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 29 May 2016

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- My Top 10 Board Games

This week is the 1 year anniversary of The Game Shelf!

Thanks for all your support and readership over the last 12 months. Hopefully we’ll go from strength to strength in the next year and keep putting out interesting reviews each week from our two different (but often similar) points of view. Do let us know if you have any feedback or different things you’d like to see on the blog – we’re always open to new ideas.

To celebrate the occasion I’ve finally taken the plunge and decided on my Top 10 Board Games of All Time. It was such a hard list to put together and is very different to what it might have been just a few months ago, but our tastes are changing as we discover and collect more and more games.

Here we go with the Top 10;

10. Forbidden Desert was one of our first cooperative games and one that we keep coming back to when we have a spare 20 minutes to cram in a game for 2 players. The game is a good step up from the earlier Forbidden Island providing something more interesting for gamers. The difficulty is also really well controlled and we're still trying to beat the hardest level.

9. New York 1901 is only a 2015 release and was actually our souvenir to ourselves from a trip to New York in which we played and tried a lot of new games! New York 1901 is definitely a family weight game, but every time we play I find myself making really tactical decisions and then being surprised when the end comes round so quickly and my plans will never work out. Since I work in an architecture firm, the idea of building skyscrapers is cool too, but the game isn't too thematic and is just very strong in its mechanics and scoring strategies.

8. Dungeon Petz is probably the newest game (to us) on this list. It has entirely sucked us in with the theme and the cute pets with the adorable back stories. We do enjoy a worker placement game once in a while but find them too heavy to consistently hit the table. Underneath the theme Dungeon Petz is probably a medium complexity worker placement but even the actions in the game work with the theme, making this one feel like a pleasure. I really enjoy it with 2 players and maybe wouldn't even consider it with the full count of 4 because what's the point in introducing downtime to a game that's so fun and doesn't feel like it lasts long at all?

7. Seasons is another newer game to our collection but one that we are really enjoying the mechanics of. There is some drafting which I often enjoy, some really cool card combos which remind me a bit of the few games of Magic the Gathering that I've enjoyed and the game just has really good elements of strategic play which reward some deep thinking. It also helps that the component quality is great and Seasons looks really nice on the table. We only ever play this one with two and find it a really close run game that is fast paced and enjoyable.

6. Ticket to Ride was of course one of our gateway modern board games, but it's one that has stuck with us a lot more strongly than others like Catan or Carcassonne. I think what I enjoy about Ticket-to-Ride is it's simplicity yet it's ability to reward different tactics. It's also really simple to teach, which definitely keeps it on our table, particularly with my parents. Any modern game I can get my parents to play consistently and even request is going to rank highly in my opinion!

5. XCOM is the second co-op on the list and it's really strong co-operative nature is truly what I enjoy in co-ops. XCOM's use of the app is the perfect source of tension and provides the intensity of timed games like Escape! alongside moments where you can really plan for future turns. The game is often really hard and although it comes down to general dice luck, it is also heavily reliant upon a strong team to win and protect the earth from alien forces. Sometimes this game take 1.5-2 hours, but I always get to the end feeling like it's taken us about 30 minutes!

4. Flash Point: Fire Rescue has fast become one of our favourite co-op games. I enjoy how it's very strong in theme, making you make tough decisions and feel like you're making some calls as a fire fighter. It's got so many levels of difficulty that you can slowly progress, but it never seems too easy, even on the lower levels. It's one of our most played games and with the Extreme Danger expansion there's enough variety for us to keep enjoying for a long time to come.

3. Marvel Dice Masters is a game I never expected to enjoy. I certainly didn't enjoy its predecessor, Quarriors, and I have very little interest in superheroes. However, for some reason Dice Masters just clicks for me - I really enjoy it, mainly because I seem to be pretty successful at it. It's a quick two player game, which fits well into our gaming patterns, so even if sometimes there's a bit too much luck in the dice rolling, it's over quickly and you can go again.

2. Dominion is one of the first games we ever added to our shelves and it's been a perennial favourite ever since. I generally love the deck-building mechanic and the speed of play when everyone knows the game. We haven't grown bored of the game because of all the potential combinations, but have still expanded with Prosperity and Seaside. I think I would happily just have the base game and Prosperity in my Dominion collection forever.

1. Pandemic Legacy was my favourite ever gaming experience. We love Pandemic and it only doesn't feature on the list so that I don't feel like I'm duplicating. The story was intense, the game was heavily co-operative and it was a struggle to pace ourselves so that the game overall took us around a month to complete. I can't wait for season two and to try more legacy games as they're released in the future.

Hopefully we’ll still be around in another 12 months time and it will be interesting to make the list again and see how another year in gaming has changed these opinions.

If you’re interested in how this compares to Amy’s top ten, then check out her lists here: http://thegameshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/boards-that-never-bore-amys-top-10-games.html

I've also now re-written this list for 2017, which can be found at:

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