What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – June 13-19

With time running out before the Sentry Box Warcry Narrative League starts Kris figured he should probably finish up a Warband to be able to take part! “I settled on my Nurgle Daemons as my army for Age of Sigmar had been close to finished for years but I keep putting off doing the basing. I also updated some of the painting as most of the models were painted over a decade ago, so needed a little love!”

All of the painting of models to get ready for our Warcry League would be wasted if Kris didn’t know how to play the game, “So I took the opportunity to get a game in with a friend who was visiting from the UK this week. He has never played Warcry before and I have only played once but we found the rules set really intuitive and easy to pick up. It can seem intimidating looking at the unit cards, or the books, but once you realize that most of the time you can ignore half of the card as it’s not all relevant all of the time, it’s actually really quick and easy to pick up, but we both found cool interactions and intricacies that we think will keep us coming back. The mission was assassination with my Nurgle Daemons being the defenders and Jono’s Beasts of Chaos as the attackers. I felt fairly confident going into the game but it was extremely bloody and going into the fourth and final round, it was anyone’s game, I had managed to stall out Jono’s Doombull as his greataxe attack was the only real threat on the table and I had 22 wounds left on my leader, but his Doombull had made it through my meat shields and in the end his damage output was too high as Jono won Initative and got to swing before I could activate to heal. Two quick swings of his axe and 28 damage later and the game came to an abrupt end, with him having met his win condition.”

Kris and Gill played another round of Gutenberg, this time using the character rules and playing the correct number of turns. :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing: “Gill beat me handily this time, she built a good engine for Specialties early which let her grab Patrons towards the end of the game and I was scrambling to try to catch up but always felt a turn behind. The characters definitely add more depth to the game and it’s fast becoming one of our favorites!”

Greg and his group got in a game of Tichu. “Lani and I partnered up against Matt and Tracy in this game and it was a fairly incident packed game, with at least one Tichu call every round, and a few bombs along the way. The highlight(?) for me, was when I called Tichu, had a King Bomb and the Mahjong, played the Mahjong and wished for a 2, which ended up forcing my partner Lani to play her Straight Flush 2-6 Bomb. I was slightly red faced at that, but ended up making the Tichu and we went out 1-2 as well, so it didn’t hurt us. We were close to winning and I almost called Tichu on another hand but when Matt led and called Tichu himself I decided to hold off and just see if I could stop him. I did end up going out first and we would have won the game if I’d called Tichu, but as it was we were close to the 500 point mark and Tracy and Matt were left about 400 points behind. Matt did make it interesting by calling Grand Tichu the next hand and he made it too, but Lani and I scraped enough points together to get us over the line for the win.”

They also played another game of Space Base. “I swear I was just about to get my engine going and really ramp things up in this game. I only needed another 10 or 15 turns. I actually felt like this game wasn’t going too badly early on, but then I just kept building my engine rather than trying to score points, and before I knew it Lani had triggered the end of the game. Tracy was the closest behind her, with myself and Matt trailing behind, but what I didn’t know was that Matt had the ‘Win the Game’ card, and only needed one more cube on it when it came to his final turn of the game. He had a bunch of dice manipulation and had a good chance of getting what he needed, which he duly did, thus snatching victory away from Lani in a most unexpected way (since I don’t think any of us had noticed he had that card)! It of course left me dead last, but it was a fun game nonetheless.”

Chris got to try out Pandemic: Fall of Rome, a Pandemic spinoff, for the first time during a rare gaming session with some friends. “While the bones of the mechanics are shared with the original (which is possibly my most-played game at this point) I quite liked the way it was adapted to fit the new theme. The diseases of the regular version are replaced with five invading barbarian tribes, which you have to make alliances with or push off the board to win. Having Legions guarding a province prevents enemy cubes from being placed there, but need to be backed up by forts or player characters in order to avoid punishing attrition. Sending your Legions on the attack uses a new battle mechanic with custom dice, which can also trigger specific abilities on the different Role cards. The biggest change lies in how hostile cubes are placed – the invading tribes follow migration routes on their related cards that control where they go, and if you can block the chain of locations where that tribe is present, you can limit their ability to spread to areas deeper in your empire. This is a really thematic element and changes the dynamic of the game, since you can fortify the border regions and manage to block off the invaders, but any who break out behind your lines will continue to spread and cause problems across your territories. In our game, we were able to maintain a solid defensive line on the borders, but a small group of Vandals was able to break through and continued spreading across the empire even after we shored up our fortifications, travelling all the way through North Africa and even reaching Rome by the time the game ended. Nonetheless, some fortunate card draws permitted some quick alliance-making with four of the tribes, and our strong defenses held the Huns off the board to give us the win.”

Chris is returning to some Battletech models after a while focused on Necromunda. “I’ve finished up another lance of four ‘Mechs for my FedCom forces. Featuring from left: Axeman, Commando, Victor and my personal favorite, the Bushwacker. These models were batch-painted together, so along with the straightforward color scheme I was able to complete these in record time. While I’ve covered how I paint this faction before, I’d like to make a note on the bases, which are similarly fast to do. First, it’s important to tidy up the surface of the base with a dark brown, and let it dry thoroughly – it will be visible through the cracks that form in the second step. This is a globbed-on coat of Citadel Agrellan Earth, which creates the cool arid cracked-earth texture (the thickness of the layer influences the size and number of cracks). Finally, some appropriately-scaled vegetation is added with a few Tiny Dry Green tufts from Gamer’s Grass. Simple and effective!”

Greg and Tracy had a chance to play a game of Dice Realms. “This game seems to be one part Dice Forge, one part Dominion, in that it uses dice that can have their sides changed so that you can upgrade them or focus on certain aspects with them, and as well as a bunch of standard die face types (e.g grain, money or upgrade generation) there is a random (or chosen) selection of other die faces available that mean every game can be different. Players roll their dice simultaneously, along with a fate die that can throw a wrench in your plans, or sometimes help you out. Players get one free reroll and can also spend reroll or set tokens to adjust things before collecting resources, then spending gold and using upgrades. The game ends when certain tokens run out, and as well as victory point tokens, players get points for upgraded die faces. It was a slow start but eventually Tracy and I both started generating a fair amount of victory points and the game ended with final scores 60 to 53.”

Renee and Jenn finished the last adventure in the Escape Room: The Game, Funland. “We both really enjoyed this one, it was a good theme and the puzzles were challenging enough to be interesting without being frustrating. I’ve been very impressed with the adventures in this series; the components are more interactive than the Unlock games, similar to the Exit series, which I enjoy and the box was a fantastic value considering it contained 4 adventures. The decoder is a fun component as well, not only keeping time for you, but letting you know if you got the code correct and applying any penalties. The only thing that I wish was optional is the background eerie white noise it makes.”