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, 23 September 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 7th - 22nd September 2017

As you can see - this blog will include two weeks of first impressions, including some games I played whilst exploring board games cafes in Winnipeg, Canada. My new job has recently got very, very busy and we just aren't getting the chance to play new games very often. However, who needs to play lots of new games when you find one that you can see becoming a new favourite? Mainly we've been playing some of our older games, but here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Wasteland Express Delivery Service is a pick up and deliver game which definitely evokes the world of Mad Max with its post-apocalyptic theme. You have a truck which you can upgrade to hold different cargo, allies, weapons and shields and you will deliver goods around the hexagonal terrain, sometimes encountering raiders and raider trucks who might have useful goods but also attack you and damage your truck. You need to complete different contracts to win the game, by balancing the way you use the market and the time you invest upgrading your truck. There was definitely a learning curve to the game, but I imagine that in the future it might actually be a pretty quick game that packs in loads of theme, strategy and options. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Wasteland Express, in spite of how much we were checking the rulebook and getting things wrong. I can't wait to play it again and I just hope it plays as well with two players so we can play it a lot at home.
  • Escape Room the Game is a game I was really excited to pick up whilst travelling in North America. I won't spoil anything inside the box but our first play of Prison Break was my favourite escape room board game yet. It is the one which feels most like a real life escape room because you're looking around an image of a room for clues. I guess my only complaint would be that it's slightly over produced with the big machine that takes keys and tells you if you're right or wrong. The puzzles were just hard enough but not too frustrating that you get bored because you have no more ideas. I can't wait to try the next 3 scenarios.
  • Gemblo is an abstract game, which is basically hexagonal Blokus. We played with two players where you take two colours each, so it is essentially a 4-player game. You have different tiles in your player colour which are each different numbers of joined hexagons, making unique shapes which you must fit on the board following placement rules. Your aim is to get rid of as many individual hexagons as you can - the person with the least remaining is the winner. Unfortuantely we found that the shapes and placement rules in Gemblo did not make it easy to understand how to block other players or reserve yourself some board space, especially in the early game where it felt like placement was almost random. With more players, perhaps the opportunties to play tactically arise more often, but since we play frequently with two we will stick with the traditional Blokus, which feels far more logical with more control.
  • Nautilion is a solo game in the Oniverse series from Shadi Torbey. I typically never play solo games, but I have been addicted to the Onirim app recently and on this ocassion, I found myself alone at the Across the Board cafe in Winnipeg. In Nautilion you roll three dice per turn and assign them either to move your submarine forwards on its exhibition, move the ghost ship forward, which will act as a timer and assigning one to the Darkhouse which inflicts damage on you. In the basic game you need to collect one of each number token which starts off as a really easy endevour, but tokens are removed by the ghost ship when it lands and sometimes you will only roll big which skips out your opportunity to gain other tokens. It was quite an addictive little game that I played three times in a row until I won. If you like solo games, this one definitely works as a lightweight option.
  • Win Don't Lose is a game I got the opportunity to playtest at a cafe in Winnipeg. I really appreciated a couple of local playtesters approaching us and we actually tried two games. Win, Don't Lose is a light party game, a bit like Fluxx, but seemingly with less ability to drag on forever. There is a deck of cards with different abilities and different point values, both positive and negative that you can play infront of you or other players. The first person to achieve a preset point total wins. There is some humour in the cards, although some of the references weren't that apprent to an English player. I wouldn't choose to play Win, Don't Lose again, but if you like Fluxx and want something similiar it could be a good choice and I believe there is a print and play file available on BoardGameGeek.
It may not be obvious that my new favourite is hopefully Wasteland Express. Unfortunately I have terrible luck when I find a new game I love and it now seems to be out of stock! (The same thing happened when I first played Terraforming Mars.) Luckily we've added it to our Dinosaur Island Kickstarter pledge and we'll get two awesome games at the same time. We're also playing through Escape Room the Game at a ridiculous pace and I'm regretting not buying the expansions whilst I was in Canada!

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