What have the Sentry Box Staff been up to – Oct 28-Nov 3

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We start this week’s staff blog with Sue’s review of some of the pre-painted terrain and miniatures now available at the store. “These are D&D/ Pathfinder Prepainted miniatures. I got a brick of Pathfinder: Legendary Adventures and was lucky enough to get the Goblin Chief! Shown also are parts from the Pathfinder: Legendary Adventures Goblin Village Case Incentive, including the alternate sculpt of the Goblin Chief, and… Goblin childrens!!! Some of the other goblins shown are from the Legendary Adventures/ Legendary Adventures Preview Pack and the Dungeon of the Mad Mage Pack. The hut is from the Wizkids Jungle Shrine pack. Last, but not least, the D&D Hill Giants were a gift from a good friend. I like the way Wizkids is releasing more terrain. I think it really adds some visual interest to the scene.”

Greg and Renee started Monday Board Game Night with the new game Ishtar. Greg, “This is a tile-laying game where players are creating gardens and flowerbeds, and planting trees. Players score points for controlling flowerbeds with their assistants, controlling the fountains, planting trees and upgrading certain skills. There are rules for tile placement such that two separate gardens can never join together, and neither can two different controlled flowerbeds. It’s a fun medium weight game and I got to play twice, once with four players and then a two player game with Tracy (where we tied). I like it a lot.” Renee, “The concept is pretty straightforward – players place tiles on the board to create gardens around the fountains on the board. You’re jostling for control of the fountain by having the biggest flowerbed in the garden and you get points for your flower beds. It reminded me a bit of Qin, but there is a lot more going on here – you’re collecting gems that you can use to either buy tree cards or to unlock abilities and end game point bonuses on your player board. This is a great mid-weight game.”

They followed it with a game of PARKS. Greg, “This another great little medium weight game where players are hiking trails and visiting national parks. It’s played over several seasons and each season players advance their hikers down the trail to take actions like gathering resources, buying gear and visiting parks. The artwork and components are fantastic and the game is a lot of fun too.” Renee, “I got to play a 4 player game. I’m loving this game! It was a lot of fun with more players, with the board and the parks changing so much between turns, plus more fighting for control of the camera. It was fun trying to figure out how to manage your hikers so you got the actions you wanted and could make good use of your campfire.”

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The ended the night with Aquicorn Cove. Greg, “Like The Tea Dragon Society Card Game this is a game based on a book by Katie O’Neill. This one is a cooperative game where players are trying to rebuild their fishing village, but are trying to do so in a balanced and environmentally friendly way, so that the reef doesn’t get polluted. I like the artwork and I also enjoy that these games have diverse characters and themes that are about trying to make the world a better place. I picked this up because my daughter enjoyed The Tea Dragon Society Book and I thought this game might appeal to her and be playable with her since it’s cooperative.” Renee, “This is a great family friendly cooperative game. Each season you reveal an event and then collectively decide which card each player is going to play from their hand of character cards. Cards trigger at different stages of the season, allowing you to get food, plant vegetables, repair and build buildings and clean the reef. There is a push your luck element where you draw fish from a bag to feed your town, while trying not to pull out pollution that wrecks your reef. While managing your town, you can do actions conservatively and cleanly, or do more powerful actions which adds pollution to your reef. It’s an interesting balancing act of trying to make your town prosperous while managing the environment. I think this would make a fantastic edition to the family cooperative gaming library.”

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Tia has also done some painting this week. “Finally figured I should start painting some of my minis. Here’s a work in progress of Remi from Middara :)”

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Back at home, Greg played Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age, “It had been a while since I’d played this so I thought it was worth a revisit given how many roll & writes I’ve been playing. Players need to balance generating resources with workers, money and food to feed their cities. Money and resources are used to get upgrades giving special powers, and workers are used to build new cities and monuments for points. It’s pretty great!”

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Greg picked up the new arrival Cat Cafe, “This is a dice drafting roll & write where players are adding various items to their cat towers. Players take it in turns drafting one die, leaving one left over which all players then use. Of the two dice each player uses, one determines the item they add and the other is for the shelf height. Items all score in different ways, such as mouse toys which score for having multiples adjacent in a chain, or food bowls which score for having a variety of items adjacent. Players also score for completing cat towers, and the game ends when one player has filled three towers.”

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Greg played Hadara again, “Been wanting to get this back to the table and I managed to get in a two player game with Tracy. I tried a heavy military strategy thanks to an early purple card that gave me a bonus for military cards. It definitely paid off in the end.”

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Greg finishes his week with Welcome to Dino World, “Otherwise known as Jurassic Park: The Roll & Write :grin: Tracy and I tried a two player game of the Lite version. Players simultaneously use the three dice each round to create pathways, build dino pens and add facilities. Dino pens must connect to a path and need generators to power them (from a limited supply). Players work towards the goals on the visitor cards to claim them for points, and also score for each dino pen, facilities and unused generators. I misread one of the facilities cards, meaning I only scored 3 points for it instead of 15, and Tracy proceeded to beat me by 11 points.”

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Greg and Renee played both PARKS (discussed above) and Ecos: First Continent on Friday’s livestream.  Renee, “Ecos is a really interesting card driven game. It seems a bit overwhelming at first, but the rules are actually very straightforward and quite simple. The joy of this game is in the actions on the cards. Figuring out which cards to play to your tableau and then the order in which to make them trigger so that you take advantage of their abilities and scoring conditions is a fun puzzle. Combined with the mechanic of drawing elements from the bag to power up your cards, makes the game a good mix of strategy and luck. The fact that you’r collectively altering and scoring on a common continent creates a good level of player interaction as well.” Both games are on our demo tables this month so come on down to the store to check them out in person.

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Sam also played the new Cat Café roll and write with Jordan, “Naturally, as supreme cat lord, I achieved victory :smile_cat: This has a similar feel to Ganz Schön Clever with some dice drafting and dice modification, but is much simpler in its scoring system.”

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Renee played Sky Tango with Jenn and her Dad, “We had fun getting this to the table again. You play numbered day and night cards in ascending order to the table, either to help you get a run of 5 or more cards to score or to block your opponents. You get a hand of 5 cards that you have to play out before drawing new cards, so the “take that” element is forced on you – you have to play the card where you can legally do so – so it never really feels mean. Trying to complete your run and score it before it gets messed with is fun. A light filler that we always end up enjoying.”

Jenn and Renee finally played Kingsburg with the The Forge a Realm expansion. “The expansion comes with 5 modules; we played with 4. We used the expanded province boards which added some additional buildings. The elements we most enjoyed however were the event cards which added an unique condition to each year, the character cards which gave each player a special ability and the army tokens which replaced the die roll before the winter attack. Rather than reinforce your army with a lucky (or unlucky) die roll, you choose one of your 6 tokens (with a number between 0 and 4); whichever token was left unused was turned into points at the end of the game. The expansion also comes with 14 additional building rows that you can draft to alter your province board. Definitely a fantastic addition to the game!”

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