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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Sunday 15 October 2017

Overthinking by The Yellow Meeple:- Top 5 Most Anticipated Board Games of Essen 2017

Spiel, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the world, will be taking place in Essen, Germany from October 26th-29th. Unfortunately we won't be there, as the idea of Essen is a little too intimidating and a convention which focuses on shopping rather than playing isn't necessarily our kind of event. Nevertheless, the list of new releases is HUGE and I can't deny that I'm extremely excited for some of these games!

I've used the tool on BoardGameGeek in order to compile this list and after being very strict with myself, I am interested in 95 items, 10 of which are must haves and 25 of which are following close behind. I've decided to avoid talking about games I already consider to have been released, such as Photosynthesis at Gen Con, which I'm still waiting to try. I'm also going to avoid talking about games I've already backed on Kickstarter or pre-ordered. Charterstone, Pandemic Legacy Season 2, First Martians, Dinosaur Island, Tao Long and Cerebria all fall into this category, amongst some others.

So, here's my Top 5 of new releases I am most looking forward to at Essen 2017.

     5. Altiplano has an Alpaca on the box cover who looks really nonchalant. The art inside the box also appears to be a really nice style...sometimes there's not a lot to go on when you're anticipating games at Essen Spiel. However, Altiplano is a succesor to Orleans, a game we only recently acquired, but one I really enjoyed our first play of. Perhaps I don't need another game like Orleans quite yet, but another bag building/pool building game like Altiplano is definitely on my radar.

     4. Queendomino is a sequel to Kingdomino, which won this year's Spiel des Jahres award. Kingdomino is a very basic game, but it is still in our collection because it's a nice filler weight game that works well with new players. Queendomino promises to be the gamers version of Kingdomino, which sound like it will suit us more. In addition to the standard scoring mechanisms there are bonus scoring tiles to build into your kingdom which you purchase with money, generated by placing knights onto your kingdom. I'm sure this will be an instant buy when it gets a UK release.

     3. Nusfjord is on this list for a different reason than just the gameplay, which I confess I know very little about. We travelled to the Norwegian Fjords on our honeymoon this year and talked about a game designed in the Fjords where you were trying to specialise your towns to attract tourist or cruise ships or make ends meet in some other way. We'd recently played Feast for Odin, so spoke about some similar mechanics. A couple of months later and Uwe Rosenberg appears to have stolen our fantastic theme and designed Nusfjord! We typically find that we enjoy almost all of Uwe Rosenberg's worker placement games but that they don't hit the table very often due to a long set-up and generally being a heavier game, but we'll still give Nusfjord a try.

     2. Coaster Park is a light bidding game combined with engineering! As an engineer, this is super cool. You are bidding on rollercoaster parts and you physically construct the rollercoaster during the game. You can only score if your rollercoaster works though, so if the marble doesn't have enough momentum to get over some of your hills then you don't score the later parts. Dual use cards mean that you can also recruit some specialists to modify your coaster or spend to test your coaster. The game is probably quite light, it might be a gimmick, but it's a gimmick aimed right at me! Pandasaurus games are also making me very happy at the moment with Wasteland Express Delivery Service and I'm eagerly awaiting my Dinosaur Island Kickstarter pledge too.

     1. When I Dream is definitely not going to be my favourite Essen release this year, but it is the one I am most excited for (aside from those I've excluded). When a small print run of this game was released at Essen last year, it wasn'e even on my radar, but when we saw a prototype copy at the UK Games Expo this year, it became a must have party game for us. One player is the dreamer who has to guess the image on a card based on the clues given to them by the group. The trick is that some players want the dreamer to guess right, others want them to guess wrong and the trickster wants things to be even. Points are available in vairous ways and they seem to be meaningful scoring mechanisms, unlike some party games which become activities. I hope that When I Dream will be  lot of fun, especially for my work gaming group.

There's also a second list I'd like to add, which is games I saw on Kickstarter in the last 9 months, but couldn't back because of our self-imposed, 1 game per month rule. Buying these straight away at retail would be a bit like cheating at my own game, but I am excited to at least try Peak Oil, Dead Mans Dubloons, Petrichor, Dice Hosptial, Clans of Caledonia, Alexandria and Kitchen Rush. (Yes, this paragraph was an excuse to tell you about more cool games to look for!)

Whenever I make these lists it seems to take a long time for the games to actually hit the UK market so that I can play them. Hopefully in 6 months time I might have played lots of these games, but with no friends travelling to Essen either, it could be quite a long wait.

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