Wednesday 30 September 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Mooncake Master

Game: Mooncake Master

Designer: Daryl Chow

Publisher: Origame

Year: 2019

This year the Mooncake Festival (or Mid-Autumn Festival) falls on October 1st. I only know this because I was inspired to research mooncakes and a few other more obscure aspects of Asian culture thanks to a parcel we received from Origame. Origame is a board game publisher from Singapore, which currently publishes designs by Daryl Chow. Daryl has made two games we really enjoy - Overbooked and The Artemis Project and also gave us a demo of the upcoming Plantopia, so it seems that his designs fit pretty well with us.

Mooncake Master first strikes you with its packaging. I know people generally don't like box sleeves, but this particular sleeve feels so thematic, sliding off to reveal the red box with gold lettering that, at least from my Western perspective, makes me think this box is perhaps reminiscent of a real box of mooncakes. Once inside, the cards have a really unique texture too, helping to really give a feeling of quality to the game.

Saturday 26 September 2020

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Glasgow

Game: Glasgow

Publisher: Lookout Games

Designer: Mandela Fernandez-Grandon

Year: 2020


Amy and I spend 95% of our gaming time playing with only two players. It's one of the fantastic benefits of being a board gaming couple! We are happy to play any game that says on the box that it plays two-players, even if other people might consider it better with more people at the table. We're even happy to accommodate the odd 'robot' player to help with the two-player experience. However, I accept that we're unusual in this regard and that many gamers who play exclusively or primarily at a player count of two are keen to seek out two-player only experiences. For those players, some of the best places to turn are the 2-player lines from Kosmos, Z-Man and Lookout Games.



Glasgow is the latest two-player only title from Lookout Games, whose most popular two player game is perhaps Patchwork. Set in 18th century Scotland, a diverse cast of characters will help you, a merchant, to make the biggest contribution to developing the new city of Glasgow for the 'modern' era. Through trading goods and acquiring real estate you, two players will be a 5x4 area of one of the first grid-plan cities in Europe, but one player will contribute more highly and become more notable for the history books.

Wednesday 23 September 2020

A Matter of Factories:- Glasgow

Game: Glasgow

Publisher: Lookout Games

Designer: Mandela Fernandez-Grandon

Year: 2020

Glasgow is a two-player only, city building game in which players will move their workers around a ring of action tiles in order to gather the resources needed to build buildings in the city. You can navigate the action ring as fast as you like, but the faster you go the more actions you give away to your opponent. Once built, each building belongs to one of the two players and will reward that player with more goods or end game points should their scoring requirements be met.

Gameplay in Glasgow will be immediately familiar to anyone who has played games like Tokaido. Each player has a worker which moves around a ring of action tiles. On your turn you can move your worker as far as you'd like along the ring to perform the action you land on. However it is always the turn of the player furthest behind on the ring, so skipping a long way ahead often gives your opponent several goes in a row as they catch up to you. Most of the action spaces are simple, rewarding one or two of the four basic resources, with a few more advanced ones dotted around such as a market to trade resources between types and being able to activate a row of factories (more on those later). 

All the action takes place in and around a large circle of action spaces, with the city slowly forming in-between.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Tellstones: King's Gambit

Game: Tellstones: King's Gambit

Publisher: Riot Games

Year: 2020

Video game giant, Riot Games, catapulted into the board game space with Mechs vs Minions in 2016. Mechs vs Minions was a super high-quality game at a more than attractive price point, set in the world of League of Legends. This huge box contained a mixture of pre-painted and inked minis and gave players a cooperative campaign experience which really suited a family audience and avid board gamers alike.
After waiting a few years for another game from Riot Games, you may have been forgiven for thinking that Mechs vs Minions was a one-off, but earlier this year, they announced Riot Tabletop and set out an intention to continue to publish accessible, innovative and beautiful games. Their second game is Tellstones: King's Gambit. A small tin, only around 4" square, but certainly in keeping with their intent to create games with high component quality. Once again, the game is set in the League of Legends world, but this time the theme is not at the forefront, this is simply a battle of wits.

Monday 14 September 2020

The Game Shelf Previews:- Cascadia

Game: Cascadia

Publisher: Flatout Games

Designer: Randy Flynn

Year: 2021

Flatout Games are perhaps best known for their fantastic card game Point Salad. But, with Calico just fulfilling and Dollars to Donuts recently funded on Kickstarter, what we know them for is their puzzly tile laying games. Tile laying games with a spatial puzzle and lots of interesting scoring mechanisms really level the playing field for Amy and I in two-player games. Amy tends to have an advantage in abstract games, but I love a good puzzle.

Cascadia brings an abstract game to life, with lovely artwork from Beth Sobel, as well as colours that do a great job of evoking the landscape of the Pacific Northwest of the USA. If you're enticed by a world of creating landscapes and populating them with wildlife, then Cascadia will be on Kickstarter in September 2020.

Thursday 10 September 2020

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Truffle Shuffle

Game: Truffle Shuffle

Publisher: AEG

Designer:  Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Shawn Stankewich

Year: 2020



Truffle Shuffle is a new card game from the design team at Flatout Games, who are continuing their publishing partnership with AEG, who brought out their fantastic design Point Salad. Point Salad won a number of awards in 2019 in the different card game and family game categories and is a game that we love to play when we visit board game cafes. 

With Truffle Shuffle we have a food theme that I feel a lot more enthusiastic about and the artwork looks particularly tasty on some of the cards, and of course the box. Truffle Shuffle is a drafting and set collection game for 2-4 players that plays in around 30 minutes. It calls on a number of mechanisms that are familiar from modern board gaming and traditional card games, so could Flatout Games have another family hit on their hands?

Tuesday 8 September 2020

...You Never Know What You're Gonna Get:- Truffle Shuffle

Game: Truffle Shuffle

Publisher: AEG

Designer:  Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Shawn Stankewich

Year: 2020


Truffle Shuffle is a 2-4 player card game that has you drafting chocolate cards in order to complete sets to earn chocolate coins. The game revolves around picking cards from a drafting pyramid, where only the cards no currently partially covered by another card are available to draft. Each card has both a colour and a number associated to it. To prevent things from being too predictable half of the cards are placed upside-down so you only know the colour of the chocolate, and even then there are special chocolates which are used in atypical ways so there's no guarantee of what you will get.

Saturday 5 September 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Rurik: Dawn of Kiev

Game: Rurik: Dawn of Kiev

Publisher: PieceKeeper Games

Designer:  Stan Kordonskiy

Year: 2019

Rurik: Dawn of Kiev is a realm building game set in Eastern Europe where each player is working to expand the control and prowess of their leader by controlling the lands with troops and buildings. You'll be accomplishing great deeds along the way, by taxing the lands you control and fighting off the troops of other players. After funding with a very successful Kickstarter in 2018, Rurik is now back on Kickstarter with reprint and an expansion, called Stone and Blade.
Rurik: Dawn of Kiev is not a game we would immediately jump to play, because it has some roots in area control, but we're glad we got the chance to give it a try because it's actually got a lot more going on than simply area control. With some very smart actin programming and lots of in-game and end-game goals to work towards, there's a lot of fun euro-game mechanisms, alongside the conflict-driven area control. Were those euro aspects enough to win us over?

Wednesday 2 September 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Wizard Kittens

Game: Wizard Kittens

Publisher: Magpie Games

Designer:  Brendan G. Conway, Marissa Kelly, Mark Diaz Truman

Year: 2020

Magpie Games are best known for their roleplaying games and first caught our attention with a hugely successful Kickstarter for the Root roleplaying game However, it's no surprise that Wizard Kittens was also a well funded Kickstarter campaign, after all, it has cute cat artwork and everyone knows that cats sell board games.

Each player is one of a group of wizard kittens who have released a number of curses in a library. They need to use magic to defeat the curses before they are caught by a rather angry librarian - Professor Whispurr.