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 28 October 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Chronicles of Crime: 1400

Game: Chronicles of Crime: 1400

Publisher: Lucky Duck Games

Designer: David Cicurel, Wojciech Grajkowski

Year: 2020

Chronicles of Crime had a hugely innovative first release in 2018, following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It is one of just a handful of story-driven crime-solving board games out there and really stood out from the crowd with it's use of technology. It introduced VR to our board game table for the first time, with the ability to look around crime scenes using just your smart phone and some 3D glasses, but what felt most innovative was its use of QR code technology. 

Chronicles of Crime: 1400 is the first of three standalone sequels, known as the millennium series. In the 1400 edition you'll be transported to 15th century France where crime and backstabbing are rife. A further two games in the series, 1900 and 2400 will be released next year.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Troyes Dice

Game: Troyes Dice

Publisher: Pearl Games

Designer:   Sébastien DujardinXavier GeorgesAlain Orban

Year: 2020


Troyes is one of those older euro games that we've still not got around to playing. I select it in every math trade I participate in, but so far, we've never matched and received it in trade. As a result, this review will be a straightforward review of its latest incarnation as a roll and write game. The momentum behind roll and write games does show a few signs of slowing recently, but new titles and implementations linked to a larger board game version are still being released and we still have a high level of excitement for all of them. Troyes Dice edges towards the heavier end of the roll and write spectrum and it's unlikely to become part of my Skype gaming rotation, but it could do if your Skype gaming is with a more gamerly crowd.

Troyes Dice is a game that takes place over 8 days, each with a morning phase and an evening phase. Over the course of the game you will draft 16 dice and use them to build a city on your player board in order to gain end game victory points. After a couple of days, invaders get wind of your city and twice a day they will try to invade and destroy different areas of your city. The greatest city with the greatest population and collection of buildings will win.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Build a Wall, Let the Invaders Pay for it:- Troyes Dice

Game: Troyes Dice

Publisher: Pearl Games

Designer:   Sébastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges, Alain Orban

Year: 2020 

Troyes Dice is a 1-10 player roll and write game in which you'll be using dice to upgrade your civilization for the good of all. Will you build walls to fortify the city, or focus on economic or religious development? Whatever you decide you need to be prepared for the invaders that will start to attack from day 3 onwards. While they won't burn down any already built buildings, they do spoil the land preventing future construction. Unless, of course, you have built strong enough walls to keep them at bay, but those walls aren't doing much else for your development...

Troyes Dice is a game of 8 days, each of which consists of 2 rounds, a day and a night round. Each round has a player rolling the four dice and placing them in numerical order along the coloured round tiles. Three of the dice are clear, representing that they are of the colour of the tile they are placed on, while one is black, marking that tile as blocked for this round. Blocked tiles flip over a the end of the round, usually causing them to change colour as the game progresses. Once the dice are rolled each player independently chooses one of the three available dice to use, with fees needing to be paid for the higher numbered dice. They then choose to either build one of the two buildings in the section of their player sheet that matches colour and number with the die they chose, or to use the die to generate resources.

Saturday 17 October 2020

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Wingspan Digital

 Game: Wingspan

Publisher: Stonemaier Games

Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave

Digital Edition By: Monster Couch

Year: 2019


I could name only a few board game releases from the last 5 years that have really broken through to gain 'modern classic' status.  With a wife who works in a board game store, modern classic, for me, means a game that will be an evergreen, there is no board game store that shouldn't have this game in sock because people will be buying it for years and years to come. I'd put Azul in that category, along with Codenames and perhaps a few others, but one of the heavier games to make it is Wingspan.


Wingspan is not the most simple game, it has relatively advanced engine building mechanisms and yet its theme is so refreshing to modern board games that it really caught people's attention, and for most people it was a real winner. For me personally, I did not get into the game. I respect it immensely, but the engine building just never quite clicked for me. No matter what I did, the game always felt like a grind that only rarely resulted in a satisfying engine. However, the Wingspan Digital Edition looked so beautiful that I had to try it. It had an early preview release for a couple of days and I was hooked, and now it's available on Steam and soon to be on Nintendo Switch.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

Game: Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

Designer: Daniele Tascini, Dávid Turczi

Publisher: Board & Dice

Year: 2020

If you enjoy heavy euro games, then you will have been hard pushed not to notice the series of games that seems to be never ending from designer Daniele Tascini and publisher Board & Dice. Teotihuacan was first on the scene, and much loved, then it was Trismegistus which didn't seem together the same enthusiastic response. Tekhenu is the third game beginning with the letter T to hit our table, with a fourth following later this year. We don't find a huge amount of time for longer games and so Teotihuacan is a game we played once, loved and purchased and have not played since, and we followed the crowd on Trismegistus, enjoying the game somewhat, but deciding it did not need a space on our shelves.

Board & Dice got us excited for Tekhenu quite early by releasing a print and play roll and write game as a teaser, which is still available on their web store. We enjoyed that quite a bit and are still excited to see how much Daniele Tascini can melt our brains with just a few super important dice drafting decisions over the course of a game. Tekhenu is, once again, a game where every dice counts and every dice has a huge amount of different meanings in its number, colour and position on the board. If you too are looking to melt your brain in the blazing sun of ancient Egypt, then let's try to explain the gameplay of Tekhenu.

Thursday 8 October 2020

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- Magic Maze on Mars

Game: Magic Maze on Mars

Publisher: Sit Down Games

Designer: Kasper Lapp

Year: 2019

Magic Maze was a really revolutionary cooperative game for us. Long before the mind, Magic Maze was a game that asked you to work together as a team without talking to each other. The best chance of communication you were given was the passive aggressive, "do something" pawn which you could slam on the table in front of your friends. Magic Maze is a game that we've played countless times. It's tutorial-sytle rulebook means that every time we introduce it to a new audience we can start with the easy missions and the game essentially teaches itself. What's amazing is that we don't get bored of that first mission either - Magic Maze isn't a game you can get really good at and carry the team - it really levels the playing field.

After a couple of expansions to Magic Maze, which we've not fully explored, Sit Down Games have now taken the concept to space with their new, standalone game, Magic Maze on Mars. We're definitely excited for more Magic Maze content, but we were intrigued to see what has been changed in the new game and see if we needed to add it to our shelves.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

A Maze, in Space, How Sweet the Sound:- Magic Maze on Mars

 Game: Magic Maze on Mars

Publisher: Sit Down Games

Designer: Kasper Lapp

Year: 2019

Mars is popular. That rust-coloured orb that floats throughout the night sky, our closest neighbour in the solar system, with such potential for life, if only we can learn the technology to inhabit it. Magic Maze on Mars takes the frantic, silent action of the original game and takes it to space! Instead of being thieving adventurers after free weapons you play as Robots, busying themselves creating the infrastructure needed for Humans to come to Mars. In order to do that you'll need resources, and the right ones in the right place at that, for humans have the strangest need for metals, crystals and bananas.

Of course in Magic Maze things are never easy. The game starts simple with only a time limit and no restrictions on speech, Over time the game adds rules to each new play until the full game is unveiled. The essence of the gameplay is that you have a sand timer tracking your time, should this ever run out you will all lose. In order to win the game you'll need to generate and move resources around the surface in order to unveil new locations, build habitation domes and manage waste. Eventually all the habitations domes will be complete and people will arrive, who also need to be moved around the roads to get them to their domes. All of this is done with each player being restricted to only using certain colours. That means you can only generate resources of those colours, used roads of those colours and spend resources on exploration spots of that colour to reveal a new map. To top it off you have to do this all in silence, with only a passive aggressive token to place in front of someone if you think they should do something.

Saturday 3 October 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Tokyo Sidekick

Game: Tokyo Sidekick

Designer: Yusuke Emi (江見祐介)

Publisher: Japanime Games

Year: 2018

Tokyo Sidekick had an initial small print run from Japanese publisher Little Future, and now Japanime Games have successfully funded a second edition on Kickstarter. Having won awards at Tokyo Game Market, this is one to take notice of, and for some gamers, a great opportunity to get hold of those rarer Japanese games that are sometimes rather coveted.
Tokyo Sidekick is a cooperative game for 2-4 players in which each player plays a superhero and their sidekick, to take on all manner of villains whilst trying to spin plates and take care of all of the incidents happening around town. You're very much a Spiderman-type character when it comes to handing anything from a slight misdemeanor, all the way up to a plane crash, but then you need to switch it up and become Iron Man to take on the bad guys with full force. Can you defeat your adversaries in time to save the city?