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 28 March 2020

The Digital Game Shelf - Board Gaming During Covid-19

We're really lucky that, even under lockdown, we have each other to play games with. Amy and I have some extra time to play together now that I'm not commuting. So we're not desperate for gaming opportunities right now, but instead we still want to connect with friends. Chatting on Skype is OK, but gaming can be a great way to connect with a big group of people, or to avoid the negative subjects that chatting with each other inevitably leads to at the moment.

What I'm really enjoying right now is that I have the chance to get super creative with how we game. I love thinking outside the box and finding different ways to game and connect with people. Here's a few ways that we've played games in the last two weeks.


Gaming over Skype, or Zoom, or GoToMeeting, or however you manage screen share, voice chat and seeing each others faces, has been a great way to have fun with co-workers on a Friday afternoon. On the first week, we started with Codenames and this week we'll be playing Wavelength. One co-worker took a screenshot and shared it as a memory they wanted to save, and I've shared it with the whole organisation to inspire more teams to try out a gaming activity.
  • Codenames can be played in a bunch of ways - there are websites or you could setup for webcam to show a live setup of the physical game. But, I decided to create a Powerpoint to allow infinite possibilities of board setup and a really clean implementation of the game. The only thing to manage over Skype is team communication, and I chose to implement a team leader to give the final decision on each guess, to help overcome this. Unfortunately I've been asked not to share the Powerpoint.
  • Wavelength is another game I've chosen to implement over Powerpoint. You'll need to be prepared to be an epic Games Master to play this one, but if you are, then it's really successful. I played with my co-workers last night and I've made the Powerpoint available on BGG.
The other games we will be playing by Skype are roll and writes with a top-down webcam. We have sent some paper sheets to friends by mail or scans by email if they have access to a printer. Kokoro went over really well and we're hoping to try out Metro X this weekend. I've also played a game of Blitzkrieg using a friend's copy and an elaborate webcam setup that worked really well!

Board Games on Steam
  • Terraforming Mars is my favourite game of all time, and even though I'm not a big PC gamer, we downloaded the app on Steam, ready for a long haul flight to Canada last year. Now it's really coming into its own! I played one game with a friend last weekend and I've got two scheduled this weekend. It's a fantastic app implementation that gives me all the fun of playing Terraforming Mars, without any of the admin and cube pushing. It's also discounted in Asmodee Digital's spring sale, for Steam, Android and iOS.

Mobile Apps
  • Star Realms is an app that I've played solo against the AI for  long time, but last week I decided to post my username on Twitter (TheGameShelf) and now I'm playing games with lots of people - many of whom I don't know. It's not particularly sociable, with no way to chat, but it still feels a bit more connected than playing against a robot. Feel free to challenge me to a 48hour game! The basic app is free to download, although there's plenty of paid expansion content.
  • Chameleon is a party game from Big Potato Games, where the app seems to work far better than anything I can think to implement with a physical copy of the game. The iOS app is free to download and it would be great to get more people using it, since you sometimes wait a while to get into a game. You can add friends though and setup private games, so I'm hoping to get some coworkers or friends involved, so we can all play and enjoy a game together.

Online Organised Play
  • Marvel Champions is one of Amy's favourite games right now. She's been 3D printing deck-boxes for the last week or two and now she's running games of Marvel Champions weekly on Tabletop Simulator. She is part of a weekly group that meets at The Ludoquist who have now transferred to online gaming to stay connected.
  • Keyforge Tournaments are also being run by The Ludoquist. What's great is the entry is the price of deck. The deck is a physical deck that you can collect once The Ludoquist re-opens and a photo of the QR will be sent to you to allow you entry into an online Sealed Worlds Collide tournament played on The Crucible Online (TCO).

Youtube Live Plays
  • Trails of Tucana and many other roll and write games are being hosted twice each day by the Facebook Roll and Write Group. You can download and print out a score sheet for free and play along with the game being run on Youtube. The games are run in Spanish and English and it's been great to have a quick break in the evenings to play a 20-30 minute game and compare scores with all of the other players in the chat. If you're looking to try out new roll and write games, this is a great way to do it!
I'm currently enjoying being really creative to find ways of enjoying games and staying connected with our friends. With all of these gaming opportunities, the only question I'm left with is whether to log my digital plays on BoardGameGeek?!

What are you doing to stay connected in the coming weeks? I'd love to get some more creative ideas!


  1. Enjoyed the read. Great tips.

  2. Wow as fionas mum I am sooo proud of how shes connecting with all her gaming community even if half the time I have no idea what shes talking about but she has taught me codenames azul and a few others that I LOVE SO PROUD

  3. What a resoundingly positive piece, Fiona - thank you sooo much for sharing this with us. And wishing you many more happy gaming days to come.

    1. Thank you so much! Really glad I could bring some positivity and hopefully we'll have some more gaming adventures to report on soon!