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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

The Game Shelf Previews:- Steam Up: A Feast of Dim Sum

Game: Steam Up: A Feast of Dim Sum

Publisher: Hot Banana Games

Designer: Pauline Kong, Haymen Lee, Marie Wong

Year: 2022

Theming in board games is really a distraction for me. I’ll play anything, no matter the theme, but food or cute animals are pretty universally appealing and I’m not immune. Steam Up, in particular, is built upon a brilliant theme, giving rise to a game that, frankly, looks delicious. The arrival of the prototype of Steam Up caused me to;

1. Invite over my friends for a weekend stay
2. Take said friends on a trip to the Chinese supermarket
3. Buy a heck of a lot of dim sum
4. Even buy a steamer so that we could correctly cook the dim sum
5. Be taught to cook dim sum
6. Eat a whole ton of dim sum and take some nice photos of this wonderful looking game

But, like I said, theme doesn’t a matter to me…

If you’d like to host your own dim sum get together, then perhaps a game of Steam Up is the perfect appetiser. 

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Sierra West

Game: Sierra West

Publisher: Board&Dice

Designer:  Jonny Pac

Year: 2019


I remember getting a quick look at Sierra West at UK Games Expo two years ago. At the time, I feel like both the publisher, Board&Dice and the designer, Jonny Pac were both on the verge of becoming a big deal. Jonny Pac is a designer who mainly designs games with a Western theme, and Sierra West is no exception. You are playing as pioneers in the 1840s, who are travelling out West no a trusty wagon over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The game is not hugely thematic in nature, but the game's setup has you recreating a mountain out of cards, which is just one of the many unique aspects in this card driven euro game for 1-4 players.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Subastral

Game: Subastral

Publisher: Renegade Game Studios

Designer: Ben Pinchback & Matt Riddle

Year: 2021

Subastral is a small-box card game for 2-5 players in which each player is collecting notes of the different biomes of plant Earth. You'll be treated to beautiful artwork from prolific board game artist, Beth Sobel decorating the cards for the eight different biome types, as well as the 6 central cloud cards which form a panorama.
Whilst Subastral has a serene and beautiful look to it and very simple card design, don't let its simple aesthetics fool you. While the rules are indeed simple, this set collection game treats you to some very elegant tricks when it comes to card selection and scoring, which will really get you thinking.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

The Game Shelf Previews: Arkosa

Game: Arkosa

Publisher: Toon Hammer

Designer: Anglea Dickens

Year: 2021


Arkosa is a 1-4 player colony survival game in which you play the part of a colony leader on an alien planet. Fortunately you too are an alien, as are all your buddies, less fortunately there has been a great disaster, you and your handful of buddies are all locked up in an underground bunker trying to survive. That's when you get a reply to your SoS signal. A passing spaceship is coming by, in just three cycles, but they only have enough room on their ship to take one bunker's worth of people. Can you brave the dangerous wastes to scavenge enough resources to not only survive, but thrive on this wasteland of a planet, surely the visitors will take with them the most talented and ingenious people! Well, It couldn't hurt to bribe them with a few mega batteries and a good meal too! 

Thus starts a game of Arkosa, on your turn you'll be taking two actions, or passing to remove yourself from the round. There are four potential actions to do, you can trade, turning in food and air for building resources to expand your base. You can build, turning in said resources to add a new room to your bunker. You can take a bribe card, these end game cards represent potential offerings to give to your saviours, worth points should you complete them, but fail and you'll upset them with the broken promise. Lastly you can play a worker card, workers are varied and can help in several ways, often they can simply generate a few resources or morale, but most importantly they can scavenge the wastes. Whenever you do this you must pay, and then claim the reward, from a space on the board. The rewards can be anything from power crystals (needed to make your rooms function) to new crew members to join your bunker (there's only so much room, but no-one likes Dave anyway). They will also progress the exploration marker along the exploration track. Should this marker land on an item, you get a lucky find, but should it land on an event... who knows what will happen. Even worse every now and then it will reach a raid space, those are never good!