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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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Xia: Legends of a Drift System! We wanted to play this game for years and recently a friend bought a copy, so now we have played it two times! Sandbox games are a genre that sounds like a lot of fun, just roam around and do whatever you like, but somehow Merchants & Marauders or Western Legends didn’t really click with us. It might be because we’re too nice and never really attack each other but somehow with Xia, there seems to be enough cool stuff to do that it doesn’t result in something that feels like an incomplete experience. Playing as a space freelancer switching between hauling cargo, exploring asteroid fields, blind jumping hoping to find a planet, and excavating dead planets for relics is great. The game also isn’t too rules-heavy which is great as the rules won’t get in the way of just having fun, plus the event cards spice up the game in very interesting ways to give players a reason to switch things up from time to time. It is an expensive game, especially with the expansion which fixes some big things in the base game, but if you have the money or a friend that has a copy, you will have a fun time flying around in space and doing all sorts of things.

Speaking of games we wanted to play for ages, we finally played our first game of Brian Boru! The good folks from Osprey Games were kind enough to send it to us ages ago but the three-player minimum, plus the fact it’s a trick-taking game, made it hard to find the right friend to play it with. Luckily we not only really enjoyed it, the rules are also simple enough that a lot of friends can enjoy this. If you never heard of Brian Boru, it’s a trick-taking area control game in which winning a trick will let you capture the current “active” town, while losing a trick will let you do other things like advance further on the marriage track, curry favor with the church or help fight the Viking raiders. Each of these tracks will grant you victory points or improve your position to score points at the end of the game, so it’s a constant balancing act of knowing when to win tricks and when to just hang around in the background. If we have to compare it to something we would say it’s a more involved version of the King is Dead which is also designed by Peer Sylvester, so if you ever played that you know what you can expect.

Next to Brian Boru, we played four other games, which were all new to us or we hadn’t played since we were children. First is Project L, a tetris-like puzzle game that is all about optimizing your moves, we enjoy it a lot but have some reservations about how long the puzzle will stay fresh. We played Ticket to Ride: San Fransico which is fine but not very different from other smaller Ticket to Ride versions, so while we would still recommend the smaller Ticket to Rides over its bigger version, just pick a small one that looks the most interesting and you’ll have a good time. Thirdly, we played Skip-Bo which we hadn’t played in ages but was okay, we suspect the real fun is in the team mode which we will try next time. Lastly, we played Voll Verplant which is a very very tricky roll & write about filling up metro lines, we’re going to play this one some more before we give an opinion because we’re very curious if there are some hidden depths we haven’t noticed yet. 🙂

This week we’re not sure what we’re playing except that Deep Print Games is sending us a copy of an unannounced game which sounds like a lot of fun. If you missed it last Thursday btw. we did a comic for their upcoming family game Caldera Park!

Do you enjoy sandbox board games?

 

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Programming games! They’re a wonderful brain-burning puzzle of making sure your steps are correct, that your left is also the left of your player piece and that the player next to you is not going to bump into you halfway, crashing your robot into a perilous spike trap. This strip is based on us recently playing a seven-player game of Robo Rally and noticing how everybody at the table was acting out their route before committing the cards to the table which was pretty funny to observe.

We also realized that programming games have evolved quite a bit since Robo Rally, a game so old it is the 18th game in de BGG database! While the chaos in Robo Rally can be fun, it can also be quite a frustrating experience when you don’t get the card you need or somebody rams you halfway making you end up in a bottomless pit and spawning you back at the last spawn point. We now understand why more modern programming games like Mechs vs. Minions and Quirky Circuits are co-op games because then you are at least helping each other achieve a collective goal. While Mechs vs. Minions can be quite hard to get we cannot recommend Quirky Circuits enough, it even won a Golden Standee in 2020! It’s such a short, hectic, and fun game that can be enjoyed by gamers and non-gamers alike.

Speaking of games that can be enjoyed by everyone, the only game we played last week was Sagrada. While it is on the border of playable for me as a colorblind player we’re always shocked how fast you can play a game while also having the feeling you’ve been making some pretty heavy drafting choices, we have a video call lined up this week with Floodgate games who are going to show us some of the cool things coming up in a legacy version of Sagrada and we cannot wait!

Do you enjoy programming games?

 

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It’s the last of the Lion and Gazelle comics for this summer break but we hope it won’t be the last! Next week we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming but we suspect we’ll see these two around.

Last week the Kickstarter for Board Game Day ended and it was a big success, the book raised $17,3K so far and Ambie will be opening a late pledge manager, so soon you’ll be able to back this lovely children’s book if you haven’t done so already. Rachel is finishing the last details for the book in the coming week, so if all goes well it will be sent to the printer at the start of September. We can’t wait to see the book in your (children’s) hands!

We also played some lovely games last week, we played our first two games of Xia: Legends of a Drift System, which is probably already our favorite sandbox game we’ve played so far. It strikes a nice balance between being simple without being boring, and we really feel you can choose at any moment to switch goals and be the coolest space cowboy in the galaxy. We can’t wait to play so more of this great game.

We also played some more Caldera Park and it’s a fun addition to the Savannah Park series. We really enjoy the risk factor of the weather tiles and the different terrain gives the game a bit more options than Savannah Park. Both games are great when you’re looking for a short but interesting puzzle you can enjoy with gamers and non-gamers alike. Both are also excellent in providing you with all the tools to screw yourself over in later turns though, so expect to hear a lot of “oh no!” at the table! 😀

Another short game we had a great time with, and we think that a lot of people will enjoy, is Air, Land & Sea. While the regular edition is probably fine we really enjoy the Critters at War edition, which is the same game but features wonderful art by Derek Laufman. It’s two-players only but it offers amazing depth and tactical options for being such a small game. Shut Up & Sit Down did a great review of the normal version of the game if it sounds interesting.

Like we mentioned before, next week the regular comics will return and we will probably be getting hyped for Essen Spiel as that is only 47 days away! We hope to see many of you there and we can’t wait to see all the friends we made over the years again. Also, some of the releases this year look really good, with a special shout-out to Peter B. Hoffgaard’s Starship Captains. Peter is the mastermind behind the wonderful Tabletop Together tool, that helps you organize all the games you are excited about during big conventions. We also hung out together after-hours during Spiel, so it’s super cool to see him not only designing a game but seeing it receiving a lot of buzz!

Do you get stiff and sore during a long board game?

 

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It’s part three of Lion and Gazelle! Next week will be the last summer edition but if we can find some time we’ll write a nice buffer of comics so we can keep the fun dynamic between these three characters going.

We could talk about our excellent four-player game of Undaunted, which made us so excited to try all the four-player scenarios or our slightly too long seven-player game of RoboRally first edition, or maybe even our first play of Caldera Park which is a fun twist of Savannah Park, but we’re not going to do that!

Instead, you only have 37 hours left to back Board Game Day, the wonderful children’s book written by Ambie Valdés and drawn by Rachel! It’s already been an expectation-smashing success so far but it would be really cool to fulfill all those stretch goals!

See you next week!

Do you like board game mints?

 

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CMON isn’t the only company running Kickstarter campaigns with towers of add-ons and stretch goals, but they are to most notable one, so that’s why we named them in this comic. We’ve never gone for the biggest pledge with a big board game Kickstarter but even with the smaller ones we’ve received, like the Root Marauders expansion, we quickly feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to begin which results in the game not getting played for a while.

So whenever we see people receiving a tower of Marvel United X-Men boxes containing a base game, loads of expansions, and smaller boxes containing Kickstarter exclusive add-ons we are impressed and a little intimidated at the same time. We do love it when people say it’s their favorite game and they enjoy having so many options, which just shows there is no right or wrong way how to collect, play and enjoy games. 🙂

Speaking of enjoying games, we played some good ones this week! KLASK returned to the table and it’s still a wonderful air hockey-like game that is instantly fun. We’re pretty sure that getting people excited for KLASK is the easiest job in the world. We also played Great Plains, which is a super-strong addition to the already super strong Two-Player series from Lookout Games. If you like simple abstract area-control games like Fjord, we highly recommend it.

We also played Destinies, which for us works better as an experience than as a game. We love the over-the-top end of the world setting and the dramatic absurdity of the events but as a game, it’s too dependent on dice rolls and sometimes accidentally bumping into the right storylines to progress. We do have high hopes for The Dark Quarter as the skill system is fun and we think the switch to co-op will help to make player successes feel better because you progress as a group instead of competing players. Lastly, I played my first game of Twilight Struggle against a human player and I want to play it again! It’s simple in its rules but complex in ebb and flow and I want to understand how to be good at this game.

This week we’ll return to the King’s Dilemma which might be coming to its finale which will be the end of a great campaign and we probably also play some more Sniper Elite for research…

What is the biggest Kickstarter pledge you’ve ever received?

 

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Forbidden Games was kind enough to give us a copy of Raccoon Tycoon last year at Spiel and we love how it’s a market manipulation game without being very heavy. While the game isn’t perfect it is a lot of fun guessing how much money everyone has and if the auction they’re running is nothing but a bluff.

This week, we managed to get three games to the table! We had our gathering of the small council in The King’s Dilemma, which ended up being the shortest game we’ve ever played… The king abdicated within twenty minutes after we had started the game, whoops! It was a weird combination of cards that resulted in that but it also resulted in a tied win between Rachel and me! This is not only very sweet but also very needed, as we are both trailing behind in ‘Prestige’, one of the two long-term victory points in the game. We’re sure we’re getting close to the end of the campaign but the group wants to keep the weekly game night going and we’re looking for some good five or six-player games to fulfill the upcoming empty spot in the middle of the table.

We also played Sniper Elite which even with two is a wonderfully tense cat-and-mouse game between the sniper and the German soldier hunting them. Rachel pulled off quite an impressive false trail at the start of the game but couldn’t get away once she had to reveal herself after reaching her first objective. The rules are easy to understand and the sniper’s shooting mechanic is wonderful. To make a shot, you pull any number of tokens from the bag, to score a hit you have to draw aim tokens equal to the distance you shot +1. If you draw more tokens, chances increase that you draw noise tokens which will give away your position. So it’s a nice balance of risk and reward, that also allows the German player to deduce the kind of shot the sniper is performing.

We also played 300:Earth and Water which is a short card-driven war game that plays in 40-60 minutes. It’s pretty impressive how much historical events and asymmetry is present in such a short game but because the cards can be very powerful, we feel it will take a couple of plays before we really know what is possible and what makes for a good strategy. It is very nice to have a shorter war game that can hit the table more often and can be used to introduce some friends to the genre.

 

What is the biggest board gaming flex?

 

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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! 🙂

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