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 the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every 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, 11 April 2020

The Digital Game Shelf:- Week 3 of Board Gaming During Covid-19


When I wrote our first guide to how we've been playing games under our current lockdown situation, I though it would be a one-off blog. I had a few ideas about how I might be able to play games with friends online, but I had no idea I would take it this far.

So far, I have created Powerpoints, translated resources from French, borrowed games from The Ludoquist board game cafe, reformatted an old laptop to enable it to run Steam without crashing and photographed at least 50% of the spines of my board game collection to create ransom notes to post on Twitter.

Yes, we have a little bit more free time on our hands, but I'm still working full time and yet still lucky enough to find lots of time to get creative and keep gaming. I'm seeing people over Skype that I usually wouldn't talk to or see for months and connecting with colleagues in Canada for valuable social and morale boosting time too. I understand that I'm the exception to the rule when it comes to enjoying lockdown, but hopefully a few of this weeks ideas can bring some enjoyment to others too!

Skype with Friends
  • Karuba was this week's pick for my weekly game night with Nick Welford from Board Deck & Dice. This week we were also joined by Mrs Welford and Mini-Welford, which was a lovely treat. To play Karuba over Skype, everyone will need a copy of the game, but the number of people that can play together is only limited by a need for 1 copy of the game for every 4 people. One player will be the caller and everyone else will find the tiles that have been called.
  • Concept was released as a print and play this week by Repos Productions. They've turned it into a puzzle book format, where they have created one clue per page using images and player pieces from Concept and you need to guess the word or phrase. I turned this into a powerpoint version for my co-workers. I gave out the picture clues one at a time, and people got 3 points for being the first to get the answer if not all clues were revealed or one point once all clues were revealed. It was quite a bit of work and I only prepared 10 clues, which wasn't really enough, but we followed up with a game of Codenames too. 
 
  • Decrypto is one that my friend Ellie actually taught us how to play by Skype. Two people need to own the game, so that they can provide and image of the four clues for their team. Share the clues by WhatsApp and also communicate with your teammates in a private Whats App group. The person giving the clues n each round can rotate, so long as everyone looks away when the number card is shown. If you're home alone, then Scorpion Masque also shared some quick solo puzzles for Decrypto this week.

Livestreams with Random People

If your friends are all busy doing Joe Wicks exercise videos, then perhaps you want to use gaming to socialise, but connect with some new people? Lots of content creators and publishers are hosting livestreams and many of them give you the ability to play along. This week I checked out two different streams.
  • Tiny Towns is hosted daily by the team at AEG, along with a daily special guest. You'll need a copy of the game to play along and there are daily game giveaways too! I played for the first time on Friday and I'm looking forward to playing along more often and perhaps even getting a good score one day in the future! Games are hosted on the AEG Facebook page.
  • The Isle of Cats is a tile laying game that we recently reviewed on the site. The original game would be pretty much impossible to play remotely, due to drafting, but the designer is just testing out a remote play version and has posted a file to print online, as well as then sharing a Youtube video you can play along with.

Free Print and Plays
  • Asmodee released a fee print and play versions of family games this week, including Dobble, Dixit, Unlock and even Catan. We were particularly excited to see Combo Colour - a game we picked up at Essen. It's a colouring game that works a bit like a roll and write, but without the roll aspect. We're going to try playing this by Skype and screen sharing Microsoft Paint, which we think could be pretty fun!
  • Coiledspring are also highlight a few free print and plays on their Twitter feed, including a re-theme of Bandido from Helvetiq.
  • Renegade Games have released Wonderland, which was previously a Tabletop Day exclusive. It's just three sheets of paper needed to print off the game, so we've printed it out and will be giving it a try this week.


If you're looking for more ideas, you could check out our first and second blog posts, full of creative and free ideas to keep gaming.

What are you doing to stay connected in the coming weeks? I'd love to get some more creative ideas!

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