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

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.

Root was voted as the best Board Game of the Year, although surprisingly not the best strategy board game. It's the biggest game on the winners list that we haven't played because player conflict and war games just do not appeal to us. I'm sure we will get around to trying it, but it's not high on our list. Root also won best Artwork & Presentation, Most Thematic Game and most Innovative Game

KeyForge: Call of the Archons wouldn't have been my pick for 2-player game of the year, but it might have been Amy's. For me it's just a little too in your face and too dependent on your deck and deck shuffle, but I can totally see why people love it and why it's been so successful. For me there wasn't really a stand out two-player game this year, although we did really enjoy our first play of the runner up, Duelosaur Island.

The Mind took home the awards for Card Game, Cooperative Game AND Party Game this year. The Mind is a bit of a personal favourite for me because of the great experiences it has created. We've fascinated a woman on a train, taken it on holiday with my parents and entertained many friends with this ridiculously simple concept. Whilst I'm not sure it beats out some of the other games on paper as a game, I can't deny the great experiences I've had with possibly my most played game of 2018.

Scythe: The Rise of Fenris is no doubt the stand out Expansion from 2018. It made us get Scythe to the table on 8 additional occasions last year and brought whole new ideas into the game. Whilst a couple of the game didn't suit our two-player experience, the overall campaign was fantastic and were still excited to bring some of the modules to the table.

The Quacks of Quedlinberg won Family Game of 2018. It has been a huge hit in the latter part of 2018, once it reached the wider English-speaking audience. After winning the Kennerspiel, it's been amazing to watch the popularity of this simple push your luck game grow and grow. It's a fantastic family game and a deserving winner that ultimately overtook some of my favourites such as Reef and Space Base from earlier in 2018.

That's Pretty Clever really took gaming twitter by storm when they released their free app and seemingly everyone was trying to get to the elusive 300 point end game score (I've still not got there). It's not surprising to me that it won Best Board Game App of the year because of the accessibility of the app, although it is surprising for me that it won Best Solo Game, unless people are counting their solo app experiences. Whilst I don't play solo, I imagine I could have better solo experiences than a small roll and write game.

Brass: Birmingham won the Best Strategy Game category, even though the overall best board game winner, Root was in the same category. Having not played Root I can't comment on which is the heavier game, but Brass: Birmingham really impressed me after one play with really deep strategy and fantastic component and art quality. It's a game I really need to get back to the table soon.

Some notable runners up that we've really enjoyed are;

Everdell came runner up for presentation, which is a solid choice given the huge 3D cardboard tree and enchanting woodland artwork. I'm also a massive fan of the gameplay in Everdell and was surprised not to see it show up as a winner or runner up in any other category. Although, perhaps it's just a bit too in between family weight and strategy game to qualify for too many awards.

Just One was possibly robbed of the best part game award by the Mind. It's undoubtedly more suited to the party atmosphere, with a high player count of 8, instant accessibility and a familiarity that means everyone can play and seems to want to. I'm having great fun with Just One with my work colleagues and family and can't recommend it highly enough.

Chronicles of Crime is possibly the game that I feel was the bridesmaid and not the bride of this years Golden Geeks. I really expected it to take the award for innovation, which was won by Root. Chronicles of Crime integrates VR, an app and QR codes in such a slick way that we've not seen before in gaming.

Welcome To... was my best game of 2018 when I made my list back in December. It stood out amongst the sea of roll-and-write games that 2018 brought and is one I keep coming back to with new people. A couple of other games may have risen up in my estimations above Welcome To, but for me it's still one of the best of the year.

After a very full year in 2018, there's only one or two games we still want to play from the list of winners and runners up.

Decrypto is a game we just bought a copy of. I've been desperate to play it but have avoided buying it because of the need for 4+ players. Hopefully we can find some friends to play it soon. I'm hoping it will become another staple game like Codenames to mix things up.

War Chest is a two player game that I've been avoiding because I know it's one that Amy will be good at and I'll be bad at. I've been hearing fantastic things, but chess-like 2-player abstracts just don't work with my brain. I want to see what the games about and why people seem to love it, but I don't have high hopes for us enjoying it too much.

What do you think of this year's winners? Let us know in the comments below.

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