Ah, how often has this happened to you? Revisiting an older game and thinking that you still know the rules. How hard can it be? We’ve played it so many times! I’m sure I still know how to play it. And before you know it, you’re still having to read the rulebook because you forgot about all the tiny but not unimportant details. Whoops!

Speaking of things going wrong, we only played one short game together this week because of complicated life things and rearranging a part of our garden! We played a game of Ticket to Ride: San Fransico because of excitement over Ticket to Ride: Berlin being announced (two types of trains?!). It’s on the more complex end of the smaller Ticket to Ride games and it’s hard to rank it over or under the other because they’re so similar but all of them offer an excellent concise version of Ticket to Ride for a relatively low price. We also played a game of Kluster which is a very cool-looking game that uses magnets. Although we didn’t play it right and with way too many players, the idea of the game is simple. Players place their magnets inside the area delimited by the cord and the first player who places all of their magnets wins! Of course, the magnets are rather strong so it’s tricky not to attract the other magnets within the area. It’s silly fun and magnets are cool.

Hopefully, we can fix this lackluster week this week with some more games. We’re having a game night on Tuesday, and Friday, plus Heinze is playing Age of Steam for the first time this weekend. Plus Heat has been released in the Netherlands and we’ve been very interested in it since seeing it at Spiel. So we’ll probably be buying, and hopefully, playing that as well! Exciting!

Are there any games that you know of so well you wouldn’t need a rulebook at all?

 

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Luckily, Apollo is actually quite reasonable with board games! He doesn’t tend to lie down in the center of the table like Starbuck did. He does, however, love the lids of boxes and mostly the ones that are way too tiny for his size, classic, and also fun for our entertainment.

Last week was nice! We had quite some time off of work to get some much-needed rest. And also some board games, of course. 😉 On Monday, Heinze had a friend over and they played some Sniper Elite! In both of the games they played, the Sniper was victorious! Sniper Elite is such a fun asymmetrical hidden movement game. I understand the theme is not for everybody, but the game is much lighter than it looks.

We played some games of Paperback (on our phones). The Kickstarter of the 10th-anniversary edition of Paperback was funded and did well, so Fowers Games are offering the Paperback app for free on iOS and Android for a few days, well, or at least it will be free for Android again. We’ll keep you posted! Speaking of the new edition of the game, Tim actually asked me to design one of the new fame cards. I did experience a little bit of impostor syndrome among all the other giants of awesome board games artists that were asked though. The other fame cards look amazing. 🙂

We continued our Artisans of Splendent Vale campaign! I love the world-building and story but, personally, I’m not really sold on the combat part of the game which feels a little fiddly. It doesn’t help that the scenario we played was a bit quirky and it felt like we were just busy turning the cogs of a machine instead of playing the game. Luckily, we have a great group for playing the game and we’re all very curious about what the creativity Artisans will show us later on in the game.

On Saturday, we finally did it. We finally played a real-life six-player game of New Angeles! Heinze bought a copy of the game after playing it online during Covid two years ago but we hadn’t played it yet. We had an awesome group with mostly Netrunner players that are familiar with the Android universe. We’ve written our first impression over on Instagram if you’re curious!

Yesterday, we had a fun afternoon of painting minis with friends. We always enjoy coming together, sharing our pool of paints and other cool terrain stuff and we just have a great time painting random miniatures and experimenting with colors and techniques. I’ve got to say, it’s very handy to have a 3D printer in this case so we can just print all kinds of cool miniatures!

What distracts you the most during playing board games?

It’s been two months, so it’s time for a new Lion and Gazelle comic! More Lion and Gazelle? You can read the previous comics here: #1#2#3#4#5, #6 and #7 here!

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There are some pretty good games out there that use an app in a variety of ways. From taking over the complete storytelling aspect in games like Mansions of Madness, Destinities and Chronicles of Crime to just a handy tool offering an endless amount of puzzles for a game like Turing Machine. But apps can also extend the possibilities of a game in other ways, like taking away the asymmetrical part of Imperial Assault since the app takes over the role of the Imperial player. And let’s not forget how handy an app can be for bookkeeping, we were so happy when we started using Gloomhaven Helper (discontinued, alas) during our Gloomhaven campaign – it just made the game a lot quicker to play. Personally, I do need to be in the mood for a game that is fully dependent on an app and I wouldn’t recommend playing them with more than three players if it’s important for all the players to see the screen.

Despite this being the subject of this week’s comic, we didn’t play such games from the future but rather older games. Like Kombo Klash! and since we launched our pop-up webshop last week, we instantly felt like playing a game with a lot of cubes and ended up playing Tiny Towns and a game of Clank!

During a family gathering this weekend, our nephews challenged us to a game of Pokémon TCG and they’re currently really into Chess and are even taking lessons. Now, Pokémon is easy enough to bluff our way through and we are yet to be defeated – but Chess is something different. Heinze has some experience with Chess and I don’t, at all. I think I’ve played my first full game of Chess this weekend and it’s clear that as a first-time player, you’re not going to beat those who actually have experience, haha. Heinze put on a good fight though and won some games.

App-driven games, yay or nay?

Hip Hip, hurray! It’s Semi Co-op’s anniversary this week (tomorrow to be precise!).  It’s been such a fun ride and we can only hope to be celebrating this event for many more years to come. To actually give ourselves time to celebrate a little, we’re going to keep this blog post short. We still need to get some pie to celebrate and the shops are closing soon. 😉

We’ve also been working on something special and are happy that we can finally launch it: our brand-new Semi Co-op pop-up store! The biggest and for us probably the for us scariest new addition is that we now offer prints of our comics and you can FINALLY order a print of our “Know Your Cubes”-poster that we’ve designed for a comic back in 2021. The reason it took us this long is that we just couldn’t find a printing service that got the colors of the cubes right. We then decided to do it ourselves! For now, this is a temporary pop-up store and we will keep it online until Summer. We will be adding cool new products during the coming months but we’ll keep you posted about that.

And yes, we do have this week’s comic as a wallpaper for your computer or phone!

What was your most-played game eight years ago?

 

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Technology is amazing nowadays! The fact that we can change the atmosphere in a room with a single tap on our phone and that it’s possible to 3D print anything we like is just a crazy thing! I don’t think we would have believed you ten years ago that we would be able to print high-quality miniatures in our own home. A resin printer is a little bit of a hassle because we want to use it safely and take the necessary precautions, but the results are amazing. Fancy RGB lights are less effort luckily! They’re cool for the general atmosphere and nice for storytelling games, as long as you’re not playing actual board games because in that case: the clearer and brighter the light, the better! Especially when playing with colorblind people. 🙂 Now ChatGPT… I guess it could be handy to get some inspiration from it when thinking of a backstory for your character? It might give you angles and ideas you otherwise would never have thought about!

Last week we played another interesting variety of games! We started off the week with a game of Mice and Mystics. We’ve started playing the campaign with friends but we’re also discovering that the playing time of 90 minutes that the box says… might be a little optimistic? Or maybe the first scenario is just very long? We weren’t able to finish it and will have to finish it next time.
On Thursday we played another game of Galactic Renaissance and we still really enjoy the game! Absolutely a recommendation if you like sci-fi-themed games with some deckbuilding, area control, and creative scoring. The game’s currently still on Kickstarter if you’d like to learn more. We ended the night with a little brain teaser puzzle with Turing Machine. On Friday we finally continued our travels and adventures in Artisans of Splendent Vale. We’ve got to say that it’s not a perfect game and it has its flaws, but we are having a lot of fun with it and like discovering what the game(world) has to offer.

This weekend, Heinze played his third game of War Room! …And alas, like previous plays, they were not able to actually finish the game in ten hours – not even after some strategic preparations. My mind is just blown by the scale of this game and I feel very little need to ever play it. 😉 Games that take longer than five hours in one sitting are really a no-go for me, my head will get foggy and I lose my focus.

Oh and in case you missed it, we posted two extra comics last week. We finished our series about Let’s Go! To Japan and we published another SheGames comic! 

Do you enhance your RPG sessions in any way?

 

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There’s a cross-over between storytelling games and RPGs, but the word “game” can probably be confusing. We’ve played many board games with a storytelling element to them but we haven’t played many storytelling games. One has clear rules and possible outcomes are set in stone, while storytelling games offer you some rules but there’s no outcome that’s based on points or a score. It’s not quantified.

A friend of ours got himself a copy of Fall of Magic, which we absolutely recommend checking out if you love crafty productions. It’s a screen-printed fabric scroll that has a journey depicted on it and players collaboratively tell a story based on it. We’re going to play it this week and we’re really curious how it will be. To be honest, I’m not really creative with words when put on the spot and have very little roleplaying experience, so I’m slightly anxious about it. But hey, it’s always good to try new things and step out of your comfort zone!

Another storytelling game that caught our interest last week was Till the Last Gasp. This one leans a little more to the game side than to an RPG. It’s a two-player dueling storytelling game that gives players different settings and characters to duel with. The game has a smart action points system combined with objectives and drama cards to give players some guidance in their story. The action points give it more of a game feel, while you’re still telling a story together. We played our first game and noticed that our storytelling skills are a little rusty, but we did have fun with it and it’s something I’d love to get better at. We both enjoy the great number of creative storytelling games out there that don’t require endless sessions like traditional RPGs but it’s also something we need to become more comfortable with and we notice there’s not necessarily an overlap between board gamers and such games. 😀

Besides Till the Last Gasp, we didn’t play a lot of games last week just a game of Fish & Katz, a game of Chai and Akropolis. 

Oh and in case you missed it, we published the second comic in our Let’s Go! To Japan series last Thursday!

Do you have any experience with storytelling games?

We’re always very laidback if it comes to beverages and board games and that’s also because we don’t remember any spilling accidents happening at our table. Until last week while playing 7 Wonders, haha. Luckily there was no major damage and we only lost some coin tokens. All good, all good, we were lucky, and as a bonus: that led to this comic! We’re not changing our behavior and we want to believe that this was a singular occurrence. 😉

 

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Last week, we’ve played a lot of lighter games! As mentioned, we played 7 Wonders with the new Edifice expansion. To prevent this blog post from becoming too long, you can find our first impression on our Instagram account. Sticking to the same theme, we also played a game of Akropolis and are still amazed by the tight and solid gameplay of the game. It’s impressive! And we played Splendor Duel, which we still think is an excellent two-player game.

We also received the Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game from Asmodee and we were really curious since it reminded us a lot of Star Realms. Was this just going to be a Star Wars-themed copy of Star Realms and Ascension? Actually, yes and no! At its core, it’s a lot like Star Realms, but there are some important differences that we think have been neatly integrated with the theme. One player represents the Rebels and the other the Empire. In the market row, there are Rebel, Empire, and neutral cards. The Rebel and Empire player can buy neutral cards but they cannot buy each other faction’s cards. They can, however, attack the other faction’s cards that are in the Market row for resources and other powers. We also like the slightly cheesy Force mechanic in the game that enables special abilities of some cards if “the Force is with you”. There’s a Force track and the Force gets pulled between the Rebels and the Empire during the game by playing or attacking cards. The first player to destroy four bases (three when playing a short game) of the other player, wins. All in all, the game isn’t super original but we did really enjoy playing it and even played it four times last week.

Lastly, yesterday we were visited by our younger nephews who wanted to play some board games! After quite some debate, we ended up playing MegaCity: Oceania, Sweet & Spicy, and Mysterium. All games were a hit but Mysterium really struck the right chord and we even got to play another game of Mysterium after dinner.

Share the story of your worst spilling accident at the game table in the replies. 👇😱

 

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A bit overdue but it’s time for our annual awards: The Golden Standees! With these awards, we’d like to highlight games that we really enjoyed this past year.  So, congratulations to all the winners! 😀

When we got shown Turing Machine at SPIEL last year, we were already quite certain that it would definitely get a Golden Standee for something. It’s an ingenious idea executed in a great way. Whether you’re just doing the puzzles in the rulebook or using the website to play the daily challenge, it’s always a quick and intriguing deduction puzzle. The added quirky details like holes in the game box that show if the alignment of the box lid is correct show how much time and care has been put into the whole project.

Speaking of quirky details, the whole box of MIND MGMT is just covered with secret messages, we love it! If you don’t have oldskool 3D glasses laying around, the award says “Best Subliminal Messaging/Best Comic Adaptation”. The game itself is pretty cool too and we really want to explore the whole Shift card system to see what interesting new ideas are hidden within those exciting boxes.

Sniper Elite is a great hidden movement game and we’re happy to see it was on so many Best of Year lists. When we noticed that you couldn’t hurt the dogs in the game, we asked designer David Thompson if this was on purpose and he told us that it was a very conscious decision not to give players that option. For us, this sort of thinking is worthy of an award. 🙂

And then there’s Xia, a game that’s been on our want-to-play list as long as Semi Co-op exists. Last year a friend bought it and we’ve played it four times so far. While it’s random and has quite a bit of rules but we really just enjoy the exploration and the many options in the game. Every play just generates stories! So eight years after its initial release we still think it’s worthy of an award.

You can check out the Golden Standees of previous years here: https://semicoop.com/?s=golden+standees

What is your favorite game from 2022?

 

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Shout-out to r-n-w.net, the great font we used in the flowchart is made by Rose who creates adventures, makes cute tabletop accessories and produces handy game master tools.

To buy or not to buy, that’s sometimes the question. Especially if somebody you know already has their eyes on a certain game! :’D Having as many games as we do, we tend to question ourselves: how often would we actually play this game if we owned a copy? And wouldn’t that most likely be with the person that wants to buy a copy themselves?

Heat: Pedal to the Metal is one of those games that we’re both really interested in. A friend mentioned this weekend that they are thinking about adding Heat to their collection, raising the question of this week’s comic. We already own Flamme Rouge and love the game, would we play Heat enough to justify the expense? We’re still on the fence about that. It might also just happen that we impulse buy Heat the next time we’re at our FLGS because you know… supporting local businesses is important. 😉

A game we love but we’re OK with not owning ourselves is Xia: Legends of a Drift System! We’ve played it twice this weekend, with five players on Saturday and since the game was left at our home, we couldn’t resist playing another game with just the two of us on Sunday. We also quickly concluded that the game even takes a long time with just two players and we’re fine with playing it just a few times a year. We’ve written a little about our five-player game on Instagram if you’re interested.

Sticking to the space genre, we also played a two-player game of Galactic Renaissance and we were really surprised that the game works just as well with two players. Chapeau! On Thursday we played one of the scenarios of the Destinies scenario Myth & Folklore and we really enjoyed the creativity that has been put into the game experience of that expansion so far. All in all, we haven’t played a lot of games, but they sure were epic.

And in case you missed it, we published an extra comic last Thursday about Deal with the Devil!

Do you keep your friends’ collection in mind when you want to buy a new game?

More Lion and Gazelle? You can read the previous comics here: #1#2#3#4, #5 and #6 here!
Mammal deception! It’s been about two months, so we thought it was time for another Lion and Gazelle comic!

Take backsies can be a pretty controversial topic. We’re quite laid-back, especially if other players and we play a game for the first or second time or if a mistake breaks the game for a player or really frustrates them. Some players we know are really stern and even have the rule that if you place something on the board, it’s stuck there and you’ve made your move. I guess it’s a way to speed up the game time but it can also take the fun out of it, especially if you’re not very familiar with a game.

Speaking of games we were not very familiar with… we’ve played a lot of new games this past week! First of all, there was a pre-production copy of Galactic Renaissance which we were and now are very excited about. It’s a game with a lot of different mechanics but they all fit snugly together. A fun one is that players have no discard pile and cards go directly to the bottom of your deck and you’re not allowed to shuffle your deck (unless instructed of course). We know Aeon’s End also does this, but this is the first time we’ve encountered a game that does this. The fact that you somewhat know what cards are going to be unreachable for a while makes for interesting tactical choices and makes discarding a card a more difficult choice. The game also has deck-building, exploration, area control, and a fun portal system that connects different planets together. We hope to play it again soon to see how it plays now we know how to avoid some easily made mistakes.

We played Mantis Falls, quite an unknown title. Like Dead of Winter, it’s a ‘sometimes cooperative’ game with hidden roles for two to three players. This game is hard! And not that it’s very complex but it’s hard to beat. The fact that you never really know if the other player will betray you during the game adds to the tension. Players travel over the road that will offer challenges that need to be overcome or they’ll be wounded. It’s an interesting game but we really need to play it again now we know what to expect and now we know how hard it is to reach the end…

Our copy of Birds of a Feather came in the mail and that game is a (little) stunner! I think the art of the cards is just gorgeous, the artists really did a great job. The game itself is nice and simple and not something I’ve played before. You play a card from your hand and you check if the habitat of that bird card is the same as any other cards that are already on the table (lingering birds) and the ones that are being played by other players that round. At the end of the round, the played bird cards replace the lingering birds and in the next round, you play a new card! You have a checklist on which you cross off all the different birds you spotted and you try to spot as many different birds as possible during the game to score the most points. It’s not a complex game but it’s nice and entertaining and there are some drafting rules to make the game a little bit more tactical. 🙂

Heinze also played Millennium Blades this weekend! Since I didn’t, I can’t say too much about it, but I do know that he was impressed by the level of detail that has gone into the game but also that he was really happy that he never bought a copy himself because it would be way too hard to get to the table. If you’ve never heard of it, Millennium Blades is a collectible card game simulator. During the game, players play multiple games and compete for tournament prizes, build and upgrade their decks, trade cards with other players, and even ‘crack open’ random boosters. It’s quite spectacular.

We also played our second game of Artisans of Splendent Vale (still so much fun!), we cracked another case of Suspects and we played a game of Sniper Elite. It was quite a lovely spread this week! And in case you missed it, we posted an extra comic last Thursday about Blueprints of Mad King Ludwig!

Are take backsies allowed at your table?
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