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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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;

·        Above and Below was a gift from my future Mother-in-Law. It was on my wish list because we quite enjoyed City of Iron in a board game cafe on holiday and Above and Below seems to be the most popular Ryan Laukat title. In above and below your using different specialised workers to undertake actions on the board which expand your village both above and below ground. The two main things you need are money to keep purchasing things and goods to score victory points, with a few peripheral resources, such as beds, enabling you to expand your workforce more freely. The key unique element to the game is the story telling, however it's a smaller element than I expected, only coming into play if you send workers exploring. When you explore you get a short, choose your own adventure style, story and decide which path to take and try and gain the rewards. In addition, if you succeed you get an empty slot below your village, enabling you to purchase more below cards. The game has neat smooth mechanics and played a lot more quickly than I expected. It didn't blow me away, but since Amy seems a bit more keen on it than me, I'm sure it will hit the table in our house.

·        Inis is a game we managed to borrow, and straight away I'll admit that I'm really glad we borrowed rather than bought. Inis is an area control game and rules wise it's basically a case of doing what it says on the card. You add clans to different zones of the map, add zones to the map and move clans around to start conflicts with your neighbours. I enjoyed the three different victory conditions which each offer different paths to victory although I'm sure that in a game with more than two players it may be more important to make sure you've got more than one victory condition to ensure you win the game. Unfortunately, much like playing Blood Rage a couple of weeks back, pushing dudes round a map to try and gain control just isn't for me. The two player game may not have helped since I found the small pool of action cards ultimately frustrating when none of them seemed to do the simple things I wanted. I actually won our game and it still doesn't have any appeal.

·        Monikers is basically the same as the game Times Up. It's a team game where there is a common pile of clue cards and on your teams turn there is one describer and everyone else is guessers. If you guess a card right it is yours and there are points on the cards based on difficulty. The twist is that the pool of cards is the same for all three rounds and in round one you can say whatever clues you like, in round two it's one word only and in round three it's charades. I like how games like this force you to create your own forms of communication and meta and I am always happy to play them in the right setting. Unfortunately they seems to really divide people and on this occasion, some people just really didn't want to play. I won't be buying it, but I'd like to see it crop up again in a party setting.

·        Galaxy Trucker is a game I've played a fair bit of on the Android app but never come across in real life. It's one I thought Amy might enjoy so I bought us a second hand copy recently. In Galaxy Trucker you spend the first half of the game frantically grabbing spaceship tiles from the centre of the table and assembling them on your ship following a group of simple placement rules. You'll want some lasers, some engines, some space for crew members and perhaps some shield or batteries, all depending which cards are in the deck representing the obstacles you'll face in each turn. You get a chance to peak at this deck but that might waste valuable building time. You then race your ships through the obstacles, taking damage or gaining cargo which is worth points at the end of the round if you still have it on board. The game is really good fun, if a little intense given that it's actually really brain burning for the short amount of time you have to make decisions. Personally I probably prefer the app, but Amy will definitely keep wanting to play this one and that'll keep it on our table.

Close on the horizon now is
Stabcon South, a small convention in Southampton, aimed at playing games rather than exhibitors and trading. I can't wait to catch up with a group of old friends as well as see what new titles have been added to the library. At conventions, I sometimes find that playing with new people can be a risk and I'm more than happy to spend some of the gaming time as an opportunity to play some new titles from the library with just the two of us. We've also booked ourselves to visit the UK Games Expo again this year - we were trying not to due to it being really close to our wedding, but I just can't resist!

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