What have the Sentry Box Staff been up to – July 8-14

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Greg kicked off Monday Board Gaming Night with another play of Underwater Cities,  “Managed to get this to the table again. I really like this game. The combination of action selection, hand management and resource management really works well. It offers different strategic options as well as tactical play adjusting to what the other players are doing and what cards come out.”

He also got a second chance at Second Chance, “Played this little filler again and almost managed a perfect score, just having one space left at the end! It’s very simple but I enjoy it.”

He ended the night with a quick game of Tichu, “Kevin and Derrick destroyed Setareh and I, with Kevin in particular having some amazing hands, calling and making a Tichu in the first four hands of the game. I managed to make one Grand Tichu but Setareh called and failed two Grand Tichus (due to Kevin having bombs galore), so we ended in negative points.”

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Sam also played Second Chance with her mom! “My mom is a master of Tetris with only one spot left open, while I did pretty good and with 5 spots left open.”

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Back at home, Greg and Alex played more My First Castle Panic, “It’d been a little while but Alex asked if we could play this again. She knows how to set it all up herself and knows the rules but still hasn’t quite grasped the idea of trying to win. In fact, in our second game when I explained that she had two choices and could in fact capture the monster that was about to knock the wall down instead of one further back, she told me she wanted it to knock the wall down and then decided she didn’t want to play any more. Don’t try to convince a four year old with logic!”

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Greg and Tracy got to try out the new Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write, “It’s got those two magic words right there in the title (no, not imperial, settlers or &). Tracy and I gave this a shot. I like the different building options that you can go for to give you bonuses or points. You always want to maximize your actions and resources each turn if possible. The only thing I think it needs is a way to track how many actions and resources you have left other than in your head.”

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Gord got in a four player game of 1754: Conquest – The French and Indian War by Academy Games. “It’s a war game but basically a very simple euro style mechanic.”

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Sam happily reported, “I’ve finally inducted myself as a true staff member with my first game of Ganz Schön Clever, scoring 303 in a three player game! I am immediately addicted to this game! Must. Roll. Dice.” Although it appears they accidentally played an extra round, we are happy to have her in the club.

Renee came back from her family vacation having logged 45 plays of 15 different games over the week, so below is a summary of the gaming they did on the houseboat:

One of the highlights for sure was having the opportunity play so many games with Christopher; between D&D (his absolute favourite thing in the world these days) and video games, we just don’t get board games to the tables that often. On one of the first days he watched us playing Quacks of Quedlinburg and asked to learn it. He loved it so much he kept asking to play “the potion game” for the rest of the trip and we played it a bunch of times. I’m so happy that he loves this game so much!

Las Vegas and Zock ‘n’ Roll got played quite a bit when we found ourselves with 5 players. Las Vegas is such a fun dice game and great mix of strategic choices and out-of-your-control dice rolls. And with players constantly competing for and sniping all the big money, it has great player interaction. It was definitely a favourite on the trip. Zock ‘n’ Roll, a combination of Yahtzee and poker, was also a hit for quick plays with larger player counts. Plus it was a perfect game to play on top of the boat between dips in the lake.

For quick games with a few players we played the roll and writes Brikks, Bloxx! and Knapp Daneben!. I hadn’t played Brikks in a while and man is this game punishing in all the good ways; apparently my years of playing Tetris on the NES does not help while playing this game. Similarly though, I find myself wanting to best it, so like Greg I’m guess I’m going to have to start soloing the heck out of it. Bloxx is also a Tetris-y roll and write with much simpler rules and mechanics than Brixx so it was good choice for Christopher and my Dad.  Knapp Daneben! is a newer roll and write in which players are rewarded points for placing consecutive numbers adjacent to each other as well as choosing “extreme numbers” like 2, 3, 11, 12. Another hit and one of the most played games on the trip. I should also mention that we got in a play of Welcome To and unsurprisingly it was enjoyed by all.

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I picked up 5-Minute Dungeon to play with Christopher and we ended up playing it quite a bit one day when we had some rainy weather. It’s a cooperative game with players simultaneously playing cards from their hands to defeat the people, monsters and obstacles your party encounters in the dungeon on your way to the boss. The game is intended to be played with a time limit of 5 minutes per round, but we chose to play it without the time limit to make it more fun and less frustrating for Christopher. Plus the artwork and names of the things you encounter are awesome and it was fun to be able to appreciate them.  Once we get a bit more familiar with the game, I’m looking forward to playing it frantically as intended.

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We also played a bunch of card games over the course of the week: Illusion, Red7, Abluxxen, and Little Devils. Illusion was popular with everyone and another game Christopher enjoyed playing.  Red7 is a game we’ve been playing for years so it was fun to get it back to the table again. It’s a quick game in which you play cards and manipulate the rules so that at the end of the turn you are winning the current rule. You are a bit at the mercy of the cards you are dealt, but with some planning you can have some control over your fate. I also like that the game comes with 3 sets of rules so you can play with basic rules or more advanced mechanics.

We got in a some plays of meatier games including Wingspan, Rajas of the Ganges, and Airlines Europe. I’ve mentioned the other games recently, but Airlines Europe is by the same designer as Ticket to Ride and in my opinion is a better game. Players are collectively building up the routes of the airlines, thus increasing their stock value and players are also collecting and playing stock cards in the airlines. It’s a fun puzzle of figuring out which airlines to spend money on to build up their routes, which might benefit the other players, and when to reveal the stocks you have so you gain points during the scoring round without tipping your hand too quickly.

That’s the week in gaming with the Sentry Box crew. Hope everyone else is enjoying their summer of gaming as well!

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