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. 🙂

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! 🙂

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. 😉 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. 😀

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! 🙂

 

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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! 🙂  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! 🙂

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. 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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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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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?
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