What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 11-17

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Greg and Renee played The Taverns of Tiefenthal with River at Monday Board Game Night. Greg, “Got another chance to try this and definitely felt like I had a better idea of what was going on. Once you know how to play it flows very quickly, with a lot of the play simultaneous.”

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Greg and Renee then played Paladins of the West Kingdom. Greg, “Got a chance to try the 2nd game in the West Kingdom series. It has shades of Orleans with the way there are numerous types of workers and actions that require specific kinds. Plus the way you can develop to reduce the cost. Each round the players use one of their paladin cards to give them workers, temporary stat bumps and a special power for the round. They then gain additional workers from the tavern before taking it in turns to perform actions such as fortifying the walls, recruiting townsfolk and attacking or converting outsiders. It’s got a bit going on and I look forward to trying it again.” Renee, “This hurt my brain in all the right ways. There are a bunch of different tracks for you to move up on, each requiring that you get towards the top of them to get rewarded with end game points. The tracks themselves act as your level of strength, influence etc which you need in order to the perform actions required to go up the other tracks. You get a paladin each round that gives you a special ability to you want to plan your actions that round to take advantage of it, but that also requires the correct workers and that you have the levels required. This a fantastic next installment in this game series and grabbed my attention in the way Raiders did when I first played it. Think I already like it more than Architects.”

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They also played Cat Cafe. Greg, “Tried a three player game of this and managed to squeak a victory through lots of points from balls of yarn and cushions.” Renee, “As promised this is a fun addition to the roll and write genre. There is a little bit of dice drafting and each item has its own scoring rules. I can see why people have been enjoying this. Plus instead of drawing x’s or numbers, you can get creative while drawing your cat items!”

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They ended the evening with Ishtar. Greg, “Also tried a three player game of Ishtar, which is a nice light to medium game that looks great on the table.”  Renee, “I was happy to get to try this game again. I did go in with a particular strategy – one big flower bed and score points for my unused workers – which worked ok, but I would do it differently next time. Between deciding which powers to activate, buying trees for points and vying for control for the towers, there are quite a few different strategies to try out on what seems like a simple area control game.”

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Greg continues to play Cartographers, “Got my personal high score in a solo game of this, despite the slow start. The final scoring round was huge!”

Kris was doing some painting this week to get ready for the release of Marvel: Crisis Protocol, “Finally finished with Crisis Protocol, now I just have to learn to play the game.” He did and was joined by Bill for a game on Friday’s livestream.

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Greg tried TerrorEyes, a little kids game with Alex and Tracy. “It’s a real-time game where the active player draws a monster card to see what configuration of monster eyes they are trying to get and then rolls one of the eye dice repeatedly until they roll a needed eye and put it into the slot on the monster. Then they grab the next die and roll that until they get the next eye and so on. While they are doing that the player to their left rolls the red die until they roll a hand symbol, at which point they shout Stop and they become the active player, taking over the eye dice. Once a monster has all the correct eyes the active player takes the card and play passes to the left. First player to get three cards wins. There’s obviously no strategy involved in this but it’s fast, silly fun, and it does help with pattern recognition and speed. Alex won.”

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Greg had some friends round and taught them Ishtar, “Still enjoying it and it’s interesting to see that even for a simple game there are different strategies you can go for, and, for me, just the right amount of player interaction.”

Greg got Paladins of the West Kingdom to the table again, “Gave the solo game a try to see how the AI works and to solidify the game rules in my head. The AI is slightly fiddly so it took longer than I hoped, but it worked well enough. I tried it on medium difficulty and the AI destroyed me, almost doubling my score.”

Renee got together with some old friends to game and catch up so they played a bunch of lighter card games. “It gave me a chance to introduce a few new players to some of my favourite card games. We played LLAMA which they were excited to get to share with their kids. It was so much fun to show them Illusion; watching people discover the simplicity and challenge of sorting cards by the amount of a colour in the patterns on the card is an absolutely joy. Plus what a great way to introduce players to Wolfgang Warsh!  We played a couple rounds of Krass Kariert which I’ve also enjoyed sharing with new players. I also got to play a new to me game: Custom Heroes. It’s a card crafting game by John D Clair, this time in the form of a simple trick taking game. The base cards numbered 1-10 all come with sleeves and can be customized up to 4 times, to change their base value (6 with a modifier of +7 becomes a 13) or give them special abilities (this card counts as 2 of itself). So each round the deck is evolving. The game play is simple, you play singles, pairs or trips until no one can play, trying to get out first – President-style – with the game having a handicapping system: first to go out gets the most point tokens, but subsequent players get more upgrades (used to upgrade cards) and energy tokens (used to pay to play upgrades). This is a great take on a trick taking game and a fantastic way to introduce players to card crafting and the games of John D Clair.”

Renee played Silver & Gold with the family this weekend, “A new arrival that I had heard good things about so picked it up and finally got it to the table. It’s a flip and write where players have treasure maps and on each turn you have to draw (cross out) areas on your maps matching the flipped card. You get points for the maps plus bonus points for coins and palm trees. It’s easy to teach and we had fun playing it. Going to see if I can get it to the table on Monday to give it another go.”

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Renee and family also played On Tour, “I played this a while ago and immediately fell in love with it. So when it arrived at the store it was an insta-buy. This time a roll & flip & write, you have to write numbers on a map of the US to plan a tour for your band.  Each turn you roll two d10’s, resulting in 2 different 2 digit number (e.g. 26 & 62), you flip over 3 region cards, and then have to write the 2 numbers in 2 of the 3 regions.  At the end of the game, you try and create your longest possible tour by drawing a path from lower to higher numbers through neighbouring states. There is a lot of strategy involved in planning your route and its a really fun game!”

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