So I finally got around to taking a photo of the third shelf for this series of blog posts after realising I’d not written anything for the site since the UK Games Expo. So, here I am back again with another of my Kallax shelves!
This one’s another of my double sized ones to accommodate some of the larger boxes in my collection, but it starts off with a standard sized recent acquisition:
51st State: Complete Master Set
I have to be honest, this one I don’t really know a lot about. I know it’s post-apocalyptic, I know it was reworked into another Portal game, Imperial Settlers, and I know this is the Complete Master Set, which I picked up on a very cheap deal at Thirsty Meeples in Oxford. It is actually well travelled, having been picked up in Oxford by my brother-in-law, taken to Manchester and left with my uncle and aunt there before being picked up by my folks and brought to Devon before I got my hands on it.
Since then, at least six months ago, I’ve yet to play it. It’s sat in the figurative rather than literal shelf of shame, so I’ve no idea if I like it or not. Time will tell!
This is one of my earliest purchases, having been attracted by the wooden box and shiny metal pieces. This pre-dates my hobby gaming by several years, just to be clear, but all the same I have a hard time relinquishing it.
The game is a relatively basic roll and move type game of sailing and trading in the Caribbean. Despite that it is actually a bit of fun now and again and the component quality is excellent (you all know I’m shallow).
In this bookshelf edition, it comes in a wooden chest with pewter ships, glass jewels and metal coins with a printed cloth map. It’s rather hilariously priced at over £400 on Amazon right now – oh if only it were realistic, I’d consider selling it!
Another relatively recent purchase, this one comes via Kickstarter and is basically a set collection style, tableau building game of building up your own space agency. Hire key personnel – astronauts, industrial figures etc, research technologies and launch spacecraft to explore the Big Black. The player with the most points wins.
It’s relatively simple, despite the convoluted iconography, and it looks pretty ace. The art work is great (or I love it anyway) and it comes in a very well designed box, with a great foam insert and one of the nicest first player tokens in the shape of a wooden rocket.
It’s not been universally popular in the two plays I have had so far, but I’ll keep it on me for now – it’s a theme I love and it’s small enough.
Escape From Atlantis
One of the two games of my childhood – the 80s Waddingtons version I had as a kid has long gone, but I picked this 90s version up on ebay relatively cheaply a few years back. This has since been reworked by Stronghold Games for their 25th Anniversary edition everyone in the hobby knows… but I still love this classic edition.
The 80s version most of us know comes with a kind of roulette wheel spinner to decide which sea creatures move each turn, but from this edition onwards it’s just a dice throw. Also in this one, there are much taller and nicely formed island pieces which add a great deal to the table aesthetics. The player pieces are also little miniatures – they look great, but they’re a sod to keep on the boats and islands! The sea monsters, octopus and dolphins also look better than the 80s version… and yet, I still love that one more!
Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon
A game I played a demo of in Essen 2015 and enjoyed. I saw it going cheap online here in the UK earlier this year and had to pick it up. I’ve yet to play my own copy – another for the shelf of shame – but it’s a fun one vs many deduction type game. The Poseidon player has a copy of the board, as do the players. You place the box lid between the two boards (imagine Battleship-esque layout) and the player ships are placed on their starting spots. Each turn Poseidon gets to affect the winds and seas to move the ships around on the board, but the players don’t know for sure which way – they have to deduce from simple clues (“You can see an island” or similar) what the possible position of their ship is and try and move until they get to the central island on the board.
I’ve done a rubbish job of explaining that, but I did really enjoy the play of it I had in Essen and so I am keen to give it a go at our game group sometime. Maybe tonight!
Another for my shelf of shame – this one was a cheap pick up from The Works (I was one of many!), but it has hung around due to the tea theme. If and when I get my tea shop, I will stick it in there… but until that day it’s in my collection still.
I’ve heard it’s a decent game, I’ve just not gotten it to the table yet. I like the idea of the tea aspect, but it seems like more of a warehouse management game than anything. I’ll give it a go some day, I’m sure.
Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs
The big one – one of my all time favourite games, albeit on a nostalgia basis than anything else. However, it still gets played these days and is, I think, still a lot of fun when we do.
Whilst the original copy I owned as a child, again, is lost to the cupboards of time I was able to get a copy on ebay years ago for a decent price. The original copy was bought for me as a present on a visit to London Zoo in about 1987 or something and my sister and I played the heck out of it.
It’s as roll and move game based on the premise of teams of explorers attempting to race across the dangerous board to the temple, where they can pick up golden coins, and then escape the valley at double speed with their loot. Player with the most coins at the end of the game wins. Simple. Except there are hazards aplenty to avoid. The board is a hex map with a big swamp in the middle, in which swims the swamp monster. On two sides, forming the valley, are big mountain ranges harbouring T-Rex dens and a Pteranodon nest. There’s also an erupting volcano to contend with, spewing lava across the board and, eventually, stranding explorers and dinosaurs alike. Once that happens the game is over.
This is easily my favourite game as a kid and still one of my favourites right now. I sincerely hope Restoration Games pick it up as one of their future projects. The fact they recently announced Fireball Island as one of their future projects gives me hope that one day we’ll see their version. If not, I’ve already been thinking about how I’d love to do it – what about Clank! In Time! – instead of roll-and-move, you deck build. Instead of a random deck of cards to control the dinosaurs these are controlled by cards in the players’ decks which trigger regardless of whether they want to or not, much like the stumble cards in Clank! And instead of the dragon it’s the volcano, getting restless and spewing more and more lava onto the board as time goes by.
Get on it, Restoration… and if not, Renegade Games… give me a call!
Another vintage game, this one gifted to me (or just left in my house) by a friend a few years back. This is the classic Waddingtons version which gives each player a car dashboard control with speed and damage dials to control. Another classic I remember as a kid, but this one really isn’t that much cop compared to modern day racers like Formula D or Downforce, unfortunately. I just can’t quite bring myself to get shot of it – mainly cos I’m still not clear if it’s actually mine or not!
There’s a distinct theme on this shelf… vintage… clunky. This isn’t the Avalon Hill version of the Dune board game, in case you can’t tell. This is the version which clearly came out alongside the David Lynch film (which I love, btw) and is yet another roll-and-move effort. I picked it up for a quid at a charity shop years ago and I’m thankful it only cost me that much, to be truthful.
The game is very much a take that effort of players attempting to wipe each other out. Rolling the die, moving around the Arrakis complex (you know, the one in the film where the worms attack at the end) and taking whatever action is on the space you land. Simple and not that fun. The best bit is my hand drawn Emperor Shaddam IV card, as that one was missing when I bought it so I had to hastily sketch my own artistic effort! I suspect this one is destined for the charity shop pile at some stage in the future, really.
And there you have it, another shelf of games completed. Only another 12 to go until I’ve covered my entire collection. I hope you enjoyed reading about this little lot – any questions please do get in touch with us in the usual places, Twitter, Facebook or even our quiet little Guild on BoardGameGeek.