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.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Friday 12 January 2018

The Game Shelf 2017 Year in Review

I've written my Top 10 list of board games released in 2017, but I also wanted to reflect on a great year for our blog and for us as part of the board game hobby. There have been a few standout moments that really keep us going both in the hobby and working on this blog.

The Stats

We have played a lot of games this year, including new games released in 2017, but still primarily older games, both new to us and old favourites.

Number of Plays (Including Expansions): 825
Number of Unique Games and Expansions Played: 333
Number of 2017 Releases Played: 98
Most Played Game: Beasts of Balance with 37 plays

UK Games Expo 2017

The UK Games Expo stands out as the highlight of our board gaming year. This year we obtained press passes for the convention which allowed us to attend the press event, before the convention opened. I was pretty nervous for the event, but it was great to get up close and personal with some prototypes and brand new games and make relationships with publishers and designers that we've built on since the event.

Unfortunately we were only able to spend one day at the Expo in 2017 and we crammed in as much as possible, which meant not getting the chance to demo many games and not playing any of the new purchases we acquired. We did get the chance to meet a few groups of friends, but in 2018 we're there for the full weekend and can't wait to catch up with old and new friends and really make the most of the event!

Board Game Wedding!

The UK Games Expo was only the gaming highlight of this year, because this year, we got married! Obviously this was our highlight of the year, but we also related it to board games (of course!). We had small board game references in our decoration, but our big gesture was the board game room in the evening. We specifically looked for a venue with an additional space that we could use for board games in the evening and our venue was perfect for it. The evening was hosted by Thirsty Meeples - the board game Cafe in Oxford who also supply the mobile library for the UK Games Expo. The game room was a massive hit and some people spent the whole evening in there! Even our families who were sceptical of the idea had to admit that it was a huge success and I recommend it to anyone as some additional or alternative evening wedding entertainment for guests who don't just want to dance and get drunk!


2017 was the first year we decided to look at Kickstarter. I am naturally risk averse, so the idea of Kickstarter and the potential for a creator not to fulfil was really scary. On the other hand, I love a good deal and the huge campaigns with tons of good value content became too much to resist.

We backed our first game, Tao Long, in January 2017 and allowed ourselves to back one game a month. We typically stuck to this rule, although during November and December we didn't back any projects and I regretted not 'using' those credits earlier in the year when choosing just one game per month was heart wrenching! So far we've received Gloomhaven, which was very exciting and Kokoro, which has been a really good hit with our game group. We also expect Dinosaur Island and Tao Long to arrive any minute now - in fact, I'm staring at the front door of our house in expectation!

In 2018, I think we'll be slightly more cautious with what we back. It really has to be a game I can't resist, so that it can maintain my excitement level while I wait for the game to arrive!

Zatu Games

This year we started to write for Zatu Games, an online board game retailer in the UK. Zatu have enlisted the help of bloggers to write reviews of the games they sell, giving consumers a better insight into whether a game is right for them. Importantly, it's created a great community of bloggers and it's been great to get to know different people who write for the site.

Board Game Exposure

Probably the best thing to come out of our involvement with Zatu Games is our relationship with Board Game Exposure. The Board Game Exposure Collective are a group of UK reviewers who share review copies of games to increase exposure for publishers. We've had the opportunity to review some exciting new games such as Merlin and the expansion for Sheriff of Nottingham and are very excited to try Chronicles of Crime from Lucky Duck Games at the start of 2018. I'm hoping that we can meet some of our fellow reviewers at conventions during 2018.

All of the above has resulted in a large increase in the number of people who are reading this blog and engaging with us on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for coming along for the ride! We've seen our number of blog views increase by around 400% in the last 6 months, and we're really excited to overcome some social hurdles to approach more people at conventions during 2018. We're hoping to at least attend Airecon in March and the UK Games Expo in June, as well as anything else I can persuade Amy to allow me to attend!


  1. What a lovely year! Totally envious of the amount of game play time that you have both accumulated - great job :-) Of course though, the nuptials steal the year - woop woop! Let's see what this year brings your way xx

    1. Thanks Hayley! I don't know we've fit it all in!