What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 16-22

Blackout: Hong Kong has been on Greg’s of games he wanted to get back to the table for a while now and he finally convinced Tracy to learn it. “This may be controversial but I actually enjoy this more than the designer’s better known games, Great Western Trail and Maracaibo. I enjoy the hand management and long term planning involved, and it feels like you’re always making progress. The game does have a tendency to end before you’re quite ready though, and I usually get too ambitious in my plans, but I enjoy it all the same.”

Sue painted up some more Animal Adventurers this week. “First up is Solan, the Persian Warlock. He is available in both the Animal Adventures RPG and Cats and Catacombs: Vol. 2. In my opinion, this model is easier to paint than most in the series as he’s just a cat in a robe with a belt. I love his expression.. I think they have perfectly captured that indignant look some cats get when they’re forced to endure clothes. He is painted almost entirely with Contrast Paints and Shades. Next up is Pawkus, the Bobtail Barbarian. He is available in Cats and Catacombs: Vol 1. I love this model! He is my favorite cat model in this series. He’s so animated with the arched back and hissing face. He is also a simpler model to paint than a lot of the dogs, (though not as simple as Solan), but I took my time here and really enjoyed painting him.”

Renee’s Dad requested they play Splendor, now housed in this chest. “We ended up with 4 nobles all requiring red cards, which refused to appear in the market. After about 10 rounds or so, we realized that this game was going to be played and won without nobles. Which it did. Jenn won by buying the most level 2 cards and a couple level 3 cards to put her over the top. At the end of the game we’d only seen 5 red cards in total.”

Jenn and Renee wanted to play Grand Austria Hotel again and they both went in with more confidence than our last game. “We were surprised how much quicker the game went now that we had the hang of it. We both did better score wise than our last game which felt good. I definitely would play this a bunch more times to try out different strategies. Plus dice!”

They also played Clever Cubed again. “Jenn did much better this time and went over 300 which I thought was pretty good for her second game. Still loving this version.”

Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef is the latest Kickstarter to come in store and one that Greg has been waiting on for a long time. “The production is lavish, as you might expect, with a 96 page art and lore book included with the game, as well as miniatures, fancy fruit and shell tokens, and an unnecessary but fantastic arena model to roll your dice in. As far as gameplay goes it’s a worker placement, dice pool building game, where players are completing challenges or fighting monsters to level up their stats and score points. Each character has their own deck of cards that can give ongoing bonuses and give you a direction to focus on. We played the recommended starting set up, whereas the normal game gives you a little more flexibility, and then there’s also some advanced rules you can add in when familiar enough. The two player rules are ok, adding in a 3rd rival to block spaces and compete on the champions track. Overall I enjoyed it a lot, and if anything felt it was a bit short at just four rounds. There is an option to add a 5th round though, so I think I’ll give that a try next time!”

Tracy was happy to play Tidal Blades again later in the week, although they stuck with just the four round game. “We did try using different characters, including the character from the expansion, although we didn’t add in any other expansion content. Things worked out a little better for me in this game, whereas Tracy wasn’t as keen on her character. There are definitely interesting decisions to be made with the character cards, depending on the number of players. I’m enjoying the tactical play, and after a second game I’m a bit happier dealing with the two player rules for the dummy player.”

Christopher once again requested Dice Forge and Renee and family happily played it. “This game is just plain fun! The randomness of the dice throws forces you to make reactive decisions about how best to use the resources you have and the variation in the cards means each game you have different strategic options. I will continue to recommend this as a great family game.”

Jenn and Renee played another roll and write this week, this time Knapp Daneban! “You are trying to place consecutive numbers next to each other on the board, but with limited options with each dice roll, it can be tricky. Hadn’t played this in a while, enjoyed playing it again!”

Jenn and Renee had a bit of time before dinner one night so they played a bunch of rounds of Red7. “This continues to be a favourite card game of mine for quick plays.”

Jenn, Adam and Renee played a few more missions in The Crew and they’re almost done, only 2 more missions left. “They are getting harder but we’re clearly getting better as well because we are definitely impressed with how we’ve been playing. Well except that one mission we had to play 4 times…”

Renee finished reading All These Worlds, the third book in the Bobiverse trilogy by Dennis E Taylor. “Like the others it was an enjoyable read and it did a great job of tying up all the main story lines from the trilogy. I would be sad that it’s over, but a forth book is expected early next year, launching a new storyline with the Bobs.”

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