What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 14-20

Rene and her dad played a game of the just released Splendor Duel. “As a big fan of Splendor, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this version which promised a new take on the classic Splendor gameplay. First I have to gush about how cute it is! The cards and tokens are mini versions of the the original and the whole game fits in a cute little box. But now the game itself; in this version you draft jewel tokens from a board, taking any three (or less) in a line. The cards work similarly to the original but with 5 different bonuses, like take another turn, take a token from the board, wild gems that you can make any colour, or crowns. The biggest difference though is that there are now 3 different win conditions that immediately end the game. Dad ended up winning by getting to 20 points, while I was one short of 10 points in one colour, the other win condition being having 10 crowns. I really liked it and think like 7 Wonders Duel, it will become a hit on its own.”

Greg played another two player game of Barrage with Tracy, “The starting set up this time led me into generating smaller amounts of electricity but more often. My Nation Power let me fulfil contracts of higher value than I generated, once I had the power unlocked, so that helped me out. Tracy did a much better job of getting her own network up and running and started to generate higher amounts than me, and more electricity overall throughout the course of the game. I did still win, I think partly down to timing the round end bonuses better and completing contracts that scored me points, as well as using a special tile that scored me a bunch of points when I constructed something.”

Renee and Jenn played a game of Circadians: First Light, a dice worker placement game. “I love me a good worker placement game and this had received good reviews so I picked it up. You have a pool of dice which you roll behind your player screen and assign to actions on your player board. Dice that you assign to garages, go out to the various locations to complete actions, based on their value. Dice that you assign to your farms provide resources during harvesting. What makes this a bit tricky is that when you assign your dice to the garages, you have to decide the order in which you will use them – without knowing what dice your opponent has, nor how they will use them. So you have to do a bit of hedging your bets which can sometimes work against your plan and while they may be less ideal options, there is generally something else you can do. There are ways to upgrade your player board, leaders which give you special abilities, contracts which give you end game bonuses and event cards that provide round specific conditions, so quite a bit of variability built into the game. This was definitely a learning game for both of us, but we both quite liked the game.”

Renee had the opportunity to play her first 4 player game of Azul: Queen’s Garden this week. “I’ve played this game quite a few times but only as a 2 player game. Playing it with 4 players definitely gave the name a different feel and I quite enjoyed it! 2 of the players were playing for their first time and watching them realize how much planning is involved in the drafting and placement of tiles was fun – this is such a good version of Azul and seeing first time players appreciate how good it is was awesome. Can’t recommend this enough!”

Kris played a 3 player game of the original Azul. “I somehow finally managed to actually win! I usually think I am doing well and then get stuck with a bunch of negatives or the game ends and I am a round way from everything coming together, but I still really enjoy it. It’s a very tactile and fun game that we always enjoy.”

Cam picked up a bunch of card decks from our collection of Bicycle and Theory 11 cards. “I’m not usually into novelty cards because however cool they may be, more often than not can be very hard to read; especially in dim lit smokey rooms at 2 am.  I had been eyeing some of our fancy selection for a awhile now and bought a few for our regular games, them being official by Bicycle making me hopeful of their utility. So far we have opened up and used 3 and all have been actually usuable without too much squinting or complaining.”

Renee read Tiamat’s Wrath, the penultimate novel in The Expanse series. “This one returned to questions about the protomolecule, its role in the current time, and the aliens who billions of years ago killed its creator. Lots of wild, weird and ridiculously alien stuff in this one while also having absolutely fantastic character stories and moments. Another great book! This really is a fantastic series.”

Dan addressed an itch long left unscratched, “Since starting working at the store and seeing some of the awesome paint jobs done by my coworkers I’ve felt the itch to get back into mini painting. Being that I’ve been cooped up with a sick 7 year old this weekend, it was a good time to start. Oliver’s Giant Earth Elemental was done with Vallejo Blue Green and Army Painter Dragon Red, rounded out by Vallejo Orange Fire for the base. I finished it off with a wash of a cheap Walmart acrylic Burnt Umber mixed down to about a 100:1 ratio of water to paint.   His Battletech Locust is a combination of Vallejo Bright Bronze and Heavy Violet. The rest of the mechs are done with a mixture of Acrylics, and are definitely not done yet, I’ll send more pictures once they are in the weeks coming.”