What have The Sentry Box Staff been up to – Dec 10-16

A bit of a quieter week with the store being somewhat busier than normal…but we still did manage to get in some gaming!

Monday Open Board Game night for Renee started with a game of Reef, with 2 new players. “I’m definitely getting better at planning several steps ahead and lining up my cards to get the pieces I need for the scoring portions, but still find I barely break 50 points. Love that this is easy to pick up and teach but feels like you can challenge yourself to score higher with each play. And damn in looks good on the table.”

Renee then got Trajan on the table,”To play again for the first time since Greg introduced me to it this spring. This game has such an interesting mancala mechanism, in which you pick up all the markers from one space and drop them clockwise to end at your action space. It takes planning to get the action combinations you want, and even more work so the colours result in getting the bonus tiles. The board is standard Stefan Feld fare with 6 different action areas so lots of ways to score points. Definitely one of his better games, right up there with Castles of Burgundy.”

She finished the night with Great Western Trail. “This has been hitting the table A LOT on Monday nights but I still hadn’t had a chance to try it out, so was very excited I finally got a chance. The board is a giant rondal with your cowboy starting at the bottom of the trail, doing actions as you work your way up the board, delivering cattle when you get to the top, then starting at the bottom of the board again. Another game where you are best to focus on one or two areas rather than diversifying too much. You can hire workers to make actions more powerful, place buildings on the board to give yourself more action spaces, making deliveries and building stations makes your board more powerful. There is a lot going on with this game and it was quite overwhelming for my first play. But I can see why it has been so popular: it’s a great design, a fun game to play and I want to play it more.”

Greg played The River, “I wanted to make sure I had the rules down before playing it on stream so I played a quick 2 player game with Tracy. It’s a light, worker placement, building game where you expand your territory and produce goods in order to build buildings. Quick, fun and up to the usual Days of Wonder standard for production. Love the little turkey-eeples. Turkeeples?”

Renee and Greg played it on Friday’s livestream (with guest star River). Greg, “Played again on stream, this time with four players. I think it scales pretty well and I ended up trying a different strategy based on how things went. I didn’t win but I think it might be viable if things fall into place a bit better.” Renee, “I had heard this was a good intro to worker placement and I agree. The game play is well designed and streamlined and the artwork is great – the icons are big and clear. It’s pretty light, but there are a few different strategies that would be interesting to try. Going to be grabbing a copy as I think it would make a great “my first worker placement” game for my nephew. And unlike most worker placement games, this has about a 30 minute playtime which is perfect for younger players. I could also see this being a good gateway game for getting friends and family into worker placement, one of my favourite mechanics. And as with all Days of Wonder games, the production quality is excellent.”

Renee also played Arboretum, “I picked up a copy of the reprint when it arrived at the store this past week. As expected the art is beautiful. This is a quick but clever card laying game where you need to arrange your trees in orthogonal ascending paths. The tricky part is that only the player with the highest sum of cards in a tree type (suit) left in their hand gets to score it in the end. You are also forced to discard a card every turn – which either you or your opponents can pick up. We played a learning game and I need to play again to figure it out properly…there is a bit to figure out with the strategy.”

Finally this week, Jim played Cruel Seas:

I got the latest Warlord Games release the weekend of the release and am really looking forward to playing it. It’s a 1/300 scale miniatures game of coastal water combat between the various naval forces of WW2. The initial releases are gorgeous and there are long “tails” of miniatures to come. I jumped in with the rulebook and an American Patrol Boat set for less than $100 but expect to add more boats as the releases come out.

One thing I would mention is that the rulebook heavily features excerpts from various Osprey titles related to the various navies. I picked up the Osprey title for PT boats and would suggest anyone picking up a navy for “Cruel Seas” grab the corresponding Osprey title at the same time. My paint table is now a dry dock in miniature with some PT boats assembled and a few WW2 paint schemes printed out for guidance. It’s safe to say I’ve got the bug.

There have been a lot of 1/350 naval games but the 1/300 are actually just the right smidge larger for my eyes. If you get the rulebook sooner than later you’ll score the nifty Das Boot miniature for some atmosphere on your table.

Highly recommended!

That’s it from us this week. We hope that with everything going on at this time of year, you’re still getting in some gaming too!

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