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.

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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;

·         Roma is our first Stephan Feld game, although from what I understand it is not a typical Stephan Feld game. Roma is a 2-player battle with quite heavy one-on-one confrontation. Cards represent buildings and characters who have different special abilities. You place these cards against different slots on the battlefield labelled 1-6. On your turn you roll 3 dice and the faces on these dice can be used to activate either one of your cards or used to get more gold coins or draw cards. Ultimately you are trying to score victory points, which is often accomplished by buildings or make your opponent lose victory points, which is generally achieved by attacking their cards. Card placement can be important as some attackers can only attack cards opposite and some buildings reward adjacency. You lose if you run out of victory point tokens or if no-one runs out then the winner is the player with the most at the end of the game. Although the mechanics of the game seemed sound, for me there was just too much confrontation in a game that had a lot of dice luck and no way to mitigate that luck. The pacing of the game also changed very drastically from a slow start to absolute obliteration of one player. I don’t think Roma is for us but would like to try some more classic Stephan Feld designs.
·         Bohnanza is one of the classic trading and bartering games in which you are bean farming. You begin the game with two fields and a hand of bean cards. Each field can only hold one type of bean and if you’re forced into a situation where you need to plant something new (by the order of cards in the hand or a donation from another player) then you have to harvest your beans. Groups of beans have different values when harvested depending on their quantity and rarity. Once you’ve planted up to two beans you then draw two new cards which you can either take and plant or use to trade with the group. If no-one wants the beans you can donate them, normally to ruin someone’s growing field. After going through the deck once in a 3-player game it seemed ridiculous that we’d have to go through the deck another two times, but actually the game pace got faster and faster as we got used to it and turned more beans into money. I was pretty surprised to enjoy this one as I usually don’t enjoy games with negotiation, however I am very aware that playing it with close friends and having a great laugh at the fan art and naming types of beans could be a very different experience to playing it with acquaintances at a gaming group where I might not enjoy it.

·         Cockroach Poker is a bluffing game where you try not to amass too many of one type of vermin. If you have 4 of one type of vermin face up then you lose the game – this game only has one loser, not one winner. Normally bluffing games are definitely not my kind of thing, however for some reason I enjoyed our game of Cockroach Poker. I think there are two reasons for this; the first is that it is a series of short bluffs, rather than one long bluff like a game of Werewolf or Coup; the second is that if you correctly read someone you then don’t have to bluff at all, so it rewards people like me who are good at reading people but poor at bluffing. I’d definitely be happy to play this one again.

·         Automobiles is the third in the series of Planes, Trains and Automobiles from AEG. The game doesn’t particularly bear any resemblance to its predecessors, however it does slightly remind me of Trains because it adds some purpose to the deck-building mechanism. In Automobiles you are building a bag of cubes which represent your car’s different abilities, but the actual game is a race around a number of laps of a race track. Some of the cubes represent different gears and therefore the speed at which you can drive and others represent pit-stopping, an upgraded gear box etc. Unfortunately we did play the game with 5 players which definitely had too much down time. Even though you can plan your turn ahead, the game is really quite simple so there isn’t that much planning to do. I’d definitely like to play again, but I imagine 3 or 4 players is probably optimal.

Now that we’ve finished Pandemic Legacy there is more time in our lives for other games so a few of our favourites are getting a chance to come off the shelf. In the last week we’ve played Lewis and Clark and 7 Wonder Duel, both of which we were really keen to play. Hopefully we can keep doing more of this and try some new games in between.

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