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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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Spiel 2021 is over and we had a blast. Four days of finally seeing loads of our international friends again, german bread at breakfast and of course a lot of games. We came back this afternoon and we’ve been trying to focus on finishing this comic and blog post and honestly, it’s a bit of a struggle not to walk away and just start reading some rulebooks of some wonderful new games!

This year we were secretly hoping that with a smaller Spiel and the shipping crisis, there would be fewer games to see and while this was the case it didn’t make us feel less overwhelmed by everything on display. I’ll try to highlight some games we thought were interesting.

First up is Riverside by Chilifox Games, we normally don’t like roll & write games but after playing this with some lovely people from Denmark and the UK in the hotel lobby on Saturday evening we bought a copy the very next morning. It’s a game about being a boat captain, filling seats, and selling tickets to expeditions like polar bear safaris in a nordic environment. The inclusion of a modular board to represent the boat’s journey made the game a lot more interesting than roll & writes with just a scoresheet.

Speaking of roll & writes, Vengeance: the Roll and Fight is a pretty brutal real-time roll & write game about John Wick-like figures fighting their way through loads of baddies and trying to have their revenge on a boss character at the end. I rolled so badly even the designer Dávid Turczi came over to see how this was possible. It’s on pre-order right now and if you want to experience a chaotic action-filled roll & write, this game will fulfill your wish!

We also really like Mobile Markets which apparently is a streamlined version of Mobile Inc. While we never played Mobile Inc., we really enjoyed this game about designing and selling smartphones as it feels very rooted in reality without getting lost in the minutia that heavy economic titles tend to do. The graphic design is also very good as the whole game is played on an overview of the rules on the boards, which made it very easy to play after a short rules explanation. It’s not quite a gateway game but I do think this game could work very well in helping people get excited about economic games.

I’ll keep it to these three but we’ll be talking and showing pictures of loads of games over on our Instagram the coming weeks, so follow along as we’ll be slowly discovering all the games we brought home from Spiel.

Before we ask the question of the week we would like to thank the Hub Games crew for hanging around with us after hours, Peer Sylvester for demoing games with us on Friday. Peter Rustemeyer for saying hi and assuring us the last scenario of Paleo is just really freakin’ hard. Beneeta K for hanging around on Saturday, Happy Luza and Will & Sara from Tantrum House for having lunch on Sunday. Paul Grogan for once again hosting his legendary meetup in the Fritzpatrick’s Pub. All the publishers for running a great show and the demo’ers for doing a wonderful job. Lastly, we would like to thank all the lovely people coming up to us to show their love! We hope to see you all next year!

What do you think is the most interesting Spiel release?

 

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Putting away games is quite a science! Recently we saw this conversation between Eric Booth and Johnathan Liu on Twitter which instantly knew had to be a comic. Especially with bigger games, putting it back in the box can be as tricky as remembering the rules! We really appreciate it when games publishers collaborate with companies like Gametrayz to make sure things will fit nicely. Parks is a wonderful example that has great-looking trays that fit neatly in the box and make sure everything stays in place when the game is returned to the Kallax. Fantasy Flight games are the other end of the spectrum having loads of tokens, decks, boards and dice and you’ll have to figure out on your own what’s the best way to make everything fit. I remember we took an afternoon to reorganize our Imperial Assault box after two campaigns in an effort to speed up the process of setting up and tearing down everything, to only play it twice after that…

Speaking of playing games, we didn’t play a whole lot this week. For the next weeks we have a guest in the house who will change up our gaming nights a bit. He does like Ticket to Ride so we’ll be serving a steady diet of gateway games to see what he does and doesn’t like. The first game we tried yesterday was Machi Koro 2, which went down well and we played two games back to back. We did receive quite a few new games however including Machi Koro 2 (thanks Pandasaurus!), Rush Out! (thanks Sit Down games!), Chronicles of Crime 1400, Cantaloop and Sleeping Gods. We’re very eager to try these games so hopefully, we’ll find some free time soon to get lost in some real-time dice battles and all those wonderful interactive stories.

 

What do you think is the hardest game to get back in the box?

 

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Rules mistakes, everyone makes them! In some cases, the outcome can be quite drastic. We personally think that DnD can be quite rules-heavy and we’re certain many fantasy lives and destinies were drastically changed because of us making rules mistakes. Most of the times, we would suggest just to roll with it but when a player or very important NPC gets taken out, it might be good to rewind back a bit and correct the mistake.

Speaking of mistakes, this week we finished our Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Magic draft and we came in last and second to last, so mistakes must have been made. 😉 We did have a blast however and we already promised we’ll do a draft when other cross-over sets, like the Lord of Rings one, get released. While we both enjoy some casual Magic, a little get-together once a year like this is enough for us.

Other than Magic we played fourteen(!) games this week, highlights include four games of The King is Dead, which we introduced to two new people who were both in love with it after their first game. We also played three games of What Next which were a lot of fun. Like we said in the last blog post, this is a choose your own adventure game in which different challenges will have to be overcome by playing small dexterity games. While we’re not completely convinced the game is super replayable after playing through each scenario a couple of times, it is very very fun and if you always wanted a story-party game, this might be it. We have posted a Twitter thread with our first impressions featuring some dramatic slow-mo footage of us playing.

This week we’ll continue our Pandemic Legacy Season 0 campaign and hopefully, we’ll get to play our first game of Specter Ops, we found a second-hand copy in gaming shop Speelkwartier in Arnhem during a day out!

Have you ever fixed a rule mistake with a dramatic result?
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