What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – July 19-25

Kris’ day didn’t go entirely to plan so he didn’t get as much time to paint as he wanted to, “So I decided that a speed paint challenge would ensure that I made progress on something! I gave myself 1 hour to paint Commissar Yarrick as he was the first (sort of) undercoated model I found on my Shame Shelf.”

Greg played The Mind. “It had been a while since I last played this but I got in a few three and four player games. We were all either fairly new to it, or fairly rusty, so we didn’t do amazingly well, but it was still a lot of fun.”

Hanabi is another great game that Greg hadn’t played for a while. “We started with a four player game that was Lani’s first time playing and Matt’s second. Things didn’t go amazingly well, but it was a good introduction. Tracy sat out the second game and things went much better for the three of us, ending with a score of 24. Not perfect but pretty close!”

After a long hiatus Greg and his group finally got back to their Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion campaign, playing scenario 5. “We were all a bit rusty, specifically in our group communication, so we ended up losing our first attempt. We did try again the next night though and were much better, winning quite comfortably, and all making it to level 2 ready for the next scenario.”

Greg also had a chance to get back to The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine. “We continued playing through a bunch of missions over a number of nights. Sometimes we were playing quite late and there were a few tired mistakes, but we kept plugging away. We’re now up to Mission 42, so we don’t have too much left, although they are likely to be pretty hard.”

Greg finished reading Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. “This is the first book in a large series (10 books I believe) and follows a variety of characters but mostly a group from the Bridgeburners, soldiers in the army of the Malazan Empire. It has an interesting use of Magic, and also has Gods involved, who often use mortals to in their schemes. It was pretty interesting, with some intrigue and political maneuvering going on, and I’ll likely pick up the second book in the future.”

What have The Sentry Box been up to – July 12-18

Greg and Trach played Exit: The Gate Between Worlds. “The story of this one is that it follows on from one of the previous Exit games, although it’s not necessary to have played it. This one is about passing through a gate to another world and then trying to find your way back, passing through other worlds on the way. It was a little surprising when we opened it up as there was only one puzzle card, but that was because there were a variety of World Maps, that each had puzzles on them. The puzzles were pretty good throughout. We needed a couple of clues, not so much to figure out what to do, but to figure out how to use the information we got. Overall it was one of the better Exit games we’ve done, definitely recommended!”

Tracy and Greg played another game of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar with the Tribes & Prophecies expansion. “My tribe was one that let me use some of the wheels interchangeably. That proved to be pretty useful at times as I was always able to pick the better placement option between them. I didn’t really have much of a plan, but I built a building early on that gave me skulls in the late game, so I made sure to take advantage of those, and also ended up focusing on the Temple tracks. Tracy built two monuments but was forced to lose a bunch of points at the end due to Prophecies and not being able to feed, so I took the win.”

Renee finally picked up Pandemic: Rising Tide. “It’s surprising I waited this long because we love Pandemic and this one takes place in The Netherlands. Instead of fighting viruses, you’re working together to keep Holland water-free by building dykes, installing windmills to pump out water and ultimately, to win the game, build 4 hydraulic structures. We really, really, liked this version and not just because it takes place in the motherland. There seemed to be a bit more going on here – you have to work to remove the water cubes from the board so you don’t run out, but you can also build dykes to control the water flow. In addition if you build your water pumps strategically, you can use them to help keep problem areas in control. We were really close to winning and probably too focused on building our last 2 structures which is why we ultimately lost by running out of water cubes. We’ll definitely be trying again!”

Tracy and Greg joined Matt and Lani for a couple of long sessions of The Crew. “Over the two sessions we played through and completed the first 22 missions. Some of them definitely caused a few difficulties, taking 5+ attempts to successfully complete. Sometimes that was down to misplays due to tiredness or just lack of focus, but some of the missions can be quite difficult if the tasks end up being unfavourable. It’s a super addictive game though, and it’s easy to just keep going and going as you always want to try one more time!”

Greg had a chance to check out new arrival Project L. “This is a little abstract game of filling puzzle cards with polyomino pieces to score points. Players take up to three actions a turn: taking puzzle cards (you can have up to four unfinished puzzles at a time), adding a piece, taking a level 1 piece (single square), upgrading a piece, or (once per turn) a Master action that lets you add a piece to each of your current cards. When a puzzle is finished you get back the pieces used on it plus a bonus piece, and it may be worth points. When the black (harder) puzzle deck runs out you finish the round and play one more complete round before scoring. It’s a fun little optimization game, with great components. The pieces are bakelite and the cards are recessed so the pieces stay on them properly. Great if you’re looking for a 2-4 player puzzley game that plays in about 30 minutes.”

Kris did a practice model for his planned colour scheme for the up coming Beast Snagga Orks, “Just in case I manage to snag one for myself on Saturday!”

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – July 5-11

After a fair bit of mucking around with color schemes, Chris decided to paint up (at least some of) his new Battletech miniatures in the colors of the Draconis Combine (plus he already had some of the decals, which are pretty hard to come by). “This Archer is my first completed model in this scheme. I knew that I wanted to try something a bit more colorful that would stand out on the tabletop, and that House Kurita red fits the bill. While my usual blue lens effects on the canopy would have worked, I wanted to try something a bit different and went with a bright green. The effect turned out nicely – mixing in a bit of yellow to the final highlights really makes them vibrant. The red is done entirely with Citadel colors, beginning with Mephiston Red and then adding drybrushes of Evil Sunz Scarlett and Wild Rider Red. P3 Ironhull Grey on the upper limb sections helps break up all the red and gives a good background for most of the markings. And what giant robot would be complete without a few caution stripes?”

Greg played more MicroMacro Crime City. “The cases are so quick to play through so Tracy and I have actually now gone through all 16 and the two promo cases that came with the game as well. The difficulty does increase (ranging from 1 to 5), but we didn’t really have much trouble with any of them. If you can follow the movements of the characters then you can usually answer the questions pretty easily. It was a fun, different type of game to try if you want a co-op puzzly type of thing.”

Renee has also been making her way through the remaining cases. “I decided to try their suggested Advanced Version, where you find the crime and then without looking at the prompt cards, try to solve the case. To facilitate this I picked up some Chessex glass gaming stones, which I could use to track the movements of the victim as well as anybody else who appeared to be involved in the crime. Once I felt like I had figured out what happened, I would start making my way through the cards. This version definitely took a bit more time as I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I found it a bit more engaging and fun.”

Lani and Greg teamed up against Matt and Tracy in a game of Spades. “I started with a Nil bid, and it could have gone wrong but luckily made it through to give us a good start. We pushed ahead more and were close to victory when the wheels fell off a little thanks to getting 10 bags and then missing a bid for 6. Matt and Tracy caught up a bit in those rounds, but we were able to close out the win in the end.”

It had been a while since Greg had last played regular Pandemic, “So Matt, Tracy and I played a 3 player game on standard difficulty. Our team of Dispatcher, Scientist and Medic made hard work of it at times, but ultimately came through for the win on the last possible turn. Due to the way the cards came out my Scientist only ended up curing one of the four diseases, so that ability wasn’t fully utilized.”

Hanabi is another great game that Greg hadn’t played for a while. “Matt was new to the game and Tracy isn’t a big fan of it as she finds it too stressful, but we did alright in the end, scoring 21. The online implementation is a little easier though, as it displays any clues you’ve received so that you don’t have to remember them. I love how simple, yet clever this game is!”

While hanging out at Renee’s, Christopher pulled out Shape by Shape, a solo puzzle game from the folks at ThinkFun. “Now that he’s out of school but with no camps or such, we’ve been trying to find activities that he can do by himself when we’re busy. I love that activities like this are helping him work on his spatial cognition while being engaging enough that he will happily spend an hour working on the puzzles.

Renee picked up Things Heroes Say, a new arrival at the store. “This is a fun book that combines fabulous art style with fun phrases adventurers can use in the various situations they might find themselves in while playing. It acts as a resource, giving players ideas on how to be more creative with their contributions to the gaming table, but I got it because I thought it was just a lot of fun to read. Christopher and I had fun flipping through it together and shared some good laughs. I’m really impressed with the quality of the RPG resource books that have been coming out the last couple of years; lots of good stuff in this area of the bookstore.”

Kris has been working through some projects he put on hold last year. “There didn’t seem to be any rush to get them done, but now that we are getting closer to being able to play I really need to pick up the pace now :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – June 28-July 4

This week, Sue decided to work on some miniature conversions. “This Forgeworld model will be my Necromunda Escher Leader, but I wanted her to wear pants, not the half skirt thing.. so I removed the skirt, and rebuilt the pants using sculpting tools and green-stuff. I’ve always liked green-stuff for it’s ability to really customize and personalize my miniatures.”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – June 21-27

Sue painted her other most recent Forgeworld model, Bigby Crumb the Ratling Chef. “Even though the Roge Doc comes with a different model in her box, I just see these two as travelling companions. I primed Bigby with Wraithbone primer. I used Apothecary White Contrast Paint for his hat and chef shirt, and Guilliman Flesh for his skin. I wanted his skin tone to be slightly different from the Rogue Doc, so they are both primed different colors, and while they’re both Guilliman Flesh, hers is thinned down with Contrast Medium. I used Nazdreg Yellow Contrast Paint for his blonde hair. I primed his chef’s pot Leadbelcher and just used a black shade overtop. It’s kind of blurred out, but Bigby’s missing shoe ended up in the stew!”

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

Sue was notified that her latest Forgeworld order arrived at the Sentry Box this week, so she pushed aside all her other projects and excitedly painted this Rogue Doc from Necromunda. “I primed the model white, and used Apothecary White (as is) for the shirt and mask. I did a terrible job of applying it to the mask, so I ended up doing highlighting down the center, on the creases, and around the edges to fix it. For the medical outfit, I used Gauss Blaster Green with a thinned down (Contrast Medium) Aethermatic Blue over top. I used thinned down (Contrast Medium) Guilliman Flesh for the skin and Magos Purple for the hair. Since most of her face is covered, I tried to give her bold make up to at least make her eyes stand out. The Contrast Paint pooled in a way I didn’t like in a couple of areas, like her tummy, so I waited for it to dry and mixed the Contrast Paint with the color underneath to blend and fix it. I’ve wanted to paint this model ever since it was released. I love the outfit, and everything about it! “

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – June 7-13

Greg tried new Kickstarter arrival Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game. “This is the latest offering from Genius Games, who make great games with scientific themes. This one is a medium-weight, worker-placement, dice-drafting game, where players are breeding pea plants for specific genetic traits. The dice are rolled each round and represent the different traits and players draft what they need to fulfil their plants, before harvesting them and scoring points. There are action spaces to manipulate the drafting order, pick up new plant cards or tools, plant and harvest, and more, and there are upgrades a player can buy at the end of each round. It was a fun game and, as usual, comes with a booklet explaining the science behind the game. Tracy asked to play again the next day and this time she did much better, crushing me by 95 to 77. It’s a nice medium weight game with a bit of luck in the card draws and dice rolls, but with a decent amount of strategy as well.”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – May 31-June 6

Greg finally got around to finishing the last of the four Renegade Games puzzles – the Kids on Bikes RPG cover. “I’d been holding off because there’s a limited colour palette and some large blank areas, so it seemed a bit tricky. In the end it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought, in no small part due to the poster that comes with it that is the exact size of the puzzle itself.”

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

We kick off this week’s blog with an update on Greg and Tracy’s Dice Throne Adventures campaign. “Tracy and I continued our campaign with the Cursed Pirate and Pyromancer, playing scenario 3, the second portal crawl. Playing two offensive characters with no salves was a challenge, and we did lose our first attempt, in part because we came across so many minions with first strike. We came back for a second attempt though and did much better, winning the scenario and taking five salves into the next game, which is the fight against the Fallen Gunslinger.”

They got it back to the table later on in the week. “We came up against the Fallen Gunslinger and it looked like we made the wrong choice by ignoring the Vizier as he kept removing our status effects from the Gunslinger. Tracy’s Cursed Pirate was having a particularly tough time being effective, and I thought we were going to lose, but then a timely Stun followed by a whole bunch of undefendable damage and a host of poison tokens got us the win. Got some sweet loot too.”

After their epic long Tichu game last week Greg decided to play a shorter game to just 500 points. “Matt and Tracy took an early lead but then Lani and I came back and actually ended up winning comfortably. I made one Grand Tichu, which I thought was going to be pretty straightforward but ended up being really close and needed some smart play as well as a bit of luck. Always satisfying to make those!”

Greg actually got a chance to play a four player game of Lost Ruins of Arnak, rather than just with Tracy. “I found that it opened up the options quite a bit as more of the sites got discovered, meaning it was generally a bit easier to get what you need. I also got an artifact that let me move one of my explorers to another site and I made full use of that to help get me my best score so far.”

Greg played a quick game of Coloretto. “I felt like it started ok but then went off the rails. Tracy was steaming ahead getting lots of just two colours and, despite a valiant effort to catch up by Matt, she won comfortably with one of the best scores I’ve seen (49)”

Greg also finished this 1500 piece Star Wars puzzle (sadly missing a single piece). “There were a few times when I swore I had a piece that didn’t fit anywhere, but eventually I got it done, with a bit of help from Tracy.”

This week Sue picked up WizKids Warlock Tiles – Town and Village II – Full Height Walls, and WizKids Warlock Tiles – Kitchen. “I made 3 houses. The houses are primarily furnished with accessories from Kitchen, as well as Wizkids Warlock Tiles – Marketplace. Some of the accessories are from other WizKids D&D sets, and the beds are from an old set, although WizKids currently has beds in 2 of their sets I don’t have yet, Warlock Tiles – Dungeon Dressings, and Tavern. I really like the Kitchen set, as I think it has some interesting pieces and adds some variety to the houses. Additionally, I feel that these pieces could fit in to a wide variety of settings including, a tavern, a castle, or even a hideout. I think the Town and Village walls look great, and I like that they have some variety – there are also windows and doors, as well as some lanterns and shields you can add to the walls. For even more variety, you can flip the tiles over for a stone floor, and for even more variety, this set can also be mixed with the Wizkids Warlock Tiles – Full Height Stone Walls set. I like that Wizkids offers the option for painted or unpainted accessories. I enjoy painting accessories, but getting pre-painted frees up my hobby time to paint characters. Although I did paint the treasure chests at the foot of the beds. :slightly_smiling_face: I can’t say enough how much I like these sets. I think they look great and are good for a variety of scenarios.”

The server comes with the Kitchen set.
The Tabaxi is a WizKids Premium Edition miniature.
The merchant comes with the Marketplace set.

Renee read a few of The Expanse novellas: “The Drive is a short story about the invention of the Epstein drive, but really much more about the inventor and the factors which drove him to invent. The Churn is a great look into Amos origins in Baltimore and pairs very well with the information provided in Nemesis Games. The Butcher of Anderson Station unsurprisingly is about Fred prior to his role in the novel series. I’ve enjoyed them all so far and definitely recommend checking them out if you’re reading the main books.”

Renee also discovered a graphic novel series with more origin stories of the Rocinante crew! “There are 4 issues, one for each of the main crew members. I really enjoy graphic novels as a storytelling medium so I was really excited to check these out. In addition to learning more about the crew, I enjoyed the stories themselves.”

Greg also got in a game of Spades. “I’m slowly starting to understand how to play this, what to bid, and how to help your partner out. It’s an interesting game if you like trick taking and also partnership games.” As well as a game of Sushi Go. “We played two games, the first of which went very badly for me, coming dead last with a very low score. I always go for Sashimi the same time as everyone else! The second game seemed like it was going to be bad too, but I managed to make a come back and win on the tiebreaker. Puddings for the win!”

Greg is not sure what it is about Splendor but he’s terrible at it. “We played three player and Tracy and I both ended up going for the same noble tiles, meaning we were fighting over the same colours. Matt got to go for cards we weren’t after and ended up winning easily. I do still like the game, I just need to accept that I’m never going to win!”

And finally another puzzle by Greg. “Edward does a lot of puzzles and then often passes them on to me or other staff members. This one is a 1000 piece puzzle of London landmarks and was definitely easier than the 1500 piece Star Wars puzzle I did last time. Lots of fun details and it’s reminded me of some of the great places to visit in London. Puzzles are definitely a bit harder when a cat comes and lies across them though.”