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

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 14th – 24th September



We’ve not been playing too many new games recently. New jobs, mean that we’re not managing to fit in a board game group at the moment. We are still gaming with friends though and have a campaign of Imperial Assault in progress. The best gaming moment of the last couple of weeks was introducing some friends who are not into the hobby to Terror in Meeple City – we all had great fun and they wanted to play again straight away – a roaring success!

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- The Bloody Inn



GameThe Bloody Inn

PublisherPearl Games

Designer: Nicholas Robert

Year201
5



The Bloody Inn was a 2015 release that was still getting a lot of buzz by the time we visited the UK Games Expo during 2016. I received a number of glares when I picked up a copy quite cheaply in the bring and buy sale! However, it now seems that no-one is talking about it, perhaps because beyond the theme, it is just a hand management style card game.



 
The theme of The Bloody Inn is actually quite dark and I suppose some people might take offense to that, but I’m sure it’s not a barrier to many, after all, games are just fictional worlds. In this game you are a French innkeeper, keen to make a fortune from your quests – not just charging them for rooms, but robbing them and in some cases resorting to murder in order to take all of their money or indeed to protect yourself from being caught by murdering the law enforcement.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Check-out any time you like, but...:- The Bloody Inn

GameThe Bloody Inn

Publisher: Pearl Games

Designer: Nicolas robert

Year2015

The Bloody Inn is a 1-4 player serial murder simulator... which I’ll be honest isn’t the most relatable theming, you play as an innkeeper who conspires to murder their guests, rob them of everything they own and then unceremoniously dump their bodies under the floorboards. You have to carefully choose who to bribe, who to hire to build buildings (to dump more bodies under) and who to kill in order to make money and avoid arrest.

Each day an inn gets filled up with guests, some of these guest go in player-owned rooms, and should they remain in them, and also remain alive, then you’ll get a little money for that. However if you want to be the richest innkeeper in town you’ll need to find an alternate source of income. Each turn players get to take 2 actions, one at a time in player order. Most actions are done by discarding cards in your hand, but as you hire certain people you’ll find that using them for related actions doesn’t discard them. A police man under your pay is very good at getting away at murder and so you don’t discard him, you just reveal him.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 29th August – 13th September



Last week we went on holiday to Valencia, Spain, like the good gamers and safety conscious sun seekers that we are, we made sure we had a list of local gaming highlights to check out when the heat of the day got too much for us. Mainly, we were keen to try “La Base Secreta” game cafe, but holiday openings hours meant our first call was Homoludicus – a very well stocked board game store where we picked up a multilingual copy of Looney Quest. “La Base Secreta” turned out to be a very modest game cafe with a pretty small library compared to those we’ve seen in the UK. There was enough choice to keep us going and City of Iron was a particular highlight, thanks to the kindness of the man running the shop who leant us it out of his personal display games.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Trambahn



GameTrambahn

PublisherMayfair Games & Lookout Spiele

Designer: Helmut Ohley

Year2015



 
Trambahn is one of the series of two-player games released by Mayfair Games & Lookout Spiele. After pretty good success with Patchwork, Trambahn was high on the list to try and I managed to make my first game convention trade to get hold of a cheap copy at this year’s UK Games Expo.


 

In Trambahn there is a very light theme of running a tram company, but really it’s a pretty abstract set collection game. In the game your cards have multiple uses, they are either passengers, tram cards or money. There are 4 or 5 main phases to each turn. First you must play one or two passengers. There are 4 colours in the game and when any colour has had 4 passengers played it triggers a scoring round. Second you can add a carriage to a tram – carriages are number 1-10 and must be played in numerical order, though there can be gaps. Finally any leftover cards in your hand can be converted to money – each card will always be worth just one money in your supply. Your supply of money is used to buy tram cars – these increase in cost over the course of the game, but their score multiplier also increases as you pay more.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Clang clang clang went the trolley:- Trambahn






Game: Trambahn

Publisher: Mayfair games

Designer: Helmut Ohley

Year
2015


 They thought I was crazy when I suggested a tram, who would want a cart that can't deviate from it's path? But slowly they came to realize, the safety, the reliability, the guarantee that horse leavings were only found in the middle of the street! An now they talk about the future, steam, even electric, think of it! Trams powered by harnessing the power of thunder, the future will be a bright pace, even safer, even more reliable and far, far less poop!

Trambahn is a 2 player card game in which you try and set up the most successful tram network. The game balances set collection with financial concerns and a scoring system which allows you to dictate which colours score and when.

Each turn you have a hand of 6 cards, most of these cards come in one of 4 colours and numbered 1-10, however there are a few wild cards in the deck. First you must play 1 or 2 cards as passengers, passengers come in the 4 colours, once one colour has 4 passengers that colour scores, so you can strategically make colours that gain you points score faster, however it will cost you cards of that colour which you could have been using for improving your routes. Then you can place cards down on your routes, you can have as many routes as you want so long as you buy a tram for each. Each route consists of 1 colour and numbered cards in ascending order, a route finishes when you reach 10 and the higher numbered cards are worth more than the lower numbered ones so it can be tempting to play small routes with high numbers and ignore the smaller ones.

The game set up ready to play, in the center-right are the 4 rows where passengers amass
However Trambahn encourages you to collect large routes, if you make a route 8 cards long then you get a free scoring of that route, this is the only way to score a route without also scoring your opponents routes of the same colour. Finally you can buy a tram, each route needs a tram to run it and these act as a point multiplier for your routes. Better trams are available later in the game, but of course then you have less time to build up the route its attached to. Any cards you have left over get turned into money, as a really nice touch all of the route/passenger cards have 1000 marks notes printed as their reverse side, so they instantly turn into your money as soon as you put them down on the table.

The 3 different tram types represent technological advances, they give better multipliers for your routes, but also cost far more money.
Trambahn is a game that just seems to be missing something, it’s fun to win, sure, but losing always felt lacklustre. When I did badly it seemed to be because I just couldn’t draw the cards I needed, its not much fun when you desperately need to draw a blue card and you don’t for 3 turns straight. Perhaps that was an extreme run of bad luck, but victory or loss feels as much luck based as it is skill based. Additionally the winner is often fairly clear by about half way through the game, which doesn’t lead for the most satisfactory situation for the loser, sure you can try and turn things around with the big 4x trams, but the chances of you getting a decent run of them, particularly with the deck now having less cards in the deck, are pretty slim.

In perhaps my most trivial nag, the box is simply too big! It’s a 2 player card game with no board or large components I can easily fit all of the contents into half of the box size, with the exception of the instructions. If you are willing to score on a scrap of paper/phone then all you need to play is a large deck of cards, why did they feel the need to give it such a large box? Perhaps I’m moaning too much about this, but one of the joys of card-0based games is portability, Hanabi, Harbour et al are all highly portable and easy to take with you in case you end up sitting at a cafe and want a quick game. Trambahn’s box costs it that bonus which in turn means that it’s a game that we play sat home, where we have our whole collection available and in that situation it’s simply not the game I would choose.



5.5/10

Saturday, 3 September 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 22nd August – 28th August



In last weeks first impressions I moaned about the fact that we’re not playing any new 2016 releases. So to help put that right I went on a shopping spree! This week loads of new games have arrived, including The Networks, Quadropolis, Animals on Board and Mystic Vale. We’ll make sure to play them all a few times before putting out reviews, but expect to see some first impressions in the coming weeks. We’ve also added a few older titles to the collection too, and have just managed to squeeze everything on the shelves! We’ve only played a couple of new games played so far though...

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Vikings



GameVikings

PublisherZ-Man

Designer: Michael Kiesling

Year20
07


Vikings is not a game I researched before acquiring, it was actually one of our early car boot sale finds. Normally when you see a Rio Grande label at a car boot sale, the game is one of those that you sometimes find in “The Works” (a UK discount store) and that normally means it’s not a great game. However, once I got home and did some research, I realised Vikings was a pretty well regarded game that was actually out of print at the time so I was very happy with my £6 investment.



Vikings is a game for 2-4 players which relies heavily on a rondel mechanic, but also has some tile placement and worker placement elements. The game takes place over 6 rounds. In each round you will acquire tiles to place in your laying space, creating islands with start, middle and end portions. You place the coloured meeple on these tiles associated to the different kinds of people eg. fishermen, soldiers and nobles. If you choose not to or can’t place a meeple they can await a trip with a ferryman at the end of every other round. Based on their placement you can receive either money or victory points.