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Last week we finished our last game of Pandemic Legacy! And we won, woohoo! I won’t go into any details, because I really don’t want to spoiler anything – but it was great! We’ve been playing since October last year, so the idea that we won’t be playing Pandemic Legacy every one/two weeks is weird. It feels like that empty void after you finished reading a great book or watched a television series. Our conclusion: YES, GO PLAY THIS GAME! It is an amazing experience and totaly worth the ‘investment’ of roughly €10 per person if you play with four people.

Something completely different that I’d like to show you guys is Heinze’s little project he has been working on this weekend. He has made a mold of the Hive Pocket game pieces, poured chocolate in it and tadaa! Hive chocolats! Very succesfully, I might add. Click here for more pictures.

What board game with a campaign should we definitely play according to you?

Elder Sign is a fun dice game which is set in the same world as Eldritch Horror, only it all takes place in a museum. You have to collect a certain number of Elder Signs to defeat the stirring Elder God before time runs out. As an investigator you can spend earned trophies on souvenirs and one of the options is to BUY one these much wanted Elder Signs. Since the Eldritch themed games are heavily supported by story elements, this always makes us chuckle and imagine a situation like in the comic above. This player action was later ‘removed’ from the game in the Gates of Arkham expansion. 🙂

But it does bring me to the fun fact of gameplay elements in games that aren’t particularly logical if you think about them just a second longer. Like the fact that super smart world saving scientists cannot ‘share knowledge’ with each other in Pandemic. What happened to phones and e-mail? 😉 Or that newborn kids in Agricola can work after one turn? Logical gameplay mechanics, of course, but slightly funny if you imagine it in the real world.

Can you name any gameplay mechanics that would be ‘weird’ in real life?

So ever since Heinze has been listening to the Serial podcast, he has been interested in a game called A Distant Plain. I had never heard of it, nor did I know of the existence of the COIN series by GMT Games.  The COIN series are games that focus on guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgencies around the world. These games can be based on historical or ongoing events. Most of these games are hard to get your hands on: either you’ll have to pay a lot of money or you’ll have to be very very patient. You can buy A Distant Plain on e-bay for $195 or you’ll have to place an order the website of GTM Games. They’ll print new copies of the game once 500 people have signed up for a reprint.

The idea of this comic was based on a Reddit discussion that asked the following question: ‘If you could give a copy of a single game to everyone in the world, which game would you choose?‘ We found that an intriguing question and would like to ask you to answer the same question.

PS. People on Twitter and Instagram decided that Apollo should look at the reader this week, thanks for your feedback! 😉

If you could give a copy of a single game to everyone in the world, which game would you choose?

You can read all about my opinion of Agricola in the blogpost of the previous webcomic I made about the game. In short: I have a love-hate relationship with the game. This comic is mostly about the (recognizable) emotions or situations players experience during the game. I at least like to think that most players go through these emotions, I know I do. 😉

We’ve been playing lots of games the last week! Besides more Imperial Assault, we played our second game of Eclipse and that was once again a lot of fun. Even though I lost terribly after forming an alliance with another player and we got slaughtered by the others. We finally played The Grizzled, Evolution and Flick ’em Up with more than 2 players! The Grizzled definitely is better with more than 2 players and Evolution completely changes since you get to play 3 trait cards per species instead of 2. We think Flick ’em Up also was more fun with more than 2 players. 🙂  A new game we played was Counting Zzz’s, I wouldn’t say it’s an amazing game, but it is very light and funny when played with the right people.

What games are better at higher player counts?

First of all: Evolution has launched a Kickstarter for their newest expansion ‘Climate’! Check it out hereNorth Star Games keeps unlocking cool stretch goals, so be sure to check out their kickstarter if you’re interested in the game. Oh yeah: you don’t need to own the base game for the climate ‘expansion’. We can’t wait until our copy gets shipped in August! 😀

Evolution is just a beautiful, fun and smart game. From the jawdropping colorful art to the watering hole, starter token and the tiny pouches in which you collect the food tokens – it just screams high production value. The smartness of the game lies in how players actually build an eco system. Yes, you do play against the other players and try to adapt your species to theirs, but it may turn out that your carnivore species aren’t able to attack the opponent’s species due to assigned trait cards and you’ll have to eat a species of your own! The first time that happened to us, we were amazed and loved that. The game doesn’t take too long to play or to set up and all the possible different combinations of the trait cards make sure that no game is the same.

We’ve only played it with the two of us and can’t wait to see what happens when there are at least four players with loads of species on the table that all want the food from the watering hole or are looking to eat each other…

What’s your favorite science based game?

A follow-up comic of last week’s comic! We now own Imperial Assault, hurray! We haven’t been able to play it very often yet, alas.  We’ve only played the tutorial and play one skirmish map – but it was a lot of fun! Well, it was fun until Darth Vader walked into the room and force choked my group of heroes and ruthlessly killed Luke without hestitation. Splendid.

We’re gonna stick to the skirmish games for now. We’re not sure if the campaign will work well with just 2 players and we want to get to know the game a little better. Another question is: do we want to paint the miniatures or not? The most realistic answer would be: NO. We’ll just end up with 10 painted figures and the rest will remain grey and relatively boring. But it is tempting when you see pictures of the game with painted miniatures. Sooo pretty.

What’s your favorite miniature game?

Just a one-panel comic this week due to loads and loads of animation work and many days of working late I had to do last couple of weeks.

This week also a little behind the screens of making this comic:

I mostly start off with tiny thumbnails with stickfigure scribbles for a general idea in my notebook filled with Semi Co-op comic ideas. Then I roughly sketch it out digitally, make the line art, color it and add the text.

And yes, we actually ordered Imperial Assault and we’re eagerly waiting its arrival (Star Wars, yay!). We had set a price alarm on Amazon Germany for the game and a few days ago it said that the game was only 57 euro! Heinze didn’t hesitate and ordered it immediatly. 😀 Sorry dear European readers: a few hours later it was back to its original price (around 80 euro / 90 dollar). People in the USA are lucky with the crazy low prices over there.

Are there any games you find a little bit too expensive right now, but would immediately buy if the price dropped?

My creative background is far more related to game development than to the world of comics. Me and three friends started a game company called Firedroid for which we worked part-time for a couple of years. We made our own games for mobile devices and we were pretty darn good at it, if I might say so (check out Barrr, Kings Can Fly and Ice Cream Nomsters 😉 ). Every year we team up (with Heinze as our 5th Beatle) to join the Global Game Jam in our hometown. Firedroid might not be among the living anymore, but the Global Game Jam tradition still is alive and kicking.

But the Global Game Jam is not just about making digital games. You’re not limited to a digital medium and can create whatever you want during the 48 hours of the event. There’s a world wide theme on which you have to create your game. Well, you don’t have to, but it’s fun to see what all the participants create based on the same theme.

This year’s theme was RitualWe made a game called Friend()? in about 28 hours. Quite an abstract game for our doing. The game hasn’t been uploaded yet, but probably will be during the day if you’re interested. It’s a platformer game in which you have to collect triangles for an imposing AI that commands you to obey its obsessive, particular orders. You have a choice to obey or to ignore those commands.

In the mean while you can always play the game we made 5 years ago during the Global Game Jam: You Keep Dropping These Things and You Don’t Seem to Notice. We still love that one.

<-- An example of the simple but fun animation work we made for the game. Bringing a simple rectangle to life!

Would you ever like to design your own board/card game if you got the chance?

The Proof of Purchase tokens of Fantasy Flight Games’ games… what are they for and does anybody actually keep them? I went through the boxes of our FFG games and I can say: yes, some people keep them. We still have them all, apparently. I was kind of surprised myself. This comic is obviously about what might have happened if we hadn’t kept them. 😉

Proof:

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Did you keep the Proof of Purchase tokens of your FFG games?

Card shuffling! Quite an important part of card and board games. When you shuffle the infection deck discard pile in Pandemic (after the infection phase initiated by an epidemic card) and that same infection phase card ends up on top of the infection deck: people will (in)directly blame you for the outbreak! You shuffled the cards, so you must have done something wrong! Shuffling cards is a big responsibility in some games. 😉

I’m not particularly good at shuffling cards and one day Heinze had been looking around on youtube for some card shuffling techniques and came across the Riffle Shuffle! It looked amazing! I tried it with a cheap set of playing cards we had laying around and I can tell you that the cards are not very pleased. And whenever I try it, the cards also tend to fly around the room. For now I’ll just stick to shuffling by making several face down piles of cards on the table and combining them again to one stack.

Shuffling sleeved cards is even more interesting and extremely hard when your card sleeves are brand new and very slippery!

What’s your favorite way to shuffle cards?
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