What have The Sentry Box Staff been up to – April 8-14

We start this week’s blog with a sneak peek at one of Chris’ Age of Sigmar miniatures for our Tale of Four Gamers series:

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“I’ve painted this cool bird puppy – a gryph-hound to accompany my Stormcast Eternals.”

Greg and his game group played Time Stories: Madame at Monday Open Board Gaming, “This was an interesting scenario in that instead of playing through just a few long runs you needed to play through a lot of short runs, changing receptacle to be able to open up the next relevant section. It did feel like we were slightly handicapped by only having three players, so I’d say this is best with four for sure.”

Meanwhile Renee started Monday night with Hansa Teutonica, “Another older game that I’d played once last year and wanted to try again. You place cubes on routes on the map to claim the route, either to build an office in one of the connecting towns, or to power up the player actions on your board, including adding additional actions to your turn. This game should be very ‘take that’ with players aggressively blocking their opponents, but we found ourselves focusing too much on our own actions without working to block each other and the game ended very quickly. We did agree that we liked the game and will play it again and attempt to play it ‘properly’.”

She then played a 5 player game of Colosseum, “This was an interesting game in which you put on shows, for which you must collect the performers and items required. This is done through an auction round followed by open trading. You get points and money for putting on a successful show, having the nobility attend your show, and adding features to your colosseum. You play in 5 rounds, gathering more performers, upgrading your colosseum, buying bigger shows to put on, but the winner is ultimately determined by the points gathered by each players final show. I don’t normally enjoy trading games, but the trading didn’t feel like a huge part of the game and I enjoyed the theme and player interaction. It was a fun new game to try out.”

Greg and Renee both finished the night with PUSH: Greg, “A push your luck card game that allows you to potentially mess with the other players a little bit. A fun filler!” Renee, “It was a fun press your luck game, that I enjoyed similarly to Circus Flohcati, but with an added die for extra fun! A light easy to teach game.”

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Later in the week Greg got in more Ganz Schön Clever, “Still enjoying this and still searching for that elusive score over 300. Came close in this, my 99th game.”

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Greg, Renee and River played Deus on Friday’s livestream. Greg, “Happy to get this engine builder back to the table. Superficially it looks and seems like Catan but it plays quite differently, with players playing building cards that trigger powers. As you stack up cards of the same type each power in that column triggers again, ramping up your engine. Lots of fun.” Renee, “Enjoyed playing Deus on the livestream. It is an area control, resource management game with a fun engine building component. Like other card driven games, the fun challenge is figuring out how to most effectively use the cards you have. The game started slowly for me, but it didn’t take long for me to have a good set of cards with which to start building a decent engine. There is some player interaction on the board, both in turns of grabbing regions and planning how to surround and capture barbarian villages, but most of the time the focus is on your own engine and producing in game points as well as working towards your temple’s end game scoring bonuses. I really enjoyed the game!”

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Greg’s 100th game of this was using the new 2nd challenge score sheet from the app. “It gives a new twist on the original game and was very cool to try.”

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Renee didn’t do as well as Greg, “I was so excited when I discovered that they had quietly released this on Friday and it was easily the highlight of my day. Got to play a few times over the weekend with my sister.  We both had a lot of fun figuring out this new score sheet.”

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On Saturday Greg L played in Episode 3 of Kevin Madison’s 5e World of Warcraft campaign, Heirs of Evensong. “If you like WoW this set of 5e rules captures the essence of the setting extremely well.”

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Greg finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, “A post-apocalyptic story of a man and his son travelling to the coast, trying to survive, find food and stay the ‘good guys’. Not remotely cheery.”

Greg also got in a play of Sunflower Valley, “This was another roll & write that I’ve been wanting to try and I got in a 2 player game with Tracy to test it out. Drawing in your icons was a neat touch, although my drawing skills are laughable. I feel like this could be a game that goes really well or really badly depending on player count, the luck of the dice and the other players’ decisions. Things turned quite nicely for me in this game.”

Renee was ridiculously excited to have to opportunity t this weekend to play a 3 player game of Lords of Waterdeep, playing with the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion for the first time. “We added both modules in the expansion, which meant we added a bunch of extra action spaces and started with an extra agent. This meant a longer game, which was good, because some of the added quests required a lot of resources! We all thought that the resulting pace of the game was much better. The corruption mechanic was interesting too: some of the new action spaces were powerful, but required you to take a corruption token, and the more corruption taken from the track, the more negative points each token was worth. We all ended the game with corruption and somehow managed to get it to -7! The new quests and intrigue cards were awesome, providing new abilities, allowing you to deal corruption to your opponents and lots of other fun things. We all agreed that for us, the expansion took a fantastic game and made it even better.”

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We end the week with some painting from Sue, “I painted Asharra from the D&D board game, Tomb of Annihilation. Pictured with Birdsong (who I renamed Mittens) from the same game.”

 

 

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Reviewing Strontium Dog – Part 1 The Setting

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Imagine my delight in finding that a reputable company had made a game about a beloved, if a bit obscure, comic character of my youth, and further, that it was written by a couple of heroes from my childhood.
Sound too good to be true?
Come have a closer look at Strontium Dog The Miniatures Game and see if it can live up to the nostalgia of a youth misspent…

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What have The Sentry Box Staff been up to – April 1-7

Another week of gaming with the folks at The Sentry Box, with reactions and mini-reviews.

On Monday’s Board Game Night Renee played Yspahan again, “teaching 2 new players and this time Jeff and I trying strategies that we didn’t focus on last time, including taking cards and the camel caravan. The cards proved very useful, providing opportunities to do extra actions or pay less for buildings. I attempted to score in the last round on the camel caravan, but Kevin filled it and cleared it on the last round before it could score. I enjoyed it again and its a very decent quick playing game.”

Then she played Compounded, “a Splender-like chemistry themed game that Derek picked up spontaneously at the store. Players collect and trade elements (gems), claim compounds in the market, place elements on the compounds and score the compounds. Some compounds are volatile and Pandemic style “Fire in the lab” cards in the compound deck will cause them to be come unstable and they can explode. Players also gain stronger actions which they track on their player boards allowing them more elements or more placement moves. It was a fun game and the components – including a periodic table score board – were a fun design for the theme. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Derek, who works in a lab playing with chemicals, won handily.”

After a game of Tichu, she tried out a new roll and write, Floor Plan, “You use the dice to either draw rooms, or add features like doors, window and trees. You want windows looking out on trees, rooms to be connected with doors and there are specific requests for bonus points like a bedroom connected to 2 closets and a bathroom. It was somehow fun and stressful, trying to plan your home, but once you released that you could meet the requirements and create a ridiculous house, it became quite hilarious.”

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Meanwhile Greg and his group played another scenario of Gloomhaven, “Release the hounds! We managed to fight our way through the hounds, frost demons and more in this scenario.”

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“Brad made the mistake of opening a door too early in this next scenario but we still almost managed to win. One of the stone golems making us immobilized put an end to our efforts so we’ll have to try again another time.”

Greg got My First Castle Panic back to the table, “Played three more games of this with Alex and she would have played more but we switched games.”

They played Busy, Busy Airport, “Alex continued her winning streak against me at this game, winning 21-19, although in her words ‘we both won!'”

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Then Go Away Monster, “Finished off with this and we successfully told all the monsters to go away.”

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Greg later got in another game of Wingspan, “Tracy actually requested this one and it was another close one but despite her being ahead in four categories I managed to squeak out a win!”

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This week Gord tested out Europe in Turmoil for the first time. “It’s based on the Twilight Struggle system and is in the period leading up to the Great War. Seems like a good game so far.”

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Greg, Kris and Renee played Res Arcana on our livestream on Friday. Renee, “This was an interesting game. You can play cards to your tableau, which in turn you can activate to allow you to collect essences to use to play more cards or purchase other types of cards from the market. There is a bit of engine building to get some good combos going. I liked the challenge of figuring out the most effective way to use your cards to get points. The game’s rounds started to get more interesting as we gained more cards to activate and use and it became a lot of fun. The artwork on the cards is beautiful so it also looks great on the table.” Greg also played it again with Tracy, “I enjoy figuring out the best options and I’m looking forward to trying it using the draft variant.”

Renee also got in a game of Gizmos, “Was happy to get a chance to play this again with the family. This continues to be a fun, quick game of engine building and marble picking. Trying to create a good combination of gizmos to trigger awesome bonus actions is rewarding and fun.”

Tia played Call to Adventure, “What a fun game! It wasn’t too hard to learn and the setup/teardown was quick. It was neat how your character’s story progresses as you choose the cards for them. I ended up going down a darker path, while Kevin went for the hero’s path. I think the cards I picked in the beginning kind of shaped what I chose late game, as it makes more sense that way to earn more points. I ended up losing by 4 points, so it was a close game!”

Greg L also played more Gloomhaven, “Finally made our way past the Fire lizards and drakes guarding the entrance into the lair of the Dragon. Easily the toughest encounter we have faced so far this game. The Dragon alternated between summoning un-killable wind elementals and jumping around the room between the large rock outcroppings. At our level the dragon had 80 hps, We were rewarded with a nice suit of Drakescale Armor and mountain of gold!”

Greg got Teotihuacan back on the table, “I’ve been wanting to teach this to Tracy for a while but even though it’s not super long I’ve never felt like we had time. Decided to just go for it tonight and then we had to abort after the second eclipse scoring due to a sick baby.”

Some of the staff had a chance to play Narabi, a cooperative game in which the group is attempting to place all the numbered cards in sequence. The game comes with sleeves and you place rules cards randomly with the numbered cards so that each card has a specific movement rule on the back. Without revealing the rules, players take turns exchanging one of the cards in front of themselves with another on the table and try to get the best score. Renee, “The concept seemed simple enough but it was a lot more challenging than we were expecting and we lost. Like Hanabi, I can see this becoming a fun challange to work towards beating the game and then improving your score. The fact that the rules are randomly assigned to the cards at the beginning of each game, means that you would need to adapt your strategy each time. Although we lost, we had a fun time playing it.”

Here’s to another week of gaming and tabletop fun!

What have The Sentry Box Staff been up to – March 25-31

Welcome to another week of gaming and painting with The Sentry Box crew! Find out what we’ve been getting to the table and what we’re currently enjoying.

At Monday Board Game Night Greg played Exit: The Mysterious Museum, “This one was rated 2/5 for difficulty which makes it a good one if you’re new to this type of game. We stumbled a little on one clue but overall it was fairly straightforward. Lots of fun though.” Followed with Exit: The Sinister Mansion, “This one was a bit harder and we needed a few hints. I do enjoy these for those a-ha moments when you figure something out. We’re now caught up and have played all the Exit Games, although three more are due out soon.”

He then played Wingspan, “I got another chance to bring this out, this time with three players. It flows very quickly and I do enjoy the tactical nature of trying to make the most of what’s available. The great production quality doesn’t hurt either.”

And finally Spirits of the Forest, “Got this little set collection game back to the table for another 2 player game. I definitely feel like I need to make better use of the gems for reserving cards. I’d like to try it with more players at some point. Our game was tied 34-34.”…and 3×8, “Played a 2 player game of this and I feel like it’s starting to click a little more now. Another that I’d like to try with more players.”

Meanwhile Renee played another game of Tiny Towns, “Taught it to a few new players and tried yet another set of buildings. I’m really liking this game and can see why it was so popular at GAMA.” As well as yet another game of Las Vegas, “I was completely shut out of the first round but managed to make up for it in the next 3 rounds and easily won. Still so much fun!”

She played Yspahan, “An older game from 2006 that we played on the livestream last year that I pulled out to try out again. You roll all the dice and allocate them to the action board. The strength of the action you choose that round is determined by the number of dice on the action space, but each space has 2 alternate actions, something we did not take advantage of enough when action choices were weak. You can build buildings which give you bonus’ to your actions so there is a little engine building component you can take advantage of. On the board there is area control with points scored at the end of each of the 3 weeks. None of us actually attempted to score on the camel caravan, so hoping to get it out again.”

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She finished the night with a quick play of a prototype called Dice Connect. “You roll your die and place it on a large grid attempting to get 4 dice in a row while adhering to the placement rules. It was a quick game so I’ll need to play it a couple more times to get a true sense of the strategy. It was fun to get a chance to check it out, particularly because it was new dice game!”

Greg tried My First Castle Panic, “Decided to see if I could get Alex to play this by the actual rules and she loves it! We played four games in a row and then Tracy took over to play even more. We won two and lost two in the games I played, so it seems to be fairly well balanced.”

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“Our castle got destroyed this game.”

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“All the monsters in the dungeon after we won!”

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“Our castle all safe after the monsters were locked up.”

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He also played Wingspan, “Played a 2 player game using the ‘friendly’ side of the round goals. The game ended up in a tie and also tied on the tiebreaker so it was super close and exciting!”

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“Final scores.”

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“Lots of eggywegs.”

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Danielle painted this awesome horse.

Tuesday Renee played Ticket to Ride: New York for the first time. “As advertised it is a small and quick playing version of the classic game. Did a great job of implementing the game mechanics in a 15 minute game.”

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Gord provides an update on Napoleonic Wars, “It’s not looking good for the Allies since the Austrians have surrendered, the British and Russians are fighting alone after the perfidious Prussians declared war on them instead of fighting their true enemies, the French. The French may win the Napoleonic Wars after all.”

Greg also played Black Sonata, “This is a recent Kickstarter game that is a solo, hidden movement deduction game where you are trying to figure out the lady from Shakespeare’s sonnets. You set up the deck of movement cards and they give you an idea of the lady’s location and movement from turn to turn. If you search for her and she is in your location you get a clue towards figuring out her identity by discovering her three traits. Once you think you’ve figured out her three traits you have to successfully find her again and then check if you’re correct. If right, you win. If wrong, you lose. You can also lose by taking too long or searching too much. I played on the normal difficulty and managed to win, discovering that the lady was in fact Lucy Morgan!”

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Sue is back at it, “I painted Alissa, the human ranger, from the Castle Ravenloft boardgame, and Mittens, the tabaxi bard, from the Tomb of Annihilation boardgame. Only real tips here are I thinned down the blue wash quite a bit with Lahmain Medium to maintain the bright blue for Mittens’ outfit. And I painted Alissa’s lips Bugman’s Glow and then made a tiny line of a lighter flesh color on the bottom lip to create a highlight. Both miniatures were primed white.”

Later in the week Sue played her favourite game, Castle Ravenloft:

It’s a super fun dungeon crawl in the D&D world. I thought it might be less fun with only 2 players, but it was just as fun as when you have a full party. Castle Ravenloft, and all the D&D boardgames, come with multiple scenarios, all of which play out differently every time, making them great for replayability.

Last night we played a scenario where our friend (an NPC) was slowly turning into a vampire. We had to get him safely to a fountain deep within the dungeon so he could drink the water and reverse the curse. But along the way he could randomly, temporarily turn into a vampire and attack us. But if we killed him, we lost. So we had to not die and keep him safe. It was a fun battle against the undead, and we were able to safely get our friend to the antidote and free him from his vampiric curse!

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“Castle Ravenloft also comes with a convenient cat bed to keep your pet off the game board!”

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Friday’s livestream was Chimera Station. Greg, “Finally got this back to the table. It’s a medium weight worker placement game where you can upgrade your workers by splicing new parts on to them. You can score points in a variety of ways and have to feed your workers but it’s not stressful like some games and there’s also good variety in the modules and perk cards.”  Renee, “A worker placement game in which you splice components into your workers to give them different abilities. The main action is building action tiles on the board which means that there are more and more actions available as the game goes on. You get points by building tiles, splicing brains onto your workers so they collect points when using actions, using a command module and collecting end game bonus perks. An interesting take on worker placement and I enjoyed the game.”

Greg played Trekking the National Parks, “This lived up to expectations as a nice, light to medium family game. It takes elements of Ticket to Ride but adds moving around, collecting stones which give points for majority in each colour, and card set collection to trade in for park cards. Plus the major parks, which offer special benefits. The production quality is really nice too. Definitely recommended for people looking for a new family or gateway game.”

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“The end of our 2-player game. It was a close one, 54-51.”

Greg taught it at Staff Game Night and we played a 5 player game. Everyone enjoyed it and agreed, a great family game!

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Kris played 7 Wonders Duel, “We have not played it in a while but it is so simple that it didn’t take long for us to pick up again. Gill invested early in to building a wonder in the first age which I didn’t expect and it allowed her to destroy my only wood producing building and push back my early military advances. This snowballed in to her getting to build a second wonder and doing the same thing again! At that point my engine was in ruins and I was relying on chaining buildings for the win on points but the last card I flipped opened up the Scientific Victory for her so the game ended. Was good fun and plays really quickly, it’s one of the two player games I often recommend, but we don’t play it enough.”

Here’s to another week of tabletop gaming!

 

 

 

 

What have The Sentry Box Staff been up to – March 18-24

New arrival from GAMA Tiny Towns made it to the table on Monday Board Gaming Night. Greg, “Got another chance to play this new game, and this time we added the monuments, which are individual buildings each player can build. Looking forward to trying some of the other options too.” Renee, “Monday I was really happy to get to try Tiny Towns after seeing so many pics and mentions of it coming out of GAMA. It is a fun, quick little game that requires quite a bit of planning. You place resources on the squares, each player taking a turn to decide what everyone has to place, and then you need to create certain patterns in order to build the different buildings. The tricky part is not having control of which resources you get to place and making sure that when you build your buildings you leave spaces you can use to create the necessary patterns. Sounds easier than it is. Hoping to get it to the table again soon.”

Renee did and played a few more games of Tiny Towns over the weekend, “We played a teaching game with the recommended cards, but played again with another set of cards. I like that the game comes with a whole set of monuments (individual player buildings with different abilities) as well as 4 of each type of building that you can randomize – it gives a lot of variability to the game. There is also a Town Hall variant I have yet to try that uses resource cards, so even more to discover. For what looks like a cute little quick game, it is thinky and feels harder than it should.”

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Greg then played Gloomhaven, “Played two more scenarios and we comfortably won both. I think we’re trying to track down a necromancer or something. One thing that seems apparent is that all of us are usually more Eurogamers, so we’re more focused on the gameplay and mechanisms than the story. Having said that I do recall that we stole some stuff from a guy we met on the road who was taking a dump. That’ll teach him.”

Renee got in a 4 player game of Kingsburg, “A dice placement game in which you get resources to build buildings in your town that give you points, special abilities and battle strength. It’s not a very thinky game, but does require some planning to make sure you don’t get locked out of spaces you need. Still haven’t played with the expansion yet, but one day.”

Renee also got to play a 5 player game of Alhambra: The Dice Game, “Having only played it 2 player before, I was pretty excited to get to see it how it plays with more players. It was fun. Although apparently it “removed everything that makes Alhambra great” and replaces it with dice. Don’t think I’ll get another chance to get it to the table on a Monday night, but I am very happy I was allowed to at least once.”

Sam played the just released Kickstarter Call to Adventure, “Tried a 3 player game last night and absolutely loved it. The more stories you tell about your character the better the game gets. It’s a nice light hearted game that has a cool balance of set collection and making a cool thematic character. The rule book is not super well written, but theres already great YouTube videos. The playmat was an add on! A very nice touch for the market cards.”

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Sue painted up her Wizkids D&D beholder miniature. “I love the beholder because it’s such a classic D&D monster. I used Citadel’s Bugman’s Glow with a flesh wash over top for the gums. I used a very thinned down (with Lahmain Medium) brown wash over the teeth. I found the hardest part about this miniature drawing all the little eyes on. I did them first, but when I paint my next beholder, I think I will paint them last because I found myself making an extra effort not to get paint on them when painting the rest of the miniature.”

Greg managed to play a few roll & write games while away on vacation. “Tracy had played Twice as Clever once before but I’ve played a fair amount and got a pretty good score of 290. Next up was Noch Mal and I managed to squeak a win. We both used up all of our wilds fairly early and ended up having a bunch of turns where neither of us could play. Tracy hadn’t played The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game before but everything went wrong for me and she destroyed me pretty handily.”

Renee, Kris, Bill and Nick played Arkham Horror Third Edition on Friday night on what was supposed to be the first livestream with our new set up, but computer issues prevented that. We’ll be back next week! Kris, “I played my second game of Arkham Horror 3rd Edition on Friday. I am liking it more and more compared to the previous version. It flows a lot better and is probably the game that I would use to introduce new players to the setting. Even though we failed to save Arkham and by extension the world my two Dark Pacts did not come back to haunt me so it feels like a win. Although it plays up to 6 players I think that the 4 we played with was optimal, I am looking forward to giving the scenario a second try and trying out even more of the investigators.” Renee, “I wasn’t sure what to expect, it being quite outside my usual world of Euro gaming, but I was excited to try it out. And I’m glad I did. I ended up having a lot of fun! The game play reminded me of my Castle Ravenloft experience, with players taking actions, monsters attacking, and having encounters, However I liked that all the players got to work together on their actions together with the standard game portions happening once per round rather than on each player’s turn; it made it feel like everything was happening to us all together. I also found that the story was stronger and I was really drawn into the scenario as a result. The story was reinforced during our encounters and as we played through the scenario through the use of the codex. I enjoyed playing a fighter and running into situations and swinging my wrench to deal with monsters. It was really cool how everyone’s character became a big part of our gameplay and we were able to have some fun with them as we played. I can see why this game is so popular and I look forward to having the opportunity to try it again in the future.”

Kris vs Will

Kris played two games of X-Wing with one of the new factions introduced in Wave 3, the Confederacy of Independent Systems:

A swarm of Vulture Droids was lead into battle by the Forman of the Techno Union, Wat Tambor. Whilst I was initially worried that the design space of this faction would overlap considerably with the Galactic Empire with their cheap TIE Fighters it definitely felt different and they surprised me a lot.

Using the robotic Vulture Droids means that you can’t have the highly skilled pilots and so it shifts the focus of the game to laying out your Firing Arcs and trying to force your opponent into hard choices and you do get some nice toys to help out.

I used Wat Tambor with a whole host of Defensive Upgrades to try to Ancour my Swarm around and then 3 Separatist Drones with Energy Shell Charges to give me a bit of punch from range and 2 Trade Federation Drones, that whilst they are even worse than the Separatist Drones with a lowly initiative value of 1 they were each armed with a set of Discord Missiles that when launched unleash a cloud of Buzz Droids on to the failed for your opponent to have to try to avoid!

In both games, the Vultures proved to be more resilient than I expected with only 2 Agility and 3 Hull points but with some careful positioning, they get to take advantage of their Network Calculation ability allowing them to spend tokens from other ships in close proximity to them, this meant that whichever ship my opponent targeted, they always had defense on hand to keep them alive for an extra shot or two.

The mighty CIS Swarm came out on top in both of my games, defeating both the Galactic Republic Jedi and Clone troopers and some Rebel Scum lead by Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker! I am looking forward to trying out the new Galactic Republic faction next with their unique mix of Individualistic Jedi Knights and their Clone Trooper support but for now its Roger, Roger! All day long!

That’s the news from The Sentry Box staff this week. Hope everyone has a fun filled week ahead of them!

 

What have The Sentry Box been up to March 11-17

This week we have a lot of content from the staff stuck at the store in Calgary as well as a slew of games Greg was able to check out at GAMA in Reno.

Renee played Clank! In! Space! with the Apocolypse! expansion at Monday Night Board Gaming. “It was a lot of fun to play this game again and awesome to finally play it as a 4 player game after having only played it with 2 players in the past. I definitely enjoyed it more at the higher count, with more competition on the board and the cards in the market changing with higher frequency. The expansion was great – I loved that it added a different scenario and some additional mechanics to the game, while making the game just feel like a better version of the original. If I ever pick this up, I’ll definitely grab Apocalypse as well. In the scenario we played, as black cubes came out we lost things – including 2 of the 4 escape pods. This made it a tight race to get out, and while I wan’t sure I’d actually escape, I was hoping to at least make it to the Cargo Bay so I wouldn’t die….but one turn away from accomplishing this, Kevin unceremoniously had Lord Eradikus kill both Setareh and me. Oh well, maybe next time.”

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“Setarah (white), me (blue), so close to the end when we died. So close. I finished the night with some Ganz Schön Clever and a 5 player game of Las Vegas.”

Greg L played on Episode 3 of Kevin Madison’s Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay stream. “We spent half of the session figuring out how to spend our xp and the second half drowning in the river during a storm.”

On Thursday Renee went to a Boards & Brew event, “I got to play my newest game: Sunflower Valley. Another roll and write, this time you are placing sheep, houses and railroads on your board, but you have to be able to connect them or you gain a lot of negative points. On your turn you take one of the rolled dice and pick one of the colours and then draw the corresponding symbol on your board. Getting the symbols you need AND being able to place them on the coloured hex you want to is challenging. A fun game and it came with a stack of different player boards.”

She also got to play Gizmos again, teaching it to 2 new players. “I went in with a heavy conversion strategy, but without bonus actions when I did a pick or build action, it didn’t pay off as well as I had hoped. I just picked this up to add to my collection and I’m looking forward to getting to play it a bit more to explore some different engine building strategies. Plus who doesn’t love playing with marbles? They are like little round pip-less dice! Speaking of dice, I managed to sneak in another play of Las Vegas. It was the perfect game to play while we ate our meal.”

She finished the evening with another play of Keyflower. “This time it was a 3 player game and with only I having played it before and only once, it was definitely still a learning, discovering game. It worked well at 3 players, although I look forward to playing it more confidently and with more experienced players. This time I at least had a strategy for my village, although I definitely spent way too many meeples acquiring tiles for my village that in the end I didn’t need. I was hoping I would have tiles other players would want to use, but with only 2 other players, that didn’t happen as much as I had hoped it would. I did have a winter tile to add to the auction that rewarded having lots of meeples of the same colour, so kept using red to activate my own tiles and that did work out for me in the end, so I was pretty happy about that. I do really like this game!”

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Kris hosted some X-Wing on Friday’s livestream. “I played against a Resistance list with a fun Imperial list featuring Soontir Fel and two TIE Punishers loaded up with Proton Torpedoes. The plan had been to sit in front of the opponents list with the punishers and try to launch salvos of ordnance while Fel got around the flanks but due to the Resistance list all being initiative 5 the Punishers has to go down first. So they spent too long trying to line up shots while the T-70s and RZ-2 A- Wings chipped away at them. It’s still a fun list to use but I definitely need to be more restrained with it next time!”

Friday night Renee played Gloomhaven again. “We decided to re-play the first scenario as last time we only played the first room and we were just focused on familiarizing ourselves with the game. This time went a lot better, although I have to say that I still really feel out of my element with the combat style of game play, but I am enjoying learning the game. We cleared out the first room and headed into uncharted territory.”

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“My character getting into the fight and destroying the bandit archers.”

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“We did it! Cleared the last room. Well done us!”

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Greg L also played Gloomhaven this weekend. “Began our assault on the mountain dragons lair. Wind and Earth elementals guarding the entry pass. We exhausted 2 of the 4 players but managed to overcome the scenario with 2 turns of cards left.”

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His character’s sheet is very impressive.

Renee and family played a 6 player game of Rush & Bash. “A fun game that is best described as analog Mario Kart. You play racers that use bombs and missiles to damage your opponents and slow them down. The cards you play and using your star abilities allow you to strategize but like Mario Kart, it is still chaotic madness that makes the game fun. Coming around the bend about a third of the way through the race, it was still a very close race.”

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“The turn around the volcano caused some severe damage to a few racers and then Christopher used his special ability to place explosives around a bunch of us causing some crazy chain reactions and it really spread us all out. The damage charged up our abilities which we all started using and it ended up being a fairly tight race.”

Tia played a game of Nemesis. “At the beginning of the game you are given two random objectives, one of which you have to throw away once the first alien spawns. Some of the objectives include killing a particular player, or blowing up the ship, or having every other player dying. Some of the objectives are more cooperative, like having the ship reach earth, or killing the queen, or grabbing an egg and sending a signal (objectives that don’t screw over any other players). This time we all chose cooperative objectives.”

“Everything was going great until we got cornered by the queen and a breeder, and fires started spreading. It was down to the wire, all of us one or two wounds away from death, and the timer on the last turn. We all successfully went into hypersleep and completed our secret objectives! It was very tense and exciting.”

Renee played Noria with her sister. “It has an interesting action wheel which you rotate at the end of each turn to set up the action combinations available to you on your next turn.”

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“You can produce resources, travel to get more resource generating ships, build factories that can turn your resources into goods and then use the resources and goods to go up their corresponding tracks on the board. You also have the ability to increase or decrease the potential value of the tracks. It’s a beautiful game and I really enjoyed wheel mechanic. Another game that I look forward to playing to try different strategies.”

For those that have been curious about the games Greg was able to try out at GAMA, the wait is over.  Here is his quick overview of a bunch of the games.

Walls of York: A fun abstract game where a die is rolled to determine what wall sections you can place and the idea is to build your wall in such a way as to include a certain number of each building type (determined randomly) and exclude as many Vikings as possible. Once you have completed your wall you’ll earn bonus coins each round until everyone is finished.

Res Arcana: A Tom Lehmann engine building game but where everyone has their own small deck to play as well as some central locations available to everyone. Try to build up combos to generate resources to buy the point cards and race to get to 10 points. Very interesting game.

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Finger Guns at High Noon: A silly party game that’s kind of a cross between Rock, Paper, Wizard and Cash & Guns. Each round players use hand gestures on a count of three and are trying to be one of the last players in. When you die you become a ghost and can still win if all players die simultaneously before it gets down to two or less players remaining. Obviously I shot Gord a lot and he died early, with myself and another player sharing victory.

Lanterns Dice: A roll and write version of Lanterns. It uses an interesting dice tray that forces the dice into a 2×2 shape so you can orient them such that each player gets a colour. Then you fill in coloured sections of your pad, trying to create polyomino shapes to set off firework displays, etc.

Wacky Races: A light racing game based on the old cartoon. Players use cards to advance around the track and each racer has special powers they can use. Dick Dasterdly is always a threat and if he gets ahead can leave traps for you to run into.

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Point Salad: A card game that is literally a point salad. On your turn either take two vegetable cards or take one scoring card (that scores at the end of the game for certain vegetables or sets of vegetables (including negative points for some vegetables sometimes). Simple but fun.

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Hex Roller: Another roll and write, this time where a pool of dice are rolled and you select two values, writing in all numbers of those values that were rolled, making sure that they go adjacent to the same value on your pad. You can score in a variety of ways, such as connecting the two starting points of a given value, filling up all the spaces in a section of the pad, or a kind of set collection based on which values you choose each round.

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Reykholt: A new Uwe game that I hadn’t previously got around to playing. Build greenhouses, sow and harvest vegetables and then sell them to customers to advance up the score track. Whoever has advanced the furthest up the track after 7 rounds wins. It’s worker placement but a little on the lighter side compared to some of his games. I enjoyed it a lot.

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Tiny Towns: A fun little abstract game that is theoretically playable by an unlimited number of players as long as they have the components. Players take it in turns choosing a resource type and adding it to an empty space on their board. If players get resources in certain orientations they can remove them to build a specific building on one of the spaces. Buildings score points in different ways or give other bonuses. Once a player can no longer play anything they are done and score their board.

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War Chest: An interesting chess-like game where players have four different types of units with special powers (out of 16 possible options) and are trying to gain control of spaces on the board. Players pull the unit tokens out of a bag three at a time and can recruit more units during the game. When units attack others they are removed from the game and then the first player to control six of the control spaces wins.

Godsforge: Felt a bit like a cross between Dice Throne and Magic. Players roll their dice trying to make combos needed to play cards such as creatures and spells. Once on the board creatures damage an opposing player (attacks always go left) and spells are one time use.

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Mar 4-10

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Greg’s group got together at Monday Night Board Gaming for another session of Gloomhaven, “Played two scenarios and we managed to win both although in the second I took a beating and got exhausted half way through. Managed to get enough XP to reach level 3 too!”

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“The elite Night Demon hurt me pretty bad before I killed it.”

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Danielle has been doing some painting, “A fierce King has joined the ranks.”

Renee played Keyflower, “Monday night I finally got to play Keyflower, a game I’ve been curious about for years but just never got around to playing. We played a 5 player game with 3 of us playing for the first time. Players get meeples in 3 colours (random) which you hide behind your screen and use them to either activate tiles to use their action or bid on them to add them to your village. Once a meeple has been played on a tile, only meeples of the same colour can be used for bidding and activation. An interesting mechanic which made for some fun bidding situations. At the end of the round, meeples used for activating a tile go to the owner of the tile, so adding popular tiles to your village can be beneficial. There is also a fair bit of planning involved in the layout of your village tiles to allow you to score points. I had so much fun learning and playing this game. Definitely think it has potential to become one of my favourite Euros. It plays 2-6 and there was a lot of player interaction at 5 which I enjoyed, so curious now what it would be like at a lower player count.”

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Greg, Renee and Jeff played Wingspan on Friday’s livestream.  Greg, “This is a card-based tableau building game where players are collecting food in order to play birds into different habitats and have those birds lay eggs. Playing to different habitats improves the actions associated with them and when you take those actions you also activate the bird powers in that row. The random card draw and bonus cards make it a fairly tactical game rather than strategic but it’s fun trying to make the most of what’s available. The production quality is excellent too.”  Renee, “This was an interesting game.  The actions are quite straight-forward, but maximizing them to so you get bonus actions takes some work.  Plus you want to make sure you’re working towards the round bonus’ as well as your personal bonus cards.  There is some luck with the cards you draw or are available in the market, but it makes it an interesting challenge to see if you can make them work for you. I enjoyed it quite a bit.”

Renee also played more Las Vegas and Twice as Clever, “I’m always more than happy to teach either of these games to new folks and watch them experience the joy they bring me.  Las Vegas is quickly becoming my favourite filler game and works well at different player counts.”

That’s the news for this week.  Greg and Gord are at GAMA so maybe we’ll get some gaming updates from them for next week’s blog.

 

What have The Sentry Box Staff been up to – Feb 25-Mar 3

This week the staff played quite a few games. Check out our thoughts below.

 

Greg and Renee started Monday Board Gaming Night with a play of Las Vegas. Greg, “Played a quick round of this fun dice game. I enjoy the player interaction of competing on each casino.” Renee, “Las Vegas is becoming my favourite non-roll and write dice game filler. It’s just fun. Looking forward hearing more about the new edition coming out.”

They followed that with a game of Gizmos. Greg, “Finally got a second chance to get this to the table. Unfortunately since it had been a while I missed one important rule so inadvertently cheated. I enjoy it quite a bit though as it’s fun once your engine ramps up.” Renee, “I really enjoyed playing this again. This is a great engine builder with a fun theme – using energy balls (marbles) to buy gizmos. The components are great and I like how streamlined it becomes with columns of cards for bonus action for each type of action. Building a decent chain feels good.”

 

The main game of the night was Agricola. Greg, “It’s been a little while since I played this so I was happy to get it back on the table. Renee, Jeff and I played a three player game, base game cards only, drafting our initial hands. It was pretty closely fought between Jeff and I (the more experienced players).” Renee, “I played Agricola with 2 seasoned players. I’d played this a couple of times years ago but found it was too long at the time to get it to the table with my family so we ended up playing All Creatures Big and Small instead. I enjoyed rediscovering this game, despite feeling a bit rusty. This is such a solid worker placement game and the cards add so much variability. Happy with how my farm turned out even if it was a distant third in the scoring.”

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Greg’s winning farm, with an impressive score of 61.

Monday closed with another game of Tichu. Greg, “Finished off with a game of Tichu, with Kevin joining us. Jeff and I started with a Grand Tichu 1-2 and never really looked back, winning comfortably. Renee did call and win her first ever Tichu though, so she was happy!” Renee, “Finished the night with Tichu of course. Called and made my first Tichu which was a small victory for me, despite the fact that we got slaughtered.”

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Greg finished reading: For the Love of Board Games by Erin Dean. “This is a collection of short interviews with lots of board game designers. It doesn’t go into lots of detail about design processes but does give a bit of a summary of them as well as background info, early and/or failed designs, favourite games, etc. It was an interesting read for anyone into modern board games. I’m sure everyone will wonder why designer x wasn’t in the book but designer y was, as there were some top names not included and a few I didn’t know as well who were.”

 

Greg played game of 2 of Rise of Queensdale, “Which saw me having a higher points goal due to winning the first game. Right now setup takes a while as there are new things to prepare, but the game plays quickly. Tracy won this one, which means we’ll be back to having the same target next game.”

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His character also picked up some snazzy headwear this game.

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Gord started another game of Napoleonic Wars, “With five of us this time. My dice were hot tonight even though I have not had great cards. I got Austria to surrender to France on the first turn which I don’t ever remember doing before. It will be interesting to see how it goes as once again, they are all against me.”

 

Greg, Renee, Jeff and River played Crusaders: Thy Will be Done on Friday’s livestream. Greg, “We played this on stream so I got a chance to play a full four player game. I had the advantage of having played before, which didn’t mean I played well but did mean I was able to plan and execute a specific strategy based on my choice of faction. I enjoy this game quite a bit. It’s not too complicated and plays in 60-90 minutes but it feels like there’s a good amount of depth.”  Renee, “I’ve been curious about this ever since Greg told me how much he enjoyed it. It was a great game and I enjoyed it a lot. The mandala roundel mechanic was really good, easier to plan and execute than the one in Trajan with can be brain breaking. It was fun to plan and set up your next couple of turns and there are different ways to get points so would be fun to play and try different strategies. The player powers would also be fun to try out and gives the game some good variability. Also? The board and components are nice.”

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Of course Greg got in some Noch Mal & Twice as Clever, “Played a pretty bad game of Noch Mal but followed it up with another score over 300 in Twice as Clever. Still haven’t managed that in Ganz though.”

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Gord was at the wargaming convention this weekend playing some late Roman games. “We tried a version of the new Imperium Romanum remake but discovered it was going to be a little too slow too finish in two days. The map and counters were certainly beautiful but we needed to know the rules a lot better to play it quickly.”

 

Renee finally got around to teaching her sister The River, “I wanted to show her how it is a great intro to worker placement games so we could play it with the kids at some point. That being said, it is a not a kids game, it a decent quick and lighter game. But it would be a great choice for playing with younger (or inexperienced) players as the iconography is nice a clear, the rules are straight-forward and would give newer players a good opportunity to learn worker placement, it has good choices and would be a good way to introduce some classic mechanics for euro-gaming. Later we played a couple games of Las Vegas with our dad, which again was a lot of fun for all of us. Had to take a picture of the round in which Jenn and Dad ended up fighting over the same casino, leaving me to earn lots of money elsewhere!”

 

Renee also played a couple games of Micropolis “We played a standard 2 player teaching game first and then playing with the advanced rules in which each player has 2 anthills. The advanced rules were much better with 2 players than the basic game, but I like that the basic game plays up to 6 players, so good options for lower and higher player counts. You draft tiles from the market and place them in your anthill trying to get points in a variety of ways. Player order for picking the tiles and paying soliders to take tiles further up the market become important factors. Another quick game that would be good for playing with fans of lighter games.”

That was our week.  Here’s to another week filled with games, painting and reading!

 

What have The Sentry Box Staff been up to Feb 19-24

A shorter and quieter week here at The Sentry Box after Family Day, but a few games were played.

Greg taught Villainous to a couple of the staff members on Sunday evening’s staff game night.  “Takes a Scythe-style action selection player board, where you must move each turn and then perform the actions of the location like gaining power, playing cards, vanquishing heroes or drawing from another player’s fate deck to mess with them. It has a multiplayer tug of war feel as each player that is getting closer to winning will get picked on by the others. All the characters seemed quite thematic as far as their personal objective and decks of cards. Looking forward to seeing the characters that weren’t in the game we played!”

Renee played Kashgar with her sister, “I had played this once a while back and wanted to teach it to my sister because she is a fan of deck builders. The interesting mechanic in this game is that you place your cards in caravans (columns) and on your turn you play a card from the front of the caravan, placing it at the back of the caravan along with any cards you may have acquired. Unlike a blind deck, it allows you to plan, but requires careful consideration so you are organizing your cards well across all the caravans so you have good card options on your turn. The goal of the game is to collect resources to use to buy orders which give you points along with the cards in your deck.”

Renee also played The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game. “This is a great quick roll and write version of one of my favourite games.  I also love that it solos well.” Coincidentally Greg also played it this week, along with some of his other recent roll and write standards, Noch Mal!,Ganz Schon Clever and Twice as Clever.

Enjoy the week and have fun gaming!