What have the Sentry Box Staff been playing this Week? June 4th – 10th

OK, I will come clean.

The title is something of a lie…

We are going to fit in the top picks from the last month of gaming by the folks in the Sentry Box because I didn’t keep this up to date whilst I was on vacation…

I had the best of intentions, I really did!

C’est la vie.

Having so much content to choose from is refreshing as the whole team has been playing games over the last few weeks.

Related imageI will start off at the top with Gord’s epic adventures playing some 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. With the release of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes I am sure a lot of you have picked up the pace for your D&D campaigns.

 

Sticking with the fantasy setting Gord also pulled out his old copy of the War of the Ring game by Fantasy Flight Games.

“It is still the best Lord of the Rings game I’ve ever played (and I’ve tried a lot of them). We tried it as a three player game for the first time. I think it is better as a two player version but it worked fine so far with three. The only issue for me is that for some strange reason, the cards are a lot harder to read than they were six years ago when I played it a bunch of times.

I may have to get the new Ares edition since I know they are much larger in it.”

Never one to shy away from some of the historical games Gord also played Illusions of Glory, the 2017 World War 1 Strategic Game by GMT

Rounding out Gord’s month with his most recent offering was When Lions Sailed, a Strategy & Tactics magazine game from 2011.
“[We played] four player. Not what I would call fast paced but interesting as it is in the heyday of the Dutch. Set on a map of the world, you certainly get a feel for the power of the navies of the time.”

Keeping with the top down strategy, Greg has had a busy month too.

Starting off light, he played some Loopin Chewie [that’s his replacement for X-Wing until 2nd edition comes out… – Kris] & Hanna Honeybee.

Greg also played Altiplano which is by the same designer as Orleans and shares some mechanisms but in Greg’s opinion allows for more specialization.

The Mind, a cooperative card game where the players get dealt cards from a deck consisting of numbers 1-100 and then have to play the cards in the correct order from lowest to highest.  The catch being that they are not allowed to communicate which makes it a very interesting game!

Decrypto which we saw this year at the GAMA trade show was another game Greg played this month.

“I’ve heard [Decrypto] described as Codenames crossed with Mastermind. You have to make sure you give good enough clues that your team mates can guess the code but if you’re too obvious the other team may be able to intercept and guess your code themselves.”

Kris & Greg play Brynk

 

Obviously the most important game that Greg played was showing me how to play Brynk seeing as we added it to one of the new Demo Tables in the store.  It was a close run thing but I won…

It is a fun dexterity/balance game that has probably been the most popular game on our demo tables for the last few weeks so make sure you call in to the store and give it a try.

Bringing us mostly up to date for Greg’s gaming this month he played Spirit Island.

“I thought it was a very cool co-op game. Seems intimidating at first but plays quite quickly once you get into it. Lots of variability with Spirit options, power cards and optional adversaries. Doesn’t suffer from the alpha game problem of some co-ops.”

Drew also got some games in this month managing to play Thunder Alley and Heroes Wanted.

Thunder Alley is a stock car racing game for 2–7 players with the feel and flexibility of a card-driven simulation. Drafting, teamwork, accidents, yellow flags, pit strategy, working to lead laps, and sprints to the finish are all included and bring the feel of racing to the game. Players control not one car, but a team of 3–6 cars. Thus, each race is not only a run for the checkered flag but an effort to maximize the score for every car on your team. Winning is important, but if only one car crosses the finish line, your team might end up outside the winner’s circle looking in.

Heroes Wanted is a tactical board game for 1-5 superhero hopefuls, attempting to fulfill their dreams of becoming a member of Zeta City’s exclusive crime fighting super team: The Champions of Zeta City. Each time you play, you will create a unique superhero comprised of two hero cards. You will then choose a scenario and face a different villain (or villains), but the objective remains the same: gain as much fame as possible by KO’ing minions, completing headlines, and thwarting the villain. At the end of each game, the superhero with the most fame is the winner and joins the prestigious ranks of The Champions of Zeta City.

Chris and Bill have been playing some Tanks: Panther vs Sherman by Gale Force Nine and Battlefront Miniatures.

Stepping beyond the starter box Chris lead his Russians to victory against Bills British, despite suffering heavy damage to an early strike from the British Priest Mobile Artillery.

tanks.jpg

Not wanting Chris to steal all of the glory with his gorgeous looking Russian Armour Sue and Amanda have both been busy painting this month.

Sue had some Imperial Assault miniatures to show off, having painted up Obi-Wan, C-3PO, R2-D2, Hera Syndulla, “Chopper” and some Jawa!
Sue Painting.jpg

Amanda wanted to try painting up some terrain and finished up this spooky, sunken ship!

Amanda Painting.jpg

Amanda also managed to get a fair amount of games played over the last month as well.

She played:

“Scythe – an engine building game set in alternative post world war, the game play is smooth and there are many different actions to consider while trying to win the game. This game was a huge surprise I wasn’t expecting it to play like it does, I thought it would be closer to a rune bound or risk.

Forbidden island – another strategy game, I was less than enamored with this game. It’s a neat concept it plays well but I feel like it was a little dumbed down compared to a game like pandemic (which I would rather play) however it is a game I would definitely play with friends that are newer to boardgames or even as a game at a family dinner.

Rick and Morty total rickall- as a Rick and Morty fan this game was super fun! A quick and easy memory based game. (However if you are not a rick and Morty fan or are into more heavyweight games I would not recommend it ) My boyfriend thought that it would be a good filler game.

Explorers of the north sea – an amazing strategy game for casual and hardcore gamers. The tile placement and exploration factor is excellent, and the different characters make it a unique gaming experience every time. It would be a easy game to teach. Great game for the price range as it feels like it should cost more!!

exp-north-sea.jpg

Renee has been busy as always, squeezing in lots of games this month.  She even managed to out strip Greg for number of games played!

“I Played Century Spice Road a few times this week, both 2 player and 3 player. LOVE this game. We noted that while it has a bit of a Splendor feel to it, in Century when someone takes a card you were working towards, we liked that you had the option to exchange your spices, unlike Splendor when it can feel like you now have a “useless” gem combination.

 

Finally tried Ticket to Ride UK. I really liked the mechanic of having to buy technologies (or abilities) to enable you to build longer routes, or in different areas of the map, or just to make your routes worth more points. Will definitely be playing this a bunch more times to try out different strategies. Love that with the map expansions, TTR keeps giving us new ways to play an old favourite.
Got to play King of Toyko with my 6 year old nephew a few times this week. His favourite part of the game is rolling for energy cubes and buying as many cards as he can to power up his monster. It’s not always a winning strategy, but makes each game a unique experience with him using his abilities to try to get an advantage over my constant attacks.

Ethnos – Quick set collecting and area control game. The difference races’ abilities mean that your strategy changes based on the cards used each game. Fun, decent filler and would definitely play again.

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu – Finally tried this version of the classic Pandemic game. The new mechanics are true to the Lovecraft theme and make it feel different enough that you don’t feel like you’re just playing a re-themed version of the game. I enjoyed playing it but I didn’t like it better than the original. However, for folks that enjoy HP Lovecraft, it is a fun version of the classic game.

Modern Art – Finally got to play this Reiner Knizia classic! I really, really liked it. I loved that part of the strategy was picking the type of auction to run, as well as trying to balance the market by deciding which paintings to add to the collection. Definitely need to play this a few more times to figure out this balance. I can see why it remains popular and is one of his more known games.

Power Grid – A classic, I can see why. You have to carefully figure out the balance between spending money on power plants and locations to power, plus the fluctuating resource market plays a role in determining the efficiency of your power plants. Timing of grabbing locations means you may be getting them cheaper, but putting you earlier in the turn order means more expensive resources. Aghhh! Will love playing this more to try different strategies to balance these mechanics.
I also got to play Terraforming Mars, I really enjoy games that use a huge deck of cards to create almost limitless variations in play as well as forcing you to determine your strategy based on the cards you can purchase and play. Having a basic version was also a great way to introduce us newbies to the game quickly, allowing for a better start in the regular version of play.
Photosynthesis – An absolutely beautiful game to have on the table. Fairly straight forward – you have to plant and grow your trees to maturity to collect victory points. However as the sun moves around the board, you only get sun points (used to pay for planting and growing trees) for your trees that aren’t in the shade of other trees on the board. Takes careful planning and also means you can use your trees to block your opponents.
Magic Maze – This is a fun and frantic cooperative game where each player has only one or two move abilities (up, right, use teleporters, use escalators) and together you have to move the four pawns around a map of a mall (which grows as tiles are added) to gather their objects and reach their end points. But you’re racing against a sand timer! And you can’t talk to each other! Had our hearts racing for sure.

Azul – been playing this quite a bit since I got it. As expected it was quick to learn, beautiful on the table and a lovely abstract game for up to 4 people. We discovered that we did end up getting a bit competitive, trying to take tiles away from each other in an attempt to knock down each other’s scores as much as taking tiles that were favourable for our own board. Have a feeling that with such quick set up and short game play, this will become a regular on the family table.

Alhambra – This has been a classic for the family and we end up pulling it off the shelf every few months. A tile laying game at it’s core, it involves careful planning of taking money cards vs buying tiles from the market while trying to optimize the “pay with exact change” mechanic to take advantage of the extra turns that provides, while trying to build the longest external wall. We’ve been playing this for years and find we still love playing it every time it hits the table.
Two By Two – A Noah’s Ark themed game, it is a great kids game offering interesting choices of where to place your water tiles (to allow for boat movement and tile reveals) as well as set collecting to focus on gathering animals that provide the most points. Easy to learn with great opportunities for developing good strategies.

Clank – One of the newest additions to our Demo Library, I finally got to play this awesome dungeon crawling deck builder again tonight. It played well as a two player, although there was less player interaction on the board, I enjoyed the quicker turns. In the end the game was close, with both of us easily making it out of the dungeon with almost all our health. The dragon had done almost no damage to either of us, despite my constant clanking towards the end of the game, thanks to my sister’s ability to pull only black cubes out the bag when the dragon attacked. Curious, we inventoried the bag at the end of the game: 7 black cubes, 14 green and 16 blue. Apparently the dragon was a stormtrooper.”

 

Rounding out the staff who told us about their games this month is me!

I managed to play some X-Wing, a fast paced miniatures game set in the Star Wars universe where you get to play as heroic TIE Fighter Pilots battling against the evil terrorists of the Rebel Alliance…

I have been playing Darth Vader a lot recently and despite being one of the oldest ships in the game, I still find him fun to fly and the dial for the TIE/x1 is quite challenging to get the most out of.

I also played Pioneer Days on our Facebook Live Stream with Greg and Renee. It is a dice drafting game where players are pioneers heading west hoping to make their fortune.

The game is fairly quick (it took us about 35 minutes for our first play through on stream) and offers some interesting tactical and strategic decisions with a lot of variability with all of the different characters, towns folk, towns and equipment you can have to chose from.

Other than that I have been doing a lot of work getting ready for our upcoming Slow Grow League for Beyond the Gates of Antaries (starting up on Sundays from June 24th) and our Test of Honor Demo Day on June 23rd.

I wont spoil the surprises by posting some Work in Progress photos so make sure you come on down to the store and see it all for yourself!

Kris

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