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 6 December 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 22nd November - 4th December

There's been a short break since we last posted first impressions, but we're still playing new games. Two factors have combined to mean that a lot of games are going straight to full review, and I don't want to spoil those reviews by telling you what I think two days before the review goes live. Firstly, all of the Essen releases are starting to hit the UK, and we want to share our reviews of those as quickly as possible. Secondly, we've started to write for Board Game Exposure, so we're playing games quite quickly to stay on top of the number of games we need to review.

However, I've still got some thoughts to share, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Word Slam is a party game for two teams. When teaching this to a group of players in a crowded bar this weekend I described it as similar to the game Articulate. In Word Slam, instead of saying words to get your team to guess an answer, you are selecting different words from decks of cards and stringling them together to make your team guess the answer. Both teams are trying to work towards the same answer at the same time, so listining in to guesses from the opposing team can also be a useful tactic. We found Word Slam to be surpisingly fun and I think I'll keep a look out for a copy for my work board game group. The restrictive word selection makes you think creatively and listening to the other team can be a mixed blessing. We had a lot of laughs and I am looking forward to the opportunity to play Word Slam again.
  • Harvest Dice is a small roll-and-write game from Grey Fox Games. In Harvest Dice there are three dice colours - green for lettuce, red for tomatoes and orange for carrots. Each round the dice will be rolled and you will draft dice from the pool. The number on the dice face dictates which of your 6 columns it can be planted in and you must always plant adjacent to another crop of the same type. The game rewards good spatial planning, but if you can't place a dice you can feed it to the pig and there are small bonuses available after you feed a certain number of dice to the pig. The dice drafting can be as much about feeding dice your opponents want to your pig as it is about getting the best dice to grow your own vegetable patch. The game has very simple rules, but there's actually quite a lot gong on with a few different systems dictating your decision about taking the dice each turn. Harvest Dice is one of the first roll-and-write games we've tried and I'm pretty impressed so far!
  • Otys is a game in which you have a team of divers, that stacked at different water depths on your board. Each diver can perform a different action and you're goal is to fulfil objectives by collecting different groups of items together at the same depths. The game is really clever and spatial as you try to get the right actions to fall to the right depth to be useful to you, both in terms of what special bonus abilities are triggered as well as in terms of where you want to collect the items. The double layer player boards allow different game elements to slide which can be quite fiddly, but it's hard to think how else the game could've been laid out mechnically. There's lots of options to take and lots to think about in the game, and I think that will give it a lot of replayability and I'm looking forward to playing Otys again.
  • Letter Tycoon, as the name suggests is a game about making words. Each turn you are trying to make a word using your hand of letter cards and/or the three letter cards in the common pool. The longer the word you make, the more points you get. However, what makes Letter Tycoon interesting is that once you have enough money you can buy the rights to that letter, meaning that every time someone else uses that letter to make a word, you get $1. There is a nice balance to the value of the different letter deeds, with common letters costing more to acquire, whilst the difficulty to use letters, are cheap to acquire, are worth less at the end of the game, but give you special abilities. I really enjoyed my first game of Letter Tycoon, but my opponent did not and that's because I don't think it solves the problem of imbalance when someone is just better at coming up with words than another person. I also got a really overpowered deed that meant I ran away with the game. The art style is lovely and the game concept is great, but there's not much fun in a game that just suits my skills a lot better than those of my regular opponent.
This week our only planned gaming event is our office Christmas party. There should be around 12-15 people and I will have Amy with me so we can teach two games at a time. My work colleagues already have some established favourites, so I'm planning to have Dixit, When I Dream, Telestrations, Codenames, Dobble, In A Bind and possibly Kokoro for people to play.

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