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 12 March 2016

Top Ten Games Off The Shelf

We’re creeping towards the 1 year anniversary of The Game Shelf blog, so at this point we’ve played a lot of titles, as I particularly enjoy trying new games, but sometimes it feels like we’re not actually getting the value out of some of our favourite titles on the shelf. When we recently finished playing Pandemic Legacy we were prompted to look at our logged plays on BoardGameGeek to see how it rated amongst our top played games – it was definitely high, but not the highest.

We started logging plays on BGG about 3 months after we started playing board games, so some of the games we started playing early are probably a little low in the rankings, for example Dominion, Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, X-Wing Miniatures and Ticket-to-Ride Europe. But, as of 10th March 2016 these are our top 10 most played games.

1.       Forbidden Desert (20) – Forbidden Desert as an early upgrade for us from Forbidden Island. We love co-operative games and this one plays in less than 30 minutes and works perfectly for the two of us. We often get on a good winning streak which keeps us coming back for more, but we’re still not brave enough for Legendary.

2.       Star Realms (16) – Sixteen is the number of times we’ve played Star Realms at the table, but I imagine I’ve played it on the (very addictive) app in excess of 200 times. Deck building is one of our favourite mechanics ad Star Realms is super compact and perfect for a couple (since it is for only two players without weird variants). Again this one is short at 15-30 minutes so it hits the table often when we don’t have a lot of time to spare.

3.       Pandemic Legacy (15) – Pandemic Legacy is forever destined to drop down this list because we are finished. We saved the world in 15 games and now the box will gather dust. However those 15 games were awesome and I can’t knock the value for money since, as you can see, this is one of the games we’ve played the most from our collection. Pandemic Legacy was a great experience for a couple and is one I’ll never forget.

4.       Marvel Dice Masters (15) – Another deck-building style game here, which is no surprise and the super hero theme is definitely Amy’s domain. Dice Masters is another two player only game and one that we’ve got into very quickly, having only owned it for about 2-3 months. Part of the reason we’ve played this so much is the booster packs – we allow ourselves to open one booster back after each game. We also recently found our first super rare, so now we’re even more eager to open packs!

5.       Flash Point: Fire Rescue (14) – I’m sure you’re starting to see some themes as here is another puzzly co-operative game. Flash Point has so much variety in the maps from just the base game and the extreme danger expansion, it has really good co-operative play and really gets you into the fire fighting theme. Again we play this a lot with two but we also enjoy it at higher player counts with friends.

6.       Tides of Time (14) – Tides of Time is within the theme of two-player only games, but this time it’s a drafting mechanic. The game is so simple and small with just 18 cards that I thought we’d get bored of it, but we still want to play more. It only takes 10-15 minutes and we seem to be very evenly matched. I think some of the addictiveness of this one is also in trying to beat your high score.

7.       Dominion (13) – Dominion was one of the original games in our collection. We played this a lot in early 2015, before we started logging our plays so it should probably be very near the top of this list. Yes, we play it less frequently now because there are so many more games in our collection, but I still love the variety in the deck building and the smoothness of the mechanics which allows us to play this one pretty quickly. We have expanded it to add more variety, but I would probably be happy with just the base game and Prosperity to last me forever.

8.       Mysterium (12) – Mysterium is quite an unusual one to be on this top ten list. We don’t own the game and I don’t believe it’s intended as a game for two players, however it is co-operative and two of our groups of gaming friends love the game. I have to admit I’m actually quite bored of the concept at this point – it can create a good game when there is humour and people don’t sped forever over-thinking it, but it can also definitely out stay its welcome at the table.

9.       Hanabi (11) – Surprise, it’s another co-operative game! I’ve heard some reviewers say that Hanabi is not good for two, but we love it and it comes with us on most trips on planes/trains and holidays because of its small box and also small footprint on the table. It can be a bit intense, but there’s always an incentive to try and do better next time. Last time we played we got our first perfect 25, but the incentive is still there to try and do it again.

10.   Imperial Assualt (11) – Amy has played the main campaign from the base game of Imperial Assault and so has clocked a pretty high number of plays. She found it enjoyable enough to buy the game although I think it was a little frustrating at times. I’m looking forward to trying the two-player skirmish now that we own the game and maybe Amy will play the Imperials for another campaign with a different group.

These games aren't necessarily our favourites – 6 of them appeared on Amy’s Top Ten Games list and I’m yet to make my list, but perhaps half of these will feature – but I think they represent the games that are easy to get to the table or are really popular with either us as a couples game or with the groups of people we play with.

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