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 11 March 2019

Amy's Round-Up of Airecon 2019

We just got back from Harrogate where we were attending Airecon - one of the UK's largest board game conventions. Here's some more info about the event and the games we got the chance to play.

Games Played

Rome & Roll is an asymmetrical dice drafting, resource management and city building game. Each round players will draft 2 dice and then take turns using the actions and gaining the resources on them. The city of Rome is a shared board on which players will draw the buildings they construct with major benefits for adjacency encouraging you to build next to other players. Meanwhile each player also has a personal board on which you store your resources, build your armies and wealth and, most importantly, bribe officials to unlock new, unique player powers. Rome and Roll is extremely heavy for a 'roll and write' style of game, although many of the difficulties we had were clearly due to prototype components which will be improved upon.

An early prototype of Rom and Roll, At the top the players are rebuilding the city of Rom, at the bottom regions are being conquered for glory, and taxes!
Adventure Games are a series of escape-room style games coming from Kosmos. Each game consists of 3 chapters, each around an hour in length. with the ability to take a break in the game between chapters. Unlike most escape room games there is no time limit. You are free to take your time and enjoy the more story-driven direction that the Adventure Games series brings. Each player will have their unique character that has different interactions with objects they encounter. The item interaction is extremely well implemented, if you want to use item 10 on item 11 then you look in the book (or search in the app for the final game) for entry 1011 to see what the result is. This cooperative system really embodies a point and click adventure and has loads of potential.

Magnate: The First City is a property development game in which you play as property developers buying up land and building properties in the midst of a pricing bubble. But like all bubbles this market is soon to burst and bring all your profits crashing down with it.Build and fill buildings and make money off the rental market while you wait for the property values to soar. Magnate tasks you with manipulating the market in order to sell your properties at the right time just before the market crashes. When the crash occurs all properties must be sold off at the lowered crash price and then the player with the most money wins.

Large shopping centers can attract lots of businesses renting out your property, the more shops inside the more you can sell it for, but is it worth your initial investment?

Assembly is a 2-player cooperative puzzle game in which you have to work together to construct a functional space ship before the space station you are in vents all your oxygen. You have to use cards to move module tokens around a circular blueprint and then lock them in place when they are in position. Cards allow you to add more tokens to the blueprints, rotate tokens around the board or swap the position of 2 tokens. Whenever you play a card the other player must support you by revealing the same card type in their hand, with the age old catch that you are very limited in your communication. Should you not cooperate well then you will be forced to discard cards instead and should the draw deck run out for the 3rd time then you'll be out of breathable air!

Coloma is a 1-5 player euro style game that challenges you to construct a town in the wild west. It's currently on Kickstarter from Final Frontier Games. Players will secretly decide which of the 5 (of 6) available actions each turn to use. Should you choose the most popular action then you will get a weakened version of the action, while the less popular actions can typically be performed twice or at a discounted rate. You'll be having for fight off bandits while you build up your town, ford and build bridges over rivers and explore nearby colonies to recruit workers to your town.

After selecting actions the player's cowboys head out to the central board, the area with the most cowboys gets weaker.
We played lots of other games, and Fiona included lots in her convention write up too.

Convention Experiences

In a suite at the back of the convention there are regular events from escape room experiences to the incredible BGE raffle. Among the many events held over the weekend we got the change to take place in mega games of NMBR 9 and Karuba. Of the two, NMBR 9 worked flawlessly with the near 2-dozen players we had. I certainly had a moment of pride when I won the second game, knowing that you beat so many other people when everyone had exactly the same input was wonderful. Karuba required a few modifications to make into a mega game and in my opinion this was slightly to the game's detriment, but there was still something fantastic about hearing the whole room cheer when a much-needed crossroad piece was drawn!

One of the events that drew the most people by far was the Board Game Exposure raffle. For a small fee (proceeds going to charity) you could enter tickets into one of 5 raffles. Each raffle was for a table covered in games donated by generous publishers. Let's be clear here, you weren't up for winning 1 game from the table, the winners won the entire table, each with well over a dozen games going to one lucky soul!

Airecon is known as a convention where you actually get to sit down and play games. There is a huge amount of open gaming space that you can sit down to play games you brought with you, recently bought or, of course, borrowed from their library. For a small fee of £10 you can borrow as many games as you want, 1 at a time. At the end of your weekend you can even return your library card to get your money back! The library had a great selection of games, although you'd have to be lucky to get hold of their copy of Wingspan this year!

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