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, 31 August 2018

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 25th-28th August 2018

Recently we've been finding that our gaming falls into one of two categories; games for review, and old favourites that we are teaching to other people. We've been finding it more difficult to find time to play new games that we have added to our collection - it's no fun to teach a game from the rulebook and our list of upcoming reviews is long! This weekend it was really nice to take a long weekend and go to visit a fellow reviewer (Nick from Board Deck and Dice) and it was great to share some experiences and have the willingness to play and learn some new games. 

As a result, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions, for the first time since April!

  • CV is a game I've been wanting to try from Granna games. In this card game you work from early adulthood, through middle age to old age, building a tableau of cards representing your job, investments, social activities and other aspects of your life. Each turn you roll dice to gain symbols that allow you to acquire new cards, but the top card of each type in your tableau may also give you additional symbol or additional dice, or otherwise manipulate what cards you can acquire. The game is really a game of set collection, but the theme really works and you can get into the theme and humour of the life you are creating. It was a good little card game, but not one I need to add to the collection. However, I'd definitely be happy to play CV again.
  • Calimala is a game from Blackfire Games that will soon be reprinted by Stronghold Games. It revolves around a really interesting worker placement mechanism that allows you to take actions on your player board, or to ship goods by boat or wagon to the different locations on the board. The worker placement zone is a grid where each space allows you to take two actions. You can place a worker on top of someone else's, but you'll get the two actions and so will all the tokens underneath you. In addition this worker stacking triggers the scoring for each location on the board, which is by an area control mechanism. Calimala is a really unique euro game and one we really enjoyed discovering and figuring out. It's really simple and innovative at the same time and we can't wait to play again!
  • Fuse is a quick dice-rolling, real time cooperative game. We really enjoy the sequel, Flatline, but have only just played the original. In Fuse you have ten minutes to defuse a pile of 'bomb' cards. Each turn you roll ad draft dice equal to the number of players to try and assign a dice to the one bomb card in front of you. Spots might need a specific number, a specific colour or need to be built up in a certain order. Everyone must use a dice or there is a penalty. Fuse was a really frantic game and we didn't win, but it was fun nevertheless. We still prefer Flatline as it feels a bit more puzzly and more cooperative because of it, but Fuse would make a great travel version with just a few dice and a stack of cards.
  • Diamonds is a trick-taking game with a very traditional design. We have been interested in trick-taking games over the last 6-9 months but still haven't found any to get super excited about. I recently bought Diamonds because it says two player on the box and I thought it would be accessible for my parents, who have played traditional, simple card games. The twist in Diamonds is that when you can't follow suit you get bonus actions, giving you additional opportunities to gain gems through a different mechanisms for each suit. This is in addition to getting actions for winning a trick. There are opportunities to manipulate your hand and gain information about the cards other people have, but most of the time you feel pretty out of control of your own destiny. Our experience at both two and three players was one with a few great moments but a general feeling of frustration at the limited agency we felt as we played.

Calimala was definitely the best of the bunch here. It had really interesting worker placement mechanisms, as well as some elements of area control that we surprisingly enjoyed! We are only sad that it only plays 3 player plus, so it won't hit our table as often as we would like - we'll be looking for more opportunities to play before sharing a full review.

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