Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Walking Dead Wednesday: Obligatory “Got Mine!” Post

At long last, Mantic’s Walking Dead: All Out War kickstarter is complete. My “Wave 2” package arrived the other day in all it’s glory and I’m pretty excited to see what we have in here.

Opening it up and removing the cautionary plastic flotation devices, we find… more boxes! And a floater. Well not really, that’s just Morgan. Loose and roaming free with a packing slip.  While booking face I saw that Mantic had a possible issue with the original Morgan sculpt that went into the package so they fixed it and chucked a loose one in the box just in case you get a bad one in the packaging.  Who knows, maybe I’ll go all “Ash vs Evil Ash” with the copies.

Loose Morgan will serve as our reference rep for the remainder of this show and tell. Here, he climbs the white boxes of expansions. They are a bit small but there is a lot of love packed into each one of those suckers.

In random opening order, we have the prison expansion Safety Behind Bars on the left, the Greene farm expansion, Miles Behind Us in the center, and the Woodbury expansion, Made To Suffer on the right.  While the new minis, cards, and templates are nice, the big draw for me are these rule books.  Each adds new scenario content and new core rules to the game.

In Miles Behind Us, we get to see the full campaign rules where, unlike the story mode narrative campaign, you build a core set of survivors for 150 points and run linked scenarios with them.  All the while, they will gain experience, items, characters and likely lose some friends along the way.  It was the preview of these rules sent out to backers early on that really got me hooked on this game’s potential.

Safety Behind Bars is probably the weakest of the three when it comes to rules as it introduces the cool new “interior” rules for fighting and navigating the confines of buildings and tight spaces.  This is really cool but is duplicated in the next expansion and expanded a bit further there.  That isn’t to say this expansion is light. It boasts 7 total scenarios and introduces a new class of walker, the armored kind that traipse around in old riot gear.  The rules and scenarios also seem the most self-contained as the rules have a lot of detail as to how the Prison map works.

Made To Suffer rounds out the three by expanding the interior rules and city environs as well as adding the iconic Tank to the mix.  This expansion also adds an environmental rule with “night.” Having played a bit more of the Batman Miniature Game and knowing Mark Latham had a hand in Knight Models’ ruleset, it isn’t surprising that a similar ruleset is coming to Walking Dead. I think it is fantastic as it is something very iconic to the Batman setting and will work very well in the Walking Dead games.  Essentially, the darkness of night will limit line of sight and shooting to 8 inches unless a target is within the killzone of a lamp post.  This just further mixes my Batman and Walking Dead scenery together.

Lastly, on Made To Suffer, they expand the rules further to include the running of large games, sometimes epic in scale (over 1000 points).  This includes using larger maps or play areas and adding alternate victory conditions with Special Objective cards. These larger games are previewed in our first official two map scenarios detailing the epic Governor attack on the Prison.  If I wasn’t such a sucker for a lasting narrative campaign like Miles Behind Us gives us, Made To Suffer would be the best expansion to date.

Alright, enough about the rules, let’s check out some props. Here we have bendy Otis. How is this guy any good at hunting? No wonder he messes up Carl.  The bent rifle will be an easy fix and was the only really bent model I noticed in the whole batch.

Hell yeah, Axel. I follow ya.

Badass Rick is Badass.  I can’t wait to start using him in earnest.  Just a great pose for the star of the series.

Loose Morgan is back now to show us some of the other components like these room templates.  The scenery looks a little small for giganto Morgan.

But oddly, the bed is about the right size.

The tank is pretty massive and dwarfs my little black tank I added a while back.  That’s ok though as I suspect Mantic will release a kit to build our own tank.  They already confirmed they will be doing a kit for the Miles Behind Us expansion:

Maybe a Prison guard tower and Woodbury house/tank kit will come in the future.

That about covers it for my initial opening of the Wave 2 kickstarter material.  Very pleased and, honestly, a little sad that this kickstarter is finally closed down.   Not too sad, mind you as I have a ton of new content to pour over and new models to paint up.  Likely starting with this guy:

GLENN! HE EXISTS!!

Cabin Con 2017 Recap

Our yearly game gathering, Cabin Con, has come and gone.  It was a great time this year and I think we’ve hit our stride as we’ve done this enough times to relax a bit on the planning and still have it work very well.   Six of us were there this year and we hit a ton of game over the four and a half days.  Below is a quick recap:

  • The Duke (11 plays) – The Duke was by far the most played game we hit during the weekend.  It helps that three of us are avid players.

The Duke

  • Mystic Vale (3 plays) – We finally got this deck-builder to the table and even though I’ve gotten stomped in every game, there is something seductive about the card crafting you do.
  • Rattus (1 play) – We first hit this last year and it still proves to be an engaging area-control game.
  • Santorini (3 plays) – A new abstract game for the group but while it looks amazing, it doesn’t have the strategic pull that The Duke offers.  Still a fun time though.
  • Camel Up (2 plays) – A perennial favorite with our group due to the willingness to push the camels into complete chaos and never let a camel get too far ahead or behind.
  • 7 Wonders (2 plays) – It’s been awhile since we hit this old standby but with 6 players at the cabin, this is a perfect medium weight game that can get everyone involved
  • Star Wars: Destiny (1 play) – I tried this late at night and with non-starter decks thrown together and the experience was pretty miserable.  Maybe the game will be better with beginner decks.
  • Tiny Epic Galaxies (1 play) – We have a lot of “Tiny Epic” fans so it wasn’t a surprise to see one of these games hit the table.
  • Road Hog (1 play) – I picked this game up right before the ‘Con and during a lull, we put it out.  It went as expected (light, tactical game) but definitely needs more players to be interactive.

Road Hog

  • Fugitive (1 play) – I only saw the tail end of this game so I wasn’t quite sure what was going on.  Seemed like an asymmetrical deductive game.
  • One Deck Dungeon (6 plays) – This game saw a lot of hits last year but as a solo game, it was usually pulled out when others were busy doing something else.  To my knowledge, no one ever won a game.
  • Dead Man’s Draw (1 play) – This light card game could have come out a lot more but most of us are pushing variety in gaming during this ‘Con so it’ll have to wait for a different lull in our gaming schedule to see more table time.
  • Isle of Skye (1 play) – This Carcassonne killer always seems to come out when we have new players.  What’s nice is the new player tends to win out.  Maybe the veterans just overthink this game.
  • Wrath of Dragons (1 play) – I was tasked with running this one but totally didn’t prep enough so it ended up pretty botched. Even with the rules mistakes, I was reminded how much I like this game.  Now that we’ve gotten a game under our belt as a group, it’ll be good to throw it on the table again.

Wrath of Dragons… sort of.

  • Valeria: Card Kingdoms (1 play) – This engine building game initially sounded like a better themed Machi Koro but quickly turned into a slog and just seemed to never end.  It might have been the weird card combinations that came out but it was sad to see it fall flat after so much potential.
  • Crokinole (3 plays) – Our top dexterity game got some love this weekend with new players.
  • Liar’s Dice (1 play) – This Cabin Con darling didn’t get as much love this year but still made an appearance.
  • X-wing Miniatures Game (1 play) – We decided to break out some X-wing since my friend has kept on collecting even after I stopped.  It had been awhile since the last time I played but it came back quickly and has started a renewed interest.  I’m sure we’ll see more it hit the table again in the future.

X-wing bombing run

  • Friday (1 play) – This solo game hit while I was sleeping.
  • Five Minute Dungeon (2 plays) – Another “while I was sleeping” game.  Too many late night miniatures games to meet up with the early risers
  • Roll for the Galaxy (1 play) – Another hot game from yesteryear and we all agreed that we forgot how much we like this game.  Hopefully we’ll see it come out again.

Roll for the Galaxy

  • Patchwork (1 play) – This game was going on when I pulled out Hnefatafl.
  • Hnefatafl (1 play) – We tried this ancient abstract game again, this time using more established rules (4 enemies to capture the king, no one can go through the middle or ship spaces, King can’t capture, etc). It went a lot smoother but we’re basically in the infancy of learning this one.
  • Championship Formula Racing (2 plays) – One of the Cabin Con “premiere” games for this year.  We held back-to-back races to crown a Cabin Con Cup winner.  Players were discussing the possibility of playing a 3rd game so it must have went over well.  Report to follow.

Championship Formula Racing

  • Mansions of Madness (1 play) – We tried to bust out a game of co-op Descent but we forgot to bring the map tiles so we switched gears and pulled out Mansions instead.  I led us to ruin as my strong armed but weak-minded gangster went insane and melted his mind in only a few turns near the end.  The game is ok but for all the story-driven content, it’s weird that there is no story for how our random bunch of misfits came together in the first place.
  • Villages of Valeria (1 play) – I missed this one as well.
  • Clank! (2 plays) – Another deck builder to hit the table.  I think this is my favorite concept of the deck builder genre.  The combination of board play and deck building works very well with so many push-your-luck elements.
  • Kingsburg (1 play) – This game is an old standby of mine. It hasn’t come out in years but it was good to see it again.
  • Valley of the Kings: Afterlife (1 play) – Another game I missed. It looked like light deck builder.
  • Jamaica (1 play) – This pirate racing game used be a big hit even among new players but it played pretty middle tier when it hit with the group. It has some oddly restrictive actions so I wonder if that just irked the players a little.
  • Batman Miniature Game (1 play) – As I wrote about last week, we finished up our LED lampposts and got it to the table. Report to follow.

Batman Miniature Game

Batman Miniature Game

  • Quadropolis (1 play) – The last game we hit at Cabin Con.  It’s a nice little city builder that went down to a tiebreaker victory.

All in all, we hit 32 unique games in 58 total games played over the four and a half day period.  Not too bad.

(baby) moose

and squirrel!

Until Next Time!

Lighten Up, Gotham!

In preparing for last weekend’s CabinCon, I also was able to finish out another languishing project that I initially started as a concept back in March: light up street lamps for the Batman Miniatures Game.

To get these to work, I wanted two things: a small base for the battery and wiring and the ability to turn them on and off. I waited too long to order a simple battery case/switch from Amazon and with only a day left before I had to take off, I needed something quick.

Trolling the aisles at my local Hobby Lobby, I found these small LED flicker tea lights and they looked perfect.

Opening one up, I threw out the cardboard pieces and removed the light assembly and casing top.

Looking at the way they wired and soldered the LED to the base, I found that if I could get the LED off, I could put my lamp wires to this piece and it should work out.

Moving the LED top back and forth a dozen or so times weakened the prongs and eventually the light broke off.

After that, I needed to cut the top off the clear case so that my lamp wires could feed through the top.

A few seconds with a razor saw and the top came off easily.  I cleaned the center out with a quick pass with my sword of exact zero and we were ready for some paint.

I covered the inside of the hole so the spray paint didn’t mess with the innards and while this dried, I started working on the lamps themselves.

The biggest issue with these model railroad lamps is the long copper post they have running out the bottom.  I pulled the top lamp piece off and fed some extra wire through so that when I trim down the copper post and fed the wire back through, I’d have enough to play with for the final assembly.

Shearing this off with a wire-cutter was pretty simple but pinched the whole shut so I used a sewing pin and some needle-nose pliers to open it back up.

Later I would find that cutting the wires first, inserting the steel sewing pin into the hole and slowly cutting around the copper post was a much cleaner system.

Pulling the wires back through and re-attaching the lamp head finished the lamp post part. The wires themselves are smaller than any wire stripper that I have so I put the sword of exact zero to use again and shaved it down until I could pull the wire casing off.

I drilled holes through the old LED post spots and fed the wires through.  I’m not going to lie, feeding these small wires through small holes and trying to bend them around the main spring is an exercise in patience. Tweezers can be very helpful here.  I used electrical tape to fashion the stripped wire to the positive section.  For these lamps, the black wire is positive.

For the white (negative) wire, I fed it up and carefully wrapped it around the spring.  These wires are so thin, they will break instead of bending if you go too far so it may take a try or two.  I recommend putting a last piece of electrical tape on the top of the assembly to hold the wires steady and another on the top to fix it to the bottom of the case to keep the pieces together.  I didn’t do this the first time and almost ruined the whole thing as the spinning on/off of the lamp also twisted the thin, fragile wires to almost their breaking point.

This process involved only what you saw here but if you know how or have access to a soldering iron, the process is a little simpler and a lot more stable.  I had to finish up five more of these and was lucky to have some friends that knew how to solder so we redid the one you see in this write up and quickly soldered the other five I made.  As you can see, you don’t necessarily need to solder but the lamp will last longer and will be less finicky.

CabinCon Prep: Tiny Ass Numbers on Tiny Ass Cars

With CabinCon (our yearly friend meet-up where we catch up and play games up in the mountains) starting Wednesday, there are few things I want to get done before I leave so today was a major prep day.

One thing I want to host this year is a Championship Formula Racing mini cup, a “CabinCon Cup,” if you will.  This will be two or three races with point scoring to determine the overall winner.  I picked up a set of 1957 F1 cars on Shapeways to serve as each player’s cars and as is our custom for CabinCon, these will be given away to each player along with whatever placement prize they achieve during the CabinCon Cup.

After painting a set of the cars up, I wanted to work on the “trophy” stands that will also serve as prizes for the event.

This is a pretty simple stand with a little wooden bit at the bottom and a dowel post at the top, which will support the car.  Magnets for the post and the cars will make it so the cars stay on the stand and can be interchangeable.

So here we have the concept all primed up.  I then had to drill into the cars to magnetize them.  This always sucks but I’ve gotten used to it after all the Dropzone Commander that I’ve magnetized.

Just make sure to mark the magnets for polarity so that everything lines up at the end.

Next came the painting of the actual cars.  Unlike my last set of painted Formula 1 cars, I used google image search more for inspiration rather than trying to find the actual car color schemes.

The 1957 formula 1 cars are pretty conservative on detail which made painting them up pretty quick.  I decided to enhance that detail by adding numbers this time.  Not sure how soon I’ll be doing that again though.  It is really time-consuming and a bit nerve-wracking.  I’m pretty happy with the results but it’s not something I want to jump back into tomorrow. Luckily, I don’t have to as I’m all done with the cars.

Now to complete the trophy stands.

Walking Dead Wednesday: Scotch Silos

With the wave 2 Kickstarter packages getting sorted out and shipped from Mantic’s Warehouse, I thought I’d start working on more Greene farm terrain.  I’ve almost completed the Days Gone Bye scenarios so I need to get a jump start on the Greene farm material so I can hit the ground running.

I had some empty Laphroaig cases lying around and thought they might make for some interesting terrain options.  After checking out some grain silo images, I got to work.

I cut one of them down to make for a more manageable terrain piece and then primed them both with my standard automotive grey primer. Since I’ll be leaving the tops alone, I finished them off with a dark grey primer from the same brand.

Next, I photoshopped some brick patterns with silo chutes on to an 11×8 sheet of paper, cut it out and sprayed a spray adhesive onto the back.  A simple but careful rolling up later and my short silo was complete.

I’ll likely go lighter on the tall silo and I’m debating whether to add the grain chutes on the side or not.  I’m leaning towards not but due to the size, I’ll have to print it at a printshop as nothing I have will take the 11×17 that the tall tube will need.


In the “let’s see how this works” category of game pimping, I tried my first hand at greenstuff sculpting.  This project is likely way beyond on my skill but as it is just a fun prop, I’m not too worried.

The goal was to get the extra “riding” Rick figure onto a comparable motorcycle and it’s getting there.

Had to cut off Rick’s right arm and then revisit a little Governor vengeance and cut off his hand while I was at it. Then I kept adding bits of greenstuff to the arm to get it to approximately reach the handlebars.  Lastly, I crap-sculpted (patent pending) a plausible hand.  I’ve let it dry and will likely start working it up more once it is a bit more stable.

yeah, baby, that’s just how my arm rolls…

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