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

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Airlines Europe



Game: Airlines Europe
Publisher: Abacus Spiele

Designer: Alan R. Moon
 
Year
2011


There is no doubt that Airlines Europe is a lesser known title when compared to Alan Moon’s best known game Ticket to Ride. I don’t think it is helped by the fact it falls into the category of a stock market game and is often compared to Union Pacific which for many in the gaming community is a bad thing. Luckily for me, I happened across a copy of Airlines Europe in a Facebook trade before I’d heard any negative comparisons, and was happy to pick up something with good designer credentials.



In Airlines Europe there is a map of Europe, with most major towns highlighted as hubs and connected by routes. The board is surrounded by a scoretrack and different coloured markers are placed in their starting spots. Unlike most games, the players do not own the scoremarkers, they instead represent the value of shares in the different coloured airlines. Throughout the game players choose which airlines to take shares in, as well as expanding different airlines, depending on which airlines you want to score more highly. There are 3 scoring rounds in the game that come up at slightly unpredictable points in the deck and each airline scores based upon how successfully it has expanded. If you have shares in the scoring airline then you have the opportunity to score points. If you have the most shares you get the most points, although there are often points for second and third place too.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Ticket to Fly: Airlines Europe


Game: Airlines Europe

Publisher: AbacusSpiele

Designer: Alan R. Moon
 
Year
2011

Airplanes, that’s the future! Not those clumsy biplanes that barely float above the ground, but commercial airplanes. 35 tons of machined aluminium pulled through the ether by four 20 foot long propellers. They cost a fortune to make, a small fortune to run, and we’ll charge a fortune to ride them! People might complain, but for the business man who needs to travel from London to Prague and has to choose between an entire day on the trains or 2 hours in one of our comfortable airplanes with on-board food and drink served with a smile... Well let’s just say we are about to get stinking rich!

Airlines Europe is a 2-5 player stock trading game in which you trade stock in 9 different airlines along with investing in them to increase their value. Anyone can invest in any airline, regardless of if they have any stock in it, so Airlines Europe is a game where watching your opponents carefully and deciding when to show your true interests is very important.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Some Retro Board Game Finds!



Our new local charity shops and car boot sales have been treating us rather well here on the Surrey/Sussex border in the UK. We’ve picked up some nice titles that are true ‘modern board games’ like Lord of the Rings LCG, Bonnie and Clyde, Priests of Ra and a few other ‘The Works’ specials which are often less popular Rio Grande titles, but we’ve also found some interesting older games and have had fun trying them out.

So here are the Yellow Meeple’s first impressions of some retro board games;

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- 7 Wonders Duel



Game: 7 Wonders: Duel
Publisher: Repos Production

Designer: Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala
 
Year
2015

The original game of 7 Wonders is one I played quite early when we started gaming. I really enjoyed the drafting mechanic and the early winning streak I seemed to have in the game. It’s also one of the quickest high player count strategy games I’ve encountered. We played 7 Wonders a couple of times with the two-player variant and although the game wasn’t at its best, we didn’t mind the dummy third player mechanic too much as it did add a different layer of strategy. However, 7 Wonders Duel is a 2-player only implementation of the same game, so does it replace 7 Wonders, exist well alongside it or have we found we still prefer the original, even with two players?

The game of 7 Wonders Duel starts with a draft of the wonders. Your choice of wonders can often affect the strategy you’ll play in the game, because building different wonders gives different rewards. The game then takes place over three rounds, each with a different card set-up. On your turn you take a card from the central pattern, and pay its cost to play it into your tableau or alternatively use it to place under a wonder. If you can’t or don’t wish to pay a cost then you can discard the card for money. The cost of a card is sometimes money or can ask for different resources that you must either have in your tableau or pay for. In 7 Wonders Duel, the cost you pay is dependent on whether your opponent has that resource or not.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Simply Wonderful:- 7 Wonders: Duel


Game: 7 Wonders: Duel

Publisher: Repos Production

Designer: Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala
 
Year
2015

The Roman empire at its peak was a sight to behold, controlling most of the what we now know as Europe. They had used a divide and conquer strategy to recruit the armies of captured nations and use them to take on the next nation, steamrolling all the forces ahead of them. At least that was the plan. As we all know the Egyptians had done the same with what we now know as Asia. Two empires clashed, only one would remain. Now if you’ll turn to page bird, bird, eye, then we can begin our lesson.

7 Wonders: Duel is a 2-player card game in which you attempt to have the greatest of the two vast kingdoms. You can achieve this by building a city of culture, devoting yourself to science, or simply invading your opponent’s land and making it yours. As you’d expect it takes a lot of inspiration from 7 Wonders but heavily modified to make it a lean, relatively quick two-player experience.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple: Dixit



Game: Dixit

Publisher: Libellud

Designer: Jean-Louis Roubira

Year20
08

Dixit is a party game I never thought I’d enjoy. The idea of a story-telling game is somewhat cringeworthy, given that I don’t consider myself creative or imaginative! However, I first got to play Dixit on our first visit to Stabcon South last year, enjoyed it a fair amount and expected to see it hitting the table quite frequently when we started to play game with different board game groups and groups of friends. However, in the space of around 12 months we never saw it again, so I bought it as part of my first Amazon Prime Now delivery and it arrived at my door 2 hours later (for some reason this is amazing!). Now that Dixit is in our collection, is it hitting the table and do we enjoy it?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A picture speaks precisely 1 word:- Dixit


Game: Dixit

Publisher: Libellud

Designer: Jean-Louis Roubira
 
Year
2008

Dixit is a 4-6 player card game in which you try to decipher which of the cards was placed by a storyteller and which were bluffs played by the other players. Dixit comes with 84 cards with varying pictures that remind me of the dream cards from Mysterium, though less dark, and a little more clear in what they are trying to depict. However there are many expansions which contain a complete replacement deck, should you wish for variety or a longer game. 


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- The Dice Tower Awards 2016


Compared to this time last year, we’re a lot more experienced with board games. The 2015 Dice Tower awards were really a list of games we should try over the course of last year, whereas this year I feel I can actually pass judgement, having played a lot of the winners.

So this morning I watched the live stream of the Dice Tower Awards taking place at Dice Tower Con. There were 14 awards and a number of duplicate winners, so there were only actually 9 winning games – of those I’ve played and enjoyed five, so just over half and for the most part I agree with the panel’s choices, having also played a fair few of the nominees. From the unsuccessful nominees, we’ve played Lanterns, The Grizzled, Murder Deception in Hong Kong, Two Rooms and a Boom, Flick ‘Em Up, Raptor, New York 1901, Tides of Time, Mysterium, XCOM, Five Tribes Artisans of Naqala, Elysium, Roll for the Galaxy, The Voyages of Marco Polo. I find this list pretty amazing given last year we’d played just 5 of the winners and nominees!!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Qwirkle



GameQwirkle

PublisherMindware

Designer: Susan McKinley Ross

Year
2006


Qwirkle is an abstract strategy game that I would say has managed to cross the line into the mass market. I say this because I picked up my copy at a car boot sale and have since seen it a few times at car boot sales and in charity shops. In general, if a game has mass market appeal, it’s probably a bit too simple for ‘gamers’ like us and probably many who read this blog, but does Qwirkle have enough appeal to keep a spot in our collection?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

More shapes and colours than Sesame Street:- Qwirkle

GameQwirkle

PublisherMindware

Designer: Susan McKinley Ross

Year2006

Qwirkle is a 2-4 player tile-laying game in which you try and match colours and shapes to earn the most points. Qwirkle is elegant in its simplicity, it doesn’t have complex rules so you could easily play with children, and yet there are legitimate strategies that require risk management, holding back tiles until you can get big scores and tile counting to know when you can’t complete lines. This all adds up to a game that actually is enjoyable for young and old. Plus it’s got bright colours and shapes, so it’s probably healthy for babies to look at too!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 19th June – 2nd July



Moving house is definitely starting to impact our time available to play games. We have however built ourselves a new board game corner and are very pleased with our Kallax shelves! There’s even space for some new games now, which is a nice feeling to be able to start adding to the collection again! We had a small leaving gathering at Board in the City in Southampton and tried a couple of small games and have also had some charity shop and car boot sale success giving us another couple of quick titles to try.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;