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

Wednesday 29 July 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Fort

Game: Fort

Publisher: Leder Games

Designer: Grant Rodiek

Year: 2020

Did you build forts as a child? Taking every sheet, blanket and pillow from around the house and creating my own hideaway was certainly a favourite pass-time of mine. As an adult I now have a hankering for a treehouse though, surely the logical next step! A treehouse might have attracted more friends than my very solitary fort-building did, and that’s what Fort is all about. Who do you want to be in your friendship group and how much more powerful will your gang be if you’re working on the same things. If you are all keen on skateboarding, you’ll be surprised how much more pizza you will get!

Fort is all about collecting toys and pizza. With enough stuff you can upgrade your small fort into THE ULTIMATE FORT. Along the way you’ll fill your backpack with goodies, try to steal each other’s friends and keep lookout for hostile attacks. Fort is a deck-building game that evokes a very endearing theme, but also really challenges its players. It’s perhaps not the family game it first appears to be, so let’s take a closer look.

Saturday 25 July 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Endangered

Game: Endangered

Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild

Designer: Joe Hopkins

Year: 2020

Cooperative games are among some of our favourites, and those that transport you to a real-life crisis situation are among the ones that we enjoy the most, with Pandemic, Kitchen Rush and Flatline being firm favourites that certainly vary of the scale of severity of the crisis!

Endangered is about the crisis facing some of the world's rarest species. Each player takes on the role of an individual who is in some way trying to save these endangered species, perhaps through political activism or shooting wildlife documentaries. Can you save the tigers from deforestation, or the sea otters from the pollution of their maritime habitat? Do you have the powers of persuasion to have whole nations vote for your cause?

Tuesday 21 July 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Chai

Game: Chai

Publisher: Steeped Games

Designer:  Dan Kazmaier, Connie Kazmaier

Year: 2018

Chai is a game all about tea. Each play is a tea merchant., specialising in either rooibos, green, oolong, black or white tea. In order to fulfill customer orders you'll need different flavours and ingredients to suit their tastes. Some like tea with milk or cinnamon, while others love a whole variety of fruit in their tea. Depending on the complexity of their order, characters will give you different points, but will also tip you for your services (most of the time!). If you can fulfill the most demanding of customers you'll make a name for yourself as the best tea merchant around.

Dan and Connie's enthusiasm for tea is incredible! They are true tea ambassadors and have really embraced everything they can in the theming of Chai, its expansion, High Tea, and their upcoming 2-player game, Chai: Tea for 2. As a very British tea drinker myself, I totally appreciate a love for tea, although it's Amy who truly embraces all of the flavours and ingredients - mine's a simple English Breakfast.

Saturday 18 July 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Root: The Underworld Expansion

Game: Root: The Underworld Expansion

Publisher: Leder Games

Designer: Patrick Leder, Cole Wehrle

Year: 2020

Leder Games' latest Kickstarter for Root featured, not one, but two expansions. We featured The Clockwork Expansion in a review last month, and this month we're featuring The Underworld Expansion. The Underworld Expansion introduces a new double sided board, featuring the titular Underworld, as well as a lakeside scene on the opposite side. In the Underworld, you'll find the new mole faction, affectionately known as The Great Underground Duchy and a second bird faction, The Corvid Conspiracy. Both, of course, come with a set of adorable meeples and the fantastic artwork of Kyle Ferrin.

This is the second expansion to introduce new factions to Root, but it's the first one we have tried. When you grow attached to a faction in the original game, it can be a little hard to move one, but at least one of the two of us found a new favourite faction in The Underworld Expansion.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

The Game Shelf Previews:- Dollars to Donuts

Game: Dollars to Donuts

Publisher: Crafty Games

Designer: Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Shawn Stankewich

Year: 2020

Dollars to Donuts is a puzz-ly tile-laying game coming to Kickstarter from small publisher Crafty Games. Don't be fooled though - the three designers credited for Dollars to Donuts are the same three names you'll see on the box of Point Salad - one of the best family card games to be released in 2019! Much like Point Salad, Dollars to Donuts is a family weight game a similar short gameplay and caused us to want to play over and over again.

As a partly Portland-based design team, perhaps there's a nod here to the famous Voodoo Donut store in Portland, where I have queued for a maple bacon donut with the tourist masses. In Dollars to Donuts you'll be trying to create the most enticing and customer pleasing tray of donuts for your shop window, but with just three varieties of ring donut, some jelly donuts and a few donut holes. Perhaps the classic donuts are best after all?

Or perhaps not?

Saturday 11 July 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews: Dice & Ink: Vol. I

Game: Dice & Ink: Vol. I

Publisher: Inkwell Games

Designer:  Toni Catino, Jesse Catron, Robin Gibson, Ryan Hoye, Grance Kendall, Nat Levan, Joe Montgomery, Sarah Reed, Will Reed, Behrooz ' Bez' Shariari, Alexander Shen

Year: 2020

Dice & Ink is an anthology of roll and write games, which successfully funded on Kickstarter. The book contains 10 roll and write games, including pages of rules and tear-out game sheets. Multiple sheets are provided for each game, and you could, of course, laminate or photocopy sheets for the games you find that you'll want to play again and again.

Inkwell games have collected games from 11 different designers, and all you need to do is add dice and pens in order to access this library of games, including options for multiplayer and solo games.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade

Game: Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade

Publisher: Japanime Games

Designer:  Johan Benvenuto, Florian Sirieix

Year: 2019

Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade brings the critically rated anime to the tabletop in the form of a 2-4 player deckbuilder. Each player takes the role of one of the four crew-members of the Bebop as you travel from planet to planet hunting down bounties. As you might expect from the anime, you are a crew working together, so you can request help from the other crew-members. But the Bebop has a rather dysfunctional crew, each out to prove that they are the best and bring home the most woolongs. Just because you can call on each other's help, doesn't mean you can't also hinder each other, this isn't a cooperative game!

Cowboy Bebop was one the the first animes I saw, airing alongside Dragonball Z in the late 90s. But while Dragonball had more episodes than you could count, and has resulted in more video games and tabletop games than you could care to play. Cowboy Bebop is a more reserved series, with only 20-odd episodes to its name it still remains a very approachable series to watch. Similarly it hasn't received the bloated collection of games to its name either. So will this rare Bebop game be an all-time classic, or will fans just buy it for the minis?

Saturday 4 July 2020

A Restful Week in Sleepy Arkham:- Wrath of N'kai

Book: Wrath of N'kai

Author: Josh Reynolds

Publisher: Aconyte Books

Year: 2020

Wrath of N'kai: An Arkham Horror Novel: Amazon.co.uk: Reynolds ...
It's fair to say I have barely scratched the surface of the Arkham universe. Early on in my gaming life I picked up Elder Sign, giving me my first insight into the Massachusetts town where nothing is as it seems. While it was good, the story wasn't really there, with the theme feeling more like a monster of the week game set in a Ripley's Believe it or Not. While I've played many Cthulhu themed games in the years that followed, none of them really dragged me into the story. Mostly they relied on the titular tentacled monster on card art and named a mechanic "sanity".

It wasn't until I picked up Arkham Horror: The Card Game that the story of the Arkham universe started to flesh out (sometimes far too literally) in front of my very eyes. Giving you a series of campaign missions with choices made during gameplay changing the story in future missions. Arkham LCG tells the tale of hapless investigators who soon find out that the world is a whole lot stranger than they could ever imagine. While the Arkham LCG is a highly story driven game, one thing I have never managed to pick up is one of the many novellas set in the universe. Each containing an investigator card ready to add to your games these small books sought to drag you further into the life of an Investigator. My understanding from more experienced Arkham players is that you bought these for the bonus cards, not for the literature.