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

Tuesday 27 February 2018

The Game Shelf Previews:- Chronicles of Crime

Game: Chronicles of Crime

Publisher: Lucky Duck Games

Designer: David Cicurel

Year: 2018

You work for Scotland Yard, in London, so you're used to solving some terrible crimes. You love the puzzle, piecing together the clues  ultimately to see justice done for your victims.You've seen some terrible things, which only makes you more motivated for each case you're given by the commissioner.

In Chronicles of Crime you are working cooperatively in a group of 1-4 players to collect clues to solve a crime. You'll follow the trail, traveling to different locations, collecting evidence, interviewing suspects and consulting the experts to ultimately identify the culprit, as well as collect other information about their motives and other circumstances surrounding the crime.

Welcome to the Great British Bake Off :- Pie Town

Game: Pie Town

Publisher: Renegade Game Studios

Designer: Daniel Fremgen

Year: 2017

Pie Town is a 2-4 player worker placement game in which you will have to gather ingredients and then bake the best apple pies in town. Of course apple isn't the only ingredient allowed in Pie Town, each player will have a secret recipe, baking this will be sure to impress, but should your rivals learn your recipe then they can use it too and really impress the judges!

Pie Town is a worker placement game in which your workers are dice, but you don't roll them, instead taking certain actions will give your workers experience, allowing them to be upgraded to a higher number. Other actions will fatigue your workers, causing them to work less efficiently and go down to a lower number. Many actions in the game are empowered by this number, a strength 6 worker will gather more ingredients and bake more pies than a strength 1 worker.

Monday 26 February 2018

The Game Shelf Previews:- Dead and Breakfast

Game: Dead and Breakfast

Publisher: Braincrack Games

Designer: Rodrigo Rego

Year: 2018

Welcome to the Dead & Breakfast - a reputable establishment with 24 fine rooms, furnished for the comfort of our guests. Our beautiful mansions is decorated with vines with flowers in four stunning colours - nothing you'd want to touch or eat, of course. Don't mind the name, there's nothing to worry about. Unless, of course, you're afraid of zombies, bats, ghosts, puppets or spiders. You'll be fine!

In Dead & Breakfast, each player constructs a mansion with the goal of scaring as many guests as possible. You'll design rows and columns filled with different monsters and then select the perfect guest to occupy the row or column based on scaring them as much as possible. Can you make your Dead & Breakfast the best of the worst?

Sunday 25 February 2018

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work:- Week 16

This week's board game night almost didn't get off the ground due to too many people working late at the office, but after a lot of grumbling from me, we managed to get a small group together and probably had one of my most satisfying board game evenings in my new job. We played some new games, some slightly more thinky games and less party games.

Week 16

Number of Attendees: 5

Games Played: Tsuro of the Seas, Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama, Barenpark

Saturday 24 February 2018

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 14th - 18th February 2018

My name is Fiona and I'm a board game addict, it's been almost a month since my last first impressions blog! We have been playing some new games, but have been featuring them in our weekly reviews almost straight away. In addition, I've had a lot of opportunities to introduce new people into board games in the last few weeks, which has meant playing some simpler, familiar gateway games rather than bringing out the new hotness and learning the rules.

However, after a good game evening on Sunday, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday 22 February 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- InBetween

Game: InBetween

Publisher: Board & Dice

Designer: Adam Kwapiński

Year: 2017

In InBetween you are playing as either the forces of good or evil in a world where there is a town above and a parallel universe below. This may sound pretty familiar to viewers of the show Stranger Things - there are undoubtedly similarities in the theming. This theming is definitely something that first attracted us to this game, as well as the fact it is a 2-player only game. Interesting and slightly more complex two player games, that don't necessarily involve direct confrontation, are something we typically enjoy quite a bit and InBetween seemed to tick the right boxes.

In this two player card game, each player in using hand management to try and influence each character towards the light or the dark side. The two asymmetrical decks will allow each player to activate special abilities and influence different characters based on symbols also present on the cards. 

Tuesday 20 February 2018

I'm not a monster, just misunderstood!:- InBetween

Game: InBetween

Publisher: Board & Dice

Designer: Adam Kwapiński

Year: 2017

InBetween is a lightly asymmetric two player game. One player plays as a bloodthirsty monster from another dimension trying to drag victims across the dimensional barrier to devour them. The other player plays as the townspeople, trying to gather their wits and resources to mount a defense against this unknowable horror. The Monster player can win the game by devouring enough humans, but also by becoming aware of the humans attempts to defend against it. The townspeople can win be either getting enough people to be barricaded safely in their homes, or by increasing their awareness of the monster so they know its weaknesses.

At the start of a game of InBetween 10 character cards are laid out in a circle  in the center of the board, each character will alternate between starting in the human, or the creature dimensions. The player marker is placed on one of these characters, with the player that character is in the dimension of going second. Each player starts with 5 energy and 3 cards from their deck. On a turn a player can do one of 3 actions. They may discard any cards they choose to and draw back up to 5 cards. Alternatively they can gain 1 energy for every character in their dimension. Finally they could play a card from their hand.

Friday 16 February 2018

The Game Shelf will be at Airecon 2018

I have no idea how it's almost March already, but time is fast approaching for us to attend Airecon 2018 in Harrogate, UK. AireCon is a board game convention held from 9th-11th March 2018 at the Harrogate Convention Centre in Yorkshire. This year will be our first year attending and we're really excited to add another convention to our board gaming calendar.

We're not big convention attenders, since neither of us are great at throwing ourselves into games with new people, but last year, a lot of our friends attended the event so hopefully there will be some friendly faces and some new faces too. I expect Airecon to me a middle ground between the two conventions we've previously attended - the huge UK Games Expo and Stabcon South which is a much smaller event with a focus on playing games, not exhibitors. So far, the organisers are expecting around 1000 unique attendees which is awesome for a convention that was a gathering at someone's house back in 2015!!

So what are we looking forward to most at AireCon?

Thursday 15 February 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Nusfjord

Game: Nusfjord

Publisher: Mayfair Games

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg

Year: 2017

I've probably told this story a few too many times on the blog, but here we go again. We have been eagerly anticipating Nusfjord since it was announced during the summer of 2017. We went on honeymoon last year to the Norwegian fjords and one evening started talking about designing a game themed around this impressive and beautiful landscape. We were considering different mechanisms, including the tetris-style boards from A Feast for Odin. When we heard that the designer of A Feast for Odin was releasing a game about this exact setting, we were intrigued to see if he would use any of the mechanics we discussed and hoped that the game could live up to our expectations.

Nusfjord is a worker placement game for 1-5 players from designer Uwe Rosenberg. Uwe Rosenberg has of course designed many worker placement games, such as Agricola, Caverna and Fields of Arle, but this design feels slightly different with less of the farming theme and 'feed your people' mechanisms and more of an economic feel, in what is overall a lighter game, in my opinion. So how does Nusfjord play?

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Fish: 100% of a balanced diet:- Nusfjord

Game: Nusfjord

Publisher: Mayfair Games

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg

Year: 2017

Nusfjord is a 1-5 player worker placement game in which you will expand your fleet of shipping boats while seeking approval of the local elders.  Unfortunately your fish are not entirely your own to work with. If you have acquired help from elders then they will expect a tribute from your catch, and if other players have bought shares in your fishing company then you'll have to give them their due as well.

Nusfjord is a worker placement game from Uwe Rosenberg, which is almost like saying it's a sports car from Lamborghini. With the track record of Agricola, Caverna, Fields of Arle and A Feast For Odin Uwe Rosenberg has a reputation for putting incredible, though rather heavy, worker placement games. Given that our Honeymoon was a cruise around Norway, we were very excited to try Nusfjord when we first heard about it.

Monday 12 February 2018

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Doodle Rush

Game: Doodle Rush

Publisher: Brain Games

Designer: Adam Porter

Year: 2017

Doodle Rush is the next game coming from Brain Games, a publisher most noted for Ice Cool, which won the Kinderspiel des Jahres in 2017. Brain Games definitely primarily design games for kids and do not appear to have had another big hit since Ice Cool. That said, we really enjoyed King Frog, a game that we picked up at the UK Games Expo in 2017 and that we’ve had great success with when we’ve introduced it to others. However, we’ve not seen it gain any popularity outside of when we share it.

Doodle Rush is a game designed by a British designer, Adam Porter, and it released in small quantities at Essen 2017, with a wider release coming soon. It’s a game of fast paced drawing, lots of shouting and a fair amount of despair. It plays out in real time, lasting a maximum of 10 minutes, in six 60 second phases. It’s a party style game that probably works best for families or groups of adults.

So, grab your markers, and up to 5 friends - you’ve got just 60 seconds to try and draw 6 fantastic works of art before displaying before an audience of your peers!

Saturday 10 February 2018

The Game Shelf Previews:- Warriors of Jogu: Feint

Game: Warriors of Jogu: Feint

Publisher: Monsoon Publishing

Designer: Tony Chen

Year: 2018

Conflict has broken out in the land of Jogu and now the five factions are fighting for access to energy. Each faction must apply their different strengths in both war and deception to come out on top. However, each faction also has a weakness so cunning tactics are required to see who will emerge victorious in each two faction battle.

Warriors of Jogu is a two player card game, that is currently live on Kickstarter. Each player takes a faction, using them to battle over two locations on the board each turn. The game requires some bluffing to try and disguise your known battle location, as well as identification of the strong combos in each faction. You also need to be a good judge of when to go into battle hard and when to hold back, because if you run out of characters to send in to battle you are likely to be overwhelmed.

Thursday 8 February 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Terraforming Mars Venus Next

 Game: Terraforming Mars: Venus Next

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Designer: Jacob Fryxelius

Year: 2017

Venus Next is the second expansion for Terraforming Mars – an engine building game that has taken the board gaming world by storm. We are no exception, and are big fans of the original game and all expansions are an instant buy for us. Unlike the first expansion, Hellas and Elysium, which only added new boards, Venus Next adds additional cards to the decks, introducing both variety and new strategies for earning end game points in particular. Venus Next also adds a new global parameter – the Venus track. We don’t necessarily feel the need for expansions to Terraforming Mars, because the game feels very complete, and we don’t need new content to ensure it hits the table, but does Venus Next add enough new elements to make it a must-buy expansion?

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Completely uninhabitable? Hold my drink!:- Terraforming Mars: Venus Next

Game: Terraforming Mars: Venus Next

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Designer: Jacob Fryxelius

Year: 2017

Venus Next is an expansion to the  2016 hit game Terraforming Mars, as you may have guessed from it's title it adds the ability to terraform the second rock from the sun. While Mars certainly has issues for human habitation, Venus has some very different ones, a surface temperature that's hundred of degrees outside our comfort zone and an atmosphere of carbon dioxide so dense that  the pressure on the surface would be like going on a deep dive in the ocean. A very, very hot ocean.

So instead of trying to make the planet another blue-green haven in the cold darkness of space, you have to construct floating cities, while concentrating only on getting some oxygen back in the atmosphere. Fortunately the dense gases promote the use of very efficient blimp-like vehicles known as "floaters". The Venus board gives you a few new cities to build and a whole new planet to terraform, even if it only has 1 track, while the new cards provide you with a selection of Venus-focused corporations, along with a whole host of new cards that add ways to manipulate Venus' environment and set up a network of floaters.

Thursday 1 February 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Papa Paolo

Game: Papà Paolo

Publisher: Quined Games

Designer: Fabrice Vandenbogaerde

Year: 2016

Papa Paolo is a traditional pizza maker from Naples, the birthplace of pizza. He is passionate about pizza and wants it to remain the most popular dish in the city. However, he's not getting any younger, so he's enlisted the help of some new blood. He's putting the young pizza makers through their paces to see who is his most worthy successor. Each young pizza maker starts with just a small pizzeria but will have to grow to satisfy the most households with deliveries of delicious pizza.

So much about Papa Paolo makes me excited to play it. Its theme is running a pizza delivery service - something that is definitely unique in board gaming. The board looks amazing and the city tiles remind me of Capital - a game I'm really glad that I got to try in 2017. And finally, the mechanisms include pick up and deliver - something I've really come to enjoy over the last 12 months of gaming. So, how does Papa Paolo stand up to my high expectations?