What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Dec 28-Jan 3

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Greg was looking at his games played for the year and realized that he hadn’t played Agricola at all, and still hadn’t played the latest expansion deck, so he had to rectify that. “There were some interesting cards that came out (we drafted as usual), with Crudité being the MVP for me. Tracy always feels a little disappointed and that she didn’t do well whenever we play this, but I think it’s partly because she almost always plays against me, a very experienced player, and partly because her expectations and goals are getting higher. Final scores were 44 – 36.”

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Greg and Tracy’s first two games of Dune: Imperium ended with one player winning convincingly. “This game was slightly closer, although I always felt a little bit behind. I picked up points from influence tracks and some cards but had trouble making much headway in the conflicts, and Tracy earned four points from two conflicts to take the win. Still enjoying trying to figure things out and make the best tactical plays.”

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They also played another game of Lost Ruins of Arnak. “We tried the other side of the board and it did make things more interesting with the research track. I tried to buy cards with a good cost to points ratio and also made it to the top of the research track with my magnifying glass token, and that was enough for me to win for the first time.”

They played again in the new year, “First game of 2021 was another play of Lost Ruins of Arnak on the 2nd board side. It seems to encourage discovering new sites a bit more than the other side of the board, as you need idols to advance past a certain point of the research track. It ended up being very close!”

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Greg and Tracy tried the latest Escape the Room game, The Cursed Dollhouse. “We finished the year off with this creepy escape room game where you build a 3D dollhouse and make your way through it solving puzzles. It was a mixed bag of puzzles, some that we solved no problem, some where we had the right idea but needed a hint to see the final solution and some where we were a bit lost. The dollhouse was a neat idea and it definitely looked cool on the table!”

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Renee played Tiny Towns with the Fortune expansion back in March at GAMA (in the before times) and brought a copy home that finally made it to the table! “In this expansion there are ways to earn coins through either new buildings or in quite interesting ways with new Monuments. Each player has a chest in which they can store up to 4 earned coins which in addition to being worth one point at the end of the game, can be spent to change the colour of resource you place on your board. This definitively makes executing your town plans a bit easier if used properly.”

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Renee also finally got to play Quacks of Quedlinburg again after a long hiatus! “Still loving this game and enjoying the extra powers in the Herb Witches expansion. About half way through the game, the score was fairly spread out with about 5 rat tails between the leader and last place, but the game ended so tight with a 1 point spread between the 3 of us. Oh and of course Christopher won.”

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Renee, Jenn and Adam finished The Crew! “We had only 2 missions left, both of which really gave us a bit of a hard time. But we did it! What I really appreciated about this last session was that between attempts we would analyze why we failed and try to figure out together what we would need to do to make these seemingly impossible things to happen. Figuring it out together and then executing on the plan was so rewarding!”

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If you know Chris, it’s not a surprise that the last model he finished in 2020 was a tank. “And this one is a classic – a Leman Russ Battle Tank for Warhammer 40k’s Imperial Guard. While outfitted here as a Demolisher variant, I’ve magnetized the various weapons so I can use it in-game as a bunch of different types (although I still have to paint up the alternate weapons). The main camouflage colors are Vallejo Model Color Green Grey (in common with the Guard infantry I’m also working on) and P3 Bloodstone. The whole thing received a wash of thinned Army Painter Strong Tone before each color got a couple layers of lighter drybrushing. To really bring out the rough, brutal appearance of Imperial Guard weaponry, I finished with plenty of sponge-chipping with Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rust. This model has long been an iconic piece of Warhammer 40k and I’m excited to send it grinding over the enemies of the Imperium on the tabletop!”

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Jenn and Renee tried a few 2 player hands of the new Azul branded version of 5211. “This is an interesting game. You have a hand of 5 cards, from which you play 2 cards (all players reveal at the same time). Draw back up to 5 and play one more card. Draw back up to 5 and play a final card. The 4 played cards from both players are evaluated collectively: If exactly 4 roosters are played, they score for one point each. Otherwise, you look at the colour with the most played cards and they score, unless…5 or more cards have been played in which case the colour busts. Similarly colours with tied numbers of cards played are ignored. Trying to figure out what to play so that regardless of what your opponent plays you still have a chance at scoring is fun. We both did horribly in our first game with tied colours meaning no one scored in many rounds. But we figured it out and both did much better the second game. I want to play this with more players as I think it would end up being way more chaotic in a very fun way.”

Jenn, Adam and Renee were really excited to try Viscounts of the West Kingdom because every game in the West Kingdom series has been, in their opinion, outstanding. “We sat down one evening with the intention of setting up the game, reading the rules and playing a few rounds to try and start learning it. As predicted we fumbled a bit remembering all the rules, realizing we were leaving some important steps and rules out, but by the end of the session we felt we had figured it out. We ended up leaving the game set up and finished it the next evening. So glad we did because it really did cement the rules for us. Unsurprisingly we all absolutely loved it. Full of good thinky options, a bunch of different ways to score points so the constant puzzle of maximizing your turn plus setting yourself up for future turns. This game also has a deck building element, with you adding townsfolks to your deck which we really enjoyed. Really looking forward to getting this back to the table next week when I’m off.”