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

Saturday 20 January 2018

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 15th - 18th January 2018

Following on from last week's first impressions, where I bemoaned the fact that I couldn't find Clans of Caledonia for sale, Amy came through and got be the game in a complete masterpiece of good fortune. This has a weird symmetry with the occasion when this happened with Terraforming Mars and I hope Clans of Caledonia goes on to be one of our favourite games. 

Fitting in board games around a significant amount of work travel is becoming quite difficult, but has given me the opportunity to take a look at a board game cafe in Copenhagen, and it's likely to mean I'll be visiting Snakes and Lattes in Toronto in early February. Nevertheless, we've still managed to play a few new titles, so, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • The Big Book of Madness is a cooperative deck-building game where you are fighting the monsters in a book in your magic school. After a bad experience with Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle (also magical cooperative deck-building) we were surprised our friends wanted to play this game. Each player builds a deck of different elements that will be used to power spells, repel curses and buy better element cards or spells. If any curses remain on the board after one circuit then you don't defeat the monster and you suffer the bad effect instead of the reward. I think we underestimated the depth and cooperation in this game and were definitely playing it too lightheartedly to win. I'd like to try this again as a 2-player experience where it will be much easier to manage your support actions to help out the other players turn. I think it really has potential to be a good, thinky cooperative game, but it just didn't go over well on this occasion.
  • Rocca Rails is a fantastic looking game. The hexagonal cards have a lovely art style and they are made to look like 3-D cubes. On each card is a railway line in a different colour - two colours travel in one direction, whilst the other two travel in a perpendicular direction. You are together laying out cards to continue the railway in matching colours, using bridges to change the colour and tunnels to change the direction. As nice as Rocca Rails looks, it is nothing more than dominoes, except with the addition of rules that add randomness with the storm card and the guy in the hat who make you and/or your opponent draw cards and become further away from winning the game by using all of your cards. The game is just too random and not very interesting at all - I wish this art had been used for something more fun!
  • Papa Paolo is a game we decided we wanted partially based on a great theme - delivering pizza. It also describes itself as having pick up and deliver and tile laying - both mechanisms we really enjoy and looking at the board reminded me of Quadropolis and Capital. During each round you place your workers out onto a grid either to take the action of the row or column, or to take the city tile to add to your city. You'll be making pizzas in your pizzeria, making some money, building new pizzerias or drop shipping some pizza at the outskirts of your city. You'll get to make local deliveries at the end of each round in an auction for the best delivery vehicles. We were particularly happy to find that the auction mechanism for two players works really well. Ultimately Papa Paolo didn't quite live up to the hype I built up for it, but it's still a really good game and it's different in both theme and gameplay from anything else we own, which is a great accolade in itself.
  • Doodle Rush is a speed drawing game, which is like a rapid fire Pictionary. Each game you will be given 6 secret words. In each round you have 60 seconds to draw all 6 on a different piece of wipe clean cardboard. The next 60 second phase involves revealing all of your drawings and then everyone around the table simultaneously guesses what you've drawn. After 60 seconds you repeat the process with any words that were not guessed, amending your drawings or completing those you didn't get a chance to finish. I really enjoyed Doodle Rush, but no-one else around the table liked it very much. I have to admit, the guessing phase was just a bit too chaotic - it's very hard to shout and listen at the same time. Noticing who guessed it first can be really hard and can result in some annoyance for the person you didn't hear. I'm looking forward to taking Doodle Rush to my work board game group, but I'm not convinced yet on whether it will be a classic party game for the collection.
Tomorrow we have another board game day planned. It's a small celebration of one year since our motley crew of gamers got together and formed a Facebook chat. Hopefully we can play a few new games and perhaps some recent favourites too. Pulsar 2849 and Clans of Caledonia are already in the bag and ready to go.

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