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, 9 November 2018

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 1st - 7th November 2018


Although we're struggling slightly to make gaming time at the moment, we have made the time to visit The Ludoquist board game cafe twice in the last two weeks. Last week Amy played D&D whilst I had a board game night and this week we went along to their 1st birthday celebration with the goal of playing a couple of new releases.

So here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions!

  • Everdell seemed to get a lot of hype at Essen, but when Amy came home from a day at work raving about the game and how it reminded her of Terraforming Mars, it shot right up my 'want to try' list. Everdell has undoubtable table presence, and although the 3D tree is a bit of a ridiculous component, it certainly looks the part and adds to the lovely woodland theme of the game. Behind the cute theme and adorable components is a really neat tableau builder that has some really thinky moments. The game accelerates through four seasons, with you gaining more workers for worker placement in each round, so the early seasons are quick, but later seasons allow you to have huge actions and trigger combos in a really satisfying way. I'm looking forward to more plays of Everdell so that I can start to see the different cards and develop better strategies early in the game. I can't wait to play some more and was very happy to leave the cafe having bought a copy!
  • Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra is the sequel to the incredibly popular Azul. There are actually a lot more changes in the sequel than I expected - the only thing that remains the same is the way that you take tiles. Otherwise you are trying to fill vertical strips of your window with tiles that match the printed colours. When a strip fills it scores, scoring bonus points if it contains tiles of the colour matching the bonus colour for the round. Each strip has a font and back, giving you the opportunity to score twice and end game scoring will rely heavily on concentrating on one colour and completing as many strips twice as you can. My overriding feeling during the game was that it was fiddly and over-complicated. It was certainly a fine game, but being compared to Azul does it no favours in terms of elegance and visual appeal. If you like both, there is definitely a place for both in a games collection, but for me, I'll be sticking to the original, but would be happy to play the sequel again if asked.
  • Dragon's Breath was the winner of the Kinderspiel (Children's Game of the Year) this year and I'm generally happy to give any kids game from Haba a try, even when there are no kids around! Some Haba games play well with adults and sadly this is not one of them. In the game you create a stack of plastic rings and fill the resulting tube with gems in 5 colours. On your turn, each player picks a gem number, then one layer removes a ring and each player takes the gems that fall in the corresponding colour. Since there's no real rules about how much manoeuvring you do when you take off the ring, we found that adults could be very dexterous and carefully cause specific gems to topple, really just breaking the experience. Honestly there's not much of a game here for kids either in my opinion and with so many other dexterity options, I'm not sure Dragon's Breath would be my top choice.
  • Villainous is a very pretty Disney themed board game, so I was surprised when our typical gaming group wanted to give it a try. Not only that, but it wasn't the most intuitive game to understand - the actions are simple, but understanding who can do what to who, on top of everyone's asymmetrical win conditions, meant the game was pretty slow to get going. Five players was certainly too many, and the downtime was a bit much, but by the latter stages of the game, we were really quite enjoying it. It was interesting to see how each player tried to manipulate their position and there was a lot of table talk and laughter amongst the group. I'm certainly interested to play again and do wonder what group size it will work with best, so it's a good thing that there's already a copy waiting to be played on our shelves.
  • Eco-Links is a real time competitive puzzle game from Korea Board Games. Each player is given a board and hexagonal terrain tiles which have different routes printed on them. In each round 6 animal locations will be drawn that are common to all players and everyone must then race to place the right tiles to make one continuous route around their player board which connect all animals, but has no dead ends or entrances where there are no animals. It's a great little spatial puzzle and the game also has a great catch-up mechanism where the player who wins a round by finishing first and correctly has to sacrifice one of their 'good' tiles. I really enjoyed Eco-Links but its replayability is quite limited for an adult audience. I'd definitely recommend it for families and children.
Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be travelling on a last minute work trip next week so time for playing games is on hold for the time-being - given the new releases that we're expecting this week, it's more than a little frustrating! I think we're most excited by the new Fog of Love expansions, as well as the imminent arrival of AuZtralia which we played as a Kickstarter prototype.

Fortunately, I often find that my trips to Canada result in some interesting board game purchases at the very least, so I'm excited to see if I can find any bargains, or hard to find games whilst I'm away!

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