The snow has melted again over here, but it’s officially still winter, so we think this is still ok. πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ˜€

 

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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. πŸ˜‰

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

 

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We’re super enthusiastic about the rulebook of Lost Ruins of Arnak, we enjoy it so much, that we agreed it deserved its own comic! After we’ve read it the first time, we just knew how to play the game and we didn’t need to check the rulebook at all during the game. We only check the backside of the rulebook during setup to see what the starting tokens are for the players. Compliments to Czech Games Edition for this rulebook! It looks good, it’s logically structured, and has the right amount of text and visual examples to make the rules easy to absorb.

Last week was a little bit weird. There are some things playing in our personal lives and I felt kinda drained. Nonetheless, we still played a game almost every night and that honestly surprised me! We kicked off the week by playing High Rise. We hadn’t played it in quite a while and we really enjoy this economic game by Gil Hova, plus it plays quite quickly (about two hours) with just two players.

On Tuesday we played some relaxing Dragon Castle! It’s funny that this was the first time we’ve added one of the extra modules (spirit cards in our case) to spice up the game a little. So far, we just didn’t think the game needed it to be fun, to be honest. The next day, we continued our Imperial Assault campaign that we started the week before and once again we were reminded: sometimes it’s way better to make a run for it than to defeat all the enemies on the board!

On Thursday something exciting was delivered! Our new table! Our old table was quite narrow, which often was a hassle with games with a bigger centerboard and player boards. We now have a table that’s 180 x 100cm and that feels like a perfect size. I’m sure it’s still not big enough for some games, but we just don’t have the room for a bigger one or one of those fancy game tables. The first game we played on the table was Hive, still one of my favorite smaller games.

We also played Lost Ruins of Arnak and we’re still amazed by the game after playing it for the fifth time. It somehow just clicks with us. I did lose the first four games, but this time, I finally won my first game! Hah – may this be a turning point for future games! On Saturday morning, we played a game of Chai, with a nice cup of tea, of course.

Now for this coming week, there will be a brand new Sketchie comic available on our Patreon on Wednesday. If you’re not a patron and reading this, for just $1 a month you’ll get access to the new Sketchies and you get to support our comic for which we would be very grateful. πŸ™‚

Next week, we’re finally going to present our Golden Standees of 2020! We’re about a month later than usual, but then again, these are weird times and we’d still like to give away our silly awards to people/games/things in the board gaming industry. Better late than never!

What’s the latest rulebook that impressed you?

 

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Last week we’ve updated our Patreon page. We’ve changed some of the rewards and we’ll start making our Sketchie comics again for our patrons! For only $1 a month, you get access to brand new extra comics and you get to support our work so we can keep making comics every week! We would really appreciate it if you’d consider becoming a patron, thanks! <3

I mean, cats… Especially Starbuck in our case has the tendency to want to be the center of attention and she often finds it hard to share the attention with a board game. But how can you say no to that face? πŸ˜‰

Last week flew by, honestly, I can hardly remember what we’ve played. Luckily, we’ve got an app for that! We played a scenario of Gloomhaven, making it our 41st play…! Honestly, does anybody know somebody who actually finished the game? We’re determined to finish it, but we’re also wondering how many years it will take us. I think there will even be a successor to Frosthaven by the time we finish Gloomhaven. But, we’re still having fun with it and that’s impressive.

We also played a relaxing two-player game of PARKS. Ever since we’ve played it with four players, we now realize how non-aggressive the game is with just two players. I still can’t believe how amazingly pretty everything in the game is.
Our adventure in the stone age also continued and we finally beat the fourth scenario (it took us four tries in total)! The day after we played the fifth scenario, which turned out to be suspiciously easy after the previous one. We really enjoy Paleo and frankly think it’s one of the better co-op games out there and we can’t wait to introduce it to other people once we get to organize game nights again. We play the game with just two players, which we think works fine, but everybody is stoked about playing it with 3-4 players.

What else did we play…? Oh yes! The King is Dead. We had played this with three players and really loved the experience. This weekend, we wanted to give it a try with just two players. The game doesn’t disappoint, but in our two games, the tie-breaker decided both times who won. The last player seemed to have an advantage in setting the final board state, so we focused too much on passing, just to be the last in the game. We’ll give it a try with the advanced card deck and see how that works for us. Otherwise, we’ll just save it for when we can play it with three or four players!

We ended the weekend with Onitama, which is one of those almost iconic games that definitely replace chess for us. It’s quick, it’s different every time and it looks impressive.

What’s your favorite box to sit in? πŸ˜‰

 

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We remember a moment during SPIEL 2019 sitting at a table in a restaurant with friends that Martin Wallace shared the piece of news that Osprey was working on a co-op expansion for Wildlands and we were the only ones that responded with a loud YAY…! We even have a photo of that evening. πŸ˜‰ But we’re genuinely excited about the upcoming The Ancients expansion! And alas for Heinze, it’s also true that ever since we also started logging who wins a game, he hasn’t won a game of Wildlands since… But I’m certain he won it at some point… eh, I think?

Wildlands is a special gem in its genre, it’s a quick and lighter miniature game! This miniature skirmish game uses cards instead of dice to make it a game about hard choices. Do you give up a card that lets you attack with your heavy hitter now… or do you save it to be able to defend a weak but quick character later? The game ends when a player scores five points, which can be achieved by taking out characters or collecting crystals making sure there is always a way to score some quick points.

Last week was a bit lowkey for board gaming, we only played a few games. We played a game of Wildlands, Century Golem and we’ve tackled the longest Mansions of Madness scenario “Rising Tide” this weekend. We had fun and managed to beat the ancient evil that was stirring in Innsmouth, but I don’t think we will play this scenario again – also because it took us six hours. πŸ˜‰

This week we hope to launch our new plans for Patreon. We’re introducing some nice things and we’ll tell you all about it when it’s live!

What is a game you love but can’t seem to win?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! With our country still being in lockdown, it was just us and the cats on New Year’s Eve. Normally we’re not really party people on the last day of the year, but this year, we saw no other people and we just stayed inside and played some games and watched some TV. Fireworks were prohibited this year, but people clearly ignored that and there were about as many fireworks as every year.

 

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So we ended 2020 with having played 343 games in total, that’s ten more than our previous record! Our top We show some of our stats and our top 10 most-played games were:

1. Tiny Towns
2. The Crew
3. Gloomhaven
4. Mansions of Madness
5. Mental Blocks
6. Quirky Circuits
7. Abandon All Artichokes
8. Ghost Adventure
9. Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam
10. Coup

You can see more detailed stats and our highlights of the year on our Twitter account if you’re interested!

Last week has been nice and relaxing and we enjoyed a full week without any work at all! We’ve played… Gods Love Dinosaurs, Lost Ruins of Arnak, Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam, Abandon All Artichokes, Tiny Towns, Lego Creationary, Mansions of Madness and Cubitos. We’re giving away Lego Creationary to friends and wanted to play it one last time and we’re not sorry it’s going to go. We think it might be really good with children, but it didn’t work for us. πŸ™‚

We played two scenarios of Mansions of Madness and those were a lot of fun. We really enjoy the creativity of the different scenarios and we always just have a good time playing this almost RPG-like experience.

For now, it’s back to work and we’re looking forward to the new year, we have awesome plans for Semi Co-op and there are so many awesome games to play. We wish you all the best for 2021! πŸ™‚

What is the last game you’ve played in 2020?

 

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What do you look for in a table? We don’t have a separate game room, so we play all of our board games on our kitchen table and it’s a delicate balance between what you’d like and what’s practical. πŸ˜‰ One of those fancy big board gaming tables, for example, ain’t gonna fit and are way too bulky for our kitchen – but you do need some space for bigger board games… choices!

Our current table is beginning to show a lot of wear and tear after almost a decade of service and we’ve ordered a new one! It’s a little broader than the one we have now so we hope that will make things fit easier when games already take up quite some space and have separate player boards like Root for example.

Earlier today we got the news that The Netherlands will be going in lockdown for more than a month, so we wish everybody the best during these hard times – keep calm and stay safe! For us, that means no more bouldering, which we normally do twice a week. I guess that leaves more time for playing board games and luckily there are quite some board games that can be played remotely and our favorite one so far is Tiny Towns. It just makes for a relaxing puzzle to solve while you can chat with people. And this lockdown combined with canceled Christmas parties will be the perfect moment to play some scenarios of Mansions of Madness. πŸ˜€

What does your dream table look like?

Last week we finished watching The Queen’s Gambit and I absolutely adored the TV series! I mean, I almost wanted to play chess again, until I thought about that for a minute and remembered how incredibly difficult the game is. So my thoughts immediately went to my favorite mini chess game: HIVE! Our go-to travel game and one of our most played games ever.

We didn’t play as many games as the week before, it was Heinze’s birthday and we were both kinda busy. We did play Samoa and Sonora, finishing all the new unplayed games we had received these past weeks! The day after we played the last game a new package with three new games arrived though, so our feeling of victory didn’t last very long.

But first, Sonora*! Our very first flick-and-write game! The game has a very interesting concept but is a little bit heavier than most roll-and-writes we know. That being said, we hardly play roll-and-writes/flip-and-writes and we can imagine this is awesome if you play a lot of smaller games in the genre. My biggest problem was that I kept combo-ing things in the different regions of the player board and at one point would lose track of what I was doing. I’m sure that gets better if we play it more often though! πŸ™‚

 

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Samoa* is a fun little card game that reminded us of 6Nimmt, only with a hidden role mechanism. In this game, each player is one of the masks in the middle of the table and they want to score the most points, but other players can’t know which mask is yours (if they all guess which one is yours, you get ZERO points!) so you have to be careful. We enjoyed our play, but we do think this game would be better with more than two players.

The multiplayer expansion Prime Time we bought for Aristeia!* was also delivered, so we played that again! It was fun and a game we want to start playing more regularly so we can also start playing with other teams than the “demo” teams.

The package that was delivered contained three new amazing looking games from Osprey Games: Merv, The King is Dead and Village Green. On Friday, we played The King is Dead* with three players and that game is intense! You only get eight moves in this game, so almost everything you do matters. If you’d like to read our first impression/mini-review, we wrote about it on our Instagram account.

We also played a game of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, well, the app version. We’ve played that many many times in the past and we felt like playing it again -it’s still good! πŸ™‚Β  And the biggest surprise of the week was Minecraft: Builders & Biomes. We played a game with our nephews of seven and nine years old and the game was actually quite fun to play?! We did not have the highest of expectations, but it’s a solid game! It has some smart game mechanics and manages to transfer the atmosphere of Minecraft. I think our nephews will be playing this a lot!

*These games were generously gifted to us by the publishers, thank you so much! πŸ™‚

What would be your ‘The Queen’s Gambit’-game?!

 

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Writing a good rulebook is incredibly hard to do and I don’t envy the people who are tasked with doing it. Please note that I’m not trying to criticize the people who write them. But sometimes, by just reading a rulebook some games seem too hard to get a grasp of but once you play the game it turns out it wasn’t as complex as it seems.Β A great example of a rulebook that we really appreciate, is The Lost Ruins of Arnak. The game seems kinda daunting at the start but the rulebook really explained the flow of the game well and clear. πŸ™‚

We’ve been busy playing all the new games that have arrived at our house lately and we’re really pleased that we’ve got only two more to go! Samoa and the second case of Pocket Detective. Every year after Spiel we set ourselves a challenge and that is to play all the new games before the start of the new year and this year we did really well if I might say so. I’m glad we now get to explore a lot of these new titles a little further and play them more often because there are a lot of great games!

A new game we’ve played six times now is Paleo! We’ve played it again this weekend and it was rather brutal for our human tribes. We lost the scenario we’ve played twice and we’re curious what we should do to win it, except for a little more luck with drawing cards and rolling the dice with some enemies. The game is fun enough (and plays quick enough) that we certainly going to try again, so we’ll beat it. πŸ™‚

We’re also looking forward to playing Gods Love Dinosaurs again, our first play went well, but I feel that our second play will be quite different now we have “some experience” and know what to look out for.

What’s your favorite rulebook?
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