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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Thursday, 21 December 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 11th December - 21st December 2017


In preparation for Christmas we appear to be stocking up on new games to play. It's easy to forget that I only really have one week off work and most of that time will be spent catching up with family. Instead I'm imagining we'll be trying all sorts of games and putting up a review every day because we're playing so much! The reality is that my Mum has at least requested we take home Azul and Animals on Board! This week we've done our board game group Secret Santa gift exchange which was a good excuse to play some games at The Ludoquist board game cafe and we've started to take a look at some new games for review.

So, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;


  • Sheriff of Nottingham: Merry Men is a bit of a pick-n-mix expansion. For our first play, we decided to throw in everything except for the Sheriff's deputy, since we had 5 players. Perhaps that wasn't the wisest move with two new players. The expansion definitely gives you more incentives to lie and bring contraband into Nottingham - there are bonuses for amassing 3 of a kind of a type on contraband and bonuses for bringing in specific combinations of one legal and one contraband good. There's a also a new 'contraband' - Merry Men. You can smuggle a whole person into Nottingham in your bad and there are big points and a one off special ability available for doing so. The final addition is laws that put a random rule in place each round, quite often forcing you to sell legal goods, again incentivising you to play contraband. I really enjoyed all of the new elements - I always enjoy elements of games that give you more focus and that's exactly what Merry Men does for Sheriff of Nottingham. Other than with new players, I'm not sure we'll ever play without it again.
  • Crisis is a worker placement game that is really popular in our gaming groups. After one game I'm not sure quite why people have gravitated to this game so much, but still feel like it's a solid game with some worker placement and engine building. In Crisis you are rebuilding a town, you need buildings, you need workers and resources to populate them and as a result you will gain victory points, money or different resources. The key is to create an engine with lots of synergy so that you have the right worker pool and the right resources at the end of each turn, as well as, ideally, some resources left over to sell. It was a bit of challenge to pick up at first, but the engine building was really interesting. The game is really tight though, with quite a lot of maths required to make sure you'll have the resources and money you need each turn. I'd like to play Crisis again but it just doesn't grab me as something unique to add to our collection.
  • Merlin is an Essen release from designer Stefan Feld. The name Stefan Feld either seems to inspire die-hard fans or die-hard haters, but we sit somewhere in the middle. Merlin is a mixture of roll and move, dice placement and a rondel mechanism. Each turn you roll dice and use them to move your worker round the rondel, performing the action in the spot you land on. You are trying to collect different resources, like shields to defend from invaders, flags which give you special abilities, and resources that allow you to explore the map. Points are available in 3 scoring rounds for how much influence you have in different regions, any exploration you've done on the map and a few other minor things. However, my favourite part about the game is the missions which give you points every time you complete a mission card during the game. Missions typically focus on you collecting different resources or putting influence in certain regions and really focus how you're going to play the game. Merlin is a game that just clicks for me and I hope I can convince Amy that she loves it too.
  • Wordsy is a word game from Gil Hova and Formal Ferret Games. In Wordsy you have eight random letter cards on the table of value 2,3,4 and 5 and all you have to do each turn is make the highest scoring word using letters from the table to score, but adding as many extra letters as you like. In a twist, you want to do this quickly - when one person writes down their word for the round, a 30 second timer starts in which all other players must write down their word. Wordsy ticks all the boxes in terms of what I want from a word game, being quite free-form in the words you can make, not being limited by luck of the draw and giving everyone at the table the same opportunities, but there's just something that doesn't click for me, at least at the two player count. I think it's because you can both afford to take quite a lot of thinking time and both end up making a pretty good word using at least the four highest scoring letters. I would like to play Wordsy with my family and see if it goes over well there, but if not, Letter Tycoon, Paperback and Bananagrams will remain the staples of our word game collection.
    Tomorrow I've asked Amy to teach me a few new games in the Ludoquist library, so I'm hoping to at least play Pandemic Rising Tide and at least one other, maybe Habitats - a recent Kickstarter arrival. On Saturday I'm also going to a new game day in a nearby town. I'm not exactly sure what to expect but I've been told most of the attendees are quite new to gaming so will take along some light to mid-weight games and hopefully meet some new people. So plenty of gaming this weekend and we'll see what happens over the festive season!

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