Reviews

My Shelfie review — Don’t be a square, put the squares in the square

As much as my collection has exploded since I started reviewing and didn’t stop buying my own games, there’s been a niche I haven’t quite filled to my satisfaction. I’ve been trying to find a conversation game- something that’s light enough that my family can play it while they’re distracted talking, but just engaging enough that some of our social anxieties with the possibility of doing basic human interaction wrong somehow don’t start creeping in. My Shelfie is just that.

The core gameplay of My Shelfie is almost stultifyingly simple: on your turn, draft up to three tiles in a line that have at least one free side from the main board and then drop them into one column of your totally not a Kallax Connect 4-style tableau. Things get spicy because you’re racing the other players to complete the two public objectives first while also attempting to get all your private objective placements. While you’re at it, if you can get a couple 6 like-tile color groups together, you’re doing great. Only you won’t, because the two objectives are fundamentally incompatible, or that one gray tile you were really depending upon got snagged by another player just because it helped prop up the cat they needed a square higher, but that’s okay, because scoring in My Shelfie is nothing if not generous.

There are two choices a game makes that set its tone early on for me- its first player marker and its first player rule. My Shelfie whiffs on the rule, but I’m the only one that ever saw it, so I’ll give it a pass, but the first player token was absolutely perfect- a 3D comfy chair with a pillow. It does it’s job of getting you into the headspace perfectly, since it’s not to be taken seriously and (at least personally) has chill memories of sitting in a sunroom and reading a book attached. You can play this game seriously, paying attention to what everyone else is doing and trying to outmaneuver them, but chances are you’ll get destroyed by someone who needs to take a tile for no reason other than it lifts all the other tiles they’re taking up a row. Where My Shelfie excels is as a centerpiece to a conversation with friends or family during afternoon tea or whatever your household’s equivalent is. You’ll pay a minimal amount of attention to it, gain the tactile pleasure of dropping the tiles into your shelves, and ultimately get the dopamine hit of “ooh, I scored 45 points!” It’s like knitting, or a puzzle, but a game. There’s a lot of bashing games that are more activities- Betrayal in the House on the Hill and Fluxx are two I’ll always campaign against if mentioned- but My Shelfie gives you decision space while stripping away all the fiddle of those other games that keep you from just having a chill time with people you like hanging out with.

Tabletop Editor | [email protected]

Nick grew up reading fantasy novels and board game rules for fun, so he accepted he was a dork at an early age. When he's not busy researching the intricacies of a hobby he'll never pick up, Nick can be caught attempting to either cook an edible meal or befriend local crows.

70

Good

My Shelfie

Review Guidelines

My Shelfie has a goal, and achieves it rather well. Don't expect more from it than it is, and you'll have a great time.

Nick Dubs

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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