What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 9-15

The first miniatures game Chris ever played, way back in Jr High, was Battletech. “Since then, it has always held a special place in my heart (in fact, I can remember coming to the store as a kid to buy some of the classic metal miniatures). But the game’s art and aesthetics were definitely retro, and not always in a good way. Ever since newer video games for the property such as MechWarrior Online came out years ago now, I’ve been wanting to see the kind of updated takes on the classic ‘Mech designs those games had represented on the tabletop. With the arrival of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter, those awesome redesigns of some of my favorite ‘Mechs are finally here! Of course, the first one I had to paint was the famous Timber Wolf (aka the Mad Cat). Clan Wolf has always been my favorite so painting it up in this color scheme was also an automatic choice. I’m super happy with the final result, especially my signature blue gem effect on the cockpit canopy and the tiny Clan Wolf decals I’ve has stashed away for years awaiting just this opportunity. I think the red desert base is a good match – I followed a technique from Sorastro, an outstanding painter on YouTube (originally used to base Star Wars Legion figures from the Clone Wars era). This is the sort of Battletech mini I’ve wanted since I was 14 years old and it feels great to finally have it on my table! (Yes, I know that technically, this sculpt is of the Pryde variant. Fight me, Jade Falcon scum)”

When the store got in Animal Adventures RPG Starter Set, a Dungeons and Doggies/ Cats and Catacombs RPG, Sue finally broke down and got some of these little cuties. “Quite frankly, I’m surprised I held out as long as I did. This delightful fellow is Kai the Shiba Inu Ranger. I like his dynamic pose, his cute expression, and, of course, his lantern. These models take longer to paint than a typical Dungeons & Dragons model because they have a lot of adventuring gear taped to them. But if you’re willing to put in some time, you can have adorable animal adventurers! When I first saw these, I assumed they were for specifically for Dungeons & Dragons, but they have their own beginner level quests as well. I like that Steamforged Games has a few adventures and stat cards on their website you can download for free to accompany your Dungeons and Doggies and/or Cats and Catacombs. However, I don’t regret picking up Animal Adventures, as you get a lot of nice things in the box including a new scenario. Aside from the metallics, all of the adventuring gear attached to the doggie is painted with different shades of Contrast Paint.”

Greg’s main Gloomhaven campaign is on temporary hold but his Clank Legacy group has now moved on to start Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. “Three of is had played Gloomhaven, with just Tracy being new to it, but JotL is designed for people who are brand new to it, and it eases you in slowly. We played the first three scenarios, which introduce the rules piecemeal so new players aren’t overwhelmed, and I think it’s a great way to do it. The fact that the scenario maps are all in a book rather than using tiles also makes set up and teardown much easier. Overall I’m quite impressed and we all had fun.”

Greg played Break In: Alcatraz, another kind of Escape Room game, with the twist being that you need to break in first, to be able to help others escape. “The box opens up to different layers underneath once you solve a bunch of puzzles, with the sides popping down to reveal a new area. It’s a bit of a novelty but overall the game and the puzzles weren’t bad. We found it mostly quite easy and only needed hints a couple of times. The ending was a little anticlimactic because you had to pick one of three options but there wasn’t really much info to help you decide what to go for.”

Greg finished reading Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. “This seemed to be set in an alternate European history of sorts, and follows a girl called Phedre, who is raised in the Night Court, essentially as a high class escort. She is taken in by a noble and learns about the ways of political intrigue, becoming a bit of a spy. It was pretty interesting, with the intrigue and back-stabbing, and had a bit of raunch thrown in since Phedre’s skills in that department are what helps her get her information.”

Greg and Tracy continued their playthrough of missions in The Crew with another four games. “None of the missions proved too difficult and we won them all at the first attempt. In the two player game it can be possible to have a no-win situation but thankfully that hasn’t happened yet.”

Jenn, Adam and Renee also got in a couple more rounds of The Crew. “The missions are getting harder and we got one that we thought was going to be near impossible; until we got a ridiculously lucky deal that saved the day. We weren’t as lucky on the next mission however…”

Tracy and Greg got Tekhenu back to the table, “I needed a quick rules refresher on the actions, but I remembered most of it. I decided to go for a statue strategy, which worked out pretty well, scoring me a bunch of points (especially in conjunction with a decree card) and gaining me a bunch of resources and happiness along the way. It’s an interesting dice drafting game, with a lot of neat choices and options. The only negative is the slight fiddliness of having to adjust the dice each rotation.”

Sue shares another Star Wars: Legion conversion. “I have always loved the Mon Calamari. Note: I don’t recommend priming the parts before a conversion, I was originally going to paint the model as is which is why it was primed. I also recommend pressing your sculpting tool (or back of hobby knife) into the Green Stuff, rather than dragging your tool across for smoother results.”

Greg loves the table presence of Barrage, “It looks amazing. I also find the game to be really fun, interesting and engaging too. Lots to think about and plan ahead for, and you have to be wary of what the other players are doing or you might find yourself blocked out. Definitely want to play this more!”

With news of the Grand Austria Hotel kickstarter all over Renee’s social medias, she decided to pull out hercopy and play for the first time in years. “Jenn got very excited when she saw all the dice; like me, she loves them dice games. In this one you roll a pile of dice, placing them onto 6 action spaces, then the dice drafting begins. The more dice in the area when you take a die, the more powerful the action, a mechanic I always really enjoy. I like the planning in this game. The guests you put up in rooms give you immediate bonuses, so figuring out the order of your actions, which guests to room and board becomes interesting. Plus you need to manage your level on the empire track so you don’t get punished during scoring rounds. The game ended about a round too early for both of us, a good sign that we should play again now that we’ve reminded ourselves of the rules and flow of the game.”

Renee showed Jenn the new Clever Cubed. “She spent the game mainly figuring out the new rules and such, but her first impressions were similar to mine: a great game and a fantastic addition to the Clever family.”

Renee finally got Tiny Towns back on the table as well this week. “This is such a quick game but it’s surprisingly hard to feel you’re doing well at all. You can have a plan in mind, but being at the whim of the resources called by your opponent means you have to be flexible and figure out how to make the best of a resource you absolutely, definitely, did not want. Planning where to put the resources so you can build buildings and then figuring out how to place the buildings so you have space to place your resources and also try to get some decent points….so much thinky fun!”

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