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What’s on the Shelf #2

What's on the Shelf #2

The second installment of What’s on the Shelf! This part of my board game shelf is the bottom right corner. This is where I keep most of my medium box games and a good amount of my games that can play 5+ players. While I may not always look at the bottom shelf, these games are in my collection for great reasons. Enjoy!

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Deception is the game on the top of the other boxes. This is one of those social deduction game where players are investigators trying to solve a murder. One of the so called investigators is the murderer, trying to throw everyone else off the scent. Each player has four cards representing potential murder weapons and four evidence cards in front of them. At the beginning of the game, the murderer picks one of their own weapons and pieces of evidence. If the investigators figure out that specific weapon and evidence, they win! I think this game is clever because of the clue giving mechanisms. One play plays the forensic scientist and gives clues about the murder weapon and evidence… but they are restricted by set categories such as “Time of Day” the murder took place. This pushes the group to think creatively to make connections. You can also throw in other roles (Witness, accomplice) to spice up the game. Oh, and it was designed by an API designer.


This was one of the first Kickstarters I backed after watching a review of the game. Besides loving the beautiful artwork, I was intrigued by the pyramid of power mechanism with the card play. In truth, this game has no theme. Players are bidding different color gems in order to recruit different people into their pyramid of power. Depending on what level they place them on, results in what reward the player gets back. Players are simultaneously trying to create a system to get gems of different colors while also trying to get victory points on the cards. This can be a hard balance and takes a couple of plays to understand how scoring works. I am happy I backed this game and it’s one I hope to bring out more this year.

Wits and Wagers

Do you like trivia games?! Do you hate trivia games because there is always someone who happens to know all those absurd facts and always wins? Well, in either case, this is the game for you. I would describe this as a trivia game where you do not need to know any of the answers to win. After everyone submits their answers, players bid on what answers they think are the closest without going over! The player with the most money at the end of the game wins. You may know nothing about any of the questions, but still win because you know who does know the answers. I like this game because it’s tons of fun and plays really fast.

2017-03-30 08.22.31

Between Two Cities

Another one of the first Kickstarters I backed. I played the prototype a lot with one of my local game group. The organizer really loves Stonemaier Games and was play testing Between Two Cities before the Kickstarter. I enjoyed the fast-paced tile laying and city building elements even though I thought and still think the scoring is a bit wonky. You are building two cities – one on your right and one on your left. Each cities will have different elements (parks, entertainment, offices, houses, factories, etc.) that will score points in various ways. At the end of the game, you score the lower value of the two cities you help build. In essence, you are trying to build your cities evenly (in points) to have the highest lower valued city. I keep the game because it is a fast drafting game and it can play up to 7 players. The two player and the solo variants are not bad as well.

King of New York

I had the option of getting King of Tokyo or King of New York. While King of Tokyo is the more accessible game out of the two, I felt King of New York would fit into my collection better. While I love King of New York, it doesn’t get to the table as nearly as much as I want. This game is all about giant monsters fighting each other while in New York City, trying to control the different burrows of NY and ultimately being the last monster standing! I LOVE the theme of this game and love all the monsters (especially Captain Fish, shown in the picture). This is a ‘Yahtzee’ style game where players roll and refill dice before they resolve their actions. I also have the new power up expansion (which adds a freaking shark monster!) and special ability cards to make each monster unique. While I like this game a lot, I am still considering getting King of Tokyo, which simplifies the game a bit, and putting it in the same box.


The final game for this episode’s What’s on the Shelf is Monarch a self-published game from designer Mary Flanagan. In this game, players are sisters vying to be the next monarch over the kingdom. This is an interesting set collection game as the sisters harvest food, tax the people, and recruit different nobles to their courts in order to gain influence points. I honestly think this game is very underrated and the simplicity is what makes the game great. The design is also set up (in my mind) for a ton of expansion content. I like how the sisters must work together at some points or do an action which may help a sister. The one thing that frustrates me about the game are some of the random events in the deck. But I can look past that as this is a 30-45 minute game! There is also a two player variant which works well.

There you have it! Another episode of What’s on the Shelf complete. I hope you saw a game you find interesting. And as always if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


3 thoughts on “What’s on the Shelf #2

  1. I really appreciate this post. Lately, all my game nights have been split into multiple tables all playing different games. While that’s totally fine, it can be a challenge socially. I find that certain people like the same types of games, so we often break into two trios and stay that way all night. Having 5+ player games is really important– and I’ve recently learned I don’t have many which qualify!

    Out of all these games, Monarch is on the top of my list. I’ll keep a look out. Great reviews!

    Can you explain to me a bit about the difference between King to Tokyo and King of New York? Are they both 5+ players? Why doesn’t King of NY get as played as much as you’d like it to?

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku | April 3, 2017, 1:29 PM
    • I really like to do an ‘everyone’ game at the very beginning or end of a game night to emphasize community. It has a good feel to it and I think it’s been successful in strengthening our community.

      Monarch is fantastic and underrated in my opinion. Highly recommend it 🙂

      King of Tokyo is pretty much Yahtzee with monsters fighting each other. You roll dice up to three times and resolve the face of the dice. This could be attacking other players, healing, getting energy to buy special abilities, or get points. There are only two locations in the game: Tokyo and not Tokyo. The goal is to be the last monster standing or get 20 victory points.

      With King of New York, it adds a couple more mechanisms like destroying buildings, the ‘superstar’ card, and military attacks. Also, instead of two locations, there are five in KoNY (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx). While the goals are the same, there are more options on a player’s turn, making it harder to teach. Sometimes (even though I like it, I would rather play KoT because of the simplicity and faster play time.

      I think they both play 6.

      It really depends on who is playing, when in the night we bring it out, and how much folks want to invest. I can teach KoT in 10 min and play it in 30 min. I can teach KoNY in 15-20 min and play in 60 min.

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by Brendon | April 3, 2017, 3:08 PM
      • Yes! Exactly– if we can get everyone together it feels so much better. I prefer to start that way, because if you have chemistry with another person you can keep it rolling.

        Wow! That was thorough answering of my question. Thank you, Brendon. Okay– the short version is that they are both awesome, but King of Tokyo might be the better option for less intense gamers. I should look into that.


        Posted by Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku | April 3, 2017, 6:07 PM

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