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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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 13th November - 21st November

Unfortunately we're not finding a lot of time for games at the moment. Amy is working at a local board game cafe, which sometimes means working evenings, giving us less time to play through our 'pile of shame'. However, for once, I don't think we actually added anything new to our shelves this week which is something to be proud of! Our one new arrival this week came from our new collaboration with Board Game Exposure - a reviewer collective in the UK, who are working to promote both new and older board games to a wide audience. We're excited to see what interesting games this collaboration will bring our way and hope to post these reviews on Saturdays each week.

So, there's only a couple of titles to talk about, but here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Flee is one of a series of games from Friedemann Friese and Stronghold Games called the Fast Forward series. The appeal of these games is that they can be played straight out the box because they have no rulebook. Flee is the first one we chose to try because it's the only one of the three that is cooperative. Flee is a simple card game where you have four heroes from Alice in Wonderland who are trying to avoid the monster who is chasing them. You cannot begin your turn holding  the monster so you need to work together to adjust the turn order and skip players, swapping the location of the monster to ensure you meet this condition. This is a very, very challenging co-op experience, which isn't a problem for us, but my negative first impression comes from the fact that it is very repetitive. If you fail at the puzzle, you start again from the beginning and you start to learn exactly what cards are coming and you're just trying to adjust the order of your actions to try not to fail the next time though the process. It feels like there's only one right answer and many, many wrong answers and I just found Flee frustrating to work through.
  • EXIT The Game - The Polar Station is the first game we've tried in the second wave of EXIT games. EXIT games are a one time escape room experience and after really enjoying the first wave of 3 games, we were excited for the new wave. The first thing we noticed was that this wave is harder - it makes that clear on the box with the different difficulty ratings, but this one was marked as the easiest of the three, and it's still the worst score we've got in an  EXIT game. The Polar Station was also our least favourite EXIT game - partially because of the difficulty level, but also because we sometimes felt like we had to use clues for the wrong reasons, either because of very unclear previous clues or deliberately obfuscated information. For us the fun of these games comes from a level of difficulty that challenges you but is also rewarding when you figure it out - here we were too often frustrated by annoying puzzles and an inability to progress. We still have the other two new games to try but I am worried that we've now gone beyond a fun level of difficulty for us.
  • By Order of the Queen is the third cooperative game on this list. The initial appeal of the game is the artwork - the box cover is not too appealing, but the board and card art is from Justin Hillgrove, who created some art for Adventure Time. The game is about fighting off monsters, going on quests and attempting to complete three orders for the Queen. In each different scenario you are selecting heroes from your hand to try and match symbols to the scenario you'll face. Your number of matching symbols lets you roll a number of dice to try and gain a 5 or a 6 result to succeed. The game is heavy on luck and this is compounded by the fact that sometimes you don't know what symbols are needed for a given encounter. If this game was competitive I'd find this intensely annoying, but in the cooperative game, it's a little annoying but doesn't ruin the game for me. Completing the queens orders is what draws out the length of the game because you can only attempt it once in every four turns - it probably does take too long, but the overall game length for us has been around 90 minutes which we found to be OK. So far I'm actually enjoying By Order of the Queen, in spite of it's flaws. It's a little different to other co-op games we own and definitely provides a challenge and the artwork really helps to elevate it.
This weekend, my Mum will be visiting, so we probably will get the opportunity to play some games, but we'll be sticking to older titles that she is familiar with or introducing lighter games that we're confident she will enjoy. I'm hoping that on Sunday we'll get the chance to visit The Ludoquist cafe with a few friends and maybe then we'll get the chance to try something new! 

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