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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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.

When you play a card you first choose 1 of the characters on the board who has a matching symbol, this character will be pushed one space closer to your grasp.Characters can be in one of 8 states, varying from fully protected from harm in the human dimension, to devoured by the monster in the monster dimension. Each character tracts this via a purple cube. Instead of advancing a character you may place a token on a character to add to the number of symbols on that card, making them vulnerable to more of your deck and thereby easier to focus on. Every card has an optional ability that you can activate by paying energy, which abilities you choose to use and when can often dictate the victor of the game. The townspeople even have some equipment cards which, once paid for, can be used repeatedly, though the monster can use cards to break them.

InBetween set up ready to be played, the turn order marker is two sided: Red for the monster and blue for the villagers

As they game continues the player order marker will move around the board, every time it leaves a character that is at least on the first stage into one of the 2 dimensions the player will get a chance to pay energy to increase their awareness of the other player. Should you ever manage to get the awareness track to the end you will win. At any time you can use your awareness to activate a special power, the higher your awareness the more options you will have, but all of the options have a use in their own right. You only get to use your awareness power once a game, so you need to make sure it really counts!

It probably goes without saying that InBetween strongly evokes the same themes as Stranger Things, with this shadowy monster dragging people away to another dimension before feasting on them. The art style does a great job of this, each character card is two-sided showing the same person in the exact same physical space, but when in the monsters dimension everything is a twisted mockery of the real world. The game does seem very well balanced, the monster has some more powerful energy abilities, but this can be countered by the villagers using their equipment well.

Some of the Monsters ability cards, at the bottom of each of the cards are the additional effects you can use if you pay the energy.

One thing that is apparent is that almost every game will end up in an awareness victory. Dragging a character down to devoured/safe takes a huge amount of effort, and is relatively easily slowed or countered, while dropping a few characters enough to start your awareness track off is comparatively easy. In our experience there was often a turning point at which one player got a lead, at which point victory was almost assured by that player, it is near impossible to get back from behind. InBetween is fun while it lasts, but it doesn't have the staying power for me, after a handful of games I feel like I've done it and I'm unlikely to come back to it.


InBetween was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available for an RRP of £25.00 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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