What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – March 23-29

Lots of painting being done this week by the staff, which is appropriate with how popular our painting contest was this past week! We’re running it again so please share with us and everyone else the painting projects that are helping you pass the time these days for chance to win a $25 gift card!

Sue painted some WizKids Preprimed D&D Gazers. “I painted the big eye in the middle, and then touched up around it with Ulthuan Grey before coloring the bodies with Contrast paints. I find Ulthuan Grey matches white primer quite well. All the bodies were colored with Contrast Paints. After applying the Contrast Paints, to everywhere but the main eye and mouth, I used Ulthuan Grey again to draw the eyeballs back in on the 4 eyestalks on the top, and then draw in the eyes. This was much easier, and looked better, than trying to draw the eyestalk eyes first and then color around them with the Contrast Paint. I have included a photo with the regular WizKids Preprimed Beholder for scale. The Gazers are quite little!”

Tracy and Greg played Clank! Expeditions: Gold & Silk “We tried the Gold half of this expansion, which is the Dwarven Mine board. There are gold veins throughout the map that players can dig using skill. At the end the players score bonus points based on who dug the most veins. I love Clank and it’s always fun to try out new maps and see how the little rule changes affect things. Such an awesome game!”

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Later they decided to try out the Spider Queen’s Lair side of the board. “It has spider web tokens in some passageways that need an extra boot or sword to cut through and are worth points at the end. Some rooms with secrets also had webs and you had to spend a sword when entering if you wanted to take the secret. It ended up being a bit of a strange game as there were a few cards early on that reduced your clank, and we went quite a while without a monster attack. As it turns out we both escaped when there still wasn’t enough clank in the bag to kill us. Tracy ended up winning 120 to 113.”

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Greg has been working his way through all the Rush Hour puzzles. “Some of the Expert Level puzzles are downright nasty, but I eventually managed to finish them all!”

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Jordan finished this Chaos Lord on Karkadrak (he thinks the name is funny). “I think he looks great. The model is awesome and lends itself to some great detail work. He gives off great “Bad Guy” vibes which I love.”

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Tia has been working on painting her Morrsarr Guard for the past couple days. “I’m pretty new to painting minis. I took a long time trying to pick a colour scheme (analysis paralysis is real lol) and ended up with a dark blue and pink. I’m happy with how it’s coming out so far!”

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Sam was struggling to add depth to this tree lord, so asked the team for some feedback on what she could do to make the colours and bark look less flat. Kris answered, “Agrax Earthshade fixes all problems…” and suggested that she “could try mixing with some medium and going for a more controlled application if you are worried about washing out the colours.”

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Sam also shared her progress on her Harlequin Kill Team.

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Jordan started painting one in blue as well! Which elicited Greg’s comment, “Jordan loves his icy blue paint schemes.” He does.  He does.

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Tracy and Greg streamed a few two player games, starting with The Rose King from the Kosmos 2-Player line. “It’s an abstract, area control game where players play cards to move the crown token around the board to add their colour pieces. The game ends either when the pieces run out or neither player can go, and then players score points for connected areas based on the number of pieces in that area. It’s simple and quick to learn, but definitely has some depth to it and I enjoy it quite a bit.”

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They followed that with Santorini, “Another fantastic abstract game where players are building on the island of Santorini and trying to be the first to move one of their builders up to the third level. The game comes with a bunch of god powers to spice up the game as well. The production quality is really amazing and it’s a lot of fun.”

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They finished with Reef, “This is a neat little game about building up your coral reef. Players play cards to add pieces to their reef and then score points if they have specific patterns showing on their board. You’re constantly planning your next moves to try to maximize your scoring. Lots of fun, and this one plays up to four players too.”

With her isolation finally over, Renee played a board game yesterday for the first time since GAMA. “Jenn came over and we played the newly acquired Chai, by local designers Dan and Connie Kazmeier. Jenn and I have both play tested this a few times over the years so it was more about getting to play with the final components rather than trying a new game. The components turned our very well and it was cool to see the vision suggested by the prototype pieces come to fruition. In this game, players are fulfilling tea orders for customers by collecting the necessary ingredients. On a players turn they can either go shopping at the market (a tile board where you pay once for an ingredient but get to collect matching tiles that are neighbours ) or from the panty (pick up tokens on the board or try your luck drawing blind from the bag) or reserving a customer and using one of the three abilities available that round. At the end of their turn, players can fulfill a customer order, getting a tip in the process! This is a fun game and I’m looking forward to playing it with more players because I think it benefits from some more player interaction.”

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Renee and Jenn then played the 2 player classic Morels, “In which players are foraging for mushrooms to collect as sets to cook for points or sell for sticks which allow you o forage further into forest. This is a hand management game where you want to collect as many mushrooms as possible but also need pans to cook them in and don’t want singles to end up dead in your hand. This is a solid 2 player game and I always enjoy playing it.”

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Sue painted this amazing WizKids Preprimed Owlbear. “I painted this Owlbear using brown and off white (bone color) paint for the feathers, with brown and sepia washes over top. To achieve a similar result using Contrast Paints, I would recommend using Gore Grunta Fur and Skeleton Horde. For the beak and claws I used Eshin Grey. As a layer paint, it is a little bit shinier than a base paint of similar color. Though I didn’t do it on this model, a little drybrushing is a nice touch for any model with feathers, fur, wood, or stone.”

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to March 8-15

This week is a bit lighter, but we have some exciting new game impressions from Renee from GAMA as well the usual gaming from Greg.

Greg and his group played the next couple of sessions in their Clank! Legacy campaign, “We took a trip away with friends and managed to get in games six and seven of our campaign. Things are definitely moving towards an epic conclusion in the main storyline, and we’ve been unlocking more side quest stuff too. The dastardly Dran Enterprises are a constant thorn in our sides though!”

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“We also got in a quick game of Point Salad. My lovely tomatoes tasted so delicious and helped me to a very narrow victory: 69, 68, 59, 58. It’s a nice light but fun game.”

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On Monday Greg recorded their play of Barrage to post online later, playing a teaching game as Setareh and Kevin hadn’t played before. “Naturally they came 1st and 2nd, crushing Derrick and me. I really like this game. It’s a Euro, worker placement game but with a decent amount of player interaction that comes in the form of blocking or building dams, conduits or powerhouses in places on the board to affect the other players. The unique player boards and Executive Officer powers give each player some direction, and I just picked up the expansion to offer even more options.”

Greg followed up with a classic, Tichu, with Kevin and Setareh taking on Derrick and Greg. “Once again Kevin and Setareh dominated, helped in part due to some sloppy play from both of us.”

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Greg ended the night with a game of Illusion. “This game is hard! It’s obviously difficult when cards have a very close percentage to each other but there were plenty of times when we were way off too. Luca in particular had difficulty because he kept mistaking which colour he was supposed to be looking at!”

Meanwhile at GAMA, Renee got a chance to check out Pavlov’s Dogs, by the folks that created Schrödinger’s Cats. “This is a cooperative game, where one player has a folder and is tracking all the rules that the dogs – the other players – have to follow. You start with one rule, but each round another rule is added. The base game is simple: a player flips a card, mentally adding the number on their card to the current sum, and says the new sum out loud.  So if the previous player said 5, and I flipped a 2, I’d say 7.  Seems easy, except now the rules are changing the values on the card as well as adding additional actions that players must follow. We had a lot of fun playing this together! Each round a new rule is added and the folder passes to the person the left. We quickly found that even with the rules in front of you, it was somehow just as hard to keep track if the other players were playing correctly.”

Renee also played a 6 player game of Tiny Towns with the new Fortune expansion, “The designer of the game, Peter McPherson was there teaching us which was awesome! The expansion adds a treasure chest and coins. If you build 2 buildings on the same turn, you get a coin. You can store up to 4 coins in your chest and at the end of the game they are each worth a point. However, you can spend a coin to turn any called out resource into a resource of your choice. As a result, everyone is delaying building until they are able to build 2 buildings, which pays off when you desperately need a particular resource and you can “buy” it with a coin. The expansion also adds new building cards for each building type, a bunch of which use the new coins, as well as new monuments. I highly recommend this expansion for fans of the original game!”

Renee got to play another upcoming game from HABA called Miyabi, “This is a tile drafting game, where you are building a garden and getting points based on the size of the tile and the level at which it is placed. The tiles range in size from 1 to 3 squares with the item in one of the squares. When placing the tile, the item must go in its designated row and in a column you haven’t used yet this round. In addition, if placing it on top of other tiles, it must be fully supported by the tiles below – no building bridges! At the end of the game there are bonus points for most viewable items in each row as well as bonus points for the first person to build each item at the 5th level. This is a great family game, easy to learn but enough going on to keep it interesting. I really enjoyed it!”

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Greg and Tracy tried Unlock: Night of the Boogeymen, the first in the Exotic Adventures box. “It was rated as easy and mostly was, but we made a goof by not pulling out one card that we should have and that meant we got stuck and were taking lots of hints and penalties before we realized. The last puzzle took us a bit of time before we figured it out too, so overall we only scored 3/5. Still fun though.”

At GAMA’s second game night, Renee had a chance to check out Namiji, a sequel to the incredibly popular and beautiful game Tokaido. “In Namiji you’re fishing off the coast of the town in the original game. It has similar gameplay for movement on the now circular path, but with some new actions. There are fishing actions which allow you to add fish to your player board on which you are trying to make sets of either the same fish or all fish of the same colour, getting points for completing sets in the rows or columns. There is a fun crustacean action in which you press your luck pulling tokens from a bag, scoring points for pulling shrimp, but if you pull 2 crabs you bust and get nothing! As well as new vertical panoramas and more. I really like it! Can’t wait to see how gorgeous the final product turns out.”

Renee also played Break the Code, “This is a fantastic deduction game where players are racing to determine the code. Each player gets 5 numbers and players take turns asking a question about the numbers the other players have. There are a whole deck of questions and you always have 6 to choose from, replacing the question you asked with a new card from the deck. In our 3 player game, the other 2 players answer the question about their numbers and we were competing to figure out the 5 numbers that were in the middle of the table. It involves being clever about tracking the info you get about the other players’ numbers as well as figuring out which question will get you the missing info you desperately need. I definitely recommend this to players that love deduction games but are looking for something that plays quickly and is easy to pick up and play.”

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Later in the week, Greg and Tracy played Unlock: Scheherazade’s Last Tale, “This is the second in the Exotic Tales box and has a difficulty rating of 2 out of 3. I’d actually done this one before but let Tracy take the lead on it and I’d also forgotten chunks of it. We got stuck on one little bit and also ran over the time a little, but scored 4 out of 5 overall.”

Flyin’ Goblin is an upcoming dexterity game that Renee was able to try out, “Each player starts with a catapult and 2 goblins. On the count of three, players start flinging their goblins into the box, hoping to get into the tower, which rewards the player with diamonds. Goblins that land in the box also may gain (or lose) gold or diamonds. In each round, players can fling their goblins until one player yells ‘Done!’ indicating that they have flung all their goblins. At the end of each round, players use gold to buy one additional goblin, some with special abilities, or one tower piece. Players can win either by being the first player to collect a set number of diamonds or to completely build their tower on a platform on the box and have it survive an entire round. We all had an absolute blast playing this!”

Another quick and fun game Renee had a chance to check out, Breakdancing Meeples, “This is a like an updated version of Pass the Pigs; Players have 60 seconds to simultaneously roll meeples, placing them on their cards as they match the required position. If you complete a card, you place a cube on the card, scoring the corresponding points at the end of the round.  You only have 6 meeples so you have to be selective about where you assign them so you can actually complete the card. At the end of each round players have the opportunity to draft new cards with new dance sequences. The cards have a variety of options – some are easy and can score a few points multiple times a round and others score more points once per round. It was frantic and a lot of fun!”

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Greg got to play another session of Gloomhaven, “We managed to get our full group together and played a scenario where we rescued some slaves and had to protect one of them as we fought a bunch of Inox. The tricky part was that our ally would move forwards every round, including opening doors. We just about managed it and unlocked a couple of new scenarios.”

Back at GAMA, Renee played Coralia, “This looked great at the display booth so I was excited to try it out one night, especially since it had so many pretty dice. Players roll 4 dice and then choose one to play in its spot on the board. Each coloured area has the some options, but as dice are placed, these spaces get blocked. One action allows you to draw fish cards, from which you want unique sets at the end of the game, another action lets you place an octopus, which scores points immediately and whenever another octopus is placed on the board later on, you can also collect cards that give you bonus scoring at the end of the game. It was a light game that might appeal to families, but didn’t end up being a win for me which was disappointing.”

One game Renee absolutely loved at GAMA was Cubitos, “This is John D Clair’s new press your luck dice building game. Players start with 8 basic grey cubes that grant minimal coins and board movement, which they roll, placing dice with faces showing on their player board and re-rolling blanks. Players roll until they have at least 3 active dice and then they start pushing their luck; you can keep rolling as long as you want, but if you ever roll all blanks, you bust! There are 8 colour dice that players can buy to strengthen their dice pool and what is cool is that each colour comes with a whole stack of cards, so each time you play the dice powers and options are different. Movement actions allow players to move along the board taking routes which give them bonuses, but ultimately they are competing to be the first player to cross the finish line. It was so much fun!”

 

What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Feb 24-Mar 1

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On Monday, Renee, Jeff and Greg played a three player game of Blackout: Hong Kong that we recorded to post instead of our usual livestream. Greg, “I’m definitely a fan of this game – the decisions and planning are tough and agonizing but in a good way. It’s important to have an overall strategy and mid-term goals but sometimes you need to adjust things slightly based on the resource dice or what objective cards come up. I decided I wanted to unlock my fourth card slot as early as possible and then focused on generating a lot of resources. Worked out pretty well!”

Renee, “I’ve always really enjoyed any game I’ve played by Alexander Pfister so I went in expecting to like it. And I wasn’t disappointed. As a designer he just makes games with good mechanics and solid gameplay. At the beginning of the round 3 dice are rolled and placed in a resource wheel which determines which resources they generate. Then you play cards from your hands to either generate those resources, or use the resources to do actions like surveying, getting money or other items. The hand management part is really interesting – you play one card to each of your three slots and when your hand gets down to 4 or fewer cards, you pick up all the cards in the slot with the most cards. So you have to be playing your cards so that cards you want back in your hand go to the largest pile while also being cards that when picked up, will ultimately work well together. So there is a fair pit of planning. You get new cards buy buying them, but they don’t go into your hand until you achieve the objective required. So you also want cards that compliment each other. There’s also an area control element on the board itself. There are different ways to get points, different engines you can build, and like most games I enjoy, it has the constant puzzle of how to make the most out of the dice rolls and cards that come up. This is a good game. Definitely want to play it again.”

Greg, “We then played three games of The Game (still the dumbest name ever), starting not so well, then almost having a perfect game, and then in the third game we did successfully do it perfectly! It’s so simple but really interesting and has you cursing the other players quite frequently.”  Renee, “Years ago I used to play this all the time with my Dad but I hadn’t played it for a while. It was fun to rediscover an old favourite! I love the player interaction in this cooperative game that often feels like your team mates are sabotaging you.”

 

They then played a quick game of HexRoller. Greg, “This is one of the quickest little roll & writes around, and it can play quite a few players, so it’s a great one for occasions when you just have a short amount of time. All players play simultaneously choosing two of the numbers rolled to add to their grid in an attempt to connect numbers or fill up sections. Light, fast fun.”

They ended the night with a game of That’s a Question. Greg, “A party/social game where players take it in turns asking another player one of three questions, but with options from cards in their hand. The other players then have to bet on what answer they think will be chosen. If a guesser is right they score a point. The asker scores a point for each wrong answer. It’s a great little game for discovering things about your fellow players!”  Renee, “Loved that I got to try this out finally. I like that you’re trying to ask questions where the answer isn’t obvious – you don’t want everyone to guess the correct answer – so it rewards asking questions that seem like hard choices. As a result it works well even when playing with people you don’t know very well. Coming up with questions was entertaining, as was guessing what others would pick. And it was a fun way to learn a little more about each other.”

Back at home, Greg got in a play of PARKS, “Tracy and I played a two player game of this gorgeous game. I think it’s better with more players, but it’s still fun with two. I visited eight parks and took eight photographs!”

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They also played Exit: The Catacombs of Horror (Part 2), “Having completed the first part a week or so ago, Tracy and I decided to do part 2 and finish this off. It was so hard! We didn’t help ourselves by not being the most observant, but we needed a lot of help cards with this one. Usually we were able to figure out what we were supposed to do but the execution of it wasn’t as straightforward as it could be, or it wasn’t clear what to do with the information we got. If you’re looking for a challenge this could be it.”

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Danielle decided to draw the monsters that her D&D group will be facing in their first encounter, “They will be clearing out a cave full of goblin bandits lead by a bugbear and his pet wolf.”

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Greg also got in a solo game of The Game, “Which I’ve typically found to be quite difficult, but everything seemed to come together nicely this time. I had multiple turns of getting to play lots of cards and also adjust backwards by 10 once or even twice!”

 

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

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Greg pulled out Blackout: Hong Kong on Monday night, “This game received a bit of negativity due to the dark colour scheme and uninspiring art, but I’ve enjoyed lots of Alexander Pfister’s other games so I wanted to give this a try. I’m glad I did because I enjoyed the game-play quite a bit. It uses a similar hand management system to Mombasa by the same designer, which I also like, but this one is about completing objectives, recruiting more volunteers and securing districts. Definitely one to check out if you like meaty Euros.”

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Kevin and Greg also played a two player game of Arboretum, a brain burny card game. “I’m definitely figuring it out a little more each time I play it. A great option if you want a small game that offers interesting thinky choices.”

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Renee brought Res Arcana on Monday to try out the new expansion, Lux et Tenebrae “The expansion adds a new type of card, Demons, which have special abilities like the Creatures and Dragons, as well as new Mages and Places of Power that interact with the Demon cards. It also has scrolls, which you can acquire using a new Magic Item. Once you have a scroll it gives you a one time ability that you can use at any time. I really enjoyed these additions and it made an already fun game even more fun for me! It was also awesome to discover that the insert in the original game already had slots for the new components! Looking forward to seeing what is coming up in the next expansion. Oh and I should also note that the expansion allows you to now play with up to 5 players.”

Renee also got another chance to play In The Hall of the Mountain King, “This is a game that we had played a 2 player game of on the stream that I was looking forward to trying with more players, so happily played a 4 player game. This is a fun puzzling game, where you need to balance your resources, the path of your tunnel using puzzle tiles (similar to Indian Summer) and an overall plan to acquire pedestals and statues to build and move for end game points. It played well at 4 players. The biggest changes were the competition for using the spells before they got spent, being able to build your alter, and the fight for tunnel pieces towards the end of the game. I think it played well at both player counts, but it was a lot of fun with more players.”

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Greg finished reading The Sword of Shannara, “I have a hard time not making comparisons between books that follow the ‘Hero’s Journey’ trope with The Lord of the Rings. Typically they just feel very derivative and uninteresting to me, and this one is no exception. A young hero forced to leave his home under the guidance of a mystical companion to defeat a dark power. A dependable friend from their home town joins them, along with a ‘fellowship’ of other companions including elves, a dwarf, and the rightful king of the border region that is known as the first defense against the dark power. How this spawned a large series of books and now a TV show I’ll never know, as I found it decidedly yawn-inducing.”

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Greg also played a couple of solo games of The Game and remembered how awesome it is. “So simple, yet deep, and frustrating yet satisfying. I should play this more.”

Alex asked to play one of ‘my’ games, so Greg pulled Kingdomino out. “I gave her a few suggestions throughout, some of which she ignored, and she still beat me handily. Would have been worse if she’d listened! This is a great little game and even better because I can play it with Alex.”

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Next up was Outfoxed, so Alex and Greg played a two player game. “It was looking a bit dangerous as the Thief was pretty close to escaping and we’d still got two suspects it could have been. Luckily we managed to find the decisive clue to discover that the culprit was Riley!!”

Greg got the gang together again for Gloomhaven, “Three of our group was able to get together to carry on our campaign, playing two more scenarios. In the first we had to split the party to simultaneously step on two pressure plates. As is usual when you split the party it didn’t go smoothly, but we managed to get the job done. In the second we had to fight through a bunch of drakes in order to obtain the power to breath underwater. Some Flame Demons were also hanging around and caused some grief but overall we didn’t have too much trouble.”

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Renee and family had Oma Rika and Opa Grant visiting this weekend so they kicked off some gaming with Las Vegas Royale, a sequel based on the popular game Las Vegas that they had played a lot this summer on the boat. “In this version, the basic mechanics stay the same – players roll dice and assign them to the 6 numbered casinos hoping to win the money at the end of the round – but in this version the 3 lowest paying out casinos have mini games! These games can either be side games you play for a chance to win extra money, or allow actions that impact the other players, like capturing their dice or blocking entry into a casino. It was a great way to kick off the weekend, playing a new version of an old favourite.”

Jenn and Renee had a chance to teach Grant Clank In Space (without expansions), his first time playing a deck builder. “As I expected, he really enjoyed the game. I find this game pretty easy to teach, both in terms of how deck building works and what your overall goals are in the game. Oh and I’ll say it again, I just love it! Clank in any form is just so much fun, but I love the theme in this version. So, how did I do? I didn’t die! I didn’t make it to an escape pod, but I was in the cargo bay module when my last cube was pulled so I got to count my points! I didn’t have the most points, but I still feel like it was a win for me.”

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They also played a four player game of PARKS one night. “I do like this game at higher player counts; with more hikers on the trail, you have to do more planning on when to use your campfire, or use the copy action, as well as there being more competition for the parks themselves. It’s a great game for new gamers because it’s pretty straightforward, but still provides good choices and I love teaching games where there is no hidden information so its easy to answer questions. This is a great lighter game that always looks gorgeous on the table.”

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Renee had a chance to play a 4 player game of Illimat with Jenn, Rika and Grant. “Having mostly played this as a 2 player game with Jenn, it was fun to play a full 4 player game. It has taken me a few plays to figure out a strategy and I’m discovering the more I play it the more I like it as a new take on classic card games. Playing with 4 players really changes up the game as there is a lot of player interaction on the board.”

Tale of Gamers: Kill Team – Fully Mobilized

We’re back! It’s been a nice holiday break, but now it’s time for some more gorgeous Kill Team miniatures. Our brave hobbyists have been finishing up their final miniatures, so let’s check out their Kill Teams in all their painted glory – and get their thoughts on how the project has gone.

Let’s take a look…

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Jan 27-Feb 2

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Greg kicked off Monday Board Game Night with Glory to Rome, “Hadn’t played this in a while and was reminded of it recently so brought it to Monday night games. What was about to be a two player game, then turned into a three player, then four and then five as more people arrived and were interested. It’s one of the earlier games that uses cards in multiple ways, as roles, resources and buildings, depending on the situation. It’s a great game, albeit one that can have a blowout victory, as happened in this case, with Kevin crushing the rest of us mercilessly, with the scores being 45, 24, 12, 11 & 6.”

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