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

Monday 12 November 2018

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 10th - 11th November 2018

The first Kickstarter project I ever backed was for a board game cafe. When we backed DICE Portsmouth, we lived in Southampton, just 25 minutes down the road. Unfortunately, it took the team a long time to find premises and now we live quite a bit further away. This weekend we made our first visit and tied it in with a trip to see some old friends. The cafe is one of the best we've ever visited and you can find out more on our UK board game cafe listing.

Their shelves are very well stocked, so we got the chance to play a bunch of new games, so here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions!

  • Upstream is an abstract game of grid movement with really lovely 'cubist' like artwork of river animals. In the game you'll be trying to move your fish tokens upstream, swimming or jumping to avoid bears, eagles and herons and negotiate the currents and waterfalls you find along the way. With just five actions per turn, the game is simple but sometimes agonising in terms of where you can move your pieces. You want to get to the end of the river first, but if you don't move your fish at the back, they will be lost. With two players, we felt that the game probably lacked the blocking aspect that would be more prevalent in a higher player count game, but Upstream is definitely a filler game with potential and probably one that will get better with multiple plays as you start to get a better feel for tactical tile placement. I'd be happy to get an opportunity to play it with more players in the future.
  • Kero is a two player game that looks amazing on the table. The major components are two plastic, truck shaped sand timers, which are frankly ridiculous, but also a key game component. Couple this with really great card and board artwork from Piero, who is probably most well known for Ghost Stories, and Kero looks super promising. The game is a competitive dice rolling game with a few unique twists that mean it's not all about how fast you can roll. Your symbols allow you to acquire cards or assign tokens to landscapes that will 'score' in each of three scoring rounds. Your cards can give you end game points or permanent abilities. It's up to you how much you re-roll your dice and push your luck to avoid getting the fire symbol, but the sand timer in your truck is your limit. You can refill your sand timer by spending kerosene, but your opponent will use dice rolls to try and limit the amount of sand you get! Kero is a really unique feeling two-player only experience and one we're keen to play again - it was great to play a speed dice rolling game with so many new and interesting aspects!
  • Triplock is a game from Chip Theory games, which typically means great components, including heavy poker chips. On this count, Triplock does not let you down, in spite of being a surprisingly small box game. For some reason I was expecting an escape room game but instead found a 1-2 player puzzle game. By using actions from dice rolls you are trying to locate certain symbols amongst the hidden poker chips and reveal them to crack codes on your cards. I found the rulebook very difficult to understand, which somewhat soured our first play, but the game itself proved to be an interesting little puzzle. I'd happily try the game again as a quick filler for two players that only lasts about 15 minutes, but I'm not convinced Amy would play with me after too many misunderstandings and bad luck with the dice!
  • Arkham Horror (Third Edition) is not a game we would naturally gravitate to. Cthulhu themed games are not top of our list of favourites, although we have enjoyed Elder Sign and AuZtralia. Arkham Horror has typically been a game we avoided due to the length of play, but a more streamlined, new edition was worth a try. Unfortunately we played with 6 players, and whilst it was great to catch up with some friends that we haven't gamed with in over 6 months, this made the game drag to 4 hours! With that said, there were some glimmers of hope in the game's narrative and the tactical decisions we made felt more meaningful than I have experienced in similar games. With two or three players I can imagine feeling significantly more in control and might even consider trying Arkham Horror again. However at 6 players I was simply bored and frustrated with how every round played out very similarly, with very little hope of success.
I'm really happy that we got an extra opportunity for gaming this weekend! We also got some great new deliveries and are looking forward to trying Dice Settlers, The Estates and more over the coming weeks. It's an exciting time to be a gamer!

1 comment:

  1. Re: Triplock.. worth downloading the updated rules from Geek or their website. They clarified and simplified a number of rules during the kickstarter, and it's much clearer with this update