It’s been another busy week here at Sentry Box, particularly over the long weekend. We hope, like us, you got some gaming in to mark the end of the summer months.
After last week’s Brass: Birmingham fest, Greg played some Brass: Lancashire. “After playing Birmingham a few times last week I wanted to get Lancashire back to the table because it’s been quite a while and I wanted to compare the two. We had a couple of new players and so only played the canal era. I enjoyed it but the map felt much tighter and the options a little more limited. I like both but Birmingham definitely feels like a smoother, more refined game.” Later in the week he noted, “Played a two player full game with Tracy. It definitely makes a huge difference playing the full game as your longer term plans can come to fruition. I enjoyed it a lot, and would happily play either but I think Birmingham does edge it for me.”
Greg gives another shout out to Busy, Busy Airport: “My favourite of the age 2 or 3+ games we’ve tried so far. As well as the great Richard Scarry artwork it gets them used to taking turns, following the rules and, most importantly, a little bit of decision making.” He also played more The Legend of the Cherry Tree, “Still enjoying this little push your luck set collection game. It’s a great filler or entry level game.”
Greg played Ganz Schön Clever, “Awesome little roll and write game with lots of options each turn. Love it.” Renee also got to play this a few times this week, “This roll & write game was one of the nominees for this year’s Connoisseur-gamer Spiel des Jahres and it’s easy to see why. So much strategy for a game that looks like “Yahtzee on steroids”. I’ve played many solo games on the app, so really enjoyed getting to play the physical game with other players. Definitely made different choices playing against opponents. When the English version hits these shores, I think it will be quite popular.”
Renee was able to play a 5 player game of Power Grid and discovered that she is still trying to figure out a winning strategy. Village: another game that has been on my list of games to get to the table – and turns out it was absolutely in my wheelhouse. I love worker placement point salad games where there is some player interaction and blocking, but enough choices that you can figure out other actions that are beneficial when your first choice is no longer available. I also really liked the mechanic of your villagers (workers) dying as time passed, and having to plan so workers that died scored points for you based on their location. Also loved that with different strategies (market vs traveling) it ended up being a one point win. Will definitely be playing again.
On Friday’s livestream we were joined by Rodney Smith of Watch It Played to play Decrypto and The Mind. Renee, “Decrypto is a team word association game where you take turns giving your teammates word clues to crack your code. The key is to be cryptic enough that the other team isn’t able to intercept and crack your code. I love the challenge of coming up with clues that will confound the other team but not confuse your own team.” As Greg notes, “This was a super close game that came down to the wire. Team Jeff for the win!” (Team Jeff was perhaps helped by having Greg and Renee but was definitely helped by having Rodney.)
The Mind is a cooperative game by the folks that brought us The Game. Similarly you work together to play numbered cards in order however you do so with no verbal communication. Renee, “Reading each other’s body language and pauses is remarkably fun and when you play a run of cards correctly the shared joy is awesome.” After a few regular games we leveled up, says Greg: “We played with more than the normal player count but it still works. We also tried out the advanced rule where you play your cards face down and that makes an already intriguing game even more interesting!”
It was an extremely entertaining evening. Thanks to Rodney for joining us and to everyone who played along!
Gord played Here I Stand (4 players): “The Hapsburgs noses have got bloodied in the first few turns but it looks like peace with the Ottomans is allowing them to surge forward from Vienna to try to kill the Protestant Reformation in Germany by brute force.”
Amanda played Catan, “OK so first time playing I lost really badly, but it was fun. Playing with 5 people was interesting because I kept getting blocked by others before my turn came back around, so figuring out the best way to get resources was challenging to balance what I needed. I also enjoyed the dice rolling and robber aspect to the game.”
Roshni went back for some more Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle. “This time we were on year 5, and there were a couple spots where the draw of the cards could have changed the entire outcome of the game. In the end, we succeeded against You-Know-Who… for now.”
Kris did a ton of commissioned painting for customers at the store:
This weekend Gord, Greg and Kris attended the Roxley Games Fowl Play event on Saturday and got to play a bunch of games, particularly Greg:
Blue Lagoon: a fairly simple set collection and token placement game by Reiner Knizia, but as with many of his games I think there are depths despite the simplicity.
Just One: A fun co-op party game where players take turns having to guess a word based on clues written by the other players. But if more than one player writes the same clue it doesn’t get shown to the guesser.
Scarabya: Similar to FITS in some ways, and likewise has a multi-player solitaire feel.
Dice Throne Season 2: I played the Artificer against the Cursed Pirate and it’s the same fun as season 1 but with new funky powers!
Mini DiverCity: Another little co-op game with Hanabi-style hands that you hold outwards. Players are trying to save animals from extinction and islands from all being turned into tourist attractions.
Endeavor: Age of Sail: The new version of Endeavor with some nice component upgrades, a few rules tweaks and an expansion (which we didn’t play). I enjoy and own the original but the upgrades make it even better.
Gord watched some Keyforge, “Very interesting game that I think is going to be a big hit since all the decks are different but you don’t have to spend time constructing them.” He also played Scarabya and found it interesting for 8 and up. Meanwhile Kris played Endeavor and enjoyed it. “The quality of the components is outstanding and the play time feels perfect. It felt quite light, even with the multiple layers of strategy, one I would definitely play again.”
Sunday at Fowl Play saw Greg playing even more games:
KeyForge: It’s a head to head game that involves creatures, artifacts and instant effect cards, and comes from the same designer as Magic the Gathering, so there are some similarities but it feels quite different. It’s essentially a race to get enough amber to forge three keys, with s bit of a tug of war feel in that amber can be stolen back and forth. The neat thing is the fact that all decks are unique and can’t be mixed, so there’s no deck building element, which makes it very accessible and great for sealed deck tournament play.
More Dice Throne Season 2: this time I played the Tactician against the Huntress. Most notable was that I gained revenge against Rodney for beating me at KeyForge.
Chai: this is a neat little family game about gathering ingredients to make different kinds of tea for customers. It was a prototype that is likely to be kickstarted in the next 6 months.
Tiny Ninjas: Another prototype that will likely be out next year. Kris and I played a quick game by learning from the rules. It was an interesting little tactical combat game between two teams of ninjas, each led by a hero.
Azul: my brain was quite mushy towards the end of the day so Azul was about as much as I could handle. I do enjoy it a lot, although I’m terrible at it at the best of times.
Kingdomino: Another fun light game to finish off the evening. A perfect one for the end of a game day.
Renee read Hominids, the first book in the Neanderthal Parallax by Robert J. Sawyer. “I loved the Earth’s Children series as a kid, so I was looking forward to reading this tale of an alternate universe where Neanderthals were the surviving members of the genus Homo and had evolved. The main character finds himself trapped in our universe which allows for some interesting comparisons of the cultures and worlds. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.”
That’s the update from the folks at Sentry Box. Until next week, enjoy the games you play!