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Pfew, it’s been a busy week with lots of cool things!

The biggest thing probably was Heinze’s going-away party at his old job, he and a friend/colleague came up with the fun idea of organizing a Klask! tournament. Since it was organized in the university’s TV studio, they added some dramatic lighting so the whole thing looked impressive. With Klask! being such a simple and accessible game, it was a perfect combination of excitement and fun.

It was also the week of my birthday and although I didn’t celebrate it with a party, our game night on Friday turned into a fun early birthday celebration night with cake and lighter (party) games. The biggest hit was one of the latest titles of Wise Wizard Games’Β  alternative label “Wacky Wizard Games”… Caution Signs! It’s a game in which players get 20 seconds to draw a combination of two words on a caution-sign-shaped board. The cards with these words are then shuffled face down in a pile with four random other cards and these are handed over to the ‘guesser’ of that round. They’ll then have to combine the right words with the drawings! Normally, there’s a slight hesitation with people when they have to draw things, but 20 seconds is too short for anybody to draw something good, and people like me, who draw a lot, maybe even have a harder time because you can’t draw something good-looking.

That night, we also played a game of Mantis, The Resistance, Flip Over Frogs, and Miss Match. We learned a few things that night, including that we think Flip Over Frogs is more fun with two players we found the rules of Miss Match a bit too loose leaving too much space for interpretation of whether an answer was correct or not. That and word association games are hard for some people (including me), so that game was a little bit of a mismatch (sorry) for us.

Earlier that week we also received a copy of Distilled, a game we heard a lot of buzz about so we were eager to try it out. At first, we found it tricky but after finishing our first game – we have to admit it’s not that complex and we could now easily introduce this to new players and the playtime of 30 minutes per player feels correct once you know the rules. The theme and the ‘feel’ of the game really reminded us of the game Chai, a game about making and selling tea only Distilled’s complexity is higher. Although we enjoy the tea theme better, Distilled better fits our level of gaming.

This week is going to be busy with finishing a big project on my side but hopefully, we’ll manage to squeeze in some board games. Fingers crossed!

How to balance a board game?

 

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It can be quite a bummer when you receive a heavily damaged package and its contents have also taken a blow… but there is also a big difference in people’s attitude towards what is considered a damaged product. One of our local game stores sells “damaged” game copies which often are discounted by 10-20%, we got our Sleeping Gods there with the tiniest of dents in the corner of the back of the box which we could hardly see, but according to the store owner that often is enough for customers to return a game.

There are arguments on both sides here. If you’d still like to sell the game in the future, even small damage will lower the resell value and it’s also understandable that you just want a product to be in perfect condition because you paid for it. But… the stories we’ve heard from people working at customer support are discouraging and have changed our view on this topic and we’re OK with receiving a damaged game box. We’ve also heard the complete opposite of people sending a message to customer support with a picture of completely ruined boxes (soaked even), just asking for a few replacing components.

“The contents are fine, just send me a new box!” is something we’ve heard many times. It’s not something you really think about but there’s not such a thing as “a new box”; they are shipped from the factory to a warehouse as a complete game. With margins being quite slim on physical products like board games, it’s an automatic financial loss for a store or publisher.

We once ordered a small box Mansions of Madness expansion at a certain big online store and it was sent in a cardboard envelope instead of a box. Clearly it had been crushed under something heavy in transport and it looked so bad we considered contacting customer support. But luckily we decided to first take a look at the contents and amazingly enough: they were fine! Not even the miniatures were damaged! Since we were going to store the contents in another MoM box we decided to not follow up on it and leave it be. Had the game been a gift for a friend that would have been a different story of course. This all being said, I’d say 95% of the games we receive have no damages at all and look pristine so luckily it’s still an exception. πŸ™‚

Right, so what did we play last week? We played a competitive game of Aethermon Collect but we think we might like the co-op version of the game better because it presents a more interesting puzzle. We’ll play it co-op again next time to compare. We got a package containing Guilty: Houston 2015, an investigation game (and also our first 18+ title from Iello!) and Compile: Main1, a light competitive card game. We’ve only played it once so far and we’d say the gameplay is comparable to the concept of Air, Land & Sea only you get to construct your own “deck” just like in Gosu X or Smash Up. It was fun and quick enough that we’ll play it more often and we really enjoy that they’ll be releasing small expansion packs with three new ‘factions’ in it. To end the week we decided to play a game of The Guild of Merchant Explorers, which is nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres, congratulations!

And in case you missed it, we published an extra comic last week about the upcoming re-release of Witness, the whisper investigation game!

What’s the most damaged game you’ve ever received?

 

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This happened during a game night not very long ago. A friend of ours grabbed some bowls to put snacks in, he couldn’t have known he grabbed the ones we use for Apollo’s wet food. The sound of the bowl immediately activated Apollo and he was right there with us in the kitchen with a look of “FOOD?! ALREADY? FOOD?!” At that point, you can do very little but give in and feed him an hour early. πŸ˜‰ If Starbuck was still alive, she most definitely would have jumped that table out of enthusiasm.

It was the post-UKGE week and the week after a convention always is a little rough. We were lower on energy due to the intense previous week and in Heinze’s case: he started with his new job so that was also really exciting. Even though that, we actually did play some games – which we didn’t really expect!Β  We mostly played small games and one very big and chunky one. πŸ˜€

Last week, we got ourselves our first Oink game after it was recommended to us by two separate friends: Moving Wild. We played it and it’s a fun little drafting game with Forest Shuffle/Ark Nova vibes. We think it might be more interesting with three or four players (a more exciting draft) but if you don’t have a lot of space in your luggage, this packs quite a game for its size! I believe it will be released later this year, we got lucky that they sold a few at the fair!

I played the third scenario of Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs and after losing in the second round the first time, I made it to the next level the second time with more than ten health on the counter (oh… healing might be more important than I thought), hurray! We also played two games of Flip Over Frog which has such a fun mechanic! The only issue is that we’ve played it three times now and Heinze doesn’t seem to be able to win… When we played Star Wars: Unlimited again that night with our drafted UKGE decks, he did win (good for morale)! It’s interesting how we both have decks using the same faction icons but we do have completely different decks.

On Friday, it was time for a game night with our storytelling games group! We played The Quiet Year, which I’ve heard so much about. During the game, you all draw a map of your world together. You are presented with situations and you’ll have to decide what to do and how it influences your world. This way, you slowly add things to the map as you discover more about the world you’re creating together. We did play a shortened version (we started a little late) and noticed that we shouldn’t do that the next time because you just need a little more time to build things up. Nonetheless, we all liked it and I see us playing this again. A tip if you want to play it, we used the roll of paper from Ikea (MΓ…LA collection). It’s slightly off-white and gives it a cool look.

Saturday was the day of the BIG game! We played Stefan Feld’s upcoming game Civolution together with Eerko from BGstats. Setting the game up for the first time took us an hour. Getting through the rules together took us about two hours and playing the game took us 3:40 hours. Taking into account that this was our first play, which was rather overwhelming, I reckon we would be able to shave that down to three hours in our next play. But oh boy, there’s a lot happening in this game! However, everything did feel ‘logical’ and the graphic design of the boards is excellent. Everything you can do is clearly communicated. There’s just so much! I ended up with a very powerful combo of cards which made exploring and walking around the board very lucrative so I ended up in first place with 213 points with Heinze and Eerko far behind with 155 and 142 points. However, I’m quite certain that I got lucky and won’t get that chance the next time though…

When was the last time a game got rudely disturbed at your table?

 

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We introduce to you our version of the game Paper App Dungeon! Make your way through the UKGE halls, making friends, buying games while also having enough money to get back home at the end! πŸ˜‰ If you’d like to print it, you can download a print-friendly version by clicking here.

In reality, luggage space was a bigger issue because we were traveling with only (small) hand luggage so we knew we couldn’t take a lot home with us but we managed to resist many temptations! We also made a lot of friends (and met up with lots of them) so we’re going to say that we’ve had a very successful UKGE!

We’ve made a short video every day:
Thursday: https://youtube.com/shorts/mUtsq7RjagU
Friday: https://youtube.com/shorts/eh07yhPT91w
Saturday: https://youtube.com/shorts/MwK6ywANww0
Sunday: https://youtube.com/shorts/qIPigVGOKhk

We hadn’t been to the UKGE in five years, so it was great being there again. We were also surprised that ‘just’ two halls can be just as draining as eight halls at Spiel. The biggest difference is that the UKGE offers more open gaming areas so you can actually sit down and play games, which SPIEL lacks.

We didn’t book many meetings because we wanted this convention to be more relaxed than our busy days at Spiel. In reality, though, we come across a lot of people and publishers in the hallways or at their booths and we end off having many impromptu meetings anyway, haha. There weren’t a lot of new titles being released at the UKGE so we mostly saw a lot of prototypes of games that’ll be out later this year. This was a big plus for our luggage issue. πŸ˜‰

We saw a lot of people we hadn’t seen in years which was so great and that alone made the trip worth it. Some games/prototypes/experiences that stood out to us were:
– Meeting Semi Co-op readers! Thank you for coming up to us and saying hi. <3
– We saw the prototype for Seti and that looks impressive!
– We’re really curious about Katmai: The Bears of Brooks River and War Story: Occupied France from the Osprey team.
– We bought our first Oink game, Moving Wild after multiple people recommended it to us and we even got it signed by the designer.
– We really enjoyed our demo of Yonder by Sinister Fish!
– We joined in on a late-night Star Wars Unlimited draft game without ever having played the game.
– Playing silly games at the StuffByBez booth.
– Playing (secret) prototypes and giving feedback on them.
– Setting the co-op high score for a cute card game Aethermon: Collect.
– Nerding about Gloomhaven, Frosthaven and other great dungeon crawlers with Chris from Cephalofair.
– Finding the (English) expansions for Northgard and another small expansion for Robot Quest Arena!
– English breakfast that’ll last you until the end of the afternoon.
– And many more. We’ve had a great time! A thank you to the UKGE, publishers, volunteers and anybody involved.

What score did you get?!

 

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Northgard is a lighter 4X game and besides winning by having the most victory points at the game’s end, there’s also an alternative win condition! Whoever manages to build three large buildings in areas they control and make it until the end of the round, wins the game immediately rendering all the VPs worthless. Personally, we like the dynamic this gives the game and it also gives a good incentive to attack other players and there’s something very satisfying about winning the game this way. I believe that in most of the games we’ve played, the game ended with a player having built three large buildings. Now, we didn’t play Northgard this week, but we did feel like making a comic about it since this situation happened during our last game. πŸ˜‰

What did we play this week? On Monday night, Heinze played a game of Starquest with a couple of friends. Our friend wasn’t sure if he wanted to sell his copy and wanted to play it at least one more time before making a decision. As far as I know, everybody at the table agreed that the game has aged quite a bit and that there just are better games to play nowadays.

The weather reached summerly temperatures this week at 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 F) so we grabbed this rare moment to have a barbecue… in April! In daily life, we eat little to no meat so we ended up with only vegetables and some fish, which was delicious. The burger you see in the video is a mushroom burger for those wondering. πŸ˜‰ In the evening we continued our Middara tutorial. We’ve decided to play the game with four characters even though we usually play it with three players and this night that paid off. Since we have a spare character (sort of like the backup car in the Top Gear specials), we can invite other people to join the game!

We also did a thing this week that we hadn’t done in a long time, we’ve got a giveaway going on on our Instagram! Iello was kind enough to let us give away a copy of Unmatched Adventures: Tales to Amaze. We’ve made a snazzy little video and it’s still running. So if you have an Instagram account (or maybe a friend or family member who has one), you can join in here: https://www.instagram.com/p/C6gYxYWNjDW/ We can honestly say that we really like the game, so it’s really cool that we can gift a copy for free to somebody. πŸ™‚ It’s a hard game though! We’ve never beaten the Mothman yet and that’s the easier of the two villains…

On Thursday, we played a weird one, Microscope. It’s a roleplaying… storytelling game, in which players together form a world. We ended up with a world in which Kings were chosen by the eye of a storm and the weather gods were heavily involved with the people in the world. It was an interesting game and I’ll be honest I was surprised we ended up with ‘something’ in the end. The next, let’s call it, creative RPG we’d like to try out is The Quiet Year. On Friday night friends came over and wanted to play a light game, while at the same time pulling Age of Steam from their bag. Not really my idea of a “light” game, but fine! πŸ˜€ The game was less complicated than I thought but the fact that you can be eliminated in the first round, is rough. Luckily that didn’t happen though!

We also received our Kickstarter copy of Galactic Renaissance (yes, it came in a big Slay the Spire box). We already had a prototype copy that we really liked but we ended up backing the Kickstarter nonetheless because we liked it so much. Now that leaves us with the question: what to do with the prototype?

Do you know a lot of games with alternate win conditions?

 

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Ahh, game tables! It’s a lovely topic and everybody has their preferences and creative solutions if room is limited… We have a normal dining table of 180 x 100 cm and that works perfectly well for us!

As we predicted, last week was the opposite of the week before that if it comes to gaming! It might almost get boring to hear, but we again played a Descent scenario! I think we have about three or four left before we’re done. We did think that this scenario was weirdly easy compared to the one we played last. But sometimes an easier win is nice too. πŸ˜‰

We played another game ofΒ  Let’s Go! To Japan and we are surprised by how quickly we can now set up and play the game. We never thought it would be a game we could play in less than thirty minutes. We think this game will end up in our top ten of most-played games this year. On Thursday, it was time for another game night and we played Root. Vanilla Root without any of the expansions and… The Woodland Alliance didn’t win for a change, huzzah!

This weekend, we played two new games to us. On Saturday, we cuddled with our favorite Newfoundlander Odin and we played Wyrmspan! After hearing so much about this “expert” version of Wingspan we were very curious and friends of ours had a copy. We both liked the gameplay better than the original Wingspan and it’s interesting what they changed in the game to give it a little more body. In essence, it’s still the same game but we like the new action system better. Playing your cards… eh, dragons or guild actions right, might give you more silver coins to spend on actions and this gives you a little more room to get strategic. So if you (kinda) like Wingspan but think it’s lacking a bit, you might want to check out Wyrmspan.

On Sunday, we tackled the first half of the Middara: Unintentional Malum Act 1 tutorial. Succubus Publishing was very kind to send us a copy of the game (it’s so big!) and the timing is great since we’re almost finished with Descent. Our group does have slight issues with the art of the game and we aren’t the biggest fans of the often, uhm, poorly dressed women in the game. It feels a bit cheap and doesn’t do the characters any justice. But, we’ve heard good things about the gameplay and we liked our first experience so we want to give it a try!

What does your (gaming) table look like?

 

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It’s been a busy week and a week with very little gaming. It happens once in a while and that’s ok. There were evenings when we didn’t have the energy and preferred to hang on the couch and enjoy watching some Dropout shows (we’re hooked on Game Changer and Um Actually at the moment) and we started watching the new Fallout series. Oh, and one of my highlights; we planted a new tree in our front garden!

We did play a game of Splendor Duel and this weekend I played the one thing Heinze will never be able to play with family: Hues and Cues! Heinze is colorblind so that’s really not a good match. Although it would be very frustrating for him to play, I guess it would be rather educational for people to learn what colors look like for somebody who can’t perceive the whole spectrum as most people can.

Hues and Cues was trickier than I thought! Every turn one player draws a card that shows four colors and its location on the grid on the board. You get to give a one-word hint to the other players who have to put their pawns on a color on the board. After every player has placed one of their pawns, you get to give another hint only with two words this time. You can’t actually name the color you want people to find, so it’s best to come up with well-known things like ‘eggplant’ or ‘avocado’ – although with the latter… do you mean the outside or inside of the avocado?
The players put down their second pawn and then a square of 3×3 will be put on the board with the color that players had to find in the center. Players get points if their pawns are inside this square or adjacent to it on the outside. The player who described the color gets a point for every pawn inside the square. I like that the game is very accessible for non-gamers (as long as they are not colorblind…) and it will probably lead to some really interesting discussions about colors, as it did at our table.

So this coming week will be the opposite of last week! We’ve got at least two game nights and a game day planned and I’m looking forward to it. πŸ˜€

What’s the last game you’ve won?

 

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We don’t back many games on Kickstarter but we made an exception for Let’s Go To Japan! and we’re glad we did! The box was stacked with small goodies and we really like the ceramic bowls, we’re probably going to use those during a lot of games! The game oozes with theme and that makes it a lovely experience. It turned out Heinze is an excellent holiday planner and I’m a very mediocre one. :’)

In Descent, we picked a side mission, believing it would be a lighter scenario but we were confronted with a complex and hard one. At the end, we mostly got frustrated because the mission’s goal changed suddenly to something that wasn’t tactically viable anymore because of the choices we made (trying to achieve the original goal). There was a way we could maybe still win it, but that felt like a rule edge case and to be very frank; none of us felt like doing that after playing for a few hours. So let’s just say we lost the scenario and we think this one is a game design miss.

On Friday, Heinze played Kill Team instead of normal Warhammer 40K and I believe he enjoyed the quickness of it. Our friend also has very impressive terrain! I don’t know a lot about Warhammer, so I could ask Heinze to maybe write a post about Kill Team in the future and share his opinion. In the evening, we visited another friend who’s really into Agricola again. Even though the game is very cutthroat and unforgiving, we do keep circling back to it and I still find it charming. Since we’ve been playing it a few times this year, our friend finally made a step he was considering for quite a while and he ordered the 15th-anniversary edition. I believe we’ll be playing it a few more times this year! I’m curious if I’ll get more comfortable with that aching feeling of not being able to achieve anything of what I’ve planned in the game… :’)

This weekend, we played our first four-player game of Northgard! We’re still really charmed by this light 4x deckbuilding game and our friends are looking forward to discovering more of the other clans that are in the game. The weather was lovely so I continued working on my garden project and that meant no more energy for board games on Sunday! Awww…! But, it was a good week though. πŸ™‚

How Do you transport games? DO you have aΒ  special bag?

(Publishers: click here to download the badge to put on your box!)

April 11th is Semi Co-op’s 9th anniversary! Woooh! Honestly, we can’t believe it’s already been that long. Since then… *grabs a calculator* we’ve published around 664 comics! Holy moly! And somehow we still have ideas for new comics and sometimes I wonder how we manage that. Luckily, the board game industry evolves quickly so there is much to joke about.
This is also a moment I’d like to give a shoutout to our patrons for whose support we are really grateful. If you ever think “I need more silly board game comics in my life”, we continued publishing Sketchie comics on our Patreon page as a special thank you.

 

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It’s been an interesting and busy week! We were surprised by a lovely package by Pencil First Games containing Sunset Over Water and Maul Peek. We ended up playing both games this weekend and while they are completely different games, we both really enjoyed them! Sunset Over Water is what we’d call a cozy game in its setting (you make and sell pretty paintings of landscapes) and beautiful art. And while it was a relaxed game with two players, we think the game will change a lot when playing with four players. Player tokens block each other’s movement and available landscapes in the game and with two players, there’s less confrontation. We’ll have to see this in action but getting Sunset Over Water to the table won’t be a problem. πŸ™‚

Maul Peek is an asymmetrical two-player game in which one player controls a band of raging Bears and the other player the colossal creature (guardians) they are fighting. The production quality of this game is stunning. The lovely wooden meeples,Β  the high-quality art, and all the different playable Guardians and the Bears come in their own little deck box which makes setup very quick. Our first game was really close, the Bears defeated the guardian Saboso but all the Bears (but one) were defeated and one more hit would have been the end of the Bears. The game has a strong end-boss battling vibe because the Bears have to climb the Guardian (on a separate board) and attack different parts of the Guardian. This way, the Bears can eliminate certain actions of the Guardian but the Guardian also has actions that can throw off the Bears. We’re looking forward to exploring this one more and there’s quite a lot to explore with four different Guardians!

Another game we played last week is Ancient Knowledge. Heinze made it more of a racing game this time and that worked out really well for him and really poorly for me, haha! I don’t think my score has ever been this low. If you’d like to learn more about this game, we’ve posted about it on our Instagram a few months ago.

On Thursday, it was co-op night! We played Quirky Circuits and Unmatched Adventures: Tales to Amaze. You can never go wrong with Quirky Circuits and that was, like always, a lot of fun. We never seem to get passed the Roomba levels though because we keep introducing it to new people and start at the beginning every time, haha!
As I said, we also played Unmatched Tales to Amaze and this was the first time we played it with more than two players. While with two players it’s quite a quick game it was a lot longer with four players! That’s good to know for future plays because we’ll need those – we got wiped out hard by the Moth Man and his fellow baddies…

Friday night we played three games of Challengers! and we ended the night with a game of Quibbles. Challengers is an interesting game and we feel the need to try this with eight players now… I personally wouldn’t call it a great game but it’s definitely a fun and silly experience so I’m sure we’ll be playing this more often in the future.

This weekend we also did some gardening, although, I’d call it a garden renovation since we’ve mostly been digging up and cutting away large tree trunks from a willow that has recently been chopped down, and because that wasn’t heavy enough we also picked up around 500 kilos of rocks. So, with the landscaping now done, we can finally start doing things with plants, hurray!

What’s your favorite game we made fun of? πŸ˜‰

 

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We talked about Fisheries of Gloucester before and we couldn’t help ourselves and make this joke… I mean, have you seen the logo of Dr. Finn’s Games? πŸ˜€Β 

So last week has been a busy week with four game nights! Tuesday was our Descent night and we continued the campaign, we enjoyed this scenario and we’re impressed at the variety the game has to offer! Thursday we planned to play the unplayed copy of Betrayal at House on the Hill (3rd edition) of a friend. It’s always a bit chaotic in the middle of the game when the players and the betrayer have to ‘learn’ the new ruleset when the Haunt begins but I assume that’s something that’ll go more smoothly after a few plays. The last time we played Betrayal was at least six years ago and the other two players had never played it before but luckily, the game is really simple at its core and it almost feels like a party game from time to time. We ended the night with Hanabi, another game I don’t even remember how long it has been since we played it!

On Friday morning, Heinze tested a prototype of Robin David, the designer of games like Letterpress and Luzon Rails. I can’t say very much about it, except that he said he had a great time! In the evening, it was time to get our brains working. A friend got himself a copy of Threads of Fate, which is quite an impressive puzzle game. We also played the Wilson Wolfe Affair together a few years back which was slightly too complex. Threads of Fate was more doable for our slightly tired minds on a Friday night and solving one puzzle doesn’t take multiple hours. Another big plus of the game is that it’s divided into parts 1 – 4 each taking about three hours to solve. We liked the puzzles and like that they used an existing dataset meaning you have to search for answers online for some puzzles. We’ve already got the next night planned and we’re curious if the difficulty of the puzzles will increase or will stay about the same.

On Saturday, we made pizza and played a game of Artisans of Splendent Vale! We love the game’s concept and how detailed the world is but the thing is that we do not really like the player characters. We’re still having a great time with the game itself and will keep playing but the characters are currently our biggest struggle. And since the scenario that we played was a little shorter, we had some time for some more games. Let’s just say that our mood was kind of ‘derpy’ so we got out the good stuff: Fish & Katz and two games from the Brick Games from Itten Games, Viking See-Saw and Stick Collection. Each of them silly, but a great time.

On Sunday we played two games of Aqua: Biodiversity in the Oceans, a game we’ve played five times now but we’re still unsure what we think about it. The game is trickier than it presents itself to be and that’s mostly because of the way the tiles are designed. We’ll probably play it a few more times to see why the game doesn’t seem to click with us as much as we thought it would or maybe it’ll start to click! We’ll make sure to share our thoughts on Instagram.

This week will be a little less intense than last week, although we do have a game of Battlestar Galactica planned, looking forward to that!

What’s the most cutthroat game you ever played?
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