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?

There’s been a lot of buzz around Rap Godz on Twitter because of an incredible fundraising action that was initiated by Danny and it raised over 80.000 dollars!  Amazing job everybody! We’re glad we could help out and contribute a little to a good cause.

Last week, we’ve mostly been playing shorter games and more Tiny Towns… because.. we’ll join in one of the AEG live streams this week (on Thursday, if all goes well) and we would like to have played the game a few times before that and don’t look too silly on the stream.

This weekend we’ve been mostly busy celebrating my birthday! Today’s actually my birthday, but we’ve been having some family over, spread out over different “timeslots” during the weekend. And luckily, the weather was good and we’ve got a garden – which makes the social distancing easy. I’ve been spoiled to bits by everybody, so even though social restrictions, it’s been lovely.

And that’s it really, no exciting news to share. 😀

Describe a game very specifically and we’ll try to guess it!

 

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Really, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and take care! For quite a period we both experienced that we were just too tired at the end of the day to just do anything. To learn that new game, to initiate that cool idea we had for Semi Co-op or anything creative, somehow we just couldn’t and that was frustrating. We also quickly learned to accept it and that whether you “actively” notice it or not, the changes to normal day life just takes a strain on you.

I’m happy to say that we are slowly getting back up again though. Last week we’ve The Crew, Agricola, Godtear and this weekend we played our first game of High Rise – it arrived, hurray! And the game looks glorious. It looks way more intimidating than it is, we were both surprised by the quickness and relatively simple rules of the game. In many ways it reminded us of Parks and Tokaido, only you’re building buildings in the process and get bonuses if you or another player stops to take an action at your building. A big part of the available actions players can take are randomly drawn tiles, which makes us very curious about what our next experience will be!

AEG was kind enough to send us a copy of Tiny Towns and Space Base and in the afternoon we’ve played Tiny Towns. The game reminded us of roll and write like games, placing the right resources in tetris shapes on your player board until you can place a building there. What we’re really enthusiastic about is the variety between games. Our second game was completely different from our first because the building cards are picked randomly in each category. Again, a game that we think offers a lot of replayability and we’re looking forward to playing again (also: it’s nice and short!).

How are you holding up?

 

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Ok, ok, technically, this comic is not really board game-related, but it’s a joke that had been lingering in my head for a while. And since I can’t and won’t do this in real life, a comic will do.  😉
The rulebook that is being read in the comic is of High Rise by Formal Ferret. Our Kickstarter delivery came last week and it looks amazing! The box is huge and it really stands out with the beautiful art by Kwanchai Moriya, who has made a few of the most pretty box covers I’ve ever seen. High Rise is a longer game to play, so we’ll have to wait until we have time on a weekend to play it, hopefully soon!

Another delayed Kickstarter delivery came in today, Root: the Underworld expansion! We know it’s been really stressful for Leder Games, so we’re really glad that the Kickstarter fulfillments are now being delivered all over the world. 🙂 At this point, we only regret we didn’t back the AI boards, since we don’t get to game with friends at the moment. So the expansion will have to wait before we can really play it.

In other news, an interview with us has been published in a Dutch national newspaper last week! It’s mainly about us, our lives, and the silly things we do, like running Semi Co-op. You can see a bigger version of the picture over at our Facebook page and you can also read the article online (it’s in Dutch though!). The photographer did an awesome job on the picture and even capturing an action shot of our cat Starbuck.

What’s the last rulebook you’ve read?

 

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This comic secretly (no, not really) is a wink to our previous Undaunted comic, which you can read here:
https://www.semicoop.com/comic/friendly-fire/.

We really enjoy playing Undaunted: Normandy and we can’t wait to play Undaunted: North Africa because we’re really curious about the new setting and scenarios and of course the addition of vehicles!

But since it doesn’t come out until July, we’ll have to wait a little while longer. Last week we’ve played another game of Scythe Digital and nobody was kicked out because of timers running out his time. 😉 And Heinze and I played some smaller two-player games like Watergate and Onitama and we’ve played our first game of The Taverns of Tiefenthal! We’ve been wanting to play that game for a long time, but we just didn’t have the energy to pick up a new game and learn the rules. It turns out it’s a pretty easy game and after playing our first game, we can’t wait to try it again and add some modules to enrich the experience.

On Sunday, we’ve spent most of our free time on building our own tiny bouldering training wall! We’ve “built” the wall plate and now have to paint it, put in the t-nuts, attach it to the wall and fill it up with climbing holds. We’ll share the result on our Instagram account if anybody is interested.

What’s your favorite war game?
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