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, 11 July 2017

Frogs, fish, and elephant slides:- New releases from Brain Games

Woo-Hoo!
Designer: Matthias Kaufmann
Year2017

Age: 3+

Woo-Hoo is a 2-4 player dice rolling collection game and the simplest of Brain Games’ new offerings. The rules are simple, roll the dice, move your gnome the number of spaces up the slide. Should you reach the top then you slide down and take a toy. Collect the most toys by the time the supply runs out and you win! Woo-Hoo does a good job of introducing game concepts to a young audience, the core mechanic is dice rolling and as such it is very much luck based. Should you consider yourself an advanced player then you can try the advanced rules which introduce the idea of set collection (if you get 5 toys in the same colour you score an early victory), it also introduces a second dice which creates a bit more variance in how the gnomes move. Woo-Hoo is adorable, the use of the box as a tray to catch the sliding meeples is great for keeping the game tidy. Ultimately though I can’t see this being enjoyed by anyone other than parents playing with their very young kids, and that enjoyment is likely to be pride at seeing their child holding their first meeple!

3/10


King Frog
Designer: Gunter Burkhardt, Dennis Kirps
Year2017

Age: 7+

King Frog is a 2-4 player elimination racing game where you race frogs around a circular track of lily pads. Each turn you play a card with a value from 1 to 5 then move your frog forward that many pads. Each turn has a variable player order with the players who opted to move the least moving first, and players further back breaking ties. This is very important because frogs, naturally, leapfrog over each other without counting that as one of their movement spaces, so someone at the back of a queue can move quickly with a low numbered card and. Where you land is very import as you only keep the card you played if you landed on a lilypad of your frogs colour. If you land on a different coloured pad then you lose the card, limiting your future options and dwindling your hand, should you have no cards to play then you are out of the race. The game ends when only 2 players are remaining (the lead frog wins) or the lead racer laps the last frog.  King Frog might be a children’s game, but the bluffing and trying to calculate your opponents moves actually gives it a lot of depth. King frog is good fun for children, but it also makes for a great filler game.

6.5/10

Reef Route
Designer: Arpad Fritsche
Year2017

Age: 5+

Reef Route is a 2-4 player survival game  in which you have to try and get one of your fish from the left hand side of the board to the right without being devoured by sharks.  Alternatively you can simply try to survive whilst feeding your opponents fish to the sharks and be the last fish standing. Either way you play the game by moving fish along a grid according to dice rolls. Each turn you roll 2 dice and then move fish of the respective colours. If you are moving opponents fish you can only move it forward, but if you roll your own fish or a predator then you can move it up, down or forward. Unfortunately this often leads to being defeated by fate deigning your opponent will roll predators over and over again, while all you can do is move their fish forward through the big open field they just created. I do appreciate that the game comes with variable difficulty (in the form of 1x1, 1x2 and 2x2 tile sharks) and I do appreciate how cute the art is and how well put together the game is, but the gameplay isn’t really there. While the game might be appealing to kids, an adult won’t get much fun out of this one.

4/10

Ultimately I feel like none of these games have quite followed the footsteps of Ice Cool, it is very challenging to create a game that is enjoyable for children and adults alike. Honestly a 1 out of 3 hit rate on that front isn't bad, King Frog has earned it's way onto our shelves right next to the likes of Rhino Hero. Reef Route and Woo-Hoo both make for good kids games with great art and quality components that I would be happy to see my nieces playing with, but I would never expect to see someone pull them out at a board game group.

All three games were review copies provided by Brain Games.

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