What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Dec 16-22

It has been a very busy week at the store; it seems that folks are doing more shopping than usual! We will be around all day today and until 5pm tomorrow to share our gaming experiences and knowledge to help you find some last minute gifts. We hope everyone has a fantastic holiday gaming with family and friends alike!

Greg and Renee kicked off Monday Board Game Night with a play of Tsuro: Phoenix Rising. Greg, “This new Tsuro game takes the familiar aspect of laying tiles and moving along the paths and twists it on it’s head. The tiles are now double sided and have paths that go into the corners. Some also have lantern symbols in different colours. The board starts mostly full, except for the edge areas. Players are now trying to create paths that lead them through tiles with lantern tokens on them, in order to earn stars. If a path leads to a dead end against another tile you stay there and on your next turn pick up the tile in front of you and can flip and/or rotate it to then continue your path. If a player goes off the board they have one extra life to be able to come on again from the edge. Overall I thought it was a nice update to the Tsuro range, offering more meat to the game, yet staying familiar.” Renee, “This is the new Tsuro game that came out this week. While maintaining the core mechanic of playing tiles and having your pawn follow the resulting path there are some key differences that really change your strategy and the gameplay. The core mechanic to is travel through lantern tiles to pick up stars – which are points – rather than staying on the board. In fact, you have a life token you can spend so if you do go off the board, you rise like a phoenix and re-enter the game. This difference really changed the game for me and really made it feel like a quite a different game. Like the original it plays up to 8, so another great light game to add to the collection for bigger groups.”

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Greg then played Brass: Birmingham, “I’ve been wanting to get this back to the table for a while so I was happy to get in a three player game. I still feel like a total novice as far as strategy but I really enjoy the decisions it offers.”

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He finished the night with Letter Jam, “Got another chance to try out this clue giving game, this time with just one player who was new to it. Three of us successfully figured out our letters and as it happens, despite the fourth player not getting all their letters right they still managed to successfully spell a word, so we won overall.”

Meanwhile Renee got to play Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, “I hadn’t played this since we played it on the livestream so I was excited to get to try this again. This is a solid worker placement game in which you are developing an energy empire while being penalized for destroying the environment. Once again I managed to keep my environment very clean while getting a lot of points for my buildings. Derek noted that as a new player the game really feels rushed – something I remember feeling the first time I played – but I really like this game and I’m surprised I don’t see it being played more often.”

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Renee also played a couple games of Coloretto, “I really enjoyed playing this last month so I pulled it out again to end the night. This time it was a 5 player game – my first time playing it with that many players – which was interesting. Which less players it’s easier to keep track of what everyone is collecting and be strategic about adding cards to the columns. We played twice, the second time with the alternate scoring which really changed the game – you almost didn’t want to collect too many cards because after you reached 3, you start to lose points, so this meant we were often taking rows that only had one card.”

Back at home, Greg played Jurassic Snack, “This is a cute little two player kids game that Tracy and I tried out. Players have a group of Diplos who are moving around eating grass tiles that have special abilities when revealed and are also worth points. One ability brings a T-Rex onto the board, who can then ‘scare away’ the Diplos. A player loses if they end with no Diplos on the board, or if the grass tiles all get eaten then the player who scores the most points wins. I think it’s a great little game, and although the strategy may be beyond a younger child they certainly should have no trouble playing it.”

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Greg also got to try another new arrival, Maracaibo, “This is a new game from Alexander Pfister, most noted for Great Western Trail, and this takes some things from that game, such as the board locations as an ‘action rondel’ of sorts. It also includes a campaign that you can play through, with a narrative and changing board and rules. Tracy and I played through a standard game to learn the rules and then played game one of the campaign. It’s a fantastic, meaty euro that is right up my alley, with multiple ways to score points and the player interaction mostly from blocking or leeching off the other players in some way. Set up and tear down is a bit more time consuming than I’d like, but ultimately it’s worth it.”

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Renee came across Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small on her shelf, “So I pulled it out on Thursday to play with my sister. It’s a game that we used to play quite a bit but it had been at least a couple years since it hit the table. While it felt like a relearning game for both of us, it was interesting that we went for very different strategies – Jenn’s farm had 2 full used expansions and I stuck with only the original board – and the point difference was only 1! This is such a good 2 player game worker placement game!”

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Greg finished reading Oathbringer (Book 3 of The Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson. “I’m really enjoying this epic series. Having also read some of his Mistborn books I can say that he’s great at world building and coming up with his own fantasy worlds instead of borrowing from the standard tropes like some others. The characters are interesting and I’m curious to know where the grand storylines are going. This book has an interesting twist and I am itching to read the next book, but sadly it’s not out yet. The silver lining is that Sanderson is actually pretty prolific, quick and open about his progress, so I know it’ll be coming next year!”

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We finish this week’s post with an update on Greg’s Clank Legacy campaign, “Managed to get together with my group to play game 2 of our Clank Legacy Campaign. Things started changing pretty early on, with more rules, cards and tokens added, and the changes came thick after that. Lani has an aversion to destroying cards but we made her rip up a couple and ended with a nice pile at the end. Looking forward to the next game!”

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