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

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Week Commencing 10th October



Last weekend was a good weekend for getting new games to the table, although once again this week I haven’t been wowed anything enough to feel the need to add it to our collection. However, there’s certainly some I’d be happy to play again and once again I’ve fallen foul of player count, which can be difficult to avoid when you’re playing at gaming groups.

·         Timeline is a very quick, small game in which each player is given a handful of events. Each player in turn tries to play the events in chronological order with respect to the cards that have already been placed on the table. There are many different versions available, but I think I tried the classic version and the music version and have to say I didn’t enjoy either. We were playing with 2-players – me and the owner of the game and I was simply made to feel stupid due to my inferior knowledge and also the owner’s knowledge of the cards from previous plays. I guess the game is educational and it is better than some general knowledge games in that it doesn’t require specific knowledge of the date, but I don’t think I’ll be playing it again and even if you enjoy the game I imagine it can only be so long before you know enough about the cards to make it stop being fun.

·         Kobayakawa is a micro-game from Iello which is essentially a bluffing based card game. The aim of the game is to play the highest card in the reveal, however the trick is that the person who plays the lowest card gets to add to its value the value of the card laid face-up in the centre of the table. In a round, each player has a card in their hand and can choose to either take a card blind from the deck and keep one, or to flip over the top card from the deck to become the new face-up card. When all players have taken their turn each can then decide whether to be involved in the reveal by betting one chip. The player who reveals the highest gets all of the chips bet in that round, plus one from the central stack. The overall winner is the player with the most chips when the central stack runs out. The game is very simple and very quick, but I would say that there is just about enough depth to mean that I will give this game more plays. My complaint would be that for such a simple game, with such a small rulebook, we still found ourselves having to guess what we were supposed to do with discarded cards at the end of each reveal phase – there is room for improvement in the rule book!

·         Kill Doctor Lucky is a game I’ve heard mixed opinions about and one that I’ve never felt the need to try. However last weekend we joined a group starting a game with the Cheap-Ass Games copy. With a pirate ship from Black Fleet as Dr. Lucky, me as a yellow plane from Airlines Europe and various other player markers from Star Wars: Armada, Zombiecide and Lords of Waterdeep, we started a game. The premise is pretty simple – you move around the rooms of a house trying to get yourself into a position where you are alone in a room with Dr. Lucky and no-one can see you attack him. When you attack, all other players get the opportunity to stop you using Failure cards. The game was a bit of a foregone conclusion as the supply of Failure cards eventually runs dry and the winner is the first person able to attack at that point in the game, but nevertheless Kill Doctor Lucky was a fun activity due to the humour present on many of the cards and the attitude of the players to winning which was definitely not overly competitive.

·         Tales of the Arabian Nights is the first story-telling game I’ve tried. Typically I wouldn’t gravitate towards this genre of game, but I really enjoy the attitude of most gamers which is “I’ll try anything once”. In Tales of the Arabian Nights you pick a character and determine your own victory condition which will be a combination of a number of story points and destiny points. As you travel around the world, each time you stop you have encounters. The card you pick up will determine what you encounter, a dice roll will determine the temperament of the creature you encounter and then you will pick your response eg. attack, run away, steal etc. This will then determine what happens to your character as you read a paragraph from the giant story book based on the 3 elements. Generally you will gain powers, story points or destiny points or different afflictions. Interestingly to me, the game still feels competitive as you rush to complete your quests, but you cannot be too worried about winning because the game is so unpredictable and you could be maimed by a creature and lose your chances of winning for making the wrong decisions at the wrong moment. Playing with 6 was definitely too many players and too much downtime, but I can see the potential for a good 2/3 player game and would like to try it again.

·         Medieval Academy has been my highlight of new games this week. This game was pretty difficult to find in the UK and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy. The game primarily centres around a card drafting mechanic where you will try and obtain helpful cards which will help advance your knight on any one of 7 quests on the table. 3 of the quests simply gain you points for being the player in 1st place, 2nd place and sometimes 3rd place. Others reward you for not being in last place, but give you negative points for being last or second last and the princess rewards you being in first or second place by allowing you to advance your knight on another quest. At the end of each round the boards are scored and player markers are reset, but not all boards score in all 6 rounds, some, such as fighting the dragon only score at the end of the game. The game is definitely simple and family weight, but it’s very charming and can be very tactical. Personally, I really enjoyed it and am hoping that there is enough variability in the boards (which are double sided) to keep me coming back to the game.

After a slightly underwhelming week this week I cannot wait for this weekend! We are visiting Draughts, the board game cafe in London. We’re visiting with some less geeky friends, so I’m not entirely sure what will hit the table, but my hopes are high. I also know that Draughts were stocking up at Essen and that both Raptor and 7 Wonders Duel will be in the library and maybe even available to buy! I’m crossing my fingers for the buy option, since playing 2-player games when we’re a group of 4/5 might be a bit rude.

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