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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Sump Sea Board and Accoutrements – Part Two: Giant Sized Explanation of Idea and Execution of Similar…

I’ve just finished the Sump Sea board that I’ve been working on for the past couple months and rather than sit around patting myself on the back I thought I’d write an article as well. This build ended up taking a lot longer than I had first planned but I’m excited for a unique gaming setting that promises to see many sticky deaths for those poor gangers! Here is how, and why.

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What have The Sentry Box staff been up to – Oct 26-Nov 1

Greg played Tawantinsuyu: The Incan Empire. “Another medium-heavy Euro starting with the letter T and set in ancient times, following in the footsteps of Tzolk’in, Teotihuacan and Tekhenu. This one is a worker placement game of sorts, with workers of different kinds being recruited by the players and sent out to perform tasks by the priests in the temple. It’s a bit of a point salad too, with players able to score for a variety of things such as weaving tapestries, building statues, steps and buildings, or advancing on the temple track. This game is right up my alley and offers a great balance of strategic and tactical play. Definitely a winner for me!”

Sue painted her Star Wars Legion: Rebel Veteran squad leaders. “The Ishi Tib is a conversion from the Rebel Troopers Upgrade Expansion pack. The greenish yellowish skin is Zandri Dust with Coelia Greenshade over top. For the skintone on the human, I used Bloodreaver Flesh with a brown wash over top. Other than that, my whole team is pretty much sponsored by Apothecary White. Legion models are a fairly large scale, making fine detail work a little easier than some smaller scale models.”

Sue also shares some Green Stuff miniature conversions. “I wanted to add more aliens to my Star Wars Legion Hoth team. Because they are wearing scarves, the conversions were pretty easy. In some cases, just roll a small ball of Green Stuff and plop the head down. In other cases, use a sculpting tool, or the back of a hobby knife, to create the folds in the scarf. Rotate the model and/or the tool for smoother results. If you drag the tool across the Green Stuff, you’ll end up with extra Green Stuff at the end. For the alien feet, I just molded Green Stuff around the feet that came with the original model, so they would have the same shape.”

Danielle painted these two beds. “I love all the details put into them :)”

Danielle’s first attempt at sculpting! “I’m trying to make fish to go in the pond on the farm. But they definitely need to be smaller. I’m letting them dry/cure overnight before I try painting them since one broke while painting this evening.”

Tracy saw that Renee had played The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine recently and wanted her and Greg to get back to their campaign. “We played through missions 9 to 12 and mostly had no trouble apart from mission 11 where I messed up in game one and then we didn’t communicate well in game two. It’s definitely an interesting challenge!”

Game 17 of The Rise of Queensdale proved to be final game of Greg and Tracy’s campaign. “Tracy needed to win and have me not reach my goal in order to keep the campaign going but she was only able to reach her goal the same round as I reached mine. That meant I completed my Tower and the Queen was able to move into my section of the castle. I was knighted and had a statue erected as a result. The game is now playable with how it ended up, and no further legacy elements in use. I enjoyed the legacy aspects, unlocking new rules and new elements, but I found the gameplay to be only ok. I felt that the dice action selection mechanism didn’t change enough over the campaign. Overall, it was a fun experience,  but I’m not sure I’ll be clamouring to play it again now the campaign is over.”

Tia’s shows us her WIP for Teclis and Celennar. “They’re lava themed to match the rest of my lumineth.  The idea for the base is that the ‘heat’ is coming from Celennar, so I’ve made it bright just where the feet touch the base. I’ve done some air brushing for the wings (I’ll go back later and add more detail). Right now I’m focusing on finishing Teclis, so I’ve been adding in some details for him. I was flip-flopping on what color I wanted his armor, but I ended up going with a grey, with a trim that has a gradient from red to yellow. I also did a similar gradient for his horns. I’m almost done painting the base colors, so my next plan is to add some washes and do some highlighting, especially on his clothes since I feel like they look a little flat right now. This is my first attempt at painting a large centerpiece model. It’s pretty intimidating, but I’m taking my time with it and I’m hoping it turns out well!”

Jenn and Renee finished their Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto campaign. “We got to open Mystery Box 2 which contained more exciting goodies for the game which we liked so much we immediately played the game again with the new module. We both really enjoyed playing through the campaign itself and it was a creative way to introduce the new components and modules. We already loved Space Base and having these added to the game has us even more excited about the game.”

Renee and Jenn played Forbidden Desert on request from Jenn. “We hadn’t played this cooperative game in a while so we played a game on the Novice level to remind ourselves of the rules and won easily. We then played again on the normal level and while we won, it was more challenging and required a bit more planning. I’d like to try again on Expert as I think the game is best enjoyed when each and every choice really matters and you feel like you really earned the win.”

Jenn also requested they play That’s Pretty Clever as they hadn’t in a while. “Playing it again was a real treat and I enjoyed rediscovering my love for what I consider the best roll and write game out there.”

Clever Cubed, the third game in the That’s Pretty Clever! series, was announced a while ago and was recently released both in Germany and as an app. It’s rumoured to be arriving on this side of the pond early next year, but Renee is inpatient so she made her own copy using a screen shot from the app. “I know me telling you that I absolutely love this isn’t going to be “news” or “surprising”. But what if I told you I like this more than Twice as Clever!? You can absolutely look forward to me recommending this once it arrives at the store.”

We finish this week’s update with Greg and Tracy’s play of Escape Tales: Low Memory. “Like the previous Escape Tales game we had played this is a longer game that is split into three parts. Each part follows one person in a larger story, with Part One following Elizabeth Weber, the wife of a security expert who wakes up to find their home ransacked and her memory to be hazy. It’s definitely got a bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure feel to it, with branching paths so that the way your story plays out may be quite different to another group playing the same game. Now I’m curious about how it plays out in parts two and three.”

Greg’s Top 10 Drafting Games

Over the years the idea of drafting has spread and become more prevalent in games, with players able to draft cards, dice, workers, tiles and more. Some games are pretty much pure drafting, whereas others use it as one mechanism among many. In this list I’ve tried to focus on games where drafting is the main or only mechanism, so I’ve not included some meatier games that use drafting but have a lot more going on.

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