What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Dec 17-23

A busier week with board games, D&D, painting and reading! See what we’ve been doing in our spare time and get some recommendations.

Renee started Monday Board Game Night with a game of Ganz Schon Clever. “Fun as always!” She then got to play Heaven & Ale for the first time. “This is a fun but punishing game. You have to move your resources and brew master up your player track for final scoring. Thing is, it takes work to get them out of the negatives. Going around the board you buy tiles to place on your board, on the sunny side they move your resources up the track when activated, on the shady side they generate money when activated. Monks move your brew master up the track. You activate tiles by completing a circle around an activation space or by using a purple disc to activate all the tiles of a single type. Timing these is an interesting task. Another interesting element is that players can move around the board as quickly as they want, but must wait at the start for all the other players to catch up before the next round. Move ahead and you secure yourself the tiles before they are taken or go slower and take more actions. Another interesting set of choices. Would definitely play again!” She finished the evening with a game of Tichu, “I lost my first game, but it was close! Still love how thinky and clever this team game is and definitely still learning it.”

Gord came into the store on Tuesday evening and ended up joining the new Tuesday KeyForge event, “Picked up a random deck of KeyForge and actually managed to play another game. Apparently, I have a great deck (or I got great card draws initially). I love this game.” Greg also played some later in the week, “First game in the new house was teaching Tracy Keyforge with the decks in the starter. She started quickly, getting to two keys before I even had one by stealing my amber and keeping me on the back foot. I got one key myself and then was able to amass about 15 amber on one turn, but wasn’t able to stop her forging her 3rd key for the win.” Those game mats sure look awesome!

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Greg L gives this summary of the staff Monday night D&D game: “PC’s v Pirates” He also provided the helpful chart above. Kris adds, “I didn’t mutilate any bodies, I am SUPER LAWFULL GOOD and mutilating corpses seems wrong. Also, the guy was alive when I mutilated him and left him to bleed to death…” Seems like they are enjoying themselves.

Gord’s group is also playing D&D 5th Edition, “Running through the Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Still on level 1 and feeling out the area. Way too much time spend on searching for secret doors by the player’s.” He also played five player Napoleonic Wars, “A classic multi-player, card driven war game that I am literally wearing out the counters on. The cards are sleeved and are fine but Napoleon is looking a little faded.”

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Amanda played Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition, “A really fun and fast write and roll game, you have to build the longest roads the trick is its random from the 4 dice rolled. It plays up to 6 people and its just as fast as playing with 2.”

Renee got Azul to the table, “After spending the last couple weeks having to tell folks we don’t have any Azul, it finally came to me that I have it and haven’t played it in a long time so I took it out after family dinner last night. This is such a good game. Thinky decisions for a lighter weight game and it looks fantastic too!”

Meanwhile, Greg played the newer Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, “After one play dare I say that I actually like this better than Azul (which I enjoy a lot)? A similar tile drafting mechanism but with different placement options and scoring. Similarly great components – don’t eat the glass pieces even though they look delicious!”

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Jeff had some folks in for a little painting party at his house, “I painted up this cool Reaper Bones Wraith and I’m really happy with the results! I dry brushed gunmetal on the cloak, the scythe blade is a few different metallics, and I have the whole thing a nuln oil wash. Full disclosure, this guy is going to be in my back pocket in case someone ever pulls a Skull from the Deck of Many Things.”

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Sue played her first game of Kill Team this week. “I thought it was a great skirmish game set in the 40k universe! I thought the game had a good pace. My first game lasted about an hour and a half and I was entertained the whole time. It was great because I was able to use models that I had already put together and painted for my 40k army. I also like that I can easily put together Kill Teams for other 40k factions that interest me. I also liked that the players take turns shooting as opposed to all of one player’s models shooting, and then all the other player’s models shooting. I will definitely play Kill Team again and am already planning future Teams!”

On Friday’s livestream we played a few lighter games to kick off the holidays. Greg’s thoughts:

Get the MacGuffin: A silly little card game with a fair amount of luck, chaos and take that but it’s quick, portable and plays 2-11 players in about 10 minutes.
Micro Robots: A game inspired by Ricochet Robots but smaller and simpler. Like it’s older sibling it’s good because any number of people can play but this one is quicker and more portable.
Just One: A fun clue giving game. I think it’s better with more players but it was still good with four and elicited many a groan.
Codenames: The classic clue-giving team game. I always enjoy playing this, even when you’re not quite on the same wavelength as your teammates.

Renee and her sister finally had a chance to play Clank! In! Space!, “Pretty much as expected we loved it. It keeps most of the same elements of the original game but adds some additional cool mechanisms. A bunch of the cards have factions (like Star Realms) which can trigger bonus actions when they appear in the same hand. You also need to earn a pass before you can enter the area with the artifacts, but this was easy to accomplish. There were new bounty hunter cubes that affected everyones health meter and were returned to the bag each time and the “boss board” also accelerated more quickly both which created more urgency to grabbing the artifact and getting the heck out, which I really enjoyed. All in all, I enjoyed this version of the game.” They played again later in the week, “I managed to die one space away from the command module. I am loving this game. I think it plays better with 2 than the original but really hoping to have a chance to play it with 3 or 4 players over the holidays.”

She also played a couple games of Dice Stars. “For a roll and write that isn’t Ganz Schon Clever, we really do enjoy this game. The second game Christopher joined us. He picked it up fairly quickly and ended up beating his dad’s score.” They also played a couple games of Sky Tango, “which I’ve talked about previously. This has quite a bit of ‘take that’ but we still end up enjoying ourselves as it is hard to take the game too seriously.”

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Greg finished reading The Mote in God’s Eye by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. “This was a pretty interesting look at how mankind would react to first contact with aliens. It was written in 1974 and did feel a little dated in parts but overall I enjoyed it. Each side trying not to let on all information to the other definitely felt realistic.” Gord adds, “That was indeed a great book. Pournelle and Niven did their best work together in my opinion. They were friends until Pournelle’s death a couple of years ago. I remember Jerry getting Larry to show up on a tech podcast I listen too.”

Greg finished the week playing The Quacks of Quedlinburg, “Don’t let the bizarre name put you off as this is a fun, push-your-luck, bag-building game. Each round you’re simultaneously drawing ingredients from your bag to add to your pot. You want to advance as far up the track as possible but if you draw too much of the white ingredient your pot explodes which means you have to stop and you miss out on points or money in the evaluation phase. There seems like good replay-ability as there are four different options for what most types of ingredient can do, as well as some random events each round. It also has a catch-up mechanism to ensure nobody gets too far ahead, and indeed in our game I was ahead the whole game but wasn’t able to stretch my lead and Tracy came back to win in the final round. Lots of fun!”

We will all be sure to be playing with our friends and family over the holidays and we hope you enjoy this time together and that it is full of fun and games!

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