Category: Uncategorized

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures!

We love painting minis for our D&D adventures.  Here are some of the Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures (specifically Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures) that people have painted at our store! If you have a mini that you’d like to show off, send us some pictures and we’ll post it on our website!


And if you would like to paint a mini, come visit us in El Cajon, CA and use our paint station!  Complete with wet palette set up, brushes, magnifying glass, and paint!

Renting Board Games – All the Fun at a Fraction of the Cost!

Board Game Library Home
Board Game Library A-Z
>>Board Game Rentals
Stay and Play

Did you know you could rent board games? Most of our games in our library of over 700 games are now available for rent! Explore new games at a fraction of the cost. If you want to rent board games, just stop by the store and follow these steps – it’s that easy!

Board Game Rental fees are $8.00 for a Three-day period ($4.00 for Members). First time renters will be asked to sign a rental agreement, and a valid credit card must be placed on file. Late fees will be assessed at $4.00 per day ($2.00 for members) for a maximum of five days, after which you will be charged the MSRP value of the game, in addition to the late fees and rental charge. Two games may be rented at a time. All games will be sanitized and be unavailable for play for three days after return. Reservations for games are available. Games must be returned in the condition received. Games returned damaged or with missing pieces will be charged the MSRP value of the game, in addition to the late fees (if any), and rental charge.

Our library of games is constantly growing, and an updated list can be seen in the Board Game Library A-Z page.

Most popular BoardGames rented

Updated January 2021 – we have been renting out board games for about 6 months now, and were curious what has been the most popular boardgame to rent. Well, here are the top 6 most rented games in 2020, and its no surprise, these are all great games!

Arkham Horror Third Edition (1-6 players) Fantasy Flight Games
New York Zoo (1-5 players) Feuerland Spiele
Quacks of Quedlinburg (2-4 players) Northstar Games
Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt (1-5 players) Wizards of the Coast
Minecraft Builders and Biomes (2-4 players) Ravensburger
Wingspan (1-5 players) Stonemaier Games

Top 10 2-Player Games

Hi guys, this is Jerry, and with so many of us staying home these days, a lot of us have turned to playing games. So today I thought I would focus on 2-player-only games. Now I don’t personally play a lot of 2-player-only games, because there is usually 4 of us wanting to play games, but I know that there are a lot of couples out there, and these games are great ways to spend time together. I wish that these had been around when my wife and I were younger (prior to children), we basically played a lot of card games back then. (Canasta, Rummy, Cribbage….) Now this list isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s a list of 2-player-only games I have played and enjoyed (it just so happens to consist of 10 games….. what are the odds?) I hope you enjoy my list of favorite 2 player boardgames!

Check out our video here!

10. Star Wars Destiny – A cool and quick collectible card game with dice set in the Star Wars universe.

9. The Fox in the Forest Duet – A cooperative trick taking card game that is surprisingly strategic.

8. Battle Line Medieval – A great back and forth card playing game where you’re trying to control various points along a line between the players.

7. Jaipur – A great little set collection/hand management game with some press your luck thrown in.

6. The Fox in the Forest – A nice trick taking game, with special abilities. The competitive version of Duet.

5. Patchwork – A Tetris like tile placing game that’s a whole lot of fun!

4. Naga Raja – A different game with some really cool little features, and a cool Indiana Jones feel theme.

3. Arkham Horror the card game – This is much longer game, but worth it! A great story telling game set in the Cthulhu universe.

2. 7 Wonders Duel – Set Collection and drafting civilization game, with multiple paths to victory. So Much Fun!

1. Blitzkrieg! – This is a great tug of war/ Back and forth type game with a WWII theme! It’s a bag pulling game and is quick and so much fun!

So there’s my list. Hope you enjoyed reading it, and if you have a chance, check out these games. Also, did I leave off your favorite game? Let me know, there is a chance I haven’t played it, and I am always looking to play new games. Thanks!

Top 10 Family Games

Hi guys, this is Jerry again, with Off The Shelf Games, and I’m back with another top 10 list. This week I am doing the top 10 family board games. All these games are great for families with children as young as 6 being able to play and have fun along with the older siblings and parents. This is also a good list for people new to the gaming hobby, and work well as beginner games too. These are all games that I have played and enjoyed, and If you’re looking for games to play with your family, I highly recommend these!

10. Azul – This is a gorgeous tile drafting and pattern matching game where everyone is trying to fill their board with beautiful tiles to score points!

9. New York Slice – is a quirky game where players take turns slicing pizzas into different groups and then claiming those groups. A set collection type game that will leave you hungry for more.

8. Qwirkle – an abstract tile laying game, where you either match the color, or the shape of previously placed tiles!

7. Tsuro – another abstract style, tile laying game where you are trying to be last dragon standing on the board. This one is fun and easy, where you lay a tile and follow the connecting line!

6. Love Letter – a cool little card game, with a little deduction thrown in. You have a hand of one card, and on your turn, you will draw a card and play a card. Quick, simple, and always fun!

5. Carcassonne – a tile playing, city building game. This game is so much fun, and the little world you collectively built is always cool to look at!

4. Ticket to Ride – I would say this may be the granddaddy of family games. You are competing with the other players to build the best Railways across the US. (there are so many versions and expansions now, you can play almost anywhere in the world) Simple rules make it easy to play, and it’s a lot of fun, and looks cool at the end.

3. Sushi Go! – a sushi themed card drafting, set collection game. This one is always a blast to play, and the artwork is really cute!

2. King of Tokyo – a dice rolling, monster game. It is Yahtzee with a theme, but so much better. This is one of those games where you can play it over and over again, and then play it some more!

1. Dixit – a beautiful game that really gets you thinking! This game has you looking at various card, each one unique with great artwork, picking an aspect of that card, and then trying to get another player to pick that card. I love this game, and always enjoy playing it!

Well, there you go. These are all great family games and are worth checking out. Hope you enjoyed this list, and I’ll have another top ten for you next week. Thanks!

Top 10 Upcoming Games!

As of April 3rd, 2020

Hi guys, this is Jerry again, with Off The Shelf Games. Even though we are on a lock down, there was and is a whole slew of games getting ready to be released. And when this is all over, these will be the ones I’m looking forward to playing the most. I haven’t played any of these games; this is based just on what information has been released for them. So, without any further ado, here is my top 10 upcoming games, not in any order. Enjoy!

10. Kitara by Iello Games – This looks like a cool Area Control type game, with some card drafting. Plus, it has the same name as my Daughter!

9. Santa Monica by AEG – A card drafting, set collection city building game based in Southern California. Looks to be a lot of fun.

8. Mariposas by AEG – Designed by Elizabeth Hargrave, the same designer of Wingspan, but this time it Butterflies not birds. It looks to be a set collection game based on migration. If its anything like Wingspan, it’s going to be great!

7. Tang Garden by Thundergryph Games – A beautiful looking tile placement game where you are building a Chinese garden. With simple turns and lots of ways to score, I’m excited to get this one to the table.

6. Iwari by Thundergryph Games – A Euro type game with some cool looking components.

5. Forgotten Waters by Plaid Hat Games – The newest Crossroads game. It’s a Pirate themed Cooperative storytelling game, that is App supported. I Love Story games, and this one looks Great. I’m really excited for this one!

4. Betrayal at Mystery Mansion by Avalon Hill – A Scooby-Doo Themed Betrayal at House on the Hill….. What more need I say!

3. Far Away by Cherry Picked Games – A 2-player cooperative exploration game with a Sci-Fi theme. Looks to be a heavier 2-player experience than most 2-player only games.

2. Traintopia by Board & Dice – A tile drafting and laying game about trains. What is it that trains have that make them such fun board games?

1. Black Rose Wars by Ludos Magnus Studios – A heavy miniature game with lots of cool mechanics thrown in, this game looks gorgeous and seems like it will be a blast to play!

So, there you have it. We have all these games pre-ordered, so be on the lookout for them once we re-open. And if you are interested in them, give us a call and we will pre-order one for you too! Let me know if there are any games to you are looking forward to and why. Thanks!


Quick Overview

Traverse the world as an archeologist as you collect artifacts from one of the four grand locations in this game. You won’t know for sure what each artifact is worth until the end of this 15 minute game, but you’ll have clues given to you along the way, whether it’s the information you were given or the information other players reveal throughout the game. Curios is a super short and super fun game to play with your friends and family, and it’s a great game to play of you don’t have much time!

How To Play

Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North Review

Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North is a game designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and published by Portal Games (among other board game companies). It’s based in the universe that Imperial Settlers, a game previously designed by Trzewiczek, takes place in, however, we will not be referring back to the original game. This review will treat Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North as a standalone game, because while the two games are similar, Empires of the North is different mechanically, making it it’s own, independent game. 


There are 5 main resources (wood, fruit, fish, stone, sheep), which are represented by small wooden tokens. You can use these resources for a variety of things, like sending your clanmates off to pillage a distant island, building mead halls and banks to expand your empire, and reinvigorating your clan to take that extra action you so desperately needed. And the sheep… well, the sheep are just mainly used for victory points. All of these components can be easily divided into a tray that comes with the game, making everything easily accessible and organized. On top of these 5 resources, there are three other tokens in this game (people, raze tokens, and gold coins), which are not considered to be resources but are placed in the same area as them. The tokens themselves are really easy to tell apart, with each one being a unique shape and color. 

There are three main factions (the Scotsmen, the Inuit, and the Vikings), each one with two different clans (decks). This means that there are 6 completely different decks in the base game, with an additional two if you get the Japanese Islands expansion! Each one has it’s own special powers and abilities, giving the game huge points in terms of replayability. It’s not too difficult to figure out the best strategy for gaining victory points with a certain clan, though it’s helpful to go through all of the cards before you begin the game to make sure you actually know what you’re doing, and that you don’t accidentally discard a card in the first few rounds that would’ve given you a ton of victory points. 

The decks themselves are distinctive, each one having a different color and a (very adorable) person illustrated on them. However, the colors on the score markers don’t match those on the backs of the decks, and the illustrations don’t necessarily match the illustrations on the back of the cards, meaning that there’s a lot of guessing and eye-squinting at the start of the game. The ship tokens have the same problem, where they have no color markings. Once again players are forced to examine their chosen deck of cards and try their best to match it to one of the ships. You could just randomly assign score markers and ships to players, but that’s not how it’s supposed to be! Certain score markers and certain ships are supposed to go with each clan, and the fact that it’s not clear what goes with what just adds more time to the setup. The Japanese Islands expansion does fix this problem, though, making the background for the boats and the score markers the same color as the back of the cards.

The action markers are four different colors, and while they also don’t match with the 6-8 deck colors, it doesn’t really affect the game. Eventually players will get used to being represented by two different colors, and since the action markers are for a different function it’s not that big of a deal. Overall, these little issues don’t generally affect the gameplay of Empires of the North, it’s just annoying at the start of the game when you don’t know what markers are yours.

 The components are of pretty good quality, and the artwork is very nice to look at. Since this game also has variety between players and the cards of each deck, more effort had to be put into the game, and I applaud the artists and designers. All of the tokens are quite easy to pick up, move around, and keep organized, so you won’t have any big messes (unless you’re playing with someone who cannot keep a tidy play area – we’ve all been there).


The game is made up of rounds, which are structured into four main phases (Lookout, Action, Expedition, and Cleanup), with the possibility of some extra phases depending on the decks being played with. Players will go through these phases, playing until one of them has reached 25 points, at which point the final round will start. 

The first phase is the Lookout phase, where each player will draw 4 cards, and choose which ones to keep by spending workers. In Empires of the North, instead of spending workers like you would any other resource, returning it to the tray from whence they came,  players instead place spent workers on the designated platform, where they can be recovered later on (in contrast to the resources lost to the tray, some of which may be trapped there until the next game). Truly, people are the most special of all. This means that players have to plan their actions in advance, especially if they have a clan where they have a lot of options to spend their workers. Even if you have a ton of cards and actions, you still need people to perform the action.

After the Lookout phase is the Action phase, which is where most of the game will take place. Players go in clockwise order, each taking an action until they decide to pass. Actions can vary from using a locations action to using one of the action tokens, building a brand new location, raiding an opponent’s location to stop them from getting even more victory points, and performing one of the five actions located on the action tiles (Populate, Explore, Construct, Harvest, and Sail). Populate allows you to add a new person to your clan; Explore allows you to “venture into the wild” and draw a new card (which you keep for free); Construct allows you to build a new location for free; Harvest allows you to get more resources from one field location in your empire; and Sail allows players to travel to distant or not so distant islands. You can perform two actions this way for free, but to perform additional actions you must tempt your clanmates with some fruit, spending said token and exhausting your action token. You may only exhaust each action token once. 

During the Expedition phase, players who have boats ready to set sail will choose one of the Nearby or Distant Islands to either pillage or conquer. Pillaging an island will give you immediate benefits in the form of victory points or resources, while conquering an island will integrate it into your clan, with the action on the island becoming available to the clan leader. 

Finally, the Cleanup phase occurs. During the Cleanup phase, players basically reset everything. All of the cards become unexhausted, spent workers come back into the players supply, any leftover island cards get discarded, and the next round begins. 

The action tiles are a bigger part of the game than one would originally expect, but with the large amount of cards that are directly or indirectly related to the action tiles, it makes sense. For clans that give benefits to sailing or stockpiling resources, players are going to be using the action tiles a lot more. Each action is simple enough that it doesn’t take a massive amount of time to perform, but there are enough actions that players may be subjected to analysis paralysis. Overall, though, all of the actions are simple, quick, and easy to understand, and the variety not only with the decks but the action tiles (since they can be rearranged from game to game) definitely adds to the replayability of the game.


Players go through these phases, collecting cards, performing actions, pillaging and conquering islands, to build an engine that will ultimately carry them to victory. And, overall, this works! Empires of the North was a lot of fun to play- it’s fun to play with different clans, it’s fun to collect the little resources, and it’s fun to strategize how to best destroy your competition (or really just beat them by getting the most victory points the fastest). The art is pleasing to look at, and, aside from the color differences, it makes different symbols distinct and easy to tell apart. The tray included with the game is a big bonus, especially to people who may not have designated component trays. It saves space and it saves time, especially at the end of the game when you’re putting everything away. While the actions are all relatively simple, there is a good amount you can choose from, and action order does matter in some cases. Players have to strategize in order to get the most victory points in the quickest amount of time, and while players can still be subjected to the randomness of their draw this isn’t a game that’s based on a lot of luck. Another positive for the game was that players got through most of their deck by the end of the game. Personally, when there’s still the majority of the deck left in a card game, I feel disappointed because there were all those amazing cards in there that I simply couldn’t get to, and while future replays may remedy that situation it’s always nice to know that you (most likely) haven’t missed out on an awesome card.

So, if you or your friends are looking for a fun, relatively simple engine builder with adorable artwork and a variety of options, strategies, and actions, I would definitely recommend Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North.

When Gelatinous Cubes Go Wild

The meeples from Tiny Epic Quests seem to have stumbled across a gelatinous cube that’s been eating up the townspeople! Will they be able to successfully defeat the monster, or will the only monsters they’ll be able to fight be goblins?
Find out when we open at 109 Rea Avenue in El Cajon, California, in early December, where you can play all sorts of games from D&D to Tiny Epic Quests!

Components used are meeples from Tiny Epic Quest designed by Scott Almes and meeple soap soon to available at our store, Off the Shelf Games