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 30 June 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Go Dotty

Game: Go Dotty

Publisher: (Self-Published)

Designer: Neil Barrie

Year: 2019

Perhaps the most overused phrase on this site in the last 12 months has been 'puzzly tile laying game'. We are enjoying them so much and find that they are perfect games for two players who only have 30-45 minutes to spare after long days at work. We have reviewed many and have a large collection that all justify their shelf space for different reasons.

This addiction to the genre led us to decide to give Go Dotty a chance. It's definitely a lesser known game, by an independent publisher, but it does have a listing on BoardGameGeek and is available to purchase directly in the UK and a number of other countries, including the US and Canada. Go Dotty is an abstract tile-laying game for 2-players that plays in around 20-30 minutes.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

The Game Shelf Previews:- Villagers: Shifting Seasons

Game: Villagers: Shifting Seasons

Publisher: Sinister Fish Games

Designer: Haakon Gaarder

Year: 2022

Villagers was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2018. Its charming artwork and clever tableau building gameplay really charmed backers and made this small card game from a UK-based publisher into a huge Kickstarter success. This month, Sinister Fish will be back on Kickstarter with a new expansion, Shifting Seasons. Shifting Seasons adds a collection of modular expansions, including seasonal event cards, a new clay suit, helpful builder and harvest teams and an all new solo mode.

It's coming to Kickstarter on Tuesday 29th June. Should you be looking out for this expansion, or perhaps picking up the base game with all of its glorious Kickstarter content?

Thursday 17 June 2021

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Ecos: New Horizon

Game: Ecos: New Horizon

Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group

Designer:  John D. Clair

Year: 2021

Ecos: First Continent
is a game we've loved, ever since we discovered it at a board game convention (remember those?!) almost two years ago. It works using a bingo-style mechanism where all players play simultaneously and meshes this with a tile laying game where all players are working together on the same central landscape. It's got a lovely puzzly optimisation feel and you're constantly participating in the game, expanding the landscape and adding, removing or moving the different animals around the map to boost your point scoring.
New Horizon is the first expansion for Ecos: First Continent. It adds a handful of new animal tokens, two new starting decks and a new type of card that encourages you to build certain patterns with the landscape tiles, ultimately creating a multi-layer landscape in the centre of the table.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Now with Zebras!:- Ecos: New Horizon

Game: Ecos: New Horizon

Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group

Designer:  John D. Clair

Year: 2021
New Horizon is an expansion to 2019's Bingo-style tile layer Ecos. The Expansion adds a handful of new cards (including two new starter decks to play with), half a dozen new animals and the new terrain tiles. You'll also find some player aides for the animals which help players remember which animals can be placed in which areas. 
For those who might not be familiar with the base game; Ecos: First Continent is a 2-6 player map building game with a core bingo style mechanic. Players start with three cards on the table and the current first player starts drawing energy tiles from the bag. These allow everyone to simultaneously place a cube over the batching energy symbol on one of their cards. Once all energy symbols on a card are covered that player calls out "Ecos" and then performs the cards powers. These powers typically earn you points along with adding/moving animals/landmasses to the board. The cards can be extremely simple, but the more powerful points cards tend to demand more of you, building up certain combinations, such as a lion on a mountain shaded by a tree, in order to gain the most points.

Wednesday 9 June 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Hadrian's Wall

Game: Hadrian's Wall

Publisher: Garphill Games and Renegade Games Studios

Designer: Bobby Hill

Year: 2021
Hadrian's Wall initially caught our attention because it comes from Garphill Games, publisher of the North Sea Trilogy and The West Kingdom Trilogy, which both have a huge following in the gaming community. Hadrian's Wall stands alone as a whole new 'roll and write' style game set in the Roman period of history.

However, if, when I say roll and write, you're thinking of abstract games like Qwixx or Ganz Schon Clever where it's a game all about the numbers you roll on the dice, then Hadrian's Wall is a whole different beast. There's no rolling, and it's not really a 'Flip and Fill' game (like Welcome To or Kokoro) either, but there is a random input generated each round that will be the same for every player, and you are writing on a sheet of paper and filling in boxes.

If you've enjoyed Fleet Dice, or are looking forward to Three Sisters, both from Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback, or you've played and (unlike us) enjoyed Rome and Roll, another heavy take on roll and writes in the same setting, then here are some thoughts on Hadrian's Wall.

Saturday 5 June 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Tucano

Game: Tucano

Publisher: Helvetiq

Designer: Théo Rivière

Year: 2021
Tucano - flat box
Tucano is another lovely looking game from publisher Helvetiq. Most Helvetiq games are unified by their small box size, and eye-catching bold artwork, which makes them a perfect pick for toy stores, gift shops or other places where you might not find modern board games on sale. It always makes me happy to spot a stand full of colourful Helvetiq games in an unusual shop, just imagining that they might be an avenue into some new and interesting modern board games for those on the look out for a pocket-sized gift.

Tucano is a family game for 2-4 players, in which players will be collecting tasty (and adorable) fruits into sets to try and score points, but the toucans who live in the forest might have other plans, swooping in towards the end of the game to steal, or gift fruits to or from other players around the table.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

The Game Shelf Reviews:- The Rival Networks

Game: The Rival Networks

Publisher: Formal Ferret Games

Designer: Gil Hova

Year: 2021
The Rival Networks is a two-player sequel to The Networks from Gil Hova and Formal Ferret Games. The Networks already had a player count of 1-5, but you did have to make a few modifications to play at two players. For us, the modifications were small and not detrimental to the game, but two player variants can really put some gamers off. The two player only, The Rival Networks, is a smaller box game that distills many of the same concepts and certainly shares the same theme and tongue in cheek references to your favourite shows.
Each player is responsible for their own television network, selecting shows and pairing them with the right stars to get the most ratings. Plus, if you advertise at the right time for your target audience you'll also start raking in cash, as well as viewers!