What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Dec 30-Jan 5

Happy New Year! We started this year off with a bang, celebrating the store’s 40 birthday. It has been awesome hearing stories from long-time customers about the impact the store has had in their lives and the Calgary gaming community. Like Gord said, “We do it because we love gaming and we still game every week.” The staff has had a particularly busy gaming week with time spent over the holidays with our friends and family. Here is a wrap up of some of the stuff we’ve been playing.

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Greg played Clank! In! Space! at Monday Board Game Night, “I love Clank but hadn’t tried the Space version so I was happy to jump into a game. Apparently both expansions (Apocalypse & Cyber Station 11) were included too, but having played regular Clank before I was ok with the changes they added in. I do like the little tweaks compared to the original, and some have actually also been implemented in the Legacy version. In this game I was picking up a fair number of points but was mercilessly killed before escaping!”

Greg also played Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar, “Ryan had brought his exquisitely painted copy of the game, along with the expansion, which allowed us to play a 5 player game. We didn’t add any of the other expansion elements as none of us were familiar with them. I started the game with no real plan, as is usual, although I did figure out some ways to score towards the end and came a solid 3rd out of 5. Always a pleasure to play this!”

Jordan played On Tour! “It definitely had more strategy than I expected, so I’ve learned a lot for the next time I play. It’s a fairly straight forward roll and write though that I am excited to play again. Jazz band GMT took the cake this time with 36 points!”

Sam had a chance to play Takenoko, “This game is really cute and simple to learn, which I enjoyed. There’s a cool amount of interaction between players with different actions and scoring objectives. The components are really well made and nice looking as an added bonus. Definitely a good pick for a lighter family game.”

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Greg played Azul: Summer Pavilion again, “I tried a different strategy this game and it totally didn’t pay off, leaving me 0-2 so far. That tracks pretty well with the first two Azul games. I enjoy all three, I just don’t seem to be very good at them.”

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Sam got to play Deadly Doodles, “This is an entertaining flip and write, but not super substantial. I like it because there’s no strategy guaranteed to win and you can trap other players during the game with the X’s on your board.”

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Greg and Tracy played Unlock: Lost in the Time Warp, “This was the last of the three adventures in the Timeless box and the one rated as most difficult. It definitely proved tricky in places and we had to take a few hints. We also ran over the time by a few minutes, but we still ended with a score of 3 out of 5 so overall I’m not too disappointed in that with just the two of us playing. It was a fun way to end the year!”

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Jordan’s last game of 2019 was Tsuro: Phoenix Rising. “I’ve always been interested in the Tsuro games because they look super cool and this new edition did not disappoint. Flying around and making stars and having huge flight paths (intentional or not) is just as cool as it sounds. It definitely makes me want to try the original versions of the game in the new year.” Sam adds, “It is 15/10 spooky to bust the trays apart after is my only critique. They sounded like we broke them.”

Renee and her family also tried out Azul: Summer Pavilion, “We’ve enjoyed playing the other Azul’s quite a bit with my Dad so I got him the new one for Christmas. We’ve played it a few times now and we enjoy it. While maintaining the tile drafting and tile laying elements, once again the strategy of the game has changed. The biggest change is that this time you collect all your tiles during the round and at the end, place them on your board for points. Each round one colour is wild and you can save up to 4 tiles for the next round so some interesting choices for how to use the tiles. While I’m always going to have a particular fondness for the original, this is a fun addition to the series.”

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Renee’s last game of 2019 and first game of 2020 was Paladins of the West Kingdom, “My new favourite game that I think I finally figured out! Was excited to show this to Jenn so we played a 2 player game. We both tried different strategies but hilariously ended in a 59-59 tie. We played again with Adam on NYE and this time Jenn bested me which I had promised her would happen the first time. This game is so good! So many good thinky choices, enough player interaction that you have to prioritize your action order, but always enough alternate choices to mitigate when someone spoils your plan. I really love how the actions work – you activate actions on your player board by placing the correct coloured meeples, and like Orleans you can develop the actions so they cost fewer meeples in the future. It’s also a neat puzzle to manage the levels of your faith, strength and influence to be able to do the various actions as well as having the required resources. I highly recommend this game.”

Terraforming Mars: Turmoil has arrived and Renee got it to the table, “Jenn and I tried the new expansion and both really enjoyed it – despite the fact that it turned an afternoon game into an evening game – did it really take over 5 hours? There are 2 main components of the expansion: government and global events. The government has 6 parties, each with specific benefits and ruling bonuses. There is a neutral party controlled by the global events cards and the players have the ability to add delegates to the parties. Each generation, the dominant party (the one with the most total delegates) become the ruling party – providing immediate benefits (ex. 1 MC per science tag) as well as a bonus for the generation (ex. Titanium is worth 1 MC more). In addition, each generation there is a global event – either good or bad that impacts all players. Knowing the global event can really change your strategy each generation as well as the ruling party bonus. I really enjoyed the expansion and the new kickstarter player boards were a fantastic bonus!”

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Christopher picked Lego Minotaurus out for a quick game to play with Renee and family, “It’s a variation of a roll and move in which all players are attempting to get their minifigs to the center of the board. The game has added some strategic elements: when you roll black, you get to move the minotaur 8 spaces and try to catch your opponents, and when you roll grey, you get to move a barrier, to either block your opponents or perhaps block the minotaur from attacking you. I like that there are some choices for kids to make and the board is modular allowing you to mix it up. All in all, not a bad kids game.”

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Maddie provides this report: “It’s official. I’m starting D&D.”

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Jordan loves Food Chain Magnate, “One of my favourite board games! it offers a ton of strategy and has no luck based elements involved. it’s a super satisfying game that demands a lot of interaction between players with engine-building, deck-building and resource management all mashed together.”

Jordan also got to play Letters from Whitechapel, “This was my first hidden movement game. I got to play with my siblings against Sam, who we caught just in the nick of time. it was super exciting and easy to get absorbed into our role as police officers hunting for Jack the Ripper.”

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Renee picked up Space Base to play on NYE, “We’ve played several times in the last couple of days which allowed me to remember how much I enjoy this game. You have a player board with space ships on spaces 1-12. When you roll the dice you activate the ships giving you stuff like money to buy new ships. Bought ships replace the ships on your board, which slip under your board to become ships that trigger on everyone else’s turn. There are also ships that increase your base income, ships that give you straight up points and ships that you can “charge” to use special abilities when it is most advantageous. What makes the game so much fun is that you can build different engines to try different strategies and the fact that you can build engines so that you are generating lots of stuff on other player’s turns. It’s an easy to teach and learn game that my entire family enjoyed a lot.”

Greg has started assembling the huge Imperial Star Destroyer Lego set. “Awww yeeeaaahh!!”

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Kris has been doing some painting.

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Renee and family played an unconventional 5 player game of Dominion. “All of us tried different strategies with the cards this game but once again Christopher squeaked out a win. This is what we love about Dominion – each time we play we put out a different set of cards and get to try some different strategies. It continues to be a family favourite and with all the different expansions, the options are pretty much endless.”

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