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.

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Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 20th – 28th February



This week I played my first game at work! I mentioned board games to someone, she mentioned it to someone else and like Chinese whispers I eventually had 3 people to play Lost Legacy at lunch time. We definitely got some funny looks in the social space, but I think they liked it. A few members of my team have also expressed interest in playing Catan, so I’ve got a Friday session planned after work in a couple of weeks time! This is great for me given that during the week I spend 90% of my waking hours either at work or travelling to work.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

·         Paperback is a game I’ve been waiting for a long time. It combines the deck-building mechanism which we love with a word game, which admittedly we don’t encounter very often but we do really love Bananagrams. You each begin the game with a hand of cards with basic consonants on them and some wild cards which can be used as any letter, but earn you no money. On your turn you use the letters in your hand, plus the Common Letter in the centre to build a word that makes a lot of money, the money is then spent to buy improved letter cards for you deck or books which are wild cards in your hand but are the road to victory points. We really enjoyed our first game until we realised that in the two player game it is far too easy to end in a draw – we each had two of each of the cheap books and had earned one common letter card by making long words. I think we may house rule it to use an odd number of the cheapest books next time to try and avoid this. I look forward to giving this another chance and seeing what happens with more players and the extra thinking time this will give you to make words.

·         Starship Catan is an older game from the Kosmos two player line. It hit my radar when the game North Wind was released and many people called it a reprint of Starship Catan. We love to try new two-player games, so here are my first impressions. In Starship Catan you each take a ship which has different slots for tracking your different resources, such as fuel, science, food etc. Your ship also has several empty slots where you can insert upgrades when bought throughout the game. Your goal is to earn 10 victory points first, which are generally gained by colonising planets, purchasing the advanced upgrades and there are some points available for being the best as fighting off pirates and the best at obtaining trade ports. Given the science fiction theme and the space exploration and engine building nature there are few similarities with the original Catan, but enough resource management and trading that you can notice its roots. We did enjoy the mechanics of this one, but it did out stay its welcome slightly. I think we’ll play it again, but if it’s not quicker when you’re familiar with the rules then it might not stay in our collection.

·         Catan: Cities and Knights completes today’s publicity for Catan (as if it needed any more). Cities and Knights is the second expansion we’ve tried for Catan and my first impression is that it encourages more conflict and definitely adds complexity. There are commodoties which can be generated by certain cities and kind of fund a technology element where you can upgrade your building types to get different bonus cards on certain rolls. There are also periodic barbarian attacks and you need to use knights to defend all of your cities, else they will be downgraded. I really enjoyed the added complexity which is definitely a selling point for more experienced gamers. The game is definitely longer because you play to 14 victory points and although this was OK in our game when everyone played quickly I can see it making the game even worse for those with AP. If only we got Catan to the table more, I think we’d buy this one, but given that it doesn’t suit 2 players, we’ll stick with the base game and our in shrink copy of Traders and Barbarians for now.

A lot of my gaming is now happening on the train during my commute and I’m getting some great play out of Ticket to Ride, Kingdom Builder, Ingenious and Star Realms. I’ve also got Suburbia and Galaxy Trucker to try, but I need to learn the rules before I can play! Any Android app recommendations are gratefully received.

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