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

Friday 10 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 5th November - 10th November

Today we're had our second ever Kickstarter delivery. Unlike our first Kickstarter (Gloomhaven) I was really happy to be able to get this one straight to the table! By lunchtime today we had already played Kokoro twice - more than a lot of games on our shelves have ever been played! This week we've also started to look at our small number of Essen games and an old classic to round off the week of new games.

Here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Kitchen Rush is that perfect blend of challenging real time cooperative game that Amy and I seem to really enjoy. Presumably inspired by the video game Overcooked, in Kitchen Rush, you are trying to create different meals to order. Your workers and sand timers and they go to different zones of the board to get ingredients, take orders, use the ovens etc. Unlike most real time games we enjoy, the resolution phase in Kitchen Rush is short, but the stress level is mitigated by the fact you have to wait for your timers to run low, which can give you a chance to think. It seems like a very difficult cooperative game and I'm not sure where we're going to find more efficiencies, but with a set game length of around 30 minutes, depending how much you talk, I'm looking forward to trying to master Kitchen Rush.
  • Mystic Valve: Mana Storm is the first expansion we've managed to try for Mystic Vale - the first card crafting game released by AEG. The title of Mana Storm caught by eye because it sounds like the 'big money' expansion. Dominion Prosperity is my favourite Dominion expansion because everything is bigger and more powerful, so I was hoping for the same here. Mana Storm adds new cards to all of the decks, but also adds a leader card for each player, and a new amulet with a unique evoke power. The new leader powers are particularly interesting - they are double sided, so once you save up enough to flip them, they can we really powerful, but also completely dictate how you choose to play your game and build your cards. The amulets are less powerful, but a good synergy between your amulet and leader can really be a great engine. I'm yet to master this expansion, but I do enjoy the new opportunities for unique strategies and great combos. It fits in our bases box, so there's nothing not to like.
  • Le Havre is an older Uwe Rosenberg title that I've been keen to try after fantastic praise from Tom Vasel at the Dice Tower. We enjoy Uwe Rosenberg games, but we struggle to get them to the table. In Le Harve you are obtaining resources from different ports, spending money or resources to build or purchase buildings and eventually trying to figure out how to make money rather than just surviving from turn to turn by generating enough food. I think we had bad luck with the card draw and it took us a long time to get a wharf and build boats, so food was a struggle and I found this even more depressing than Agricola. I was quite angry throughout the game, but also really keen to keep playing because it was interesting to try and make your town work. I'm interested to try the short game that is included in the rules and hope that it is designed well so that it doesn't just replicate the first 6-8 turns of the longer game which were the turns I found tiresome. So far I'm disappointed in Le Harve, but I want to persevere.
  • Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama is a quick game inspired by roll and write style games. In Kokoro you have a dry erase board which is a grid with 5 sanctuaries and symbols of worms and flowers around the board. In a series of 5 turns you'll have to connect the worms and flowers to the sanctuaries or guardians for points. You draw potential routes from a deck of card and all simultaneously draw the route segment on a grid square. The trick of the game is that you really need to score slightly more each round by interlinking routes to different sanctuaries. The game is really accessible for everyone, but you need to really consider your moves and perhaps get a little bit lucky to win. It has the same endearing artwork from Kokoro and I'm really happy that it plays up to 8 players because I think it will be great for larger groups of non-gamer friends or as something a bit different for my work group. It's nothing revolutionary, but Kokoro is a lovely production and I'm sure it's going to hit the table a whole lot!
We're spending this weekend visiting board game cafes. Unfortunately it's unlikely to be our usual gaming marathon, but instead just an opportunity to spend time with friends. On Saturday we'll be at The Ludoquist in Croydon where I'm hoping to at least try Queendomino and Photosynthesis. On Sunday we'll be a Draughts in London and hopefully we'll be trying something new as well as introducing more games to our friends. I'm also hoping to share some exciting news next week about plans for The Game Shelf in the coming months.

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