What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Feb 10-16

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Greg pulled out Blackout: Hong Kong on Monday night, “This game received a bit of negativity due to the dark colour scheme and uninspiring art, but I’ve enjoyed lots of Alexander Pfister’s other games so I wanted to give this a try. I’m glad I did because I enjoyed the game-play quite a bit. It uses a similar hand management system to Mombasa by the same designer, which I also like, but this one is about completing objectives, recruiting more volunteers and securing districts. Definitely one to check out if you like meaty Euros.”

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Kevin and Greg also played a two player game of Arboretum, a brain burny card game. “I’m definitely figuring it out a little more each time I play it. A great option if you want a small game that offers interesting thinky choices.”

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Renee brought Res Arcana on Monday to try out the new expansion, Lux et Tenebrae “The expansion adds a new type of card, Demons, which have special abilities like the Creatures and Dragons, as well as new Mages and Places of Power that interact with the Demon cards. It also has scrolls, which you can acquire using a new Magic Item. Once you have a scroll it gives you a one time ability that you can use at any time. I really enjoyed these additions and it made an already fun game even more fun for me! It was also awesome to discover that the insert in the original game already had slots for the new components! Looking forward to seeing what is coming up in the next expansion. Oh and I should also note that the expansion allows you to now play with up to 5 players.”

Renee also got another chance to play In The Hall of the Mountain King, “This is a game that we had played a 2 player game of on the stream that I was looking forward to trying with more players, so happily played a 4 player game. This is a fun puzzling game, where you need to balance your resources, the path of your tunnel using puzzle tiles (similar to Indian Summer) and an overall plan to acquire pedestals and statues to build and move for end game points. It played well at 4 players. The biggest changes were the competition for using the spells before they got spent, being able to build your alter, and the fight for tunnel pieces towards the end of the game. I think it played well at both player counts, but it was a lot of fun with more players.”

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Greg finished reading The Sword of Shannara, “I have a hard time not making comparisons between books that follow the ‘Hero’s Journey’ trope with The Lord of the Rings. Typically they just feel very derivative and uninteresting to me, and this one is no exception. A young hero forced to leave his home under the guidance of a mystical companion to defeat a dark power. A dependable friend from their home town joins them, along with a ‘fellowship’ of other companions including elves, a dwarf, and the rightful king of the border region that is known as the first defense against the dark power. How this spawned a large series of books and now a TV show I’ll never know, as I found it decidedly yawn-inducing.”

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Greg also played a couple of solo games of The Game and remembered how awesome it is. “So simple, yet deep, and frustrating yet satisfying. I should play this more.”

Alex asked to play one of ‘my’ games, so Greg pulled Kingdomino out. “I gave her a few suggestions throughout, some of which she ignored, and she still beat me handily. Would have been worse if she’d listened! This is a great little game and even better because I can play it with Alex.”

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Next up was Outfoxed, so Alex and Greg played a two player game. “It was looking a bit dangerous as the Thief was pretty close to escaping and we’d still got two suspects it could have been. Luckily we managed to find the decisive clue to discover that the culprit was Riley!!”

Greg got the gang together again for Gloomhaven, “Three of our group was able to get together to carry on our campaign, playing two more scenarios. In the first we had to split the party to simultaneously step on two pressure plates. As is usual when you split the party it didn’t go smoothly, but we managed to get the job done. In the second we had to fight through a bunch of drakes in order to obtain the power to breath underwater. Some Flame Demons were also hanging around and caused some grief but overall we didn’t have too much trouble.”

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Renee and family had Oma Rika and Opa Grant visiting this weekend so they kicked off some gaming with Las Vegas Royale, a sequel based on the popular game Las Vegas that they had played a lot this summer on the boat. “In this version, the basic mechanics stay the same – players roll dice and assign them to the 6 numbered casinos hoping to win the money at the end of the round – but in this version the 3 lowest paying out casinos have mini games! These games can either be side games you play for a chance to win extra money, or allow actions that impact the other players, like capturing their dice or blocking entry into a casino. It was a great way to kick off the weekend, playing a new version of an old favourite.”

Jenn and Renee had a chance to teach Grant Clank In Space (without expansions), his first time playing a deck builder. “As I expected, he really enjoyed the game. I find this game pretty easy to teach, both in terms of how deck building works and what your overall goals are in the game. Oh and I’ll say it again, I just love it! Clank in any form is just so much fun, but I love the theme in this version. So, how did I do? I didn’t die! I didn’t make it to an escape pod, but I was in the cargo bay module when my last cube was pulled so I got to count my points! I didn’t have the most points, but I still feel like it was a win for me.”

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They also played a four player game of PARKS one night. “I do like this game at higher player counts; with more hikers on the trail, you have to do more planning on when to use your campfire, or use the copy action, as well as there being more competition for the parks themselves. It’s a great game for new gamers because it’s pretty straightforward, but still provides good choices and I love teaching games where there is no hidden information so its easy to answer questions. This is a great lighter game that always looks gorgeous on the table.”

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Renee had a chance to play a 4 player game of Illimat with Jenn, Rika and Grant. “Having mostly played this as a 2 player game with Jenn, it was fun to play a full 4 player game. It has taken me a few plays to figure out a strategy and I’m discovering the more I play it the more I like it as a new take on classic card games. Playing with 4 players really changes up the game as there is a lot of player interaction on the board.”

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