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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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Pass the Peace Pipe:- Nomads

Game: Nomads

Publisher: Ludonaute

Designer: Gary Kim

Year: 2017

Nomads is a 2-5 player Mancala-style game in which you take one of the pirates from Oh Captain and attempt to learn the legends of the Nomadic tribe that rescued you. This would be an easy experience, but the peace pipe they passed around is clouding your head making the stories difficult to grasp. You will wander around the campfire, picking up fragments of each story and trying to piece together the original legends.

Each turn in Nomads a player will collect up one of the stacks of tokens that contains one of their tokens and then move it either way around the central campfire. Each space you pass over you drop one tile from your stack until your stack is emptied. After moving every player with a token at the top of a pile collects the adjacent story fragment. Finally the active player can cash in story fragments for legend cards that provide end game scoring. Occasionally you will reveal moon tiles instead of story fragments, these become a tracker when collected and at 4 tiles a mid-game scoring begins, during this the player who currently has the most points collects 3 moon tokens, while second player collects 1. Moon tokens are worth a point each at the end of the game.

Nomads set up ready to play. The players not used are placed on thier sleeping side off to thr right hand side of the board.
Nomads features varying player powers, these are all pretty unique and powerful so you'll do well to make the most of them. They vary from having an additional token to play with to being able to manipulate how you move around the board. All of the player tokens are used regardless of player count, with any story fragments they would have collected being discarded. There are also blank nomad tokens who don't discard story fragments when they are on top. With clever movement you can utilise these attributes to ensure story fragments your opponents want are removed from the game, while fragments you want remain in the game until you can collect them.

Nomads is a quick game to learn and makes for a great 2 player experience, you really have to make the most of your player powers to stay on top. It doesn't fare quite so well at larger player counts as you start to lose your ability to manipulate the flow of the game, the fragments you get becoming more luck than strategy. Nomads is also a beautiful game, the 3d fire really helps the game pop, while the warm vibrant colours do recreate the feeling of being around a campfire. The story cards have lovely art each portraying a simple story as you get the higher point count cards.

Some stories are more interesting than others, a space whale crashing into a planet to bring the seas vs a city getting bigger, slowly.
Nomads pleasantly surprised me as a 2 player game, it's not the deepest strategy experience, but it's fast to learn, fast to play and fun, with enough meaningful choice to keep every turn interesting. I am disapointed that it doesn't keep this up at larger player counts. I really do appreciate the little touches, such as the treasure map hidden on the back of the board and the story book included with the game. I'd certainly recomend gaming couples picking Nomads up and giving it a try


Nomads was a review copy provided by Esdevium Games Ltd. It will be available for an RRP of £21.99 at your friendly local game store or to be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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