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

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 20th-28th June 2017


Last weekend we got married!!!!

It was an amazing celebration of all things LEGO and board games and really epitomised us as a couple. We had Thirsty Meeples board game cafe attend with a mobile gaming library of over 100 games and the game room was a definite hit (possibly aided by the presence of cheese and port). Unfortunately it turns out you end up really busy talking to people at your own wedding so we didn't play anything at all!

Now that we have a week with no wedding planning, so we can play some games, followed by a cruise for our honeymoon, so we're going to try and squeeze in as many small games as we can. So far we've just tried a few small games this week

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

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Century Spice Road

GameCentury: Spice Road

Publisher: Plan B Games

DesignerEmerson Matsuuchi
 
Year20
17


Century Spice Road is certainly a much anticipated game. I remember first hearing about it last year when a game called 'Caravan' was being discussed that would be released with two different themes (Trading in the Mediterranean and Fantasy, if I recall). Now there's only one game and the 'Caravan' refers to just one element of the game, but glowing reviews from Tom Vasel seem to have put this on the radar of many gamers. At the UK Games Expo, we were promised an early limited release of the Century Spice Road, which turned out to be not very limited at all, given how many retailers attend the convention, but it was certainly a popular purchase for many attendees, including us.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Then add a pinch of cubes:- Century Spice Road

Game: Century: Spice Road

Publisher: Plan B Games

Designer: Emerson Matsuuchi
 
Year20
17


Century: Spice Road is a 2-5 player card game in which you take the role of spice traders on the famous Silk Road. You’ll have to hire farmhands to grow spices, trade your spices locally, and then finally ship the spices to Europe for a handsome profit. The intention is for this to be the start of a series of relatively quick “Century” games that can be chained together to create a longer game.
 
Century: Spice Road is the quickest game I’ve ever played that you could call a deck builder, though perhaps it would be more apt to call it a hand builder. You can use your spice cubes to buy new cards from a common market by placing 1 cube on every card below the one you take (which makes taking the cheapest card for free very tempting if it has a cube or two on it). If you get the right cards you can make it so you have some very powerful combinations that let you quickly get the spices you want.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Timeline: British History

GameTimeline: British History

Publisher: Asmodee

DesignerFrédéric Henry

Year20
16


Timeline: British History is a standalone expansion, for 2-8 players, in the Timeline series of games from Asmodee. It is part of a whole series of games based on history in different countries, such as Poland, Korea, Russia and America. Since we're a UK based blog, the British History version is the only one we stand a chance with and even then our knowledge of history might not get us very far in this game.


In Timeline: British History, each player is dealt a hand of 4 art cards, each depicting a historical event, which is written on the card. In the centre of the table is a common timeline, starting with just one card, flipped over, so that the date of the event is showing. On your turn you choose one of your cards and try to place it in the correct slot of the timeline chronologically. You flip the card to see if you're right, if your wrong, you take a new card from the supply and since the object of the game is to be the first to correctly place all their cards, taking extra cards puts you at a disadvantage.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Time for Tea?:- Timeline: British History



GameTimeline: British History

Publisher: Asmodee

DesignerFrédéric Henry

Year20
16

Today we are going to discuss the history of Britain, a once-proud island nation that withstood the test of time, until the early two thousands, when it famously became the first nation to vote for its own irrelevance. The story of Britain begins approximately 6500BC when the Island of Britain first separated from mainland Europe. Its people were simple scavengers then, it wouldn’t be for another two thousand years until they began farming. Thousands of years after that the early Brits began to erect great stone circles; such as Stonehenge. But it wasn’t until 55BC, when the Romans came, that a lot of technological breakthrough began to appear on the island. After that not much happened, a few battles, a little fire, and a handful of other minor events, until, in 2011, Kate and Will got married! Then finally in 2016, the country was allowed to vote on Brexit... and, well, we all know how that worked out!

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 16th-20th June 2017

We are now very busy preparing wedding decorations and have nowhere near the amount of board game time we anticipated, so all of our new board games this week were tried at a meet-up on Sunday with Warren from The Rollin' Inn.

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

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 10th-15th June 2017

My first chance to try new games this week was actually at a friends hen party. Having a few more people than our usual player count of two meant it was a good chance to try a couple of new games, with high player count on the box. We've also had ample gaming opportunity during the week this week, so we've been working hard on our pile of shame, and there's plenty of thoughts to share.

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

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Bärenpark

GameBärenpark

PublisherMayfair Games

DesignerPhil Walker-Harding

Year20
17

 
Bärenpark was a hotly anticipated game at this year's UK Games Expo, not just by me, but my many others who were disappointed to find the Mayfair only had a few copies being sold at a very inflated price. However there were some copies available with other retailers and we grabbed ourselves a copy early on Friday. I was excited because I'd seen some early reviews call this a Cottage Garden killer. Cottage Garden killed Patchwork for me and even made it onto my Top Ten Games list this year, so if Bärenpark was going to be even better then I was very interested.


Bärenpark is a tile laying game about building a bear park. There are four different types of bear; pandas, polar bears, brown bears and koalas (the classification of bear species is a little sketchy...), which in the basic game is purely thematic, but in the expert game can become more relevant to scoring. Tiles all come in different shapes and sizes and all except the basic green tiles have differing points values. Your goal is to score the most points for your park at the end of the game.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

There is indeed a bear in the park:- Bärenpark

GameBärenpark

PublisherMayfair Games

DesignerPhil Walker-Harding

Year20
17



Bärenpark is a 2-4 player tile laying game in which you compete to create the best bear zoo. Quite what Phil Walker-Harding has against other animals I don’t know. The premise is you are filling your zoo with different bear enclosures and amenities to attract guests and be successful. Many people are calling Bärenpark a Cottage Garden killer, which certainly piqued our interests enough to pick up a copy at the UKGE. 

The basis of the game will seem quite familiar if you have played Cottage Garden, you place tiles seeking to complete your board, gain new boards and fill those too. You do this by collecting and laying a series of Tetris-style shapes. Where Bärenpark differs is that it’s far more competitive. Completing your tiles feels like more of a race to get bonus points and efficient play is highly rewarded. That being said, at least in a two-player game, the advantage of being first player seems to be consistent access to slightly higher points until you make a mistake.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- My Top 10 Board Games (2017 Edition)

It's the two year anniversary of The Game Shelf! Happy Birthday to us!

This time last year I posted my top ten board games to mark the first anniversary of The Game Shelf. That means that we've now been writing for the blog for two years and it's time for me to renew my top ten games. In the last 12 months I think we've probably tried 100-150 new to us games so there's been plenty of contenders to dethrone my favourites, but have any managed to steal the top spots?

It was really difficult to decide on a Top Ten this year, because there's so many fantastic games on my shelf, but here is my Top Ten for 2017.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 3rd - 9th June 2017

So much has happened in the last week! First we visited the UK Games Expo. We've written a few blogs about what we played and what we purchased, so I'm not going to cover those games here, but if you do want to read about the games we played there then check out the blog here. The following day was my hen party and as part of that we visited Draughts board game cafe in London. We didn't try anything new, but I taught a group of my friends a few light party games, including Concept, Dixit, Spyfall and Knit Wit, which all went down really well! Once I got back it was time to start unwrapping the shrink on some of are UK Games Expo haul.

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

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- My Thoughts on the UK Games Expo

What's it like visiting the UK Games Expo for just one day? Incredible and upsetting all at the same time! There was so much to see and one day was certainly not enough! This year was the biggest yet for the Expo and currently it ranks as the 3rd largest tabletop convention in the world. It's still not a place where publishers make their big announcements and release their bit new titles, but it seems to be steadily getting to that point.

Luckily, the press preview was a god-send for flying visitors like us, letting us see around 30 publishers and loads of their new games all in one place. There was by no means representation for all games at the convention, but at least we felt like we'd seen a lot of games and talked to a lot of designers and publishers.

It wouldn't be a good expo for me unless I did a lot of buying too. Given that we were there for just one day, I probably did too much buying and not enough trying and trading in particular was stressful and took up a big chunk of our precious time. Our haul was 31 unique items and you should be seeing reviews for many of the games in the coming months.

So here's some thought on games at the expo...

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Amy's Rundown of the UK Games Expo 2017

The UK Games Expo is now the third biggest board game convention in the world! This is the second year we’ve attended, and once again we were forced to only attend for one day. We’ve booked a hotel for next year as this mistake is not one to be repeated! There is no end of things to do at the expo, and plenty of money to spend.

There are tons of stores, of course, many of which are at very reasonable prices, but if you want a bargain then you need to head to the bring and buy. Here you can get almost any second-hand game you can imagine, and the prices tend to be very reasonable. We had a list of 15 games we were willing to buy if we saw them, I think we saw 10 of them, but budget constraints held us back. There are also plenty of accessories to buy, from box organisers (like the broken token Imperial assault one I bought last year, highly recommended) to wargaming terrain.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- UK Games Expo - The Haul

With only one day at the UK Games Expo this year, we were trying to cram a lot into a very small time. It turned out that a significant part of the plan was shopping. I prearranged some trades, but otherwise we each set ourselves a budget of £100. Here's what we managed to come home with!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 22nd - 30th May

This week I visited Draughts board game cafe in London twice. The first visit was with PlaytestUK and my second was with non-gamer friends so there wasn't much opportunity to try new, published games. We also spent this weekend with my parents, so again, we played some of their favourite games - Codenames and Cottage Garden - but still managed to play a couple of new games with just the two of us.

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

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Yamatai

GameYamatai

PublisherDays of Wonder

DesignerBruno Cathala

Year20
17



Yamatai is this years big release from Days of Wonder. We like most of their games, and particularly enjoyed last year's release Quadropolis. Yamatai is from Bruno Cathala, who also designed Five Tribes with Days of Wonder, a game I really enjoy, but Amy wasn't as excited for. With a good track record, Yamatai is one of the few games that we will buy this year as soon as it is released.



In Yamatai you each take a set of buildings in your player colour which will be built in the regions of the board throughout the game. On your turn you choose a tile from the five face-up in the supply which will typically allow you to take a combination of different coloured boats and give you a special ability. You can then buy or sell boats and then place the boats that remain on the board.