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 9 September 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 31st August - 6th September 2017

After a huge pile of new arrivals in recent weeks I actually feel like we're making respectable progress on our shelf of shame, as well as making some tough decisions to sell or trade a few games out of our collection. It's been a mixed bag this week in terms of the new games we've enjoyed and not enjoyed so much, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Dice Forge has been getting a lot of publicity recently because of it's dice building mechanic. As a big LEGO fan, I can't say it's the first to do it, with a couple of the games even allowing you to modify faces during the game. Dice City also tried to create the same mechnics without the cool dice. However, Dice Forge is definitely the slickest production, even if it is a little bit fidly to remove dice faces during the game. Dice Forge works a bit like a deck builder, in that the different dice faces give you resources and these resources can be spent on upgraded dice faces. In addition you can also gather resources to buy cards that are worth points and/or give you special long term or one-off abilties. It's definitely got more luck that standard deck-building, but also a few more strategies too when you identify synergies for your two dice and when you decide which cards to purchase. It's a quick game, and a pretty light game, that I found really enjoyable. One I think anyone could play but that gamers will still enjoy for the deeper possibilties, so long as the luck element isn't too off-putting.
  • Cousins War has been getting a lot of positive reviews in the UK since it was released at the UK Games Expo. I received it in a Maths Trade even though I'm not sure the theme or mechanics are really for us. Cousins War is based on the War of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. It's an area control game with card play which reminds me a little of Twilight Struggle. Not only do you need to take are of the three areas of the board you also need to keep an eye on the battle field where liars dice mechanics are used later in the game. It's admirable how much is going on in the game, but for me it was quite overwhelming. I am very bad at applying myself to area control games ans just couldn't understand how to work the cards to my advantage. The added distraction of the battle threw me off as well. We will try this one again as I do like to give small games and 2-player games a fair chance given that they're not hogging much shelf space and there's no excuse not to try them when you're a gaming couple, but I'll be surprised if Cousins War can win me over.
  • Delve reminds me of a hybrid between Carcassonne and Tales of the Arabian Nights. In this fantasy themed, tile-laying game you are sending out your 5 delvers to the different rooms of the dungeon you are building in order to collect gold and treasure. Each turn you lay a new tile and can place a delver on one of the roomtypes depicted. A room 'scores' when it is completed and if you are the only player with delvers in there then you get a 'choose your own adventure' story card where you select which route to take and perform a skill check to determine if you get all the treasure or other bonuses. If there's more that one player in a finished room then there's a dice rolling battle to split the loot. I really like the concept of Delve, but it had two major problems for me. The first was the look of the board - it was just really disjointed, geometric and looked nothing like a dungeon - losing the pleasure that you usually get from building a map in tile-laying games. The second was that it out-styed it's welcome - it was at least double the length we felt it should be. We wil give it another chance, perhaps introducing more players or even limiting the number of tiles in the game, but for now I am a little dissappointed that the strong concept wasn't fulfilled.
  • Flatline is a real-time cooperative dice game. Dice games are generally not our thing, but what attracted me to Flatline was the combination of a quick real time element with a calm planning phase. This was a winning combination for us in XCOM The Board Game. In Flatline you are rolling dice and placing them on matching symbols on the board, your goal is to cure the patients in the hospital which take different combinations of dice, but you also need to manage events and manage your time effectively. There's a lot to keep your eye on in just a 1 minute time frame, but with two players it was really satisfying to plan effectively and make the best of what we rolled. I don't feel like I need to experience the stress and chaos of a multiplayer game but I absolutely loved Flatline as a couple's cooperative game and can't wait to play again.
Next week I don't think there will be any first impressions because I'll be travelling to Canada. I'm hoping to visit Across The Board - a board game cafe in Winnipeg, as well as finding all of the local board game shops. I haven't heard great things about the price of games in Canada, but I have pre-ordered a couple of games that I could only find in  North America - the Telestrations 12-player party pack and Escape Room The Game. Let's hope I find some friendly Canadians to play with since it's a business trip and Amy won't be there to play games.

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