Vast: The Mysterious Manor was kindly provided by Leder 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!

 

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We were very excited Leder Games contacted us a while ago asking us if we’d like a copy of Vast: the Mysterious Manor. We love Root and while we own the original Vast and played a two-player game, it always seemed very complicated to get the group together for a larger game.
Now that we have a little more experience teaching asymmetrical games and the new Vast seems simpler rules-wise, we feel that the Mysterious Manor will fit our situation nicely. A lot of people we contacted are very excited (even the manor player 😉) and it almost seemed we would end up with too many players for our first session. We’ve got a five-player game planned in March, so we still have some time to learn the rules and play some turn to see how it comes together.

We’ve seemed to be playing a lot of games that are a bit more ambitious to get to the table or require a fixed group for a number of sessions. We’ve still got our Gloomhaven campaign going which has hit a bit of a rough patch as our new party composition as lost the last two games. We also continued our King’s Dilemma game which is really hitting its stride. Everybody in the group is excited and the games last about an hour which is a great fit for the end of the week when everybody is tired but can still enjoy an hour of role-playing and bluffing during voting while discussing their week and enjoying some drinks and snack.

Lastly, this Saturday we’ve played a massive thirteen-hour session of the Wilson Wolfe affair. Our DM backed this puzzle escape room game a few years ago on Kickstarter and was still looking for somebody to play it with. We were happy to join in and we are a bit intimidated with what was inside the box. We don’t want to spoil too much but the box seems to be a collection of letters and merchandise based on fictional cartoon character Wilson Wolfe. Soon, you figure out there is a whole story behind the scenes with hidden clues and mysteries. It mixes the puzzles of and Exit game with a more case-based mystery like Consulting Detective which seems to work really nicely but the single large story will take us a couple of sessions to discover but we hope the climax is as good as this first impression. It is a shame that is doesn’t seem to be available though, because we think a lot of people would love to try this and maybe we even wanted to upgrade our ‘Silver’ box into a more expansive (and expensive) Platinum box to get the full experience.

Our ambitious streak of gaming continues this week. We have a games of Godtear, Dungeons and Dragons and more King’s Dilemma planned so it seems smaller and shorter games will have to wait a little longer.

This week’s comic features Joseph, one of our dear patrons! If you’d ever like to be featured in one of our comics, check out our Patreon page! 🙂

Which game are you trying to get to the table?

 

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A couple of weeks ago we got Flamme Rouge on a gift card at our local store Comicasa and it’s been a smashing success! We always wanted a copy since we played it last year at Draughts with Russ and Alex of Dicebreaker fame and had a great time. It’s the perfect gateway game because you can explain the rules in about two minutes and people instantly understand how it works and slowly they start to see how the underlying strategy of taking it slow at the start and breaking away at the right moment. One of my colleagues bought a copy after playing it which is always a great indicator of how great a game is.

This comic is also a bit of a peek behind the scenes. We pitch each other comics all the time and write down the best ones but that doesn’t mean they’ll be created quickly. Sometimes we agree the joke could be better like our Cat Lady comic that was written down for three or four months before we came up with the Wingspan punchline. Other times, we give it a little more time because we now there is an upcoming expansion or Kickstarter which will give the game some extra attention at a moment the designer could really use it. Sometimes, it is about how feasible it is to draw a comic, we could write a comic showing nine million bicycles in Beijing but it’s a weekly comic so there is no way those bicycles are going to be drawn before Monday.

This week I got to play with some colleagues which resulted in playing some classic I hadn’t played in a long time or even played for the first time. We started with Monopoly Gamer which is better than regular Monopoly as it ends after all the players move over the “Start” space eight times but it’s still very random. The production is fun though, with some cool Super Mario based minis. I also got the play SET which was a lot more doable than I remember, it’s fun if you’re looking for a simple game that hurts your brain. Lastly, I got to play Jenga for the first time and now I’m excited to play Dread as it combined the wood tower with a horror RPG which will definitely give you some sweaty palms when playing.

Next week, we’re going to try to cross off some games from our “want-to-play”-list as we’ve been adding more games than we’ve been playing!

Which game would you dread drawing?

 

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We really enjoy Chronicles of Crime and the Noir expansion added the real cool twist of action cards. Instead of just asking people about clues and people, you are able to break-in to locations, spy on people, bribe or even intimidate them. It’s a great addition to a game that already showed off what a merge between board games and apps should look like. Even though it looks like “QR-code the game” it does a good job with getting you drawn into the case and the cards with suspects and clues help to organize all the information. This reduces a lot of note-taking which games like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and Mythos Tales need to keep the case organised. We’re very interested in what Lucky Ducks new Chronicle of Crimes titles, which are launching on Kickstarter next month, are going to offer as the settings seem very cool.

This week we’ve been playing some games as usual. We made a list of titles we want to play again in 2020 and Elder Sign was to first to get played. We really enjoy Elder Sign although some of the expansions seem unfairly punishing and quickly spiral into an unwinnable state if you fail a couple of scenarios. Another thing we noticed that our game had a lot of tiny triggers which made it very easy to make mistakes, we had a good time though and it reminded us that Fantasy Flight titles with tons of cards and expansions do deliver an experience unlike anything else.

We also played the first real scenario of the King’s Dilemma after playing the demo scenario two weeks ago, it’s a wonderful storytelling experience and we got our session done in 90 minutes while roleplaying and some negotiations which is a great playtime for a game. We’re not really sure how you can do any long term strategizing but so far we’re having fun reading the stories and voting based on our secret scoring goals and the fluff text on the player shields.

Lastly, we got the Peleton expansion for Flamme Rouge after playing it again and deciding this game is perfect for a short opener or closing game on game night. The expansion offers several things, but for us the main selling point is the addition of a five and six-player mode. We also like the idea of playing a grand tour using the app but maybe that’s something for the summer when we have a little more time and people are excited cycling because of the Tour de France. 🙂

This week we have a game night we Heinze’s colleagues which means we’ll probably play some fun lighter and party games. We also want to get Taverns of Tiefenthal to the table and cross off some small games from our 2020 must-play list!

what is the silliest misplay you’ve ever made?

 

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National parks are great in general but Parks the game is also something that we can recommend to a lot of people! Parks is one of the three games we bought this year at Spiel and we, and everybody we played it with, really enjoy it. It’s about walking a trail and gathering resources to collect park cards. Everything in the production is of incredible quality, from the art, the insert and even the first player token is pretty enough to be hung in a museum. The game also seems quite relaxed until a few moves in and you realize it can get quite passive-aggressive while you’re refuse to move one of your hikers so other players have to give up their precious campfire to be able to get to your space.

This week we’ve played our thirtieth game of Gloomhaven which ended in retiring the last of our original party members. It’s going to be interesting to see what it does to our strategies because our new party composition is very different from our original line up so we’ll have to approach the game in a completely different matter. We’re nowhere near the end of the campaign though, as it seems the general consensus is that you have to play about seventy games to complete the storyline and we’ve been doing a ton of sidequests so far, so I’m guessing we won’t be done in time for “Jaws of the Lion” or “Frosthaven”. 😋

We’ve also started playing the King’s Dilemma which was a blast. The game is pretty much a legacy campaign in which you play as the small council in Game of Thrones. Horrible Guild gave us an additional demo scenario that they use at cons so we could talk about our first game without being afraid of giving spoilers. In our demo scenario, we let a heretical upcoming religion blossom as we thought organizing a religious tribunal would be a waste of resources. The result of our negligence was a bit bigger than we expected, with financial support from a neighboring country, the religion founded a university in our capital which held wasteful feasts because it turned out it was a doomsday cult. To stop the spread of this cult assassinating the ‘prophet’ seemed the most logical idea but things got complicated when it turned out when the prophet was a marquis from the same house that Rachel was playing. Fierce discussion and political shenanigans were pulled to pass the motion for assassination and the political lines seemed to be drawn for the next few games because of this matter. We had a great time and everybody is looking forward to the next session which we’ll have in two weeks.

This week, we have no concrete plans yet what we’re going to play but we’ve been making a list of what we really want to play this year. As our collection grows it seems some great games are not getting the attention they deserve. On the list are some older games like Robinson Crusoe and Eldritch Horror but also some newer games like Architects of the West Kingdom and Western Legends.

What your favorite nature-themed game?

 

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Last week’s comic resulted in two types of comments, the first one was Dutch people calling us out it isn’t snowing over here, the second type was people saying they enjoy solo gaming in the winter. We had a hard time not instantly reacting to them as we had this follow up comic planned.

While we both like the Oniverse games like Onorim, We’re by no means well versed in solo gaming while it has been getting really popular over the last year. There are BGG guilds, reviewers that cover only solo games, and a growing number of games include a solo variant or are even designed to be played solo. It’s cool to see and even though we’re not sure solo gaming is for us, as it isn’t so much the game but the company we enjoy about gaming, we hope it continues to grow and push gaming forward.

Speaking about gaming with company, this week we had our first D&D session with our D&D group of the year, we proudly painted our 3d printed minis but unfortunately, we didn’t encounter any combat during the session. We also completed the final case in the Thames Murders box of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective! This is something we have started in 2014 and have been joking about in 2016 and again last summer. The experience has been totally worth it and we really recommend anyone who wants a really tricky detective game to really dig into. We’re not completely sure what games we are going to play next with our Sherlock group but we’ll probably enjoy some regular games before committing to another big campaign-style game.

Speaking about campaign games, Friday we’re going to start with the King’s Dilemma and we are hyped, it will be frustrating not to be able to talk about it too much because of spoilers but we have gotten a great group together and a lot of people on social media have been saying they’ve really enjoyed it. Hopefully, it won’t take us six years to complete this one… 😅

What is your favorite solo game?

Happy 2020 everybody! It’s been a strange week for us. First we had to end our extra “sketchie” comics but on Friday we got to show the first comic in our super cool comic series that takes place in the world of Godtear by Steamforged Games. Luckily, we also got to play some good games and celebrate the new year with friends and family!

 

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Today’s comic is about a very real problem for a lot of our gaming groups. Most of our commutes to and from gaming groups are done on a bicycle, we (and most of our friends) don’t even own a car. This means that whoever is hosting game night is lucky because they don’t have to face the elements riding on two thin rubber wheels to enjoy some gaming. Especially in the winter, it can be a bit of a hurdle to get off your warm couch and go out in the cold.

We did face the cold a couple of times this week to enjoy some gaming, and some people did to same to enjoy games at our house. We’ve played the “Race to the Top” scenario in the K2 broad peak expansion which is even meaner than the base game which meant one unfortunate climber didn’t make it down while several others were really close to joining his fate. Heinze played four scenarios of Undaunted which is very very good. We also played Plunderbund for the first time demoing it at Spiel and it was nice to see it lived up to the excellent first impression it left in Essen.

Lastly, we got to play Coloma which is an action selection game with a very cool magnetic wheel, that you can see in the picture, that blocks or changes action you might have chosen. If you are the only one choosing an action, you’ll get to do that action but gain an additional bonus action on top of that. If another player selected that same action, your bonus action will get blocked off! If you selected the action left of the blocked off action you’ll get to do a bonus action but it will be a different one than you thought it was going to be. The game can be quite an instigator for Analysis Paralysis but if you like the idea of action selection wheel with a twist and aren’t afraid of games with quite some things going on, this is one to check out.

What thing might endanger your gaming nights?

It’s time for the most prestigious awards in board gaming webcomics, the Golden Standees! In previous years we also gave out awards for noteworthy things in gaming but this year we decided to cut it down to four awards and only give out awards to games we’ve played and enjoyed. So let’s talk about the games!

Dice Throne:
This is our second most played game this year (after Gloomhaven), which is not something we expected when we picked up the Cowboy VS Samurai set. Dice Throne is sort of a battle version of Yahtzee with players trying to get the right combination of symbols on their dice to trigger attacks and abilities. Combine this with a deck of cards that helps you upgrade your attacks or shift the odds in your favor and suddenly you have a great battle game that is exciting and doesn’t take too long. It also has great production with a portable insert for every character and awesome player boards which makes it a treat to play.

Head Hackers:
Big Potato games are always something special and have components you won’t see anywhere else. Head Hackers comes with a very silly tin foil hat that functions as a marker to show which player writes down the hints in this round and everybody we played it with loves it and actually wears it when it’s their turn. The game is sort of a competitive team version of Just One. One team member wears the (now award-winning) hat and has to write down three one-word hints to describe the word shown on a card. Other teams get to see the card as well and have to guess which three hints the hat player will write down. The hat-wearer gets points when their team correctly guesses the word on the card and receives bonus points for every hint that wasn’t guessed by any of the other teams, the other teams will get points for every correctly guessed hint. We’ve seen some really clever hints and guesses during our plays of it and even non-gamers get intrigued when you show them the hat.

Megacity Oceania:
We played Megacity Oceania for the first time at UKGE and Michael started off with “So Megacity Oceania is a dexterity city building game” made us smirk until we realized he was serious. The game somehow really works well, we do advise to play with four players as you want to create as much “downtime” between your turns as you can (that is when you get to build your buildings). The game has enough room for a bit of strategy and choices that matter without losing track of the actual building and the dramatic moment somebody has to push their building slowly to connect to the city without any accidents.

Wingspan:
Wingspan is winning all the awards for all sorts of good reasons but we wanted to reward it for its great use of fluff text. Most of the time fluff text is used to give a bit of insight into a fantasy world or events that relate to the card. Wingspan shows some facts about your birds and while this sounds like something a boring educational game would do, these texts are somehow fun and interesting and make you feel more invested in the bird than “this one will give me some extra eggs”. We love it and we hope we’ll get to see so many expansions that all the bird ever will be included in the game someday. 😁

So that’s it for us this year! We hope you have a wonderful new years eve and we wish you a splendid 2020!

Which game would you like to give an award this year?

 

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Happy Holidays everybody! We hope you are well, having a good time and get to play some games.

This week we wanted to give some love to the people over at Prospero Hall as they’ve been doing “mainstream” licensed board games that have been really well received like the Funko strategy game and Horrified. While great licensed board games aren’t anything new, Battlestar Galactica and War of the ring are great examples, but it’s great that games like Villainous and Jaws are introducing new people into spending evenings with friends and cardboard!

We did do a double-take when we saw that their upcoming Top Gun game had a volleyball phase, which we don’t remember as one of the plot elements that would need to make it into the game about hotshot pilots trying to graduate from Top Gun academy. We even checked the summary on Wikipedia but there is no mention of hot shirtless men “playing with the boys” in the sand.

Enough about volleyball, let’s talk about board games! We haven’t played a whole lot but we did play Empires of the North thanks to Virtuvian Gamer who had a giveaway because he reached a thousand followers on Twitter! To be honest we mostly retweeted the tweet to get more people excited about Virtuvian Gamer’s Youtube channel but we ended up winning! Empires of the North is a stand-alone engine builder in the Imperial Settlers universe so it’s filled with super cute art and is a quite complex engine builder. In our game, we both had an engine consisting of about twenty cards which had to be activated in a specific order to get the most value out of it. Rachel ended up making a mistake and ended up losing by two points, so I fully expect a revenge game very soon! We played a four-player game of Getaway Driver using the two-player rules, which was great. We also played Tembo and Control (second edition) which were both smaller short and cutthroat card games, which are a lot of fun if you are looking for something short and sweet.

Next week is the last comic of the year, which means it’s time for our Golden Standee awards! We know you are all very curious which games are worthy to get such a prestigious award but we hope you can wait for seven short days!

What property would you like to be turned into a board game and which silly phase would you add?

 

#247_indecentProposal

 

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It’s the return of Death! This is our third comic featuring everybody’s favorite cloaked gamer and we’ll probably see him again as it allows us to tell different types of jokes than when we’re focussing on ourselves.

So December is turning out to be a very busy behind the scenes month for Semi Co-op! We’re publishing an additional sketchie every week for CoolStuffInc, for which we also selected some cool titles for our very own Holiday Gift Guide! We’ve picked some games from recent years that we think will please a lot of different gamers, so if you are looking for some inspiration for what to give to a friend, loved one or really anyone, you should check it out!

We’ve also been busy writing Christmas cards and our secret gift for our Patrons, which is going to be something completely different but just as cool as last year’s tiny dice tower. Also, we’re really close to being able to talk about something big for next year which we’re very much looking forward too!

This also means we haven’t been gaming as much, we’ve played London: Second Edition because we realized after putting it on our Gift Guide that we hadn’t played it in a long time (it’s still good!). We also played Megacity Oceania with four players, which is a lot better than with two players. It’s just such a fun unique blend of dexterity and strategy that we think you really should try it if you have the chance.

While we are not playing as many games right now, we are making some cool gaming plans for the holidays and next year. We’ve gathered a really cool group for the King’s Dilemma and Friday we’ll combine two copies of Getaway driver to play the four-player version, which should be a lot of fun!

Do you have any gaming-related holiday plans?
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