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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Saturday 4 November 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 30th October - 4th November

This week has been very exciting in terms of new deliveries. Our three Essen preorders arrived from Thirsty Meeples, I decided to order the three new EXIT games from Kosmos and review copies of When I Dream and the new expansion for Mystic Vale also turned up on our doorstep. We have so many games to play, as well as keeping on top of our campaigns of Gloomhaven and Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and having friend over to continue Mechs vs. Minions or Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle

There's a lot going on, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Rising 5 is a Kickstarter project I didn't back but was fortunate enough to play on the day they arrived with backers. It's a vastly over produced, but very well implemented version of the old game Mastermind. In this cooperative game you are rolling dice to beat monsters that give you energy cubes. When you have enough eneregy cubes you're allowed one guess at a 4 colour/4 position puzzle a-la-Mastermind, where an app on your phone or tablet can tell you if you have the right answer. I've always loved Mastermind-style puzzles and this game adds different cooperative elements and methods to manipulate your dice and your luck. It's not really worth the price to me, but I'm really glad I'll get to play it again at my local board game cafe.
  • A Fake Artist Goes to New York is a bit of a cross between Pictionary and Spyfall. One player writes down a category then gives each player a card with the same word in that category, except that one player gets a blank card. So, every player but one knows that they need to draw 'Rock Climbing' and one player just knows it's in the Category 'Sport'. In turn, all players then have to add one line to a communal drawing in their colour of pen. At the end of the round you all vote for who you think is the fake artist, and if the group is right, then the fake artist gets to guess what the word is. It's definitely a fun game - especially looking at the ridiculous drawings you create.  It comes in a very small box from Oink Games, but for me, this just doesn't need to be a commericalised or published game, you just need some paper and some pens.
  • When I Dream is a party game in which one player is blindfolded and trying to guess the words in a deck of cards. The dreamer has two minutes to try and guess as many cards correctly as possible based on the one word clues given by the rest of the group. However the group are randomly assigned roles meaning they are either good (fairies), bad (bogeymen) or want an equal mixture of right and wrong answers to be given (sandman), so it's in the dreamers best interests to try and identify and ignore the bogeymen. It's definitely overproduced with the plastic bed and tarot size artwork that serves no game purpose, but we still has a fun time with it. We played with 4 players which is the lowest player count, but didn't see it as much of a disadvantage because the dreamer can let the group give as many clues as they like before guessing - if anything making it a bit easier to figure out who is trying to throw you off track. It's great to have another high player count game in the collection and I'm sure it'll see a lot of play for that reason, even though for me personally it doesn't blow me away.
  • Indian Summer is the second in Uwe Rosenberg's series that started with Cottage Garden. This is another game that uses polyominoes - Tetris shaped tiles - that you use to fill up your personal player board. In Indian Summer you are covering your forest floor with leaf tiles - your goal is to fill up your board first, but there are two additional mechanisms that add complexity to the game. Each large tile has a hole in it and you are trying to align these with blueberries, nuts, mushrooms and a feather than are printed on the board - if you place a tile and can see one, then you will eventually get the corresponding tokens, each of which has a special ability. The second mechanism is about creating groups of holes, even if some of them are over blank square - making groups together gives you a second opportunity to 'score' the special tokens. We found that the game was very tight, going down to the tiebreaker and then having one point in it at the end. It has a lot more going on than Cottage Garden and slightly more player interaction, but I'm not sure if it feels like extra complexities added to a game that needn't be there - kind of the opposite of streamlining a game. I liked Indian Summer and I'm sure I'll play it again, but over time I think Cottage Garden will come out on top.

In even more exciting news, Amy has started working at The Ludoquist -  a new board game cafe opening next week in Croydon. She is going to be working as a games guru, sharing our love of board games with the wider world. I am extremely jealous, but I'm sure I'll be spending lots of time there too, working my way through their huge board game library or at least 800 games. First on my hit list is Queendomino, Photosynthesis and Altiplano - games I didn't preorder from Essen, but that I'm really excited to play.

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