Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Lorenzo Silva


No. of Players:
3 - 10



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

When I heard that Lorenzo Silva has founded HORRIBLE GAMES to produce games of his own, I was sure we would get new crazy and funny board games like Dungeon Fighter and Steampark. But what is that? His first game for the new publisher is a story-telling game called Co-Mix. To be honest, I am not exactly what you would call a fanatic in story-telling games. Indeed, my last experience dates back to 2002. It was Whitsunday, and my wife and I were camping together with two friends and I was explaining the rules of Once upon a time. I do not know why and for what reason, but I remember well that none of us liked the game very much. In fact, it was very hard to unfold the story and we finally gave up. Several years later I sold the game on Ebay and I was astonished that it aroused a great deal of interest (at least if you consider that it is a very small game). From that moment I steered clear of the genre. It is not that I do not like telling stories, but I think that a lot of people have problems creating a story, especially if they have a lot of time for it like in Once upon a time. Wasn't it for Lorenzo and for the announcement that I really should try the game, I would probably not have come in contact with Co-Mix. But as the matter stands, after the SPIEL '14 convention I was holding a copy in my hands and was ready to test the game with my family and friends. And, foreclosing the result of this review, it was a rather entertaining and funny experience...


As can be assumed by the title, Co-Mix has something to do with comics. The task for every player is to create a single comic page. For this each player receives a player mat with six or nine (for a longer game) free spaces, and to these spaces cards must be played. The result can already be seen as a comic page, but what is still missing is the story behind the cards, and of course these stories must be told by the players!

In the scripting phase all players simultaneously create their individual story out of the 12 cards they were dealt in the preparation phase. All those cards (a total of 150 cards) come with unique comic illustrations on the front and on the back. So, each round you have 24 different images to create your story with. Because it is a comic strip, the story should be very short, a feature I appreciate a lot after my experience at the campsite. Indeed there is a kind of stopwatch: the first player who has finished his story also determines the remaining time for all other players. He turns a sand timer and after 90 more seconds the scripting phase ends for all players, whether they have finished their story or not. If a player has not been able to end his story in time, he randomly draws cards for the free spaces from his supply. However, this is something you should try to prevent, because the story will be hard to tell if some odd, unfitting illustrations are in the middle of your comic page. On the other hand, you can be as safe as houses that this particular story will cause a lot of laughter in the next phase.

In the following phase the players, starting with the player who was fastest in the scripting phase, tell their story. In a normal game, the theme for all stories is the same and it is determined at the beginning of a round, but of course you can create your own rules with that. So, for example each player could have an individual theme, determined by his neighbor. There are no other rules for the story but to follow the order of the cards on the comic page as you placed them, and of course each panel must have some part in your story. In most of my games the stories were quite short, a result of the well-matched illustrations on the cards. Although each card is unique, they can be grouped into certain categories so that the players actually can follow a theme.


As a rather outstanding factor Co-Mix uses a very clever mechanism for scoring. To prevent a simple distribution of points, the game uses three different reviewing categories. After all stories have been told, they must be reviewed for their originality, their excitement and their composition. Every player must give one of his review tokens to each player, including himself. Next to the three mentioned tokens you may also place neutral tokens for stories you were not impressed of. After all review tokens are placed, they are turned over. Neutral tokens are taken aside, and then the story with the highest number of review tokens for originality, excitement and composition is determined. Only the story which has received most tokens in one of these categories will be taken into account, whereas review tokens of the same kind at other stories are discarded as well. A player gets one point for each token left on his own comic page, and two more points for every of his own review tokens that was not discarded and is still in play. This two-tier scoring ensures that the players review the stories honestly, because only then they will have a chance that their own review tokens contribute to their victory points.


To my surprise, I fell in love with the game right away. "Why this?" I asked myself. I think the main reason are the really great inspiring illustrations that nearly automatically lead you to create a crazy story around your theme. And this certainly is something I would have expected of designer Lorenzo Silva. More than once the storytelling as well as the review comments caused a lot of laughter in my testing rounds, especially if a player had come to a standstill and had problems to end his story. In that case, you may be sure that you will get some really "great" advices for your further story from your opponents...

The only two points of criticism concern the playing material. On the one hand the quality of the cards and the player mats could be better. Thicker material for both components would be quite helpful, because in the hectic scripting phase, cards and player mat easily can bend. The other improvement that seems necessary are scoring tokens for at least one more player. The rules demand that you have to play in teams if you are more than five players. So, if you are playing with three couples, you are forced to build three teams. Teams create a story together and split the storytelling. This is ok for a party game, but with only six players I would still prefer to create my own story. But these are only minor weak points. As far as the rest of Co-Mix is concerned, the game as well as the artwork are really an A+. So, if you look for your next party game, I would strongly recommend the Co-Mix to you.

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Copyright © 2014 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany