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, 6 November 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 15th October – 5th November

It seems like I’m still adding more and more games to our shelves and every time I have a new excuse...recently I passed an exam and had success starting a work board game club – definitely both legitimate reasons to buy new games right? This means there’s even more unplayed games on the shelves but we are progressing slowly with trying out some of the new titles.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

·        Oceanos has two stand out elements that made this a purchase for us very soon after release (something we rarely do) – awesome artwork and Antoine Bauza. Each player has a submarine which is built like a jigsaw in 5 upgradable sections. On your turn you draw cards and select one to place as part of an underwater landscape, you then pass leftover cards to your opponents in a drafting style. The items depicted on the cards offer different ways to gain points. There is a set collection element of different kinds of fish, the ability to build connecting coral reefs and send divers for treasure. Importantly, building your landscape in a certain order also offers opportunities to upgrade your submarine, helping you gain extra points or extra options each round. We’ve only played this with two, so can’t comment on the full drafting mechanics but otherwise Oceanos is a great simple game that is very charming and combines some solid mechanics.

·        Secret Hitler is never a game I’d seek out to play because it’s a social deduction/hidden role style game. However when someone brings something so cool looking to the table as this beautiful wooden case, it’s hard to say no. Turn order passes round the table and when it’s your turn as President you choose a Chancellor and then draw three cards – some are for the side of good and others for the side of evil – you pick one to discard and pass the remaining 2 to the chancellor who chooses one to play. The winning side is the side who advance their cards to the end of the track first. It’s a very simple premise which makes the deduction elements quite simple and quite revealing. I’m never going to be a huge fan of social deduction, second guessing people is just frustrating to me, but I’m glad this game appears to give you the right sources of information so that you can go nuts with your mental gymnastics and hopefully have a decent chance of winning no matter which side you’re on.

·        Discoveries is the dice version of the game Lewis and Clark, a game that often gets bad press for being a super slow paced race, but one that we’ve really enjoyed. The dice version is a dice worker placement style game – with the different faces of the dice only getting assigned to different areas of your player board. Your goal is to travel over as many cards as possible to gain points, as well as encountering different plants and animals that score through set collection because they embellish the tales in your journal. We found this to be a quite simple example of dice worker placement but really enjoyed it. For me it’s not the dice version of the original it’s just a different game with the same theme – the two games play very differently. For now I can justify owning both games.

·        Catacombs has been sitting on top of our shelves for a while – I say “on top” because this is a huge box full of wood and cardboard! Catacombs is a dexterity game and a dungeon crawl – quite an odd combination. One player is the bad guys whilst the other players represent the team of good guys. You take turns to flick the disks around the play area – aiming to hit and knock out different characters either by brute force or use of special powers. I’m not sure if we’ll keep Catacombs, it was kind of fun but kind of long winded for what it was with rules that were too fiddly for the style of gameplay. I’m sure it would hit the table once in a while, but I’m not sure it justifies the shelf real estate and it commands such a high value that I could probably buy 3-4 other games that would get more play and we’d enjoy them more.

This week will be my second work board gaming group. Hopefully the same faces from last time will return as well as some new ones and perhaps the two other ‘gamers’ in the group will bring along something that’s new to me as well!


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