What have the Sentry Box Staff been up to – Sept 16-22

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We start this week with Gord et al continuing their campaign of Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth. “After discovering that  we had played the movement rules wrong. This explained why we were having such a tough time earlier. We’ve managed to get to the third scenario now. It worked out well as the expansion pack added a modification to the second scenario that surprised us and made it even more interesting.”

Greg and Renee kicked off Monday Board Game Night with Grimm Masquerade. Greg, “This is a light deduction game where players are guests at The Beast’s Ball who are collecting artifacts. Each character has one artifact they are trying to collect and one they are trying to avoid. Each turn players draw two artifacts, keeping one and passing one. Players can also discard two identical artifacts to use special actions. We played with the full five players so it was maybe a little longer than it might have been but I enjoyed it.” Renee, “This was a fun deduction bluffing game. Each person has a character that is trying to collect 3 of a particular artifact while avoiding a different artifact. On your turn you draw one card and either keep it or give it away and do the opposite for second card you draw. So you’re trying to collect three of a thing, but not reveal what you’re collecting because everyone else is trying to give you 2 of your forbidden artifact to force your reveal. Plus if you have 2 of an item you can discard them to do special actions – why aren’t you discarding those 2 artifacts….are you collecting them? It was a fun group game.”

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Then they played Las Vegas Royale. Greg, “The Royale version adds some mini games as well as a few other small differences to the original game (as well as some fancier components). It’s a very easy, accessible game, but can definitely be a bit swingy.” Renee, “Got to play a 4 game which allowed me to try a few more of the mini games. While I love the simplicity and elegance of the original game, I am enjoying the mini games in this version and the hectic-ness they bring to the game. I got in another play with the family later on during the weekend so they could try it some more as well. It’s a longer game but overall we’ve been enjoying the new variations.”

They also got in a play of Cartographers. Greg, “We played a five player game and it was pretty close for the most part. Greg The Smeg redeemed himself after being crushed by Tracy in the last game. Definitely enjoying how the different scoring cards make it feel quite different each time.” Renee, “Finally got to try this out and I really liked it! It is filled with lots of good choices and had us all wondering if we were doing this right strategically. I like that there are 4 different scoring goals each game which will drive your strategy. I ended up picking up a copy and look forward to trying it out some more.”

Renee finished the night with a game of Tichu, “Got paired up with Setareh and we won!  I won a game and I kinda helped!”

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Gill and Kris tried their first game of Duelosaur Island, “I played the original Dinosaur Island on stream and enjoyed it but had not made the time to play the two-player version. It played really well and was actually well stripped down from the original, whilst maintaining the feel. I really like all of the components and the art style, overall a really fun game. Gill won with a score of 48 points to 38, with our initial game using the short timing mode where 25 points triggered the end game.  Took us maybe an hour for our first game, but that was including punching the components and playing through the first couple of rounds slow time with the rule book open learning as we went.”

Greg got Bisikle to the table, “Alex saw this flicking race game on the shelf and asked to try it out so we set up a track. We let her have a few re-takes but overall she did ok and ended up winning, so she obviously wanted to play again!”

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Greg also got in another play of Catan Dice Game, “Managed to break the 100 point mark with some good fortune on the last roll. I needed to roll a wheat and an ore on three dice to complete the 30 point city and managed to do it!”

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Kris and Gil also tried Res Arcana, “I picked it up after we played on stream but this was Gill’s’ first attempt.  We just used random Mages and random Artifact Decks as we were most of the way through setting up before the part about using set Mages and Starting Hands was mentioned. I definitely think it had an impact on our enjoyment as I could see Gill was frustrated at her perceived limited options with her deck not having any clear synergies. Whilst the game was still fairly easy to learn, I do wish the rule book was better laid out, or that a “Learn to Play” section was included. All that said Gill still managed to get to 10 points first by passing for the First Player which awards 1 point, luckily in my remaining actions I managed to get to 12 points and get the win.”

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Greg, Renee, Jenn and Nick played Clank with the Temple of the Ape Lords expansion on Friday’s livestream. Greg, “We played a four player game on our live stream and despite one turn of crazy good fortune with a card draw to get me the 33 point artifact I otherwise had a typically poor game, finishing last. Womp womp.” Renee, “I love this game! I love Clank and how it combines deck building with board movement, I think this might be my favourite deck building game because of how fun it is. The mechanic of having an ape attacking and holding your breath to see if your cubes come out of the bag satiates the part of me that likes some randomness in my games. We played the side of the board that has tiles that rotate that change the layout of the tunnels which was a fun addition. I traditionally die when I play Clank and I loved that I managed to get out this time! Didn’t get the most points but I won my personal goal of getting out alive.”

Renee has been wanting to show Hadara to her sister so they played a couple times this weekend. “I really do like this game. This was my first time with 2 players and while it works, I did enjoy it more as a 4 or 5 player game, which is where I think this game shines. It’s a quick playing, easy to learn game with good strategic choices that plays well with more players with very little down time between turns.”

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We end the week with another roll and write from Greg, Knapp Daneben. “I decided to go for middle of the road numbers and it ended up working out perfectly! The final roll needed to be a black five to completely fill the grid with neighbouring numbers and the dice Gods were on my side, giving me my best score of 102!”

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