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 8 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 23rd September - 7th October 2017

Another few exciting new deliveries have arrived in the last couple of weeks, but I do think that I've been getting the collection under control. On the other hand, this week we made our choices for our October Kickstarter backing and it reminded me of all the exciting games I'm waiting for. It's hard not to be impatient when you have 26 games on preorder or Kickstarter! The worrying thing is that none of these games will have space on the shelf when they arrive so we need to play more of our games and make some hard decisions, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Whistle Stop has been on my radar simply because of how great it looks. I really appreciate the colour scheme and graphic design of this game. Aside from its looks, it uses a mixture of tile-laying and pick up and deliver mechanics to create a game about transporting goods across America. You have two resources which enable you to move your trains along the tracks you create by laying a hexagonal tile each turn. You can gain more resources and goods by stopping off at towns, but in the long term you want to be delivering goods to intermediate cities for stocks or to the final destinations to earn points and bonus resources. It's definitely a game that rewards efficiency as the coal and whistles start to become very hard to gather as the game progresses, and some good visualisation and planning is also important in determining how you're going to best move around the board and create synergies between what your different trains can achieve. We were very surprised that Whistle Stop played in just 30 minutes for two players, so it should be a game we can play a lot more.
  • Plague Inc is a game I've been looking forward to for quite a while since it got into the hands of Kickstarter backers and had some popularity due to being based on a popular video game. In Plague Inc. each player is a disease and you are trying to become the most effective at killing off people in different countries around the world. By spreading out your disease, either within a continent or by airborne or water-borne transport, you will become more effective at mutating to perhaps become more lethal, better at spreading or get different specialisms, such as heat or cold resistance. Unfortunately in our first game, there was a definite runaway leader problem caused by one player being able to spread more quickly with an airborne mutation in their starting hand, this led to more points initially and more to spend on more mutations which just self perpetuated to a more successful game. I'd like to try Plague Inc. again but I am concerned that the area control elements will always mean it's not going to be a favourite for me.
  • Contrast is a small card game in which each player has 6 cards with two different symbols/colours, giving you 12 choices of symbols that you need to associate with the art card in the middle. The art cards are similar to those in Dixit and Mysterium, so there's lots of things to choose from, however the cards in your hand are very basic, with a square, circle, tall, small, red, yellow etc. Your goal is to get inside each others heads and play the same card as someone else. With two players, the game is cooperative and very simple. With more players there's a lot more to think about to try and match with some people, but not everyone at the table. On first impressions, the game just didn't have the appeal of similar games and it's quite easy to quickly develop a language that pretty much allows you to 'game the system'.
  • Nomads is the second game in the same world as Oh Captain - Legends of Luma. Nomads is a set collection game with mancala mechanics. By moving the stacks of circular tokens around the track and dropping of one token in each spot as you do so, you will get the opportunity to take different square tokens from the supply. When you collect enough in different symbols you can cash them in for story cards. Each story has four cards of increasing value and as you collect more tokens during the game you can upgrade to higher value cards in each story. The game is quick to play but with a few really interesting decisions as you try to manipulate the movement around the track to ensure your characters are on top and that some of your opponents are covered so that they get less benefit in each turn. As the game progresses, decisions become eve more important as you specialise what you are collecting and some stacks in the supply start to empty. Nomads is a beautiful looking game and has a really streamlined mancala system and I look forward to playing it some more.
This week I'm travelling again and unfortunately I've done some research and it doesn't seem like Kuwait has a board game scene for me to investigate! Luckily, when I get back, we have a convention visit to look forward to. Next weekend we are going to the PLAY Expo in Manchester - it doesn't have a big board game focus, but we're in the right place at the right time and it will be good to see the other gaming events too - I always like to buy some retro games and Amy will definitely enjoy the indie video games and VR.

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