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, 18 January 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Fog of Love


Game: Fog of Love

Publisher: Hush Hush Projects

Designer: Jacob Jaskov

Year: 2017


Fog of Love casts two players as two halves of a couple, living out a romantic comedy through a series of short snippets or scenes within their lives. When you fist meet you will know very little about each other, but over the course of the game, the way you each deal with different situations will start to give you insights into each others personality, until ultimately you decide if you should stay together or break up.

Fog of Love, was a Kickstarter campaign, designed by one man for his wife, with the goal of designing a board game his wife would actually like to play. His wife, who did some of the art and graphic design for the game, explains that she loves romantic comedies, so that was the theme that Jacob Jaskov chose. Since the Kickstarter the design of the game has improved massively and the final production is a beautiful game, with a similar stark white style to T.I.M.E Stories. The base game contains an introductory scenario and 3 further scenarios and expansions are planned to provide more content.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Baby don't Hurt me:- Fog of Love

Game: Fog of Love

Publisher: Hush Hush Projects

Designer: Jacob Jaskov

Year: 2017

Fog of Love is a 2-player story driven game in which you follow the struggles of a couple falling into (or out of) love. Fog of Love straddles the blurry line between board game and roleplaying game, while your main actions will be playing cards, the cards will prompt you to make decisions for your character which further the developing story. Fog of Love is cooperative... at times, the reality is it's hard to classify. At the end of the game each player will be committed to an end objective, these may be complementary, allowing you both to win together. Though it's quite possible that even then only one, or neither of you managed to reach your goal. As you get further into the game new objectives are added which can make the game competitive, though you don't know if your partner is going for these objectives or not!

Before you start playing a game of Fog of Love you have to create your characters, put down your pencils and dice, this is quick and easy. You each choose a gender, then 3 trait objectives, which help dictate what you want from the relationship. These can be individual, or group goals, but you can't tell your partner what they are. Next you decide upon your job, then you choose 3 features about your partner that you noticed upon first meeting them. Features can be standard things, like "tall" or "muscular", but there are definitely a few curve-balls in there. In one game I was a bit surprised when I got handed the wheelchair card, but it made for good storytelling as the game progressed! Finally you invent a name for your character and roleplay a brief introduction to each other.

Friday, 12 January 2018

The Game Shelf 2017 Year in Review


I've written my Top 10 list of board games released in 2017, but I also wanted to reflect on a great year for our blog and for us as part of the board game hobby. There have been a few standout moments that really keep us going both in the hobby and working on this blog.

The Stats

We have played a lot of games this year, including new games released in 2017, but still primarily older games, both new to us and old favourites.

Number of Plays (Including Expansions): 825
Number of Unique Games and Expansions Played: 333
Number of 2017 Releases Played: 98
Most Played Game: Beasts of Balance with 37 plays

UK Games Expo 2017

The UK Games Expo stands out as the highlight of our board gaming year. This year we obtained press passes for the convention which allowed us to attend the press event, before the convention opened. I was pretty nervous for the event, but it was great to get up close and personal with some prototypes and brand new games and make relationships with publishers and designers that we've built on since the event.

Unfortunately we were only able to spend one day at the Expo in 2017 and we crammed in as much as possible, which meant not getting the chance to demo many games and not playing any of the new purchases we acquired. We did get the chance to meet a few groups of friends, but in 2018 we're there for the full weekend and can't wait to catch up with old and new friends and really make the most of the event!

Board Game Wedding!

The UK Games Expo was only the gaming highlight of this year, because this year, we got married! Obviously this was our highlight of the year, but we also related it to board games (of course!). We had small board game references in our decoration, but our big gesture was the board game room in the evening. We specifically looked for a venue with an additional space that we could use for board games in the evening and our venue was perfect for it. The evening was hosted by Thirsty Meeples - the board game Cafe in Oxford who also supply the mobile library for the UK Games Expo. The game room was a massive hit and some people spent the whole evening in there! Even our families who were sceptical of the idea had to admit that it was a huge success and I recommend it to anyone as some additional or alternative evening wedding entertainment for guests who don't just want to dance and get drunk!

Kickstarter

2017 was the first year we decided to look at Kickstarter. I am naturally risk averse, so the idea of Kickstarter and the potential for a creator not to fulfil was really scary. On the other hand, I love a good deal and the huge campaigns with tons of good value content became too much to resist.

We backed our first game, Tao Long, in January 2017 and allowed ourselves to back one game a month. We typically stuck to this rule, although during November and December we didn't back any projects and I regretted not 'using' those credits earlier in the year when choosing just one game per month was heart wrenching! So far we've received Gloomhaven, which was very exciting and Kokoro, which has been a really good hit with our game group. We also expect Dinosaur Island and Tao Long to arrive any minute now - in fact, I'm staring at the front door of our house in expectation!

In 2018, I think we'll be slightly more cautious with what we back. It really has to be a game I can't resist, so that it can maintain my excitement level while I wait for the game to arrive!

Zatu Games

This year we started to write for Zatu Games, an online board game retailer in the UK. Zatu have enlisted the help of bloggers to write reviews of the games they sell, giving consumers a better insight into whether a game is right for them. Importantly, it's created a great community of bloggers and it's been great to get to know different people who write for the site.

Board Game Exposure

Probably the best thing to come out of our involvement with Zatu Games is our relationship with Board Game Exposure. The Board Game Exposure Collective are a group of UK reviewers who share review copies of games to increase exposure for publishers. We've had the opportunity to review some exciting new games such as Merlin and the expansion for Sheriff of Nottingham and are very excited to try Chronicles of Crime from Lucky Duck Games at the start of 2018. I'm hoping that we can meet some of our fellow reviewers at conventions during 2018.

All of the above has resulted in a large increase in the number of people who are reading this blog and engaging with us on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for coming along for the ride! We've seen our number of blog views increase by around 400% in the last 6 months, and we're really excited to overcome some social hurdles to approach more people at conventions during 2018. We're hoping to at least attend Airecon in March and the UK Games Expo in June, as well as anything else I can persuade Amy to allow me to attend!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Harvest


Game: Harvest

Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games

Designer: Trey Chambers

Year: 2017

Harvest is a new release from Tasty Minstrel games, which positions itself as a follow up to Harbour - a pocket sized worker placement game that we enjoyed for a time. It's only really the art and the publisher that are the same, but there's a definite resemblance in the setting for the two games. When it arrived, I was surprised to see that the box is about 3 times the size of Harbour, but it's still a pretty small game box. For me, Harbour represented a very light Le Harve, and my expectations were that Harvest could be the lighter Agricola, following the same relationship. Although Harbour made a good travel game for us because it packed a bit of punch for its size, we eventually traded it away because it really dragged at the higher player counts, so let's see how Harvest plays and whether it overcomes some of the small box game problems.


Harvest is a worker placement game for 2-4 players in which you are building a farm to grow fantastical crops for the country show. Some crops are worth more prize money than others, but it's the total prize value of your crops at the end of five round which matters. Each round there will first be a draft for turn order, and then in turn order each player will place one of their two workers, followed by the next. Some actions are limited, some are available every round and others change every round. You'll improve your farm, buy seeds or other resources, plant seeds, tend your plants or harvest your plants.