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 11 March 2019

The Yellow Meeple's Thoughts from Airecon 2019

This weekend we spent 3 days at Airecon in Harrogate. It was a whirlwind few days, playing games for over 12 hours on both Friday and Saturday. It was a great opportunity to meet up with friends and to try a bunch of new games.

Bring and Buy

I love a good bring and buy and Airecon has a fantastic one! This is the first time we've ever tried to sell games in and bring and buy, but the new online system they put into place was super organised, which meant no queues to check in your games (on Friday at least!). We also hardly queued to buy games and we were excited to see so many newer games and some great bargains. Here's how it worked out for us!

Sold: We sold 16 games, including a mix of new and older games.

Unsold: We arrived with two full IKEA bags, and we left with less than one whole bag full of smaller and less appealing games. We were super happy to only be taking home 12 games!

Bought: I'm really happy with some of the games we bought. Two of the best we're Dixit Odyssey, which we bought to replace our 6 player Dixit with a 12 player version, and Thunderbirds with the Tracey Island expansion, which we've been on the lookout for to complete out Thunderbirds collection. We also added a couple of bargain party games and roll-and-write games, as well as two Keyforge decks, that are already hitting the table.

Overall I think we made more money than we spent, so that's a definite win!

Games Played

Airecon is most well known for being a  convention for playing games. Whilst it has a small retailer zone, open gaming is the focus. We spent a lot of our gaming time demo'ing new games with smaller publishers, as well as some demos with Paul Grogan, from Gaming Rules. Here's a few highlights of my weekends and Amy's blog features another five exciting demos.

Tiny Towns is a small scale city building game where players all play simultaneously to try and make the best combinations of buildings to earn the most points. On each turn, the active player will select a resource cube and all players will place this type of cube on their personal board. If you place the cubes in the right pattern you can convert them into one of the corresponding buildings and place that on your board. As the game progresses, the puzzle becomes clear and you start to realise the gaps you should've left and the opportunities you missed when trying to tessellate the right pieces together. With each building having a unique scoring ability, the game is all about working towards high point combos without blocking yourself into a corner. It's a really enjoyable lighter game and with no downtime, it would be a great game to bring to the table with new or experienced players.

Kingdom Rush:Rift in Time is coming to Kickstarter very soon from Lucky Duck Games. It's a cooperative tower defence game that is very puzzly in nature. Enemies are represented by a 5x5 tile covered in enemies. You need to use Tetris like pieces representing a hit zone for your attacks to try and cover all of the enemies to eliminate the tile before it damages your base. The game has many scenarios that offer different levels of challenge. Based on our first game, I think this should be their most popular game since Chronicles of Crime.

Solar Storm is a cooperative game coming to Kickstarter later this year from Dranda Games. Your ship is caught in the gravity whirl of a star and you need to redirect the power from each of the eight non-essential systems to the engine before a solar storm destroys your ship. Each player gets three actions per turn in order to repair the systems and then redirect the power by using combinations of the right coloured cards. Each system has a special ability that can be used when the systems are undamaged. If you ever have to damage a system with no more damage tokes remaining then you will lose. The game seemed really polished for a prototype and we really enjoyed trying to figure out this difficult puzzle.

Dice Hospital Expansion - We had the opportunity to try out one of the new expansion modules that designer Mike Nudd is working on for Dice Hospital. In this expansion, the new method of drafting patients is by sending your ambulance out to the town to collect the patients in need of treatment. This really thematic twist to the game gives you more control over how you want to populate your hospital wards, but also makes losing a patient a bigger risk if the group as a whole chooses not to help the critical patients who are waiting for ambulances! In addition there are some bonus tokens to collect as part of each draft which give you powerful one-off abilities that enable you to take bigger and better turns. I really enjoyed the expansion both thematically and mechanically and will be interested to see how this develops.

Convention Experience

For many people, Airecon seems to be all about catching up with old friends, making new friends and making use of the largest open gaming space in Europe. We had the chance to to this through a number of games during the convention. Some of my favourites were games of Cerebria, Captain Sonar and Everdell.

Cerebria was a chance to use convention time to bring a big, unplayed game to the table. Luke Hector (The Broken Meeple) kindly taught us in a three player game and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, in spite of the area control mechanics. Hopefully it won't take too much effort to learn the two-player game at home.

Conventions also give you the chance to bring lots of people together, and we managed an 8-player game of Captain Sonar with some old friends, their friends and a random passer by who made use of the Airecon 'Player Wanted' balloons. Although I'm not the biggest fan of Captain Sonar when played real-time, it was still a hilarious experience to have so many people laughing, shouting and cheering around the table. I only hope no-one was playing and intense strategy game nearby!

Our goal for this Airecon was to spend less time by ourselves, so we also used the convention's Facebook group to offer to teach a game of Everdell. We got ourselves a taker on Friday afternoon and reminded ourselves just how beautiful and awesome this game is. I can't wait to play it some more!

Although we focused most of our time on gaming, we also got the chance to talk to a number of exhibitors. Many of the exhibitors are smaller UK board game companies, but Airecon now attracts a few publishers from Europe too. We were excited to take a look at 1066: Tears for Many Mothers from Hall or Nothing and finally caught up with The Old Hellfire Club. It was also great to see some of the new products for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Champions and get a brief look at Fired Up, coming soon from Drawlab Entertainment.

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