We’re aware that in parts of the world, like in India, Covid is still raging and what’s unfolding there is devastating. Beneeta Kaur and AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps have done an amazing job on running a Twitch stream raising money for Covid Relief in India, raising over 17.000 dollars. We’re so impressed by their hard work and everybody who has participated and contributed to this amazing result! If you want to donate to India’s covid relief, you can do so here: https://gnfa.breezechms.com/give/online.

 

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On the other hand, vaccines are slowly being administered all around the world and for a lot of people, that means that game nights can be a thing again! But it’s been quite a long time since we’ve had these strange social gatherings with groups and games and so we thought it would be good to remind people of some things that are different from playing games with each other digitally. 😉

It’s going to take a little while longer for us before we can have gaming days and nights with gaming groups again, be we simply can’t wait to play and share amazing new games with our friends. And… continue our game of The King’s Dilemma that has lain dormant since February last year! :’) Here in The Netherlands, they’re expecting that most people will have been vaccinated somewhere in August, so we’ll just have to be patient a little longer.

Last week, we haven’t played a lot of games. We were kinda obsessed with the TV series American Gods which was very interesting since Heinze has read the book and I haven’t – so it’s a different experience for the both of us. We’ve just finished the first season and enjoyed it a lot.

This weekend, we did play two new things! First was a Dutch escape room game called “Het Boekanier Dossier” and that was fun. We did apparently missed/skipped quite a few puzzles but still came to the right conclusion to the story. Whoops!

And we played the preview copy we received of the expansion Tall Tales for Ruthless. We think that Ruthless is one of the better deckbuilding games out there but few people know about it. The expansion comes with six modules that you can mix up with the base game and we’ve played with about half of them now. You can read our first impression on our Instagram page. The expansion will be on Kickstarter, you can sign up on this website if you’d like to be notified when it launches.

What else should people keep in mind when gaming with other people IRL again?

 

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Games can make you a certain way. When we’re playing a game of Lost Ruins of Arnak, we feel like cool adventurers, exploring and finding treasure. When we’re playing games like Hive and Onitama, we feel cool and calculated. But… when playing heavy economic games like Food Chain Magnate, for example, we both often have no clue what we’re doing. We don’t play them very often, that certainly helps. 😉

Speaking of games we do understand, Villagers! Sinister Fish was kind enough to have us on as guests playing Villagers, with the upcoming Shifting Seasons expansion, live on their awShux stream! We played together with Dave, the owner of Sinister Fish and Haakon, the designer and Rachel won! While we hope we get to play with Dave and Haakon at a con someday it’s also nice to know Rachel has a 100% win rate playing Villagers against the designer of the game. Click here to watch it!

Other than that we have completed the It’s A Wonderful World War or Peace campaign which was fun and we’re looking forward to trying the Leisure and Decadence campaign when it comes out in retail. Or… if we can’t wait, we’ll order it from La Boîte De Jeu’s website. 🙂 We also tried Mandala Stones which is a nice abstract game but we’re going to try it a few times more to see if it is a classic or just a fun game. It does look incredibly pretty so if you like pretty games with few rules but hard decisions, you should check it out.

And in non-gaming news, since we haven’t been able to go bouldering for over four months now and the weather is starting to get better, we’ve started slacklining! We’re still not really good at it, but it’s a ton of fun. Have any of you ever done this? And we’ve found a freely accessible outside boulder wall on the grounds of our local university and that certainly was a highlight for us this past week.

This week, if everything goes right, we’ll get an advance copy of the upcoming Ruthless expansion which has got us excited. We always thought the pirate themed deck builder does some fun and different things which makes it unique, so it will be cool to see what designer and illustrator Roland has done to make his game even better. We’ll let you know!

What game makes you feel like a bumbling child?

 

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It’s like MicroMacro: Crime City has a bit of buzz going on since Spiel! Pegasus did a cool viral marketing thing by sending parts of the map as a postcard to different board game personalities and now that it’s out in several countries a lot of people seem to be enjoying it.

We got it last week as part of our going project to support our local game store during these hard times (at least that is the excuse we’re using 🙂 ) and we’ve played the first eight cases so far. We definitely recommend playing it on the “expert” mode as we think the first cases are very easy. By only looking at the first card of the case it feels more like actual detective work and not like an eye exam trying to spot the requested part of the map. It is an enjoyable experience, though, and we expect our friends to get a kick out of it once we’re done with it. The game doesn’t really have any rules that you’ll have to learn or things the can ruin the experience so if you want to show people how different and interesting games can be, this is probably one to try! Our only critique is that we find the price a little steep if you compare it to, for example, Chronicles of Crime which will provide you with many more hours of detective work. But we have the hardest cases still in front of us, so maybe the game will surprise us just yet.

Do like like mystery/deduction games? Which one is your favorite?

 

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We have to admit, that ever since we’ve got Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam it’s been the only version of Ticket to Ride we’ve been playing. It’s simple, competitive (when playing with three or more players) and it takes about fifteen minutes to play and gives you the TTR experience. We think it’s a perfect game to start or end a game night with, although we’ve also had the situation that we ended up playing the game five times in a row on one evening.

We don’t own a ton of Ticket to Ride games, besides the smaller Amsterdam version, we have the USA version with the 1910 ticket expansion and we have two of the map packs, India and the United Kingdom one. But that’s enough Ticket to Ride for us, with a lot of other games on the shelves. 😉

Last week we’ve played some new things! First of all, we started our It’s a Wonderful World: War or Peace campaign and we’re curious how the storyline will develop in the following games! We’ll get back to that after we’ve played a few more games.

And we’ve received a copy of My City and Bonfire, thanks to 999Games! We’ve played the first chapter of My City and that’s been a relaxing experience! It’s a nice puzzly game you can easily play during lunch. So far. We don’t know what’s going to be added in the upcoming games of course. 😉 We also played our first game of Bonfire and that was quite the opposite! The complexity reminded us of how daunting Great Western Trail was to play for the first time but we also know that GWT is not that hard the second or third time you play it. We did enjoy the first game but think we’ll have more fun with the following games. 😀

What Ticket to Ride titles are in your collection?

 

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Ahh, the eternal question… what game(s) would you take to a desert island? My personal opinion diverts from that of my comic’s character. I think most people would go for a gigantic game like Gloomhaven because the more content the better? Somehow I also see the charm in taking a compact game that can be played on basically any surface, unaffected by weather elements like the game Hive. Then again, the option of having a solo-option might also be handy…! Preferably, I’d just skip the desert island. 😉

Last week we reached a new milestone on Instagram, 14k followers! That is a lot of people if you think about it, even more people than that live in the city I grew up in. Crazy! But honestly, even though we are sometimes frustrated by the platform’s algorithms, we’re enjoying sharing our board gaming adventures there and love the lively community.

We also got a surprise in the mail that we’re really hyped about: we got the expansion and campaign for It’s a Wonderful World, a game we both really love. The campaign (War or Peace) will have to wait a little longer since we don’t want to play that with just the two of us but we can’t wait to play more games with the Corruption & Ascension expansion. The expansion dials the game up to eleven with more extreme and advanced cards, making the engine building even more fun.

Game-wise it has been a varied week! Obviously, we’ve played It’s a Wonderful World, but also a second session of Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwoods. We’re not completely sure what we think about the game. Sometimes it’s really creative and original, but other times it can feel slightly sloppy. We came across one puzzle that we had the correct answer to, but it wasn’t according to the app. Luckily, you don’t get any penalties for when this happens, but it did throw us off a little. However, we do have the feeling that the story is about to get interesting, so we definitely are going to finish the game since there is still a lot of content that might surprise us.

We also played Megacity Oceania, The King is Dead, Umbra Via, Netrunner, and a game of Cubitos last night! We can only conclude: geez, there are a lot of good games out in the world.

What would be your desert island game?

 

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I’m going to have to keep this week’s blog post short because time is my nemesis… a shared nemesis with many other people I think. 😉

This comic is based on a tweet by Calvin Wong Tze Loon because, well, he was totally talking about us! Whenever we see a picture with game boxes in there, we always try to spot what games they are! This is also a lovely thing to do when video conferencing if you’re chatting with people that are into board games.

Last week was a very diverse week! We finally managed to buy a copy of Wildlands Ancients, the big expansion for Wildlands. One of the things it adds to the game is a co-op mode in which we’re really interested! We’ve only played it once and it was hard! We’re curious whether that was due to the combination of ancients we were using or if it’s just always that much of a challenge. We’ll see in future plays! We played a game of Wingspan, which is always relaxing, some Ticket To Ride: Amsterdam, Village Green, and Mandala, which are all highly recommended shorter games.

And… we played Netrunner! Yes, that’s right: NETRUNNER! Project Nisei has sparked our old love for Netrunner and we decided to build some (new) starter decks and just play it again. The last time we had played it, was back in 2017… gasp! The people behind Project Nisei are about to release a new starter pack for people who want to play Netrunner but can’t because the game is no longer in print. We’re so excited that the community behind Netrunner is still thriving – if you’re interested and would like to play a game, you can play it for free on Jinteki.net. 🙂

We participated in PinkAndGeek’s challenge and a real highlight was joining Bez her Friday stream! Bez is such a lovely person and we can’t wait to be back in their stream one day! If you’d like to see us chat away with Bez and her fun audience, check out last week’s Friendly Friday Forum episode!

Do you always need to check out what games there are in the background?

The snow has melted again over here, but it’s officially still winter, so we think this is still ok. 😉 We’re both big fans of Calvin and Hobbes and we adore Bill Watterson’s snowmen comics, so much, that whenever we have a decent amount of snow here we try to recreate one of his comics! With this comic, we wanted to make a tribute to his work and give it a little board gaming twist of course! I had a lot of fun analyzing Watterson’s work and trying to recreate and mix it with the Semi Co-op style, so who knows… we might make this a yearly thing!

 

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Last week has been a really low energy week and we’ve only been playing shorter and smaller games. We’ve played some Santorini, Odin’s Ravens, Glasgow and we’ve bought a copy of Mandala. Efka of NoPunIncluded had recommended it to us and we thought that was a perfect excuse to support our local game store, tee-hee-hee. And Efka was right, we certainly did not regret buying it. What a lovely and smart design! I’m horribly bad at it and have lost every game so far, but I still really enjoy the game. Maybe it’ll click in my head in the future, but so far Heinze has been doing an excellent job in blocking me out. If you’re looking for a fun two-player game, this is certainly one I’d recommend.

We’ve also been playing quite some Valheim on PC with our friends with whom we’ve been playing the RPG Blades in the Dark. Valheim is dangerously addictive and it provides such a cool world to build and hunt in and explore while being in lockdown at home. To distract us from the allure of the digital gaming realm, we’ve also played Paleo and we’ve finished the sixth scenario! That means we only have one more scenario to go and we’re looking forward to what the game has in store for us. After completing it, you can certainly still play the game and mix up the different modules of the game to create your own scenarios, but we’re mostly looking forward to playing this game with more than two players!

Oh, and I totally forgot to share this here! We’ve been interviewed by MojoNation and you can read the interview over here: https://mojo-nation.com/semi-co-ops-rachel-kremer-heinze-havinga-celebrating-great-game-design-comics/

I’ve been working on some new Semi Co-op merchandise and I can’t wait to launch it next month, a little sneak peek: https://twitter.com/semicoop/status/1362813089025052674

What’s your favorite comic? (besides Semi Co-op, of course)

This is an idea that has been in our heads for a long time and we’re happy to finally present you: GLOOMHAVEN or METAL? A quiz in which you can test whether you can tell apart Gloomhaven from Metal music! It turns out this is incredibly hard so please give it a try to prove our point that the two are often indistinguishable! You can test yourself here: www.semicoop.com/gloommetal

I scored zero points the first time and so did our friend with who we’ve been playing Gloomhaven for over two years now. So, good luck! 😀

 

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In other awesome news, BoardGame Heaven has made Semi Co-op micro badges on BoardGameGeek and they look so cool! If you’re interested, you can find them by clicking here. If you don’t have any GeekGold, send us a message and we’ll be happy to donate you the gold that you need.

Last week, the world around us was covered in snow here and that meant a lot of walks outside and we also made our traditional Calvin and Hobbes snowman! There was plenty of snow, but it wasn’t sticky at all, so we couldn’t make something as big and magnificent as we had originally hoped. Nonetheless, we’re pleased with how our snowman turned out!

Being outside a lot, we’ve mostly played shorter games last week. A game of Patchwork, Arboretum and It’s a Wonderful World. We enjoyed playing some “older” titles and also decided to play Above and Below again now that everybody is raving about Sleeping Gods. I instantly fell in love again with the world of Ryan Laukat’s games and we hope Sleeping Gods will hit retail somewhere this or next year since we didn’t back it on Kickstarter.

We also received our first new game of 2021 and it was Umbra Via from Pandasaurus Games! We’ve played it two times so far and we find this abstract game super interesting. Definitely one we’d like to play a few more times before we can really give an opinion about it though, so I’ll get back to that in a future post.

How many points did you score?

It’s time for us to present you the silliest and maybe most random awards in the board gaming industry… The Golden Standees! This year, we’ve given the award itself a retouch and we couldn’t resist adding the shape of a D20 in there because of, well, 2020!

This year’s winners are Cubitos by Alderac Entertainment Group, Quirky Circuits by Plaid Hat Games, Village Green by Osprey Games, and we wanted to also give an award to Board Game Arena, Tabletopia, and Tabletop Simulator for making gaming with others remotely possible during this pandemic! Congratulations to all! We hope you’ll enjoy this award!

We’re off outside to enjoy the snow since we almost never have that anymore and the world looks very cool right now. 😉

What Golden Standee would you like to award to somebody or something?
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