is a 2-6 player picture-based card game that will immediately make you think of Dixit and Mysterium. You will be presented with a selection of weird and wonderful picture cards that you have to relate to the symbols on the cards in your hand. If you match the same symbols as other players do then you'll win points, but if everyone guesses the same or everyone guesses differently then no-one gets anything!

Each player has a hand of 6 identical cards. Each of these cards have 2 contrasting attributes on them, for example red/yellow or long/short. Each round every player has to choose one of these cards to lay face down with the attribute of choice pointing towards the picture. Once everyone has chosen a card they are all revealed and everyone who played the most common attribute wins the round and gets to take a picture card as a reward. For example if a picture of a giraffe was revealed and 4 out of 6 players chose to play their long/short card with the long side towards the picture then they would all win and be rewarded with a picture card. At the end of the game the player with the most cards is the winner.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Amy's Top 10 Board Games 2017

It's been almost 2 years since I last took a long, hard look at our game collection and devised a top 10 list. In that time I've played countless new games, so have my favourites changed all that much? Before we get to the list I want to bring up one honourable mention:

Escape Room: The Game is the first escape room boardgame I’ve played that *truly* feels like an escape room. The puzzles are perfectly tooled to be a challenge but not be too hard and should you get stuck the hint system is well designed to drip feed you help as you need it. That being said it is only 4 games, not all of which are as good as the first. It’s not that easy to get in the UK which means we won’t be getting the expansions any time soon. Whilst there is plenty of quality, there simply isn’t enough quantity for this game to make the list.

Now onto the Top 10;

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 16th - 18th October 2017

We were hoping to tour the board game cafes in the North West of England this week, but unfortunately things haven't been going our way (in particular a failed trip to Liverpool where both cafes were closed). However, we still had a great time visiting Fan Boy 3 in Manchester - a board game store that offers tables for gaming from their modest sized gaming library. We had a great time playing some new games and talking with the owners about the challenges of running a friendly local game store or a board game cafe.

So, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Nomads


Game: Nomads

Publisher: Ludonaute

Designer: Gary Kim

Year: 2017

Nomads is the second game in the Legends of Luma universe from Ludonaute. Their first game, Oh Captain, is highly regarded by our gaming group who have said that it replaces Sheriff of Nottingham, but I have not actually played it. The next game in the line is Nomads - a reworking of a Korean title - Jeju Island. The characters have been changed and the game has been tweaked so that it is apprently more tactical and less random. Overall it's an impressive presentation, so how does it play?

In Nomads, each player takes two circular tokens in their player colour. Each player also gets a special ability and for the green character, this means they have three circular tokens. The board has a circular track with 8 spots which are initially filled with blank nomad tokens, then the coloured tokens that are non-player tokens (in a game with fewer than five players) are placed. Finally each player can place their two tokens onto the stacks in one or two of the eight stacks. During the game you have to move a full stack, dropping off one token into each spot, in a mancala style mechanism. Then every coloured player token that is on top of a stack is able to take a cardboard quare token from the corresponding stack.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 8th - 15th October 2017


It's proving challenging to try and play new games at home at the moment. We have our regular gmaing night on a Thursday where we play campaign games and now we've started a Pathfinder RPG campaign, which is another day taken out of the time for board gaming. I'm not completely sure how I feel about my first ever RPG, but for now I'm going to persevere since the group of people is making it fun. Nevertheless, we've managed to play a few games, thanks in part to our visit to PLAY Expo Manchester this weekend and are getting plenty of free time in the coming weeks. 

So, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Pass the Peace Pipe:- Nomads

Game: Nomads

Publisher: Ludonaute

Designer: Gary Kim

Year: 2017

Nomads is a 2-5 player Mancala-style game in which you take one of the pirates from Oh Captain and attempt to learn the legends of the Nomadic tribe that rescued you. This would be an easy experience, but the peace pipe they passed around is clouding your head making the stories difficult to grasp. You will wander around the campfire, picking up fragments of each story and trying to piece together the original legends.

Each turn in Nomads a player will collect up one of the stacks of tokens that contains one of their tokens and then move it either way around the central campfire. Each space you pass over you drop one tile from your stack until your stack is emptied. After moving every player with a token at the top of a pile collects the adjacent story fragment. Finally the active player can cash in story fragments for legend cards that provide end game scoring. Occasionally you will reveal moon tiles instead of story fragments, these become a tracker when collected and at 4 tiles a mid-game scoring begins, during this the player who currently has the most points collects 3 moon tokens, while second player collects 1. Moon tokens are worth a point each at the end of the game.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Rundown of PLAY Expo Manchester 2017




This weekend we visited PLAY Expo Manchester - a two day gaming event at EventCity Manchester. We knew that there wouldn't be a big presence for board gaming, but decided it was worth checking out since we were in the area. Amy is also a video gamer and we have a growing retro games collection so there was likely to be something more than board games on offer for us. Here's what we saw;

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Overthinking by The Yellow Meeple:- Top 5 Most Anticipated Board Games of Essen 2017

Spiel, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the world, will be taking place in Essen, Germany from October 26th-29th. Unfortunately we won't be there, as the idea of Essen is a little too intimidating and a convention which focuses on shopping rather than playing isn't necessarily our kind of event. Nevertheless, the list of new releases is HUGE and I can't deny that I'm extremely excited for some of these games!

I've used the tool on BoardGameGeek in order to compile this list and after being very strict with myself, I am interested in 95 items, 10 of which are must haves and 25 of which are following close behind. I've decided to avoid talking about games I already consider to have been released, such as Photosynthesis at Gen Con, which I'm still waiting to try. I'm also going to avoid talking about games I've already backed on Kickstarter or pre-ordered. Charterstone, Pandemic Legacy Season 2, First Martians, Dinosaur Island, Tao Long and Cerebria all fall into this category, amongst some others.


So, here's my Top 5 of new releases I am most looking forward to at Essen 2017.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Publisher: Pandasaurus Games

Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle

Year: 2017

Wasteland Express Delivery Service was on my most anticipated list for Gen Con 2017, and it was one of the first games on that list I was able to play. When I added it to the list, it was mainly for aesthetic reasons, given that I knew very little about the gameplay. Even the theme meant nothing to when I made the list, however since then I have watched Mad Max Fury Road and the post apocalyptic landscape makes sense and does seem to make an interesting setting for a board game as well as inspiring some fantastic artwork and characters for this game.

In Wasteland Express Delivery Service you have survived the apocalypse and are running the last delivery service, trading in weapons, food and water around the last remaining settlements. Each player plays as a delivery driver, customising their vehicle to be the best at getting people what they want whilst making the most money and completing priority first class contracts.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Post eternal, shiny and chrome:-Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Publisher: Pandasaurus Games

Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle

Year: 2017
 
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is a 2-5 player pick up and deliver game set in a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. In it you’ll be transporting the bare essentials of survival; food, water, and ammunition, all in the interest of ensuring the survival of mankind making a fat profit! You can play the game as an honest postie, buying and selling goods and upgrading your truck to carry more and move faster, or you can become a savage warrior, getting your goods by raiding encampments and spending your money on bigger guns and missiles.

Each round every player has 5 actions, these actions can be used for a variety of things, but the most common is movement. Movement is done really well in this game, the first time you move you go (typically) 4 spaces, if you end up somewhere you can perform another action you can move your action marker from move to that action and do it instantly. However if you don’t perform another action then the next time you move you will accelerate, moving an extra space, up to a maximum at 3 consecutive move actions. All the other actions in the game are context sensitive; you can purchase items in outposts that have items for sale, you can deliver items to outposts that require them for money and quests, you can use special outpost actions such as the mod shop or drawing new quests or you can fight and pillage from raiders. After performing an action you place one of your action gear on that space which in turn tracks your speed/blocks off that action for the rest of the round.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 23rd September - 7th October 2017


Another few exciting new deliveries have arrived in the last couple of weeks, but I do think that I've been getting the collection under control. On the other hand, this week we made our choices for our October Kickstarter backing and it reminded me of all the exciting games I'm waiting for. It's hard not to be impatient when you have 26 games on preorder or Kickstarter! The worrying thing is that none of these games will have space on the shelf when they arrive so we need to play more of our games and make some hard decisions, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Game Shelf are going to Play Expo Manchester

It's always great to stay connected with the gaming community. Although I don't actively participate much in many of the Facebook groups I'm a member of, I am a lurker and this week I saw someone talking about the Play Expo in Manchester which they were going to attend because it has a mixture of board gaming and video gaming. The date caught my eye and I realised that, by chance, we will visiting Manchester on 14th/15th October and might be able to attend. Quickly, I made a plan and we'll definitely be there on Saturday 14th and possibly Sunday 15th too, depending how much there is to see. It will be our first time at this convention and my first time attending a convention with a focus other than board games, but our personal interests span both categories, with Amy being a big video game geek.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Dice Forge

GameDice Forge

Publisher: Libellud

Designer: Régis Bonnessée
 
Year20
17

Dice Forge made a big impression when it was released due to the unique-ness of its dice building mechanics, but apparently it has very quickly faded out of popularity. It hasn't been played by any groups that we take part in, so we decided to pick up our own copy. As big LEGO fans, the idea of building your own dice is quite a familiar one that I haven't seem implemented before in hobby board games, although I understand that Rattlebones did something similar. Dice City also used the concept of customising the powers of different dice faces, but without the tactile nature of actually adding new face to a die.

In Dice Forge, each player starts the game with two six-sided dice with custom, removable faces. The faces you start with are very basic, giving you one or two of the game's basic resources. On every player's turn you roll your dice to obtain resources and keep track of these on your player board. When it gets to your turn you can use these resources to either purchase new dice faces or to purchase a card from the game board, most of which give a combination of a special ability and end game points. The game has a limited number of turns where you will continue to roll your ever-improving dice and purchase cards to try and have the most victory points at the end of the game.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Luck is a fickle goddess to please:- Dice Forge

Game: Dice Forge

Publisher: Libellud

Designer: Régis Bonnessée

Year: 2017
 
Dice Forge is a 2-4 player dice game in which you seek to gain resources to gain the favour of the gods. You’ll spend those resources on performing the various heroic deeds which in turn will enhance your powers to further your goals. The truly unique part of Dice Forge is the fact that it is a dice crafting game, you start with dice with rather weak faces, but you can remove the faces from your dice and replace them with better ones as the game progresses.

At the start of any one players turn every player rolls both of their dice and adds their resources to their resource pool. Resources come in 3 main flavours: gold, fire crystals and moon crystals, though you can also get dice faces that simply provide victory points. After rolling you get to perform an action, either buying a new die face or recruiting a creature. New die faces cost you gold, you simply pick the one you want, use the edge of it as a lever to pry off the die face you want to remove and then slot the new one it. The dice faces work a lot like Lego, in fact if anyone has played the old Lego board games you’ll see that dice forge isn’t the first game to produce constructible dice!

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work:- Week 13

We have decided to run a board game night on a monthly basis at work. In the 4 weeks since the last game night, some people have actually been asking if we can play more frequently, which is a great time and Dobble has been played on a couple of Friday lunchtime occasions too. It's a really nice change from my last job where I sometimes felt like I was forcing people to come along. This time everyone was keen to bring along food and drinks and make a really good evening. 

Week 13

Number of Attendees: 7

Games Played: Sushi Go, Dixit, Codenames, In A Bind Junior

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- Top Ten Party Games


Party games are not a genre that we are typically drawn to in our household, so we don't own that many. However, there are actually many occasions when we use these games. I typically find them to be a hit when introducing non-gamers to board games, before moving on to something bigger and more complex. We can enjoy them with my parents and when you have a large group they're sometimes the only genre that works.

Even though we don't own all of the titles that will be in the list, we've played many of them multiple times with friends or at board game cafes. So here's my top 10 recommendations for party games that aren't only for a party setting.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- Delve

GameDelve

Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards

DesignerRichard Launius, Pete Shirey
 
Year20
17




Delve is a competitive tile-laying game for 2-4 players which throws in a small story-telling element. Each player is takes a fantasy themed team of adventurers and you are all exploring a cave or dungeon and dropping of members of your delving team to try and obtain the gold and tresures that lie within, guarded by different monsters and characters.

Each player takes a team of delvers, each with slightly different fighting abilities. You have a hand of three room tiles and on your turn, you choose to take one and add it to the dungeon with the only placement rule being that you cannot block off the black corridors. You can place one adventurer token onto a room on the tile you placed. If you finish a room then it 'scores'.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I'm going deeper underground:- Delve

Game: Delve

Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards

Designer: Richard Launius, Pete Shirey

Year: 2017

Delve is a 2-4 player tile laying game where you control a group of delvers seeking to enter a dungeon and loot as much treasure as they can get their grubby hands on. You’ll have to fight off the resident monsters of the dungeon of course, but you’ll also have to fight other groups of delvers who don’t seem to understand the idea of “finders keepers”.

You start the game with a choice of 3 tiles in your hand and one of the 4 delver teams, each comprising of 5 tokens. Each turn you will place a tile, decide whether to place a delver on one of the rooms in your placed tile, and the draw a new tile to replace your used one. Play continues this way until a room is completed at which point one of two things happens. If you were the only player in that room then an opponent draws an event card, reads its story and presents you with a choice. Each event has 2 options, typically one of which results in success, but requiring a roll off, the other in either lessened success or failure. However if there was another player in the room then instead all of your present delvers fight their team, the winner taking the lion’s share of the treasure. At the end of the game the person with the most gold wins.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 7th - 22nd September 2017

As you can see - this blog will include two weeks of first impressions, including some games I played whilst exploring board games cafes in Winnipeg, Canada. My new job has recently got very, very busy and we just aren't getting the chance to play new games very often. However, who needs to play lots of new games when you find one that you can see becoming a new favourite? Mainly we've been playing some of our older games, but here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Game: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Publisher: USAopoly

DesignerForrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, Andrew Wolf
 
Year20
16

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is the first real hobby game I’m aware of with the Harry Potter Intellectual Property. It was released by USAopoly and is currently only available in North America. This exclusivity is part of what peaked my interesting, as well as the deck-building mechanics in the game. Luckily there is a UK company who must’ve imported a huge order and a number of lucky people in the UK got a copy, myself included. I have noticed that it is now appearing for wider preorder in the UK on a number of sites, including Zatu Games, where we are now part of the blogging team.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a co-operative deck-building game for 1-4 players, where each of you plays one of the main characters from the books and one of you plays Neville. Together you take on villains before each location in the game is overrun by evil forces. One of the elements that I find exciting about the game is that each of the 7 years at Hogwarts has a box full of new components and rules that you open before you start a new year. I won’t give major spoilers, but if you read the rest of this review you’ll get some hints about what’s inside those boxes.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Draw a card, any card:- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Game: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Publisher: USAopoly

DesignerForrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, Andrew Wolf
 
Year20
16

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a 2-4 player cooperative deckbuilding game in which you play as one of the 4 main Harry Potter characters (well... 3 main, and Neville), and attempt to survive the 7 years of schooling that Hogwarts provides. Hogwarts Battle is progressive, with every game you complete you open up a new box that contains more cards and mechanics for your next game.

A quick word on spoilers; I’m going to try and keep this as spoiler free as possible, but I consider anything in the year 1 box (ie your first game) to be non-spoilery. In addition if the game board makes something ridiculously obvious that it could happen then I’ll also consider it fair game.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is, at its core, a run of the mill deck builder, you’ll start with a deck of not very good cards that give you a little bit of influence, you’ll spend that influence to get better cards and then those better cards will let you actually win the game. However the game board does add a twist to this basic gameplay. As you play through a mission you will have locations that you are fighting in, these form a mini deck which can be depleted if too many villain control tokens gets added to them. Villain control is largely generated by the dark arts deck, which you have to draw from at the start of every round, but can also be generated by anyone running out of health. If the last location in the deck is filled with villain control tokens then you lose the game.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Ticket to Ride Germany

GameTicket to Ride Germany


Publisher: Days of Wonder

DesignerAlan R. Moon
 
Year20
17



Ticket to Ride Germany first caught our eye at the UK Games Expo 2017. Seeing the Ticket to Ride map covered in passenger meeple was new to us, although I have heard that the passengers were a feature in Ticket to Ride Marklin -  a version of the game that is now longer in print. The German language game appears to have been around for a couple of years, so it’s interesting to see it hit wider distribution although I wonder if it has the legs to really take off as a new base game on the shelves of game stores outside Germany. We’ve played a number of times with two players and also introduced the game to my mum, who has played Ticket to Ride Europe with us before, and here are my thoughts.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

All aboard the number nein:-Ticket to Ride Germany



GameTicket to Ride Germany

Publisher: Days of Wonder

DesignerAlan R. Moon
 
Year20
17


Ticket to Ride Germany is a 2-5 player standalone version of the Ticket to Ride game series set in Germany. While it follows the same formula of set collection to claim routes to complete tickets, it also adds in a couple of new rules not seen in the original, while keeping the gameplay simple enough to be taught quickly. The new passenger system makes the game that much more tactile to play  and rewards what were previously sub-optimal strategies.



Ticket to Ride Germany is a game with very quick turns, as every turn you get 1 action. This action can be taking new train cards from either the 5 on display, or blind off the top of the deck. Alternatively you can use these train cards in coloured sets to claim routes, each route needs a certain number of trains in a specific colour and rewards you with points based on the length. When you claim a route you place your plastic train pieces along it to mark it as yours, each route can only have 1 player’s trains on it. In addition you get to take a passenger meeple from each city your new route connects. The final option is to take new tickets, tickets give you points if you successfully connect the two cities on the card with your train routes, however they penalise you for failing to connect them by the end of the game.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 31st August - 6th September 2017

After a huge pile of new arrivals in recent weeks I actually feel like we're making respectable progress on our shelf of shame, as well as making some tough decisions to sell or trade a few games out of our collection. It's been a mixed bag this week in terms of the new games we've enjoyed and not enjoyed so much, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Codenames Duet

GameCodenames Duet

Publisher: Czech Games Edition

DesignerVlaada Cvatil & Scot Eaton
 
Year20
17

Codenames is the massive hit party game that won last years Spiel des Jahres award and is being brought out in multiple different versions following it's broad appeal and popularity. The most recent addition to the line is Codenames Duet, which is a two player implementation of the original game. Codenames has been really popular within our friendship groups, with my work gaming groups and even with my non-gamer parents, but it's always been about having a fun experience with a larger group of people, so how successfully has this been transferred to a 2-player experience?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Fi's Mum's First Impressions of Ticket to Ride: Germany

I've invited my mum to write a guest blog for The Game Shelf...She wanted to call it "Thoughts from the Menopausal Meeple" - let me know if you think this sounds like a catchy name?

I really appreciate that she's happy to play games with us when she visits and it was great to introduce her to something new. So, here are Gill's (un-edited) thoughts on Ticket to Ride: Germany after her first play!