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

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 24th - 31st July 2017

This week I managed to have a gaming night with a friend who lives near work - we played Kingdomino, Artifacts Inc. and Trambahn - all good games in small boxes and Trambahn was her surprising favourite. On Sunday we also travelled to Coffee & Dice - a new board game cafe in Bournemouth where we got to try a couple of new games. We're also continuing to manage to play a couple of new games in the evenings each week, which is great for me to have something to look forward to on the way home from work!

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

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- The Ravens of Thri Sahashri

GameThe Ravens of Thri Sahashri

Publisher: Osprey Games

DesignerKuro
 
Year20
13





The Ravens of Thri Sahashri is probably not a game we'd normally gravitate towards. On the plus side its a cooperative game and it's designed for two players, but usually a cute-sy Japanese theme is enough to turn me off. However, since I picked this up second hand for around £8 and saw that it had some really positive reviews of Youtube, it was worth a try. So, did my small risk pay off - is this a good couples game?



In Ravens of Thri Sahashri you are each playing an assymetrical side - on of you is the little girls who is dreaming, whilst the boy is trying to read the dreams and rescue her. The rule book has some really long story passages that explain this whole fantasy theme and tell you why the ravens are stealing her dreams, but I'm not the kind of gamer who wants to read long, boring fantasy back stories - I just want to play your game. The story just makes the rulebook harder to understand and frankly makes very little sense!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

I dreamed a dream in times gone by:- The Ravens of Thri Sahashri

GameThe Ravens of Thri Sahashri

Publisher: Osprey Games

DesignerKuro
 
Year20
13

The Ravens of Thri Sahashri is an asymmetrical cooperative card game in which you attempt to bring back a girl from a coma using psychic powers to piece her mind back together. One player acts as Feth, the psychic boy, providing the other player with cards which they can use to complete their dreams. The other player acts as Ren, the comatose girl, who must try and help the psychic boy understand what cards they need without speaking. It's actually another nice interpretation of psychic powers, as you really do have to try and get inside the other players head and work out why they are doing what they are doing.

Okay so the theme is... interesting... It’s very anime inspired which is followed through with beautiful drawn art on all of the cards depicting the Ren’s past, the cards actually do a good job of silenty telling of Ren’s hard life through some of the more concerning pictures. Putting the theme aside you are left with a devilishly clever, and devilishly difficult cooperative experience  where you must work together  for a common goal despite having completely different abilities.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 18th - 23rd July 2017

This weekend was massive for new games! Amy spent Saturday with some gamers in Croydon and tried 3 or 4 new games, including The Captain is Dead and Nine Worlds, which I'm quite jealous of. Today we had Luke Hector from The Broken Meeple over for games, which we always do when the new T.I.M.E Stories expansion comes out. We managed to get a few extra games to the table too, even spreading the word about one of our new favourite fillers - King Frog.

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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Quadropolis: Public Services

Game: Quadropolis: Public Services

Publisher: Days of Wonder

DesignerFran├žois Gandon
 
Year20
17


We reviewed Quadropolis during November last year and at the time rated it quite highly as a gateway level city building game. In the time since then it hasn't really hit the table a great deal and I didn't feel it was quite simple enough to introduce to my most frequent new gamers - my parents. If nothing else, the the new expansion Quadropolis: Public Services has helped us get the game back to the table, but what does this expansion add and does it over-complicate a smooth, simple game?


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The competent government expansion:- Quadropolis: Public Services

Game: Quadropolis: Public Services

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Designer: Fran├žois Gandon
 
Year20
17

Quadropolis: Public Services is an expansion to the tile-laying city builder Quadropolis, which we reviewed in November. Unsurprisingly from the name, this expansion focuses entirely on upgrading the options you get for the public services tiles, granting a lot more strategies that can be focused on, or simply to be taken for minor benefits.

The expansion consists of 2 sets of tiles, one for both classic and advanced mode, instructions, and quick reference sheets to explain the iconography on the new tiles. Right off the bat we come across something strange as there are 3 reference cards for classic mode and only 1 for advanced. It would have been nice to have 4 of each, or at least 2 of each so both sides of the table could have one in a 4 player game.

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 11th - 16th July 2017

On Monday and Tuesday we tried to make the most of my last two days of freedom before starting back in a full time job. A lot of the remaining unplayed games on the shelf are really big games, such as Caverna, Cry Havoc and Orleans, which definitely need some time set aside, but we're managing to get through some of our smaller games at quite a good pace. For some reason there's also 4 new games on the way to our house this week, so we need to keep up!

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

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- Our first 6 months as Kickstarter backers

At the start of 2017 I decided we needed to take a look at Kickstarter. I was motivated by the ridiculous mountains of board gaming goodness I was seeing posted by friends or Facebook acquaintances and the fact that I just couldn't get the same value when these games came to general release. I'm not too offended by Kickstarter exclusives or discounts, I just want to be part of them!

When we started this blog we called it The Game Shelf and came up with our logo because of the huge rate at which our board game collection was expanding. You can see here that it still is. If I was given free reign on Kickstarter, we'd very quickly end up in a situation of not being able to move in our house and being unable to afford to eat. So, we have set a self-imposed one board game per month limit and here's what we've backed in the first 6 months and why...

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 29th June - 10th July 2017

We've just got back from our honeymoon where we took a cruise to Norway! We loaded a bag full of smaller board games and hoped to play a few on board and maybe even encourage intrigued passengers to join us! (Note that Feast for Odin and Marvel Legendary were played BEFORE the cruise!) We definitely got the most out of the games we played, playing 18 games in total and managing to try a couple of new ones. Unfortunately no-one seemed interested in what on earth we were doing although we were heartened to see other people playing cards and Rummikub on board.

Excitingly, we also found a chain of geek stores in Norway and bought ourselves two souvenir games - the first is a small expansion for Carcassonne, which only has rules in Scandinavian languages but I'm sure we'll manage and the second is La Granja. We were lucky to find that the shop in Bergen had a big sale - otherwise Norway's prices for board games are just crazy compared to the UK!

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

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- New Releases from Brain Games

With a recent Kinderspiel des Jahres win for Ice Cool -  a huge hit with children and adults alike in 2016, people are watching to see what Brain Games do next. At the UK Games Expo 2017, three new children's games were released and we've had the chance to try all three - check out our thoughts on Reef Route, Woo-Hoo! and King Frog and let's see if there are any more award-winning games on the way!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Frogs, fish, and elephant slides:- New releases from Brain Games

Woo-Hoo!
Designer: Matthias Kaufmann
Year2017

Age: 3+

Woo-Hoo is a 2-4 player dice rolling collection game and the simplest of Brain Games’ new offerings. The rules are simple, roll the dice, move your gnome the number of spaces up the slide. Should you reach the top then you slide down and take a toy. Collect the most toys by the time the supply runs out and you win! Woo-Hoo does a good job of introducing game concepts to a young audience, the core mechanic is dice rolling and as such it is very much luck based. Should you consider yourself an advanced player then you can try the advanced rules which introduce the idea of set collection (if you get 5 toys in the same colour you score an early victory), it also introduces a second dice which creates a bit more variance in how the gnomes move. Woo-Hoo is adorable, the use of the box as a tray to catch the sliding meeples is great for keeping the game tidy. Ultimately though I can’t see this being enjoyed by anyone other than parents playing with their very young kids, and that enjoyment is likely to be pride at seeing their child holding their first meeple!

3/10

Monday, 10 July 2017

Over-thinking by the Yellow Meeple: The Dice Tower Awards 2016


This is the third year that I’ve covered the Dice Tower Awards and, more than ever, we’ve played a lot of the nominees and winners. I’m still a fan of the Dice Tower for their podcast reviews and Top Ten lists so at times my views probably do reflect those of the Dice Tower and its contributors, who vote on the awards.

So this morning I watched the live stream of the Dice Tower Awards 2016 which take place at Dice Tower Con during 2017. There were 15 awards and a number of duplicate winners, so there were only actually 9 winning games – coincidentally the same number as in 2016. Of the 9 winners, I’ve played eight of them, which is very high for me – I’m definitely starting to follow the hotness more closely! Having also played a lot of the nominees, I would say that I agree with approximately 50% of the choices of winner. From the unsuccessful nominees, we’ve played Inis, Kanagawa, Conan, Cottage Garden, TIME Stories: Prophecy of Dragons, TIME Stories Under the Mask, Codenames Pictures, Junk Art, Secret Hitler, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulu, Mystic Vale, Clank!, A Feast for Odin, Great Western Trail, Karuba, Sushi Go Party!.

So firstly, let’s luck at the winning board games we’ve managed to play;

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- HUNGER: The Show

GameHUNGER: The Show

Publisher: Phalanx Games

DesignerPim Thunborg
 
Year20
17

HUNGER: The Show bills itself as the first ever reality show in board gaming. I'm pretty sure there's been plenty of TV reality show spin-offs eg. Big Brother - The Board Game, but I suppose HUNGER: The Show may be the first that isn't a spin off. The publisher, Phalanx, definitely wanted to make a big deal of the theme when they released this game at the UK Games Expo, hosting a game show style competition with a very big booth presence. So how do you encapsulate the theme of the TV series Castaway or Shipwrecked into a board game?

HUNGER: The Show is a filler length game for 2-6 players, taking just 15-20 minutes. It's a bluffing and deduction style game, making use of simultaneous action selection to give you the opportunity to out-think your opponents. You are each a character on a desert island, trying to win the TV show prize money by either being the last contestant to survive or by reaching the end of the game and then using the lat of your energy to build the best raft compared to all other contestants. The competition for food and boat parts is fierce, and some contestants will turn to thieving to survive, whilst others might remain more loyal, guarding the supplies of other players.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Wiiiilsooooon!:- HUNGER: The Show


GameHUNGER: The Show

Publisher: Phalanx Games

DesignerPim Thunborg
 
Year20
17

Hunger: The Show is a 2-6 player card game in which you attempt to forage for food and raft supplied to survive, and ultimately win a survival TV show. You’ll have to frequently forage for food to survive, which is hard enough with the limited resources on the island. Other participants might decide to steal from your stash of food while you are distracted foraging, you could spend your day guarding your stash... but then you wouldn’t be getting any food!

Hunger: The Show is played on a small board located inside the game box, a bit of a questionable choice as the walls of the box make it a bit hard for 6 people to all be able to see. The board has 4 locations, though some of these will be locked off in smaller player count games so as to keep everyone interacting. Each turn you choose a combination of 2 cards, one location, and an action to do there. The actions are pretty simple, gather meat, fruit or raft materials all let you get 2 pieces if you are the only person in the area, 1 if 2 people are doing it and nothing if 3+ are in the area (you just fight and get no work done). Thieves steal everything gathered at the location unless stopped by a guard, who shakes down the thief for supplies and gets paid a little by everyone they protected. If thieves or guards are in an area where no gathering/thieving is happening then they get a few coconuts while they waste their day (these are mere scraps of food compared to meat/fruit).