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, 31 July 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions 24th - 31st July 2017

This week I managed to have a gaming night with a friend who lives near work - we played Kingdomino, Artifacts Inc. and Trambahn - all good games in small boxes and Trambahn was her surprising favourite. On Sunday we also travelled to Coffee & Dice - a new board game cafe in Bournemouth where we got to try a couple of new games. We're also continuing to manage to play a couple of new games in the evenings each week, which is great for me to have something to look forward to on the way home from work!

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

  • Caverna: Cave vs. Cave is the two player version of Caverna - a game which only featured in my first impressions two weeks ago, after our first play. Cave vs. Cave simplifies the game so that all you are doing is making a cave - no farmland or animals here! The game still has the mechanics of worker placement, however there are no actual worker pieces, you just take an action tile from the board. Your number of workers increases at certain rounds of the game and you don't need to use actions to increase your number. You need to dig out your cave in order to furnish it and each tile you choose to furnish it with will either have an ability which you can trigger with certain action tiles or a permanent bonus that applies throughout the game. There are also points on the cave tiles and a combination of this and your supply of gold at the end of the game will determine the winner. From a first play, it plays really quickly and smoothly but there's just nothing there that grabs me. It is however, pretty unique amongst our 2-player only games and the fact that it's quick means it will definitely hit the table again soon.

  • Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has been on our shelf for a long time and the rulebook just seemed too intimidating. Amy sacrificed a couple of hours of her life to learn, what turned out to be, quite a simple game. In our first game we were overrun by spiders, attacking and engaging with our heroes, whilst we were making decisions whether to send them questing, defend or attack with each of our characters. Fortunately, just as we were going to die, Amy drew Gandalf, who saved the day. Initially I was find the game quite boring, but it did build to become quite a cooperative experience, where I was using ranged characters to come to Amy's rescue and she had some interesting events. For me, the game is OK, but I don't think LCGs are necessarily the right kind of cooperative game for me, since progress often feels slow and I don't feel in control of my deck in the same way as in a deckbuilder. We'll probably play the next two scenarios in the base box, but then give up on this LCG.

  • Eight Minute Empire is an early game from Ryan Lauket, who has gone one to produce so beautiful looking story-driven games in recent years. Eight Minute Empire is a card driven area control game that isn't finished in eight minutes, but definitely doesn't take any longer than 20, at least with two players. You each start the game with a limited supply of coins and use them to buy cards from the market each turn. Cards give you a resource and an action. The resources form part of a set collection for points, whilst the actions allow you to alter the board by adding armies, moving armies or adding cities. At the end of the game you'll also score points for the regions and continents you control. The game is a very simple form of area control. With two players it probably isn't at it's best, as is almost always the case with this style of game, but it was a game I would play again, but probably won't add to the collection.

  • Nimbee is a game I was excited to take a look at at the UK Games Expo this year. The box art is a really lovely watercolour style and I was hoping the artwork throughout would be just as good. My first impression was definitely disappointment. The game has no consistent art style whatsover, with a few nice watercolours on the cards, but otherwise some awful bard design with a mixture of photographs and clipart and some bad clipart on some of the special cards too. The gameplay was fine, just moving around a board and collecting flower cards either to use for extra movement or to keep as points, but there was nothing new or interesting here and I won't be seeking the game out to play again.

  • Pandemic Contagion is really not that connected to the idea of Pandemic in that it's a competitive card game and you're each playing as a disease trying to infect the population of different world cities. Each player has a different colour disease, represented by coloured plastic cubes. Each turn you take two unique action, using the cards from your hand to either mutate your disease's attributes, add cubes to a city, or draw more cards. When a city has as many cubes as its population it scores for first, second and third place. With two players there is a dummy third player, which we found wasn't too clunky and so we were happy playing with two. Overall, I actually quite enjoyed this card game implementation and would like to try it again.

    It's been a good week of gaming, but for me the best news is that I've managed to start conversations about a board game group at work. There's only 8 people in the office, so pretty much everyone will have to come to make it worthwhile! No-one in the office is a gamer, but one person mentioned that they've played Avalon once and everyone else seems quite interested, so I can't wait to get started!

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