What have the Sentry Box Staff been up to – July 15-21

More board gaming this week, more painting from Greg and some reading too!

To kick off Monday Board Game Night, Renee and Greg played Claim. Greg, “Renee taught me this two player trick taking game after her week of trying it with her sister. It’s quite interesting with the two halves of the game, using the first half to try to plan and set up for the second half when most of the scoring cards are taken. I liked the artwork too.” Renee, “I showed this to Greg, but as Jenn and I discovered, it takes a few plays to start to understand how to play your cards strategically to hopefully to yourself up with the majority of a faction.”

Lignum was the main attraction this week. Greg, “A heavy euro that had been sitting on my shelf for a while. Players own a wood mill and spend 8 seasons (rounds) over two years cutting, transporting, sawing and selling wood. The game uses an action track similar to Egizia or Heaven & Ale, where players can advance as far down the track as they like but can’t go backwards. Players hire different kinds of workers and pick up equipment along the way. Afterwards players cut, transport, saw and sell their wood. In winter players need food and fire wood. The player with the most money after two years is the winner. There’s a lot of planning and prerequisites for things to happen so you need to be on top of things to make sure you can do what you want to do.”

Renee, “When I first saw this my impression was classic theme-less Euro and while it did play like a classic Euro game, the theme was quite heavily tied to the mechanics. Players are running a saw mill over the course of 2 years. Each season, players make their way around the track, collecting equipment, hiring workers, basically getting ready for the logging season. But this takes some careful planning because you need cutters to cut the wood, then you need transporters to transport it and this is when the theme gets crazy realistic: one worker can carry one log, or one worker can carry 3 logs in a cart (did you pick up a cart?) but only if you have feed for the horses (did you get that to?), or you can have a worker float it down the river (did you get a raft for each log? And did you know it takes an entire season for it to arrive at your sawmill?). Then you need to have hired cutters to saw it, but that’s only helpful if you have one cutter and one saw for each log you need cutting.  If you hire a worker and don’t use it, the money is lost. And money is tight in this game.  You can pay to plan ahead to have tasks be more efficient, but then you really do need to plan for when that season arrives to be able to take advantage of it. The rules and such seemed a bit confusing at first, but because the mechanics tie into the theme so well and actually make sense, once you start playing the game, it really comes together quite well. I enjoyed playing this quite a bit and found myself really appreciating the design. If you like Euros, this is classic fair and as it turns out, not theme-less at all.”

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They finished with some lighter fare, starting with Schwupps. Greg, “A German import card game where players are trying to discard all their cards into the different discard piles. I think there’s a bit of a first player advantage, as well as the luck of drawing aggravation cards, so I’d recommend the tournament play option where you play one round per player and score for cards left over.” Renee, “Another German card game for me to discover! Players are discarding their cards into piles based on rules like +1, -2, same number, same colour and have once chance per turn to shift the rules on one side. So for younger players a good chance to practice some basic logic and planning. For older players it mostly comes down to your options and the cards you have when your turn arrives as there is little you can do to change the situation unless you happen to have an aggregation card which gives you a second chance to shift the rules. Was fun to try out, but would recommend for younger players.”

They ended the night with another play of Krass Kariert. Greg, “Another German import that we recently played on stream and had a rematch with Renee and Jeff. It’s simple and fun but offers some interesting decisions on how to play out your hand, as well as a few groans when players foil your (almost) perfect plans!” Renee, “Nope, I can’t get enough of this game. I love it. I’ll play it anytime.”

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Greg had a chance to check out Tetris Duell, “A German import electronic Tetris game. Two players play head to head with the display telling you whose turn to is, what piece you need to play, how much time you have left, etc. Players lose points for leaving gaps and score points for touching pieces of their own colour or completing rows.”

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Sue loves Carcassonne! “It’s one of my favorite games. It’s fun, its fast paced, there’s some strategy, and a little bit of opportunity to potentially give your opponent a hard time.. if you draw the right tiles. We played this one with 2 expansions. The Tower and The Princess & The Dragon. Ooh I hate that dragon. LOL. I like playing with expansions because it mixes it up and adds new layers and challenges to an already fun game.”

Greg and Alex had a Tsuro rematch (or 4). “The first game we collided, which according to her meant we hugged each other and both won. She has no problems with the rules of the game and just minor help occasionally with making better choices. Definitely a favourite of hers right now!”

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Greg continues his journey into painting, “As I’m still easing back into this painting malarkey I decided the next job should be the Exosuits from the Anachrony board game. Each faction has six suits and there are four playable factions plus one automa faction used in solo play for five sets total. I chose the yellow faction first randomly. I kept it really simple: Vallejo Gunmetal spray primer; Iyanden Yellow contrast paint over that on the armour sections; and just Nuln Oil over the rest of the model.”

Later in the week he painted the first mini from the second Anachrony faction. “These are a little more involved so it’s taking a bit longer. I started with the same Gunmetal spray and Nuln oil, then used the Ultramarine Blue Contrast for the carapace. I used Vallejo Electric Blue for the edging and Martian Ironcrust on the base.”

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Greg also finished reading: I am Legend by Richard Matheson, “Having seen the movie first the book was not exactly what I was expecting. It’s quite short, without a lot of backstory,  and felt a little dated in some aspects but not dated at all in others. Overall I thought it was ok but the ending was a little disappointing. The copy I have also had a bunch of unrelated short stories at the end, which were ok.”

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After seeing Greg’s plays of Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game, Renee pulled out her copy and played a couple games on Thursday. “I have no idea why I’m not playing this more, it’s pretty much everything I want in a roll & write, good choices, strategy and it’s based on one of my favourite games.”

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Renee picked up Corinth on Friday, “A roll & write based on another dice based Euro I enjoy, Yspahan, aka ‘The Camel Game’. Similarly to the original, you roll all the dice and then take all the dice of one number and do the associated action. You can cross off items in the market, collect gold and camels to build buildings for bonus ability and points, or move the merchant around for items and points. Using the dice to move the merchant not only gives you another way to collect items you may desperately need when the dice don’t cooperate, but it also allows you to hate draft the dice that might be more useful to your opponents. I think they did a great job implementing the feel of Yspahan into a roll & write and Jenn and I both really enjoyed it.”

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Renee used to play Carcassonne all the time with the family and when she saw pics of Sue’s game she realized how much she missed it. “We had picked up the Hunters & Gatherers version used a while ago thinking this theme might be a more interesting to Christopher to get him into the game. So on Friday Jenn and I finally tried it out and it was interesting. It has some additional mechanics so it’s like playing with a couple expansions. You can place fishermen on rivers (like roads) but they score 1 per tile and 1 per fish in the lakes at each end. You also get huts which are placed along river systems and score at the end of the game for all the fish in the entire system, so you can score your fisherman and close off your opponent’s system at the same time. You place hunters in the meadows (like farmers) and they score for each animal in the meadow at the end of the game. But you can add tigers to your opponent’s meadow to eat the deer to lower their points. Plus there are bonus tiles with special abilities to place when you close a forest. So lots of interesting things going on and I do think the theme will interest Christopher, so next step will be to find a time to play it with him.”

Greg got to try out Artsee, “This is one of two games we’ve got advanced copies of from Renegade games and will be going on our demo tables for August. This one is a set collection card game where you are adding art exhibits to your gallery and earning prestige points. There are four types of art you are scoring for, and there is some player interaction in that playing cards that match what opponents have at the front of their exhibits will benefit them with guest tokens, and you can also score points based on what your immediate neighbours have in their exhibits that are closest to you. I’d like to try this with more players.”

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He similarly tried out Bargain Quest, “This is a reprint of a game that originally came out via Kickstarter but Renegade are publishing it so it should reach a wider audience. It’s a card drafting game where players are shopkeepers who are trying to earn points by selling equipment to adventurers who are going off to fight the nearby monsters. Players earn points if the adventurer they equip wounds the monster and/or survives the fight, but if not, you still got their money and a new adventurer will be along any time now. I will say that as a drafting game, it’s obviously not best with two players, although there is a variant to add more to the two player game. There is also an element of luck in the cards that are drawn before each fight, which can make a pretty big impact on how the fight goes. I can see why they added them in, but they felt way too chaotic. There is also a variant that allows you to remove that aspect though, and I think I’d use that more often than not.”

We finish the week with Greg’s play of Periodic: A Game of the Elements, “I really like what Genius Games are doing with their science-themed games. They are all in the light to mid-weight category, so good for families or as gateway games, and introduce the science themes in a fun and interesting way. I’d recommend them to anyone, but any educators or parents who want games with a bit more overt educational value should definitely check them out. In this game players are researching different elements to fulfill goal cards and advance on the academic track. They do that by spending energy to move around the periodic table in different ways, to land on the elements they need. Turns are quick but there are a few things to consider, including the end game scoring agenda cards.”

The last three games will all be on our demo tables in August, so come on down to the store to get a hands-on demo.

 

 

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