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Our people! The history of “meeple” has several more interesting parts but we’ll save those for future comics. The reason we had meeples on our minds, was because a friend has bought the Carcassonne big box plus the new co-op Mists over Carcassonne. Since we never actually played any of the Carcasonne expansions we’ll have a big Carcasonne game night soon and we’re curious how we like the different expansions and variants.

Speaking of planned board games, are we the only ones who have come out of the holidays with a very full board game agenda? In the coming weeks,  we’ll be playing loads of games from our bucket list or we’ll be revisiting old favorites that are hard to get to the table. This Friday we’re playing Artisans of Splendent Vale, this weekend we’re playing Alchemists with the expansion, the week after that we’re playing Gaslands, and we have a big game of Xia coming up and we’re finally trying Millennium Blades! We’re also playing with a nice mix of friends and new people, so it’s safe to say we’re starting of our gaming year very strong. 🙂

This week was also an interesting gaming week in which we played Flamecraft, Mechs vs Minions, Galileo Project, and even two games of the Pokemon Trading card game. Because our last time playing Flamecraft felt a little bland mechanics-wise, we opted to use all the advanced bells and whistles this time which improved the game a bit. It’s still not a game we would recommend for its deep choices but if you are looking for a nice cozy experience with a fun (co-op) engine-building twist, it works well. We would suggest going for the basic version of the game and don’t upgrade it to all the fancy bits before you know that you really like the game.

Galileo project is the third “mega corp colonizing space” game we’ve played this last week, together with Skymines and Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition. This one is a lot quicker and the whole game feels like a sprint from the beginning to the end. I really enjoyed the quick combo-building race but Rachel wished the game took a little more time to appreciate your engine of resource-generating robots and human-granting victory conditions. The game looks amazing right down to the back of the boards and the inserts and since it’s so quick, I’m sure it will hit our table again soon.

Mech vs Minions and the Pokemon card game are classics and we still enjoy both, although we might need some stronger opponents than our nephews for the latter to really appreciate the game. 😉

 

Who are Yeeple?

 

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Happy new year everybody! We’ve had a nice and slow week between Christmas and New Year’s eve and we played a lot of new games, mostly just with the two of us. It’s been a really nice week and luckily we’ve got space to take it a little slow this week as well, which we think is well-deserved after we realized we made 85 different comics last year! We’ve already got some extra comics in the pipeline for this year as well, so we might even top that number this year although we don’t want to make it one of our new year’s resolutions. We do have some gaming-related resolutions though, we’re about to get Nikki Valens’ Artisans of Splendent Vale, for which we really hope to find two more players to get the full experience. I also personally want to paint up a Turnip 28 army in such a way I can use it for several other miniature war games because there are a lot of cool indie miniature games being released and it would be nice to have some units I can use to try different games.

But enough of what we want to do let´s talk about what we´ve played last week. We have had a blast with some games we feel might be slipping under the radar a bit. The heaviest is Skymines which is a reskin of Mombasa. In this game, you play investors investing in megacorps that are mining on the moon for helium-3. We really enjoy this game but it is a pretty lengthy affair and can be quite brutal in its programming mechanism if you make the wrong move at the start of a round. If that doesn’t scare you and you like a sci-fi capitalism theme, this is well worth your time but make sure you take an entire afternoon, or more, for your first game.

Secondly, we played two games of Mille Fiori. When we first saw the board we were a bit intimidated by the many space and tracks on the board but it turn out it is a nice and easy Roll-and-Write-Esque drafting game about glass blowing in Venice. Imagine if Ganz Schön Clever was a board game with some options to mess with other players but still had massive combo potential, that’s what Mille Fiori feels like playing. Speaking of board games that clearly have been inspired by Roll-and-Writes, we also played our second game of Guild of Merchant Explorers which is fun and comes with a number of different maps but it hasn’t left as much of an impression as Mille Fiori so far. We have a more casual gaming friend coming over tonight and we’re eager to try this type of game with him to see if this game can compete with Ticket to Ride or Takenoko for example.

Something that left a positive impression was the first scenario from Destinies’ Myth & Folklore expansion, which wasn’t as strict on a timer as the scenarios of the base game plus it had a more Fey-inspired Fairy Tale storyline. This really helped us see what other directions the game can take and we’re eager to try more scenarios to see if they stretch the game’s setting even more.

Lastly, we played Gosu X and Cryptid: Urban Legends which are both really good if you want a head-to-head game in which smart moves can really end a game quickly. Both are a bit hard to learn from the rules though so if you can find someone or a video that shows how it’s played, that can really help you see how all the different parts go together and get you playing these wonderful games.

As mentioned before, this week we’re taking a bit more time to relax so hopefully, it will give us some time to get the last of our Spiel haul off the shelf and play them. So far we haven’t encountered any real duds, so it seems 2022 was a good year for games!

Do you have any (gaming) new year’s resolutions?

We’d like to wish you happy holidays, or at least some days you’re able to relax and enjoy other people, some good movies, or of course some games!

We have some wonderful things lined up for 2023, so we hope you’ve enjoyed our comics enough to stick around for next year. Because it would be a shame if you would miss it. 😉

(ICYMI: We published another #SheGames comic on our site last week!)

What are your gaming goals for 2023?

 

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Deduction games! We haven’t played them in a while but after our game of Deal with the Devil last week, we remembered how thrilling they can be. The tension at the table of not trying to give away who you are is a completely different mood when compared to a normal game. It also seems a genre that everybody has gotten at least one great story out of, which they will tell every time when someone brings up a social deduction game. 😉

After thinking about social deduction games for a while, this terrible joke popped into our head and we’re (not) sorry about it!

This week we only got to play three games but they were big ones! First up we played Tapestry and after four games we do like it but it seems there are parts of the game that could’ve been cut while at the same time you’re too dependent on the Tapestry cards you draw. It is a shame because we like the concept of the game and the different civilizations break the game in all manner of interesting ways so maybe we just have to put in a house rule of receiving two or three Tapestry cards at the start of the game so you can plan everything a bit more.

Secondly, we played our first game of Tiletum. Heavier euro games are pretty hit-and-miss for us, so we were dreading getting Tiletum to the table a bit but it’s really fun! While thematically it seems to make no sense: you play a rich man that employs a merchant, who just wants to build houses and visit fairs, and an architect, that just travels around to design parts of different cathedrals? Luckily, the different ways of scoring tie together in a fun way and offer you many ways to set up big combos which is always a big plus for us in these types of games. The game is also very variable in its setup so hopefully, that prevents a specific strategy from being an automatic win but we will have to figure that out in future plays.

Lastly, I played my second game of War Room, Rachel isn’t interested in playing a ten-hour World War 2 game but I really enjoy just spending a whole day discussing strategy and seeing the conflict on the very impressive board shift over the course of the day. Even though we played for ten hours, we didn’t get to finish the game, so we’re planning a rematch in April with some stricter time limits, hoping we might be able to finish our first game the next time!

What is your favorite social deduction experience?

 

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It’s a small rule in a lot of different games and it rarely comes up, but the “unlimited” resource is interesting when you think about it. It’s one of those things that seem natural to board gamers while strange to someone who hasn’t played that many board games. We assume publishers put in a reasonable number of resources tokens based on an endless amount of playtesting but we’ve never asked or heard anyone talk about them! We played around with this idea and realized that Origins: First Builders is probably the funniest game in which this could happen. Just imagine a group of godlike figures who have been uplifting humankind out of the stone age suddenly declaring that they were switching out stone for, what the rules suggest, “a reasonable substitute”.

Speaking of Origins: First Builders, we should really play it again, we enjoyed our first play a lot, so much so that we colorblind-proofed our copy (curse my deuteranomalic eyes) but we haven’t revisited it ever since. It’s a dice-placement game with an interesting theme and some very clever tricks up its sleeves to make every game different. It’s a problem that there are only 24 hours in a day of which you can only use a limited number for board games before things like bills, hunger or sleep deprivation start to become a real issue, we want to (re)play so many games!

Luckily, we did find some time to play some other cool games this week, our highlight was a three-player game of Northgard, including the beasts module. The game started as a tense survival against the monster which turned into a passive-aggressive expansion contest to end in a full-out assault in which Rachel carefully used retreats to grab the alternative victory condition of holding three large buildings in different regions. This whole epic journey, including the rules explanation, only took two and a half hours and fitted neatly into our weekday game night. We’ll definitely revisit this fast-playing 4X game in the coming months.

We also played our first game of Hidden Leaders, which was a nice surprise. It’s a bit reminiscent of  The King is Dead because you gather units from different factions to gain their favor while increasing and decreasing the powers of those factions hoping the right faction comes out at the end so you’ll be crowned the new emperor. We enjoyed it but our first impression is that with this game the first half of the game is even less important than in for example the King is Dead, which makes the first rounds of the game feel like you’re just trying things for no real reason. We just played one game, so it could very well be that we’re wrong and playing it more will show us otherwise, however.

Lastly, I played a game during lunch at work, which is a first! A colleague wanted to try Turing Machine and it was a big success. We really enjoy it as a short deduction game and keep being impressed by what sort of questions you can ask the game by just using punch hole cards. We heard it’s about the hit shelves in Europe and the US, so if you like deduction games we recommend checking it out.

What would be a reasonable substitute for rock?

 

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We are on Mastodon! If you want to follow our Toots you can follow us through @semicoop@tabletopsocial, honestly I’m personally pretty excited that with everything going on over at Twitter that we might actually see a critical mass on a decentralized service that might break the current internet that is based around a very small number of silo’s, but a webcomic about board games might not be the place to talk too much about the state of the internet… 😉

This comic is secretly an homage to a Dutch comic series called “Fokke & Sukke“. We’re amazed about how hard it is to write a one-panel comic and that’s all that they do since 1993. But this week, we gave it a try! This actually is our second homage to a classic Dutch newspaper cartoon, we did one last year that was based on the format of Anton Dingeman!

We’ve had a hectic week with some stressful situations which always makes us end up spending too much time on social media. It takes a bit of energy and time to play a game so in these busy weeks, the number of board games that we play tend to get very low. We only played two games this week. The first is a game of Turing Machine, which is wonderful if you are looking for a twenty-minute-long deduction experience. It also has a website on which you can play close to a million different puzzles, and even share the puzzle you’ve played, so friends can try and beat you. So if you want to see if you’re smarter than us, we have a Twitter thread where we are sharing our scores.

We also played Metrolijn, which is the Dutch translation of the German game Voll Verplant, which in turn is a variant of a Japanese Flip-n-Write called Metro-X, just to make things overly confusing. 😉 It’s a quick and tricky game that works well as a traveling game. We played while taking the train to my parents and we were done just when the train pulled into the station.

This week things are looking a little sunnier, we have Episode 1 of the Vengeance Roll & Fight already lying on the table to be played tonight! Tomorrow we’re playing Northgard with three players and the monster module, so the start of this week is already a lot stronger.

What board game sites/creators do you check often?

 

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While rules lawyer is a term used among board gamers to describe people who are very strict on rules, we realized we never heard of a rules judge. So our minds started thinking about what rules judges might look like and somehow we ended with this comic. It’s a bit of a strange one but we like to indulge ourselves a little sometimes, plus we get to see the Death character again!

Last week has been pretty slow, while we both recovered from actual illness symptoms of Covid last Monday, our energy levels remain very low so we’re taking it very easy and have begun exploring all the cool Spiel releases we took back home plus some of the games in the Funbrick series we hadn’t gotten around to yet. So let’s go through them chronologically.

On Tuesday we played some more Turing Machine, which we talked about last week, and we played our first game of Wormholes. Wormholes is a nice pick-up-and-deliver game in space about making routes using wormholes. It’s a very clever and interesting puzzle that is made a bit more exciting because of space-based features like black holes and nebulas. It’s quick to play with logical rules and we think the sweet spot for us is probably with three to four players with a nice amount of the expert tiles thrown in.

On Wednesday we played Gosu X which is a very cool two-player card battling game. It has hints of Magic the Gathering while focusing a lot more on building your army/tableau than on the actual battles. The game is a best-of-three-battles affair in which you have all the time to build up an army of demons, magical creatures, and heroes called immortals until one of the players passes. At that point, the other player gets three more rounds to finish their affairs and a battle takes place in which you check which of the two forces has a higher combat strength. So the game is all about making your forces as strong as possible while hindering the other player by capturing and destroying their cards. At the same time, there are several different alternate win conditions you need to keep an eye on and some of the draftable factions even come with their own victory condition. This game has a lot of depth while games typically last between 30-45 minutes, so this is definitely up our alley. We’ll be playing this a lot!

On Thursday we played Tidal Waves: Banner Festival which is a Trick-Taking/Racing/Area Control game(?). It’s unlike anything we’ve played so far, except maybe Brian Boru, and while it didn’t really come alive with two players, we’re looking forward to trying it with three or four players. A game only takes thirty minutes and the illustrations are beautiful, so if you’re looking for something unique while looking attractive enough to convince some friends to try it, you might want to research this one. 😉

On Friday we played Starship Captains which is a wonderful medium-weight Star Trek-inspired optimization game. It’s lighter than Lost Ruins of Arnak but it’s chasing that perfect usage of resources high just like Arnak. It’s a beautiful production and rules-wise very logical, so we think this game is a very good game to get Star Trek fans into trying some modern board game. As for ourselves, we need (and want) to play it again soon because the score difference was half a point, time for a rematch!

On Saturday we played some games from the Funbrick series and we wrote a long overview of them on our Instagram, so we won’t repeat it all here. They’re all very fun and short party/pub games in a lovely format that all bring something unique to your collection. Our favorite is Viking See-saw, a game about putting your cargo on a see-saw ship as its rules are simple and the different weights and shapes of your cargo really turn it into a very fun chaotic mess. These games are coming to Kickstarter tomorrow if you’re interested.

On Sunday we played Northgard: Uncharted Lands which is a deckbuilding 4X game. While we’re not the biggest fans of direct conflict on a map, this game has a lot of other things going on like exploring, tactical formation of regions, deck building and even NPC monsters you need to keep in check. While our first game was a bit cautious and pacifist we did start to see some interesting depth emerge when it comes to attacking, forming your regions, and spreading your forces around to gain VP. It’s always a good sign when we keep talking about the game a few hours later and this one kept our minds busy for quite some time after the game ended. So we’ll keep you posted on our further experiences.

So that’s a lot of games and we’re not even halfway trying out all the Spiel games, plus we want to play all of these some more! So I’ll guess this is a good point to end this blog post and start playing some more games… 😉

What game do you know so well you could be a rules judge?

 

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On the last day of Spiel, we encountered no less than three broken escalators while hauling bags full of games trying to catch the train. In the end, we missed the train by a few seconds which meant we had to wait an hour for the next train. We felt pretty tired and sore while waiting for that train and the idea for this comic was born. Every year we discuss if we should start shipping some of our games thome, or at least have some friends who are at Spiel take home some games but every year we think it will be fine and try traveling by train while carrying too many bags filled with games… 😅

Speaking of being sore, we’re both recovering from Covid so last week has been a bit of a slow one. When we started seeing some friends on Twitter testing positive we started to assume we were going to get it, and halfway through the week, we could confirm our con cruddy feelings were coming from Covid. We’re both on the mend and doing a lot better but our energy levels are really low and full recovery will probably take some time, which is a shame as we have some games we really want to try with friends.

Luckily we did manage to play four games from our Spiel Haul, so let’s give a short first impression of them all. For disclosure, all these games were given to us by their respective publishers:

First up is Aleph Null, it’s a one-player deck deconstruction game about summoning Baphomet. You’ll need to remove all your cards from your hand, deck, and discard pile before the end of the game to win, while also avoiding assassins, not burning yourself with an excess of magical energy and make some tough sacrifices to win the game. I enjoy how quick it is, how flavorful some of the cards are and the fact this is the first game we’ve come across, that lists is soundtrack composer on the box and even has some sheet music of the soundtrack in the rulebook!

The second game we played is Verdant, which is definitely a Flatout Games game. If you’ve played Calico or Cascadia you feel right at home with wonderful Beth Sobel art and a fiendish tile-laying puzzle that has several scoring methods that seem to work against each other. We did think the end scoring is so complex and the board is so visually cluttered at the end that we had some trouble making sure our scores were right but that might be our foggy Covid brains. So we’ll update our thoughts on it once we’re fully up and running again. Our first impression is that this one is trickier than Cascadia and feels a bit restrictive like Calico. If you like grid-building puzzles like Village Green or Village Rails you’ll probably like this one as well.

The third game we played was Akropolis which was a pleasant surprise, while we heard other people be positive about this one we didn’t expect a lot from this light city builder but after our first game, we really enjoyed how easy the rules were while offering interesting choices every turn. You build a city and score points for different types of districts and you can multiply those scores by placing plazas of matching color. It’s a bit reminiscent of King Domino but definitely a step up in complexity. We really enjoyed that the game allows you to stack tiles to gain stones, which can be used to buy tiles, but stacking also improves the score for that particular tile. We want to explore the stacking mechanism a bit more as we suspect you can get pretty hefty scores when using this option in the right way.

We also played Turing Machine, which feels like the designers Fabien and Yoann wanted to show the world how smart board games without an app can be if you just make a fully cardboard-based computer. While the game itself is pretty much the deduction classic Mastermind, the questions you get to deduce the right answer are a lot more interesting than “is this the right number on the right place?” and more in the vein of “is the center number above, below or exactly 4?”. This makes it all a lot more interesting and we kinda want to reverse-engineer the whole game to see how they did it. We’ll have to wait and see if the game holds up as a game over a lot of plays but as a design, it is an ingenious object well worth admiration and study.

With four games played for the first time, we still have about 17 games to go! We’d best get back to the gaming table as soon as we’re both feeling up to it!

Do you suffer from any board game injuries?

 

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SPIEL is this week! I’m pretty sure 90% of our conversations are about who we want to see, what games we want to play, whether the promotional materials look good, and if we have enough stroopwafels. Stroopwafels are the standard Dutch lubricant during business conversations, so we need a lot of them at Spiel to make sure we can do even more cool things next year. 😉

While most meetings are behind the scenes you’ll have to wait until next year before you can see the results, we will be playing Pictomania on the CGE live stream on Saturday together with Ready, Steady Play so tune in, and have a blast if you’re not at Spiel this weekend.

Because of all of the Spiel preparations, we only played two games this week, we played Beer & Bread which is a nice two-player euro game that will probably hit our table for a very long time because of it offers a lot of crunchy choices in a short time span. We also introduced a friend to Village Rails, which we might have sold as “a fun short game about trains with only twelve turns”. It was around turn six when he realized those twelve turns would contain a lot more depth and things that will sneak up on you than you might expect. What is it with games with a picturesque art style that will give you more brain burn than a math equation written on a chili pepper?

We hope to see many of you at Spiel or enjoying all the cool news coming out of Essen, we’ll be back next week, hopefully, happy and very tired. 🙂

Stroopwafel?

 

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Spiel is coming up and we’re starting to feel it. We’re seeing an increase in commissioned comics we’re making and we’re planning meetings, are busy making lists of which games we want to see and Rachel is making some new shirt designs for us to wear as well as updating our media kit and brochure for parties interested in doing cool things for us. So we thought we’d take it easy today and make a one-panel comic, which of course took way longer than expected because the background had to be just right. If you don’t know, the image is inspired by Over the Garden Wall, a wonderful weird animated miniseries about two brothers who get lost in the woods and end up in many strange situations. Hopefully, Rachel stressed schedule will relax a bit before we leave for Spiel in less than three weeks!

Speaking of relaxing, we did some cool game (related) things this weekend! On Friday evening our local bouldering gym organised a game night, we brought some games but got so caught up in playing twister on the boulder wall and all the tables were occupied by the time we were done and we just talked about games at the bar for the rest of the evening. On Saturday, Heinze played an 11-hour-long game of War Room, which must be one of the most visually impressive games ever made. And on Sunday we went over to a friend’s house to paint some miniatures, although no miniatures were finished because we were just having a good time hanging out with everybody.

This week we hopefully find the time to play some Village Rails and a mysterious package from Itten Games that might arrive at any moment!

And in case you missed it, we published an extra comic about Beer & Bread last week!

What is your board game-related shower thought? 😉
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