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

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

All I wanted was the simple things, a simple kind of life:- Village


Game: Village

Manufacturer: Pegasus Spiele

Designer: Markus and Inca Brand

Year: 2011


Village life is a peaceful life, I’m happy to have moved here. I think the main difference is respect, when Charles left for the city half the village came to see him off. Two days later when we got news that he got run down by a wagon they held a memorial service and wrote his name in the village chronicles for all to remember. Then again when Michael died a week later no-one seemed to pay any notice, I swear I saw the vicar burying him alone after sunset. Perhaps he had done something wrong? Regardless it’s wonderful to live in a place where everyone knows your name, no-one has been murdered for over 20 years, It’s a wonder they don’t suffer with overpopulation really. But there does seem to be an awfully high accident rate...

Village is a worker placement/death simulator for 2-4 players, in it you take a family of meeple and try and make them live productive lives and not to be forgotten when they die. The game’s worker placement aspects are actually rather light, but very vital to ensuring that people die while doing the right jobs in order to make the most points.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Week Commencing 21st September 2015



My first impressions are a little late this week, as I wanted to try a few more new games on Saturday. This weekend is StabCon South, which is held twice a year in Southampton. We haven’t been able to attend as much as I’d like due to other commitments, but we tried to make the most of Friday evening and Saturday morning at this small convention. We crammed in another 1 or 2 new games earlier in the week too, so here’s my first impressions for the week.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Overthinking from the Yellow Meeple:- Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of Essen 2015



Visiting Essen isn’t too ambitious when you live in the UK, but right now, while we are still in our first 12 months of gaming, the idea seems all too intimidating, so for me, getting excited about Essen releases is more about getting excited about games that I might play or add to my collection in the next 3 months. I was pretty excited for GenCon releases and haven’t heard half as much about Essen so haven’t felt the excitement so much, but when I’ve looked into it – there are more than enough games to get excited about! 

My information about Essen releases has come from a combination of the Essen 2015 Preview on BoardGameGeek https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/174654/spiel-2015-preview and the Dice Tower Essen preview videos. I cannot personally vouch for its accuracy.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Telestrations



Game: Telestrations

Manufacturer: Ideal

Designer: (Uncredited)

Year: 2009



In the world of Spyfall and Codenames, Telestrations is an older party game which brings together elements of Pictionary and Chinese Whispers. Having only heard about this from podcasters in the USA, I got myself a copy and have been playing it with all types of groups ever since. It goes over well with gamers and non-gamers alike and always gets lots of laughs.



In Telestrations, each player takes a dry-erase pad and marker and is given a card of 6 words of phrases. A dice roll decides which word (from 1-6) on the card is the one which must be drawn. The owner of the pad writes down the word on the first page and draws a picture of it on the second page. This picture is then passed to the next player who must write down what they think the picture is on page 3. This is then passed to the next player who must draw on page 4 a picture of that word...and so on, until the pad gets back to its owner. Everyone then assesses the damage to see what mutations their original word has gone through as a result of their friends’ various levels of drawing prowess.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Drawn to be wild:- Telestrations



Game: Telestrations

Manufacturer: Ideal

Designer: (Uncredited)

Year: 2009

 

Telestrations is a drawing/guessing party game for 4-8 people. It can probably be best described as Pictionary and Chinese whisper’s illegitimate love child, the game is abstract, the points mean nothing and the art makes a caveman weep.

The game itself is simple, each player gets given a card with 6 words on each side, the players as a group decide whether to use This side or That side and then a dice is rolled. Every player gets the word on their card determined by the dice roll, so if you roll a 4 everyone has word number 4 on their different cards. This word is written onto the dry erase pads and then (assuming an even number of players) they sketch it. After finishing their masterpiece each player passes their pad along, the next player looks back at their sketch and writes down a guess of what they think the previous player tried to draw on the next page. The books are then passed along; the next player looks at the guess and tries to create the next Mona Lisa and so on until the pads arrive back to their original player.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions - Week Commencing 14th September 2015



This week the Yellow Meeple pushed her boundaries. I am definitely an introvert and approaching new people at game groups is often a challenge. I have to admit I often rely on Amy (the other half of this board gaming couple) to break the ice for me with new people. 

But this week, on a work trip to Scotland, I decided to visit FAQ – a gaming group associated with Edinburgh University. I sheepishly asked the bar maid if there were board gamers in the pub and she pointed me to the back room. After taking a deep breath, I walked into the back room, introduced myself as an interloper and found a very friendly group of gamers and slotted straight into my first game. I tried 3 new games and it was much better than the usual dinner-for-one experience when travelling for work!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Tides of Time



Game Title: Tides of Time

Designer: Kristian Curla

Manufacturer: Portal Games

Year: 2015



Tides of Time is the first GenCon 2015 release that has crossed our path. I was so excited to find the last copy of the came in the Compleat Strategist on our recent trip to New York. I quickly purchased the game, having heard good reviews of this little card drafting game. Its small box size and the fact it is only for two, definitely helped my decision.






Tides of Time is a 2-player card drafting game. It is a pleasingly simple game in which the 2 players draft two hands of 5 cards in each round, taking one card each and passing the remaining cards to their opponent. Most cards have a symbol (one of 5 symbols in the game) and an objective. The aim is to get the most points by completing the objectives on the cards you have collected in each round.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

[Draft Title]:- Tides of Time






Game Title: Tides of Time

Designer: Kristian Curla

Manufacturer: Portal Games

Year: 2015



Tides of Time is a quick 2 player drafting game where you build up kingdoms and collect points based on interactions between the cards you play. A game takes around 20 minutes but the game has sufficient depth to keep itself interesting with a range of offensive and defensives moves available most plays.

The game works like a typical drafting game, each round you take 5 cards each, then you pick one and pass the remaining four to your opponent. You then reveal your choices and pick a second card from the four you got given and pass the remaining 3 cards along, reveal, choose, pass until the hands run out. As it's 2 player this adds quite a lot of strategic play options, the revealed cards tell you your opponent's strategy so you can play cards they want to counter them or you might have a card that adds a lot to your kingdom so you could choose that. Each move you take you have the knowledge that your opponent can choose from your leftovers, particularly when there are 2 cards left and you are actively choosing the final card that they get.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions of New York City



We spent last week in New York City. We did all of the usual sight-seeing, but we are geeks at heart, so as well as visiting Barcade and the Brooklyn Brewery (This Yellow Meeple is a beer geek too!), we tried to see as many board game stores and cafes as we could.


We were staying in Brooklyn Heights, so our first stop was the Brooklyn Strategist. This is a shop/cafe which seems to run a lot of gaming events for local kids (and some for adults too). They have a small board game library which had some tempting titles and a small collection of games for sale. We didn’t have time to stay and play, and unfortunately they didn’t have the X-Wing ships that Amy wants to buy next.


Next we visited The Compleat Strategist in Manhattan. I am not sure if this is a sister store, but it is HUGE and it is just a store, with no space for gaming. I could’ve bought so much in this shop, but instead I was very cautious and only bought Tides of Time from Portal Games. The rest of my spending had to wait until the end of our trip! The same was true of the TwentySided Store, which again had a few tempting things to buy, but nothing at the right price compared to what I could get in the UK.


Finally, our plan before heading to New York was to spend a day at The Uncommons board game cafe, and so with a forecast of showers, we decided to spend 8 hours straight at this great cafe. The food and drinks were good and reasonably priced. The cover charge was great value at just $5 to game for as long as we liked and the library of 750 games was enough for almost any gamer’s appetite. Below are the Yellow Meeple’s first impressions from a day spent at The Uncommons!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- The Witches



Game Title: The Witches

Designer: Martin Wallace

Manufacturer: Treefrog Games

Year: 2013




Amy is a big Terry Pratchett fan. We have more than a full bookshelf full of his books, even though this space is getting slowly squeezed by the board game collection. So for Christmas 2014 (when I game collection didn’t even have its own shelf!) Amy was given a signed copy of the deluxe edition of The Witches board game.




In The Witches each player takes on the role of a trainee witch who must travel round the land of Lancre and fix various problems. The problems range in difficulty from a Broken Leg and Death (on green tiles) through to the harder purple tiles which depict invasions from evil Elves or other miscreants. The witch who has had the best training at the end of the game is the winner, however the witches should also be mindful that they can all lose the game if the town becomes overrun by Elves or is despairing at the amount of Crisis on the board.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Three, that's the magic number:- The Witches






Game Title: The Witches

Designer: Martin Wallace

Manufacturer: Treefrog Games

Year: 2013

"There are some things you two need to learn about witching. Magic is not a tool, it is a stampede of power, necessary sometimes, but don't let it be a crutch, it always takes more than it gives. People will celebrate a good which who solves all their problems, but don't let that be you, solve their problems and they'll come back to you for everything! Sometimes you have to make things a little worse to get people to make things better themselves. That's headology that is! People may curse your name, call you wicked, if it gets too much for you remember my cottage always has a kettle and fresh tea leaves. Well now, only one thing left to be said, when shall we three meet again?"

"Oh and cultivate a good wart, people respect a good wart!"

The witches is a 1-4 player semi-cooperative game with a winner. In it you wander around the fictional country of Lancre and solve problems varying from helping a woman give birth to fighting off elvish incursions. You take the role of one of 4 trainee witches, each with their own special ability (can you call going first a special ability?) and enlist the help of various characters from the Terry Pratchett universe, both infamous and obscure.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple :- Hanabi



Game Title: Hanabi

Designer: Antoine Bauza

Manufacturer: R&R Games

Year: 2010

Hanabi is another game that I was first introduced to by my housemate before we really got into the board gaming hobby. We watched her and her boyfriend play a game and didn’t really understand it. We played our first game two-player and Amy wasn’t really sold because of the pressure on the heavy memory aspect. I, however, was quite taken with the unique concept and on a visit to Thirsty Meeples board game cafe in Oxford its low price point drew me in.

Hanabi is a small co-operative card game for 2-5 players. The aim of the game is to produce an impressive firework display. This is achieved by playing the five numbered cards in each of the five or six colours in consecutive order. The trick of this game is that you have to play your cards without ever having seen them.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Remember remember the fifth... one from the right:- Hanabi




Game Title: Hanabi

Designer: Antoine Bauza

Manufacturer: R&R Games

Year: 2010
 

I looked down at my newest group of pupils, they looked scared, terrified even, and who could blame them? Not many people lasted long here. At a glance you could tell from the burns on my face, though perhaps it was the chemically-induced rasp to my voice that was leaving my class ill at ease. "Let's go over the basics again, Lithium, red, Sodium, yellow, Magnesium, white, Barium, green, Copper, blue. The colour is vitally important, particularly as some of these compounds will react violently with each other, do you understand?" The four of them all nodded solemnly, I could almost hear the internal pledges each made that they were going to survive this  "The people demand a show, I demand a show and you don't want to disappoint me" The class shook their heads "We have 1 hour class, I'll just check your blindfolds, then it's time to play a little game..."

Hanabi is a 2-5 player cooperative card game where you try to build up 5 or 6 different fireworks. The game could be described as multiplayer solitaire, but with a big twist, you can see everyone’s cards but your own, and you aren’t allowed to share that information freely. The game becomes one of risk management and trying to read into the reason that someone has fed you the occasional tidbit of information.