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

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 11th - 16th July 2017

On Monday and Tuesday we tried to make the most of my last two days of freedom before starting back in a full time job. A lot of the remaining unplayed games on the shelf are really big games, such as Caverna, Cry Havoc and Orleans, which definitely need some time set aside, but we're managing to get through some of our smaller games at quite a good pace. For some reason there's also 4 new games on the way to our house this week, so we need to keep up!

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin is the third game we've played in the EXIT series and the last one currently available to buy in the UK. The game system ie. the way that you check your answers and get hints has been the same across all three games, but I've been surprised by the many different puzzles we've come across and how many ideas the designers must have! We have played at three games as 2-player experiences and at times have struggled to see how it would work with more just because of the need to share the game materials and sometimes the need to stand back and let other players have a go at solving puzzles. In The Abandoned Cabin, we were pleased to see a three-part puzzle where 3 people could easily all be working on something at the same time. There were a couple of frustrating moments where it was very unclear that we needed to find more clues to complete puzzles, but overall, I'd say this is our second favourite out of the three, with The Secret Lab being our favourite.

  • Viceroy is a game that seemed to get a lot of buzz when it was released and quickly disappeared off the radar, but I picked up  a second hand copy for £10 and thought it was worth a try. The game is a combination of hand management, tile placement and set collection using cards to build up your own pyramid. The first phase is bidding for cards to add to your hand, if you bid for the same card as someone else then neither of you gets the card. Fortunately, with two players, this rarely comes up as I can imagine it would put me off the game after a while. You can then play cards from your hand - it costs more resources to place cards higher up the pyramid, but the rewards are also greater. The game is really about managing the colours of tokens you have to ensure you have the right tokens at the right moment. We both really enjoyed the concept behind Viceroy and I'm looking forward to playing more.

  • Caverna is one of Uwe Rosenberg's big box games about farming and feeding your people. We've played Agricola and it rarely hit the table since we weren't fond of it with 2 players. We also enjoy Fields of Arle but it has such a long set up that we don't play it very often either. Caverna really scratches the same itch as either of these games, but I wasn't part of setting it up and the gameplay itself seemed really fast with two players, genuinely taking about the 30 minutes per player it says on the box. According to the rule book, both of our end game scores were quite poor, but I was quite happy with my fields, my herds of animals and my modest cave.

  • Wibbell++ is a box of cards that contains instructions for many games. The cards each have two letters - a common letter on the top and an uncommon letter on the bottom and cards have different border patterns. We played one game about arranging cards in alphabetical order, which was awful, one game about shouting out words including one letter from every card, which worked quite well and a story-telling game which wasn't really our style but was kind of amusing. It feels like the creator is trying to produce 'the next deck of playing cards' and that the website will provide a source of public domain games and hopefully some will be good. The second Kickstarter campaign for the game has just come to an end, but keep an eye on the game at BoardGameGeek or at stuffbybez.com.

  • The Builders: Antiquity is a small card game that came as part of a joblot I bought for no particular reason...It's actually quite a good card game where you are building a hand of workers and perhaps enhancing them with tools or a specialist education so that they can help you to build different buildings for money and victory points. The gameplay feels a little bit like a deckbuilder where you need to adapt your hand to suit the different resources needed to build the buildings you've chosen from the face-up supply. There's nothing spectacular here and I have a feeling it will sit on our shelf and not get played very often, but it's small and maybe it will become one of our travel games.

    Amy is still looking for a new job and she's told me she's very excited by the opportunity to learn a new game whilst I'm at work and have it set up on the table ready for when I get home. I suppose it's the gamer equivalent of having dinner waiting on the table! She assures me this method will get us working through the pile of shame (approximately 35 unplayed games) at a much faster pace.

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