“Shelf of Shame” is a term tossed around quite frequently in board gaming. It refers to the games in one’s collection that remain unplayed. I’ve also heard some people call it their “Shelf of Opportunity” maybe in an attempt to not feel so guilty. Whatever you call it, we all have one. And I’m a little embarrassed at how quickly mine has gotten out of hand. So, I figured I’d take this opportunity to share my list with you in an effort to get a little direction on where to focus my efforts in the upcoming weeks before my next batch of Kickstarters inevitably start showing up.
Party/Social Deduction Games:
When I Dream-
I found this on sale online and had to get it based on the reviews the game received when it was first released. Players take turns being the dreamer, getting to wear a fancy eye cover, while the other players give them clues to help them guess as many cards as possible during the time limit. Players who are fairies give honest clues, while the boogeymen give false clues, and the sandmen will give both true and false clues based on how well the dreamer is doing. The production values are great and I love interesting social deduction games.
I remember Tom Vasel’s original review of the game. He said he was so impressed when he first played the game that he tried to sign it as a Dice Tower Essential game. This is another social deduction game where players receive roles and then will have to deduce who is who to either assassinate or protect the VIP. The rounds are quick and multiple roles should keep this one fresh and easy to get to the table.
Millions of Dollars-
This was a game that caught my eye back when it was featured in a Shut Up and Sit Down review, so when I saw it in the SaltCon math trade I had to jump at it. Players represent a gang of robbers, each adding a member to help in a heist. There is only one of each type allowed in the heist. Choosing carefully, knowing when to use your characters ability, and deciding when to back out is key if you wanna score the most loot in this game.
This one may be a small cheat since I owned and played the heck out of The Resistance: Avalon when I first got into the hobby. The theme thought was a little hard to grasp, so I sold that to purchase this version along with a couple of expansions. I have fond memories of the original, so I’m excited to get this back to the table.
Small Card Games:
I’m a sucker for small card games with an interesting twist on scoring. Hats is striking in its artwork and presentation. Players are collecting sets of Hats for the Mad Hatters tea party. You will get to exchange hat cards with a central board, but only if they meet certain requirements based on position and number. Did I mention the game comes with a giant plastic cookie and a dry erase napkin for scoring? What more can you ask for?
While they may not be the most popular genre of card game, I really love me a good old fashioned trick taking game. What makes this game unique is that it has a board with different areas players will be vying to control. Depending on the card you play, you get to add army pieces to various areas on the board, with added bonuses if you won the trick. At the end of the hand each are of the board will score differently based on what round it is.
Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper-
This is definitely the oldest game on the list, and probably the least attractive looking. I enjoy the easy going set collection of Rummy style games and was intrigued with the added story arc that this game involves. I found this one for cheap at the Game Swap area at SaltCon and was able to talk the seller into taking just the $3 cash I found in my wallet at the time.
Claim and Claim 2-
Here are two other trick taking games that intrigued me. Individually they are two player games, but when combined they can support up to 4 players. The game is played in two rounds. The first one sees plays trying to win cards that they will use in the second round to win cards that they will get to score. Each game has 5 unique races that play and interact in unique ways.
Heart of Crown: Fairy Garden-
Believe it or not, but I just got to play Dominion for the first time recently. While I haven’t been fan of deck building games in the past, there was something about the simplicity and speed of Dominion that made it much more enjoyable than I anticipated. Heart of Crown is a similar design with better anime artwork and a much more interest scoring system. I’m hoping this gives me everything I enjoyed in Dominion and a little more.
Small Box Games:
I love bidding games with a twist, and this game features one of the best. Players represent various countries, each capable of literally printing more money. As such, there is no limit to how much money players can bid in each auction. Only the auctioneer each round gets to see what bids players made that round. This information will be useful moving forward, since the player who bids the most over the course of the game will automatically lose before scores are even tallied.
The components for this game are absolutely some of the best. Players get to take turns moving ants along a path of dual layered cardboard bits of food. Depending on the ant they move, players will get to collect one piece of food next to where they end. Each piece of food will score depending on when that respective ant gets to to the ant hill. A number of different rule cards should go a long way to keep this game fresh and interesting.
Undaunted: North Africa –
Undaunted: Normandy received a lot of positive feedback in its first year on the market. Its followup, Undaunted: North Africa, supposably fixes a lot of the complaints with its predecessor. Players control asymmetrical armies, each with an objective based on the selected scenario. Using a deck building mechanic, players will move units around the board, attack each other, and conquer objective points. I don’t have a lot of luck with campaigns or two player games, but I’m determined to get this to the table too.
One of, if not my most favorite games in my collection is Concordia. I love the hand management and the level of planning it requires. Aquatica uses that mechanic in a much more simplified package. Players will use personality cards to conquer underwater territory cards, which they will get to use by tucking into their player board. Tom Vasel really enjoyed this game and I’m sure I will to. Besides, if I can use it to introduce others to Concordia then it will have a very happy home in my collection.
I don’t normally hunt down games from over seas, but I did with Nidavellir. I remember hearing Jon Gets Games talk about how excited he was to try his copy that he got shipped to him from France, then when Tom said to be sure to check out his upcoming review I knew I needed to get myself a copy while I still could. This is a simple set collection game using bidding as the means of collecting cards. What make the game unique is the coin building system that players use to bid on new cards. Basically high coin picks first, but when a player opts to use their 0 coin, they get to trade in a coin for one of higher value. I’m very excited to give this a try.
One of my favorite card games for a while was Seasons. It had great combos required some careful planning. I sold it though to purchase Res Arcana. The game has players playing wizards, casting spells, gaining relics, and controlling places of power all in a race for victory points. The game has great artwork and awesome wooden bits. Also, I’m a sucker for a game with a great insert and this one even has a removable tray for the resources.
I’ve been interested in trying this one for quite awhile. I was bummed to learn the retail edition didn’t have all the metal coins and unique dinosaur meeples that came in the Kickstarter, so when I saw a Deluxe Edition with the Deluxe Edition of the expansion available on the KSL Classifieds I jumped at it. Players get to create their own little Jurrasic Park complete with scientists, attractions, and of course, dinosaurs. The game is a mishmash of mechanics that sound like a lot of fun.
Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon-
This was one of my most anticipated Kickstarters of last year. Publisher Awaken Realms has just been on fire and this seemed like a complete improvement on The 7th Continent. It’s a campaign game that relies heavily on exploration, survival, and a strong storytelling aspect. I’m pretty much just waiting for the right group to begin this campaign with since it is supposed to last a whole 15 games. If worse comes to worst, I may just have to start the campaign solo.
Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North-
I used to own traditional Imperial Settlers and really enjoyed. My biggest complaint was that it was a little long and had a few too many unintuitive rules. Empires of the North, based on early reviews, fixed a lot of those concerns. Instead of lasting a set number of rounds, players play to a set number of points. There are also more clear ways to score points, while still allowing each deck to feel unique and exciting. I should also mention this insert also has a removable resource tray.
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion-
Yes, this game also features a tray to hold it’s resources and bits. Honestly though, a big selling point for this is the ease in which the game is set up and taken down. I loved original Gloomhaven, but didn’t have the time or patience to be setting it up and packing it away once a week, not to mention a dedicated group to play through it with. The latter is still an issue, but with a shorter campaign, I’m a little more hopeful this go around.
Voyages of Marco Polo 2-
I only played the original Voyages of Marco Polo once. I really enjoyed the unique player powers, but found the game to be a little to difficult to do what you wanted to do. This second version appears to solve that with less punishing resource acquisition and lower movement costs. I’m hoping that an expansion gets released that adds more characters since this only comes with seven while the original had ten plus the extras from its expansions. Fulfilling contracts in the middle east doesn’t sound too enjoyable, and then you get to make Marco Polo jokes.
Power Grid: Deluxe-
Similar story here. I played the original Power Grid once a long while ago and enjoyed the game. I wasn’t a fan of the bland board, paper money, and poor wooden resources. The deluxe edition has better art, plastic coins, and cool shaped resources. I like that the game plays up to six players, while maintaining a fairly straight forward rule set. Unfortunately most people I play with have already played the original game and there isn’t enough new stuff here to really excite them into revisiting an old classic.
So there you have it. That is my shelf of shame. Now I’m curious, what games should I try to get played soonest? What about you? Any games on your shelf of shame that you are dying to get played? Let me here about it here in the comments.