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 20 April 2018

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 16th April 2018 at The Ludoquist

This blog is by no means my first impressions of The Ludoquist. We visit the board game cafe in Croydon quite a lot, with different groups of friends, and, of course, Amy works there. However, it's the first time we've been by ourselves and set aside a day for gaming. I've been keeping  a list of games on the shelves that I wanted to play and we managed to cross of quite a few. We identified some great new games as well as avoiding a few bad purchases.

I won't feature all of the games we played, but here's some of the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

  • Viticulture is a very well regarded medium-weight euro game from Stonemaier Games. My Twitter followers were surprised to find that we had never played this title before, but it's been on my to-try list for a long time. The game has two seasons per round, summer and winter, where you place your workers to do different activities on a vineyard - planting vines, picking grapes, making wine, offering tours to visitors, and fulfilling wine orders. The worker placement is simple, but the element that really blew my mind was the timing - you really have to ensure you're in control of the ageing of your grapes and wine to manage to fulfil orders successfully. I enjoyed so many aspects of this game, with the timing, visitor powers and sharing the workers between summer and winter. I think this is one we'll have to add to our collection soon.
  • Istanbul: The Dice Game is a dice game that is very loosely based on the theme of the game Istanbul, where you are trading goods and money for rubies. There is not much else taken from the original game, but the dice game is a much lighter game because of it. Each turn you roll dice and depending on the dice faces you can perform two different actions to trade the dice face for different tokens, money or rubies. There is some luck mitigation with the gems that allow re-rolls and you can deliberately take mosque tiles that give you additional dice or additional gems to further increase your chances of success. It's a nice dice game, but nothing really special for me. I'd play again, but I wouldn't seek it out.
  • Odin's Ravens is a two player game that Amy teaches a lot at the cafe, but that she's never taught to me. Cards are laid on the table to form a route made up of squares of different scenery. Each player starts at opposite ends of the same route. Your hand consists of some cards with scenery on them which you play to move a space forward in that scenery type, but you can also action cards to your hand which allow you to manipulate the board, removing cards, flipping cards or adding cards to slow down your opponent. The mechanisms of Odin's Ravens are really simple and elegant, but I just felt that luck of the draw wasn't on my side and that reduced my enjoyment of the game. I think Odin's Ravens is a good two player game, but there are better options out there for me.
  • Powerships is a rare racing game that plays two players. Sometimes it just says 2 players on the box, but we actually found that this player pretty well with two. A little bit like Formula D, Powerships as a mixture of dice rolling and push your luck, but with one D3s in the game, you have a bit more of a sense of how your luck is going to play out. In Powerships the board is variable, but you'll always need to loop around three obstacles before reaching the finish. Each turn you'll move in a straight line to the full extent of your speed and then you can turn by 60 degrees to change your path through the hexes on the board. Your speed is dictated by the dice faces you have. Each round you can add a dice to your pool, remove a dice from your pool and/or reroll as many dice as you like from your pool. Manipulating your speed has some luck, but some strategy and if you crash you'll lose all of your dice, so this should be avoided. There's certainly some luck, for example I rolled only ones at the start of the game, but slow and steady helped with manoeuvring at times, as well as avoiding crashing, so I was consistent and the game ended up being really close. Powerships was a good racing game and I'll be hoping to play it again.

In addition, we had a great game of Unlock 2, and I suspect that we just enjoy escape rooms on easy mode because they don't make us feel stupid! We also played Barker's Row, but since that will be an upcoming review, I won't give ay spoliers here. There's still a big list of games we need to play, but there are a lot of big games to play and there's only so much learning we could take in a single day! I can't wait to dedicate more days to playing through The Ludoquist library!

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