Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

So after Gen Con, I thought I’d have more time but sadly, that didn’t happen as I had another trip planned- a belated anniversary trip to Scotland.

Scotland was sufficiently moody and fantastic but very light on gaming.

I still have some Gen Con recaps I want to finish up but the events of this weekend are still fresh in my mind so I’ll start there instead.

The biggest thing this weekend was the reveal of the Batman Miniature Game 2.0 rules.  The rules and compendium are available on Knight Models’ website for free download. Some enterprising Facebook posters had the good idea to run the PDFs over to Staples and make copies.

Sadly, that endeavor runs about $56 and that is way too much for a first draft rulebook.  I assume the printed final one will run only slightly more than that. I liked the spirit of the idea so I decided to go cheap and print in black and white.

This ended up being only $16 and I will now be looking at Staples for future such printing needs as the cheapest I could get it done at FedEx Office was still over $25.  The quality is poor but I didn’t print these to look at the pretty pictures, I just wanted a physical rules reference book.

I read some summaries online and then blitzed through the new edition and set up a game for the weekend.

While waiting for my friend to arrive, I pulled out Flip Ships to run through some solo dexterity action.  Flip Ships was one of my Gen Con acquisitions but is due out now or very soon from Renegade Games.

At it’s core, Flip Ships is essentially Galaga in a dexterity board game medium.  In between Gen Con and our Scotland trip, the missus and I threw this one down on the table and found it very fun.  I’ve been eager to hit it again and this was a good opportunity to try it out alone.

To play, you flip your ships off the edge of the table, into the air, and try to land on the incoming enemy fighter ships.  When you do, you destroy them and more come out.  Eventually you run through the enemy fighters and have to face off against the mothership (that ominous box in the backfield).  To attack the mothership, you have to flip your ships into that box to damage her.  This can be done any time during the game but if you wait until the end, you only get one round to finish it off and win the game.

I did just that and completely failed to get even one of my fourteen ships into the motherbox and ultimately lost the game.

I doomed Earth and decided I needed more practice before trying this one again.  Great fun though.

My friend arrive just in time to see my humiliating defeat and so we moved on to the main event: Batman 2.0

Using our light up lamps to set up the moody world of dark Gotham, we discussed some of the rules changes and decided to simplify the game and remove the objectives (this having nothing to do with the fact that we both forgot about prepping the objectives and not having enough for a proper game…).

We decided to move up to 200 points so that meant I could add my favorite sculpt from the Suicide Squad starter set, the Panda Man!  Nothing says wacky fun like a silly panda costumed villain toting a high-end assault rifle.

My friend swapped out one of his regular cops with my Commissioner Gordon.

Using my B/W Walking Dead scenery to fill in for Gotham, we set up and were ready to play.  Scenario 3 (Patrol) was pretty easy, especially since we ditched objective markers.  It centered around getting the first damage in and then leaving a non-Boss character in the opponent’s deployment zone (the two corners of the map).

The game opens easily with both our teams focused on moving out.  We quickly realize that to even get to the opponent’s deployment zone, we’ll have to use the sewers (lamely represented by the Riddler question mark in the above image). The rules for sewers have changed a little in that they act more like teleporters now.  While this makes things a bit odd story-wise, it does improve the gameplay as we saw last time, going into the sewers can lead to some pretty boring turns as characters are out of the game for at least one full round.

My friend send Gordan into the sewers and decides to pull him up on the other side of the map but in striking distance of Batman, standing sentinel on the rooftop. Unfortunately, the sewer Gordan chose was really close to a lamppost which means he was lit up for everyone to see. Including… Panda Man!

Lucky for me, I could just shift over a little and take a nice long range shot at the Commissioner.  “Ping!” rules for the game changed and were simplified so that instead of rolling for “Ping!” for each intervening piece of terrain between you and the target, you check to see if there is anything and roll one per hit.  For each successful “Ping!” roll, a hit would be negated.  I was able to hit him on the single shot so I drew first blood and got a VP for it.  I also drew the first activation next turn and with Panda Man lined up I could unload for my full rate of fire (3 shots).  All three hit but one was eventually deflected by the “Ping!” roll.  The other two landed home and I got a crit, which was enough to drop Gordon.

Not allow me an activation advantage, Batman swoops down on Eyeball Man and throws a massive 6 attacks against my pathetic defense and Eyeball Man goes down hard.

My friend knows what I’m going to do and I send Joker into the sewers (after whiffing horribly at some short range shots on Batman) pop up right next to Gordon and curb stomp him into oblivion on the next turn.  Fat Cop decides to be heroic and intervene. At the end of the round, Gordan wakes up but Eyeball Man is still unconscious.

Gordon activates first and jumps into the sewers very much wounded but has a job to do as he can arrest Eyeball Man (assuming he stays unconscious) and remove him from the game permanently.

This leaves me with Joker and a very worried Fat Cop.

Joker proceeds to beat the holy hell out of one of Gotham’s finest. Fat Cop puts up a little bit of a fight and lands a blow on Joker but it does nothing to stop his fate.

For the last round, I’m presented with a choice, neither of which will change the outcome but I’d been sneaking Panda Man (who had run out of ammo and was pretty useless) to the opponent’s deployment zone but Batman was close enough to swoop in and take him down.  Joker also really wanted to kill off Fat Cop as that seems to be his MO in all our games.  Going with one, leaves the other one vulnerable.  I decide to let Panda Man fat-suit hustle to the deployment zone and leave Joker to take his licks.

Batman swoops in but totally whiffs his 6 attack rolls and Joker is left to smile and straight up murder Fat Cop in front of Batman.  No wonder the Caped Crusader can’t sleep at night.

To add insult to injury, Joker then disappears into the sewer to pop up right behind Gordon.  If we had another game round, I’d be beating down the good old Commissioner as well but alas, the game ended with that final round.

Gordon does his civic duty and arrests Eyeball Man and that ends the game.

Joker Crew: 8 victory points

Brave and the Bold: 2 victory points

The game ended a bit lopsided but we were fumbling through rules, weren’t using objectives, made some mistakes, and didn’t even buy equipment to augment our crews.  With 2.0 out, we’ve got a good taste of what is going on so we’ll prepare a bit better for the next session.  All in all, it was still a fun game and quite a good story.


As a little post script, right before Gen Con, I painted up the Golden Fleece figure for the Santorini expansion of the same name and played a few more games to conclude that game’s 6 x 6 challenge.

We tried the Golden Fleece expansion out a couple of times and found it pretty interesting. It made for some closer games so we’ll definitely use it more in the future.

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 2

As I said in my Day 1 report, seeing the Time of Legends: Joan of Arc display case had me ditching events to check it out in the dealer hall.   My friend and I lined up at the appropriate entrance and bee-lined to the Mythic Games booth to sit down for a demo as soon as the hall opened.

This game isn’t a full tabletop minis game but it really tries to blur the line between board game and miniatures game. The design immerses you in the setting by adding physical terrain pieces instead of cardboard templates or drawn in graphics.  The miniatures themselves help limit the need for any text or rules on the actual play surface as every thing it taken care of on stat cards set off to the side.

The system is supposedly set up to handle full-on tactical combat scenarios where the goal is mainly combat focused, as well as combat light or even no combat “investigation” scenarios that will play more like a deduction board game.  This second type of game wasn’t really explained in much detail and no purely deductive scenario was available so I’m not sure how that will really work.

Instead, they had a hybrid scenario that combined the combat elements with the investigation style mechanics.  This particular scenario centered around a werewolf hiding in the village and the local Lord called in to help deal with the issue.  All the scenarios in Joan of Arc are rich in historical mythology of the era and this scenario was no exception. The rules will talk about an actual legend from the time period that the particular scenario is dealing with this one featuring a village overrun by wolves and stolen church artifacts.  The priest in the village asked for the Lord of the area to help and so we have one side playing the French Lord hero coming into the village with the priest.

The other player is playing the werewolf.  The wolf is hidden as one of the villagers, secretly chosen at the beginning of the game. The wolf player needs to survive 6 rounds and the French player needs to discover the werewolf and kill him.

The game is played in game rounds, each player taking their entire turn before the other player takes their turn.  Turns are given a set number actions depending on the unique card that is revealed at the start of the round. These actions are then allocated as the player sees fit until they are either done and want to save actions for later or they have no more actions to spend.  The actions available vary per scenario but basic actions are moving and interacting (or attacking).

What struck me as interesting in this game were the varied action options.  In this scenario, I could ride in with my hero and priest and talk to a witch living in a nearby glade (on the map). Talking with her was done through a randomly drawn card by the opposing player. That player read the two discussion options I had and then, after I chose which path to take, told me the result.

Later, I had the chance to interrogate the villagers, one of whom is the werewolf.  If my knight is doing the interrogation, he rolls a die and a positive result means the other player must answer my question truthfully (yes or no questions only). If the result fails, they can lie or ignore me.  If I want to be ruthless, I can just start cutting down the villagers but this is risky in that each villager I kill that isn’t the werewolf burns an entire turn, accelerating the ending and my loss.  I must confess, I grew frustrated with these stupid peasants and their lies (couldn’t roll a success to save my life) so I did chop one innocent down. It didn’t bring the others in line…

The priest, however, can ask villagers questions but they can’t lie (no die roll).  These questions are always yes or no answers (no “who is the werewolf” instant win questions).  Finally, I asked the right question and the werewolf was revealed. The options in this game expand ever more as the buildings aren’t just pretty terrain, you can go inside them (via a cut out template depicting the interior) and gain clues or items or more. The werewolf turned out to be a villager that had made its way into a secret crypt in the church and was busy praying to it’s dark God.

I surrounded the church and fought my way in, past the werewolf’s wolf pack guards and cornered the beast in the crypt.  With one turn remaining, I was able to score the killing blow on the last die roll to win the game.  It created a very epic story and my friend and I enjoyed the game so much, we cleared Saturday morning to race over and play the other scenario.

While I was standing around chatting with the designers, another of the werewolf scenarios was wrapping up and ended in equally epic style with a last round, last die roll werewolf kill. Bodes well for game balance, at least for new players.  The game comes to Kickstarter October 10th and I will definitely be backing this excellent game.

Having wrapped up what will end up being the best new game at the Con, I walked around the Mythic Games booth to see the Monolith Games side as they had another game I was interested, their new Batman game.

They had a great looking display and with the game “engine” based on their Conan game, I thought it might be pretty interesting. I checked out the models in the display case and they all looked great.

Probably having nothing to do with the great diorama they set up.

Then something struck me.  That diorama looked great and really set the tone for the game I’d really like to play.  But when I looked over at the demo table…

Hmm… I want to play the scene that is going on in that display case, not the drab 2D map with board-gamey lines all over it.  Then it hit me, I do play the game in the case with Knight Models’ Batman Miniature Game.  With this (obvious) epiphany, I moved on without even trying a demo.

Having ditched my only event, for the day, I had plenty of time to wander. So I went searching for some industry friends and checked out some other interesting dealer hall items.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 had a preview demo going on but I avoided it to not witness any spoilers.

Santorini had a great giant version of the game set up for play.

The event hall had a massive 54 mm fantasy pirate game going on with this awesome 3D ship detailing multiple levels.

I jumped upstairs to see if CGE had anything to show for the new Adrenaline Expansion but all they had was this oversized mock up model of the 6th player pawn.

Spin Master Games is making a nice version of Hnefatafl.  Talking with the production team onsite, I learned they are also making a realistically priced version of Kubb.  I’m really interested to see where this goes.

I caught none other than Lord Snow playing the new Game of Throne themed Catan.  He’s playing red, smart man.

Having exhausted the afternoon in the dealer hall and environs, it was time for me to get to work.  I decided to run a few events of my own again this year, starting with Pitchcar in a “death race” variant I made up.

I’ll do a write up about these custom pieces later but this event featured my new 3D cut car discs.  These were created in CAD and then CNC’d on existing crokinole discs.  Some easy painting later and my complete set of eight cars were ready for this premiere event.

The group loved it and the rules variant held up very well.  I even ended up overselling the event because someone really wanted to join in the game.  It was great fun and had a ton of lead changes and disc flicking shenanigans. After Pitchcar, I went straight into 4 hours of Catacombs games.

These events were also sold out and filled with a lot of fun gamers ready to delve into the flick-filled dungeon.  A couple of surprises were in store for the players as I had some early promos to hand out from Catacombs Conquest (the recent Kickstarter) and I premiered my 3D board that made earlier.   Halfway through the event, Aron West of Elzra Games stopped by and was able to talk to some of the players and even finished out the finale of one of the games.

I brought out the custom Rat King disc that the Catacombs Artist, Kwanchai Moriya, had made for me.  And I also was able to provide the Wyverns of Wylemuir expansion for some enthusiastic Catacombs fans to try out.

The players seemed to have a lot of fun and it was great seeing them all enjoy the games. The event finished a little after midnight so I packed it all up and headed back to the hotel to crash.

Gen Con 50 Walking Dead Wednesday

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Walking Dead Wednesday but I did seek out Mantic to see what things were coming up from this great minis game.

Before I hit the Mantic booth, I caught these great scenes from the 4Ground booth.

Over at the Mantic booth, the crew there was pretty tight lipped as I tried to get info on what would be coming out next after the Woodbury expansion.  Even though I struck out in my information hunt, I did catch some of the next retail exclusive wave models.

Walker Rick is going to be released in a separate blister with peg-leg Dale, and Scott Moon in what they are calling “Dale, prison advisor” package.  This is slated for Q1 2018 as part of “Wave 4.”  Interesting as I thought the Walker Rick was exclusive to the upcoming Collector’s Edition.

Lilly and Smitty make an appearance in Wave 4 as well.

Maggie with Susie/Rachel join the options for the upcoming Wave 3.

They also had the release schedules posted for Wave 3 and Wave 4.

They were running a few little Walking Dead events and there was the Mantic Games Night but I planned poorly and had booked up my own events during that time.

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 1

Thursday opened the Con with its typical crush of attendees all vying for position at the main entrances.

While I didn’t really notice a difference in attendance on Wednesday, I surely felt it Thursday. Gen Con personnel did a good job of keeping things safe and moving so even with the larger crowds, the transition into the exhibition hall was smooth and quick.

Inside, I had a goal of grabbing the new dexterity game Flip Ships (art by my favorite game artist Kwanchai Moriya).  Unfortunately, Renegade Studios also announced a new game in the Clank! line so their booth was packed. With the aid of a friendly attendee couple, we found a way through the disorganized chaos of that booth and paid for our haul and got out of there.

I had about 30 minutes before my first event so I made my way to the Hawk Wargames booth to chat about the new Dropzone 2.0 rules.  I was not disappointed as the demoers were pretty knowledgeable, being avid fans of the original game. I have a summary of the 2.0 rules here. Please note that these rules were what I heard/understood and are subject to change.

Soon after, I was off to my first event of the Con: an X-wing variant “The Heroes of the Alturi Cluster.”  This variant automates the Imperial ships and turns the overarching flow of the game into a full co-op with all players (up to 6) piloting one ship.

I chose a B-wing to pilot and we were off to stop a group of Imperial interceptors from attacking a Rebel transport.  The system worked out very well and I plan on printing out the campaign for our group.

The system allows for pilots to gain experience and buy upgrades and skill so it also contains some light advancement rules.  Very fun and I can’t wait to get a group together to play through it.

The event ended a little earlier so I snagged a quick lunch and jumped back into the dealer hall to scout out some games that were on my demo list.  I went to the Ares Games booth to see about Hunt for the Ring but they didn’t have anything except some minis in a case (lame).

Next, it was over to Flying Frog Productions to see about their new 10th Anniversary Edition of Last Night on Earth.

The new bits look good but are a little cheap.  The new heroes sound fun and if they offered an upgrade pack for the fans that helped get them to 10 years, I’d be in but forcing me to rebuy all the content I already have gets a big “no thanks.”   From talking with the guys at the booth, they sound like they want to do the same thing for A Touch of Evil.  If that is the case and they won’t also release an upgrade pack, I can just scratch that publisher off the list of ones to ever check out again.

I popped over to the Catalyst booth with little hope for info on some of The Duke expansions that have sat around on pre-order for almost a year now.  Catalyst, as expected, was too busy dealing with their big Gen Con release, Dragonfire, to have info on those expansions but lo! What was this??

In their display case, a new Duke core set was shown (with some uninspiring art).  I went in search for more answers and it sounds like they are hoping to have this through in a year (don’t hold your breathe with this publisher).  After that, they want to work on a Feudal Japanese themed version.  That really isn’t news as they’ve been dangling that carrot in from of The Duke fans for years now.  In any case, it was surprising to see a new edition in the works with some new and out of print bits included.

So you may ask, ‘why does Catalyst get a free pass with a version re-issue and Flying Frog doesn’t?’ and it is simple economics.   I have a lot of Last Night on Earth and having another copy of all those components will be pretty useless.  Another copy of The Duke, however, can be used in a travel version I’m making and includes the OOP Arthurian Legends expansion that is impossible to find for anything but insane price points.  Also the price for this new Duke set will likely be on par with the original unlike the 10th anniversary Last Night on Earth set which is retailing for $100.

At this point, it was time to head over to my next event, A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game.

This is CMON Limited’s new tabletop miniatures game that just finished wrapping up on Kickstarter. I’m really not sure what to think of what CMON was doing with this product.  They ended the Kickstarter campaign right before Gen Con, missing an opportunity to show the game off to a lot of people and gain more backers and base support.  I did back the campaign but wanted to try it out before I committed to any more in their eventual pledge manager.  Luckily, I was able to get into a demo and get some hands on experience.

I’d read the work-in-progress rules posted to the campaign so I was pretty familiar with the basics but it’s always better to see the game in action.  Unfortunately, CMON overreached on this whole product and didn’t have enough production copies on hand to run the full event that was listed in the program.  Instead of a full game, they only had enough models to play two units vs two units.  Some demo is better than no demo and they compensated us for the change in event layout with the remainder of the San Diego Comic Con exclusive promo.

That is a nice little bonus. It was unfortunate that I wouldn’t get to try out a full game but planning for this event has to happen months in advance and if any little issue comes up, it can cause things like this to happen.

Back to the demo at hand.  It was good to see and feel how the units work and interact but we hit another snag in trying to learn this game as the person running the demo (a volunteer for CMON) had zero experience with any tabletop game and it seemed like a passing understanding of the game he was demoing.  I would like to say that we just got unlucky but I had other friends demo this at the CMON booth later and they had the same experience.  It also didn’t help that, as a “feature,” CMON hired a live violinist to play Game of Thrones themes with amps pointed directly at the play tables. Not the best idea for your demoers to shout the rules at you over live music.  The musician was good but it was just another misstep in a series of missteps for this products first debut at the biggest gaming Con in North America.  I asked for them to turn it down or turn the speakers to point somewhere else but was told they couldn’t.

In the actual demo, after wading through a lot of missing rules, misunderstandings and incompetent instruction, we played a “game” with me running the Starks and my friend taking the Lannisters.  Whatever game we ended up playing was interesting but I have zero confidence that I actually played the game listed on the box.  I was able to surround Jaime Lannister’s unit and beat the hell out of him but I can’t claim that it was due to any strategic prowess on my part. Rather, it was due more to the fact that the demoer would let my friend know what he could have done instead, usually using a rule never explained or mentioned.

The miniatures are great and there seems to be an interesting game on that table if I cobble the basic experience I had playing with the physical models and combine it with the beta rulebook posted but I can’t say if I’m really going to go in on this game as there is too much unknown at this point.  I was glad to see some of the unit stats got revised between the start of the KS campaign and the demo as it looked a little unbalanced with the few units they showed so far. Things didn’t go as swingy as I thought but again, who knows what game I was actually playing.  I tried to get clarification from the person running the demo group but all I got was that some of the rules were modified to fit the extremely small game we played as a demo. Ah well.  At least the minis look cool. Maybe I’ll pick it up and pillage it for Kings of War.

While at the display case, I also checked out their next Kickstarter, Hate. I have no info on this game but the resin miniatures were fantastic looking.

Moving on from the debacle that was Song of Ice and Fire, I had a few more minutes to check out the hall before it closed and remembered that I saw some little teaser about some interesting 15mm miniature game coming out called Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. The company was new so it got shunted into the very corner of the exhibition hall so I trekked over and saw a pretty amazing scene.

My jaw dropped when I saw that display case.  I didn’t have time to really check it out but I immediately cancelled my first event on Friday to make sure that as soon as the dealer hall opened, I would bee-line to this booth and drop in for a demo to see if it played as cool as it looked.

With the dealer hall closing, we headed out to dinner and then hit the They Might Be Giants concert.

I’d always wanted to see this group live and they were ok but I think it had just been too long since I listened to them and that style of music just isn’t as interesting anymore.

We left the concert before the encore and headed to the BGG Hot Game room.  The game room didn’t seem as well stocked as last year or maybe the offerings were just weaker but we got in a good intro game to Flamme Rouge.

Flamme Rouge is a racing game with a customized track.  You move by playing cards from your two rider decks.  Each player has the same decks but you’ll be adding low “exhaustion” cards to your deck if you stay out in the lead.

By mid-game, I’d broken away from the pack and we all left our friend Colton (black riders) in the dust.  I figured my lead rider would burn out and my second rider to coast in using the blue riders as his wind shield. But apparently Colton had other plans and was just biding his time.  We got all bunched up on a hill and then Colton started subtly making his move.

and then used his sprinter to blast ahead right at the very end, narrowly winning the race.  The game was shocking and quite fun.  I’d definitely play it again but still feel like CFR delivers the better racing game.

We finished out the evening and day 1 with Kingdomino, the Spiel des Jahres winner.  I’m not sure what happened but I totally misheard the rules and played totally wrong, losing horribly.  This was surprising because the game is really simple.  I guess I was more tired than I thought or had a little too much bourbon during Flamme Rouge…

Gen Con 50 Dropzone 2.0 Beta Rules

At Gen Con 50, we were able to talk to the Hawk team and get a rough idea of the major changes coming to Dropzone 2.0.  These rules are still in beta so may change and are mainly from my notes so I may have missed or misinterpreted them:

  • Dropships are not tied to units period. As long as the unit could be carried by the dropship, you don’t need to assign it to a specific unit. APCs work the same way.
  • Non-AA vehicles dropped by a dropship can fire with a penalty on the same turn.
  • All units not in a dropship start in reserve. Reserve units enter play on turn two.
  • Only units with demo can deal double damage on hits against buildings. Falling masonry damage only triggers on damage rolls +2 over the target roll.
  • Searching buildings starts the roll with target 6, then the target value gains -1 if you have an APC near the building, -1 if you are the occupier (entered building first), and -1 if the building is small sized. The target never decreases during additional rounds.
  • Infantry units searching have -3 CQB in combat, infantry units at the windows  have -3 CQB but the effects are not cumulative. APC units add 3 CQB if within an inch of the building
  • Enemy units may also attempt to search in buildings.
  • Skimmers and hovercraft always get there bonus regardless of travel distance.
  • Aircraft height is located at the top of their peg, not an imaginary point 6″ above the play surface. And no more aircraft going “to the deck.” (Thanks to the Dropzone Commander Colorado Facebook page and Colton!)

That’s all I have from my notes.  If you have info or clarifications, let me know in the comments!

edit: I just saw that Hawk posted some general concepts of the 2.0 changes on their site: Gen Con Sneak Peek: Dropzone Commander 2nd Edition

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