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

Tuesday 30 April 2019

There's No Folk like:- Inuit: The Snow Folk

Game: Inuit: The Snow Folk

Publisher: Board & Dice

Designer: Alexey Konnov, Alexey Paltsev, Anatoliy Shklyarov, Trehgrannik

Year: 2019

Inuit: The Snow Folk is a 2-4 player tableau building card game in which you play as the leader of a clan of Inuits. Your goal is to lead your clan to greatness by recruiting more clan members, worshiping spirits and hunting the great polar game needed to survive. Should things get dire you can always recruit members fro other clans, but know that this will cost you in the long run.

Each turn the active player will draw one card from the deck, adding it to the central market known as the great white. On top of this one card they may choose to perform the scout action, letting them draw more cards up to their current scouting limit. After choosing whether to scout or not they then choose one of the 6 main actions to perform. All of the actions function in the same way, allowing you to take 1 card of the relevant type from the great white, plus 1 additional card of the same kind for every Inuit that has been attached to that action.

Monday 29 April 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- 8 Bit Box

Game: 8 Bit Box

Publisher: Iello

Designer: Frank Crittin, Grégoire Largey

Year: 2018

8 Bit Box is a games console turned into a cardboard form. The base game gives you all of the necessary components to play the three games in the box, and future expansions will also feed off the same set of components.

8 Bit Box captures the essence of retro video games, with the three games in the base box being very reminiscent of some of your favourites like Pacman and Mario Kart. The dual layer controllers allow you to program all sorts of different movements, like speed, direction and other symbols, that can have different meanings in each of the mini games you play. A set of basic cubes and counters gives you everything else you need to explore the games in 8 Bit Box.

Sunday 28 April 2019

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- New Frontiers

Game: New Frontiers

Publisher: Rio Grande

Designer: Tom Lehmann

Year: 2018

Race for the Galaxy probably deserves to be labelled as a modern classic board game. Its appeal is perhaps limited to those deep into the gaming hobby, but it's an older game that is known to most gamers. The remake into a dice game, with Roll for the Galaxy was very popular, and now, you can try the new board game version - New Frontiers.

After only recently playing Tom Lehmann's latest card game, Res Arcana, we took the chance to revisit the Race for the Galaxy universe with a number of enjoyable games of New Frontiers.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Fantasy Defense

Game: Fantasy Defense

Publisher: Mandoo Games

Designer:  Evan Song, Yoshiyuki Arai (あらいよしゆき)

Year: 2017

In Fantasy Defense, players lead the resistance of a mighty city besieged by forces of evil – waves of orcs, goblins, and far worse.

At the beginning of each game, 'stack' the Enemy Deck with a powerful dragon at the bottom. Then set the city morale to 20, lay out the gate tiles, and shuffle the Defenders Deck. Will your defenders be able to take on the foes that await them behind  the city walls?

Fantasy Defense funded on Kickstarter in May 2017 and is now available through some specialist retailers, such as Nice Game Shop. If you're interested in solo games or two player cooperative games then read on to find out more about Fantasy Defense.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Space, the Final...:- New Frontiers

Game: New Frontiers

Publisher: Rio Grande

Designer: Thomas Lehmann

Year: 2018

New Frontiers is a 2-5 player action selection space game in which you seek to create the greatest space empire. It is a follow up to the classic 2007 game Race for the Galaxy, indeed if you are familiar with the original then you will instantly feel at home with New Frontiers action selection mechanics. During the game you will need to develop technologies, explore and colonise (or conquer) new planets and generate and trade resources in order to create a prosperous space empire.

On each players turn they will select one of the 7 available actions. While each action is unique all but one share a common trend: every player will get to do the action, but the player who selected it will get a bonus. For example the develop action lets everyone, in turn order, buy a development from the market for credits. However the player who picked the action not only gets first choice, but also a 1 credit reduction on the price of the development tile. Most of the actions work this way, Explore lets you draw planets from the bag, with the first player getting a second planet after everyone has picked. Settle lets you colonize an explored world, or take colonists to colonize with, the player who picked it gets a free colonist before the action etc.

Saturday 20 April 2019

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Fine Sand

Game: Fine Sand

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Designer: Friedemann Friese

Year: 2018

Who designed this game? Well its got a green cover and it's name begins with F, so of course it's Friedemann Friese and Fine Sand is the latest fable game. We've tried most of the fable games so far, beginning with Fabled Fruit which we enjoy and has a place in our collection and then moving into the Fast Forward series which we were less enamoured with. Fine Sand has been hailed by Richard Ham of Rahdo Runs Through as one of the designer's best games and that was enough to make us want to give it a try.

Fine Sand is a deck deconstruction game for 1-4 player, where players compete to be the first to have zero cards in their draw pile. your card pool is reduced by paying to build cards, ditching them on an adjacent opponent, or having such a high hand limit that there's no cards left to draw. Of course, you can also build sandcastles to get cards out of the way. Each game you'll swap in 3 new cards, changing the game to create the fable system.

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Build the Best Sandcastle in the Galaxy!:- Fine Sand

Game: Fine Sand

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Designer: Friedemann Friese

Year: 2018

Fine Sand is a 1-4 player engine-building card game in which you compete with your rivals to build the best sandcastle by making clever use of your trucks(!) to build up your sand, and dump your waste onto others.The game is played simultaneously with each player taking one of two actions each turn. At the end of each game you will have a chance to change your decks using the fable game system to create a 10-game long campaign.

Gameplay in Fine Sand is simple, each turn you perform Action 1, then choose between actions 2a and 2b, before performing action 3. Action 1 starts as drawing 2 cards from your deck, though as you build new green cards you will draw more cards or perform other special effects. Action 2a lets you build a card from your hand, discarding a number of cards equal to the cost of the card you want to build. As you build red cards you will get more build actions when you use action 2a or even a discount on each build. Action 2b lets you draw more cards, with additionally built blue cards typically letting you draw even more cards. Finally action 3 forces you to discard to your hand limit, typically 3 cards, but purple cards tend to increase your hand limit once build.

Monday 15 April 2019

The Game Shelf Previews:- Rusty Industry

Game: Rusty Industry

Publisher: Yodelling Ogre Games

Designer: Damian Sulej

Year: 2019

Rusty Industry invites you into an underground world of crazy contraptions, and encourages you to assemble a new and great kingdom from the decrepit ruins. You play as one of the king’s chosen entrepreneurs: buying buildings, trading with competitors, and upgrading your facilities to maximise your product output.

Rusty Industry is the first game coming from Yodelling Ogre Games, and is a self-published design from Damian Sujej. We were lucky enough to get a chance to take a look at the great looking prototype ahead of its Kickstarter campaign.

Sunday 14 April 2019

The Game Shelf Previews:- Maquis

Game: Maquis

Publisher: Side Room Games

Designer: Jake Staines

Year: 2019

Maquis is a solitaire worker-placement gameset during the Nazi occupation of France. You play as the resistance agents, travelling around the town, trying to achieve your goals without being caught by the Milice collaborators and Wehrmacht soldiers.

Maquis is a published version of a previous Golden Geek Nominee for best print and play. Sideroom Games are bringing it to Kickstarter with a fantastic production version that's also great value.

Those of you who follow our blog regularly might notice that this is a solo game and we've never spoken about solo play before. I was so drawn to the artwork and gameplay of Maquis that I decided to give it a try, in spite of my previous lack of engagement with solo games. So has it converted me?

Saturday 13 April 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Caper

Game: Caper

Publisher: Jumbo Games

Designer:  Unai Rubio

Year: 2018

Caper is a beautiful reprint of a 2015 game, It's Mine, from designer Unai Rubio. The new edition has fantastic artwork that comes straight out of the 1940s, with engaging characters and equipment that comes straight out of a retro catalog, with fantastic illustrations of all sorts of hair-brained contraptions.

Recruit a quirky crew of thieves and equip them with colorful gear to steal from famous places across Europe! Caper is a tactical 2-player card game of set-collection, tableau building and area control where thieves are equipped with equipment to make them sneakier or more successful in their endeavors.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Deckscape: Behind the Curtain

Game: Deckscape: Behind the Curtain

Publisher: dV Giochi

Designer: Martino Chiacchiera, Silvano Sorrentino

Year: 2019

Deckscape has been one of our favourite 'Escape Room' board games. There's a few reasons that we like their model. The games are very portable and replayable. They're not ridiculously difficult and so they don't make you feel stupid. Plus, they are far more suited to a larger group of player than a game like Exit, because the deck reliably splits into 3 branches.

Deckscape: Behind the Curtain is the fourth game we've played from this line, with Heist in Venice being our favourite so far. As is apparent from the name and the cover, in this game you are part of a magic show and you will need to escape.

Tuesday 9 April 2019

The Game Shelf Previews:- Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time

Game: Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time

Publisher: Lucky Duck Games

Designer:  Helana Hope, Sen-Foong Lim, Jessey Wright

Year: 2019

If you've not played Kingdom Rush the video game you are missing out on one of the all-time classic tower defence games. While it might not be one of the first of it's genre it used what had came before to perfect it's addictive, yet challenging gameplay. If you haven't tried it yet the game is available free online, so be sure to give it a go, just be warned it's easy to lose hours of your life!
Lucky Duck have once again picked up a video game phenomena and converted it into a faithful board game recreation. Taking theme, style and many gameplay mechanics from the video game and combining it with their design expertise. Just like the digital version you'll be constructing towers to fend off swarms of enemies, upgrading towers to help deal with the upgraded monsters coming your way, and working through an ongoing campaign of increasing difficulty.

Kingdom Rush: Rift In Time is a cooperative game for 1-4 players. It's coming to Kickstarter on April 9th 2019 and it definitely a campaign to watch!

Sunday 7 April 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Qwinto

Game: Qwinto

Publisher: NSV

Designer:  Bernhard Lach, Uwe Rapp

Year: 2015

Qwinto is second in a line of roll-and-write games begging with 'Qw'. The first was Qwixx, and a recent release Quantum is the third in the line. It seemed to me that when the roll-and-write craze hit in the last 12-18 months, Qwinto was widely regarded as the best example up until that point - it was the one to beat!

Like many gamers in North America, who were recently able to access the game through a reprint by Pandasaurus games, Qwinto is still new to us and we have come to it after playing many of the more recent roll and write games. With a tiny box, 3 dice, 4 pencils and some score sheets, does Qwinto still have what it takes to rival the new contenders in the roll-and-write space?

Saturday 6 April 2019

Over-thinking by the Yellow Meeple: The Golden Geek Awards 2018

In spite of the fact that we do our yearly retrospective on 1st January each year, it's also nice to have an extra few months to play some more 2018 titles and solidify some opinions. This week the Golden Geeks were announced for 2018 and we have played almost all of the games that won and many that were nominated. More-so that last year there is a spread of winners, so let's take a look at the best games of 2018, as voted by the members of BoardGameGeek.

Friday 5 April 2019

The Game Shelf Previews:- The Old Hellfire Club

Game: The Old Hellfire Club

Publisher: Jamie Frew

Designer: Jamie Frew

Year: 2019

The Old Hellfire Club is a storytelling card game in which 2-6 players join forces to tell a story of their greatness in order to convince the locals down the pub to buy them a gin. However there is only one gin on offer, so players will have to be imaginative in their own storytelling, but also cutthroat in correcting any "embellishments" that their fellow revellers may have added to the story. Tell stories involving all the important Victorian people, places and things and you'll earn yourself a drink, but should someone point out that you weren't actually with the queen then prepare to be laughed at and, even worse, go home thirsty!

Players will have a hand of cards each consisting of one of seven storytelling suits (people, places, perils, motives, crimes, weapons and objects) and a number from 1-10 indicating how influential the story may be, but also how easy it is to point out your embellishment.You will also have 1 helper who can assist you by backing up your story, or hinder your opponents in several ways. On your turn you will continue the ongoing and ever evolving story that the group is telling. Whenever you reach a salient point then you should mention one of the cards in your hand and play it onto the table before pausing the story for a second, At this point everyone has a chance to play a lower numbered card in the same suit in order to undercut you, causing your section of the story to end. Should no-one do this then your cards will be banked into a personal tableau. If someone interrupts then all of your cards are forfeit and they get to bank the card they used to interrupt instead.

Thursday 4 April 2019

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Reykholt

Game: Reykholt

Publisher: Frosted Games

Designer:  Uwe Rosenberg

Year: 2018

The geothermal energy in Iceland allows you to cultivate the most unexpected fruits and vegetables, and attracts tourists from around the world. But, the tourist season in Reykholt is short, and competition is fierce to serve the right vegetables at the right time to ever more hungry tourists.

Reykholt is a farming game from Uwe Rosenberg, something we've certainly seen before! The twist on the theme provides some eye-catching cover art, but suitably bland in game artwork and the theme is really not there. However, Reykholt is in the middle-weight section of the Uwe Rosenberg catalog, which is an area we've not explored, so let's take a look at what lies between Cottage Garden and Agricola.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Holt, who grows there?:- Reykholt

Game: Reykholt

Publisher: Frosted Games

Designer:  Uwe Rosenberg

Year: 2018

Reykholt is a 1-4 player worker-placement farming game in which you take the place of Icelandic farmers growing produce in greenhouses in order to show off your incredible food to visiting tourists. However there are other farmers out for your glory... and the money. You'll have to fight for limited access to seeds and greenhouses in order to be the best, and richest, farmer in Reykholt.

Each turn you'll alternately use your 3 workers to claim one of the worker placement spots on the board and reap the rewards. While the spaces are limited to one worker per action, there are some spaces that get locked off if you have already used another, to stop one player from hogging all the greenhouses for example. After using your workers you will harvest anything growing in your greenhouses and then feed the tourists. The tourist tables act as the scoreboard around the edge of the board, early on they will have simple demands such as 1 tomato, but later on the increasing tourism will result in bigger demand for 5 or 6 of a vegetable at once!