- Designer: Phil Walker-Harding and Matthew Dunstan
- Publisher: Lucky Duck Games / Cranio
- Players: 2-4
- Age: 8+
- Time: 25 minutes
- Played with review copy provided by Lucky Duck Games
My Shelfie was a game that I first saw at GenCon 2022, but I didn’t manage to get a copy of it until this spring; from its new US distributor, Lucky Duck Games. I have always been a big fan of PWH and Matt Dunstan as designers as I find that many of their games are what I’m looking for on a game night, a game which is quick to play, easy to learn yet something that requires a bit of brainpower to make the right decisions while playing…
Says the publisher: “You’ve just taken home your new bookshelf and now it’s time to put your favorite items in the display: books, boardgames, portraits… Who will show the best organized shelfie? A game of strategy and glance, different every time thanks to the variety of common and personal goals. The beautiful images of the item tiles will really give you the feeling of tidying up your precious shelf.”
There is a living room board which is placed on the center of the table, and it is filled up with tiles (the pattern based on the number of players in the game). Each player also has to construct their own plastic bookshelf which has a 5×6 grid of spaces where you will display your collected tiles. Each player is dealt a personal goal card which shows some locations of particular types of items; you will score points based on how many matches you have between your actual bookshelf and what is shown on the card. Additionally, 2 common goal tiles are drawn and placed face up on the table. Victory point chips are placed next to each.
During your turn, you must take 1, 2, or 3 item tiles from the living room board (shared by all the players), following these rules:
- The tiles you take must be adjacent to each other and form a straight line.
• All the tiles you take must have at least one side free at the beginning of your turn.
Then, you must place all the tiles you’ve picked into a single column of your bookshelf to meet the personal goal cards, which grant points if you match the highlighted spaces with the corresponding item tiles, or the common goal cards, which grant points if you achieve the illustrated pattern. You also score points at the end of the game if you connect item tiles of the same type.
At the end of each player’s turn, check to see if the player has achieved either of the public goals; if so, that player gets the highest remaining point chit for that goal. Also, if there are four or fewer tiles on the living room board at the end of a turn, the entire display is wiped clean and then refilled in the same pattern as the start of the game.
The first player who fills all the spaces of their bookshelf triggers the end game and takes the end game token that grants 1 bonus point. The game continues until the end of the turn of the player sitting on the right of the player holding the first player token.
Each player then calculates their score:
- Points based on how well they matched the position of icons on the personal goal card (chart for points seen at the bottom of that goal card)
- Points for the Public goals as seen on the point chits collected
- 1 Point for having the End Game token
- 2/3/5/8 points for each contiguous group of 3/4/5/6+ tiles of the same color
The player who scores the most points wins the game. Ties broken in favor of the later in turn order.
My thoughts on the game
Well, PWH and MD have done it again, producing a superb game in my adored super-filler niche. Players are challenged to draft the tiles that suit them best and figure out how to keep things organized on their bookshelf.
As there is a bit of a race aspect to the goals, sometimes you might take tiles that you don’t necessarily want in order to keep filling up your shelves. Alternatively, you might leave a tile behind on your turn so that you don’t open up the living room tiles for the next player – thus denying them of a particular tile that they need. Or, maybe you take a tile you don’t necessarily want just to prevent the next person from getting it! Don’t think too hard about hate drafting though, the living room board is pretty big, and there are plenty of tiles available!
The decision of how many tiles to draft is really interesting. Players can freely choose between 1 and 3 tiles; and if they only take a single tile each turn, it is certainly likely that their bookshelf will be extremely organized and most things will be exactly where they want them to be. However, if other players are routinely taking 3 things a turn, the slow player will have a half empty board at the end of the game, and likely will not be able to score as many points. Additionally, the difference in points between the first person to finish a goal and the last is fairly large – so faster play is definitely rewarded in that sense.
The restriction on only being able to drop tiles in one column is what makes the game work for me as this is the thing that makes the tile selection so difficult. It adds a spicy bit of risk/reward into drawing an extra tile that you’re not sure if you want or not.
The games will play out a little differently based on which public goal cards are drawn. One of the cards wants players to have half their board filled out in a stair-step manner, and each time we’ve played with this, the first half of the game seems to go much faster as players often draft 3 tiles on a turn in order to fill up their column as quickly as possible.
The artwork is cute, and the way that your shelf organically grows is a visually appealing process. The plastic shelves are easy to put together, and the game does look nice on the table while it’s being played. I did have some concerns about the durability of the tiles with all the handling and sliding down the boards, but to date, we haven’t had a single issue. Really, the only downside I have with the art/components is the fact that the start player chair (made up of “interlocking” cardboard pieces) doesn’t stay together at all, and we’ve had to abandon it. Luckily, you don’t really need it other than to remember who started, so it’s not like we miss that piece at all.
My Shelfie is a really good game when you have about half an hour to play. It is simple to teach and the rules are easy to grok, the icons are easy to understand. Despite the short playing time and simple rules, there really are a surprising number of things to think about as you play, and for me, it’s a really nice balanced game.
Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers
Dan B. (2 plays): It’s a good short game with enough to think about to keep it interesting. I also note that the vertical boards, in addition to providing the game’s eye-catching hook, actually improve the gameplay; it would be easy to play on flat boards, but then it would be harder to see what other players are doing, which is particularly important in this game because of the race element.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y, Dan B.
- Neutral. John P
- Not for me…