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

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 12th - 20th August 2017

This week we actually made a pile of shame. We have a new Kallax shelf from Ikea and the only games on it are games we have not yet played - right now that's 23 games - actually not as bad as I feared, but still impressive when all seen on one shelf. Most of my gaming this week was at my first work board game night, so I've played a lot of party games. Fortunately our friend Nick came over on Friday evening and we managed to play some bigger games. I know Amy and Nick enjoyed a game of Sol: Last Days of a Star and a game of XCOM, but I also got to enjoy a few games when I got home from work.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Anachrony is a huge game with many, many components. It took us at least 1 hour to punch and sort, another 30 minutes to set up and then 45 minutes to learn. After that I wasn't all that keen to play the game, no matter how much I was enjoying the art design, the colour scheme and components. We did however play the game later that day and found it a really interesting and unique take on time travel, combined with a pretty complex worker placement game. Although the turns are quite easy to grasp, the short term and long term forward planning is really complex and I think it will take us a few games to get used to. I didn't fall in love with the game straight away but the theme, mechanics and production quality definitely have me wanting to play it some more.

  • Loony Quest: The Lost City is an expansion to Loony Quest - a very silly game where you draw on acetate to try and match a picture in the centre and score victory points. We really enjoy the base game, but towards the later levels it was just getting too difficulty to score any point! The expansion beings the difficulty back to sensible levels and adds a few new quirks, with new bonuses and bomb tiles and the addition of portals in the maps. There is an interesting looking paper pyramid for one of the later rounds but we're yet to try it. There's nothing game-changing about this expansion, it just adds some more content which is good if you play the game a lot, as practice  does help you improve on the earlier maps.
  • Yokohama has been on our shelves for a while and is unfortunately still in shrink wrap because we decided to play our friend's deluxe copy. It's an entirely themeless game set in Japan, where you are gathering resources to fulfil orders, as well as finding other ways to make points and trying to reach different end game objectives. The mechanics of the game are quite similar to Istanbul, but feel a lot less restricting. You're placing out worker in different locations of the board, moving your large pawn to a place it can get to via a route of your pieces then activating a location for the strength of your combined pieces on that location. I particularly enjoyed that there were so many good choices of things to do on your turn, that even as the only new player in the game I could still make a very respectable points score and not feel completely overwhelmed by the skill of experienced players. I'm not sure there's anything that unique about the game, it's just quite satisfying and smooth and one I'm keen to play again very soon.
  • Magic Maze seemingly came out of nowhere with its recent Spiel des Jahres nomination. It's a short, chaotic, real-time cooperative game, which doesn't tend to be the usual selection for the award. Each player is given different types of movement or exploration that they are responsible for and together, in silence, you need to reveal the tiles of the map, guide four pawns to different objectives and then exit the map. There's nothing challenging about the game other than the need to group think and spot what each other are trying to do. Without the sand timer spots this game would be almost impossible, but these exist to allow you to get more time and to have some time to communicate about strategy. Magic Maze was a really fun experience and it seemed like more and more rules would get added to add to the chaos. I'm not sure it would make as good a two-player experience so I don't think we'll add it to the collection, but I'd love to play some more.
This week, we're excited to be going to a playtesting event with the publishers of Beasts of Balance. We'll be playtesting the new content that we backed in the recent Kickstarter and are taking a couple of friends along with us, so it should be a really fun evening. Otherwise there might not be a lot of new games for us this week, since my parents are visiting at the weekend and we'll be playing a few of their favourites and perhaps trying out a couple of different gateway games with them.

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