What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – June 6-12

Gutenberg is a new release from Portal Games that Kris and Gill got on to the table this week for a two player learning game. “I was really impressed when I was opening up the box as there is a really cool themed storage solution and everything went together really well. Whilst punching the tokens and skimming the rules it felt quite intimidating as heavier euro games are not really our default, but as we went through the first round or two we picked it up and the game flowed really easily with two players. We ended up playing an extra round just rather than discounting the first turn so that we already go 6 real turns in, which meant that my printing press cogs all lined up to score me a bonus 12 points in that turn, which considering I won by 10 points was quite a turn of events…We both ended the game having really enjoyed it and are looking forward to playing a “real” game now that we have the basics down. There are a few cool mechanics that we both enjoyed, the bidding for initiative over the 5 phases of each round was really good fun, and with it being just the two of us, lead to some fairly warped extreme bids to ensure that we got what we want or messed up each other’s plans. The way you assemble your printing press works really well, and even after reminding myself every round, or when placing new cogs I still messed up the counter rotation for a turn :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:Definitely a keeper for us though!”

Greg’s group played a three player game of Space Base as Tracy was busy and they were all a little tired. “I find it to be a perfect game for those times when you don’t want something too brain-burny or too long, but something that’s still fun and engaging. I picked up a few higher slot cards and it was going fairly well, with me getting a few points here and there on my own turn and on the other player’s turns. I was starting to generate decent amounts of gold too, but Lani was matching me pretty much stride for stride, and on what turned out to be my last turn I needed to generate a few gold to pick up a colony and trigger the end of the game. Sadly that didn’t happen and on her turn Lani picked up the points she needed to pip me to the post for a win by 41 to 37.”

Renee and Jenn got a chance to play 2 new games this week, starting with Cascadia. “This has been very popular at the store and recently was nominated for the Spiel des Jahres so I was excited to get to try it. It’s a tile drafting puzzling game in which you draft habitat tiles and wildlife tokens in pairs to add to your own little ecosystem. It’s that easy to learn and that easy to play and very quick to set up. The thing is, the scoring. You want to get a good score. So with your habitats you’re trying, as much as possible, to only create one large habitat per type rather than a bunch of little ones here and there. Only most tiles have 2 different habitats on them and they are somehow never to 2 you want next to each other. For the wildlife tokens, each animal scores based on different configuration rules, so in addition to drafting tokens you want, have you also placed a tile that can hold that token in the spot you want to place it? The first time playing you can’t help but find yourself trying to accomplish all the scoring goals, but thankfully we realized that this game, like most in its genre, rewards focusing on a few complimentary goals. We both absolutely loved it!”

The second game we played was TRAILS, which is a small box game in the PARKS universe. “We have and love PARKS, so I was curious how this played in comparison. In TRAILS you once again set up a trail for your hiker to hike. In this version the trail is set up once and your hiker moves up and down the trail until the sun sets and the game ends. Along the way you pick up resources which you use to earn badges at trail head and trail end. Its a bit of a puzzle figuring out which resources to get to earn the most badges while trying to figure out the timing so your opponent doesn’t grab a badge before you get there. Like Parks it’s gorgeous and a pretty chill game. I don’t like it as much as I like PARKS, but its a nice small box version of the game that is much quicker to set up and play.”

Greg and Tracy got in another session of Dice Throne Adventures. “In game 1 we faced off against the Fallen Barbarian, starting with two salves. It was a close run thing and as it came down towards the end it was difficult to know if we would make it or not. On my turn we were out of salves and we just survived by the skin of our teeth, with me needing to roll a six on a defensive re-roll to earn a smoke bomb token and then roll a 1-3 for the smoke bomb itself. Tracy was then able to finish him off on her turn. In game 2 we obviously had no salves and I expected it would be a short game, especially after the first round or two when Lani’s Shadow Thief got taken down to one health. In the end we somehow kept going, gaining salves on occasion, making use of evasive and smoke bomb tokens, as well as effective use of ‘Not this time’ cards. We got to the final minion and were in with a chance. I needed to do 10 damage from my attack to kill the minion, but even with a bunch of rerolls and a card that added damage I was only able to do 6. The minion had first strike and attacked Tracy, who had 8 health. It ended up doing exactly 8 damage, and we had no more dice manipulation or damage mitigation between us. There was still a chance of a double KO, which would count as a win for us, but Tracy’s defensive roll only did two damage back, leaving her dead and the minion at 2 health. So close, but ultimately a loss, so we’ll try again next time with 3 salves. Really exciting games though!!”