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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Saturday 11 March 2017

Over-thinking by the Yellow Meeple: The Golden Geek Awards 2016

Last year I wrote a blog to cover the 2015 Golden Geek Awards and was able to comment on a number of the games that did well, however this year it seems I’m yet to play a lot of 2016 releases. Nevertheless, the 2016 Golden Geek Awards definitely give me a list of games to aspire towards playing during 2017, plus a few good games to reflect upon too.

2016 is predominantly the year of Scythe, winning the Board Game of the Year, Artwork & Presentation, Solo Game, Strategy Game and Thematic Game categories. TO my shame, I am yet to play Scythe – it’s really high on my list but no-one I regularly game with owns it and I think there’s a risk it won’t be the right game for us. Nevertheless, two things strike me about the awards it won. Firstly, winning both Strategy and Thematic categories is awesome in showing that strategy games don’t need to be theme-less and dull. Secondly though, I feel like Mechs vs. Minions was robbed for Artwork and Presentation. Although I understand that the business decisions are different for Riot games when making Mechs vs. Minions, there’s no denying how high quality the game is in every aspect, right down to the inserts.

Speaking of Mechs vs. Minions, it took home the award for Best Co-operative Game, beating strong competition from games that have both seen huge popularity in 2016. As the only game I’ve played in the category, it’s obviously my current pick of the three, but on its own merits, Mechs vs. Minions is a pretty unique cooperative game, combing fantastic quality, with programming mechanics and a great bite-size campaign that just keeps you wanting to play more.

Codenames Pictures also took home two awards for Best Family Game and Best Party Game. For me, the party game award is probably justified as there actually weren’t a lot of big party games this year. However, it is a sequel and for me I prefer the original, even though I know a lot of people think the opposite, enjoying the complexity in the pictures in this new version. However, for family games, I’m really not sure a party game is what I expected to see as the winner and I was pretty sure Quadropolis would win this category.

I have a love hate relationship with the winner of Most Innovative Game: Captain Sonar. I loved my first turn based game and had to rage quit my second game played in real time mode. Nevertheless, I really respect the design and so think it’s innovative, as well as super thematic – really embracing the submarine theme and turning Battleship into something that has the promise of a really satisfying game of cat and mouse.

And finally, in terms of the categories I can comment on is 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon, the winner of Best Expansion. We don’t play a lot of expansions, but this is one that has hit our table on a couple of occasions. It definitely lifts the base game to become something more complex, but it’s probably an expansion we’ll play with every time.

As stated at the start, I still have a long way to go to try and play some of the major releases from 2016. These are the other highlights on my radar from the BoardGameGeek awards;

Clank! was nominated in the Best Card Game category, although from my understanding it’s definitely a mixture of board and card game, with deck-building mechanisms and dungeon crawl theme. Any deck-building game with this much popularity is a game we need to play!

Star Wars Rebellion isn’t on my list of games to play, but I’m sure that one day it’ll be a game that Amy is keen to try since it seems to encapsulate the Star Wars universe so well. Very long confrontational two player games are not the sort of thing that works well in our house so maybe we’ll need to try before we buy at a convention in the coming months.

Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a game I’ll get the chance to play next month. I’m pretty sure that a streamlined, app driven Cthulu game will be great for us, but since our copy of Eldritch Horror still hasn’t hit the table I’d like to try before I buy with Mansions of Madness.

Terraforming Mars has risen up the BGG ranking so quickly, that I’m pretty convinced it’s not all hype. However the time it’s taken to come back into print has probably been increasing my envy of the people playing it. It’s a theme I’m sure we’ll enjoy and definitely one we need to seek out when it’s back in stock.

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