Time. Probably the second-most valuable thing of them all! And miniatures games and RPGs require a lot of time, while board games often take way less time to play (not taking campaign games into consideration). We struggle with this quite often, we mostly play board games but are also interested in RPGs and miniature games. Our best solution so far has been to plan a gameday months in advance and invite different people from different gaming “groups”. Mixing and matching our contacts has turned out to be a lot of fun actually!

RPGs have proven the hardest to get to the ‘table’. It requires a lot of work and time from the person who’s the gamemaster and multiple sessions. Luckily there are different RPG developers who are actively working on making RPGs very accessible like Adventure Presents and Atma: A Roleplaying Cardgame and many more.

 

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This weekend, we had one of those game days that we had planned way in advance, it was time for Gaslands! Personally, I think the game could benefit from some streamlining and that’s why I’m really looking forward to Rebellion Unplugged’s Joyride! Ironically, it makes Gaslands more of a board game, haha. But mostly, the demo we played at SPIEL this year provided us with the fun that I would love to have while playing Gaslands. Less downtime, fewer fiddly rules and the best part is that it’s made to fit Hotwheel cars so all those cool (modded) cars, you use with Gaslands, can be used in Joyride! The Kickstarter should launch in a few months, so that’s something to keep an eye on if you’re interested.

The rest of the week, we’ve actually played nice games! Our week started off with a real classic: Carcassonne! A friend of ours had bought a Big Box and actually, Heinze and I have played really little Carcassonne in our lives. I believe I had only played one or two games before last Monday. It was a lot of fun, so I think that might change in 2023. A little late to the party but hey… better late than never. He also got the new co-op version “Mists over Carcassonne”. We haven’t played that yet but I’m really curious how they made it into a co-op game.

We also played some games of Akropolis, which just is a very elegant quick game of smartly stacking city tiles to gain higher points when scoring multipliers at the end of the game. We actually think the game is a more fun version of NMBR 9 (although that one works excellently with bigger groups). We also played Mechs vs. Minions again and this weekend we played a relaxing game of Queensland and a more intense game of Vengeance: Roll & Fight!

In case you missed it, we published another #SheGames comic last week!

Any tips to introduce RPGS/miniature games to a board game group?

 

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A slightly different comic this week – it’s an ode to two things! First of all, Battlestar Galactica, of course, and the art style of this comic is a wink to Three Panel Soul. I’ve always enjoyed their bold high-contrast-styled comics and thought it would be fitting with this comic idea that we had.

Although we only played three different games last week, they certainly were interesting ones! First of all was Mind MGMT: The Psychic Espionage “Game”. We didn’t get the opportunity to demo the game at SPIEL the year it came out and last week a friend of ours apparently bought a copy of the game! Not just the normal edition, but the fancy Kickstarter edition and we were amazed by the detail in and on the box. We love all the little scribbles and secret messages that seem to be everywhere and since the game is based on a comic, they’ve really added a layer of storytelling. If you’d like to learn more about Mind MGMT, you can read more about it on our Instagram account.

On Friday, we started our Artisans of Splendent Vale campaign! We had been staring in awe at the contents of the box and in particular the four chunky storybooks. Every playable character has their own book and the biggest parts of the text in the books overlap between the players but regularly a certain character has something specific to tell about a subject and adds to the story. We loved the dynamic that created! Another detail we liked was that every character book has descriptions of the other characters, but everybody knows something else about the other players. This immediately sparked an interest in all the characters and made sure we talked about these characters. The combat in the game was light but challenging enough to be interesting and we made it through the first “scenario” unscathed. There’s a lot in this box and the world already feels so rich that we cannot wait to be exploring it all in the coming months… probably year(s). ๐Ÿ˜€

In the weekend, we played Alchemists with The King’s Golem expansion! We had played Alchemists before, but that was many years ago. I kinda forgot how difficult it was to get the deduction puzzle to click in my head. And when I thought I had it figured out, I didn’t come to the correct conclusions as the other players. As it turned out, I somehow mixed up a red plus with a green plus… making most of my assumptions wrong by default. Ai ai ai ai. That was a shame since I only just discovered it in one of the last rounds, so there was nothing I could do to correct my mistake. Ah well! That’s life! I think the expansion is a fun addition when you’ve played the game multiple times and are familiar with the puzzle of the base game. If you’re new to the game, we’d recommend not adding that extra layer of difficulty.

Have you ever rolled a hard six?

 

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Sleeves are essential when playing card games like Netrunner and Magic, but you only sleeve the cards that are in your deck(s) and not all the cards that you own. We used to think that sleeving cards was a good thing and important for maintaining the perfect condition of games. But we’ve changed our opinion on sleeving over the years. Even with games in which cards get shuffled often, we don’t sleeve them anymore. Card quality has improved greatly over the years and, honestly, we don’t mind if a game shows a little bit of wear and tear. If you often sell games after playing them a few times, we do understand that the pristine condition is an important factor though.

We enjoy that more and more publishers are slowly trying to reduce plastics in their productions. Something that you see more and more regularly is just a simple paper band around a pack of cards instead of plastic wrap. Personally, we think that’s great and we’ve never seen damaged cards despite having less ‘protection’ in new games. We’ve also seen an increase in cardboard inserts instead of plastic ones lately. An example of this are Deepprint Games’ titles like Skymines and Savannah/Caldera Park.

Plastics won’t be banned, that’s not possible. But small things like reducing (unnecessary) plastics in game boxes surely are nice. Maybe not add 20 ziplock bags to a game box if you’ll only use 5? Plastic wrapping around game boxes is a more difficult thing. We don’t mind if a game box has a little scratch or dent, but we know from retailers that a lot of customers do and will return games over tiny damages. We hope that public opinion about perfect a box should look that might change over the years…

We’ve had another relaxing week without work and that’s really good for our playing stats. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The constant rains aren’t really a motivation to go outside, so we’ve played quite some games! We started the year off by playing Turing Machine and Unicorn Fever with a friend! Later that week, we got ourselves a copy of Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition at our FLGS. We played Terraforming Mars once and agreed it’s a good game, but takes a little too long. So when we saw that this only took one hour: Yes, please! That playing time turned out to be untrue for us though, you can read our first impressions on our Instagram.

We also played our first game of Oath! Heinze really really loved it while I found it a little confusing. We’re going to play the introductory game again next time and see how that goes – I’m sure that’ll be a totally different experience. I’m sure we’ll share our first impressions on our Instagram soon, but I’m not going to write about it in length here right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

And we played Splendor Duel and we’re honestly impressed by this game. It’s a solid two-player game and we really like it better than the “big” Splendor.

We’ll see what this week will have in store for us. A mysterious package just arrived and we haven’t looked at what’s in it yet but it’s definitely a board game!

Do you sleeve cards?

Here are the other comics in our Lion and Gazelle series #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5.

Lion had thoughts that needed to be shared with the board gaming community. Are rules absolute or just guidelines? Is having fun more important than playing something “right”? If you played a game wrong – would you still log your score on BGG for example? And what about house rules?! So many thoughts! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We played the complete opposites if it comes to rulebook thickness this week. On the one side there’s Caldera Park and Turing Machine and on the other side was… Deal with the Devil!

Playing Deal with the Devil was high on our list but we had to find the right people to play it with and that was slightly more tricky since the game can only be played with precisely four players! We ended up playing it with some fellow-bouldering people that turned out to have even more board games than us!
In Deal with the Devil, two mortals, a cultist, and the devil players will see who’s the best and try to figure out who is playing who. The unique part of this game is that all players have a chest in which they can offer goods and ask what they want in return (money/souls) during the Deal Phase. Your offer will be passed to two random players before it returns to you and then you’ll know if somebody thought it was worth it.
What makes this special you ask? Well, that’s where the mobile app comes to play. You scan the QR code on the bottom of the otherwise identical-looking chests and the app will tell you how they are distributed among players. That way, it’s impossible for you to receive your own chest or the same chest a second time during a round and the right chest is returned to you at the end of the game.

At its core, the game is a eurogame. You’re busy gathering money (or taking loans…) and resources to build buildings that have special actions you can activate and all buildings are also marked with an icon that can be used for set collection. If you’ve built 3 or 5 with the same symbol, you unlock achievements that are worth points, etc, etc. The asymmetry of the roles changes things with the end scoring a little though. The goal of the devil is to obtain as many soul pieces as they can (each mortal has three, the cultist two)ย  during the Deal Phase and they score points with that at the end. The Cultist is trying to sell their soul to the devil and maybe collect some mortal souls in the process to protect themselves from the inquisition in round 3 and 5. Yup, being able to show your innocent mortal soul pieces to the inquisition can save you a lot of trouble so it’s important for humans not to give them away too easily.

At the same time, it’s important to keep your role a secret. There are moments when players can vote on who they think is suspicious. In the case of the mortals, they can vote on who they think is the cultist and the devil and the cultist can vote on who they think the devil is. The devil doesn’t get to vote. A right guess at the end of the game scores you points! Since during our game, we all ended up within 5 points of each other, every point is worth it.

There’s a lot going on in this game and it seemed a little daunting at the start but once we were playing it, the game was actually less complex than we had suspected. We do think that when we play this game a second time with the same group, everybody would be more actively trying to find out who’s the devil, the cultist, and the mortals. It’s a charming game with some dark humor so it’s important to remind yourself that it’s set in medieval times. Definitely looking forward to playing it again.

There! I think that’s the longest first impression we’ve ever written on our blog. ๐Ÿ˜€

Does discovering you’ve broken a rule spoil the fun for you?

 

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Remember to always stay on the good side of the DM, they can influence how the odds are stacked in your favor – or not. Actually, it was Heinze’s birthday last week which made us realize that we are old in the eyes of teens nowadays. Not that that matters too much but like most people, we don’t like to be reminded too much of getting older, haha. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last week we finally played a game of Unicorn Fever as, as we suspect it was meant to be played! In a relaxed setting with friends, drinks and banter. The game is silly fun and even more luck-based than a game like Quacks of Quedlinburg for example. It was Friday and everybody was in the mood for some light gaming and Unicorn Fever turned out to be a hit. During the first round nobody really knew what they were doing, but when it came to the actual racing part – everybody was hooked and the rules just fell into place. You can read more about the game on our Instagram.

Last night we gave Verdant another try and we’ve kinda come to the conclusion that it’s a solid game but just not up there with Cascadia and Calico from the same publisher. We’d like to play it with some more players to see if that changes the game in any way though. The theme is original and popular enough to get it to the table easily. ๐Ÿ™‚

Other games we’ve been playing, we’ve discussed over the past couple of weeks which were (more) Turing Machine and Northgard! And we sneaked a game of Great Plains in there, the game that we think has really stayed under the radar while it’s an excellent two-player game. It even replaced Fjords for us!

As a dm, how do you punish your players?

 

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FOMO. Fear of missing out. We’ll be honest that we felt that a little bit when we saw all the Frosthaven boxes appear on quite some people’s social media channels. Then again, it’s just a matter of ratio versus emotion. We liked Gloomhaven and had a lot of fun with it. But luckily the emotion quickly makes room for the ratio here. It took out a big chunk of our game nights and it did get a little repetitive toward the end. After we finished Gloomhaven, we continued the regular game night with our friend as we did before but we now have a lot more varied game experiences! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leaving the subject of giant games behind,ย  last week we received a copy of Splendor Duel, the two-player version of Splendor. We don’t own a copy of Splendor because we think that Century (Golem Edition) is a better game but we’re always interested in two-player games. Splendor Duel is a more creative puzzle than Splendor and with the relatively short playing time, it’s a great addition to our collection! You can read a more detailed first impression on our Instagram page.

We also played another two games of Gosu X. This game definitely scratches our old itch for Netrunner without having to invest the time to get back into Netrunner. It also was the first time that Heinze actually beat me in one round using the alternative win condition of one of the factions that wasn’t picked that game! Harsh!

And last night after watching the finale of Star Trek Voyager, we thought it would be fitting to play our second game of Starship Captains. We both played way worse than during our first game, but we still had fun with the wittiness of the game! And I was surprised at how handy a jump drive can be, tee-hee-hee. Our scores were very close again with just two points difference.

And in case you missed it, we’ve had a fun commissioned comic last Thursday about the game World Stitchers!

What campaign game took you the longest to complete?

 

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Ah, first-player rules! It’s an entirely different realm of creativity for designers. We often use the rule in the rulebook the first time we play, but for following plays we just pick the starting player randomly. If we’re with just the two or three of us, we go with rock-paper-scissors and when we’re with more players, we use the Chwazi finger chooser app.
And even though we often don’t use the quirky first-player rules, I always feel a slight feeling of disappointment when a rulebook just says “pick the first player at random”. But that’s just me, haha.

Last week was a busy week, so our gaming streak slowed down quite a bit! We tackled two new titles in our collection, Queensland and The Guild of Merchant Explorers. Two games that are about equal in complexity.

Queensland is an original title by the Dutch publisher 999 Games and it kinda has the classic eurogame feel when you look at the box. We were really impressed by the game and are honestly a little surprised it doesn’t get a higher rating on BoardGameGeek.com. At first, Queensland seems like a simple tile-laying game in which players are trying to form big fields of wheat and sugarcane and there… are also toads?! These little pink toads are your way to score points, but they’re also there to destroy your tiles at the end of the game. This gives the game an interesting emotional timeline. In the beginning, you like the toads and don’t mind taking a tile that comes with three toads instead of one. When you manage to get at least five of them in one of your ponds, you score points and the toads are removed from your farm.

Moving toads is simple. All the tiles have an arrow on them which tells you (depending on how you orient the tile in your farm) which cardinal direction the toads move. ALL your toads, except for those already in the ponds. To introduce some “player interaction”, some tiles have an arrow that gives the other players the option to also move all their toads in a certain cardinal direction. Now at the end of the game, all tiles that still have toads on them, get removed from your farm and don’t count for the end scoring anymore. Why would you care? Well, a toad could break the chain of your biggest wheat or sugarcane field and you also score points for collections of symbols that are on part of the tiles. We really enjoyed this change in the frogs at the end of the game!

We also played our first game of The Guild of Merchant Explorers about which we had heard a lot of good things online. The game did not disappoint! There’s a lot to explore in the box and our first game certainly leaves us wondering how the different maps change the game. You can read our first impression of the game on our Instagram page.

What is your biggest gaming complaint?

We almost forgot that today of all days is Halloween! So, happy Halloween everybody!

That also marks the end of October, and what a month it has been. We’re both happy to say that we’ve almost completely recovered from Covid and our energy levels are slowly improving. ๐Ÿ™‚ We played fewer games than last week, but we’re still slowly exploring the new titles we brought home from Essen and so far we’re impressed by most titles!

 

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First, was Flamecraft, which was sold out at Essen, but Lucky Duck Games was kind enough to send a copy to our house a week later! I’m a sucker for good art in games, so I was instantly drawn to the game with its adorable graphics and immense eye for detail. The game itself is very light, we would compare it to games like Chai in complexity, but the game brings an immersive and cute world to the table. The thing that we enjoyed the most, besides the endless puns, is that players together expand the town in the middle of the table. This basically makes the game a collective engine-builder in a way we don’t recall other games doing. We had fun playing the game and are sure there are quite some friends of ours who’d love to try it out. If you’re interested, you can read more about our first impressions on our Instagram.

On Friday, we had a fun game night with friends and we played Itten Games’ Ninja Master and Viking See-Saw. Especially Ninja Master really shined with five players and everybody had a good time!
We also wanted to play Oriflamme: Alliance but we realized we have the French version instead of the English version (OOPS). Nous parlons une petite peu Franรงais, mais… we decided to play the original Oriflamme instead. We’ll just make English player aids and will play the Oriflamme: Alliance next time! :’D

During the weekend we played Tribes of the Wind and the game didn’t disappoint! We do suspect that we need to play it more like a racing game next time, you can read more about that on our Instagram as well to prevent this post from becoming way too long. ๐Ÿ™‚ We also played Vivarium, a simple set collection game with two nice little twists. One is that you get to pick cards from the board by combining numbers from two domino stones and second, you’re constantly adding more scoring cards to your hand. It’s a clever little game which art from the artist from Hidden Leaders, so it has a fun design! Oh andย we played our third game of Gosu X and our previous opinion still stands: we’re loving it!

What would be your board gaming Halloween costume?

 

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SPIEL is a fascinating gathering of people that share a hobby: board games! And you feel that enthusiasm throughout the entire show, from visitors, volunteers, companies, and everything in between. Seeing that many (new) board games is somewhat overwhelming so we count ourselves lucky that our SPIEL schedule is booked full with meetings with publishers and friends. It’s a chance for us to finally meet people in real life which whom we’ve only had digital contact so far and to see those who we only meet at conventions. And what’s still amazing: meeting our readers! The fact that people recognize us and walk up to us and say hi is so awesome! Thank you all so much, we really do appreciate it! <3 Being at SPIEL for four days is destructive and exhilarating at the same time, so we’re happy to be home and get back into normal life (with a normal sleep rhythm…) but we also experience that post-SPIEL void of meeting up with all those wonderful people.

Let’s just say that SPIEL is an experience! Lion and Gazelle forget the social aspect of the whole event here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As far as games go. We took home a lot of them! All except for one are gifted to us by publishers, so we’d like to emphasize that this amount of board games is not normal.

For those who are curious, we’ve made a list of what we carried home last night. The publishers who gifted us the games are mentioned below or behind the titles.

Playing actual games is not really part of our SPIEL experience. We did play some fun prototypes of games (Sky Team and Joyride) that will be released next year and smaller games in the pub in the evening, but that’s it. Our homework starts now and we can’t wait to play these games and share our impressions with you! For now, we’re happy that Lion and Gazelle wanted to take the stage, so we can regain our footing and slowly let all of the new experiences sink in.

Which game from the list would you play first?

One of the coolest things about roleplaying games is creating a character, but it can also be tricky. It’s easier to pick a character that is close to your own personality but it might be more fun to pick something that’s more outside of your comfort level. In either case, if you’re not a talkative person and don’t feel comfortable being put in that position, I’d say you can always go with a barbarian! Be like Tom Hardy and just grunt a lot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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Last week we’ve received a mystery package from Itten Games containing not one but FIVE games! We surely didn’t see that coming. They’re five games from the Fun Brick series and two of them are even designed by Reiner Knizia. The Fun Brick series are oddly shaped smaller boxes (long and rectangular like a…ย  small brick!) with short fun and silly games in them. So far we’ve played Viking See-Saw and Judge Domino. Viking See-Saw is just a hilarious balancing dexterity game in which the player who places all their goods on the ship first, is the winner. And Judge Domino is all about guessing if a chaotic row of domino stones will completely fall over or not. Playing it with just two, the latter would definitely work better with more players. We’re looking forward to trying out all of them. ๐Ÿ˜€

We also played our second team game of Undaunted and we’re liking it a lot! You can read about that on our Instagram account. And we played our first game of Village Rails! We thought that Village Green could be an intense little game, Village Green is no different! In the game, you’ll make seven routes and a good scoring route can make you thirty points while a terrible route could score you zero points. So having a couple of low-scoring routes on your tableau can really ruin your chances of winning. We think the game probably gets easier after playing it a few times. ๐Ÿ™‚

This week will mostly be about rounding things up and making sure everything will be ready for SPIEL next week! We’re really looking forward to this year’s edition. We have a lot of fun meetings booked and look forward to meeting people again.

Oh, and in case you missed it, we published another comic for #SheGames last week and this week we’re having two extra comics lined up for you. One tomorrow and one on Thursday.

Do you like to play RPG characters that are completely different than your own personality?
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