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 31 October 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Week Commencing 24th October 2015

The new games keep coming thick and fast and we are definitely not managing to keep up! Most of the new stuff we’re trying are games we own – we’re not even getting the opportunity to test out other people’s exciting new goodies!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Furstenfeld

Game: Fürstenfeld

Manufacturer: Rio Grande

Designer: Friedemann Friese

Year: 2010

Furstenfeld was one of the first Euro Games we owned. At the time, I wasn't into board games at all, but I knew Amy liked games so bought her it as a present. Although, realistically, I bought Furstenfeld because it combined Amy's like of games and my love of beer. With hindsight, I actually bought a game from a pretty well renowned designer - Friedemann Friese, of Power Grid and now 504 fame.

Furstenfeld is primarily a market manipulation game, however it is themed around the idea of selling three core ingredients to breweries. Each brewery requires different quantities of each ingredient to brew their specific recipe, but also will pay a varying amount for each ingredient type, depending on the economics of supply and demand.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Good for what Ales you:- Fürstenfeld

Game: Fürstenfeld

Manufacturer: Rio Grande

Designer: Friedemann Friese

Year: 2010

If there’s one thing Germany is known for its beer, beer and palaces, but mostly beer. There’s nothing I want more in life apart from a family and an ample supply of beer. That’s why I’m becoming a farmer, I’ll supply the hops, they supply the brew, and everyone wins! And if I happen to make enough money to create a little homestead, well then that’s just a coincidence right? Yes a nice little 3 storey homestead, with a stable. Oh and a statue, I’ve always wanted my own statue, perhaps in the middle of a fountain? A fountain of beer of course, this is all about the beer... A HEDGE MAZE, I knew I was forgetting something I need a hedge maze!

Fürstenfeld is a 2-5 player beer-themed farming/market game in which you actually make no beer at all. Instead you make create a farm that produces the fresh spring water, barley and hops that nearby breweries need to make the golden nectar. Ultimately the aim of the game is to stop being a farmer and build your own personal palace instead, however the more of your land that is devoted to decadence the less you can use to produce fiscally sound crops.

Saturday 24 October 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Week Commencing 17th October 2015

So we finally visited Draughts – the board game cafe in London. The location is really cool, underneath the railway arches, and although the library is smaller than some I’ve seen, it did seem to have all the games I was looking to play and would expect from a cafe. We were a group of 5, so this put some limits on what we could try, but we had a great 4 hours of gaming.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Hey, That's My Fish!

Game: Hey, That's my Fish!

Manufacturer: Fantasy Flight

Designer: Alvydas Jakeliunas & Günter Cornett

Year: 2003

Hey That’s My Fish is a game that we’ve come across in UK charity shops on a couple of occasions. As a game with such an endearing theme and cute penguin miniatures, it’s hard to say no. It is one of the games we were first introduced to back in 2014 and was one of the first to start our growing collection. It’s also avoided our recently instigated ‘one-in-one-out’ policy so far – so why is it still hanging around?

Hey That’s My Fish is a light game about strategic and tactical movement. The aim of the game is for your group of penguins to collect more fish than your opponents. The board is made up of a grid of hexagonal tiles, each of which represents one, two or three fish. On your turn you may move one penguin as far as you like in a straight line, without jumping other penguins. You collect the tile on which you started your movement. The game continues until there are no more legal moves for any penguins on the board.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Poisson is 9/10ths of the law:- Hey that's my Fish

Game: Hey that's my Fish!
Manufacturer: Fantasy Flight
Designer: Alvydas Jakeliunas & Günter Cornett
Year: 2003

Day 1: Rival penguin ate my fish, it was my fish! Day 2: I ate my fish, but so did tall penguin, they were my fish! Day 3: Rival penguin and tall penguin fought over my fish, do they not understand that they are my fish? Day 4: I ate 3 fish today, today was a good day, until no-feathered penguin ate my fish! Day 5: The ice is melting, but I still have my fish, tall penguin is now stuck on an island with 2 of my fish! Day 6: I miss my fish on the island, but I still have lots of fish, why do the other penguins not understand that every fish is my fish? Day 7: HEY, THAT'S MY FISH!

Hey that’s my fish is a 2-4 player fish collecting penguin simulator. In it you rush around a melting ice-flow collecting as many fish tiles as possible and blocking your opponents from getting their flippers on your rightful fish! 

Saturday 17 October 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Week Commencing 10th October

Last weekend was a good weekend for getting new games to the table, although once again this week I haven’t been wowed anything enough to feel the need to add it to our collection. However, there’s certainly some I’d be happy to play again and once again I’ve fallen foul of player count, which can be difficult to avoid when you’re playing at gaming groups.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Jaipur

Game: Jaipur
Manufacturer: Gameworks
Year: 2009


Jaipur is certainly one of the much loved 2-player only games. In fact I think it just squeaks into the top 5 ranked 2-player only games on Board Game Geek. So it was with much anticipation that I eventually purchased Jaipur and I’ve been playing it pretty much since we opened the package.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

How Bizarre, how Bazaar!:- Jaipur

Game: Jaipur

Manufacturer: Game Works

Designer: Sébastien Pauchon

Year: 2009

I am a humble man, I do not live beyond my means, I carry my goods with a meager herd of 5 camels to save on food costs. So would you believe that I’m the richest man here? You can talk all you want of those merchants wearing their jewel-encrusted gold and silver, but they only have that on loan, everything is for sale with them, they own nothing. And while they sell their expensive items to the three people in town that can afford it I’m selling cloth to those who need to be clothed, spices to every restaurant with lackluster meat, and leather to the tanners. I brave the sights and smells of the locals and I come out on top. Those men in their fancy coats and jewellery are all so smug, but I’ll have earned enough to retire in a year, and when I get to spend the rest of my adult life with my wife and children, they’ll see who is the richest man here!

Jaipur is a 2-player set-collecting card game in which you trade for goods before selling them. Bonuses are awarded for collecting big sets, but also for selling early so you have to get a fine balance between trying to play quickly and trying to get the big bonus points.

Saturday 10 October 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Week Commencing 3rd October 2015

This week I’ve certainly bought more new games than I’ve played – keeping up is proving really difficult and that’s before I’ve decided to open the floodgates and make some Essen purchases (Raptor, Pandemic Legacy and 7 Wonders Duel being top of my list). But nevertheless, we’ve tried three new games this week and for once my first impressions might not be full of positivity. Maybe the Yellow Meeple is becoming more discerning?

·         Cargo Noir is one of the Days of Wonder games I never really hear people talk about. Perhaps it’s not a good game, but I picked it up cheap and thought it was worth a try. In Cargo Noir you are a mafia style gang trying to bribe your illicit goods through various ports. You are in competition with other gangs so you must carefully judge how much you need to bribe to ensure other gangs aren’t interested in the good you require. It’s  pretty light game which combines a light auction/bidding mechanic with some elements of worker placement and set collection. You have a number of boats which are your workers which can be placed on the board each turn. Each port has a random selection of goods which you want to obtain to make sets that can be traded for gold, which then buys you exciting items like yachts, which are worth victory points. When you place a boat on a port, it must be accompanied by a bid of at least one gold, but you must carefully judge how much gold will secret you the goods, otherwise your opponent can outbid you and you must either increase your bid or return home empty handed. The game works with 2 players, because certain ports are inactive, but I didn’t feel it was at its best. The game worked fine, but was just a bit lack lustre.

·         Carcassonne: Traders & Builders Expansion is the second expansion to Carcassonne and the second big box expansion that we’ve tried. This expansion adds a large number of additional tiles to the game, most of which include cities with a goods symbol on them, either Wine, Cloth or Wheat. If a city has one or more symbol in it then the person who finishes the city (not necessarily the person who owns and scores for it) takes these goods tokens. Ten points per good type are available at the end of the game for having the majority of each type. This introduces as great feel to the game as it incentivises players to finish other people’s cities, perhaps reducing their scope to expand but also returning a much needed meeple to its owner. The expansion also adds two special meeple – the pig who helps increase the points value of fields and the builder, who is placed on a road or city with another of your meeple – whenever you extend this feature you get an extra turn. I love playing with this expansion as it adds a lot more tactical play to the simple game of Carcassonne.

·         Lost Legacy: Flying Garden is a micro-game from AEG which comes in a little pouch, like Love Letter. The game proceeds in two phases. I would describe the first phase as take that as you try to discard cards onto the table that will eliminate your opponents. A little bit of memory also helps in this phase to try and keep track of the Lost Legacy card, as well as some hand management in trying to retain a low numbered card in your hand. In the second phase, if there is more than one player remaining, then you are using deduction to locate the Lost Legacy. My description probably makes this game sound like it has many levels, which for us it did not, specifically as a 2-player game. In the two-player game the card draw pretty much dictated who got eliminated and we never reached the second phase. I’m willing to try this again with the full player count of 4 – it’s hardly a big time commitment, at approx. 10 minutes, but I don’t hold out much hope of enjoying this one.

Hopefully this weekend will be a weekend for new game experiences. I’m hoping to try a new gaming group on Saturday evening, head to my usual Sunday afternoon club and maybe even head out on Monday evening – I’m pretty excited to see what new gems I can discover!

Thursday 8 October 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Flip City

Game: Flip City

Manufacturer: Tasty Minstrel Games

Designer: Chen Zhifan

Year: 2014

On our recent trip to New York in September, I was keen to try as many GenCon releases as possible before they were widely available back home in the UK. Flip City was on my list because we love deck builders. Dominion is probably still our favourite, but we’ve also enjoyed Trains and Legendary Encounters recently. Flip City hit the table on one of our trips to New York’s board game cafes and although it was initially a little slow, by the end of the game, we were very keen to play again and so a copy of Flip City flew home with us to the UK.

Flip City is a deck building game for 1-4 players. In the game you are trying to build an exemplary town and ensure that you don’t make too many people unhappy whilst doing so. As the genre suggests you will be building a deck of cards. You start the game with a basic deck of 9 cards, and 4/5 of those cards in particular are cards you don’t want in your hand. Residential Areas and Apartments are particular causes of unhappiness and do not really earn you much money in the game. During the game you will strengthen your deck by buying more cards from the central supply and also by flipping the cards in your deck to their alternate side, which is usually more powerful, for example earning you more money or more points, or a cooler special ability.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Bop-it! Twist-it! Pull-it! Flip-it!:- Flip city

Game: Flip City

Manufacturer: Tasty Minstrel Games

Designer: Chen Zhifan

Year: 2014

This used to be a nice neighbourhood, suburban bliss really, two local hospitals, a couple of offices so you didn't need to commute, a corner shop to save you the trip to the supermarket and a whole acre of parkland should you have a dog, or kids, to walk. But things started changing. When they knocked down St Mary's hospital for St Mary's church, well that was fine, we still had the royal hospital. But now that's a mosque and let me tell you, you can't pray away arthritis! Where there used to be semi-detached bliss there's now towering apartment blocks built by 'developers' Oh sure you can cram people into to them, but are you truly living if you don't have a strawberry patch in your back garden? 

Flip City is a deck-building game for 1-4 players, the game has a unique element of dual-sided cards with differing, though usually related, abilities on each side. You have no hand, instead you simply play cards off the top of your deck, your goal is to make a profitable, productive city, but if you cause too much unhappiness and you can lose it all.

Monday 5 October 2015

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- Week Commencing 26th September 2015

It’s not been the biggest week of gaming, but since I’ve tried a couple of new games and enjoyed them, it’s probably worth a quick fist impression post.

·         Magic the Gathering may not be the sort of game you’d expect The Game Shelf to be playing. Amy played a lot when she was younger, but didn’t enjoy the collectable nature, but since I’ve been playing a lot of Hearthstone, she thought I might like to try it. We picked up the Portal starter set last weekend and gave it ago this week. The starter set dictates your first few turns, which is rather annoying when you’ve both played similar games before, but once we were set free, the game was quick and quite enjoyable. I like the decision making process of whether to attack or save your creatures for defence. I felt like perhaps there were not many combos in the starter set and I’ve been told that a lot of tricks are missing, but I think this will hit the table as a quick two player card game and maybe we’ll try a few starter decks for variety.

·         Abyss has been sitting on the shelf for a long while and I don’t really know why. I didn’t find this game to be too heavy and we really should’ve played sooner! In the game you are trying to add Lords to your tableau to gain victory points and also special abilities. Lords are purchased using Allies which you buy with pearls. Pearls are usually obtained by the active player who reveals Allies from the supply. If other players choose to purchase then you obtain pearls. There’s a good amount of choices to be made in the game, but not too many to cause AP. Plus, on many occasions you participate in your opponents’ turns so there is little downtime. Timing is often key, in obtaining Locations which also boost your victory points and particularly in your decision whether to finish the game. Hopefully I can persuade Amy that this is a good game too because I really want to play this again.

I really want to get some more new games to the table. We have a whole shelf now devoted to the ‘pile of shame’. Some of these games might not be for me and it would be good to know so I can make space for some more new games!

Thursday 1 October 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Village

Game: Village

Manufacturer: Pegasus Spiele

Designer: Markus and Inca Brand

Year: 2011

Village is a worker placement game, which is supposed to simulate your family’s life in a medieval village where each generation works hard for their life, but when they die it is important that they go down in history in their specialist field (farming, exploring, being a clergyman etc.) by getting their name written into the village chronicle. However if they die as a farmer and there are already too many famous farmers written in the chronicle then they will go to an unmarked grave. Admittedly the theme sounds quite dark for a colourful euro game and we initially entered into this one knowing nothing other than the fact that this game won the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2012.

The game proceeds in a number of rounds. In each round, coloured cubes are drawn blindly from a bag and assigned to different areas on the board. The number of cubes in each area denotes how many times that action can be performed in that round and the coloured cubes act as one of the forms of currency in the game and allow you to perform certain actions. The actions are; travelling, which earns you victory points for the number of locations you visit in the game; farming for grain, which is a currency which can be converted to gold or traded to increase your rank in the church; family, which allows you to give birth to a new worker or call one back from the board; the council chamber, which earns you victory points and bonus actions when you rise to higher ranks; the church which is similar to the council chamber; the workshops which allow you to build scrolls, ploughs, caravans, horses and oxen; and the market, where you can sell your goods to traders for victory points.