What have The Sentry Box staff been up to March 8-15

This week is a bit lighter, but we have some exciting new game impressions from Renee from GAMA as well the usual gaming from Greg.

Greg and his group played the next couple of sessions in their Clank! Legacy campaign, “We took a trip away with friends and managed to get in games six and seven of our campaign. Things are definitely moving towards an epic conclusion in the main storyline, and we’ve been unlocking more side quest stuff too. The dastardly Dran Enterprises are a constant thorn in our sides though!”

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“We also got in a quick game of Point Salad. My lovely tomatoes tasted so delicious and helped me to a very narrow victory: 69, 68, 59, 58. It’s a nice light but fun game.”

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On Monday Greg recorded their play of Barrage to post online later, playing a teaching game as Setareh and Kevin hadn’t played before. “Naturally they came 1st and 2nd, crushing Derrick and me. I really like this game. It’s a Euro, worker placement game but with a decent amount of player interaction that comes in the form of blocking or building dams, conduits or powerhouses in places on the board to affect the other players. The unique player boards and Executive Officer powers give each player some direction, and I just picked up the expansion to offer even more options.”

Greg followed up with a classic, Tichu, with Kevin and Setareh taking on Derrick and Greg. “Once again Kevin and Setareh dominated, helped in part due to some sloppy play from both of us.”

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Greg ended the night with a game of Illusion. “This game is hard! It’s obviously difficult when cards have a very close percentage to each other but there were plenty of times when we were way off too. Luca in particular had difficulty because he kept mistaking which colour he was supposed to be looking at!”

Meanwhile at GAMA, Renee got a chance to check out Pavlov’s Dogs, by the folks that created Schrödinger’s Cats. “This is a cooperative game, where one player has a folder and is tracking all the rules that the dogs – the other players – have to follow. You start with one rule, but each round another rule is added. The base game is simple: a player flips a card, mentally adding the number on their card to the current sum, and says the new sum out loud.  So if the previous player said 5, and I flipped a 2, I’d say 7.  Seems easy, except now the rules are changing the values on the card as well as adding additional actions that players must follow. We had a lot of fun playing this together! Each round a new rule is added and the folder passes to the person the left. We quickly found that even with the rules in front of you, it was somehow just as hard to keep track if the other players were playing correctly.”

Renee also played a 6 player game of Tiny Towns with the new Fortune expansion, “The designer of the game, Peter McPherson was there teaching us which was awesome! The expansion adds a treasure chest and coins. If you build 2 buildings on the same turn, you get a coin. You can store up to 4 coins in your chest and at the end of the game they are each worth a point. However, you can spend a coin to turn any called out resource into a resource of your choice. As a result, everyone is delaying building until they are able to build 2 buildings, which pays off when you desperately need a particular resource and you can “buy” it with a coin. The expansion also adds new building cards for each building type, a bunch of which use the new coins, as well as new monuments. I highly recommend this expansion for fans of the original game!”

Renee got to play another upcoming game from HABA called Miyabi, “This is a tile drafting game, where you are building a garden and getting points based on the size of the tile and the level at which it is placed. The tiles range in size from 1 to 3 squares with the item in one of the squares. When placing the tile, the item must go in its designated row and in a column you haven’t used yet this round. In addition, if placing it on top of other tiles, it must be fully supported by the tiles below – no building bridges! At the end of the game there are bonus points for most viewable items in each row as well as bonus points for the first person to build each item at the 5th level. This is a great family game, easy to learn but enough going on to keep it interesting. I really enjoyed it!”

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Greg and Tracy tried Unlock: Night of the Boogeymen, the first in the Exotic Adventures box. “It was rated as easy and mostly was, but we made a goof by not pulling out one card that we should have and that meant we got stuck and were taking lots of hints and penalties before we realized. The last puzzle took us a bit of time before we figured it out too, so overall we only scored 3/5. Still fun though.”

At GAMA’s second game night, Renee had a chance to check out Namiji, a sequel to the incredibly popular and beautiful game Tokaido. “In Namiji you’re fishing off the coast of the town in the original game. It has similar gameplay for movement on the now circular path, but with some new actions. There are fishing actions which allow you to add fish to your player board on which you are trying to make sets of either the same fish or all fish of the same colour, getting points for completing sets in the rows or columns. There is a fun crustacean action in which you press your luck pulling tokens from a bag, scoring points for pulling shrimp, but if you pull 2 crabs you bust and get nothing! As well as new vertical panoramas and more. I really like it! Can’t wait to see how gorgeous the final product turns out.”

Renee also played Break the Code, “This is a fantastic deduction game where players are racing to determine the code. Each player gets 5 numbers and players take turns asking a question about the numbers the other players have. There are a whole deck of questions and you always have 6 to choose from, replacing the question you asked with a new card from the deck. In our 3 player game, the other 2 players answer the question about their numbers and we were competing to figure out the 5 numbers that were in the middle of the table. It involves being clever about tracking the info you get about the other players’ numbers as well as figuring out which question will get you the missing info you desperately need. I definitely recommend this to players that love deduction games but are looking for something that plays quickly and is easy to pick up and play.”

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Later in the week, Greg and Tracy played Unlock: Scheherazade’s Last Tale, “This is the second in the Exotic Tales box and has a difficulty rating of 2 out of 3. I’d actually done this one before but let Tracy take the lead on it and I’d also forgotten chunks of it. We got stuck on one little bit and also ran over the time a little, but scored 4 out of 5 overall.”

Flyin’ Goblin is an upcoming dexterity game that Renee was able to try out, “Each player starts with a catapult and 2 goblins. On the count of three, players start flinging their goblins into the box, hoping to get into the tower, which rewards the player with diamonds. Goblins that land in the box also may gain (or lose) gold or diamonds. In each round, players can fling their goblins until one player yells ‘Done!’ indicating that they have flung all their goblins. At the end of each round, players use gold to buy one additional goblin, some with special abilities, or one tower piece. Players can win either by being the first player to collect a set number of diamonds or to completely build their tower on a platform on the box and have it survive an entire round. We all had an absolute blast playing this!”

Another quick and fun game Renee had a chance to check out, Breakdancing Meeples, “This is a like an updated version of Pass the Pigs; Players have 60 seconds to simultaneously roll meeples, placing them on their cards as they match the required position. If you complete a card, you place a cube on the card, scoring the corresponding points at the end of the round.  You only have 6 meeples so you have to be selective about where you assign them so you can actually complete the card. At the end of each round players have the opportunity to draft new cards with new dance sequences. The cards have a variety of options – some are easy and can score a few points multiple times a round and others score more points once per round. It was frantic and a lot of fun!”

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Greg got to play another session of Gloomhaven, “We managed to get our full group together and played a scenario where we rescued some slaves and had to protect one of them as we fought a bunch of Inox. The tricky part was that our ally would move forwards every round, including opening doors. We just about managed it and unlocked a couple of new scenarios.”

Back at GAMA, Renee played Coralia, “This looked great at the display booth so I was excited to try it out one night, especially since it had so many pretty dice. Players roll 4 dice and then choose one to play in its spot on the board. Each coloured area has the some options, but as dice are placed, these spaces get blocked. One action allows you to draw fish cards, from which you want unique sets at the end of the game, another action lets you place an octopus, which scores points immediately and whenever another octopus is placed on the board later on, you can also collect cards that give you bonus scoring at the end of the game. It was a light game that might appeal to families, but didn’t end up being a win for me which was disappointing.”

One game Renee absolutely loved at GAMA was Cubitos, “This is John D Clair’s new press your luck dice building game. Players start with 8 basic grey cubes that grant minimal coins and board movement, which they roll, placing dice with faces showing on their player board and re-rolling blanks. Players roll until they have at least 3 active dice and then they start pushing their luck; you can keep rolling as long as you want, but if you ever roll all blanks, you bust! There are 8 colour dice that players can buy to strengthen their dice pool and what is cool is that each colour comes with a whole stack of cards, so each time you play the dice powers and options are different. Movement actions allow players to move along the board taking routes which give them bonuses, but ultimately they are competing to be the first player to cross the finish line. It was so much fun!”