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 15 August 2015

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions – Week Commencing 8th August 2015

We’re playing a lot of games at the moment, and as you can see from http://thegameshelf.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-ever-growing-shelf.html I’m also buying a lot of new games too. But there’s a small selection of games that we play each week that either I haven’t bought yet or I haven’t played enough times to write a full review. So each week the Yellow Meeple is going to gather together her first impressions on the new games that’ve hit the table.

·         Nevermore is a light card-drafting game with a big dose of “take-that”. A group of 5 of us played a couple of games, resulting in a mixed opinion. The object of the game is to collect sets of matching cards in one round of drafting. At the end of the round players will resolve each card type in order and the player who plays the most of any card type wins the ability to either attack other players, obtain Magick cards, boost health or obtain victory points. Our first game took about 20 minutes and was really quite good fun! However, our second game must have taken around 1 hour and 30 minutes are really outstayed its welcome. After the first game I thought this was a great filler game, but it seems from the time on the box that a longer game may not be that uncommon and therefore this one might not be added to our collection.

·         Mysterium (or at least the Polish version) has been popular at our Sunday game group for the past couple of months. In the game the ghost gives each player Dixit style clues to lead them to select the right weapon, location and suspect for his murder. This forms the shortlist of suspects from which the players must figure out the culprit in the final round. So long as they can succeed in doing this within 7 days, the players all win this co-operative game. My enjoyment of this game is really variable. I think it has to be played with a lively and interactive group and a ghost who doesn’t take forever to give out clues to the players. With these ingredients it can be an awesomely fun activity, otherwise I admit that I do get bored of the game. Enough people around me own it or plan to by the new English re-print by Asmodee, that I don’t need to own this game.

·         Tokaido is a very zen game. We actually had a lady come and ridicule us for playing a game that didn’t seem hyper competitive. We explained that I was within my rights stand at the farm and try and block all of my opponents from generating money, but she was not prepared to accept that there could be joy in playing such a relaxed game. Personally I really enjoyed the experience. It was hardly gripping, nor would I describe it as fun, it was just ‘nice’ and there were points at which slightly tactical decisions were required.

·         Flash Point Fire Rescue: Extreme Danger was a brilliant expansion! We played on the garage map with no basement or attic, but with the explosive object. It gave us the tightest game of Flash Point we’ve ever had, with just one turn standing between victory and loss (we lost). One expansion adds huge variety to the game with the maps and I just can’t wait to try more. It may not be attributable to the expansion, but the mechanism of changing roles in the game also came to the fore much more significantly in this 2-player game.

·         Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham has been sitting on our shelves for a couple of months now, since we bought the base game and both expansions as a job lot. I’d heard a lot about this expansion giving the game theme that the base game didn’t have. The lack of theme had never really bothered me about Elder Sign, but what the expansion adds in terms of difficulty makes it a win for me. Creating gates, the fear of the unknown, having fewer big bonus actions that can be completed with trophies, choices of task rewards…all of this adds an extra layer to the game. I can’t wait to bring this one to the table again and doubt we’ll play without it again, unless we start to lose too often!

·         Survive! Escape from Atlantis is a really great gateway game. Its colourful components and thick terrain tiles were really appealing from the start. The game is really easy to understand and get into and the back-stabbing elements can be great fun in a group of friends. I can imagine that if everyone picks on one player, attacking them with sharks, overturning their boat with whales and blocking their path with sea monsters it can perhaps get a little frustrating, but we had a very balanced game. Slightly disappointingly our 3-player game ended in a 3-way tie and we used the numbers on the underside of the meeples as a tie-breaker even though we’d agreed to ignore them in the game, which meant that winning was pretty arbitrary. I’ll be surprised if this game doesn’t make it onto our shelves soon!

·         Power Grid has had so many mixed reviews from different reviewers, all of who’s opinion I generally trust. So, it was with trepidation that I agreed to my first game. I’m generally not a fan of very long games, but we set aside most of the game night for a 5-player game. I had no real reason to expect to not enjoy it – all I knew was that it had potentially long auctions and was very maths-y. Having prepared by watching a couple of Youtube videos, I was ready to lose my first game. BUT I did actually enjoy it. The game definitely had its moment where AP became an annoyance, but overall, there was plenty of thinking and planning to do between turns and the length was not too much of a problem. I have no idea what is a winning strategy, I certainly didn’t get it right, but I’m willing to try again.

There’s been  a lot of new games to absorb this week, so hopefully this weekend we’ll bring some favourites to the table again – I hate to see them missing out on play time.

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