What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Dec 23-29

 

Greg brought Maracaibo to the Monday board game night and played a three player game with Renee and Derrick. Greg, “It was a pretty close game, with good scores all round, and a chance to see some different cards and cities, as you randomly use just a selection each game. Definitely one of my current favourites!” Renee, “I know I’m enjoying a game when I have no idea how much time has passed while playing it. In this case I felt like the game was moving fairly quickly and I was shocked we’d been playing it for over 2 hours, the time just flew by! There is a bunch going on in this card driven rondel; so lots of things to do for points. The board is a map, on which you can move 1-7 spaces, doing various city or village actions, including playing cards which can give you resources, points, income or abilities. In addition, you can send out assistants to different locations to give you additional actions on the board. Your player board yourself is your ship and you are continuously upgrading the spaces on the ship to give you immediate bonuses, additional action options or more powerful actions in general. So a lot of very interesting choices to be constantly making about what to do and in which order. I see why this has been getting so much buzz, it’s a meaty game that’s fun to play. I like it!”

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Greg then took out Azul: Summer Pavilion, “The third Azul game, and as with both previous games it involves drafting tiles from the central factory spaces. In this version you don’t place tiles immediately though, you wait until all tiles have been drafted and then take it in turns placing them on your board. Points are scored for each placement and bonus tiles can be gained for surrounding certain spaces. End game points are scored for filling stars and filling all spaces of a given value. It’s another neat variation on Azul.”

The last game to hit the table was Llama. Greg, “Derrick and I started a two player game, which was going well for me, but then Setareh joined and things started to go badly. Derrick ended one round on 39 points (the game ends when someone reaches 40), but then scored 20 more the next round to convincingly lose, with Setareh winning comfortably.”

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Greg played Unicorn Glitterluck at home, “Alex asked to play this again so we played two games, with me winning the first but her crushing me 13-7 in the second. We always have to play at least two games so that all four unicorns get a chance to be involved.”

Greg and Alex also played Quoridor, “Alex brought this down for a game and played in her usual aggressive manner, playing wall pieces right in front of me. Then, also as usual, she got mad because I won. Maybe I should handicap myself by using less wall pieces to give her a chance? I’m still unsure on the idea of letting your kids win at things versus earning a win.”

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Jordan played Pipeline, “This is definitely a bit intimidating to take in at a glance but its game-play was straightforward but still offered a lot of depth and decisions to make. It’s a really satisfying engine building game that doesn’t out stay its welcome. I won our first game by a decent margin! I got a pretty robust engine of refining and selling one of the three types of oil and ignoring the rest, though I think that’s only one of many possible successful strategies. The game is a bit of an eyeful (and unfortunately blended into our tablecloth a little) but was pretty fun to play.”

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Jordan also got a game of Welcome To in with the family. “I led Chili’s, the culinary colossus, to a tie with the Pain Train for the win! This game is always fun and I love how lightweight and relaxed it is, and that it’s so flexible to fit any number of players.”

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Greg played Jurassic Snack again, “I decided to introduce this one to Alex because I figured she could manage the rules even if she may not be able to grasp the strategy. I was planning on not being aggressive with the T-Rexes so that she didn’t get sad losing all her Diplos, but then only one T-Rex came out and it was very near the end of the game anyway, so it ended by grass tiles all going and Alex actually won by having more valuable tiles.”

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Greg played a couple of Renegade demo games we got sent for upcoming releases, starting with Stellar, Greg, “This one is topical for me as we just bought a telescope for Tracy’s birthday and the game is about astronomy. It’s got simple gameplay, with players drawing one card, playing a card to one of two locations (telescope or notebook) and then that play determining which other card gets played and to where (the other of the two locations). After 11 rounds the players will have filled their telescope and score points for a few different criteria. Despite the simple gameplay the decisions were quite interesting and difficult. It also looks great and the cards have little informative tidbits on them too.”

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The second was Fox in the Forest Duet, “I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve actually never played regular Fox in the Forest, so I can’t make any comparison but I know the original is competitive whereas this game is cooperative. Players play 2 or 3 rounds, with each round consisting of 11 tricks. There is a central path board, with gem tokens on most spaces and the players are trying to collect all gems. When a player wins a trick they move the marker in their direction a number of spaces depending on the cards played. If they land on a space with one or more gem tokens they take one. If they go off the end of the path they go back to the centre and place a forest token at the end of the path, thus shortening it. At the end of a round a forest token and some more gem tokens are placed. If players run out of forest tokens or don’t collect all gems by the end of the third round they lose. It was pretty interesting as players aren’t allowed to discuss cards in hand or plans they have, so you need to somehow get on the same wavelength.”

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Parks was under the tree this year so Jenn and Renee played a game on Christmas Day. “Definitely a lighter game but while we’ve both played a few times before, we still tried some different strategies. Jenn immediately went after gear that reduced the prices of parks and managed to grab a ton of them over the game. I went big into canteens and gear that helped utilized them, which made for some fun turns with lots bonus actions, but ultimately Jenn’s strategy was more effective.”

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Renee, Jenn and Adam played a quick game of On Tour, “This is definitely my current favourite roll, flip and write. Simple concept but fun and frustrating choices. No matter what you do, you always feel like you’re the worst tour manager in the world.”

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Renee and family also played their annual game of Domino War, “A classic game, you place a domino on the board and if your domino closes a box you place your team’s marker in it. Pretty straightforward game that still rewards some basic strategy.”

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Tracy and Greg tried the second adventure in the Unlock: Timeless Adventures box, Arsene Lupin and the Great White Diamond. “This was marked as a 2/3 difficulty but as I’ve often found previously it seemed easier than the previous 1/3 difficulty adventure and we ended with a score of 5 stars. There were some neat puzzles in this one, I liked it quite a lot. Looking forward to trying the third in the series.”

Lastly, Greg tried out new arrival Sorcerer City, “When Tracy saw this laid out she said ‘This looks heavy’, but in reality it’s a nice light to medium tile laying game. It also has deck-building elements as each player starts with an identical set of tiles and can add new ones to it as the game progresses. There’s also a speed element as players only have two minutes to play their tiles, and there are also disruptive monster tiles that can mess you up. I really like this game as it’s simple but interesting and has a good variety of new tiles and monsters to change it up, as well as artifact tiles that can be added later. The deluxe version comes with metal prestige point tokens that stack nicely and the insert is really nice too.”

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