What have The Sentry Box staff been up to May 22-29

No fun pictures or anything, but Dan spent the weekend at Otafest volunteering at his buddies booth in the vendors section selling shirts.  “One of Layne’s standard deals for customers at conventions is that if you play a game with him, you get a percentage off your purchase, so naturally there was a few chances to get some games in. We got in a two player game of Dice Miner, which is a fun little abstract about mining (drafting, really) from a pile of dice shaped as a mountain, as well as getting your friends drunk, or at least giving them beer.  I really enjoyed the game as it fits into my wheelhouse (short, abstract, thinky and clever) really well.  It was apparently a little more cutthroat at 2 players than what Layne is used to, but that could have just been me :wink: We also got in a two player game of Azul Mini today.  This is a great addition to the Azul family really well thought out components that help everything stay in place given it’s mini size.  this one came into stock just last week for $27.99, and we sold out almost immediately, I’m hoping it won’t take too long to get a restock, because it’s going to be one of my favourite games to recommend for the summer camping season.”

In between working on old video game stuff and sorting used warhammer, within the stores dungeon and hidden away from decent society; Cam likes to jam old first person shooters like Doom, Duke Nukem and other look alikes.  “I tend to mostly play older video games in general, as they seem to be much easier to “pick up and go” within an ever dwindling supply of free time. The extent of most of my video-gaming takes place in 20-min to half hour intervals and as such the vast majority of my ps4 games have basically been played through the intro and not much more. When I saw that a 40K themed, retro-style FPS was coming out, my inner 12 year old hit the preorder button without my waking self having much say in the matter.  Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun finally dropped May 23rd and delivers exactly what is promised; an over the top, comically gory, grimdark-doom-clone (and i say that last bit lovingly).  Chainswording things in the face is super satisfying, as well as the gun-play, and you can do cool things like taunt your enemies with litanies of hate.  Did I mention that instead of an armor stat, you have contempt?  The only downside I can see so far is not having a deathmatch/multiplayer mode, but rumor has it that the developers may add such a feature with future updates.  It’s going to be difficult to get much done in the next couple of days to say the least…”

Greg played Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time, which is a co-operative, tower defence type of game, where players use polyominoes to fight off invaders. “Attacking hordes are represented by spaces on square cards and the players ise hero powers and tower cards to attack the hordes, covering squares up and trying to prevent the hordes from moving down the path and causing damage. We played the introductory scenario and didn’t have too much trouble but the second scenario was much closer and we just about managed to win. I believe as you play through the scenarios there are more abilities and rules that get unlocked, making things more challenging but also giving more options.”

After hearing so many customers mention how much they loved Monopoly Deal, even when they didn’t like Monopoly, Renee decided to pick up a copy and check it out. “I’m always looking for quick and fun games to play with the family, especially ones that Christopher will love. Christopher loves the take-that mechanic, something we don’t usually like in our longer strategy games; however in a 15 minute game with very low stakes, the mechanic works well for us and we’re learning to love its chaotic fun. In this game you’re trying to be the first to collect 3 complete sets of properties, which is very difficult when at any time another player can steal properties or have you to pay more rent than you have money thus forcing you to pay in properties. We’ve been playing it quite a bit in the last week and have been having lots of fun!”

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – May 8-21

Sean finished of some late 17C musketeers. “From the North Star 1672 line. These lads could be Dutch, French, or some weird German state. Mostly the pigments I used were the new Vallejo Game Colours. Top marks on the opacity.”

Renee got the chance to play a 4 player game of Ticket to Ride France. “I’d been wanting to see how this would play with more players competing for the routes, as the map is large enough that with 2 players you can easily stay out of each other’s hair. But now, when you put down a coloured route onto a track, there were 3 other players who had a chance to actually claim it before it was your turn again. That didn’t really happen as much as I had thought it might, however there was another  mechanic that came into play quite a bit that I hadn’t anticipated. Since players are required to put a coloured route onto the map each and every time they take train cards, there are often turns when you are a just randomly picking a route and placing it somewhere. For the 4 and 5 train routes, there is only one of each colour, so there were a couple of times when those routes were on the board, but no one was actually planning on claiming them, so they were never returned to the supply to be selected again. Or inexplicably all 3 of the blue 3 train routes were on the board so I couldn’t use them. As a result, while it wasn’t the specific chaos I was expecting, there was more nonsense that occurred with the extra players. This also made me realize that you could use this mechanic maliciously to block or thwart your opponents. Might have to play it again.”

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – May 1-7

Sue painted up a newer WizKids pre-primed D&D 2 pack – Locathah & Seal. “I think this might be the first seal miniature that WizKids has made for D&D. I immediately thought of the Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign, as seals are mentioned and there is a stat block in the appendix for them. The seal is one of the easiest miniatures I have ever painted. I don’t usually re-prime the pre-primed minis, but in this case I re-primed him with Vallejo Grey primer. Then I painted his eyes and nose, and I gave him a little white patch on the collar to make him a little more interesting, did the base and then used a very thinned down (w/Lamhain Medium) black shade over the whole thing. I did pretty much the same thing for the locathah. Once dry, I added white dots to the black eyes to make them a little more lively. Note: If you are painting the locathah, I recommend painting the inside of the shield first as it is a hard to reach area.”

Renee and her family got in a few games of Steam Up. “I picked this up because I knew the super cute steamers and little dim sum pieces would interest Christopher and it worked because he saw me and Jenn playing it and asked to play it as well. This is a nice light drafting game with a couple of neat mechanics. The dim sum steamers are on a rotating board, which is divided into players’ feasting zones, so one of the elements is turning the board to either move steamers into your zone or out of your opponents’ zones. The dim sum you buy, you place on your unique player board, earning points and bonuses in different ways. There are 12 different characters to play as, so quite a bit of variety there. It’s definitely a lighter game, but with the player interaction and a whole deck of Fortune cards with different abilities and actions, there is enough to keep us engaged.”

Renee and Jenn played the 2 player Horror themed Escape Room box. “We really enjoyed The Little Girl scenario, it had some challenging and ultimately very satisfying puzzles. The House by The Lake was a bit gorier and while there were still some really clever and fun puzzles, we weren’t huge fans of the story. We have no idea why these ones were labeled as 2 player, since we almost always do our escape room games with 2 players, it seemed just like the others. We aren’t horror fans so we aren’t really the target audience, but we still really enjoyed the game.”

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – April 24-30

Perhaps because of the warm weather it was a quiet week for our staff, but Greg and his group did get in another game in their Roll Player Adventures campaign. “We managed to get together to play the final scenario of the campaign. Multiple rifts to other dimensions are open and there is a fight for dominance among the three different factions. We had to make a final choice as to which faction we were supporting, and we came up against some of the major characters in the storyline. Ultimately,  we were able to secure the rifts for the Starlit Door and advance the plans of that cult ahead of the other factions.”

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – April 17-23

Sue painted up He-Man and Skeletor from CMON’s boardgame Masters of the Universe: Clash for Eternia. “One thing that’s really nice about the original Masters of the Universe line is that they have simple paint jobs and most characters are only comprised of about 4 colors. Skeletor, is a very basic paint job. I used Luxion Purple Contrast Paint and did all the purple parts first as they are the darkest and would be the hardest to clean up if I got them in the wrong place on the other colors. I used Skeleton Horde Contrast Paint for Skeletor’s face, and Frostheart Contrast Paint for Skeletor’s body. I figured Frostheart was appropriate as Skeletor frequently mentions his heart, or lack thereof. One thing about these models is that Contrast Paint is best on models with lots of detail and not too many flat or mostly flat surfaces. Since these guys are all bodybuilders, I found that the Contrast Paint would sometimes pool in a way I wasn’t in love with, mostly on the legs. This can easily be fixed by waiting for the model to dry and mixing the Contrast Paint with the color underneath on your palette and painting over any parts where the Contrast Paint pooled weird. I did this for Skeletor’s legs and I thought it worked pretty well. I was, admittedly, too lazy to mix up a color for He-Man’s legs, and the rest of his muscles, so I used Kislev Flesh over the Guilliman Flesh Contrast Paint. It’s a close match but not exact. I used my favorite brown – Gore Grunta Fur Contrast Paint – for He-Man’s loincloth and boots. I did use a hobby knife to remove them from their bases before I even primed them. They are a similar scale to D&D miniatures and I wanted to have the option to display them with my D&D miniatures.”

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What have The Sentry Box been up to – April 10-16

Sean painted up some Ooh-Rah from Wargames Atlantic. “These guys obviously have an aesthetic connection and inspiration with many of our favourite sci-fi  film monster chow protagonists. These knuckle heads are gonna get Predatored, Terminated, Face-hugged and ripped apart by Bugs.  All in fun.  I did a pretty standard slap-chop with speed paints (use ALL the greens) and popped some highlights with Vallejo Game Colour Cayman Green and Skin Tone. Both very useful pigments. This kit is fun. Figure build is reasonable, bodies are one piece and the arms are separate but paired by codes on the sprue.  I only had one instance in which the arms didn’t want to work with the body. You are spoiled for firepower options as well (which seems apropos for a kit portraying Space America) with everything from pistols, pulse rifles to BFG’s. Head options are great as well. You can do all the figures in open and closed helmets. There are bareheaded options (rather Arnie-esque), boonie hats and ball caps. The head with the backward ball cap looks like a real d-bag. I made two squads for Xenos Rampant. The first is either a Recon or Light Infantry squad.  I borrowed a data pad from a Stargrave sprue for the one guy who is trying to figure out what their coordinates are. The kit could have had a few less guns and a few more sci-fi widgets. Second Squad is a Support/Heavy Weapons team. Bringing freedom to the galaxy with large caliber railguns.”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – March 27-April 2

Greg finished reading Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. “This is a book from the 70s about a comet that hits the earth, causing the end of civilization as we know it. It starts when the comet is first discovered and follows a bunch of different characters who all end up surviving and struggling to find somewhere safe, and some way to keep on going. I enjoyed it a lot as it was a good mix of scientific information on what would likely happen if a comet struck the earth as well as more human, individual stories, and the way society would revert back to methods and behaviours from many years ago. One thing it helped to confirm for me is that, in the event of an apocalypse of some kind, I have no useful skills or knowledge and would likely be amongst the first to die. A comforting thought :grin:

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Honor Among Thieves: A Dungeon Masters Thoughts

Hey folks! This is Nick B!

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to get tickets for an advanced screening of Dungeon’s & Dragons “Honor Among Thieves”. I thought since it is coming out this week and a lot of people had questions about it, I’d write my thoughts down. Please remember – most of this is just my personal opinion. So experiences may vary (and that’s okay!)

To start off, a little bit about me. I’ve been playing D&D 5e for about 6 years now, and I’ve been a DM for 5 years now. I love Fighters (I know) and I run multiple homebrew campaigns as well as play in multiple different kinds of D&D or TTRPG campaigns. D&D is also something that has influenced my life professionally as well. When I’m not poking around on The Sentry Box social media I work in Theatre around Calgary. Specifically, a few years ago I wrote a play about Dungeons & Dragons and learned just how difficult translating Dungeons and Dragons into a visible experience can be.

So I feel weirdly qualified to talk about the new Dungeons and Dragons movie.

Going into it I didn’t have high hopes for this movie. Video game adaptations are rarely amazing, and there is such a fine line between good D&D representation and cringey representation. Also, writing a narrative about D&D is HARD. How do you capture what makes D&D great? How do you explain the inside jokes, the failures, the stories (especially when D&D is DESIGNED to be personalized for the campaign).  So when I sat down all the way in the back of the theater with 100 or so other D&D nerds, I was ready to be groaning into my popcorn.

You guys. It was good.

Like. Really good.

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