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 December 2016

Overthinking by The Yellow Meeple - Top 5 Board Games of 2016

This year I feel as though we’ve struggled to play many hot new games. We definitely get fewer opportunities now that we’ve moved house and don’t have any regular gaming groups. There’s still a huge list of popular titles from 2016 that I’m really keen to play! So, to be clear from the outset we’ve not played a comprehensive list of games released in 2016, but I’m actually pleasantly surprised that we’re pretty much on a par with the number of 2015 releases we’d played at the end of 2015.

In the spirit of full disclosure, these are the games we’ve played; Quadropolis, Knit Wit, Yeti, Onitama, Dingo’s Dreams, Captain Sonar, Secret Hitler, Imhotep, Mystic Vale, The Networks, Automobiles, Tatsu, Ice Cool, Animals on Board, Oceanos, City of Iron (2nd Ed.)

So here’s the Yellow Meeple’s Top 5!

Sunday 11 December 2016

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work - Week 4

If I was disappointed by the number of people for week 3, then let’s say that I found week 4 pretty devastating. There was just me and 2 other people. The other two people are people in my team at work so as much as I’m super happy they’re playing games, I’m not sure if they are really that interested.

Nevertheless, we played a good number of games and I think they both enjoyed it, even though it was shorter than our normal nights.

Week 4

Number of Attendees: 3

Games Played: Rhino Hero, Coloretto, Dobble, Forbidden Desert

Thursday 1 December 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game

GameLegendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game

PublisherUpper Deck

Designer: Devin Low


We first played Marvel Legendary at a board game club over 1 year ago and it really wasn’t a hit for me. I’m not sure I quite got my head around how we were both co-operating to defeat the villain at the same time as trying to gain the most points and win on an individual basis. I’m also not sure I understood how to make combos using wither colours or allegiances rather than specific character types. We also tried Legendary Encounters: Alien at the same time, which I definitely preferred from a gameplay perspective but having never seen an Alien movie, the theme didn’t grab me. So why have we ended up with Marvel Legendary on our shelves?

Marvel Legendary is a semi co-operative deck building game in which you pit a group of Marvel superheroes against a villain of your choice. Apparently for Marvel fans (I’m not really one of them) it’s a great opportunity to create mash-ups of different heroes and see how they combine together. As with most co-operative games you are in essence battling against a deck and a time limit. The villain deck contains not only villains which you need to stay in control of throughout the game but also scheme twists which throw curve balls and story line into the mix to make a bad situation works.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Title: A Pun About the Game:- Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game

Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game

Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment

Designer: Devin Low


Marvel Legendary is a 1-5 player semi-cooperative deckbuilding card game in which you create a force of crime fighting superheroes to prevent a supervillain from completing their dastardly plot. The game plays out much like other deckbuilders, you have a currency for recruiting new heroes from a central pool and then a fight value that you use for defeating villains. Villains you defeat go into a victory point, the stronger villains being worth more points. Ultimately there can be only one winner, but if you lose then you lose together.

Monday 21 November 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 6th-20th November 2016

We’ve had a couple of quiet weekends recently which means we’ve been able to dedicate our Sundays to gaming at home. We’ve got a few of our bigger neglected games back to the table as well as trying a few new titles from the shelves. We also met up with some friends this weekend at the Draughts game cafe in London and played some really fun games as well as one new game included in the blog below.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 17 November 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Loony Quest

GameLoony Quest


Designer: Laurent Escoffier  & David Franck


Loony Quest had been on my radar, but only as a children’s game. However, I got the opportunity to give it a try at a board game group and found I was rather good at it. To my slight shame, I do tend to enjoy games I’m good at, so Loony Quest caught my attention. On a recent holiday to Valencia we visited a local game store and Loony Quest was one of the few multi-lingual options available so we took it home as our holiday souvenir and it’s been hitting the table a lot ever since!

Loony Quest is a point scoring, drawing game in which each player tries to meet a drawing challenge over the course of 6 rounds. Each round is a scene with certain point scoring opportunities and other features which are obstacles. Each round allows different drawings, for example, a specific number of lines, a certain number of circles or a certain number of dots and there’s a time limit of 30 second to draw the required elements, hitting the targets that gain points and avoiding the obstacles which lose you points.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

World of Drawcraft:- Loony Quest

GameLoony Quest


Designer: Laurent Escoffier  & David Franck


Loony quest is a 2-5 player drawing game in which you embark on a number of 30 second challenges in order to claim the most experience points and be the greatest hero in the land. It consists of multiple worlds, each of 6 maps which correspond to the difficulty level you want to play at. Seemingly inspired by a Mario game’s progression you’ll go from a grassland to volcanic islands, ancient ruins and frozen tundras, defeating a boss at the end of each world.

Each level within a world consists of a map tile which gets placed in the centre of the playing area, the box acts as a holder for this map and as a score track using lollypop stick style trackers for each player. Each player has a white mat and a clear sheet to draw on, a timer is flipped and everyone has 30 seconds to draw on their sheet, once the timer runs out each player places their sheet onto the game board and evaluates their score. That’s about it for how to play, the rules are simplicity themselves, draw as required for the map, place your sheet over the map, score points, win!

Saturday 12 November 2016

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work - Week 2

The first week of game group left me feeling elated after introducing new people to the hobby and feeling like I had really started something good both for myself, the hobby and to build social bridges for other people in my workplace.

For week two I was probably more nervous about whether people would come back and also about picking the right games – In Week 1 I could forgive myself if I got the games wrong but knowing a little more about my audience my audience would I make the right choice to keep people interested?

Week 2
Number of Attendees: 8
Games Played: Dobble, Get Bit!, Coloretto, Catan, Survive!

Sunday 6 November 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 15th October – 5th November

It seems like I’m still adding more and more games to our shelves and every time I have a new excuse...recently I passed an exam and had success starting a work board game club – definitely both legitimate reasons to buy new games right? This means there’s even more unplayed games on the shelves but we are progressing slowly with trying out some of the new titles.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 3 November 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Quadropolis


PublisherDays of Wonder

Designer: Francois Gandon


I’m not sure what took me so long when it came to buying Quadropolis. I’m a big fan of many Days of Wonder games, so knew that eventually it was a game I wanted to play and probably own. I assumed I’d see it being played everywhere and yet 6 months after release I’d yet to play it at a game group and there were seemingly no opportunities to pick Quadropolis up much below RRP so I included it in a sizeable order I made to get myself up to speed with some 2016 releases.

Quadropolis is a gateway level city building game. In the game there are a number of different building types and each has a different scoring mechanism. Each round you are selecting tiles from a central grid which is common to all players. The selection of the tiles is very spatial, and the way that you obtain each tile effects where you can place it in your city. The game proceeds in 4 or 5 rounds depending on whether you’re playing classic or expert and at the end of the game you have the opportunity to organise your resources – energy and people – in the most optimal way around your city.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Squareism is the new Cubism!: Quadropolis

Quadropolis is a 2-4 player strategy game in which you have to design a city to become a productive, pleasant place to live. The game revolves around a square grid (or rectangular in the advanced version) which you fill with various buildings in a series of rounds. Each building type has it’s own unique scoring system which are often affected by the surrounding buildings.

In each round you gather a pile of tiles and lay them out along a central supply grid. You can then use one of your engineers to claim tiles and place them on your city grid. The engineers are numbered one through four, you have once of each number every round, so you’ll be taking 4 buildings in a turn. The number of your engineer is important; to take a tile you place the engineer around the edge of the supply grid, along a row/column. You then take the tile x spaces away from the engineer in the, so a number 3 engineer would take the 3rd building along the column he’s placed on. Once you have the building you have to place it on a grid reference on your city that has that number as either it’s column or row. So in our example the number 3 engineer must build along column 3 *or* along row 3.

An example of tiles being taken, the 5 architect took the tile 5 spaces away while the 1 architect took the tile next to it. The pawn covers the last tile taken and you can't place an architect pointing towards the pawn.
There is an advanced game which I strongly recommend for people who have played the game at least once before. Instead of having a unique set of engineers, each player uses the same pool of engineers. This adds a lot of player interaction to the game as purposely running down a certain number can make it hard for players to achieve their goals. Since the supply grid is 5x5, at the start of the round you can use a 2 or a 4 to take the same tile, but as the area around the outside of the supply gets filled up with engineers spaces become limited and number selection becomes very important. The advanced game also has a couple of new building types that add a bit more variety to strategy. It also gives each player a bigger city grid, which means that many buildings can score higher.

The buildings themselves encourage synergy, parks work well when surrounded by residential towers, docks work well when in a line of other docks, power plants thrive when surrounded by commercial buildings, but aren’t great for residential ones, so shops can be used to bridge the gap. There’s also pollution and overpopulation to worry about, some buildings produce energy, and others produce population. Most buildings require activation by a certain amount of power or population in order to score at the end of the game, if you don’t have enough people then you won’t have anyone to work in your power plant, but get too many and the unemployed bums will cost you points! There is a careful balance in trying to make the most points without going to far and filling your town with pollution.
Scoring for the various buildings, some buildings require multiples of the same type, while others reward being surrounded by suitable buildings. A well designed city can rack up those precious points!

Quadropolis is a game with a surprising amount of depth, but it is so simple to pick up! The game feels intuitive and even playing with little idea of what’s going on at first you aren’t likely to have any major problems playing. So long as you have worked out what to do by rounds 3 or 4 you’ll be fine, which makes it great for new players. But for veterans the strategy starts coming out of the woodwork, ensuring you don’t fill up certain numbers becomes important or you’ll be limited in the late-game. Watching what spots your opponents have left allows you to block off buildings they want with your engineers. Power plants are all worth the same points, but take the one witch generates too much power and it turns to pollution, so sometimes the “weaker” tiles are better for you. I had no expectations coming into Quadropolis, but now I couldn’t be a much bigger fan... well unless they release a Star-Wars version anyway!


Saturday 29 October 2016

The Yellow Meeple...Starts a Board Game Group at Work - Week 1

After struggling to find a very local game group to our new house or my workplace I finally took the plunge and decided to start a work game group. I’ve been wanting to do this since starting my job there 9 months ago, but lunchtimes never worked out because everyone is so busy and with a long commute I really just wanted to head home straight after work.

Our recent move means my commute is better and so I decided to advertise my new board game group for the after work slot. I’d like to start writing about the challenges and successes to try and help others starting new gaming groups. Spoiler alert – after the first week, I think it is definitely worth it for anyone thinking of starting a new group when there’s no-one else doing it!

Week 1
Number of Attendees: 11
Games Played: Dobble, Looney Quest, Exploding Kittens, Secret Hitler, Jamaica

Thursday 20 October 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Mice and Mystics

GameMice and Mystics

PublisherPlaid Hat Games

Designer: Jerry Hawthorne


Mice and Mystics isn’t a game that I would normally gravitate towards, but after finishing our campaign of Pandemic Legacy I was interested in another co-operative game that the two of us could share as an ongoing experience. Mice and Mystics appeared to be very popular and I managed to get my hands on a nearly new copy pretty cheaply when the game was out of print and in high demand.

Mice and Mystics is a tale of the quest of a group of loyalists who were turned into mice when their king was overthrown. They now find themselves on quests through and around the castle, fighting off other small creatures, such as rats, centipedes and Brodie the cat. The game is a dungeon crawl style where you explore different tiles on the board, taking on enemies as you progress to your goal, perhaps to capture a kidnapped mouse or discover some secrets.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Pantries and Pussycats:- Mice and Mystics

GameMice and Mystics

PublisherPlaid Hat Games

Designer: Jerry Hawthorne

The hallway echoed with the scratching of claws on hewn stone, a volley of needles flew overhead, Nez glanced back long enough to see one collide with Colin’s button-shield. Nez raised his hammer as he ran, the combination of a twig and a small rock, but dangerous enough to the rat archers that he was charging. He brought it down and was met with a sickening, though oddly satisfying, crack of a Rat’s head collapsing in on itself. The other rats started to run, but Lily’s needles were faster. Colin looked up through the drainage grate to the castle corridor. “We’re nearly outside” he squeaked “For the king!”. Colin rushed ahead, his mousy compatriots racing behind him. The hallway echoed with the scratching of claws on hewn stone...

Mice and Mystics is a 2-4 player dungeon-crawler in which you take the role of one of a group of 6 mice who must fight their way through armies of cockroaches, rats, spiders and centipedes in an ongoing campaign. The game is very much a lighter dungeon crawler, there are only  handful of map tiles that are all the same size and shape (though the terrain on them isn’t), there are only a dozen or so enemy types and the rules are simple enough to explain relatively quickly (though like many dungeon crawlers learning the rules from the rulebook is a struggle).

Saturday 15 October 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 2nd – 14th October

A few new games have hit the table this week, although we’ve also bought a couple of new games, so we’re only maintaining the status quo with our unplayed games pile. Our gaming success for the last week was introducing some new games to some friends last weekend – who particularly loved Looney Quest. The new board games we’ve tried have mainly just been with the two of us playing at home and one return visit to a gaming group on Wednesday.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 6 October 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Animals on Board

Game: Animals On Board

Publisher: Pegasus Spiele

Designer: Wolfgang Sentker and Ralf zur Linde

Animals on Board is a game that I think it is fair to say doesn’t have a lot of shelf appeal. The only reason it was on my radar is due to some quite relentless publicity by Stronghold Games. I actually happened across the original Pegasus Spiele printing on a Facebook group and thought it was worth a punt at £10 or £15. So is Animals on Board the Spiel des Jahres weight game that Stronghold Games claim?

In Animals on Board you are trying to populate your ark with a group of ten animals who will score you the most points. Unlike traditional ark builders like Noah you don’t want pairs of animals – ideally you’re looking for large groups, but single animals can be worth points too, varying depending on their maturity.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Hey, hey it's the monkeys!:- Animals On Board

Game: Animals On Board

Publisher: Pegasus Spiele

Designer: Wolfgang Sentker and Ralf zur Linde


Remember the fable of Noah and you’ll go far in business! Noah had a good thing going, rescuing 2 of each animal, a breeding pair! He was clever; he patented his Ark-based animal survival techniques quickly. But like any good product low-quality copies quickly sprung up. Oh sure, they could save 1 of each animal on an ARK half the size for half the cost, but you soon found out that the Ark was leaky, the zebra was a painted mule and the lion was paper-Mache! And then there were the extravagant opportunists, the ones who could build bigger arks with more animals, they were stylish, but impractical and no-one could afford them. So be a good businessman, innovate, design, patent and corner the market with quality goods that do what people need at a price that you can sell to everyone!

Animals on Board is a 2-4 player set collection game in which you try to collect the best animal sets to take away on your ark. Much like the Ark of biblical fame you have to rescue animals before the great flood. However you don’t want people to think you’re just copying Noah, you’re far too cool to copy that schmuck! So instead you are saving anything but 2 of every animal, pairs are sooo B.C.!

Saturday 1 October 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 24th – 30th September

It seems like a long time since the two of us have sat in a board game cafe and dedicated a few hours to trying new board games, but last weekend we had a few hours at Draughts in London and did just that. It’s not my favourite place to play games due to the really bad acoustics of sitting under a railway arch, but the library is pretty good and they’re kept up with enough new releases to keep me satisfied.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Sunday 25 September 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 14th – 24th September

We’ve not been playing too many new games recently. New jobs, mean that we’re not managing to fit in a board game group at the moment. We are still gaming with friends though and have a campaign of Imperial Assault in progress. The best gaming moment of the last couple of weeks was introducing some friends who are not into the hobby to Terror in Meeple City – we all had great fun and they wanted to play again straight away – a roaring success!

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 22 September 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- The Bloody Inn

GameThe Bloody Inn

PublisherPearl Games

Designer: Nicholas Robert


The Bloody Inn was a 2015 release that was still getting a lot of buzz by the time we visited the UK Games Expo during 2016. I received a number of glares when I picked up a copy quite cheaply in the bring and buy sale! However, it now seems that no-one is talking about it, perhaps because beyond the theme, it is just a hand management style card game.

The theme of The Bloody Inn is actually quite dark and I suppose some people might take offense to that, but I’m sure it’s not a barrier to many, after all, games are just fictional worlds. In this game you are a French innkeeper, keen to make a fortune from your quests – not just charging them for rooms, but robbing them and in some cases resorting to murder in order to take all of their money or indeed to protect yourself from being caught by murdering the law enforcement.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Check-out any time you like, but...:- The Bloody Inn

GameThe Bloody Inn

Publisher: Pearl Games

Designer: Nicolas robert


The Bloody Inn is a 1-4 player serial murder simulator... which I’ll be honest isn’t the most relatable theming, you play as an innkeeper who conspires to murder their guests, rob them of everything they own and then unceremoniously dump their bodies under the floorboards. You have to carefully choose who to bribe, who to hire to build buildings (to dump more bodies under) and who to kill in order to make money and avoid arrest.

Each day an inn gets filled up with guests, some of these guest go in player-owned rooms, and should they remain in them, and also remain alive, then you’ll get a little money for that. However if you want to be the richest innkeeper in town you’ll need to find an alternate source of income. Each turn players get to take 2 actions, one at a time in player order. Most actions are done by discarding cards in your hand, but as you hire certain people you’ll find that using them for related actions doesn’t discard them. A police man under your pay is very good at getting away at murder and so you don’t discard him, you just reveal him.

Thursday 15 September 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 29th August – 13th September

Last week we went on holiday to Valencia, Spain, like the good gamers and safety conscious sun seekers that we are, we made sure we had a list of local gaming highlights to check out when the heat of the day got too much for us. Mainly, we were keen to try “La Base Secreta” game cafe, but holiday openings hours meant our first call was Homoludicus – a very well stocked board game store where we picked up a multilingual copy of Looney Quest. “La Base Secreta” turned out to be a very modest game cafe with a pretty small library compared to those we’ve seen in the UK. There was enough choice to keep us going and City of Iron was a particular highlight, thanks to the kindness of the man running the shop who leant us it out of his personal display games.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 8 September 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Trambahn


PublisherMayfair Games & Lookout Spiele

Designer: Helmut Ohley


Trambahn is one of the series of two-player games released by Mayfair Games & Lookout Spiele. After pretty good success with Patchwork, Trambahn was high on the list to try and I managed to make my first game convention trade to get hold of a cheap copy at this year’s UK Games Expo.


In Trambahn there is a very light theme of running a tram company, but really it’s a pretty abstract set collection game. In the game your cards have multiple uses, they are either passengers, tram cards or money. There are 4 or 5 main phases to each turn. First you must play one or two passengers. There are 4 colours in the game and when any colour has had 4 passengers played it triggers a scoring round. Second you can add a carriage to a tram – carriages are number 1-10 and must be played in numerical order, though there can be gaps. Finally any leftover cards in your hand can be converted to money – each card will always be worth just one money in your supply. Your supply of money is used to buy tram cars – these increase in cost over the course of the game, but their score multiplier also increases as you pay more.