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.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Wednesday 1 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 23rd - 29th October

After a week away hunting for new board game cafes and board game stores in the north of England, we came home to 3 new board game arrivals. In the following days two amazing parcels arrived - our Kickstarter pledge for Gloomhaven was the first excitement, followed by our preorder of Pandemic Legacy Season 2 which stole all of the limelight! 

We've got a lot of new games to play, so, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Deckscape: Test Time is our first experience of this new "escape room in a box" system from DV Giochi. Deckscape: Test Time is the most "no frills" escape room game we've played - just a deck of cards, with no app or additional game materials. It also seem to packs the most actual logical puzzles into the game, which is something I enjoyed. There were definitely a few moments when I felt like it was very unclear what the next step should be and whether we had enough information, but I've found this with most games in the genre, and if we had decided to allow ourselves to use the clues, every issue we found would've been resolved. I'm quite looking forward to trying more of the Deckscape games - they're not the most exciting escape room games, but they're definitely a solid choice if many little puzzles to solve during your game.
  • Rhino Hero Super Battle is a sequel to our favourite dexterity game Rhino Hero. In Rhino Hero Super Battle each player takes a wooden hero meeple and your goal is to be highest up the tower at the end of the game and not to be the one who makes the tower fall. Each turn you will place a new floor into the structure by adding one or two short or tall walls to the structure. You then roll a dice to climb the tower and enter a dice rolling battle if you end up on the same level as another player. The game allows you to make really large, impressive structures, but it's actually not too hard to place all the cards in the box. The dice mean that there's a lot of luck in whether you win or lose if the tower is still standing at the end of the game. For me, the original Rhino Hero is a better game, but I still love the sequel because of the amazing spectacle of the huge constructions you build.
  • Dairyman is a push your luck, dice rolling game about making milk and turning it into cheese and ice-cream. Each turn you roll a pool of dice and try and make sets of dice that add to 10 exactly. Each roll you can lock any number of sets of 10 into a barn, but if you manage to lock dice in all three barns you'll get a snow token which you can use to upgrade milk tokens later. So long as you stop before you fail to make a set of dice you can lock, you can use the sum total of your locked dice to buy milk. For a very quick simple game, I actually really enjoy some of the mechanisms. There's a good catch up mechanism to compensate for turns when you push your luck too far, and the special abilities you get for upgrading your milk can be really helpful in mitigating dice luck. Dairyman is not typically our style of game, but I can see it being really good as a travel game, using the box lid as a dice tray and having 15 minutes of dice rolling fun.
  • Pandemic Legacy Season 2 has been so hotly anticipated in our household. It's been a long time since we completed Season 1 and we've had a lot of fun speculating about new mechanisms. (I won't tell you what we speculated, because some of our speculation is actually correct!) The prologue game is in many ways similar to Pandemic, but it also has a number of differences, that gives us confidence of how different Season 2 will be to Season 1. It was actually a really punishing first game and we played the prologue twice to get familiar with new strategies you need to use to secure a win! We've also played a first game of January, which had so much to explore and made for a really exciting experience. I'm a little concerned that we're wasting all the good stuff by exploring too quickly, but I'm very hopeful that the reality is that there's just loads of legacy content in the box!
  • Gloomhaven is our first ever Kickstarter arrival! This alone has me really excited, in spite of the fact that dungeon crawls really aren't my thing. We backed Gloomhaven because we couldn't ignore the rave reviews and how high it has soared on the BoardGameGeek rankings, and if the dungeon crawling isn't for me, it's likely Amy will still enjoy it. The set-up for this game was definitely long and a steep learning curve, and after all that our first game lasted about 15 minutes because one character died when they entered the second room. Our second game was much better and we started to get a feel for how we needed to work with our decks ans work together to succeed. I'm not blown away by Gloomhaven so far, but I am interested enough to play more and see if anything changes as we work through a campaign.
  • DC Comics Deck-Building Game is a game that is currently available very cheaply at a discount chain in the UK. Without the bargain price point I would never have been interested to pick this game up, simply because I've not heard great things about it. After our first game I'd say there is nothing special about the DC Deck-Builder, but it's a perfectly solid game. It reminds me a lot of Star Realms with its very simple, pure deck-building mechanics and sometimes that's all I want from a deck-building game. I enjoyed how your starting character gave you the opportunity to focus on something slightly different to your opponenets and I liked the style of point scoring on some of the cards which rewards you 'themeing' your deck. The only drawback for me was the infrequent opportunity to remove cards from your deck, since we ended up with very large, diluted decks. For the price we paid I'm happy to own the DC deck-building game and the expansion we picked up for it.
Last week I was also tempted by a couple of UK stores offering an Essen preorder service. This is a great opportunity for those of us who don't want to attend the Spiel in Essen to receive some of the hot games just a couple of days after the convention finishes - some of these games won't get their UK release until January or February 2018. I've made a preorder for Kitchen Rush, Indian Summer, Flee and the three new EXIT games and we're also hoping to get a copy of When I Dream. It's definitely not all of the Essen releases we want to play, but it's a good starting point!

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