The year is coming to an end, and now is the time to hang out with our families, stay warm, and of course, think about board games. I met Curt Covert, founder and owner of Smirk & Dagger games at Gen Con this year and had the opportunity to play most of their games. We reviewed some of Smirk and Dagger’s older titles such as The Night Cage, Boop, and Shobu, but we also explored their latest hits like Tesseract. Let’s look at the games that Smirk & Dagger has offered us this year.
Tesseract might be the best cooperative game to come out in the last few years. It has that excellent blend of thrills and puzzles and wraps everything up into a fun science-fiction theme. Like most games in the genre, Tesseract is vulnerable to quarterbacking, but the variety of roles and the literal 3D puzzle help other players with different perspectives contribute in their own way.
The pacing is flawless, with a full game taking less than 90 minutes. The variety in difficulties and player roles, plus the variability of the cube of dice makes Tesseract feel infinitely replayable.
According to Covert, BOOoop was the surprise hit of Gen Con. The Halloween-themed reimplimentation of Boop is more than just a reskin. It features a new ghost cat meeple that moves in a straight line between spaces, spooking other cats and making them jump away. It’s another wrinkle to the already “thinky” game. Of course, if players want the lighter but strategic experience that the original has to offer, they can just use the cute Halloween-themed cats and throw the ghost back in the box. Anyone who likes strategic abstract games like Chess will appreciate how much depth there is in BOOoop, and the cute theme only makes it more accessible.
Behext is a deck-building game that takes many risks, but won’t work for everyone. Anyone who is familiar with deck-builders will be comfortable, though the twist in Behext is the turn order. It’s a game with tons of “take-that” effects, and when a player attacks another player, the victim takes the next turn. As a result, Behext is a funky game of bouncing turns and attacks around as players try to balance who to hit with negative interactions without giving that player too many turns.
The flow is a little funky, but anyone who wants to see a new take on deck-builidng might want to give Behext a try.
2023 Crowdfunding Opportunities
Smirk & Dagger provided two crowdfunding opportunities, giving players some exciting games to look forward to in 2024. The first game that can still be backed on Backerkit is Adventure Party. Aventure Party is a silly cooperative guessing game that combines RPGs and party games. 3-6 players will take turns, rolling their 20-sided die in secret. Based on the roll’s results, they will describe what their character does. The GM for that turn will attempt to guess the number rolled as closely as possible, earning the entire party points.
It’s a fun concept that players got a chance to try on Free RPG Day when Smirk & Dagger released a quickstart version of Adventure Party called Adventure Party: The Savage Lands.
The hit cooperative horror game will be getting its first expansion following a successful crowdfund. The Night Cage: Shrieking Hollow adds a new horror and a new space to explore within The Night Cage. Pits lead to a new area called the Hollow that features a new creature known as The Other. Of course, it hates the light, so players will need to exercise caution.
What are your favorite games from Smirk & Dagger this year? What are you wanting to pick up? Let us know in this comments below!