What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Dec 27-Jan 2

Greg finally got a couple of games of Puerto Rico played after a very lean few weeks. “In this game of Puerto Rico I was going for a building and money strategy and managed to get a great little engine going to generate lots of cash. That meant that it was a fairly short game that ended with me building 3 of the large buildings, but was also a low scoring game as there wasn’t a lot of time for players to ship goods. It ended up being super close, with me winning by just one point, ahead of Matt who had gone for a shipping strategy.” He also played more Tichu, “This game started badly, with Tracy and Matt getting a Tichu, one-two in the first hand and taking a 300 point lead (in our short 500 point game). However, Lani and I managed to stem the tide and claw a few points back over the next few hands, and then a one-two of our own put us ahead 390-310. The next hand I called Tichu and not only made it, but we ended up going one-two again, and won 690-310, restricting Matt and Tracy to a net gain of just 10 points after that first hand.”

Greg and Tracy played new arrival Escape Room The Game: The Little Girl. “This horror themed game was a pretty good one. We didn’t have too much trouble with most of it, but at the end we weren’t quite sure what to do and needed a bit of help. I do enjoy this brand of Escape Rooms as they have quite a bit of variety in them.”

Renee and Jenn tried out the new Puzzle Adventure from Escape Room: The Baron, The Witch & the Thief. “Each compartment contained a small puzzle that built a room in a dungeon. While the puzzles themselves were not used as creatively as they were in The Exit versions, we enjoyed the puzzles a lot more – they were smaller, with colourful and distinctive pictures, so a lot more fun to put together. The decoder itself was a puzzle which I thought was a nice touch and the escape room style puzzles were all fun and interesting, nothing too difficult, so we had a good time.”

They also got a chance to play Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, which is a standalone, scaled down version of the game. “You still have to collectively raise oxygen & temperature and build oceans, but the board doesn’t have forests or cities. It also does away with the end game “prizes”. It focuses on the card building engine which is my favourite element of TR and adds a Puerto Rico style phase choice at the beginning of each round. Players secretly choose one of the 5 round phases and then reveal. Phases are then executed in order, with the player choosing that phase getting a bonus and players playing simultaneously. And while it seems it should make the game faster, I think having to complete all the terraforming conditions with only 2 players means it takes more rounds than with 3 or 4 players. The verdict is Jenn and I both really enjoyed it and I think we’ll likely get more play with this version than the full game.”

Jenn and Renee enjoy Star Realms so they tried out one of the co-op challenges in Star Realms Frontiers. “The mechanics of playing “the boss” was pretty straightforward and it was fun to work together, sharing trade and combat to make the best plays. Looking forward to trying some of the other challenges to see how they differ.”

Renee picked up Hero Realms to try out with Christopher because he likes Dominion but the game length can be hard for keeping his attention. “He loves D&D so I thought the fantasy theme and characters would appeal to him more than Star Realms. He did quite enjoy it so I’m going to introduce character decks next time we play to give it even more of a D&D feeling.”

Renee and family tried out the new Kingdomino Origins, playing the first 2 of the 3 included modules. “This version uses fire instead of crowns for end game points and the first module introduces volcanos, which grant you fire tokens that you can strategically place on surrounding tiles to increase their point value. The second module adds resources, which not only give you one point each at the end of the game, but give players bonus points for having a majority of a resource. So far I think it’s a good sequel to the game and the third module looks promising.”