Tuesday 30 March 2021

A Corrupt Dystopia!?:- It's a Wonderful World: Corruption & Ascension

Game: It's a Wonderful World: Corruption & Ascension

Publisher: La Boîte de Jeu

Designer: Frédéric Guérard

Year: 2020

It's a Wonderful World is a 2019 engine building game which has you draft and build cards in order to create an efficient dystopia capable of making bigger and better projects and attracting the bravest and brightest to your shores. Corruption and Ascension serves as a 'Bigger and Better' expansion, with new cards that produce humongous amounts of resources and points, assuming you can afford the damn things! Should your budget be more limited then you might want to veer more towards the corruption side of things, these cards tend to be far cheaper to produce, but some of the more crooked people involved might happen to wander off with some of your existing resources. You weren't using that anyway right?

A brief explanation of the base game: Every round each player will be given a hand of cards. From this they choose one to keep and pass the rest on. This repeats until everyone has seven cards, at this point each player can decide which to try and build and which to throw away for resources. Then each player's base will generate the five resources of the game, with a bonus token going to the player making the most in each category. This continues for four rounds at which point the game ends. Corruption and Ascension adds a new deck of cards from which players add a number of cards to their card pool for the draft. This gives them more options, including the new cards which either have ways to altar your production both positively and negatively, gain huge production boosts at huge costs, or tremendous end game points with ridiculous construction requirements.

Saturday 27 March 2021

The Digital Game Shelf:- Still Gaming Online During Covid-19

March 23rd 2021 marked the 1 year anniversary of when the UK first went into national lockdown. We've had some brief phases of less strict rules during that time, but mostly it feels like we've not seen anyone, or got together and played games for a year at this point. At the start of the pandemic I had energy and enthusiasm which I channeled into coming up with creative ways to continue to get my physical board games to the table by playing with friends over Skype. For many weeks, I posted weekly blogs, sharing ideas for which games play well online. Over the course of a year, my enthusiasm has definitely diminished, but I am still trying to keep a regular meetup for Skype gaming with one friend and by co-workers.

Here's some highlights of the best online gaming successes we've had in the past few months!

Thursday 25 March 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Photosynthesis: Under the Moonlight

Game: Photosynthesis: Under the Moonlight

Publisher: Blue Orange Games

Designer: Hjalmar Hach
Year: 2021

It's wonderful to see so many games with a nature theme now populating board game shelves - it's a theme that has a wide range of appeal both inside and outside of traditional hobby gaming circles - really broadening the market for the games we all love. Photosynthesis was one of the first games we noticed making the most out of a nature theme and it did so in a big way. I have really vivid memories of sitting on the sofa, punching and assembling the trees - such an iconic board game piece! The look of Photosynthesis has instant appeal and elevates Photosynthesis from an abstract game to one that really integrates theme and mechnics with the trees literally overshadowing one another.
Photosynthesis has been a standalone game for 4 years, since its relaease in 2017, so a first expansion was unexpected. Like many abstract games, Photosynthesis feels elegant and complete, so we were intigued to see what Under the Moonlight might try and add into the mix.

Saturday 20 March 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Bandido

Game: Bandido

Publisher: Helvetiq

Designer: Martin Nedergaard Andersen

Year: 2016

Bandido is a small box game from publisher Helvetiq. Helvetiq make a number of games in this line with really stylish graphic design, typically aimed at a family market. They're extremely eye-catching and Bandido is the second from the line that we've tried.
Bandido is a cooperative game for 1-4 players, themed around a prisoner trying to dig and underground tunnel network to escape his cell (or her cell if you choose to buy the new version, Bandida!). Collectively, players must build a network with no open ends to ensure that the prisoner is trapped in his own network. 

Wednesday 17 March 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Dive

Game: Dive

Publisher: Sit Down!

Designer: Romain Caterdijan, Anthony Perone 

Year: 2021
Dive is a simultaneous programming game for 1-4 players. Plaers are divers, descending into the dpths of the ocean and passing many of its creatures along the way. Divers must carefully avoid sharks, whist taking advantage of freidly turtles and manta rays who might be able to give you a free ride, hastening your descent.
The ocean is represented by layers of transparent blue acetate that are stacked in the centre of the table. This stack is a very eye-catching centre piece and you'll spend the whole game gazing into its depths in this very unique, and stunning game of visual perception.

Wednesday 10 March 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Kombo Klash

Game: Kombo Klash

Publisher: Hub Games

Designer: "Nero" Ondrej Sova

Year: 2021
Kombo Klash follows on the heels of Flip Over Frog, in a series of smaller games published by Hub Games. What these games have in common is that they create a fantastic puzzle using animals on tiles and manage to deliver a satisfying game in a small package, not by cramming a big game into a small box, but by distilling a very simple set of mechanisms into an addictive and fun puzzle. With the aid of some charming animal artwork, and a fabric playmat that keeps the box size down, Kombo Klash is a very impressive small package. 
While Kombo Klash is a reimplementation of the game Kombo Afrika - it's not one that ever seemed to make it to the UK market and Hub Games have really taken it to a new level with the new artwork. What is, at its heart, a tile-laying abstract puzzle for 2-4 players definitely brings fun to the table with the character-filled animals. 

Sunday 7 March 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews: Deckscape: Escape from Alcatraz

Game: Deckscape: Escape from Alcatraz

Publisher: dV Giochi

Designer: Martino Chiacchiera, Silvano Sorrentino

Year: 2020

The tabletop escape room craze does not seem to be slowing down and we are here for almost all of them! I think that we follow all of the major series, from the largest ones, like Escape Room: The Game to the smallest, which are the Deckscape games. Each series has its own unique twist and the Deckscape games continue to impress us with what they can do with a simply deck of cards.

Like all of these escape room games, we sometimes find that the harder ones can be a source of frustration and sometimes arguments between the two of us and yet we keep coming back for more and we're up-to-date with almost all of them!

Thursday 4 March 2021

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Holi: Festival of Colors

Game: Holi: Festival of Colors

Publisher: Floodgate Games

Designer: Julio E. Nazario

Year: 2020

Holi: Festival of Colors is a game with gigantic table presence. You'll begin each game by constructing the three-layer board, where each layer is a transparent sheet of plastic grid. Aside from its three-dimensional form, this extremely colourful game instantly reminded me of another recent title from the same publisher, Floodgate Games. Bosk was a similarly colourful, light, area control game that had you placing out your coloured markers on a grid. Being that Bosk and Holi are from different designers, I do wonder how that pitch went down - "I have a game that looks a lot like another game in your catalogue, it's also area control, but it plays very differently". I suppose that's the key though, Holi is a very different game and ultimately seems to fit into a catalogue of very colourful games from Floodgate Games.

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Dyeing to Play Again?:- Holi: Festival of Colors

Game: Holi: Festival of Colors

Publisher: Floodgate Games

Designer: Julio E. Nazario

Year: 2020

Holi is a 2-4 player area control/abstract game that takes place on a unique three-layered board. Each player has a meeple that will be throwing colours around, staining the floor and other players in order to earn points. Eventually you'll be able to climb higher on the tower, with any paint thrown on the floor on tier two falling down to tier one if there is an open space below it. From your high vantage point you can rain death paint from above to soak your opponents in your valuable points.

A game of Holi starts with each player placing their meeple on a corner of the ground floor 6x6 grid. On your turn you may do two optional actions along with one compulsory action. You can move to any space on the floor, should you end up on top of candy or paint tokens then you'll pick them up. Paint of your colour can then be thrown once again, but paint of other players and candy will be kept until the end of the game. The second optional action is to climb. If you are surrounded by paint on the four orthogonal spaces then you can climb up to the next layer, giving you a height advantage over your foes.