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.

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Thursday 19 August 2021

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Bullet♥︎

Game: Bullet♥︎

Publisher: Level 99 Gams

Designer: Joshua Van Laningham

Year: 2021

Bullet♥︎ is a real-time game that contains a number of game modes, but with the main one being a competitive game where your success becomes your opponent's problem!

Each player plays as a heroine and it's great to see a board game cast full of strong women. Not only that, but all of the heroines are well-dressed too; especially rare in a game with a manga-like style that all too often means that the female characters are far from appropriately dressed.

In Bullet, each player starts with a bag of 10 randomly selected tokens. Tokens come in 5 colours and values 1, 2, 3 and 4. In each round, you'll draw all of the tokens from your bag, one at a time, dropping that token into the column of your player board corresponding to its colour, a token will drop into a space corresponding with it's value, eg. a value 3 red token will drop into the 3rd empty space in the column, jumping any previously placed tokens. If a token descends off the bottom of your board, you are hit with a bullet and take a wound. Very quickly, you'll realise the need to remove bullets from your board and you do this by creating certain patterns. Each character has their own deck of unique patterns and plays in a slightly different way. You also have some powers to allow you to manipulate the position of bullets on your board so that you're not entirely beholden to luck. You don't have a whole lot of energy to use these powers, but this energy does replenish every round. 

If you clear bullets from your board, you pass them to the player to your left, so if you have a really great round, chances are that the player next to you is going to have a very chaotic next round! If you take all of your damage points, you are eliminated from the game and the game is won by the last player standing. If that happens to everyone during the same round, then the player with the least bullets on their board will win.

If real-time games are not your thing then you do have the option to play Bullet without any timer, but I found that the game really lost something when we didn't play with the timer. Plus, there's a playlist of 3 minute length songs available for you to use as a timer, which really adds some atmosphere and tension to the game. The only downside of the songs is that the ending isn't all that obvious to each track and the playlist auto plays the next song! The timer makes sure you are making quick decisions and not agonising and optimising the way you play each power. You'll need to sometimes go on instinct and make the best decision in the moment. If you're playing a complex character for the first time, real-time can be a little stressful as you try and remember your special abilities, but it's such a quick game that it's not a chore to play again once you're familiar with your character.

The characters themselves are a huge strength in this game. Firstly, the rulebook gives you a guide about the different difficulty of each, meaning that you can make an informed choice in early games. However, what's really impressive is the variety in the way each heroine plays. Given that the game itself is so simple, differentiating the characters is clearly where a lot of time was spent and each character has something interesting for you to learn. I have to admit that sometimes we have played a game where it felt like one character was more powerful than another, but there are so many other factors going into whether you are being overwhelmed by bullets, that it's quite hard to pinpoint and it's easy to imagine that the grass is greener on the other side when you've lost control.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to the game for me is the luck factor though. You might be a master of manipulation and being really efficient, but if, either t the start of the game, or in between rounds when you fill your bag with random bullet tokens, you get a whole load of 4s,or a huge majority in a single colour, then you'll be at a huge disadvantaged compared to a player with a rainbow of 1s and 2s. Over the course of the game, the tokens will get transferred between players and things can start to even out, but sometimes you can't overcome a very bad start. Particularly canny players, can also try to cause you to have a bad time too, by focusing on giving away the worst of their tokens, or again, a lot of tokens in a single colour. This deeper aspect of the game uncovers hidden player interaction in a game that otherwise feels like a very solitaire experience.

Bullet is a competitive real-time game that really works. Unlike many games in this genre which either rely on quick observation skills, dexterity or puzzle solving, Bullet has a lot more going on. You need your wits about you to try and make the most optimal moves and make the most out of your character's ability. I have loved playing Bullet and exploring the different characters, but ultimately the luck factor is just a little too high for me. For the Yellow Meeple, Bullet is a 6.5/10.

Bullet was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk


  1. Bullet is actually extremely low luck - you can find tips on the Discord but in short each column is 7 spaces. So until you have 3 bullets in one column it is impossible for a "4" to hit you. So it often helps to just empty your bag to reach that point initially until you get good at firing patterns off.

    You really need to cycle through your pattern cards, there is no carry over for the next round as you draw back up and then you will know what cards are left going into the following rounds as you cycle.

    Finally it's important to snag key powerups and use basic patterns to keep in line with the first tip I gave about columns.

    Remember clearing Stars fills your energy which again you should be emptying every round as it resets.

    To get screwed you would need to pull 3 4's in a row of the same colour and you pull bullet's one at a time.

    This Game gets more in depth the more you play it, nearly a year on, still finding new tricks!

  2. Sorry forgot to mention : bullettime.eu5.net It's an online timer which plays JUST the song you want (updated for bullet orange) and you can have an optional klaxxon alarm play with 15 seconds left (It's unofficial and just something I put together for the same point you mentioned about the PlayList).