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

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 22nd - 30th May

This week I visited Draughts board game cafe in London twice. The first visit was with PlaytestUK and my second was with non-gamer friends so there wasn't much opportunity to try new, published games. We also spent this weekend with my parents, so again, we played some of their favourite games - Codenames and Cottage Garden - but still managed to play a couple of new games with just the two of us.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;
  • You Got to be Kitten Me was not my choice of game to play at Draughts, but my friends were drawn in by the kittens wearing glasses, hats and bow ties. The game is essentially Perudo or Liars Dice where you bet on how many of one thing are in the combined pool of cards and each player has to raise the stakes or call someone's bluff. It's not really my kind of game and the rulebook was pretty hard to understand for something so simple. I'm not being so forgiving of my friend's choices again any time soon.
  • San Juan is a pretty simple card game which relies on multi-use cards and action selection. You're each trying to build a town that gets you the most points at the end of the game. In a 2-player game, the active player selects and action and the other player can copy that action at a weaker level, the same then happens for player two and then the same again with the active player so each round has 3 actions. The actions allow you to build buildings, using cards from your hand as payment, draw more cards, produce goods and trade goods. It felt like cards were really hard to come by at the start of the game, but if you had good production it was possible to build a good engine selling goods for more cards quite frequently. Amy definitely caught onto this game quicker than me, selecting actions when I couldn't physically perform the weaker version, so building up little advantages with great card combos as well. San Juan was a fun, quick game with a lot of meat in it, and I'm looking forward to playing more.
  • Beyond Baker Street is a cooperative card game that builds on the mechanisms of Hanabi. Players hold a hand of cards facing away from them and the other players need to give them clues about the number and colour of the card to enable them to play them  correctly. In Beyond Baker Street you're trying to solve the 3 elements of the crime before Sherlock by playing cards of the right colour into each of the 3 zones and being able to play the right combination of numbers to add up to a different total in each zone. We really  enjoyed how the game builds on Hanabi with elements of deduction allowing you to plan a path to victory and the theme adding a bit more purpose to the game. We'll definitely be playing Beyond Baker Street some more.
  • Conan is really just another miniature dungeon crawl game - something I really shouldn't enjoy, but a few weeks back I saw a bargain for a copy of the Kickstarter pledge and decided I should take on a painting project - my first ever! We took on the first scenario in the book with two players - Amy as the overlord and me playing all three heroes. Initially I just jumped in thinking it was a brainless dice-chucking luck fest, but my turn 2 or 3 when I had run out of crystals it really became apparent how tactical the game it. I love how free-form the actions are, allowing you to flit from one hero to the other to try and pull off some really thematic moments. I won the game by using Shevatas to escape a hut full of picts, carrying the princess, getting him to pick up the head that Conan had dropped, then using Conan to kill a few more dudes to allow Shevatas to escape with his last 3 crystals. It just worked so cleanly and was really satisfying. Now I need to do some more painting before the next scenario.
This week were heading to the UK Games Expo and are super excited! We're not going to have time to play many games, but I imagine we'll be coming home with 10 to 15 new titles which should start to become part of our first impressions in the coming weeks. Maybe we'll see you there?

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