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 26 February 2017

The Yellow Meeple’s First Impressions 19th February – 25th February

Yesterday we had a second game day with a bunch of new friends we’ve met through a Facebook board game group. It was another great session with loads of new games taught to each other, including 3 games that were new to me – games that I’ve been super eager to try. We also tried a couple of new games in the week, so all in all, this is going to be a long blog post! Not only did we try a lot of board games, but we also tried the computer game, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which was a fantastic deduction style bomb defusal game, which we’re really going to enjoy over the next few weeks.

Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;

·        Dream Home was put on my radar by The Dice Tower, otherwise I wouldn’t have heard about it because it really doesn’t seem to be common in the UK. As such, I was keen to try it when I found that one of the Facebook group had the game. In Dream Home you are drafting pairs of cards for your home. One of the pair will be a room, and the other will be either a special ability, a roof tile or a type of decoration for your home. The game is very lightweight but there is a good amount of thinking and player interaction, especially when you’re the first player who can trash a pair to deny it to the other players. It works really well, but just isn’t quite challenging or unique enough for me to need to own it.

·        Kodama is a game I almost bought recently on ebay and now I wish I had. In Kodama, you each take a tree trunk and then throughout the game you will take branch cards. There are 6 different symbols which are depicted on the branch cards, such as stars, mushrooms etc. When you place a branch card you score points based upon the continuous string of matching symbols you’re connecting together. Each player has 4 different scoring objectives and will get the opportunity to score 3 of these. This will start to dictate how you play you branch cards. It’s kind of a free-form tile laying game with set collection and variable objectives – it plays really well and the trees you create look great on the table. We’ve picked up a lot of quick card games recently so we might wait to buy Kodama but eventually I definitely think it will join our collection.

·        Blood Rage got so much buzz when it first came out that I really felt like I was missing out, but at the same time games with lots of miniatures tend not to be my thing. Yesterday I finally got the opportunity to try it. I went in knowing nothing and found a complex area control game. You have a set number of action points to spend putting dudes on the map, upgrading your clan, going on quests and pillaging different areas of the map. Pillaging is likely to cause fights between you and neighbouring clans and those who lose go to Valhalla. However, going to Valhalla might be the quest you have or perhaps you’ve upgraded to get a lot of points when your figures return from Valhalla at the end of each round. There’s a lot to think about, especially in your first game when you’re drafting cards that you don’t really understand. However the game is actually quite simple once you’re into it, with most of it driven my card text and a simple set of available actions. Blood Rage probably isn’t a game for me, but I can appreciate it packs a lot of game into a short play time – under two hours for a group of 5 new players – and is definitely heavy on theme, with high quality miniatures and strong mechanics to back it up. I’ll definitely play again, but probably won’t add it to the shelves.

·        Lotus is a game I’ve been hoping to buy ever since I saw it. Visually this game is just so pretty with the different coloured flowers you play on the table. Each turn you take two turns, either playing up to two cards into one flower on the table or placing one of your bug tokens onto a flower. The key element of the game is area control, but also being the first to complete different flowers, each type having a different number of petals needed to complete. If you finish a flower you gain all of the cards, but if you have the majority in bugs – both symbol and tokens, you get a reward of either 5 points or a bonus tile. The game is a really simple filler, the mechanics are sound although nothing too exciting, but it’s really the art that makes this game one I think we’ll introduce to people again and again.

·        Tides of Madness is a new Cthulu themed version of Tides of Time, a two-player game from Portal that we’ve got a lot of play out of, especially whilst travelling. The game is a still a two-player drafting game where you are trying to succeed in different kinds of set collection. Tides of Madness adds the new mechanism of Cthulu cards. There is a limit to the number of cards you can have that have the tentacle pattern but also a reward for having the most at the end of the 3 rounds. The new mechanisms add a tiny bit of extra depth to the game, but the fact that you might never hit the end game scoring can be a little frustrating. I think for us this will replace Tides of Time as a more developed version, but I don’t think it matters which copy you own.

After such a fantastic week for new games, I doubt we’ll play too many new titles in the coming days, but I’m really keen to try Above and Below and I’m hoping Memoir 44 is going to be delivered in the next few days.

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