What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – May 25-31

Hey Greg’s playing another Escape Room game! Escape Room The Game: Welcome to Funland. “This one has a creepy clown in it, which is always exciting, and a monkey who eats [spoilers]. There was one kind of tricky puzzle, partly down to a slight dexterity element, but for the most part we were able to figure them out ok and we ended with over 9 minutes to spare!”

Now that Greg has played all the brands of escape room games, he was asked what he thinks of them. He states that overall he enjoys all the brands, while individual scenarios can still be hit or miss:

Deckscape are probably the most straight forward to play as they are just a deck of cards with no app, no cutting or folding involved and if you get stuck you can always continue because you just take a guess and if it’s wrong you get a penalty mark and move on. The puzzles in them have still been fun even with the component limitations.

Unlock obviously also use a deck of cards but sometimes other items and an app. They’ve used some decent innovations with puzzles and apps to give variety, and the app can give hints when needed so you can usually get through to the end. Some have been great, some have been ok.

The Exit Games all use the decoder wheel system so that every puzzle needs you to find the right three number code to get to the next clue cards. They have a bit more variety of components and can force you to think outside the box (or under the box, or on the side of the box) a bit more due to that. I feel like that can make for some better puzzles but can also make for some more fiddly or awkward puzzles that in practice just don’t work amazingly well. They have hint cards and solutions if you get stuck so you can always move on. Most often you have to destroy things as you play so they can’t be reused or sold. So some are great and some are just ok.

Escape Room the Game is the one where the main box comes with four scenarios in it and then you can buy expansions that use the main decoder box. The decoder box is mostly a glorified timer but it has some things on it that are used with some of the puzzles. Each scenario has three parts and the solution to each part tells you which four keys and in which order you put them into the decoder. If you’re wrong it beeps and you lose a minute. If you’re correct it chimes and you move onto the next part. Each key has numerous distinguishing feature though, such as a number, a letter, a Roman Numeral, a shape, an arrow and more. That means that every puzzle can lead you to something different (the answers aren’t always numbers like in the Exit games). There are periodic clue cards that you get to look at as the timer counts down, but there usually isn’t a solution given, so it’s possible that you could get stuck. They do have walk-through solutions on the website though. Aside from the first scenario we’ve had to write on or destroy things so can’t pass them on to other people. Again, I’ve found some to be great and some just ok.

Finally there are two Escape the Room games (Dr Gravely’s Retreat and Stargazer’s Manor). I’ve only played the Stargazer’s Manor and it was a while ago so my recollection is a little hazy but I believe it had numerous parts to it and that it used one or more decoder wheels, so I think it was kind of like the Exit games but I don’t think we had to destroy anything. It had a variety of components though, so the puzzles seemed quite varied too. I’m hoping to play Dr Gravely’s Retreat soon.

On to games of the non-escape-room variety, Greg and Tracy tried out Orleans Stories, “Tracy and I have played quite a bit of regular Orleans so I was intrigued when I heard about this. It takes the original version and puts a new spin on it, or rather two, as there are two game modes you can play. The one we played has players trying to be the first to complete a number of tasks, while also advancing through several eras. The rules for that mode said 90 to 180 minutes, but we ended up taking even longer, splitting it over two nights. Obviously it should go quicker on subsequent plays, but it’s still going to be fairly lengthy. I did enjoy it though, and would like to play this mode again as well as trying out the other option.”

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Greg also reports that we can all relax because he found the cure for the pandemic. “It’s over, we’re all good now.”

Chris has another update on his painting projects, this time featuring adorable tanks:

What’s better than a tank? A little mini tank filled with adorably flammable grots! When this Grot Tank hits the field, something is gonna burn…This model started life as a Panzer 38T kit from the World War Toons range by Meng (if you want to get some for yourself, let us know and we can easily order them for you). Their cartoon proportions mean they’re already most of the way to making excellent Ork vehicles.

I dressed it up with extra bits and plasticard to complete the look of an Orky flame tank (the propane tanks are great little bits from Zinge Industry). The rubber hoses are nothing more than pieces of cord from dollar-store headphones. I used my standard technique for Ork vehicles, with a basecoat of Vallejo Game Color Dark Flesh weathered with Dark Rust and Gunmetal applied with sponge chipping and then a wash with Army Painter Strong Tone.

Sponge chipping gives results I really like, and it’s super easy to do. A handful of weathering pigments finished off the model – MIG Standard Rust on the exhaust plus some Black Smoke on the flamethrower nozzle as well. This kit comes with flexible vinyl tracks that I haven’t worked with before, but they turned out to be really simple: Europe Dust pigment secured with MIG Pigment Fixer, and a drybrush of Gunmetal right over the unpainted tracks turned out exactly how I wanted.

I still have a bunch more of these fun cartoony tank kits lying around (I might have gone a little crazy when buying…) so Grot Box here should have some friends to help burninate things before too long!

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Someone requested that we play Viticulture on the stream so we did, Greg bringing out his old 1st edition, 1st printing copy. “Stonemaier have since made some tweaks based on feedback from players but we stuck with the original rules. It’s definitely not at it’s best with two players, as some of the cards become pretty weak, and with only one space available per action it’s easy to get blocked out of crucial actions. One of the fixes in the newer edition is a large worker who can’t be blocked, but I actually feel like that would make it too easy. The cards can definitely be quite swingy as well, with a lucky draw potentially making a huge difference. Overall I find it ok, but there are a lot of games I would choose to play over this.”

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Alex and Greg played a quick round of Monster Chase, a co-op memory game. “It’s definitely less of a challenge for her now and we never had more than two monsters out at a time. I think I’ll have to add the extra two tiles and maybe even mix the tiles up a bit during the game.”

Ever since Jenn and Renee played Sorcerer City a couple weeks back, Christopher has been asking to play it which we finally did! “To help him learn the game, we played without the timer and the monsters. He went heavy on a rainbow tile strategy, which worked well, but he did say afterwards that the scoring was a bit complicated, which we thought was fair. I’m happy he tried it and also played through the entire game without getting bored. I think simultaneous play definitely helped with that.”

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Santa Monica arrived in store so Jenn and Renee gave it a try. “As expected it was an easy to learn game of building a beach front, with cards scoring in various ways. That being said, managing the different scoring elements proved interesting and more challenging than we expected and we definitely want to try it a few more times to get the hang of it. On your turn you add a card to your beachfront, with cards giving you either tourists/locals, movement abilities to move them around your cards, plus end game scoring objectives for having certain people on the cards or meeting adjacency objectives. Each game you use a different set of additional end game scoring objectives, each player’s starting board has different VIP scoring objectives, plus you randomly choose 2 special actions each game. So there is plenty of variety built into the game. We both enjoyed it and look forward to playing it again.”

Greg got Hundreds of Horses for Alex for her birthday and the title says it all really. “Four horses get laid out and players roll the die and depending what you roll the players may have to vote on which horse fits a description best or which horse the player would like to take home, etc. When players votes match they get to take a scoring token with one to three apples on it. When all scoring tokens are gone the player with the most apples wins. That was me Baby!!”

 

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