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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Spiel Spiel Spiel Spiel! It seems everybody is busy preparing for Spiel this week and we are no exception. If it is your first time going to Essen, we teamed up with Ella from Ella Loves Board Games to give you some preparation tips! We’re super happy that she said yes to our proposal to make this comic because Ella has traveled to board game conventions all over the world so she is the perfect person to give some advice.

Speaking of Spiel, we’ve got some fun things planned! We’re going to be on the Asmodee live stream on Saturday at 13.30 CET making a game in just 30 minutes with Gil Hova, designer of the Networks and Wordsy! We proposed to have Gil as the designer during our game jam so we’re excited that it all worked out! We’ll also be at the Gaming Rules meetup on Thursday, so if you really want to say hi or snap a selfie it is a lot easier to spot us there instead of trying to find us in one of the eight(!) halls.

If you’re not going to Spiel we have a little surprise in store for you on our social media, so be on the lookout for that. We don’t want to spoil too much but we’re going to switch things up a bit…

With all the preparations for this week, we haven’t played a ton of games. We did however pick up Gloomhaven again which is still a great dungeon puzzler, we’re now 27 plays in and we’re still curious about what we will encounter and unlock. We also played some Codenames, Color Brain: Disney edition and Century: Golem Edition.

Well, we’re off to pack our luggage as lightly as possible to make room for all the games, see you soon!

Do you have a great tip when preparing for a con?

Crisis was kindly provided by LudiCreations 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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Crisis is a worker placement with a twist which makes it unique and super stressful, like any worker placement game you win the game by having the most points but every round has a point objective. If you end the round above the target, you will improve the economy of Axia and if you end below the objective you’ll damage the economy. Because damaging the economy is bad for everyone, players are stimulated to look at each other’s scores and maybe help them out a bit by not taking a specific building that could help them generate a steady stream of victory points. Other times, you just want to see the economy burn while you get the money to build a spaceport. 😁

If this sounds good and you want to know more, check out the No Pun Included review about the game, they aren’t as positive as we are but they make valid arguments why they have this opinion and show what the game is like in a detailed and entertaining way.

Speaking of worker placement games with a twist, we played Rajas of the Ganges this week and it’s so lovely how close and exciting the ends gets in that game that we’re surprised nobody else has taken that scoring mechanism which doesn’t require any counting up of points at the end of the game. We also played Wingspan two times and not only do we enjoy the game, we just love looking at the birds and learning about them from the fluff text. We’ve seen some rumors about an upcoming expansion at the end of the year and we’re very curious about what that will contain.

Next week is the last comic before the guest artists take over for the whole of August. We’ve seen some of the scripts and it’s going to be so great you never want us to come back. 😉

Which games has the greatest twist on well-known gameplay mechanics?

 

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Ahhh legacy games, while not as prevalent as a few years ago our ears still perk up every time we hear somebody tell about their experiences. Did they make the same choices we did? What did they do with the cards they had to destroy? Would they play a legacy game again? It’s an experience that really sticks with you and it’s great to have somebody to talk to without having to fear spoiling the campaign.

Right now, we’re playing through a Charterstone campaign but other than that we’ll probably wait until Pandemic Legacy Season 3 comes along until we start a new one. We have played a lot of other things! We played some Dice Throne and The Binding Of Isaac Four Souls which we enjoyed even if it’s best described as “better Munchkin”. We also played a successful game of Century Golem with the nephews (6 and 8)! They picked up the game really well and the only changes we made were the removal of the coins and shortening the game to three golems. They loved the golems but were a tiny bit disappointed they couldn’t make the golems battle each other. 😂

We’ve also got a bunch of new games we can’t wait to try. Big Potato games sent us Blockbuster which is sort of a movie-themed version of Monikers, they showed the game to us at the UKGE and we really like the idea of making friends guess movies based on your reenactments or quotes.
Osprey sent us the beautiful new Gasland Refuelled hardcover, which combines the base game rules with all the free online expansions and some small balances on stats. Several friends have been requesting we’d organize a Gaslands day again, so the book is a very welcome additional motivator to mod some Hot Wheels again.
Osprey also sent Undaunted: Normandy and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Both titles look amazing thanks to the illustrations by Roland MacDonald and Ian O’Toole. We can’t wait until our summer break begins and we get to actually play all these games!

Speaking of Summer, we put a call out on Twitter for guest artists to help us and we got some great responses. We’re contacting artists now, so if you mailed us and we haven’t responded yet, we’ll get in touch with you this week.

What type of legacy player are you?

— A big thank you to 999Games for sending us a copy of Wingspan!

 

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The title of this comic might be a little farfetched. 😉 (Don’t get it? Click here)

So we’ve played Wingspan and think it’s a great engine building game and an amazing production showing how beautiful games can be. It did get us thinking about how its demand and reception surpassed every expectation, even from industry people. While this leads to some fun thoughts about shady powers behind the scenes pushing the popularity for certain games, it also got us thinking about paid (p)reviews and content for board games.

The number of people playing board games is growing and so are the number of games, the amount of publishers and people creating content about board gaming. Because of this, it is hard as a publisher to get your games noticed and some content creators offer paid previews to facilitate this demand for attention. While there is nothing wrong with paying people to create media around your product we do think that it is absolutely critical that it is clear when somebody is getting paid to make certain content. There are some examples of people being very non-transparent about which content of their content is paid for by publishers which, we think, in the long run, could damage board gaming as a whole.

As content creators that offer paid content ourselves, we have many discussions among ourselves how we should communicate paid content and luckily in the Netherlands, there is a social code put together by the RCC (Dutch organ for advertisement) and content creators how you should handle with these types of situations. We hope we are transparent when we have received games, when a comic is sponsored and what our deal with CoolStuffInc for additional comics entails. If you have any questions that are not covered by our FAQ, please let us know in the comments or message us when you feel privacy is needed.

To be clear, we do not accuse Stonemaier games of doing shady things, we hold Jamey Stegmaier in the highest regard and his blog is a treasure trove of information that is helping board gaming forward. We’re also not going to point fingers at creators saying they’re doing things wrong, we specifically drew ourselves in this comic taking bribe money to prevent accidentally making it look like somebody else. We do want to make sure people know that not every positive post, video or picture about a game is as spontaneous as you think it is and we hope that if you are a creator and are creating paid content you do everything possible to be upfront about it.

Speaking of paid content, time for some promotion!

In a little over two weeks, we’ll be at the UK Games Expo and we’re getting hyped about it. This year we want to experiment with selling signed prints of comics at cons! We’ve been giving away signed prints as prizes and people seem to be really enjoying them and others have asked if they could buy one, which is a great idea. For £10 you can have a print of your favorite comic signed by Rachel and handed by us personally to you at the expo. Because we can’t carry around our whole archive you do have to order your print before the 26th of May using this form. Once we’ve received the order we’ll contact you to decide on a time and place etc. If you don’t want a custom print, we still hope to meet you at the UKGE and talk about games. 🙂

 

What board game conspiracy do you think is true?

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We love Root and the fact those silly birds keep overthrowing their government, so we started wondering what would be the silliest thing they’d dethrone a leader for. Thanks to all the expansion news and art Leder Games is putting out, we’ve been playing a lot of Root again and our next game is already planned!

Also, like everyone on the planet, we love Kyle’s art and he’s been doing some live broadcasts on Instagram, we’ve been enjoying and learning from them, so next time Rachel will be able to copy his style even more thoroughly :-P.

In this past week, things have slowed down a bit leaving some time to play some games. We tried Dominant Species which is probably the heaviest and “closest-to-an-actual-war-game” game we’ve played, we did enjoy it but it took almost five hours which make us wonder when we’ll have time to play again. We also played Dragon Castle and it’s a wonderful game which makes it so unfortunate that it already seems to be forgotten under the ongoing tidal wave of new releases.

Speaking of the tidal wave of new releases, AEG has come out in a blogpost to said they will publish fewer games to make sure all of their games are great. We think this is a good decision and we hope this will be a wider trend in the industry, just making a list of game we want to see at UKGE on Tabletop Together made us feel overwhelmed and happy we are going to have fun and meet friends and not deciding on games we should review or make videos about.

Which tiny character flaw would make you decide to dethrone your leader?
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