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What’s on the Shelf #1

What's on the Shelf #1

I have decided to show you all what board games are on my shelf and why I have kept them so far. I hope you enjoy this series going through my game collection! We will start with the top right corner of my board game shelf and work our way down.

Happy Salmon

This game is in the top left hand corner of the picture in a salmon shaped bag. Yes, that is right, this game comes inside of a salmon bag! This game is the ultimate party game or icebreaker game. From North Star Games in the United States, Happy Salmon requires players to do pretty simple actions in a speed filled chaotic 2 minutes! Each player gets a small deck of cards. Each card has a different action on it – high five, fist bump, happy salmon, and switcheroo. The goal of the game is to get through your deck of cards the fastest. You do that by finding another player at the table who has the same card action as you and you do the action together (in switcheroo, you would physically switch places). There’s shouting and laughing and if you needed to break the ice, consider it broken. The game also comes with rules that promote accessibility.

Tides of Time

This is a two player drafting game from Portal Games. Yes. It actually exists! Drafting is the game mechanism where you have a hand of cards, you pick one, and then pass the rest to the player next to you. You then receive a new hand of cards and repeat. I haven’t played many (or any) games where drafting works well with two players. For example, in 7 Wonders, the drafting is unbalanced and the solution is using a ‘dummy’ player, which I am not a fan of. Tides of Time is card drafting exclusively designed for two. I think the game works well because players choose which cards will persist from round to round and which ones will be eliminated from the game. Further, every single card will be in every single game. This is a quick 15 minute two-player game I will be hanging on to.

Fish Cook

Next to Tides of Time is Fish Cook from the infamous Cheapass Games (pronounced ‘chia pass’). This is a print and play game I actually made for my partner as a gift. The rules and files for the cards and tokens are online and I just had to assemble the game! I chose this game primarily because of the theme. You are buying fish and other ingredients to make delicious food. Beneath the theme is a pretty cool economic game where the supply and demand of resources changes with each market phase. The goal is to make more money in your restaurant then you spent at the market earlier in the day. Although there is little player interaction, this game can be mean – such as stealing a recipe from a rival restaurant or ending the market phase before your opponent can buy that key ingredient. This stays on my shelf not only because it is a DIY PnP but also because it is a unique economic game.



This is a truly underrated game and you can probably find a copy for $10-$20 online. This game is set in the same universe as Suburbia, but instead of an entire city, players are managing their own subdivision. This is actually is super neat tile drafting game focused on spatial set collection. What I mean by that… you want to place certain tiles next to each other to score points. However, players are constrained on where they can build based on a die role. This adds some very hard decisions. The other neat thing is how building effects are triggered. They do not happen when a building is built but instead happen when a building is built adjacent. I got my copy for $12 including shipping. Well worth it!


I received a copy of this game to review on my blog. As a game by one of my favorite designers, Antoine Bauza, I was super excited for the chance to play and review one of his new games. Oceanos is a very light drafting game where players are exploring the depths of the ocean, finding different fish, getting treasure, and upgrading their submarine. First of all the components are pretty neat. Particularly with the cardboard submarines that you can physically build up when you upgrade parts of your submarine. I like the simple mechanics and can use it in many different situations. However, I feel like there is a lot in the box for how light the game is. I am not saying that light games should not have nice components. What I am saying is I may not have room on my shelf soon for a game this big when I do have lighter drafting games in the form of a deck of cards.


Another Antoine Bauza game in my collection. Tokaido is actually one of the first games I bought and I knew nothing about it. The reason I bought it was the artwork. WOW! It has the most beautiful aesthetic I have seen in a board game. The game itself is about visiting Japan and exploring the road from Kyoto to Edo. As a traveller, players are stopping at different locations (temple, souvenir shop, etc.) to experience amazing Japan. Almost everything gets players points in this game – taking panoramic pictures, meeting strangers on the road, donating to the temple, eating good food, and visiting the hot springs. The unique mechanic in this game is the one road or one path mechanic.On their turn, players can move along the road as far as they want to to the space they want to, but they can never move backwards. I also have the Crossroads expansion which increases the choices of each spot, which is an excellent addition to an already charming game. I think this is one of the few games that takes a culture and presents it very positively.

Well there you have it! One part of my shelf down. A bunch more to go. I hope you found this interesting and stay tuned for the rest of this series.


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