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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Monday 7 January 2019

Overthinking by the Yellow Meeple:- Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2019

During 2018, we managed to play around 100 games released over the course of the year. I don't think we can hope to exceed that in 2019, but that still means we should get the chance to play lots of  exciting new games. At such an early stage in the year, it's difficult to know what the hot new games are going to be, but for me, it's still fun to speculate and get excited about the games of the future. of course, we'll still be playing many 2018 games during 2019 - there's so many "Essen releases" that we still haven't seen here in the UK.

This risks being a list of games we backed on Kickstarter during 2018, but with a self imposed limit of one Kickstarter per month, there should still be lots of other games to get excited about! I'm going to try and stick to games I know will be released this year, but delays happen and I think there are one or two games on this list at risk of becoming 2020 games, especially the Kickstarter games.

So, with no further caveats, here are my top ten most anticipated board games for 2019!

     1. Monumental is a game from designer Matthew Dunstan and publisher Fun Forge. We know this one is good, because we were lucky enough to play a prototype when the game was on Kickstarter. For me, this game is Top 20 material and I can't wait to get all of the miniatures and dig more into the interesting deck-building and civilisation building gameplay. I totally fell in love with the game and it's huge powerful turns with cascading resources and interlocking actions, I just hope it does arrive during 2019!

     2. Tidal Blades is another game we've backed on Kickstarter. It's initial appeal was certainly the artwork and world building put together by Mr Cuddington, alongside Druid City Games' track record for delivering phenomenal component quality. There's no doubt in my mind that Tidal Blades will be a beautiful game! I'm honestly not sure how everything comes together, but the upgrading character boards, upgrading dice and resource management aspects all look like a really nice mid-weight game, wrapped in a wonderful package.

     3. Batman Gotham City Chronicles is the third and final game on this list that we backed on Kickstarter. It's perhaps the largest and most stretch goal filled campaign we've ever backed! We were certainly taken in by the amount of content, but also baked it based on the strength of the original game, Conan, on which it is based. I've been painting the King's pledge of Conan for the past 18 months and it really has been a labour of love. I really like how the very free-form combat in Conan turns a genre of gaming that I shouldn't really enjoy into a game that I can really get into and I'm hoping that the theme of Batman, plus some game development will make this one shine even more. Like Monumental though, I'm nervous that this won't hit 2019!

     4. Wingspan is the latest game from Stonemaier Games. It's one of the first 2019 releases, with lots of buzz right now around the pre-order copies you can now get hold of. We will probably wait for UK distribution to avoid shipping charges and import tax, but it will be a must buy for us once available. Some reviewers are calling this a Terraforming Mars killer, and whilst I find this impossible to believe since Terraforming Mars is my favourite game, I'm still totally excited to see an engine building game that could rival it with such a different theme. I could definitely make space for both of them on my shelves if Wingspan is as good as I hope! The component quality and art look great and Stonemaier games very rarely let us down, so I can't wait for Wingspan!

     5. Clank Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated is a legacy version of the hit deck-building game Clank!. A deck-building legacy game is something I've really been looking forward to. We passed on Aeon's End Legacy after not really enjoying the base game but I really enjoy how Clank combines deck-building and dungeon crawling, with some push your luck and route planning. It's on our shelves, but doesn't come off the shelf quite as often as I'd like. I am a sucker for legacy games, although we limit ourselves to around two per year due to limited play time to commit, but we still have a slot vacant in 2019, and given that we're unsure whether Pandemic Legacy Season 3 will hit, Clank Legacy makes the list.

     6. Adventure Games are a new series of games coming from publisher Kosmos and designers Matthew Dunstan and Phil Walker-Harding. They appear to come in the same sized box as the EXIT game series, that we really enjoy. In each title in this series of co-operative games, players are presented with a mysterious story that they must unravel over the course of play. Working together, players explore common areas, talk to people, look for clues, and combine various items to reveal the secret of the story. There seem to be branching paths in the game, that remind me of T.I.M.E. Stories, which is no bad thing! Plus they'll either be replayable, or at least non-destructive, which means you can pass them on to friends.

     7. Barrage is coming from Cranio Creations after a successful Kickstarter campaign during 2018. It's coming from some of our favourite euro game designers of recent years, in particular Simone Luciani. The way that the mechanisms and the theme appear to tie together in this game is what really stands out to me. The network building is also a plus as you try and guide water down the mountain side to generate power. It looks like a heavy game, but one that I should really enjoy.

     8. Edge of Darkness takes the interesting concept of card crafting, developed in AEG's mystic Vale and turns it into a huge euro game. I love the mechanisms of Mystic Vale that allow you to do deck-building whilst also upgrading your cards. Edge of Darkness uses these cards for worker placement but also uses a common deck-building pool which sounds like it should make the game quite interactive, even though it's a euro game. The Kickstarter was a big success, but I chose to wait for retail on this one. It will be a must-buy for me.

     9. New Frontiers is Race for the Galaxy, the board game. Race for the Galaxy was a very early addition to our collection and at the time, it was definitely a heavy game for us. We really enjoyed the mechanisms and the activation of cards that affected all players around the table. The designer diary for New Frontiers indicates that they were inspired by Puerto Rico, which I've always wanted to play, but never got to the table with 3 players as the minimum player count. New Frontiers says it plays two and probably has a more interesting theme, so ti's one I'm keen to try.

     10. YĆ­nzi: The Shining Ming Dynasty is one of the 2019 releases announced by Spielworxx. I'm not sure what it is that interests me so much about their games, even though I've played very few of them! They seem to always play two players, always have interesting themes and have very strong and interesting euro mechanisms that we typically enjoy. With pick-up-and-deliver listed as a mechanism too, it's a game I'll be looking out for.  I also recently realised that their first print run is only ever 1000 games, so I will not be letting this one pass me by, the way that I missed out on Captains of the Gulf earlier this year!

I'll be interested to look back at this list in 12 months time and see how many of the titles we managed to play and finding out if I was right to be excited by them! Hopefully you'll see reviews for some of them over the course of the year!

What 2019 games are you excited about? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. I believe you need to update your knowledge in terms of Euros:
    "it should make the game quite interactive, even though it's a euro". Sounds to me you're still in 2008. Good luck!

    1. Not sure if that's a joke...
      Well integrated player interaction is still something that makes a euro game stand out for me, even though I'm very happy to have no interaction at all.

  2. Thanks for including Monumental and the Adventure Games on your Top 10 list Fiona - I hope you'll enjoy them! Just one small correction - the Adventure Games are co-designed with Phil Walker-Harding, not Brett Gilbert.

    1. Thanks Matt, appreciate the correction (ad of course the games!).