192 – Shelf of Shame – The Family Gamers Podcast

Episode 192 - Shelf of Shame
Episode 192 - Shelf of Shame

This week we’re going to talk about the “shelf of shame” – although sometimes we call it “shelf of opportunity” to make ourselves feel better. We tried really hard to get some games OFF that shelf this week.

192 begins the “home block” of IP addresses on a local area network ( is usually your router!) Thanks to Michael Lettner for this fact.

Thanks to our sponsor, First Move Financial! If you’re curious about “sequence of return risk”, go to FirstMoveFinancial.com/familygamers to set up a 15-minute phone call or a 90 minute meeting.

What We’ve Been Playing

We actually spent time outside this weekend – spring has finally come to New England! But we also played board games, of course.

TAGS by HeidelBÄR Games. Name off things that fit a category and start with a certain letter. Grab the corresponding “marble” off the grid. Keep going around and around until all the marbles are taken or every player passes. This is a game like Anomia where your brain might get “spotlight shock” on your turn – prepare yourself with answers before it’s your turn!

Koi by Smirk & Dagger. Play as giant goldfish moving around the board and eating dragonflies and frogs. Review coming soon.

Abandon All Artichokes by Gamewright. Already in Anitra’s top played games for the year, even though we’ve only had it for a month or so. Really simple to pick up and start playing.

Animal Kingdoms by Galactic Raptor Games. It took us a while to get around to playing this the first time, but ever since, it’s been near the top of our list. Area control combined with making sets of cards. The restrictions for the sets of cards change every round. Gorgeous and easy to get into.

MetroX by Gamewright. A flip-and-write game to fill in a subway map. It becomes very difficult very quickly because there are only a few cards that allow you to skip over an already-filled station, and many of the lines overlap. Very portable (a single shared deck, and each player gets a thick whiteboard & marker) and we think it would make a great restaurant game.

Lots of “kid” games like Monopoly Gamer and Monopoly Junior. They’re not great, but at least they’re shorter than standard Monopoly, with a easily defined endpoint. But also HEIST and Keys to the Castle.

Keys to the Castle by Outset Media. Travel across the board, playing cards to “open doors” or to slow your opponent(s) down. First player to the opposite side wins.

Silly Street – with the nine-year-old. “I feel like being silly!” We had a great time.

Go Cuckoo (by HABA) with our eleven-year-old. No little kids means we could be cut-throat. :)

A reminder that games are supposed to be about having fun! Don’t worry about the “suggested age” (in either direction).

The Game of Wolf

SNAP Review: The Game of Wolf

Awoooo! The Game of Wolf puts a twist on party trivia games. Pick a pack to help you get the most answers right, or double your points by going as the Lone Wolf.

See the full transcript and pictures at the SNAP review page.

Giveaway winner!

HABA and First Move Financial are making it possible for us to give away one copy of each of the games we wrote about in our HABA series.

The winner of Tiny Park: Ronnie Cabrera! Congratulations.

It’s time for the last of our four giveaways! Enter the giveaway for Monza.

Shelf of Shame

Our family has a “shelf of shame” for two reasons. First reason: math trades at conventions. We brought about 20 new games home from PAX Unplugged (although we also got rid of 20 games…) Second reason: As reviewers, our first instinct for “let’s play a new game” is to play games that we are obligated to review, rather than games we bought just for fun.

We recognize that the shelf of shame looks different for different families – for ourselves, we’d consider it both the games we’ve never played, and the games we haven’t played in a really long time.

But with this whole “coronatine” situation, we have a lot more time at home, which means we should be able to get some of these games to the table!

(One strategy we’re using: giving our kids a choice to either go spend time outside, or play games with dad.)

Pulled off our shelf of shame

Ursa Miner by Room and Board Games (we borrowed it 18 months ago, sheesh). You are a team of bears “mining” for honey and royal jelly. Spend honey to hire more bears (and sometimes buy action cards).

The River by Days of Wonder. This worker-placement game first caught Andrew’s eye after Essen 2018 (not GenCON as we erroneously said), and we jumped on the chance to get a copy in the PAXU math trade. It’s a good introduction to worker placement and resource management. We think the recommended age of 8+ is just right – there’s no reading required, but there were too many options for our 5 year old to figure out what to do next. One thing that helps for younger ages is that you’ll never completely run out of options or get backed into a corner.

Voltage by Mattel. A really interesting two-player game that makes us think of Hanamikoji but with a more steam-punk/electricity vibe. The pieces are really inviting with bright colors pop on the board. Play cards back and forth on each of four different colors. When five cards have been played, a color will score. If the middle piece is a “+”, the higher value wins, but if it’s a “-” the player with the lower sum wins. Of course, there are also ways to flip the pieces or steal a card from your opponent.

We very recently played Monsters in the Elevator (from Yaya Play). We last played it almost 2 years ago (summer 2018) when our youngest could only be an agent of chaos. Now that he’s almost 6, he completely understood it (although he needed some help with reading the text). I’m hoping we can play it again soon!

What have you been playing from your shelf of shame?

We read out some responses from our community. Take a look and add your own!

The Family Gamers is sponsored by First Move Financial. Go to FirstMoveFinancial.com/familygamers to learn how the team at First Move Financial can help you pile up the victory points.

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Until next week – Play Games With Your Kids!

One comment

  • Dave Smith

    I recently got to play Railroad Ink, Finca, A Castle for All Seasons, and Cuba to get them off my shelf of shame list – all very good (A Castle probably the least of the 3 though but still good). My current “shelf of shame” list = (less than 60 min) Samurai, Medici, Ekö, Bruxelles 1897, Time-N-Space, Mundus Novus, Klondike Rush, Roll for the Galaxy, Above & Below, Captain Sonar, Trains and (>60 min) Blood Rage, Dungeon Petz, Amerigo, Alchemists, Concordia