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This week’s comic is about the game “Abandon All Artichokes” and is a small reversed deckbuilding game by Emma Larkins. What? A reversed deckbuilding game? Yes, sort of! You start the game with ten artichokes in your deck and the first player who draws a new hand of cards without a single artichoke is the winner! We bought it a few weeks ago and have played often since! It’s quick and quirky and the art is adorable.

Last week, we were spoiled to bits and received a lot of games from Pandasaraus Games and Czech Games Edition! So far, we’ve played Ctrl, Lost Ruins of Arnak, and Under Falling Skies!

Ctrl is an original 3D game in which players try to the most points by having the most blocks of their color visible from the four sides views and top view at the end of the game. At the end of their turns, players can stick a flag pole in one of their blocks to block the other player. We really enjoyed that with just two players, both players get to place two colors on the cube, but can only score with one of them at the end of the game and that information is secret (they’ve drawn a card at the beginning of the game). So both players don’t actually know what the other player is planning and that gives it a neat edge. We don’t know how often we will play this game, but we did figure that this might be an excellent couch game while watching a series or movie. We’ll try that soon. 😀

We’ve only played the introductory level of Under Falling Skies and the first level of the campaign, and there’s a lot in this box! We didn’t realize there was a campaign and even comic story in there so we were really surprised by all of this when we opened the box and are looking forward to exploring more of the game!

Yesterday we’ve also played Lost Ruins of Arnak and that game is something! In a positive way! It’s also one of those games in which you’ll get better and you have to accept that you won’t be able to do everything that’s possible in the game. The completionist in me had to learn that the hard way. 😉 Curious to find out how this game is after playing it a few times!

What else did we play…? Yes, of course, Meeple Land! Another success! We didn’t own any theme park games and this one hit the right note. It’s a delightful puzzle. You’re trying to get all the different rides in your park but the roads also have to connect correctly. Oh, and of course you get extra income if you place a certain service like food or gift shop or toilet next to some rides. And then there are the visitors! The player who passes first during a round, gets to pick the first bus of meeples. Since tiles only accommodate specific colors of meeples, it’s important to get the right bus for your park. Well, all in all, there’s a lot going on to make this game challenging and a delight to play.

Do you have any food-themed games in your collection?

 

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We’re playing a lot of games this month, which is awesome. Last week, we were also surprised by a very speedy Secret Santa from BoardGameGeek and we got two games from our wishlist: Fort and Arboretum! We’ve now played both of them and are really happy to add these to our collection. With Fort, we got the feeling that the game will shine even more after you play it a few times and are familiar with all the different strategies that are in the game. The first time we played it, it felt like we were just scratching the surface and during our second game, we utilized the possibilities of the cards more and used more strategy than just upgrading your Fort to score points. It plays in about 30 minutes, so it’s one that’ll definitely hit the table more often.

Yesterday, we also played our first game of Arboretum and that game has a lot going on! We really like the use of the discard pile and the fact that you have to keep cards of different species of trees in your hand in order to be able to actually score points for those species… or will you take a risk and hope the other player also doesn’t have a card in their hand of the species you’d like to score and then both of you get to score points? There is a lot to consider! We like it!

On Friday, we also did a spontaneous live stream of us playing Ghost Adventure for the first time. It’s a game with spinning tops that you have to guide to different worlds. I think we did pretty well, considering it was our first try. 😉 If you’re interested, you can watch the live stream here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/801723432 (Sorry, I keep saying spinning toll instead of spinning top, I have no idea why. :’)) We’ll upload the video to our YouTube channel later this week so you can still watch it after it’s gone from our Twitch channel.

We’ve also played another scenario of Paleo! It took us two tries, meaning it was also the first time we lost a scenario (oh no!). This scenario also had its own twist, making it a really fun game to discover and keep playing. I fully understand that there’s a buzz surrounding this game. 🙂

We also played a game of Gloomhaven and Glasgow! Gloomhaven is getting more fun again and everybody is happy with their characters right now, one of our group was playing with a character that they didn’t really enjoy and I’ve finally found a way to play my beastmaster in a way that is fun and effective.

What’s your non-selfish selfish wish?

 

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We’re looking forward to the delivery of our copy of Gods Love Dinosaurs, hopefully, it will arrive this or next week. The title of the game has a special positive ring to it, which led to this comic. 😉 You’ll have to wait a little longer on our full opinion on the game, but what we read about it and the demo we watched during SPIELdigital are promising.

Last week, we received a lot of games we were looking forward to! Many thanks to publishers Blue Orange, Geronimo, and 999Games for sending us these games. The game we’ve played the most is Paleo, we actually knew quite little of the game before we stepped into this co-op survival game and so far it has surprised us! We’ve written our first experiences with the game on Instagram, if you’re curious, you can check it out here.

We’ve also played our first game of Cloud City, but the graphic design team forgot to make adjustments for colorblind people, making this game highly frustrating to play if you are. The brown and green colors on the city are way too much alike and this could have easily been prevented by adding symbols or picking more contrasting colors. Our first play wasn’t as fun as it could have been because of that. We’re going to mark the tiles ourselves and will give the game another chance.

We’ve played around a little with Ghost Adventure, but we’d actually love to play our first serious attempt on live stream, it just seems like a perfect game for that. We just have to figure out a camera setup that’ll work for it.

This weekend, we also bought a copy of Abandon All Artichokes and we love that little card game and have played it six times already. It’s a quick, creative deckbuilder (or actually.. anti deckbuilder!) and it simply looks adorable. Highly recommended if you’re looking for an easy small card game with a twist. Speaking of fun card games, we also played Villagers again – ‘t has been a board game filled week!

What game title could use a ‘positive’ twist?

It’s part two of our goofy guide to board gaming jargon! Click here if you’d like to first one (again).

This weekend, it was time for Halloween! And that’s something that’s not really celebrated here in The Netherlands, most people won’t even have candy if kids would actually decide to go trick and treating. I mean, in normal circumstances, with Covid it wasn’t even an option I guess.

 

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But, not actually celebrating it, doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a good excuse to grab some of those spooky-themed games from the shelve! In our case, we often play a game of Ghostel around this time of the year and last week our copy of Caretos was delivered, so that’s two games in which you frighten poor people!

If you haven’t heard of it, Ghostel is a fun dice placement game that combines simple rules with a good amount of take-that and of course ghosts! We also like that you can spend victory points to buy upgrades and one-time abilities, which keeps people guessing if they need to give up their position to get a bigger score next turn. 🙂

Caretos is one of the games we came across during SPIELdigital and we played a few rounds on Tabletopia. I was instantly hooked on the art style and the concept of the game. Having played a full game with the physical copy of the game, I’m glad we bought it! There was more strategy involved than we initially thought, making it even more appealing. I hope the game makes it way to the USA and other non-EU countries soon so everybody can enjoy it.

We also played our first game of Disney Sketchy Tales, which basically is a Disney-themed version of Telestrations. Each player picks a random character (with two characters) and action card (with four actions), they choose a combination and draw that on their sheet. They pass it on to the next player who has to describe what they see in words and cover the drawing with their sheet with the description. The next player then has to draw what is written down and it gets passed on until it reaches its original player. This makes for a hilarious game and we really had fun with it.

We’re hoping that the new SPIEL games will be showing up on our doorstep these coming weeks and are really excited to share our thoughts with you!

What board gaming term should we tackle next time?

This weekend was SPIELdigital! Normally we would be in Essen for about five days, meeting friends, talking to publishers and checking out all the cool games at the Spiel expo. This year it was all handled through the website and although we heard from several industry people it wasn’t great for them, as regular visitors it was a great excuse to hang out with friends over Discord. We had several hangout sessions in which we just talked about games we like, the state of the world and how we are all doing. Looking back on it all we’ve come to realise more than before that gaming cons are about meeting your friends and SPIELdigital should probably lean into that a bit harder.

But that doesn’t mean we didn’t see and demoed some fun games. First, we played Caretos by Mebo games, which is a family level game in which every player plays a team of monsters trying to scatter groups of villagers so you can capture them when they’re alone. We really enjoyed it as the rules were simple but every monster comes with his/her/its own sets of powers that break the game in an interesting way. If you like games about blocking your opponents while creating combo-situation, this is one you should check out.

 

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We also played The Court of Miracles by Lucky Duck Games which is a nice bluffing area control game in which you try to become the king of beggars in France. Unfortunately, this sort of game doesn’t work well on Tabletopia so it was a bit slow but we think it’s probably a lot of fun at the table. We watched a demo of Gods Love Dinosaurs by Pandasaurus Games which looked like an interesting puzzle to crack and we also caught a bit of Paul Grogan’s livestream about Lost Ruins of Arnak which looked like it is something we would enjoy as well. We also checked out a lot of other games, but mostly by reading about it and watching videos.

Our definitive highlight of this year’s Spiel however was the HABA Game Design Jam live stream. Several teams of media people and a game designer were sent a mystery box by HABA which contained game components that need to be turned into a game in thirty minutes. The end results were all amazing and we highly encourage you to check out the VOD if you got the time. We had a great time and it very fun to do something with friends like Dave, Emma and Tiffany while meeting Ruel, Paula, Omari and the brother Murph for the first time. Team Things Get Dicey won the contest, but honestly, we were hyped by all the creative ideas of all the teams.

This week, we’ll hopefully be playing some of the new Spiel releases, so check out our Instagram page if you’re curious about what we think of them.

Did you check out anything at Spiel Digital?

 

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This weekend, we were introduced to Trial by Trolley at our local boulder hall and we had a ton of fun with it. The presented situations and choices were ludicrous and almost made it impossible not to have a good time. Every round a different player takes on the role of the conductor and has to choose which of the two tracks the trolley will take, squishing all the people/things on that track. All the other players are divided into two groups that are different every time. With your team, you first choose which cards will be laying on your track (you want it to as cute as possible, because you don’t want to be run over!) and you get to put an “evil” card on the track of the other team, making it more alluring for the conductor to pick that track. Since the teams keep changing, players actually play for themselves – trying to collect the least number of death tokens. You get a death token if the conductor chose to run down everybody/thing on your track.

What we’ve also been doing this weekend, is working on a making-off or behind-the-scenes video of Semi Co-op! We show and tell you the whole process from sketch to final comic and everything else that needs to be done. We think it’s really going to be a fun and interesting video and we’ll let you know when it’s online but it will probably be in about two weeks! 🙂

In case you missed it, there was an extra sponsored comic last week thanks to BG Stats and another GodTear comic, thanks to Steamforged Games!

Would you rather get rid of… lane A or lane B?

We are back! After three wonderful guest comics (and some sponsored content) the regular weekly comics resume! We hope you didn’t miss us too much!

We both had the month off and while we didn’t go on a “real” vacation we had a good time bouldering, taking long walks and doing small things to improve our house. We also celebrated our fourteen anniversary as the world’s most kick-ass couple and even played some games! We really enjoyed some lighter/ party games this month with Can’t Stop (played live on Alex’s stream), P for Pizza, and Blockbuster as highlights. Games are a great way to spend some time together and especially in these times when real contact is a bit rarer, it’s nice to have a game you can play while catching up or just have an excuse to laugh while misquoting movies.

We also played three games of Mansion of Madness and revisited some favorites like Great Western Trail again but I think we’ve talked enough about those in previous blog posts. It’s just wonderful that board games can deliver such a broad spectrum of experiences, while it’s mostly just cardboard and some plastic that comes alive through some rules.

It’s been a weird year and with Digital Spiel coming up, it will be even a bit weirder. Normally that is the moment we see loads of friends and check out all the new games but we’ve started to realize that digital conventions aren’t really our cup of tea. It’s going to be interesting to see how this will affect the second half of the year, which normally consists of only playing new titles. Looking at the size of our collection however, it maybe isn’t such a bad thing. 😉

In which board game universe would you like to take a vacation?

We’re so excited that we were commissioned by Alderac Entertainment Group to make a comic about Elizabeth Hargrave’s new game, Mariposas – which will be available at your FLGS and for online order tomorrow, Friday, August 28th! We loved Wingspan and are also big fans AEG’s games like Tiny Towns, Space Base, and Cat Lady (and not only because our cat Apollo is one of the cats in the new expansion!).

A little information about Mariposas:

Every spring, millions of monarch butterflies leave Mexico to spread out across eastern North America. Every fall, millions fly back to Mexico. However, no single butterfly ever makes the round trip.

Mariposas is a game of movement and set collection that lets players be part of this amazing journey.

Mariposas is played in three seasons. In general, your butterflies try to head north in spring, spread out in summer, and return south in fall. The end of each season brings a scoring round, and at the end of fall, the player with the most successful family of butterflies — i.e., the most victory points — wins the game.

Follow #aegmariposas on Twitter and Instagram for more news about the game

You can already order your own copy of Mariposas on AEG’s website, click here if you’re interested.

What’s your favorite nature-themed game?

 

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This weekend was the biggest online convention of the year – Gen Con! A lot of publishers, content creators, and friends of ours put a lot of work into it and there was so much to do and see. We remember last year at Spiel a lot of people saying we should go to GenCon but we’re pretty sure this wasn’t what they meant nine months ago. 😉

There was a lot going on online, publishers were showing off their new games, people were playing those (and other) new games using Tabletopia, people recreated the GenCon location in Minecraft, This Game is Broken had a live quiz and there were a ton of really fun other panels we’ve seen. We’re decided to create a little something about all those streams we’ve seen so keep an eye out on our social media for that!

Even though GenCon was going on, there was also GenCan’t! This yearly event has some fun smaller contests, activities for people not able to go to GenCon like a miniature painting contest in which Heinze participated! He painted the Shadow Paladin from the Vast expansion based on the art style of Kyle Ferrin and I think he did an amazing job! It looks terrific. I myself couldn’t participate in the contest because I still had some work to finish before I can take some time off the coming weeks.

Time off also means some time off from Semi Co-op so, like every year, I won’t be making any weekly comics the rest of August, BUT, like previous years, we have a lovely lineup of guest artists that will take the stage! We’re really excited to share their work with you these coming weeks. 🙂

What was your favorite part of GenCon this year?

Last week Spiel released a video in which they’ve given a sneak preview of what their plans are for Spiel Digital. They are ambitious and I really like the fact they are trying to make it more of an experience and not just a list of exhibitors and a list of games.

If you’re interested, you can see the video here:

They have also offered to establish contact between content creators and exhibitors and we think that’s going to be an amazing opportunity for a lot of people. We’ve also sent in our media kit and that might lead to more sponsored comics and that would, of course, be wonderful!

We will certainly miss the chaos of the Spiel floors this year, seeing friends from all over the world we don’t get to see otherwise and the unhealthy food options that are available in the Galeria hallway. BUT it’s great to see how convention organizers like Spiel, UK Games Expo, and Gen Con are trying their best to keep connecting gamers and publishers and we sincerely hope that this will be a success.

Talking about playing games with people from all over the world… we’ll be guests on the Formal Ferret Games live stream to play High Rise with Gil Hova this Thursday at 8 PM CEST! We really enjoy the game and are really looking forward to playing it with Gil. 🙂

Will you “visit” any of the upcoming digital conventions?
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