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.

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Monday, 15 May 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 10th-15th May

This week we've managed to play a few of our new games, which is a relief since more arrived over the course of the week too! We also had a game day on Sunday, but this time I tried no new games! The great thing about starting build up  a network of gamer friends in the local area is that we're starting to organise slightly more impromptu gaming sessions with just a few people. On Friday I met up with just a couple of people to try Great Western Trail, and Amy is making connections too, as shes now painting a friend's copy of Scythe. 

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;
  • Yamatai is this years board game release from Days of Wonder - an event I always look forward to! First impressions are that this is a really beautiful looking game - the board is colourful, the pieces and tokens are really chunky and with little coloured wooden boats spread out over the board, it just looks great. The actions you take on your turn are really simple and are laid out nicely on a player board, however I found myself completely paralysed to know what to do at the start of the game. Overall your trying to create chains of boats so that each island is surrounded by the right combination of colours that will let you buildings. Building on mountains, next to red monuments or in clusters of buildings of your own colour are all beneficial so there is competition over some areas of the board more than others. With two players the competition didn't seem too intense, but I imagine that with 3 or 4 players, it can be much harder to cluster buildings or build exactly where you want too. I really enjoyed the game, although I think future plays will be a bit more rewarding now that I can go in with a better idea of how to play well - I'm looking forward to giving it another try!
  • Great Western Trail is a game I've been on the fence about for a long while, thinking it might be a bit too long and heavy for our tastes. The game is about following a trail to take your cattle to market and sell them at different cities for the best prices. Mechanically it's actually quite simple, with a basic turn sequence and limited options each turn because you're limited in your movement along the trail. By employing people, buying higher value cows, moving along the railroad and building additional buildings on the trail your trying to amass the most victory points. For me the game way really satisfying, feeling as though I was constantly progressing, even though the more experienced player was far better and got more points than the two new players combined! I'd love to play Great Western Trail again and try some different strategies - it's definitely one worth exploring.
  • Ghostel looks like it could be a children's game, it's quite hard to tell, but it makes for an ok dice-rolling filler. There is a hostel full of guests and the aim of the game is to scare all of the guests out of the hostel, but you're all playing ghosts competing against each other to be the scariest. Different guests take more effort to scare which mechanically means you need to place more dice pips on them before they are scored. There are points for the player with the most dice pips, second most and fewest assigned to each scared person. There are a few modifiers which allow you to move differently, modify dice or double count dice, but really it's a very simple game and one I didn't find that engaging. There probably is some strategy and trying to out-wit your opponents, but the game didn't engage me enough to want to think it through heavily.
  • Unfair is a game about building a theme park, although it is just with cards, unlike Steam Park, another theme park game we own that has 3D rides (already getting more points than Unfair for this!). In Unfair, you can build and upgrade a maximum of 5 rides in your park as well as hiring staff. Your goal each turn is to attract more paying visitors, essentially by having the most popular attractions. You can do quite a lot to mess with other players, closing down their rides and send their staff away, which is probably the feature I like the least. Initially income seems really tight and it's quite hard to get your engine rolling until you pick up some cards that start to have bonus visitors, income or multiplier effects. As a card game it's perfectly fine, but nothing more really. I'll happily play again, but for a simple card game, that box is really taking up a lot of shelf space and I'm not sure how long it'll stick around.
This week in gaming I'd like to try A Feast for Odin, but we'll see if I can dedicate enough time to learn the rules! We're also having a Thursday evening gaming session with Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle - a game our friends are super excited for so it will be interesting to go through the scenarios together. Finally, I'm heading to Draughts board game cafe in London on Tuesday and taking along two non-gamer friends. As a result, I'm unlikely to play any new and exciting heavy games but maybe I'll get to try some lighter stuff or party games and report back.

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