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

Greg does enjoy Bora Bora but when deciding what to play the other night he was swayed by the idea of a game about gorgeous beaches and a nice blue ocean. “I think I need a vacation somewhere like this. As for the game, it had been a couple of years since I’d played, and more than five since Tracy had played, so we needed a bit of a refresher. It’s a Stefan Feld point salad game using dice rolling for action selection, with the strength of the action determined by the die value, but when placing a die on an action space it must be lower than all other dice on the space. There’s a fair bit going on so it’s not surprising I managed to win, having played it more times and more recently than Tracy.”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Dec 28-Jan 3

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Greg was looking at his games played for the year and realized that he hadn’t played Agricola at all, and still hadn’t played the latest expansion deck, so he had to rectify that. “There were some interesting cards that came out (we drafted as usual), with Crudité being the MVP for me. Tracy always feels a little disappointed and that she didn’t do well whenever we play this, but I think it’s partly because she almost always plays against me, a very experienced player, and partly because her expectations and goals are getting higher. Final scores were 44 – 36.”

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Greg and Tracy’s first two games of Dune: Imperium ended with one player winning convincingly. “This game was slightly closer, although I always felt a little bit behind. I picked up points from influence tracks and some cards but had trouble making much headway in the conflicts, and Tracy earned four points from two conflicts to take the win. Still enjoying trying to figure things out and make the best tactical plays.”

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They also played another game of Lost Ruins of Arnak. “We tried the other side of the board and it did make things more interesting with the research track. I tried to buy cards with a good cost to points ratio and also made it to the top of the research track with my magnifying glass token, and that was enough for me to win for the first time.”

They played again in the new year, “First game of 2021 was another play of Lost Ruins of Arnak on the 2nd board side. It seems to encourage discovering new sites a bit more than the other side of the board, as you need idols to advance past a certain point of the research track. It ended up being very close!”

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Greg and Tracy tried the latest Escape the Room game, The Cursed Dollhouse. “We finished the year off with this creepy escape room game where you build a 3D dollhouse and make your way through it solving puzzles. It was a mixed bag of puzzles, some that we solved no problem, some where we had the right idea but needed a hint to see the final solution and some where we were a bit lost. The dollhouse was a neat idea and it definitely looked cool on the table!”

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Renee played Tiny Towns with the Fortune expansion back in March at GAMA (in the before times) and brought a copy home that finally made it to the table! “In this expansion there are ways to earn coins through either new buildings or in quite interesting ways with new Monuments. Each player has a chest in which they can store up to 4 earned coins which in addition to being worth one point at the end of the game, can be spent to change the colour of resource you place on your board. This definitively makes executing your town plans a bit easier if used properly.”

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Renee also finally got to play Quacks of Quedlinburg again after a long hiatus! “Still loving this game and enjoying the extra powers in the Herb Witches expansion. About half way through the game, the score was fairly spread out with about 5 rat tails between the leader and last place, but the game ended so tight with a 1 point spread between the 3 of us. Oh and of course Christopher won.”

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Renee, Jenn and Adam finished The Crew! “We had only 2 missions left, both of which really gave us a bit of a hard time. But we did it! What I really appreciated about this last session was that between attempts we would analyze why we failed and try to figure out together what we would need to do to make these seemingly impossible things to happen. Figuring it out together and then executing on the plan was so rewarding!”

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If you know Chris, it’s not a surprise that the last model he finished in 2020 was a tank. “And this one is a classic – a Leman Russ Battle Tank for Warhammer 40k’s Imperial Guard. While outfitted here as a Demolisher variant, I’ve magnetized the various weapons so I can use it in-game as a bunch of different types (although I still have to paint up the alternate weapons). The main camouflage colors are Vallejo Model Color Green Grey (in common with the Guard infantry I’m also working on) and P3 Bloodstone. The whole thing received a wash of thinned Army Painter Strong Tone before each color got a couple layers of lighter drybrushing. To really bring out the rough, brutal appearance of Imperial Guard weaponry, I finished with plenty of sponge-chipping with Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rust. This model has long been an iconic piece of Warhammer 40k and I’m excited to send it grinding over the enemies of the Imperium on the tabletop!”

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Jenn and Renee tried a few 2 player hands of the new Azul branded version of 5211. “This is an interesting game. You have a hand of 5 cards, from which you play 2 cards (all players reveal at the same time). Draw back up to 5 and play one more card. Draw back up to 5 and play a final card. The 4 played cards from both players are evaluated collectively: If exactly 4 roosters are played, they score for one point each. Otherwise, you look at the colour with the most played cards and they score, unless…5 or more cards have been played in which case the colour busts. Similarly colours with tied numbers of cards played are ignored. Trying to figure out what to play so that regardless of what your opponent plays you still have a chance at scoring is fun. We both did horribly in our first game with tied colours meaning no one scored in many rounds. But we figured it out and both did much better the second game. I want to play this with more players as I think it would end up being way more chaotic in a very fun way.”

Jenn, Adam and Renee were really excited to try Viscounts of the West Kingdom because every game in the West Kingdom series has been, in their opinion, outstanding. “We sat down one evening with the intention of setting up the game, reading the rules and playing a few rounds to try and start learning it. As predicted we fumbled a bit remembering all the rules, realizing we were leaving some important steps and rules out, but by the end of the session we felt we had figured it out. We ended up leaving the game set up and finished it the next evening. So glad we did because it really did cement the rules for us. Unsurprisingly we all absolutely loved it. Full of good thinky options, a bunch of different ways to score points so the constant puzzle of maximizing your turn plus setting yourself up for future turns. This game also has a deck building element, with you adding townsfolks to your deck which we really enjoyed. Really looking forward to getting this back to the table next week when I’m off.”

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

Tracy wanted redemption after the last game of Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef that didn’t go so well for her. “This time she tried Eko and I tried Axl, so I’ve now played four of the five characters. We also tried adding in the Special Announcements, which are a different end game scoring option instead of the individual player goals. Things went better for both of us, and we managed to keep our Rival third player down on the Champions board. It ended up being a pretty close game and although I won Tracy did redeem herself with a good score.”

Sue painted Luke Skywalker for Star Wars: Legion. “I wanted this model to lead the Hoth team I’ve been working on all year off and on, and I especially wanted it because the orange flight suit is my favorite Star Wars uniform. (Hoth snowsuits are my number 2.) I was really nervous painting this model! I primed this model with Wraithbone Primer and I used mostly Contrast Paints. I used Guilliman Flesh for the face, Aggaros Dunes for the hair, Apothecary White for the gloves, chest piece, and straps, Gryph-Hound Orange, for the flight suit, Aethermatic Blue for the lightsaber, and (my favorite) Gore Grunta Fur for the pouches, and Black Templar for the belt. I mixed some white with the Aethermatic Blue to highlight the lightsaber.”

Dune: Imperium is a new deck-builder and worker placement game from the people who made Clank so Greg was interested right away when he heard about it. “Players are influencing the different powerful factions and fighting in conflicts in order to gain victory points in a race to 10. Each round a conflict card is revealed and after all player actions the relative combat strengths are compared and rewards given out. Tracy crushed me, despite her not knowing anything about Dune. I’m hoping to play again soon because it was a lot of fun and I need some redemption.”

Greg and Tracy did got Dune: Imperium back to the table again and, “I managed to redeem myself. I decided to go heavily into Fremen and gained an alliance with them. It also got me lots of water, which I used to harvest spice and deploy lots of troops to the conflicts. It’s an interesting game, and one where the choices the other players make can really make a difference, taking spaces you need.”

Luke asked to play Richard Scarry’s Busy Busy Airport while Alex was at school, “So we played a three player game. He’s actually able to understand the game and how to play. He even beat my score :grinning:

Kris is working on some commissions this week. “Two awesome Catachan models, the limited edition Colonel and Sergeant ‘Ripper’ Jackson. Lots of fun, and I will have to try to get a Ripper for myself as she was really good fun to paint!”

Tia played Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy for the first time. “It was a ton of fun! The mechanics are pretty straight forward. The only difficult part is learning what the many different tokens mean (there was a lot of referencing the rulebook this game). I love that you basically have the freedom to do anything you would think you can do in space – gain resources, expand your population, explore new areas, take down NPCs (or other players!), Upgrade your ship, you name it! One of my favorite parts about it is how organized the game is right out of the box – it’s very impressive and I haven’t seen any other game quite like it. The game took quite a while (about two hours), but next time should go more smoothly and take about half the time.”

Jenn and Renee got to game again and ended up playing Wingspan a couple of times. “With the release of the Oceania expansion I really wanted to get Wingspan back to the table because we hadn’t played it in quite some time. We had never actually gotten around to taking the shrink off the previous expansion so we played with the European expansion. Both games were a lot of fun, reminding me why we love this game. The first game I got a round end action that allowed me to turn food into tucked cards, so I focused a lot on that. The second game both our mats were filled with brown action cards making each turn quite fun as it started a chain of actions, some of which benefitted both players.”

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 30-Dec 6

Greg and Tracy got Viscounts of the West Kingdom back to the table, “To try to make sure I got the rules down properly and don’t forget any little things (which I did last time). I still forgot one thing but I think I’ll be good for next time. In this game Tracy went heavy on manuscripts and ended up earning a whopping 50 points, plus 25 more in bonus points from them. I went for workers in the castle and a bit of building, and, as in the first game, Tracy thought I was crushing her only to end up winning the game herself. We both scored much better this time and it ended up being very close, with her winning 118 – 116.”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 16-22

Blackout: Hong Kong has been on Greg’s of games he wanted to get back to the table for a while now and he finally convinced Tracy to learn it. “This may be controversial but I actually enjoy this more than the designer’s better known games, Great Western Trail and Maracaibo. I enjoy the hand management and long term planning involved, and it feels like you’re always making progress. The game does have a tendency to end before you’re quite ready though, and I usually get too ambitious in my plans, but I enjoy it all the same.”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 9-15

The first miniatures game Chris ever played, way back in Jr High, was Battletech. “Since then, it has always held a special place in my heart (in fact, I can remember coming to the store as a kid to buy some of the classic metal miniatures). But the game’s art and aesthetics were definitely retro, and not always in a good way. Ever since newer video games for the property such as MechWarrior Online came out years ago now, I’ve been wanting to see the kind of updated takes on the classic ‘Mech designs those games had represented on the tabletop. With the arrival of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter, those awesome redesigns of some of my favorite ‘Mechs are finally here! Of course, the first one I had to paint was the famous Timber Wolf (aka the Mad Cat). Clan Wolf has always been my favorite so painting it up in this color scheme was also an automatic choice. I’m super happy with the final result, especially my signature blue gem effect on the cockpit canopy and the tiny Clan Wolf decals I’ve has stashed away for years awaiting just this opportunity. I think the red desert base is a good match – I followed a technique from Sorastro, an outstanding painter on YouTube (originally used to base Star Wars Legion figures from the Clone Wars era). This is the sort of Battletech mini I’ve wanted since I was 14 years old and it feels great to finally have it on my table! (Yes, I know that technically, this sculpt is of the Pryde variant. Fight me, Jade Falcon scum)”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Nov 2-8

This week’s staff blog kicks off with Sue’s Star Wars: Legion, Duros conversion. “The Duros head is from the Rebel Troopers box set and the body is from the Rebel Veterans box set. A simple conversion using just a touch of Green Stuff to make a more seamless transition between head and body. I did pull the head off the Green Stuff after it had hardened to paint it separately. As you can see, I inadvertently glued it back on at a different angle.” 

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