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

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Can't Touch This, Stop:-Yamataï

Game: Yamataï

PublisherDays of Wonder

DesignerBruno Cathala

Year20
17


Yamataï is a 2-4 player game in which you seek to build the most beautiful palaces and houses on the islands of Yamataï. To do this you’ll have to purchase boats worth of building materials and sail them along the winding inlets to where you plan to build. But you need to be careful because once the resources have reached an island anyone can use them, seeking your own success can often lead to setting your opponents up.



Yamataï is a relatively simple game on the surface, each turn you do a series of 5 actions (some of which are optional) in a set order. First you take one of 5 fleet cards which give you between 1 and 3 boats to play with. Some of these cards are clearly better than others, with more boats or powerful special abilities, but as a result you’ll be going later in the turn order next round. You then have the option to buy or sell boats for money, after that you must place boats, followed by either building a building or taking culture. Finally you lose all of your remaining ships bar one which can be saved for future turns, then you have a chance to spend culture tiles to recruit specialists. The exact details on how each of these actions works is what bogs things down a little. But once you master the rules, since you always know what actions you are going to be doing, turns are usually quick and the game has a good flow.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- Very excited for the UK Games Expo!!

A couple of weeks ago I posted my most anticipated games being demo'd or sold at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham on 2nd-4th June. Take a look here. However, since then there's been a few more announcements and I've also been using the tool from Tabletop Together to do my planning. So here's a few more games we're excited to see!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- My First Event with PlaytestUK

This week, I took advantage of all the free time I have during the week to attend a daytime event with PlaytestUK held at Draughts board game cafe in London. This is the first time I've ever been involved in any play-testing and I had no idea what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I played.

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!