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Hey everybody! Rachel will be taking care of her mother for the next few days because she has broken a number of ribs, so there wasn’t time to draw a new comic today. Luckily after browsing through our lovely archive we realized it would be completely in style to change up the dialogue on our dinosaur comics parody from four years ago, so that is what we did!

We actually did all the analysis on this in 2020, when during lockdown it might seem to be a fun idea for a video. We’re not completely sure with the slowdowns in shipping and production of games we still might see a 2046 date for running out of four-letter nouns but it is probably still pretty close.

While it looks like we won’t be playing any games this week, we actually played a lot of things last week, we continued our Pandemic Lagacy Season 0 and King’s Dilemma campaign, we also played Great Plains which proved that Lookout’s “Two player” series is an incredible series of solid games. Other than that we replayed some modern classics like Splendor, Sushi Go and Space Base, which are still very very good.

I’m off to keep things running smoothly around here, hope you have a great week!

What four-letter noun should become Leder Games’ next game?

 

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Cryptic: Urban Legends was kindly provided by Osprey Games for free. We thank them for giving us this game which led to this comic! For more information on how we deal with gifted games, please see our FAQ!

We really enjoy Cryptid: Urban Legends! And like the original Cryptid, it is about finding a hidden monster, only now one of the two players is playing the monster trying to escape the city. It took a few plays for us to make it click as it is very abstract and the rulebook makes it sound more complicated than it is. But now, we’re deep in the ‘fanatical plays’ and ‘forming strategies’-phase of exploring this quick two-player game.

If we would have to compare it to something we would say it is a bit like Fugitive or Raptor, two players trying to block each other while building a long-term plan that hopefully snaps shut and secures them the win. The art by Kwanchai Moriya is also wonderful, so we used the cards from Cryptid: Urban Legends to make a comic about one searching for an answer to a question we get asked a lot but don’t have an answer to… “what is your favorite board game?”.

Tabletop games aren’t one genre or one type of activity and while you can say you enjoy tabletop games, some people might talk about Warhammer, while someone else is talking about Wingspan, while a third person might be talking about Werewolves. We enjoy a lot of genres and we love looking at the mechanism behind different genres to see what makes them tick and why people enjoy them. While there are aspects of games we think are genius or enjoy a lot, we don’t believe there is one game that we can point at and say is our favorite. So maybe we should ask people when asking us about our favorite board game why they’re asking it, so we get excitedly suggest a game to them that we think will fit their tastes, or talk about an aspect of a game that really surprised us recently.

Speaking of surprises, last minute it turned out I was going to Poldercon yesterday! We found out all trains were canceled this weekend in our city, it seemed all was lost but thanks to a friend we were able to borrow a car! I got to play Forbidden Psalm, Anno Domini 1666, Burrows & Badgers, and Bolt Action. While I don’t play a lot of miniature games, I’m starting to realize I enjoy skirmish levels game the most. Especially Forbidden Psalm and Burrows & Badgers are RPG-inspired games that just lovely story-like elements that make the game a bit more interesting than just putting your miniature in the right place and how your roll the right number on your dice. While Bolt Action had some very cool systems I just have a hard time picturing me enjoying putting together a 20-40 unit force and playing for several hours the capture a village when in that time I could conquer whole galaxies in a board game form, not even considering the time it would cost to paint all those figures and make some interesting terrain.

This week, we’re playing the King’s Dilemma again and we’re going to be playing a murder mystery type of game, probably Suspects, so we’re looking forward to that!

What is a board game related question you don’t seem to be able to give an answer to?

 

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Semi Co-op turns seven years old exactly, today! It all started with Rachel wanting an excuse to draw more character art to improve herself and now we’re (part-time) professional board game cartoonists! I’m not sure we would’ve believed it if you would go back in time and told us that we would still make comics in 2022. But here we are, still going strong and no plans of retirement yet. We’ve depicted 15 of our most played games since the launch of Semi Co-op, either as the game box or components laying around us.

Of the 2172 games we played over this period, we actually played eight this week! We played Sagrada, Riverside, and the King’s Dilemma during the week and on Saturday we visited some friends and played Dixit Odyssey and the Fast and Furious Highway Heist. While Fast and Furious doesn’t sound like to sort of board game that is any good, the people at Prospero Hall delivered a top-notch licensed title once again. It’s a high-speed co-op car chase game in which you steer and ram enemy SUVs into a ‘boss’ vehicle like a tank, semi-truck, or helicopter. It has a lot of dice rolling in the form of skill checks, the game offers several ways to mitigate the randomness and have your car-hopping, SUV-hijacking stunts work out just the way you wanted to.

Because we traveled by train we also got the chance to revisit some of our favorite board game apps namely Paperback, Potion Explosion, and Star Realms. While all the apps versions are excellent we think that Paperback is the perfect word game palette cleanser after Wordle, so we were excited when Tim Fowers mentioned he’s creating a new version that includes a co-op mode!

In case you missed it, we were one of the first people to talk about Skymines last week! We got to play it a month ago and enjoyed it so much that we almost spoiled the announcement a month earlier. It’s a reskin of Alexander Pfister’s Mombasa but it has an added campaign mode. This week we also get to be part of the announcement of another cool board game-related project, so stay tuned! 🙂

How long have you been reading Semi Co-op?

 

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Happy Valentine everyone! We noticed that once every three years we do a valentine’s day comic, so we couldn’t break that accidental tradition. This year we thought it would be fun to do a MicroMacro themed one as we’ve been looking for an excuse to emulate that criminally cute style for a while now. I’m very impressed with what Rachel has been able to pull off in just one day, although she mentioned that the actual MicroMacro art would have about 100% more characters running around in the same space and way more funny and smart details tucked away in every corner.

We had a very busy week last week so we only played three games, two of them being our most played games of all time! We played some Hive, which with 64 plays is our second most played game and is still our favorite traveling game as those pieces are very sturdy. Thanks to the Cardboard Kid we were inspired to play Netrunner for the 79th time ever! Other than that we also continued our Pandemic Legacy Season 0 campaign which is we’re taking slow but are really enjoying.

Other than board games we’ve both been playing some video games this week, Rachel is really enjoying the relaxing pace of SpiritFarer and I started playing Hades this weekend which has some great frantic roguelike gameplay.

 

In which game would you like to celebrate Valentine’s day?

We won’t be posting a comic today as we had to say goodbye to our buddy Starbuck. She has been a furry ball of love in our lives for eleven years and she was always with us, when we were sleeping, playing games, or even when streaming on Twitch, Starbuck made sure she was there to get some cuddles and attention. We’ll miss her a lot and if you have a pet, please give them a hug for us.

 

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The Holidays are coming up, which means for lots of people that they will spend time with family or friends and maybe get the chance to introduce them to a board game. It’s always tricky to get people excited about board games, so we’re taking this very seriously. 😉

Luckily, our family already enjoys games, we mostly play Dixit while visiting Rachel’s brother and Klask was a big hit the last time they came over to our house. Things like Ticket to Ride are loved as well so we’ll have no shortage of games we can play without having to do a rules explanation, which is great because we didn’t play a whole lot of games this week.

On Tuesday, we started the campaign of the Destinies base game, we had a good time although the friend we played with had a really hard time getting their destinies to progress making it feel he was left out a bit. We’ve decided we’re not going to make it a weekly event but we’re definitely finishing the campaign as the setting is a fun dark fantasy mix of pagan and Christian supernatural tropes and legends.

On Friday we played our first ever game of Zombicide, only to realize it’s already nine years old! We never played Zombicide before and while it is a whole lot of miniatures, the quick downtime and simple rules made it a breezy good time. We’re curious to try different scenarios because the one we played seemed like there was no way to prevent it from turning into a slog halfway through. The number of zombies on the table and the route you have to take make it very hard to get anything done. But we’ll happily gear up and chainsaw some zombies in the near future to see if other scenarios are the same, or that feeling is just part of the puzzle.

I also played a game of 1889 online over at 18xx.games. It’s a wonderful quick and ‘simple’ 18xx game and there is currently a Kickstarter going for the first reprint in years. So if you always wanted to own an 18xx you can use to introduce people to the genre, this one is a great one, although I think I might prefer the slightly more open map of 18chesapeake.

We want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and we hope you are doing well! We just entered a new lockdown, so we’ll have a little bit more time this week to figure out what we want to play with our family during Christmas…

What’s a good game to introduce during the holidays?

There has been a lot going on in board gaming this week. While this weekend has mostly been filled with happy faces of friends at PaxU, before the weekend the big thing people in the industry wanted to talk about was Kickstarter getting into blockchain technology. Honestly, we don’t really understand what Kickstarter’s intentions are with the move, as they seem pretty vague about what this transition to blockchain would solve, which isn’t helped that the white paper promised in the initial blog post hasn’t been published yet. We do hope creators who have been putting all their time and effort into a game or project won’t be a victim of the public’s backlash against Kickstarter’s plans in a time when it’s already incredibly hard to get a game made and into the hands of gamers.

 

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Speaking of games in our hands, this week we held a lot of them! We played Biblios and My City for the first time in months and really enjoyed both but the one new thing we played was Jekyll vs. Hyde. This is a two-player trick-taking game that has a great twist. One player plays Dr. Jekyll which will not try to win as many tricks as possible but keep the number of tricks won between Jekyll and Hyde as close as possible. This means winning tricks is no longer the point because keeping the scores close is the only thing that will slow down the transformation from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde on the other hand will try to win or lose all the tricks so the difference is scores the be as big as possible. It really changes the dynamic of trick-taking which resulted in really easy wins for the Mr. Hyde player the first few times we played it. We really liked it and we’re curious to see how long it will take for our brain to adapt to this different way of playing.

Another thing we played again was Sleeping Gods and while we love the game, we hate setting it up. The setup is so long and involves so many steps it’s really taking away from our enjoyment of the game, so we’ll be looking for an insert or other means or organisation for the game so we don’t feel mentally drained every time we’re ready to play. If you have any tips, let us know!

This week we also received several other games which we can’t wait to play. Osprey was kind enough to send us Undaunted: Reinforments, which we did a comic about and Brian Boru which is the new game by Peer Sylvester, which we think has designed some pretty fantastic games. We also got the aforementioned Jekyll vs Hyde and 50 Clues: The Pendulum of the Dead from Geronimo Games. The Pendulum of the Dead is a pretty dark escape room type game,  so we’re very curious if that is our cup of tea and if (we think) they’ve handled the subject matter well. Lastly, our Kickstart pledge for the Tiny Libary came in, it’s a deck of cards that are all micro roleplaying games. We already spotted some fun ones like The Lion’s court.

Have you ever backed a game on a Kickstarter competitor like Gamefound?

Roll & Writes! It’s a genre that is super popular and with the launch of Joey Schouten’s Pour Decisions and Postmark’s Voyages, we’re sure there will be loads of Roll & Write releases in the coming months. While we’re generally not the biggest fans of the genre, this week we actually played two Roll & Writes, Welcome To… on BoardgameYogi’s stream together with ProZD, and the Dinosaurs Island Rawr & Write.

My main complaint about Roll & Writes is that there is a lack of tension. This is mostly because most Roll & Write games are pretty solitary affairs giving you no indication of how your opponents are doing. Luckily the two Roll & Writes we played this week solved that problem in their own way.

 

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We played Welcome To… on Board Game Arena which alleviates the tension problem by always showing you the score of your opponents, which makes it an exciting race because you know how you’re doing. Sungwon mentioned this during the stream and it suddenly made me realize why I always felt Roll and Write feels more like an activity than a game. This is not to say that activity-feeling games are bad but I now understood while I felt this way.

The Dinosaur Island Rawr & Write adds player interactivity by using dice drafting and dice placement on a central board to give the game interactive elements. I would also say it’s pushing the limits of the Roll & Write genre because it uses two sheets per player and it has several phases during a round which make it feel more like a euro game than a Roll & Write game. It’s an interesting choice to make such a “heavy” Roll & Write and I’m eager to see if I like it better than Duelosaur Island in the long run because I was enjoying myself a lot during the first play.

The second point why I generally don’t like Roll & Writes, and the one that inspired this comic, is that a rules explanation of a Role and Write feels like you’re learning to fill in a (tax) form correctly. Since there are only a few physical components, you’re just learning where you should cross off things, which doesn’t make for an exciting teach. This is even worse in Roll & Writes like Ganz Schön Clever, which includes several different mini-games that combine into your final score making for a pretty long and disjointed rules explanation without any thematic glue to hold it together in your head. I’m curious if there are any Roll & Write games that overcome this and how they go about it. Maybe you can help me find one? 

What is your favorite Roll & Write?

Brew was kindly provided by Pandasaurus Games for free. We thank them for giving us this game that led to this comic! For more information on how we deal with gifted games, please see our FAQ!

 

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Brew, it’s in our top 10 most played games this year while it’s also meaner than what we regularly like in a game. It might present itself as a cute game about brewing potions and befriending animals but in reality, it’s an area control game where you are using forest critters to burn down forests while hopping up on potions to gain dominance in that same forest you just burned down. It has simple rules, beautiful components, a playtime of an hour, and a great price point. We highly recommend it and it’s a shame it was hit by delays because it might get snowed under all the new releases before it has claimed its time in the spotlight.

Speaking of the spotlight, there are a lot of great games coming out right now. Last week we played Kombo Klash!, Riverside, Burgle Bros 2, Whirling Witchcraft, and That Time You Killed Me which are all new releases worth a look. We’ve talked about some of these before, so let’s just focus on the new games.

Kombo Klash! is a tile-laying game about creating combos on the board while also playing defensive to prevent your opponent from gaining opportunities. Every tile almost has a cool power that is easy to understand but has a cool way to use them, it has a slight memory mechanic, it takes about twenty minutes, and is produced with attention to detail which we really appreciate.

Riverside is one of the few roll-and-writes we enjoy and even though the scoresheet has a bit of the “tax-form complexity” of a Ganz Schön Clever, we think the board element makes us enjoy it more than when it would have been just the scoresheet. The theme of a polar cruise is also a fun one and we will never not enjoy calculating a Median average. #mathNerds

That Time You Killed Me is another Pandasaurus release and this one is special. It’s an abstract game about two time travelers trying to kill each other. The game has three boards representing the past, present, and future and you have pawns that can not only move within a board but can also jump between boards. The game is presented as a narrative campaign but after playing one chapter we highly suspect that it’s actually mostly an abstract game with four variants. We did enjoy it a lot because it can take a while before you realize how to utilize your time travel powers but then your mind suddenly expands and you’ll see cool moves everywhere. We’ll probably explore the other chapters soon and we’ll try to give some spoiler-free impressions of the whole box.

This week we have no idea what we’ll play. Maybe we’ll start our Destinies campaign, maybe we’ll get back to Oltréé, there are loads of games we want to play again so we’ll have a good time no matter what.

What’s the cutest meanest game you’ve played?

 

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Seeing hype suddenly swell around games this year at Spiel was very different and interesting when compared to SPIEL in the before days. Because Board Game Geek was not at the fair, there was no “official” top game list that was created during the con which resulted in the most popular games before SPIEL remaining very popular, a phenomenon mentioned by Ignacy Trzewiczek in his SPIEL vlog. On the other hand, we experienced that you could suddenly hear several people in short succession say that they heard that game X or Y was very good. We assume they talked to the same person just before we talked to them?

Today’s comic is based on one event we can’t explain but probably has to do with a hyped game. On Sunday morning we were sitting down to try Unicorn Fever and suddenly people on the con floor came running past the booth. Because it was the last day, most of the popular games were already sold out leaving us, and the person running the demo, a little confused about what was going on. We never figured out what it was so we’ll guess there was an actual dinosaur that people were running away from and that we just missed it. 😉

Speaking about games released at Spiel, last week we played a whole slew of them and most of them were great! We started on Tuesday with Destinies from Lucky Duck Games. This is an app-driven competitive RPG-like game in which the players try to be the first that fulfills their destiny. It plays a bit like Mansions of Madness but because you play against each other, the third act of the scenario felt a bit tenser. We really enjoyed the experience and even ordered the Kickstarter exclusive expansion Myth & Folklore from the BGG Market the next day.

We also played the Expedition Leaders expansion for the Lost Ruins of Arnak and while it’s a very interesting expansion we also realized we still enjoy the base game enough to not feel the need to add asymmetrical player powers into the mix. The roles we played were interesting, rewarding you to focus on artifacts for example but we’ll probably only revisit this after we’ve played the base game a lot more.

Some other games that we played and enjoyed were Balada by Albi, a flip-and-write in which you play a Bard and try to compose the perfect story for your hero. Burgle Bros 2 exceeded our expectations even though we were pretty hyped on it already, chaotic co-op fun. Whirling Witchcraft could be a future Kennerspiel nominee with its accelerating madness and interesting mechanic in which you try to beat your opponents transmuting your ingredients to give them more ingredients than they can handle. Ten is another solid game by Flatout Games with blackjack-style push-your-luck and auctions, making every moment exciting. Lastly, we also played Oltréé which, if the other scenarios pace the sense of urgency a bit better, is a very cool and accessible co-op game that will deliver an Eldritch Horror narrative experience in an hour with rules easy enough to enjoy even with younger players.

This week we’ll probably have some time to play some non-Spiel releases, we’ll probably be playing some Gloomhaven, Sleeping Gods and we have a three-player game of Warmaster planned on Sunday!

Have you ever run during a convention or to a store to get a hot game?
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