What have the Sentry Box Staff been up to – Oct 7-14

This week’s blog comes a day late and full of gaming goodness while the staff enjoyed a long weekend with their family and friends. We hope everyone else got in some gaming too over the Thanksgiving weekend!

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Greg played Tapestry for the 5th time in 8 days at Monday Board Game Night. “I took the Inventors and got a combo that let me take multiple extra civ powers. I grabbed as many tech cards as possible and had a tapestry card that got me more and scored 2 points per tech, and I was able to trigger it twice. All in all it went pretty well.”

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Then Greg played Draftosaurus, “This is a light, quick drafting game where players are drafting dinosaur meeples to add to their dinosaur park into the various pens. Each pen scores differently and you’re trying to score the most points after two drafting rounds. It was a cute and fun filler.” Followed with a play of Krass Kariert, “Played a quick three player game of this little trick taking card game. Derrick ended up as the big loser but it’s always close.”

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Greg ended the evening with Fleet: The Dice Game, “This was my first time playing with other people instead of solo, and one big difference is that you play 10 rounds instead of 8, so it felt like you can do quite a lot more than in a solo game. We all ended up with a lot of fish, but Setaregh managed to earn the most points overall.”

Meanwhile Renee got to play a 3 player game of Rajas of the Ganges, “This is a dice resource, worker placement, tile laying game. All the actions either gain you money or fame, which are tracked clockwise and counter-clockwise respectively on the board. You can focus on one, both or either to bring your markers closer to each other. On your player board you lay tiles, building paths to bonuses while added buildings for fame and markets for money. It’s a good mid-weight euro that comes with an expansion that I have yet to try, but looks really good.” She played Rajas of the Ganges again on the weekend with Jenn, “This time with the Navaratnas Version, which allows you to unlock on more worker, limited your dice pool to 8 and most interestingly, a mechanism to upgrade your province board with better bonuses. I liked this version and thought it added some good strategy options for your game. Still really enjoying playing this game and trying some different approaches.”

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Renee also played Castles of Burgundy on Monday, “I’ve been wanting to play this for a while now so was happy that I got to on Monday. This is still my favourite game.  It’s just such a well designed game with good choices and lots of strategy.  Really looking forward to the upcoming release to try some of the expansions that I missed out on.”

Greg got in a another play of Gloomhaven, “We started with a scenario where we were in one room and had to protect an ally in the centre for 10 rounds from a bunch of demons that kept spawning from the corners. We started off well but by the end were definitely getting a little overwhelmed. Fortunately we held them off long enough to win. In the second scenario we investigated a Sun Temple and started off with the party split in two locations. We fought our way through a bunch of Hounds, Imps and Night Demons to the final room, only to discover that the Night Demons were fighting against some Sun Demons in there and it turned into a three way fight. We picked off some of them while the demons went at each other, and then mopped up the remaining demons at the end.”

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Greg, Renee, Jeff and Jenn played Puerto Rico on Friday’s livestream. Greg, “It had been a while since I’d played this but it’s one of the earlier modern games I played and I think it’s one it’ll be hard to forget. It still holds up as an awesome game, with interesting decisions as you try to make sure you get the most benefit out of every decision. You definitely have to be aware of what the other players are doing and try to predict their moves so you can leech off them if possible.” Renee, “Having played a lot of San Juan…a lot…it was hard to break free of my habits from that game which do not translate well to its original. It’s an interesting balance of producing and shipping goods for points, vs gaining money for buildings. Buildings can make a big difference if you use them well, something I think I need a few more plays to try out. It has definitely earned its place as a classic still at the top of the list.”

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Chris had some friends over to try out Monochrome Inc from the new Adventure Game line by Kosmos. “It was a lot of fun! The game does an excellent job of capturing the feeling of an old PC adventure game, as you explore locations and collect items that allow you to solve puzzles. In this regard it resembles the similar-in-concept escape room card games (although oddly it’s closer to the style of the Unlock series rather than the Exit ones that Kosmos itself publishes). Every time you explore or use an item, you reference the appropriate section in the adventure book – there’s also an app that will narrate the game for you, but we discovered that this title hasn’t actually been added to the app yet. The game is mostly quite forgiving with time and chances for experimentation and problem-solving. Unfortunately for us we got stuck on a particular puzzle in the one spot in the game where time becomes a factor, but despite our trouble it ended up having little effect on our end-of-game score. Overall, it was an entertaining experience and I’d like to try out more titles in this new series.”

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Greg and Tracy played Llama, “This is a neat little card game that was nominated for the Spiel des Jahres award. Players start with a hand of six cards and on their turn either play a card of the same value or one higher than the top card in the discard pile, draw a card, or drop out of the round, scoring negative points for cards left in hand. It’s very simple but was a lot of fun. I tried with just two players and I think it’ll be better with more (it plays up to six).” Renee also picked up LLAMA this week, “We played a 6 player game after dinner with the entire family. It was a riot! We all enjoyed it a lot and had so much fun playing it together. It’s another one of those just fun to play card games that have a good mix of strategy and luck to make it a fun group game. We played a 3 player game later on and it also worked well, but it was more fun and chaotic with more players.”

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Greg also played 5211, “Another simple little card game where each round players simultaneously play 2 cards, then 1 card and then 1 card, trying to play cards that will score for them. Usually the colour with the majority of cards played will score, unless too many of that colour are played, in which case that colour is discarded. It definitely offered some interesting decisions and some risky play opportunities. Another that I tried with two players and would like to try with more now.”

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Kris played some X-Wing on Friday, “We had a couple of the players getting ready to go to worlds this week. I have been trying some new lists so it was fun figuring out how they all fly together.”

Kris played Infinity as well, “It’s a really deep tactical game, lots of decision points for both players in each others turn. I finally got to out my Aleph, Steel Phalanx on the table.  Aleph is the AI that the Human Sphere relies on to function (think SkyNet but where the people think the terminators are the good guys…) And the Steel Phalanx are recreations of the Greek Heroes of legends with the best technology and some very offensive based gameplay.  I fielded an extremely small force lead by Achilles and a core group of Myrmidons and then some Sniper support and a slower moving group of Thorakitai. The game started well and I felt like I didn’t give up too much in Deployment but overextending with the Myrmidons meant they got wiped out but a vicious machine gun wielding crab robot that could see threw their optical disruption camouflage. What was an extremely tight enjoyable game slipped away for a 6-0 loss in the end but it was awesome to get them on the table and now I have to do some more painting and plot my revenge!”

Gord spent a night having 6 players roll up new characters as they are starting a new D&D 5e campaign. “I’m still using the 4e Nentir Vale setting since I have most of it already entered into Realm Works for campaign management. I’m somewhat old school and require the players to roll a 16+ to choose one of the non-core races (human, elf, halfling, or dwarf) or an 19-20 if they want to play any of the non-player’s handbook races. I do allow them to give their roll to another player if they don’t use it. I also use a system where they roll 4d6 (less the smallest number) and choose stat order for basic experience, give them a 10% experience bonus if the stat order is fixed to what they roll, or give them a 20% experience bonus if they roll only 3d6 with a fixed stat order. They do get to roll three characters and choose the best.”

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Greg got in a couple more roll and writes, starting with Kingdomino Duel, “I started ok but Tracy hate-drafted a few dice and then ended up with a giant domain that scored almost as much as my entire score, so it was a bit of a beating really. I still enjoy this game though.”

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He also played Twice as Clever, “Tried out the new challenge that’s on the app by printing off a copy of the score sheet. Looks like it may have higher overall scores possible…”

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Renee and Jenn tried out the 2 player game Naga Raja again after playing it at FallCon. “This is a really decent 2 player game. After learning it during our last play, we got a bit more cut-throat this time with our strategies and there was a lot more back and forth during the battle stage and knowing the card powers better, we were able to take advantage of them at some pretty strategic moments – especially when Jenn played cards to rearrange my temple paths to effectively block me from my treasures, which took me a few turns to remedy. I like the choices and the natural balancing mechanic of the winner of the tile getting less cards for the next round.”

Renee, Jenn and their Dad played the original version of Azul, “I’d really been enjoying the sequel Stained Glass of Sintra, but it was nice to play this version again. We still have a lot of fun with the tile drafting, balancing what’s good for ourselves and what messes up each other’s strategies while still being a nice relaxing fun game. We played a couple times and the scores were pretty close, with the end game scoring bonuses often making the difference.”

Renee and Jenn decided to play Orleans again since they had enjoyed playing it so much last week. “We both tried different strategies than last time and are still really having fun exploring this game a bit more. Happy that we rediscovered it!”

Tia played her first game of Warhammer 40k, “Played a 500 point game just to try to learn the rules. I played Eldar and my husband played Tyranids. It was actually a lot of fun! I enjoyed learning the rules and strategizing. Man was it ever scary having a hoard of gene stealers run at me! We played two games; I won the first and my husband won the second. Both times were pretty close calls so it got down to the wire at the end!”

We’ll be back next week with more gaming and fun from the folks at the store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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