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, 16 July 2017

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- Our first 6 months as Kickstarter backers

At the start of 2017 I decided we needed to take a look at Kickstarter. I was motivated by the ridiculous mountains of board gaming goodness I was seeing posted by friends or Facebook acquaintances and the fact that I just couldn't get the same value when these games came to general release. I'm not too offended by Kickstarter exclusives or discounts, I just want to be part of them!

When we started this blog we called it The Game Shelf and came up with our logo because of the huge rate at which our board game collection was expanding. You can see here that it still is. If I was given free reign on Kickstarter, we'd very quickly end up in a situation of not being able to move in our house and being unable to afford to eat. So, we have set a self-imposed one board game per month limit and here's what we've backed in the first 6 months and why...

February - Tao Long

For our first Kickstarter we didn't want to back anything huge and with Tao Long it was pretty economical to go for the deluxe edition and there's loads of stretch goals which were only for the deluxe edition. I'm always a little nervous of two-player abstract games, as typically Amy is always better at this kind of game, but the advertised production quality won me over and I'm looking forward to finding out if this smaller publisher can accomplish the quality they promised.

March - Dinosaur Island

Jurassic Park seems like a brilliant theme for a board game and even though Dinosaur Island doesn't have the license, you can definitely tell where the inspiration came from! Dinosaurs have a bit of a special place in our hearts, so as more an more dinosaur meeples were added to the stretch goals of the campaign, we were hooked. I think the ridiculous 90s colour scheme put some backers off this game, but I think it looks quite fun. I'm expecting quite a heavy game, but hopefully with plenty of theme to make it easy to learn and play.

April - Gloomhaven

Most board gamers have heard of Gloomhaven. When the first Kickstarter hit and everyone realised how awesome the gameplay was it was impossible to find a copy for a good price, so the second Kickstarter was a god-send for us. Dungeon crawlers aren't my thing, but the dice-free combat system drew me in. For Amy, the theme is much more appealing and we'd both probably appreciate another campaign style game to play two player and get addicted to. There doesn't seem to be a lot of financial benefit with this Kickstarter, as there were no stretch goals, but we just want a copy of the game and are eagerly awaiting it in the next couple of months.

May - Brass

We backed Brass with a certain amount of financial motivation. The double pack of Brass Lancashire and Brass Birmingham was just too good to pass up. That said, the original game of Brass has a very good rank on Board Game Geek and the art upgrade is likely to see that go higher by comparison to the older edition, which I haven't had the chance to play. The setting is also quite nostalgic as I grew up in Lancashire, where the canals and cotton mills still form part of the scenery - my home town of Rochdale is on the board! Roxley usually make very well produced games and although I'm not sure if this game will be too much of a heavy economic game, I'm keen to give it a fair trial.

June - Sine Tempore

More than any other, our pledge for Sine Tempore was a pledge based upon the shear amount of stuff for your money. The value they claim versus the pledge you make is just stupid, $99 for $500+ of stuff?! I don't believe the multiplier, but even at half that it seems like good value to me. If the miniatures turn out as good as they look, Amy will have a great time with this one as a painting project. If we receive this lot my May 2018 I'll eat my hat! As a game, it's difficult to tell if this will be good. In principal it reminds me of Imperial Assault - a game I kind of enjoyed, but found it dragged quite a lot. They advertise a shorter play time for a single scenario at just 30-60 minutes, so maybe there's a chance I'll prefer it. Either way I feel like we've made a sound investment.

June - Kokoro

The observant amongst you might notice that this is the second entry for June. I've broken my own rule once! Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama was a bit of a cheat, which I justified because I was already going to buy Kodama and one of the pledge levels was a combination of Kodama and the new game based on Avenue. Avenue sounds like an interesting roll and write game which was released at Essen last year, but the Kodama artwork is so cute that this themed and upgraded version should be a great addition to the collection.

July - Rise of Tribes

July had a lot fewer choices for us, but Rise of Tribes actually sold itself to us with one of the better videos I've seen and some really interesting looking gameplay. So many Kickstarter preview videos don't tell me anything about the game but here I felt I got a really good introduction to a game with cool player board mechanics which reminded me a little bit of Scythe (which is a great thing to be reminded of). I do also like it when a Kickstarter tells me the MSRP of the game so I know what kind of value I'm getting and the stretch goals that the campaign hit along the way included a few really nice component upgrades too.

Each month we look forward to sitting down and looking at what is popular. I doubt we'll ever be the kind of Kickstarter backers who are looking for the hidden gems, because I really don't want to take the risk of being stuck with poor quality games that I don't enjoy and can't trade on because no-ones ever heard of them. We're really just using Kickstarter as a pre-order system for some big name games so that we don't miss out on content and good deals.

As you can see from the choices above, our main motivators are inevitably hype and value for money. We've made some difficult decisions along the way and although I'm happy with our choices there have definitely been some months where I desperately wanted to back two or three games, but hopefully they'll all get general release in the long run! Maybe one month we won't back any games because there's noting that grabs us...but with August already lines up, I can't see that happening any time soon and I'm excited to see what the next 6 months brings!

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