How A Boardgaming Couple Launched ‘Semi Co-op’ A Weekly Webcomic

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We’re counting down the days until  International Tabletop Day 2018, happening this year on April 28th! As we get closer to the big day, we’ll be looking at the gamut of tabletop gaming, from the stories of the games we play to remarkable people who love them. Be sure to join in on the fun on April 28th on our official  ITTD Twitch Stream, hosted by Ivan van Norman and donate to  charity:water, the worthy cause we’re supporting this year.

Rachel Kremer never planned to do a weekly webcomic.

She’d been the co-founder of a mobile games developer and was working as a freelance illustrator and animator and wanted to improve her cartoon-drawing skills. She came up with the idea of a geek-themed webcomic and made a few test comics. “I realized that I lacked actual knowledge of making comics and started reading books on the subject,” she said, “and started from scratch.”

Together with Heinze Havinga, who does the coding for the website, Kremer focused the webcomic on their adventures on the tabletop, naming it Semi Co-op. “Since I was learning a lot by drawing these comics, I said to myself: ‘Ah, let’s just continue for now and see where it goes,’” she said. “I’ve been doing it for almost three years now!”

While Semi Co-op focuses mainly on board games, there are moments when the webcomic covers their other interests, such as Critical Role.

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“I’m loving every episode so far,” Kremer said. “What I enjoy most is the creativity of the players (and Matthew as the DM!) and the dedication to staying in-character even if that would mean a more negative outcome of the situation.”

Coming up with subject matter for a weekly webcomic isn’t easy, but Kremer and Havinga use it as their creative outlet. They hope their enthusiasm for gaming shines through in their work and they want to inspire people to join the hobby.

“In the beginning, we felt that some jokes were too obvious,” Kremer said, “but as we’ve learned after 150+ comics, is that there is no way to predict which comics will work and which will fall flat.”

Havinga added that being based in The Netherlands has taught them that humor is sometimes lost in translation.

“We remember getting very excited over the first-player rule in the Dutch version of Love Letter which states, ‘The player who was in love most recently gets to be the first player.’ This just screamed to be turned into a Semi Co-op comic! Unfortunately, the English version doesn’t have this rule.”

The pair ultimately decided to trust their vision of Semi Co-op.

“We’ve decided to just create the comics we think are funny and don’t worry too much about if it will gain a million likes or not,” Kremer said.

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In addition to finding humor in their daily gaming lives, the couple also hosts special events at their home, like “Eightstravaganza” in which only eight-player games are played and their personal favorite, “Sherlock Scones,” a day of playing Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective in a high tea setting with scones and brownies.

With their passion for gaming and dedication to Semi Co-op, their audience has grown and they’ve recently launched their new website. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response, Kremer and Heinze are hoping to take the next step and move their webcomic from a hobby to a part-time job.

“I would love to do more animation work with Semi Co-op,” Kremer said, “and we have some other fun things brooding in the back of our minds.”

Heinze added, “Because we don’t want to scale back the comic in favor of animations, we’ll be launching a few different ways for people and companies to support us, like merchandise we’re really excited about.”

What are your favorite webcomics? Tell us in the comments! And be sure to  join us on April 28th on Twitch for our  International Tabletop Day stream hosted by Ivan van Norman, and help us support  charity:water to  raise money for a project to get water to a community of people who currently lack access to clean water.


Image Credits: Rachel Kremer

Ruel Gaviola is a writer based in Southern California. He loves board games, books, cooking, traveling, Star Wars, and date nights with his wife. He reviews games and reports news for  iSlaytheDragon, podcasts with  The Five By, and his name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. Follow him on  Twitter and read his blog  here.

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