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

Sunday 28 February 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 20th – 28th February

This week I played my first game at work! I mentioned board games to someone, she mentioned it to someone else and like Chinese whispers I eventually had 3 people to play Lost Legacy at lunch time. We definitely got some funny looks in the social space, but I think they liked it. A few members of my team have also expressed interest in playing Catan, so I’ve got a Friday session planned after work in a couple of weeks time! This is great for me given that during the week I spend 90% of my waking hours either at work or travelling to work.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 25 February 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Lost Cities

GameLost Cities

Designer: Reiner Knizia


Our first encounter with Lost Cities was actually through the board game which we found in a charity shop and bought based on the Rio Grande label rather than actually knowing of the game. The game was OK, but just wasn’t that interesting to play, so after a few games we traded this one away. However, through looking into the board game I was eventually led to the 2-player card game that The Game Shelf are reviewing this week. It seems people have many more good things to say about the card game over the board game, but what do we think?

Lost Cities is a two player hand management and set collection game. The theme is barely there, but I believe you are each an explorer choosing whether top travel on 5 different expeditions and will be rewarded or penalised based on how far you have travelled. In reality there are five colours; blue, red, yellow, green and white and each have cards number 2-10. Each player starts the game with a hand of eight cards and on your turn you must either play a card to an expedition or discard a card and then you can pick up one card, either blind from the top of the deck or from the top of one of the 5 coloured discard piles.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

I know I built it around here somewhere:- Lost Cities

Game: Lost Cities

Manufacturer: KOSMOS

Designer: Reiner Knizia
 Year: 1999
Greetings! Sir Reginald Featherbottom here! Come with me as we search for the fabled lost city of... blast what’s this one called again. I’m afraid that when you are a famous explorer like me all these ancient ruins start to fade into one. Aha ha ha! Seriously though, today we are exploring the jungle, be on the lookout for dangerous animals such as snakes, apes, and man! Aha ha ha!

Lost Cities is a 2 player card game in which you control an explorer who is looking to discover some of the 5 mystical lost cities. The cities are found in hostile deserts, deep underwater, by an active volcano, deep in the jungle and on a frozen mountain so finding them is no easy task. You’ll discover them by placing numbered cards that represent your progress towards the city, if you are particularly confident you can even place a gentleman’s wager on your success. Just don’t expect any help from your rival explorer who is out to be the first to discover the lost cities too!

Saturday 20 February 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions from Thirsty Meeples – 14th February

So Amy’s birthday surprise for the Yellow Meeple was a trip to Thirsty Meeple’s board game cafe in Oxford. I don’t particularly like to be limited to exactly 3 hours of gaming, but we crammed in as much as we could – specifically trying quick games or games that I was considering buying. It was definitely a mixed bag and I’m glad I had the chance to ‘try before you buy’.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 18 February 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Lewis and Clark

GameLewis and Clark

Designer: Cedrick Chaboussit


Lewis and Clark is a game that we received in a trade within our game group. When it was given to us we were told never to play it with 3 or 4, so we have strictly kept this game in the house and played it with just the two of us. I’m still not sure why we wouldn’t play it with more, but it is a game we struggle to get to the table often. We now feel that we’ve played enough times to review it though so here are the Yellow Meeple’s thoughts.

Lewis and Clark is a race over river, where you travel by canoe, and mountains, where you travel on horseback. You have a team of characters who will help you to do this by gathering resources for you and allowing you to trade them in different ways. You also have access to Indians who are able to use the board to gather resources but also can help your characters to boost their actions or can use other spots on the board to convert resources into canoes and horses.

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Wicked wild-wild west wacing:- Lewis & Clark

GameLewis and Clark


Designer: Cedrick Chaboussit

 It is spring 1803, Napoleon just surrendered the Louisiana Territories for the princely sum of fifteen million dollars. Thomas Jefferson has wisely chosen me to explore this expanse of the new world and claim it in the name of the United States! Soon everyone will know the name of John Ordway!

Lewis & Clark is a 1-5 player racing game in which you rush across the newly purchased Louisiana territories to find the Western coast. In this reality there isn’t just one exploration team, but (up to) 5, and history will certainly only remember the first. Lewis and Clark is a game steeped in historical lore, each of the characters you recruit along the way has a little description in the manual of who they were and what they did. I should start this review by stating that we have had a historical run of mis-reading the rules, the first 3 games or so afterwards we looked at the rules and thought “So *that*’s where we went wrong”. I think we have them down now, but please let us know if there is a silly mistake, we’d like to improve!

Sunday 14 February 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 8th – 13th February

Today is the Yellow Meeple’s birthday!!! Yesterday, Amy threw me a surprise birthday get-together and I managed to see a couple of new games hit the table as well as winning a game of XCOM!

This week I also visited the Library Pot – a brand new board game cafe in Richmond, London. Having visited a few cafes in the past, I’m pretty used to a similar format, but The Library Pot is definitely unique – I have never before been served by a pilot and a French maid (dress-up appears to be obligatory for staff). They’re very obviously finding their feet and could definitely do with more staff and maybe a more laid back attitude to use of the game library, but they’re going to need more gamers to give them a try to build this up. You can also tell that their roots are as a meet-up group and I felt slightly guilty for wanting to play independently with a friend. However, they’re creating a community and it appears that they’re bringing gaming to a new audience in this way, so they definitely deserve credit. They’re library is pretty respectable as a starting point and we got a few games played, including some new titles.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 11 February 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Pandemic Legacy

GamePandemic Legacy: Season 1

ManufacturerZ-Man Games
Designer: Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau


Pandemic Legacy is probably the most talked about game of 2015. It is now the number one board game ever, according to BoardGameGeek. It is in the revolutionary ‘legacy’ genre. And we’ll probably only ever play it once. We’ve finished the game now, the world is safe from global pandemic and is quickly getting back on its feet, but do we agree with all the hype? Here is the Yellow Meeple’s SPOILER FREE review.

Pandemic Legacy is played over the course of 12 months. The game begins with rules absolutely identical to the original Pandemic; however the rule book has lots of empty spaces which hint that perhaps the rules may change as you play. The rules will change – they will change MASSIVELY, however it is very gradual with rules being added slowly so by the end the game is many times more complex, but you don’t feel like it is. Some rules, although they still exist, fade into the background and become less important as the game progresses so the rules and choices on your turn are never overwhelming.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Infectious Fun:- Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Manufacturer: Z-Man games

Designer: Matt Leacock & Rob Daviau

Pandemic Legacy is an ongoing campaign game where you play multiple games much akin to the original game Pandemic. Each game represents half a month within a year. Should you be victorious each time you play then you only play the first half of each month, meaning that you are looking at 12 games minimum and 24 maximum. Yes there is a maximum, because as you play this game things change and as things change you add stickers to the board/components, destroy cards and various other irreversible things. When you buy Pandemic Legacy you get 1 play through of the campaign, so is it worth it?

If you’ve never played Pandemic before, well firstly I’d recommend it, but here’s a quick introduction: In Pandemic you play as a group of medics trying to protect the world from 4 diseases. Each turn you get 4 actions which are generally used to move around the world, treat victims, set up research centres, and finally to cure the diseases. At the end of each turn you draw 2 cards from the player deck, which can be coloured cards that represent cities of the world, 1 off events cards with powerful helpful abilities or the dreaded epidemics which make the diseases spread faster. You then draw 2 cards off of the infection deck which shows you the 2 new cities that gain a disease cube. If you want to know more we reviewed it back in August.

Sunday 7 February 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 1st February – 7th February

We’re still working our way through the 50 games I bought as a joblot a few weeks ago and this means we’re bringing new titles to the table quite regularly. From this lot we also got Stone Age and this week we found we really enjoyed it as a two-player game, so it’s off the trade pile and into our collection. There’s still 9 more we want to try on top of the games that were already sitting un-played on our shelves. This week we’ve only tried two of them, but have also had the opportunity to play two new games with our Sunday group.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

Thursday 4 February 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Castle Panic

GameCastle Panic

Manufacturer: Fireside Games
Designer: Justin de Witt


When we first had the opportunity to play Castle Panic I think we’d only just played our first co-operative games – probably Pandemic and Forbidden Desert at the time. Castle Panic just seemed too easy for us and there was not enough depth so we didn’t give it a second thought. However, we recently bought a huge bundle of games locally and Castle Panic was one of the titles, so we decided to give it another chance – did it deserve it?

Castle Panic is a co-operative game for 2-6 players in which you are trying to defend your castle from a hoard of fantasy creatures (goblins, orcs and trolls) who are advancing upon the castle from the forest. The board is a series of concentric circles representing the zones around your castle – the outside ring is the forest where you cannot attack the monsters, then in the outer ring Archers can attack, in the next ring Knights can attack and in the next ring Swordsmen can attack. Your castle occupies the centre and has an outer ring of defensive walls and the inner walls are your castle tower, parts of which must remain standing at the end of the game for you to be victorious.

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Don't Panic Mr Mannering!:- Castle Panic

We were foolish in our hubris. We built a castle in monster lands, but thought we could fight them off. We were attacked by small forces, but we knew they could never organize an army. We shunned the barbarian tribes, knowing that we would never need such unsophisticated people. Now the monsters march in a grand army to retake their home, they are angry and we are hopeless. There isn't much time left for us, but should you find this letter then know this: You need weapons, you need allies, you need strong walls. They aren't just savage monsters, they are organized, they have leaders and they are coming!

Castle Panic is a cooperative tower defence game for 1-6 players in which you have to fight off hordes of monsters to defend your besieged castle. Every turn more monsters appear and you’ll have to use your best knights, archers and swordsmen to fight them off. You have 6 castle towers and should the monsters destroy them all then you will lose, but fight well, rebuild walls and get just a little lucky and you can fight off the last of the monsters and triumph!

Monday 1 February 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 25th January – 31st January

This weekend we finished Pandemic Legacy! You’ll be glad to hear that you were all saved and the world made a surprisingly fast recovery. We’ll be posting our spoiler free reviews next week and hopefully we’ll also collaborate on a spoiler filled post to tell you all about our 12 month journey. We’ve not attended our gaming group this week, however two new games did arrive in the post and rather than letting Say Anything and Dungeon Petz languish on our shelf of shame, they both hit the table this weekend.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;