GAME REVIEW: Co-Mix

I’ve always been interested in storytelling-type party games.  Games like Once Upon a Time, Channel A and Snake Oil.  In those games you get a hand of cards with buzz words on them, and then you must use them to come up with a story, make a title for a TV show, or pitch a crazy invention.

This is kind of like those games, but instead of words on the cards, they’re are random comic book illustrations to come up with a story.

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Co-Mix plays from 3-10 players, is for ages 8 & up and plays in about 30-45 minutes.  This is scheduled to be released today, November 13th.  I picked my copy up at GenCon back in July, and have since played it a few times.

In this game, each player takes on the role of a comic book author.  They will create a story by placing illustrated cards on either a 6 or 9 panel comic page, depending on the difficulty level.  In the rulebook, it’s recommended to play your first game with 6 panels.

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Each player will choose a character token and place it on the score tracker inside the game box.  They will also take 5 voting tokens with their character on them.  Players will start with a hand of 12 panel cards.  Each card is double-sided, so the players will have 24 cards to choose from during each round.

There are 4 phases during a round: Preparation, Scripting, Storytelling, and reviewing.

During Preparation, players will decide on a title for their stories together.  All stories will share the same title.  You can either come up with a title yourselves, or choose a title from a list of suggestions from the back of the rulebook.  Then make sure that all players have 12 panel cards.

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Scripting is when you create your story.  Look at your panels and choose 6 of them to place in a certain order to tell a story.  Hopefully one that will match your title.  The first player who finishes will flip the sand timer.  Every other player only has 90 seconds to finish up.  The last player to finish receives a slow token.  Also, if you don’t finish before the timer runs out, you must shuffle your cards and then place random panels in the remaining slot(s).

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Storytelling is when you share your story with the other players.  Starting with the player who finished first, everyone tells their stories, pointing to each panel as you progress your story.  Each panel must at least be mentioned in the story once, and in order in which it was placed.  Don’t make your stories long either.

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Reviewing is when each player will place one voting token on each of the other player’s stories, including their own.  Your voting tokens will have different icons on them.  One is for the most original, one is for the most exciting story (evoking the most emotion, even humor), one for the best composed story. and two blank tokens.  Then you score.

Scoring is pretty interesting.  First you discard all of the blank tokens on all stories.  Then you determine which stories have majority for each of the 3 categories (most original, most exciting and best composed story).  Those tokens on the winning stories will remain.  All other tokens that players have that didn’t win a majority are discarded.  Players will then score points for how many tokens remain on their stories (one each), plus you will score 2 points for each of your tokens on another player’s story.

After scoring, a new round begins.  The basic game is 3 rounds, but the rule book does say that you can play 4 or 5 rounds if you’d like.

The reason I picked this up at GenCon was because my 12-year-old daughter loves storytelling.  She’s got quite an imagination and loves games like Gloom and Channel A.  I knew this would be a hit with her, and I was right.  She liked it a lot.

Me?  I do enjoy storytelling games occasionally.  They’re usually not my first choice to play, because I’d rather play a “real” game.  Most storytelling games I’ve played have rather loose rules, and they don’t seem like much of a game, but more like an activity.  Which is fine, but most of the time I’d rather play a more structured game.

However, Co-Mix is definitely more like a game than those other titles I’ve mentioned.  Mainly because of how the scoring works.  In most games of these types, it’s just simply everyone voting on the best one, and that’s it.  But here, you’re giving out awards for 3 different categories.  And I really love that you get points for voting on the winning stories, even if they’re not yours.  I feel like that forces players to be more honest when voting, which can be a problem in other games.  Players actually must carefully consider their vote.  To me, that makes the game.

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The rest of it is cool too.  I’ve always loved the idea of comic books, so I had a blast coming up with stories of my own.  The artwork on the panel cards are great.  Some are serious, but there are quite a few that are silly too, which makes the game tons of fun.

Coming up with a title is a blast too.  Some of the titles in the rulebook were funny to do, like Happy Birthday, Moron!  But there are serious ones too like, The Witness, On the Edge, Evil Plan, etc.  I’ve written lots of stories in my life (I went to film school), so I enjoyed coming up with a premise for the panel cards in my hand in less than 3 minutes.  It’s a great exercise.  It’s also a great party game.

It plays 3-5 players, or if you want to play in teams of 2, it does play up to 10.  Now, I’ve only played with 3 and 5 players, so I’m not sure how the team game is, though I do know that the players on each team work on the story together, but vote separately.

I brought this in to my middle school board game club I run and it was a huge success.  My students just wanted to keep on playing until the class was over.  I love watching younger gamers coming up with inventive stories.  This game encourages imagination and creativity, and that’s a big plus for me.

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My one minor nitpick of the game would be the slow tokens aren’t too necessary.  You get one if you’re the last one to finish a story, but then they’re only used for tie breakers at the end.  I’ve never seen this happen yet.  I don’t know.  It’s just one extra thing that I didn’t think was really needed.

Apart from that, Co-Mix is a solid storytelling game with great comic book artwork, and a clever scoring mechanism that’s different from other games in this genre.  Also, I love games that use their boxes as part of the game (which in this case is the scoring track).

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own comic book, well here’s your chance!  This game is great for families and for gamers who want to exercise their creative side.  I have to be in a certain mood to play storytelling games, but when I’m in that mood, Co-Mix will be the first one I play.  Glad I picked this up!

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