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, 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;

·        Mechs vs. Minions has been waiting on our shelf for a few months. We were hoping to start it as a new campaign game with two friends, but our Imperial Assault campaign dragged on too long and I couldn't wait any longer to try this game! The real first impression of this game is just value for money. It's a huge box, packed full of great miniatures. The attention to detail, even down to the thoughtful layout of the inserts is just a pleasure to behold. The gameplay is quite a light co-operative programming game of moving your mechs around the board and blowing up minions. It's campaign based so each game you have a different mission eg. destroy all minions or protect a building. So far we've found the game easy to win every time, but also really balanced, with the game looking impossible in the early stages. It's become our go-to game to play in the evenings and I can't wait to play more scenarios.

·        Santorini has been getting a lot of buzz since the Kickstarter copies came into circulation, which is quite surprising for an abstract game. In this game you are trying to get your figure on top of  three tall tower before the other player (with 2 players) or team (with 4 players). On your turn you can move one and place a building block in any space adjacent too you. In defence you can also cap a 3-tall tower to ensure no-one can use that tower to win. Although this is a perfectly solid, simple abstract, it's nothing earth shattering, but I think its production quality is winning people over with an elevated board and chunky white and blue plastic pieces creating the landscape of the greek town of Santorini.

·        Clank! is a game I almost bought a couple of weeks ago so it's great that I got the chance to try it first. It's a combination of a deck-building game with a dungeon exploration to collect points and special abilities. This games actually packs a fair amount of complexity around a simple deckbuilder. Like in most deckbuilders you have different types of cards allowing different actions. Some cards give you currency to buy bigger, better cards, some allow you movement around the dungeon and others give you the ability to fight, which can aid progression through the dungeon as well as allowing you to slay monsters for rewards. As you explore you'll pick up treasures of higher value, the deeper you travel, but it's also quite important to ensure you'll be able to leave the dungeon before the game ends. The other mechanism in this game is Clank, which are cubes that some cards in your deck give you as a penalty. You put clank into a central supply until a dragon is drawn, at which point all cubes go into a bag and any cubes drawn from the bag count as damage to that player - you need to leave the dungeon whilst you still have remaining health. I'd love to play this one again with Amy to see if it's a game we might like to own.

·        Deep Sea Adventure is a micro push-your-luck game with a diving theme. Each turn you roll dice and advance that many spaces down the line of treasure tiles. If you choose to pick up the tile, it slows you down next roll - each tile is minus one pip on the dice. Moving spaces costs oxygen but oxygen comes from a combined supply, so all of your opponents are breathing too. You need to make one critical decision each round when you decide to turn back to the submarine. If you don't make it back before the oxygen supply runs out you'll lose all of your treasure. I'd definitely like to play this one again now that I'e got more of a sense of when to turn back - we were all over ambitious in our first game!

·        Firefly Fluxx is not a game I'd normally choose to play but at my work board game group I try to play any game that someone else brings along to encourage them to engage more in the group. I'm not a big fan of Firefly, but I have seen it, so this re-theme did at least make sense to me (but not to everyone at the table!). It operates exactly like Fluxx with a lot of randomness and a risk of a super long game because the win condition is ever changing and there's a lot of back-stabbing. Luckily no-one could stop the winner on this occasion, so it was over fairly quickly but I really should try to avoid Fluxx when possible.

·        Memoir 44 has a theme that I wouldn't normally be very interested in. The only other occasion when we've tried a dudes on a map war game I really hated it, but it's Days of Wonder so in my book, it's worth a try. In this 2-player game you each take an opposing side - Axis and Allies. Each mission has a different victory condition for each side and on a turn you play one card to try and advance. Cards activate movement for different troops and if you're in range of the opposing side you can attack, with a dice rolling combat mechanism. Unfortunately, as I suspected, Memoir 44 just wasn't for me. I can't plan in the right way to succeed well at war games - Amy is far better than me at thinking about offensive and defensive positioning whilst I just want to take more of a 'roll with the punches' approach and inevitably lose. This one went straight onto our trade pile.

·        Carcassonne South Seas is a re-theme of the original Carcassonne with a tropical setting and different scoring mechanics. The game still has equivalents to roads, fields and cities, but instead of getting points for finishing these features, you get different goods, like fish and bananas. At any time you can trade different mixtures of goods for a tile from the face-up supply and it's these tiles that are worth points at the end of the game. For me Carcassonne South Seas is a perfectly good alternative to Carcassonne, but not different enough to need to own alongside the original. We'll probably play it a few more times and then move it on and stick with our base game and expansions.

Two further great things came out of our gaming day last weekend too! Firstly, we might be getting the chance to start a campaign of Gloomhaven, which will save us a load of money on the upcoming second Kickstarter campaign. Secondly our friend Warren let us borrow his copy of Inis which I'm really hoping to get to the table this weekend. I love how social gaming is a a hobby and the new people we're starting to connect with in our local area!

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