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

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Amy's Top 10 Co-operative Board Games 2017

While I do find the competition in a standard board game enjoyable, there is something special about the warm fuzziness from working in a team. Human's are animals that actively seek out company to co-exist with and cooperative board games are a good way to scratch that primal itch. Some of them present themselves as more of a puzzle to be solved in unison with your fellow players, while others you feel like you're desperately trying to sandbag up your house before the inevitable flood reaches you.

Cooperative games make up some of my favourite games and they are getting more and more common. I find that sometimes it's nice to play something where everyone can get along, particularly as part of a gaming couple. So without further ado, here are my top 10 co-operative games.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 16th - 21st May

We're fast approaching the UK Games Expo, which normally means that a lot of people planning to attend start to have a game clear out to make some space and get some cash to buy new games at the event. For me this means there's the potential to pick up  a few bargains so I'm still on a rather ridiculous spending spree! New games are very abundant, so there's enough first impressions to write a blog every week at the moment.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Terraforming Mars

GameTerraforming Mars

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Designer: Jacob Fryxelius

Year20
16

I've been interested in Terraforming Mars since Stronghold Games started the hype over 12 months ago, but when the first print run sold out I let it slip to the back of my mind, hoping to play it at a cafe or convention before paying the price for the second print run. Fortunately I did get my chance to play at a convention earlier this year - we enjoyed it and I decided to buy it, just as the second print run sold out. After scouring online sites, one appeared to get a restock and I hit buy straight away - really happy to get my hands on a copy!

It's hard to put your finger on exactly what type of game Terraforming Mars is. It's a medium-weight euro-game with very thematic actions and goals which all work towards a common end game condition of Terraforming Mars. It combines hand management, resource management and tile placement into a very smooth and satisfying game.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The good kind of global warming:- Terraforming Mars

GameTerraforming Mars

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Designer: Jacob Fryxelius

Year20
16


Terraforming Mars is a 1-5 player game in which you team up to transform the wasteland of the red-planet into a habitable wonderland capable of supporting human life, just. Essentially you have to increase the surface temperature and Oxygen levels to equal those of the most remote mountain villages on earth, and add enough water to create a functioning evaporation/precipitation cycle that will ensure the survival and growth of plants.



Each player takes control of a corporation and while you are out for personal victory, you actually work together to terraform the planet. Contributing to the worldwide Oxygen/Temperature/Ocean objectives gives you terraforming rating which is both victory points and income during the game. There are also tons of cards which are limited on the planet being in certain states. For example building a domed mars reserve to preserve how the planet once was requires the planet to not have changed much, however introducing cattle requires there to be enough oxygen for large lifeforms to live, and graze on the surface.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 10th-15th May

This week we've managed to play a few of our new games, which is a relief since more arrived over the course of the week too! We also had a game day on Sunday, but this time I tried no new games! The great thing about starting build up  a network of gamer friends in the local area is that we're starting to organise slightly more impromptu gaming sessions with just a few people. On Friday I met up with just a couple of people to try Great Western Trail, and Amy is making connections too, as shes now painting a friend's copy of Scythe. 

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 3rd - 9th May

Loads of new games have arrived this week - in particular some titles I've been really excited to get, like Yamatai and Scythe. Time to play is also at an all time high, so hopefully we can get new games to the table pretty quickly. Last weekend I went to an event in Crawley, run in association with Battlequest Games - probably my most local game store. It was a really good day, although I only played one new game. I also got to play another game of Terraforming Mars and then took a family under my wing to teach them some games.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- Most Anticipated Games of the UK Games Expo 2017

With the UK Games Expo just 4 weeks away, it's time for me to start planning what I want to see and do whilst we're there. As more news comes out from exhibitors, and as people start sharing some thoughts from Origins over in the USA, I might need to update this list or write a second blog post, but I'm already thinking about it so I'll already write about it.

The UK Games Expo will take place at the NEC Birmingham, UK from Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th June. This will be our second time attending. Last year we only did one day and although we said we'd do the whole weekend this year, I unfortunately ended up planning my own hen party for the same weekend, so a full weekend at the expo will have to wait another year.

With just one day, we intend to try and see and demo as many games as we can, as well as spending some time at the Bring and Buy - after all, buying board games is a big part of the hobby for me! Here's what's caught my eye so far;

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Castles of Burgundy

Game: The Castles of Burgundy

Publisher: Alea/Ravensburger

Designer: Stefan Feld

Year20
11


Stefan Feld seems to be a polarising designer, with some people adoring the complexity of every game and others finding his 'point salad' style games too long, to AP inducing and dull. My first foray into Stefan Feld, with Bora Bora, was enjoyable but hasn't left any lasting memories or a desire to try it again, but when The Castles of Burgundy because flavour of the month in one of my Facebook groups, it caught my attention. With it's very high ranking on BoardGameGeek too (currently number 11), it was definitely worth a shot and thanks to the generosity of our friend Warren, we were able to do a bit of 'try before you buy'.

Here I could describe the theme, but let's be honest and say that this game is about placing hexagonal tiles on a board effectively to get the most points. The tiles represent different settlement types, such as castles, rivers and buildings which can only be placed on their respective terrain type on your player board. Mechanically, the game uses dice allocation to enable you to buy and place tiles as well as ship goods. Other than purchasing dice modifier tokens, these are your basic actions and with two dice rolled every turn, it's very much up to you how you focus your attention during the game. Other than making a personal choice where to focus, the yellow tiles you collect for your board can also direct you, as they either reward different actions more highly or give end game bonuses for different types of set collection.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 27th April - 2nd May

With International Tabletop Day, plus spending our bank holiday Monday dedicated to board games, we've managed to play quite a lot of new games this weekend and are working our way through the growing pile of shame. Amy attended most of Tabletop day without me, but I still managed to play a couple of new games too.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

I prefer mine in maroon:- The Castles of Burgundy



Game: The Castles of Burgundy

Publisher: Alea/Ravensburger

Designer: Stefan Feld

Year20
11
 The Castles of Burgundy is a 2-4 player dice allocation game in which you play a lord building up their kingdom. The game consists of 5 rounds, each of 5 phases for 25 turns in total, the knowledge of how much time you have left to develop is useful in a strategic game, but also there is a race element. There are substantial rewards for completing sections of your kingdom, and these rewards decrease as time goes by.

Each turn you will roll your two dice, then, in turn order, players use their dice to perform actions. The majority of the central board consists of a market split into 7 locations, one for each face of the dice and one that exclusively trades in silverlings, the games currency. You can use a dice to claim a tile which is then stored on your player board. You can also use dice to build the tiles, so long as the dice matches the number on the space on your board, you have to build adjacent to existing tiles so you can often be limited in choice of where to build, additionally the player boards are zoned out; you can’t build a city in river, or a boat in a field!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 16th - 26th April

Unfortunately the last couple of weeks have been quite stressful at home and gaming has had to take a back seat. A lot of new games have arrived but our unplayed pile is mounting. Hopefully things will turn around soon! This week we've only had the chance to try two of our new games, and they're not our biggest hits, but at least one has our interest.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Friday, 21 April 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Carcassonne South Seas


GameCarcassonne: South Seas

PublisherZ-Man Games

Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede

Year20
13



I'd like to say that all of my board game purchases are well considered, but lately that would be a lie! I love a bargain, so the odd impulse buy on eBay or on Facebook groups is inevitable and that's where Carcassonne: South Seas came from. We don't need any more Carcassonne, we have the original game with lots of expansions, plus we have played and enjoyed Hunters and Gatherers, but just didn't see the need for it. With that in mind is Carcassonne: South Seas good enough and unique enough to justify a place in our collection?


If you have played Carcassonne before then South Seas is a very pretty version set in a Caribbean setting. Roads become bridges, cities become islands and fields become seas. If you've never played Carcassonne, then perhaps you should, but the game is a tile-laying game where every turn you draw a tile and choose where to place it on the table, adjacent to at least one previously place tile, with matching artwork touching ie. roads must continue, island must touch island as sea must touch sea.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

On an Island in the Sun:- Carcassonne: South Seas


 GameCarcassonne: South Seas

Publisher: Z-Man Games

Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede

Year20
13


Carcassonne: South Seas is a 2-5 player tile-laying game in which you collect bananas, fish and clams by building a map of the islands then sell the goods to trade ships. If you have played Carcassonne then you will find South Seas very familiar, islands play like cities, bridges like roads, trade posts are like cathedrals and seas are a revamp of fields. However while the main gameplay is similar, the method of obtaining points is very different.

Tiles can have a combination of 4 symbols, bananas on islands, clams on bridges, and fish/fishing boats on sea tiles. Each turn you take a random tile and add it to the map, ensuring you match the terrain (Islands can’t suddenly stop and turn into sea). You then can place one of your workers on the tile you played. Workers can collect one the 3 resources or work on the market tiles, regardless of what they are doing they do not score until the area is complete. Though unlike regular Carcasonne you can take them back without scoring, should you need some workers to place in future rounds.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 10-15th April

Over the last two weeks I've definitely had a spending spree on new games for the shelf. We've added Hive, King of New York, Celestia and Terraforming Mars to name just a few and I know that I've got Euphoria and Feast for Odin on the way. So, the collection needs to be thinned a little to fit everything on the shelves and get rid of a few games we never see ourselves playing again. We've dedicated two Kallax squares to games we want to give one last chance, which includes games we've acquired but don't think will actually be a hit with us. These are the games we're trying to focus on playing.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions from Stabcon South: Spring 2017 (Part 2)

Saturday and Sunday at Stabcon South and another bunch on new board games have been tried! Of course we've been playing some favourites too - with our collection now standing at around 250 games there are games that we really enjoy but just don't have space for that it's nice to play when we see them at a convention, plus of course it's nice to share some of your favourite games with people who haven't seen them before.

Here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Amy Previews Farsight from Braincrack Games

Farsight is an upcoming 2-4 player strategic wargame, from Jamie Jolly and Braincrack Games, set in a dystopian future where corporations run the planet. Each player picks a faction to fight for control over the 12 cities that dot the landscape, you can play 1-vs-1, 2-vs-1 or 2-vs-2 games. Farsight is a relatively light wargame which means it’s very accessible, with a rulebook that won’t scare off less hardcore gamers, and for advanced games even includes army building rules. Farsight is fairly quick to play – you should be able to destroy your opponent within 60-90 minutes.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions from Stabcon South: Spring 2017 (Part 1)

This weekend we're at Stabcon South, a small, local convention in Southampton, with a heavy focus on playing games rather than buying, trading or exhibiting. The convention runs from Friday evening to Sunday evening twice each year. I'm writing this blog on Saturday morning, having already played so many new games yesterday that it deserves a full blog - more first impressions will follow if we play a load more new titles!

There are two libraries this year at Stabcon - one supplied by the guys who run convention which has a lot of old classics but no very many new games, and the other supplied by Coffee and Dice, a board game cafe who are soon to open in Bournemouth, UK. There are so many tempting titles in Coffee and Dice's library that I won't even have time to play a mall handful of the games I want to try this weekend!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- My Top 10 Co-operative Board Games

Co-operative games are definitely one of our favourite genres of board games. I have to admit I can be a sore loser at times, especially in two-player games with Amy, so co-operative games definitely have a place in our household when I'm having a bad day! I love that you either win or lose together and in particular I enjoy the puzzly aspects of co-operative games.

After going through Boardgamegeek, I was pretty surprised to find that we've actually tried at least 30 different co-operative games, so it was a lot easier to make a top ten list than I anticipated. I love all of these games and I think it's fair to say I'd happily play or teach any of them at any given moment. So her we go...the Yellow Meeple's Top Ten Co-operative Games.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Mechs vs Minions

GameMechs vs Minions

Publisher: Riot Games

Designer: Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, Nathan Tiras

Year20
16


Initially I ignored all the hype around Mechs vs. Minions in late 2016. It sounded fun, but I'd never spent £80+ on one game, so it just seemed out of my price range. However, when I started to notice in early January that the game was still available in the EU and not in the US, I really wanted to be one of the special people to own the game. I quickly showed Amy some reviews, the game mechanisms seemed to suit us and of course the game looked amazing so we made an order, expecting to wait a long time for it to ship. within just a few days a gigantic box arrived on our doorstep and I took great pleasure in opening it and exploring the contents.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Take one out, pass it around, 99 little minions in the box:- Mechs Vs. Minions


GameMechs vs Minions

Publisher: Riot Games

Designer: Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, Nathan Tiras

Year20
16

Mechs Vs. Minions is a 2-4 player cooperative programming game in which you take the role of one of 4 mech pilots fighting their way through a campaign filled with countless hordes of minions, comically large explosives where nothing goes as planned and everything is all the better for it! Each of the missions is about an hour long and they always unlock something new to the game which keeps things fresh. In fact Mechs Vs. Minions is very good and pulling out surprises (at the least up to mission 6 which is the last one we’ve played so far) however I’ll say no more as I want to keep things spoiler free.

The game is pretty simple to play everyone has a programming board with 6 slots, at the start of each turn you take turns claiming four out of 5 cards which you can either add to your board to get a new action, or discard to repair/change your board order. These cards come in 4 colours, if you stack cards of one colour then you can create more powerful actions, each colour has one card that fulfils 3 basic actions, a movement card, a turning card and an attack card. Once you’ve assigned your cards you then enact them, in order from 1 to 6. You can’t skip out cards even if they don’t help you, which adds a lot of chaos to the game. You may have programmed perfectly for last turn, but now you are being forced to turn the wrong way and run away from your next objective! To add to this your mech can get damaged which can take over your slots and send you spinning around in the wrong direction (though if you are clever and lucky you can use this to your advantage!).

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 22nd - 31st March

Even though it feels like we're super busy at the moment, we're still finding time for new games. The un-played pile still seems to be getting larger and I'm itching to purchase more - especially the new clutch of escape room games. This week two of them are games in our collection, one is borrowed (a great strategy that people really should do more with board games!) and one was brought to a wedding we were at last weekend.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work - Week 11

It was a smaller group this week again, but on a positive note, none of my own team came along to support me and I still managed to have a board game night, which says something about the longer term sustainability of the idea. It was another short evening but we played three games that were all new to work board game night, so definitely a successful one overall!

Week 11

Number of Attendees: 4

Games Played: Firefly Fluxx, Best Treehouse Ever, Potion Explosion

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 7th March - 21st March

This week I have loads of new games to talk about! We've had another session with a group of friends we met on Facebook, which is a great opportunity to try some games without needing to buy them, but in addition I've been on a bit of a spending spree recently and w have a rather large stack of new games to start playing through.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Codenames

GameCodenames

PublisherCzech Games Edition

Designer: Vlaada Chvatil

Year20
15


We first played Codenames with some of our friends in Southampton - it was definitely the game of choice for a long while for an evening with drinks and friends. However, since we tend to play most with two and because Codenames was becoming so popular with people that lots of people own it, I didn't see the need for us to own a copy. However, when i started my work board game group, Codenames definitely seemed like a good fit for a group of new gamers and a group of variable size.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Shuffled, not split:- Codenames



Codenames is a team versus team word game for 2-8 players, in it you play the part of a group of spies trying to find and activate all of their sleeper agents by speaking their activation word to them. If you activate all of your team’s spies first then you win, bu you have to be careful, amongst the population is a sleeper assassin, and should you activate him then you won’t be drinking vodka martinis, shaken or stirred!



Codenames take place on a 5x5 grid of words, there are plenty of word cards in the game to keep each game unique, and each card is double sided which serves for a fast way to play a second game, should people be aching for more. Each team elects 1 player to be the spymaster, they alone can see the coloured answer grid which tells them which words are for sleeper agents in each colour and which hides the assassin. The Spymaster can be a weak point in the game, it can sometimes be *very* hard to give good clues and some people will simply refuse to give less than a clue for 2 answers which can slow the game down terribly. To alleviate this there is an included timer, though use of it is optional.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work - Week 10

This week was definitely a better week for attendance, although it’s definitely turned into a group for the people I can persuade in my team, plus one person who still attends from a different team in the company. It’s time to re-advertise the group and see if anyone new wants to come along and can do so on a Monday evening. But, for this week we were six, which is the most people for a long while, so let’s take a look at this week in my work board game group.

Week 10
Number of Attendees: 6
Games Played: Codenames, Dixit

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Over-thinking by the Yellow Meeple: The Golden Geek Awards 2016

Last year I wrote a blog to cover the 2015 Golden Geek Awards and was able to comment on a number of the games that did well, however this year it seems I’m yet to play a lot of 2016 releases. Nevertheless, the 2016 Golden Geek Awards definitely give me a list of games to aspire towards playing during 2017, plus a few good games to reflect upon too.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- XCOM: The Board Game - Evolution

GameXCOM: The Board Game - Evolution

PublisherFantasy Flight Games

Designer: Samuel Bailey

Year20
16


When I originally bought the XCOM board game, it was as a gift for Amy along with the promise that I'd play it at least once. She was a big fan of the video games and I thought that there was no way I could enjoy a board game based on a video game about defending the earth from aliens. 12 months later and we've played XCOM: The Board Game over 10 times and both class it as one of our top ten games of all time so we bought the expansion the day it was released in January this year.

The Evolution expansion adds a few different kinds of extra content to the game. The most obvious is the MEC Troopers -  a new kind of troop who are specialised at every combat type. However the expansion giveth, but it also taketh away with the exalt tokens which make it more difficult to complete tasks. In addition there are extra aliens, extra science cards and extra crisis cards that reference the new content.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

We can rebuild them, we have the technology!:- XCOM: The Board Game - Evolution

GameXCOM: The Board Game - Evolution

PublisherFantasy Flight Games

Designer: Samuel Bailey

Year20
16


XCOM: the Board game - Evolution is an expansion to what is probably my favourite game of all time. Xcom itself is a 1-4 player cooperative game where you fight off an incoming alien invasion controlled by a tablet app. It combines a timed phase where you have harsh limits on your time in order to assign your resources, followed by a resolution phase where you roll dice in order to see how your assigned forces did. The game is asymmetric, with each player having a unique officer who manages different parts of the XCOM organization, some are more intensive than others, but each is vital to your success.

Evolution adds several new features to make your life that little bit harder, you face human insurrection along with the alien invasion, along with new alien terrors, new crisis’ that the invasion inflicts on you and much more deadly attacks on the XCOM base. To counter this you have a plethora of new technologies, a handful of new starting assets and a brand new type of trooper to fight by your side.

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 26th February – 6th March

After a very quiet week for board games, we definitely made up for it on Sunday with an 8 hour long gaming session with the Broken Meeple. We set aside the time to play the new scenario for T.I.M.E. Stories, but this took a lot less time than expected so we fit in another four games, including our copy of Colosseum that Luke was really keen to try.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 19th February – 25th February

Yesterday we had a second game day with a bunch of new friends we’ve met through a Facebook board game group. It was another great session with loads of new games taught to each other, including 3 games that were new to me – games that I’ve been super eager to try. We also tried a couple of new games in the week, so all in all, this is going to be a long blog post! Not only did we try a lot of board games, but we also tried the computer game, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which was a fantastic deduction style bomb defusal game, which we’re really going to enjoy over the next few weeks.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work - Week 9

I think I’m now down to a select few people who even pay attention to my invites and emails about board game group. It’s a shame, but I think when I changed to Monday evening I lost a few people. I don’t have many free evening but perhaps I’ll set up a poll to see when people think they can actually play games in any given 2 week period and hope that one turns out better than my standard 3 or 4 attendees. Nevertheless, this week I had a really nice time and we played a lot of games.

Week 9

Number of Attendees: 4
Games Played: Dingos’s Dreams, Sushi Go, Codenames, Karuba, 6 Nimmt

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Cottage Garden

GameCottage Garden

PublisherEdition Spielweise

Designer: Uwe Rosenburg

Year20
16

Cottage Garden is one of Uwe Rosenburg’s 2016 releases, building on the basic mechanics of Patchwork. We’ve enjoyed a number of games of Patchwork, although it’s a two-player game that Amy wins 80-90% of the time. I was excited to try Cottage Garden on a recent trip to Draughts board game cafe in London, because it has similar mechanics but also plays 1-4 players, meaning it is likely to hit the table more often.

In Cottage Garden, each player is planting groups of flowers in two flower beds. When a flower bed is complete it scores based upon the number of flower pots showing, as well as the number of plant covers showing. Flower tiles are obtained from a central 4x4 grid and have different shaped and sizes, similar to the pieces in Tetris. You can also use turns to obtain additional plant pots or to place cats into your flower beds.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Planting the seed of a good time:- Cottage Garden




GameCottage Garden

PublisherEdition Spielweise

Designer: Uwe Rosenburg

Year20
16


Cottage Gardens is a 1-4 player tile game in which you collect different shapes of flower beds to add to your garden. Cottage Garden  is very much a continuation of Patchwork, but expanded to take more players, and with the addition of kittens, which makes everything better! Both games feature square grids which you fill up with various shapes of tiles, one of the key differences is that Cottage garden expects you to complete multiple grids many times over, while Patchwork gives you one grid which is near-impossible to complete before time runs out.

In Cottage Garden there is a central board with a dice that moves around it as play goes on, you can only ever take tiles from the row the dice is on during your turn. Should you only have 1 option on your row then you get to refill the row with flower patches from the wheelbarrow track, though at any time you can use a kitten to do this regardless of how full the row is. Every time the dice makes a full rotation of the board you turn it up one, once the dice is on 6 the game is over... though you can push on a little bit if you are willing accept a penalty. The central board works well, it gives space for strategic options, as you may want to leave tiles that you want for now as they will be in a future row of yours. However it’s far more laid-back than Patchwork, partially because you always know which rows will be yours, and partially because kitten use can get you out of a bad situation.

Cottage garden set up and ready to play, on the left is a wheelbarrow that fetches the new plant tiles once the central board is empty. You don't *have* to put the tiles in it and roll them to the board... but it's heavily encouraged!
The garden grids which you place tiles on are all double sided and have a varying amount of the 2 scoring elements in the game: plant pots and planters. Every time you complete a garden grid you get to move one of the 3 orange tokens up the score track equal to the amount of plant pots on show, and a blue marker equal to the number of planters. Planters are rarer than plantpots, but are worth 2 points each, that being said the final place on the score track is a big jump for both colours. There’s a minor bonus for getting one marker to the end of the score track first and second, but there are also bonus kittens for getting each marker a little way along and a free flower pot token for getting all of the markers of each colour off of the starting point, so you have to make a choice between racing to the end, or collecting multiple little bonuses.

The garden on the right has just been completed, a cat was called in the fill the last slot, though if I wanted to I could have used another turn to get a flowerpot tile instead.
Part of what makes Cottage Garden feel more laid back than Patchwork is the kittens, you can use a kitten to instantly fill a 1x1 spot on your garden grid, which is very useful when you selection available to you isn’t quite right. You get a number of kittens as you play, but they are rare enough that you don’t want to use them too regularly and find yourself without, however if you have time to burn or not kittens to spare you can spend your turn picking up a flower pot, theses are 1x1 tiles too, but given that other tiles in the game can be six times as big it’s very time inefficient to rely on these too much. Between kittens, flowerpots, and the fact that you are working on 2 plots at a time it’s almost impossible to find yourself in a situation that you can’t remedy.

I don’t feel the question you should be asking yourself is “should I be buying Cottage Garden”, it should be “should I buy Cottage Garden, or Patchwork?”. There isn’t a hard answer to that, the two are similar enough that I don’t think you can warrant owning both, but different enough that each person will have their preference. Patchwork is better for the strategic gamer, who wants to go up against another person it a battle of wits... and knitting. Cottage garden is more of a casual experience, it’s enjoyable for everyone from start to finish because no-one can really be attacked, you all do your own thing, with a minimum amount of interaction. Personally I prefer Cottage Garden, it really is a superb game to sit back and relax with.

7.5/10

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 12th February – 18th February

This week it was my birthday, which of course meant new games!! Mainly things I’d specifically asked for and then a curve ball from my parents which you’ll hear about below. My new games are; Takenoko: Chibis (so happy that my mum managed to track down one of the last copies in the UK!), Above and Below, Tides of Madness and Monkey Butt. Then my finger slipped and I bought Best Treehouse Ever on Facebook and unfortunately later in the day I slipped again and bought Lotus on eBay – a good day’s haul and plenty to look forward to!

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work - Week 8

This week, once again, the board game group was victim to work and other commitments. After much persuasion of my close colleagues I persuaded two to come along for a 45 minute break from work, after which they headed back to their desks, leaving just two of us playing games again.

Week 8
Number of Attendees: 4
Games Played: Set, Dingo’s Dreams, Hanabi

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 22nd January – 11th February 2017

There’s not a huge amount of new games to talk about this time. In fact I’m trying to not buy any new games during the month of February, which is proving really difficult! At least this is giving us the opportunity to try and reduce the number of sad, unplayed games on our shelves. We’ve gone from 20 to 18 in the last few days!

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Potion Explosion

GamePotion Explosion

PublisherHorrible Games and CMON Limited

Designer: Stefano Castelli, Andrea Crespi, Lorenzo Silva

Year201
5


We first played Potion Explosion at Draughts board game cafe in London and it was a perfectly enjoyable game. When we went back recently, Amy said that she really wanted to play it again and so we made sure that happened during our 4 hour gaming slot. It became apparent that I was going to have to buy this one! Potion Explosion doesn’t seem to be appearing on the second hand market (probably a good sign that it is well liked) so I did what any self respecting board game addict would do and started at £100+ game order including Potion Explosion...

Potion Explosion is most often compared to the mobile phone app Candy Crush. It shares some of the mechanisms with this very popular app. The main game component is a three-dimensional dispenser for a bunch of marbles in 4 colours. On your turn you remove a marble from a column in the dispenser and when any 2 matching marble colours hit each other as a result you add the colliding marbles to your pool too.