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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Monday 13 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 11th November - 12th November

This first impressions blog covers a whole 2-day period! That's because we had the chance to play new games at two different board game cafe's this weekend. We spent Saturday afternoon at  the Ludoquist in Croydon, who are having an amazing first week - so amazing that it's hard to find some table space! Then we spent Sunday at Draughts in London. Both occassions were with friends, so we did a mixture of sharing some games we already know and learning some new, lighter games at the table.

It was a busy weekend, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Photosynthesis is a GenCon/Essen release that definitely grabs your attention due to how fantastic it looks on the board. The rules to the game are deceptively simple - obtain light points and spend them to obtain seeds and trees and to plant the seeds and grow the trees. However, this is an amazingly fiendish spatial puzzle where in each turn the sun will shine in a different angle at the board, hitting some trees, giving the owners light points. However taller trees overshawdow smaller trees, so from different angles you need to make sure you overshadow opponents and not you own smaller trees. To get points you'll harvest your biggest trees, trying to time this right so that you still have a good income of light points and you're not opening up the board too much for opponents. This could be the kind of abstract-style game I will forever be very bad at, but I am very keen to try Photosynthesis more, especially putting into action some of what I learnt from our first game.
  • Queendomino is the sequel to Kingdomino, which won the Spiel des Jahres this year. The main premise is still a tile laying game, with domino-like tiles depicting different land types. Your basic score is still the number of squares in a matching land grouping, multiplied by the number of crowns depicted. In addition, Queendomino adds knights which give you an income when placed on your board anf buildings which offer lots of different styles of end game scoring, but that can only be built on red terrain. Kingdomino was very simple for a Spiel des Jahres winner and it seems like Queendomino is more like the weight for a slightly more challenging family game. With four players, we found the game a little slow, which left me feeling that there were too many complications that stopped the game from flowing well. That said, I still want to try Queendomino with two and see if the fact that we are both quick players improves the game.
  • The Chameleon is a party game I've been waiting to try and 4 players was probably the lowest number we should've played with. The Chameleon is very much like Spyfall, in that one player is in the dark, whilst everyone lese knows the codeword. There is a grid of words, all with one theme, eg. cities, and all but one player (the chameleon) knows which is the right word for the round. Each player, including the chameleon says one word in turn, associated with the right answer, and then everyone votes for the chameleon. An unidentified chameleon gets points and an accused chameleon who guesses the correct word also gets points. It's a game about picking a word that let's everyone know you're not the chameleon whilst not giving the chameleon a big hint. The fact that each round was just one word was too simple for us and the game just lacked any excitement. It works, but there wasn't a big fun factor with just four players.
  • Fabled Fruit is a game I wasnt that interested in until the new fabled games were released at Essen. The new games, such as Flee and Fear, are exciting to me because they have no rulebook, they just evolve as you play, but the original game, Fabled Fruit, also has the evolution aspects. It's not quite a legacy game, but the game does appear to change in every game you play. It's quite a simple set collection card game with different actions on the board. As people manage to cash in sets of fruit for juices, more different action spaces are added to the table and some of the original action spaces can run out over time. Some actions have no player interaction, some are directly confrontational and others manipulate common areas of the game, such as the market. We were really surprised by how strong the game is for a simple card game, but what is most exciting is the idea of playing more games and seeing it evolve. We're deep in other legacy/campaign games right now, but Fabled Fruit is very much on my radar.
Fabled Fruit is firmly on our Secret Santa wanted list, Photosynthesis has already been pre-ordered and I'm taking some more time to think about Queendomino, since it didn't quite live up to my expectations. This week, we'd like to concentrate more on some games in our own collection - Pandemic Legacy Season 2 is feeling a little unloved and I'm keen to play at least one of the new EXIT games. We might also have a work board game evening, where I'm excited to have a slightly smaller group to play something with a bit more strategy.

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