What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – April 20-26

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Maddie finally got Bumblebee and Prime done! “I was able to figure out the water-slide decals so Optimus has one of those, while Bumblebee has just the clear sticker. Overall I’m pretty happy with how these turned out. I still have to get Megatron finished.”

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On Monday Christopher and Renee played another quick game of Age of War before dinner. “Still fun, still frustrating and still awesome.”

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After dinner they played a 5 player game of Chai. “I really enjoyed it at the max player count, turns are quick so the game keeps moving and the increased competition for the customers was fun. I love that everyone in the family enjoys this game so much and we’re getting a lot of plays in these days.”

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Sue played Talisman: Kingdom Hearts. “Super fun game, really easy to play. Delightful models to paint.”

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Tracy and Greg tried another one of the Deckscape Escape Room games, Test Time, this one about time travel. “They have clue cards for each puzzle that you’re allowed to look at if you’re stuck, but you don’t get penalized for using them. We did use those a few times but otherwise found this to be fairly straightforward and didn’t make any errors. We also finished it in less than an hour, so we got top marks. It was a fun one!”

Jenn and Renee played another game of Cartographers, “It’s so much fun to colour in the sheets and with the different scoring cards coming out each game, each game feels different. Christopher saw us playing and asked to play, so we played again with him. I wasn’t sure how he would do with managing the 4 scoring objectives, but he managed to get a very decent score and we all had fun!”

They then wrangled the kids into a game of Reef, “We’ve been wanting to try this with them for a while now. It’s a pretty straightforward game in that you’re placing pieces on the top part of the card on your board and then scoring the pattern on the bottom part of the card. However, since the cards never give you the pieces you need for their own scoring pattern, it requires that you collect cards that work together well and do some planning. The kids enjoyed it.”

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Tracy and Greg were talking online with some friends and they tried out a game of Just One over the video chat. “It worked out ok, with the guesser looking away while the others compared clues, etc. and we ended up getting a pretty good score, getting 9 out of 13.”

 

 

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – April 13-19

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Greg and Tracy completed Nuclear Countdown, the third scenario in Escape Room: The Game. “This one had a slightly higher difficulty rating than the Virus one, but we actually found it to be not too difficult on the whole. Part 2 did stump us a bit, but parts 1 & 3 weren’t too bad, and it was a pretty fun one overall, with some interesting puzzles.”

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Tracy and Greg played a game of Cartographers on the live stream and had a few people join in from home. “We played the solo rules for the ambush cards since we couldn’t easily pass our sheets to other players, but otherwise it played exactly like normal. It’s a fun flip & write game of mapping out terrain on your sheet to try to maximize your score based on the four score cards over four seasons, but each season two of the score cards are in play.”

Renee and Jenn also played a game of Cartographers on Friday, “I’ve been wanting to show Jenn this game for a while now and used the upcoming livestream as an opportunity to teach Jenn the game. I was so happy to get to play it again! This seems like a simple flip and write but there is a lot of strategy to this game and with different scoring objectives, each game will feel different. Jenn agreed that it was a good game too! We found ourselves often muttering under our breaths about how to place our plots of land in ways that helped with the scoring objectives. Hard decisions are hard! Jenn was able to play again that evening on the livestream and enjoyed it!”

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Renee, Jenn and Christopher played Chai again at Christopher’s insistence, “It seems that it is his current favourite game! We’re enjoying getting to play it with more than 2 players and getting beaten by an eight year old is totally cool.”

Renee taught Age of War to Jenn and Christopher, “This is a dice game where you roll the dice and attempt to claim a card by placing matching dice on the card. The trick is that you can only assign dice to one line (of 2, 3 or 4 lines) each roll and then you have to re-roll all the remaining dice and hope to match another line on the card with that roll. If not, you have to remove a die and roll again.  You can either claim cards from the center market or steal them from other players, however if a player claims all the cards from one clan, they flip them over and those points are safe and cannot be stolen. This game has everything I love in dice rolling games; the thrill of a successful roll and the shouts of dismay when you roll over and over and can’t get the dice you need. Christopher obviously felt the same way because later he excitedly asked to play ‘that game that I hate!’ Never been prouder.”

Before dinner Renee, Jenn and Christopher played a quick game of Animal Upon Animal. Christopher kept making extremely risky moves and when we questioned him about it, he said, “Come on! It’s a 4 year old’s game, we have to make it more challenging!” Good point.

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Greg finished reading Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, “This was a very easy read that was light on sci-fi techno-babble and more focused on the main character. As John Scalzi’s first novel I am pretty impressed and may pick up some more of his stuff in the future.”

Alex and Greg played three games of Unicorn Glitterluck, “With Alex winning the first two and the last ending in a tie. Game two in particular was a beating. It’s light and mindless but I actually don’t mind playing this with her.”

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Greg and Tracy completed the final scenario in Escape Room: The Game, Temple of the Aztec. “This was the final scenario in the box and the one with the highest difficulty rating. We managed the first part ok but part two was definitely tricky. We spent the rest of the time on it and felt we’d done everything right but couldn’t get the right answer. Afterwards we checked the walkthrough and a youtube video and discovered that we must have had a different version as our components didn’t match the walkthrough or video properly and we still weren’t able to figure out how to get the right answer. Kind of frustrating and disappointing as the previous three had been enjoyable.”

 

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – March 30 – April 5

Another update on what the staff at the store have been playing, reading and painting. We hope that with everything going on, you’ve also been able to get games to the table, books read and miniatures painted.

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Greg and Tracy pulled out Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Case One: The Munitions out since they had run out of Escape Room games. “We’ve played a couple of other cases but started at the very beginning with this one. It felt slightly more straightforward than the others we’d done, although we obviously still didn’t come clise to matching Holmes. I was pretty happy with a score of 50 though!”

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Greg finished reading: The Coming of Conan The Cimmerian, “This is actually a collection of short stories about Conan, spanning various times in his life. It’s very much what I’d call classic fantasy, with the string hero character having adventures and rescuing a variety of scantily clad maidens. I enjoyed it for what it was.”

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Kris played Arkham Horror: The Card Game remotely with his group using the set up seen above, “I know some computer based programs would have been easier but I like the feel of the cards in my hands so it was worth the extra hassle.”

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Greg checked out Deckscape: Heist in Venice, “This is a different version of an escape room game, and is one that uses just a deck of cards with no app or anything else. There are six characters and the players split them equally between them, so all six are used. Each character has some info on the back that you’re not allowed to show the other players, that will help you with the puzzles you come across. The other different thing about it is that you only get one chance at each puzzle. When you think you have the right answer you flip the card if you’re right, you carry on. If you’re wrong you marked one error on the scoresheet and carry on. I found most of the puzzles to be fairly straightforward, with the odd one that was trickier. I did enjoy it but I think I prefer the Exit and Unlock games overall.”

Nerd Words: Science also made it to the table at the Jackson house, “This is a team clue-giving game, but it has a few twists compared to other similar games. All the words or phrases you need to clue to are Science terms. On top of that, when you give clues they have to start with one of the letters from the word or phrase. That restriction actually makes it quite difficult! Teams get the chance to guess, and can bet points if they are confident. After a number of rounds the team with the highest score wins. Tracy and I played the two player variant where we alternate turns but work as a team over ten rounds. We started pretty strongly but then found it tougher later, and ended with a score of 27 out of a maximum of 40, giving us a B grade. Not too bad for a first try!”

Renee and Jenn pulled out an old favourite, Takenoko to play for the first time with the Chibis expansion. “The expansion adds Miss Panda, so when you take the panda action you can move either panda. Miss Panda doesn’t eat bamboo, but if she ends her turn on the same tile as Panda, the player can spend one piece of bamboo for a baby panda token of the same colour. Tokens are worth 2 points and give the player an immediate bonus. It also adds some new tiles, allowing some additional mechanics, new objective cards (some are challenging!) and additional bamboo. The expansion did exactly what I was hoping it would do: make an oft played game feel new again. I’ll also never get tired of how good this game looks on the table.”

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They also played Illimat again. “I’m really enjoying this game the more I play it. We already know I like parlour card games so not too much of a surprise I guess.”

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Renee and Jenn got Imhotep to the table for the first time since acquiring it. “Players take turns adding their player stones to boats, sailing the boats to 5 action boards and resolving their player actions in the order of the stones on the boat. The game is very straightforward, but you’re faced with some good decisions. Where in the boat do you put your stone when you’re not sure which action space the boat will end up at? Do you use your turn to add another stone to a boat or take the opportunity to decide where a loaded boat will go? It’s a lighter game and plays quickly but has some decent strategic choices.”

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They ended their gaming session with Qwirkle, “This is another game that we used to play all the time and has recently made it back on the table. Jenn and Dad had played it on their recent trip, but it’s been years for me. I like this game! Players play tiles to a scrabble like grid, making sets by shape or colour. The key is placing tiles so they score in multiple sets at the same time. Our grid got pretty crowded quickly and stayed that way for game.”

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Having previously worked through the Rush Hour puzzles Greg has now moved on to Gravity Maze. “The card tells you the location and orientation of the target piece, starting piece(s) and sometimes other pieces, and then tells you which other pieces must be added. You have to place all pieces onto the grid so that when a ball is dropped in the starting column it goes through all other pieces before ending at the target. They start off very easy, but the expert level is getting tough!”

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Tia is continuing her campaign in Tainted Grail, “And we found the Tainted Grail.”

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Greg and Tracy tried out one of the other Escape Room style games playing through the first scenario of four in the box Escape Room: The Game,  Prison Break. “This game comes with a device with four keyhole slots and 16 keys. Each scenario has three parts and in each part you need to figure out which keys to use and in which order. The device has a timer counting down and there are periodic hint or answer cards you can take as the time decreases. It says it’s for 3-5 players on the box, but we had no trouble with the first scenario, finishing with about 20 minutes to spare. It was a neat system and we both enjoyed it.”

Chris has run up quite a backlog of projects that he’s actually finished painting, but haven’t got around to taking photos of. Time to fix that! “Going in chronological order, first up are a few more models for my Space Marine Kill Team. These guys are newer options from the Commanders and Elites expansions to complement my existing team. A Librarian as my Commander, letting me make my presence felt during the Psychic Phase, and two Eliminators for stealthy long-range firepower. These models were a lot of fun to paint, especially the camo pattern and the Librarian’s billowing cloak. Unfortunately despite several attempts, I never got his mysterious glowing eyes to look exactly how I wanted – close enough though!” 

That’s the week for us. We’re still taking orders for curbside pick-up, so contact us if you’re in the need for games, books, miniatures or painting supplies!