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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Thursday 9 May 2019

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Corinth

Game: Corinth

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Designer: Sébastien Pauchon

Year: 2019

You may have thought that 2018 was the year of the roll and write game, but you were probably wrong. In 2019, they've been coming thick and fast. Unlike that time when they said Legacy games were going to be the next big thing, roll and writes have a pretty low barrier to entry for designers and publishers and it seems like everyone is giving it a try!

Each year, Days of Wonder release one new game and so far, it seems like Corinth might be their 2019 title. Forgive me if I'm a little underwhelmed by the small box at a low price point, but I'm normally looking for something really impressive from Days of Wonder each year. Nevertheless, I try every single one based on past form and Corinth is no different. As a dice game adaptation of a classic board game, Yspahan, there's some pedigree here and to be honest, I still find it hard to turn down a roll and write game!

Corinth is a game with the well established theme of trading in the Mediterranean. Each turn, the active player rolls the pool of white dice, adding any yellow as permitted. By value, the highest numbered dice are assigned to the gold action, the lowest value dice are assigned to the goat action and the rest of the dice are assigned in ascending order to each trading action. Players take one turn each (except in two player), selecting one action from those available. If you select an action, you take all of the dice and either use them to cross off goods equal to the number of dice you took, or use their value to move around the marketplace. Selling multiple goods to different stalls collects you points, as well as some points being available for gold, goats, you marketplace prowess and any monuments you build.

Corinth makes great use of its simple components. The box includes 150 player sheets, which is very generous by roll and write standards, plus the dice and the Harbour Board for assigning dice to actions. This board is super helpful in overcoming the 'what action does this dice correspond to?' question, as well as allowing for a variety in what actions are available each turn. Pots are the rarest good because for them to be an active action you can take, you must roll at least one 1,2,3,4,5&6, which is quite a rare occurrence. There is certainly a bit of push your luck in the game if you take the yellow dice, or even the blue dice early in the game, as you risk not fulfilling the requirements of the shops and therefore wasting point scoring opportunities.

Unlike many roll and write games with lots of dice to roll, Corinth doesn't have any option for re-rolls. The first player can pay to add yellow dice to the pool, which might increase the chance of rolling the perfect roll, but if you roll more than one thing that plays right into the hands of someone else at the table, then just one hate-drafting opportunity is not enough to mitigate this luck aspect.

In a two player game there are 6 rounds, but the turn sequence is Player 1, Player 2, Player one, so each player will get 18 actions in total. This is more actions than at any other player count and I still feel like the market is very weak as a strategy. You're lucky to get 10-15 points in the whole game, whereas a well timed trade that completes the full set of cloth might net you over ten points alone. With that said, I still really like the market strategy as an option for denial of dice to another player, or a way to still make a useful move in spite of the way the dice were rolled. It can also come in handy if you just need that one extra vase to be the first to complete all of the vase trade stands and get some bonus points.

With the market feeling weak, that only leaves one real strategy in the game, and so over time I'm concerned that the lack of variability might not keep Corinth on our table. It's still a strong roll and write game, with some decision making that puts it a step above more simpler games like Qwixx or Qwinto, but it falls right in the middle, below my favourites and above the super small pocket-sized roll and writes that I might travel with.

Whilst Corinth might be in my top 5-10 roll and write games, it's just not making a big enough splash for Days of Wonder this year. If you're a collector of Days of Wonder then its definitely worthy of shelf space and will be played, but if you're desperately seeking something new and interesting in the roll and write space then Corinth probably isn't it. On the other hand, the Days of Wonder label may attract newer gamers who don't have the broad experience of roll and writes, and it could well be a perfect fit! I'd be more than happy to play Corinth at any occasion, it just wouldn't be my choice to wow other players and so for the Yellow Meeple it's a 6.5/10.

Corinth was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £18.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.u

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