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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Friday 29 December 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 22nd - 23rd December 2017

After a couple of good gaming sessions earlier this week, I've already played enough new games to share some more first impressions -this festive season is off to a great start! We only managed to play one new game at the gaming cafe - after which we ran into a friend and played games we know. It's great to have so manY friends frequenting the cafe that we can now just bump into friends to play games with. My Saturday gaming day was actually a small gathering of board gamers in the corner of a room full of people playing war games. It was interesting to see how some of the war gamers were gravitating towards the board games, although I'm not sure any of my board game group were tempted by the war gaming!

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

  • Pandemic Rising Tide is a Pandemic game set in the Netherlands. Instead of curing disease you are trying to stop the map from flooding and your victory condition is building four hydraulic structures. The game keeps to the basic cooperative game format of Pandemic - four actions per person, then draw a number of location cards equal to the threat level, where something bad will occur. However, in Pandemic Rising Tide, the 'bad cards' remove dikes, making your map more connected and the water spreads after this step every time, from areas with more water to the areas with less water. This makes for quite an interesting puzzle as you predict whether your actions to repair dikes or remove water will even be worthwhile. This is different to base Pandemic where you can tell new players that every action they make has a positive effect and unfortunately makes Rising Tide even more prone to the alpha gamer of cooperative games. There were new game elements that I like, such as the one-off bonus for building a hydraulic structure, but one player was really planning the moves and as such I found that I just wasn't really invested in our game of Pandemic: Rising Tide.
  • Raja of the Ganges is a new worker placement game from Inka and Marcus Brand, who are definitely becoming hot designers with their EXIT game success. Firstly, I love that there is something unique to this game - you're trying to collect fame and money which are both scored on different tracks, but the winner is the first person to get their two track markers to cross. The game is quite a complex worker placement with resource collection to purchase tiles, which you then place on a personal map. How you build your map will either give you immediate fame for buildings, or you will later need to go to the market to activate your stalls for money. I really enjoyed all of the different strategies in the game, however I'm not sure I liked the pacing. The game was extremely slow until one player latched onto a combined market and river travel strategy that won the game for him in two very quick rounds, leaving everyone else in the dust. If I played again I'd definitely try and mimic that strategy - I'm not sure if it's the only way to win and I really hope it's not, because Raja of the Ganges otherwise seemed really interesting and had something slightly new to offer in a crowded worker placement genre.
  • Capital Lux is a interesting card game with very cool art that I was lucky to receive as a Secret Santa gift. It's a interesting mix of card drafting, bluffing, push your luck and hand management that definitely punches above it's weight in terms of the game you get with a small deck of cards. In three rounds you will first draft a hand of six cards, then in turn, you each either play a card to the centre of the table for an ability based on its colour, or play a card into your tableau. At the end of the round, in each colour, you need to have a lower points total than the total in that colour in the centre of the table, any colour where you 'bust' will be discarded. After the three rounds you'll score the points value of all cards still in your tableau, plus any you've claimed for winning prior rounds. You need to pay attention in the draft to try and predict the available cards as well as creating unspoken alliances with other players who need certain cards in the centre just as much as you do. The abilities in the centre of the table also create a really good push and pull as sometimes you'll actually hurt yourself when you have to use them. I'm hoping I can get this game to the table a lot, although it was a challenge because no-one had ever heard of it. Hopefully I can at least make Capital Lux popular with my gaming groups.
  • 4 The Birds is a game with amazing 3D bird components, which was enough to make me interested in giving it a try. Unfortunately the board is not as fantastic looking, which lets the other components down. 4 The Birds is really just a game of four in a row (or 4 in a 2x2 square). You roll the dice to determine where on the grid you can place a bird, but if you don't like the dice roll, you can use a card from your hand to manipulate the position of your birds or the crows and ravens who can knock other player birds out of position. Although the ability to manipulate position is interesting, the reliance on dice luck to allow you to get a bird into the position you need, really undermines this strategy game and unfortunately means it won't be a hit with us.

    Now we're keen to get our teeth into some new arrivals, ready for some reviews we need to write in the new year. Fog of Love is high on our list to play over the holidays, as well as many more games from the rather large mountain on our game table. We'll hopefully still be posting reviews next week, including recent releases, Otys and Merlin.

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