What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Aug 3-9

Greg and Tracy played Dawn: Rise of the Occulites:

This is essentially a skirmish miniatures game, but it takes place on a hex board unlike most miniatures games. Players control a tribe of Occulites and, depending on the scenario, are trying to fulfil the scenario objectives to score points and win the game. Tracy and I played the introductory scenario using just the basic rules, which means all Occulites had the same stats and some things were simplified. In the full game your tribe can be customized and the different types of tribe have different abilities. You can also play a campaign where your tribe will improve and gain new abilities as they go on. The game came with the option of painted or unpainted minis, so naturally I took the painted option and they look really great on the table!

The second picture above is Tracy’s defence roll where she rolled nine dice and needed 4 or less on each die for a success (50% chance per die). She failed to get any and it meant her Occulite died a horrible death. Also, this time last year I had a list of unplayed games (Shelf of Shame) that was 90+ games. I’ve made a concerted effort to reduce that and have managed to get that number down to just five games, with plans to get it down to zero if possible. Yay me!

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Greg also tried the new Escape Room The Game: Family Edition. “This has a recommended age of 10+ so I wasn’t sure if it would be too easy or not, but since I play pretty much every escape room game I can get my hands on I tried it anyway. I’m now wishing I’d read a bit more about it beforehand though. The first adventure was going along just fine, if a little easy, but then we got to Part 3 and everything seemed very familiar. After we were done I read the information on the next two adventures in the box and they also sounded very familiar. It turns out that they have taken what comes in the Jumanji Escape Room Box and pretty much reused it all. The only difference is that the Jumanji box comes with an Introductory adventure and then two full adventures. In the family box they took that Jumanji introductory adventure and turned it into part 3 of the first adventure, with adventures 2 & 3 sounding basically the same as the two main Jumanji adventures. Womp womp. Luckily nothing was destroyed in Adventure 1, so we’ve decided to keep the whole thing set aside for much later when the kids are older and then they can play it.”

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The Deadlies: This is a fun little card game by local designer Paul Saxberg. It’s officially for 3-5 players but Paul has posted a 2 player variant on BGG so Tracy and I gave it a go. Things started badly for me and I had a larhe hand of cards compared to Tracy’s hand of two. Then a nice Envy play let me switch hands with her and pretty quickly get rid of my hand. Things only got better from there and I was able to play Gluttony and draw a Sloth card from her to win before she’d even got rid of her first hand of 6. It’s a very cool little card game and well worth a look.

Renee and her Dad played another classic favourite, Patchwork. “This is my favourite 2 player game and I’ve missed it. This is such a well designed game, no matter how often I play it – and it’s likely my most played game – I always enjoy the tight competition between the 2 players for the available choices. Will always agree to play this. Will always recommend it as a 2 player game.”

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Jenn and Renee played another game of Viticulture. “The game went quicker this time and Jenn won easily. Next time we want to play, if we have enough time, I might pull out the Tuscany expansion to check it out. We also played another game of Splendor with Dad. Another game I’ve really appreciated pulling out again.”

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Renee pulled out her roll & write box o’ games and pulled out Dice Stars for them to play a couple of times. “The first game was pretty close, and in the second one we all increased our scores quite a bit which was fun. This is one of my favourite in the box.”

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Christopher picked up Little Devils and asked to learn it, so Renee and Jenn played a quick game with him. “Unfortunately he lost interest pretty quickly and didn’t end up liking it, which isn’t surprising (the rules are a bit awkward to explain), especially in a 3 player game. That being said I do like this strange little game and I’ve always had fun playing with more people.”

Jenn and Renee played another fantastic 2 player game, 7 Wonders Duel. “I’ve always enjoyed this 2 player adaptation of the game and likely because I usually play games with 2 or 3 players, I’ve always liked this more than the original. It was a really tight game, with each of both feeling like we were doing ok, but that the other player was definitely making the game a bit difficult. In the end it was very close, Jenn won by one point.”

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Sue did some miniature conversions this week using Citadel Green Stuff. “The miniatures are from Talisman: Kingdom Hearts, a super fun board game based on the Kingdom Hearts video game series. Kingdom Hearts is a mix of Disney & Square Enix characters including Final Fantasy. In my opinion, the Square Enix characters unique to Kingdom Hearts are easily converted into a number of Final Fantasy Characters. So, using Green Stuff, and a sculpting set I got at the Sentry Box years ago, I converted 3 of the characters into Noctis, Lighting, and Rikku from the Final Fantasy series.”

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Noctis, Lightning, & Rikku

To make Rikku’s “braids” Sue rolled 2 long, thin pieces of Green Stuff and just twisted them together. “It ended up being super easy and I was pleased with the result. Rikku’s ponytail came from the Warhammer Melusai Blood Stalkers box set. I used another ponytail from this box set on Commander Shadowsun.”

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Commander Shadowsun

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Jenn and Rene finally played Clank! In! Space! again and with both expansions. “Apocalypse adds scenarios of varying difficulties which do a few things: when black cubes are removed from the bag you place them on the scenario card, which as phases fill up, add or change things in the game; you also have the ability to buy cubes from the card to both delay the phases and use a new resource which you can spend on spaces one of the new modules included, or using some of the new cards. Cyber Station 11 is primarily a new board, but it also includes another module and some more cards as well, including cyber ware that you can ‘install’ and use each turn rather than discarding back into your deck. Both excellent expansions to an already great game. Oh and of course, I died and Jenn won.”

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Renee, Jenn, and their Dad got in 2 games of Chai as well. “It was fun to play with Dad after all our recent games of Splendor because in some ways it is similar – collecting resources to buy cards for points, using turns to reserve a card – but the market action is just such a unique mechanic, the puzzle of buying ingredients for the cheapest prices. And thematically it all comes together so well, making the orders to serve the customers and even getting a tip! It was fun to play again and now everyone in the family has played it!”

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Renee read Starship Troopers which was strange for a few reasons. “First I never read it when I was reading all the Heinlein in my youth, I think because the theme didn’t particularly appeal to me. Secondly, when the movie came out, I still never got around the reading the source material, despite enjoying the movie. So now that I’ve read it? I knew that the movie was different from the book, but reading it, the story, the characters, didn’t seem familiar at all. Like at all. But from what I remember, it does take the themes of the book and incorporate them into the movie. Now I have to watch the movie again. Not sure I really liked this book, but it being focused on the ‘art of war’, it’s not really my thing.”

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