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 2 April 2016

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 19th March – 2nd April

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted some first impressions. We’ve been pretty busy trying to buy our first house and of course planning a new games room to go in it! We did however finally play a game that’s been sitting on the shelf for almost a year – Twilight Struggle and I got the chance to visit Draughts in London this week and try a couple more games.

Here’s are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

 ·         Twilight Struggle has been intimidating me since the day I added it to the shelf and looked inside the box at all of the counters and the massive board. Finally we sat down to play. It was a bit of a beast to learn from a very dry rulebook, but once I’d absorbed all of the rules the game mechanics seemed very simple. With just a hand of 8 cards every turn you try to affect the fate of the USSR or the USA in spreading their domination across the globe. A few points are scored in this way, but the majority of points are scored when a player plays the scoring card for a particular continent and gets points based of how many countries and super powers they control. Unfortunately the game just wasn’t for us and we gave up after the first 3 rounds of Early War. I think we suffered with one player being dealt all the scoring cards and therefore having all the knowledge of which continents to concentrate on (as only 3 or 4 score during the Early War). We were also each dealt a hand on one turn that only really did things to help the opposing player which felt quite confusing in a first game. As much as some of my negative impression may have been caused by luck of the draw I really don’t think this game style suits us as a couple and Twilight Struggle is heading for the trade pile.
·         Elder Sign: Omens of Ice is the third expansion for Elder Sign – a game that we enjoy, but that doesn’t hit the tables so often simply because of the sorting of cards and components required when using different expansions which makes set-up take longer. With this in mind, the idea of another expansion is interesting but we definitely wanted to try before making a purchase. Omens of Ice is a game split into two phases and is a lot more story driven than previous Elder Sign games. In the first phase you arrive in the arctic landscape and try to collect supplies, allies, spells and items whilst defeating the slightly easier locations from the first deck. Your job is made harder by bosses which seem somewhat more evil than earlier games (ours hurt us every time we got one of 10 Elder Signs), storm tokens which cause unexpected effects when location cards are revealed and sometimes by the Mythos deck with adds to the story element by offering you two choices every time the clock strikes midnight. When you feel prepared you can try to move into the second phase where the more challenging locations bring more opportunities for you to earn Elder Signs and win the game. For me, this was a really good expansion but I can’t see it having a place alongside Gates of Arkham which gives me some similar feel. We might pick this up one day, but we’re not desperately keen to add it to the Elder Sign collection.

·         The Game is a game I did not have high expectations for. Ever since it was unexpectedly nominated for the Spiel des Jahres in 2015 it’s had a bit of a bad press. In The Game you are all cooperating to lay cards on the table in ascending or descending order. There are two changes to create an ascending run and two chances to create a descending run and you must get rid of all 98 cards to win. Each player has a hand of cards, but communication between players is limited eg. you can’t actually say what number card you have in your hand, so when you play a minimum of two cards on your turn you have to try and find out if other players have better moves to pay where you want to put cards. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, it was an interesting challenge and we got quite close to beating it, however there are definitely stronger co-operative card games out there.

·         Incan Gold has been on my radar for a while simply because of word of mouth, but in truth I really wasn’t sure what style of game it was. It turns out Incan Gold is a quick push-your-luck style game. It’s pretty simple in this regard – you are trying to collect treasure from the temple, by revealing successive cards from the deck and splitting the loot amongst all of the explorers. At any time you can leave the expedition and run away with all the loot you’ve collected, and you may want to do this as you see different dangers drawn from the deck – a set of matching dangers means that all explorers fail and have to return any collected loot to the stockpile. Incan Gold was a nice, simple end to a game night and we learnt and played it well within the suggested time of the box of 20-40 minutes.

Due to other commitments this weekend we’ll be missing out on Stabcon South – a local convention in Southampton, but we are going to finally go back to our regular Sunday board game club and hopefully try a couple of new titles there.

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