Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Dropzone Commander Winter Campaign, Game 3

After painting up my Marine Force Recon group for Dropzone Commander, I thought I’d be all set for our next Winter Campaign game but at the last minute, I decided to switch gears and go back to playing the Feral side of Resistance and play with the Skulltaker and Berserkers I painted up a while back.

This build (now at 1,600 points) would need another unpainted group of minis, my Occupation Veteran infantry. So here it was again, furiously painting up a set of minis right before a game.

At least 10mm is quick. Not a lot of need for detail and even when they kind of look like garbage, a dark wash tends to bring it all in line.

With that set, I created my list and headed over to Funtastic Games to hit the Winter Campaign, Game 3.

Eventually the Force Builder will get updated to correct that Berserkers error.  Also, from winning the first two matches, I had an extra 20 points to spend on a future match so I used it on this one.  It basically let me add another stand of Attack ATVs.

This list was inundated with infantry.  It had at least one of each infantry type I could take: Resistance Fighters, Occupation Veterans, and Berserkers, along with a variety of wheeled infantry like the Freeriders and Attack ATVs.   All this would be nice because we were playing a Focal Point scenario: Bunker Assault from Reconquest Phase 1.

My opponent this time was the other Resistance player and so we had a nice civil war game set up with his Allied Resistance facing off against my Feral Resistance. Due to the maps being choked with debris and tight buildings, I can never get any use out of my Thunderstorm hovercraft but ironically, we played on this super open, debris-less map and it would have been perfect for it.

My opponent wasn’t sporting a Thunderstorm but did have the command-less cousin, the big Leviathan and he loaded it down with tons of anti-aircraft guns and Gunwagons.  That thing was going to be a bitch with all the flyers I had in my list.

Speaking of aircraft, we did add another environmental effect to this scenario: Storms.  On a 3+ at the start of each round, a violent storm rips through the playfield and all aircraft must roll two dice when they activate. If they roll snake-eyes (1-1), the craft is destroyed by the storm.

Things started off well enough and we had the storm hit us on round 1. We started bringing in our aircraft and nothing was affected until my opponent brought in his main infantry transport and it had horrible luck and was obliterated by the storm. The resulting explosion destroyed two of the three APCs he had.  Luckily enough, his infantry survived the APC explosions.  A pretty bad blow as his list was really light on infantry, the rest of them being made up of underground Freerider motorcycles that had to wait on the underground breach drill to surface and provide a path up.

The rest of the round was quite on the Storm front with no other weather casualties.  I brought most of my units into the center with my battle buses and Typhoon attack helicopters taking my right side to flank.

My opponent didn’t want to put out too far but did send his pair of Typhoons around the opposite side. Apparently we were taught at the same battle school.

Round two saw the Storm effect completely dissipate and my opponent’s breach drill arrives on the scene.  I win initiative and send my Typhoons over and they completely obliterate the drill.  I had some really hot dice and my opponent called out the damage and said the drill was destroyed at the time but at the end of match, he reviewed the stats on the drill and we may have got the armor vs weapons wrong and it may have actually survived my initial attack. Regardless, as the photo shows, we done destroyed the sucker.

This was horrible news for those Allied Resistance fighters as all those Freerider cycles were stuck in the underground tunnel with no way to get into the fight.

My opponent couldn’t let my Typhoons sit there blowing things up so he disgorged a ton of Gunwagon anti-air trucks and they took down one Typhoon and left the other with one health remaining.

I dropped out my Hannibal Main Battle Tanks and my Comander Alexander and they started ripping apart those Gunwagon trucks and used their big guns to start chipping away at the Leviathan hovercraft.

At the start of Round 3, I won initiative again and had my Battle Bus troops ready so I swung them out and around and had they launch everything at the rest of the Gunwagon trucks to wipe them out. The Battle Buses are fun because infantry can fire out the firing ports using their weapons.  When those weapons are a ton of RPGs and overclocked Scourge laser rifles, those buses can start laying down some serious firepower.  Mounted on top of the buses are also so Anti-Air guns of their own to help keep the enemy aircraft away as well.  Their only downside is the lack of countermeasures (meaning they can be shot at from across the map) and they are slow.

I had my Freeriders get into the main central building for protection and a nice striking platform and the Berserkers went inside as well in case my red Skulltaker gets shot down as well.

My opponent inches his Typhoons into striking distance and I can feel any minute, he’s going to go full bore and launch all that anti-armor force into my main ground forces.

Still in the early part of round 3, we can see that the main battleline for this game is along that main diagonal across the center of the shot. My armor is cutting through the middle and right side while his armor and heavy hitters are coming through on my left.

My opponent launches his contingent of flame wagons and melts my Berserkers down to two lonely guys. Those guys really don’t like fire.  I’ll start calling them my ‘Hounds. The other set of flame wagons pull a big whiff on the other building and don’t kill any of my Freeriders.  It was a pretty dismal roll with nothing by 1s and 2s showing on 12 dice. Brutal.

I work on the Leviathan hovercraft a bit more and bring it down to 3 health left.  My opponent decides to start his main assault and brings his Cyclone Helicopters sneakily along the large two central buildings where my anti-air Gunwagons can’t get a shot.  They then unload all their limited heavy missiles into my Command Alexander tank sitting under the middle bridge.  In another string of bad luck, all missiles either miss or fail to deal damage.  He also set up a nice barrage of missiles to launch at my Gunwagons in the back. Being indirect fire weapons, the front flame wagons spot for the Cyclones and even with the penalty, he lands the template weapon right on top of them.  These are always tough little trucks but Energy 10 template weapon against an armor 6 truck is no contest.  Rolls of 2+ damage them and 4+ destroys them.  My opponent rolls all 1s.

At this point, my opponent is pretty frustrated and decides to concede the match.  It was a pretty crappy situation and the awful dice rolls just made the game no fun for him to continue on.  We talked for a bit as I hoped that maybe taking a little break would bring him back but it didn’t really help. We limped through a few little “what-if” turns but it was obvious it wasn’t making anything better so we called it and I started putting stuff away as he also didn’t think he could win even if the dice turned around.

It would have been nice to see it play out as I think his frustration was making him pessimistic on his chances but I did believe I would pull out a win. Just for fun I went through a little “what-if” of my own.

So at the end of last activation before the concession, his Cyclones (1), had whiffed on my Alexander (2) and my Gunwagons (3).  My retaliation would have been swift from my infantry in the building (4), their ground APC (4), and their aerial transport Lifthawk (4).

The abusive overclocked lasers from my Occupation Vets would have had a pretty high chance at removing his big Leviathan (his last main anti-air threat), while the Resistance fighters launch their deluge of RPGs at the Flame Wagons.  The remaining Flame wagons would then have been targeted by the Lifthawk and APCs.  Given average rolls, this likely would have removed 4 of the 6 trucks. If I was really lucky the last shot from my Lifthawk’s AA gun would have downed the closest Cyclone.  Highly unlikely even though the rolls weren’t difficult.  I had been shooting at that dumb chopper all game and only managed a measly one damage.

My opponent ran through this “what-if” a little bit as his next move would have been to run his Typhoons (5) in close to shoot at my Alex (2).  His “what-if” rolls were whiffs again (further solidifying his want to not play anymore).  My Gunwagons (3) could have reaction-fired at them but they wouldn’t take the penalty to do so unless he came at them instead of my Alex. They would have just gone next activation and focused on one Typhoon to bring it down, then spread out so that no more template barrages could catch them all in one attack.

I’m pretty confident that by the end of this round, it would have been clear that he wouldn’t have enough units to contest enough focal points to win the game but my dice were running pretty poor at times too so who knows. I was granted the win and so we’ll just hope for more interesting games next time when we conclude the Winter Campaign with a massive 2,000 point battle.  It will be the largest Dropzone Game I’ve played by a big margin and I’m already looking at what I should put together so I can make sure my units are all painted and accounted for.

As a bonus for winning, the host at printed out some bunker buildings for the scenario and the winners of each game got a set so I got to bring home some swag.

I’ll probably do some work on them to clean them up and paint but I’d been wanting some bunkers so this was a nice surprise and a cool bit of gaming swag.

Nostalgia Is A Powerful Drug

Playing X-wing reminded me of another project I’ve been cooking for awhile.  It’s getting to the point in my pimping sickness that I now will start laying the ground work for pimping out a game long before I get it.  As is the case in this 80’s overload game, Lazer Ryderz by Greater Than Games.

image by greater than games

This game takes, essentially, X-wing’s maneuver templates and has players race around the table trying to run over crystals.  First player to run over three crystals wins.

As you can see, unlike X-wing, the templates stay out on the table and in a very Tron Light Cycle-like fashion, if you run over another player’s laser trail, you crash and have to respawn (derez?).

The game first appeared on Kickstarter and I was very tempted to pick it up but while I liked the over-the-top 80s cartoon style of the theme and characters, I couldn’t help but want it to be those Tron Light Cycles.  Since I’m not bound by some restrictive IP clause, I resolved to do just that.

A good six months before Lazer Ryderz ever made it to retail, I went to Shapeways and started planning out how I’d pimp out this game to fit the theme I wanted.

I picked up three 1st Gen Tron Light Cycles that someone made and then painted them up in the standard color scheme.

If I used better paints, the job would have gone faster but as it was, the base coat was easy with a primer then solid color coat. The grey detail covering over those deep solids took a lot of extra coats and wasted a lot of time but worked out in the end.  The model only comes in the “Strong White Flexible” material so the overall flat surfaces aren’t very smooth but they are small enough that it doesn’t really bother me.

After I got my three cycles up and painted, I experimented with some bases.

Ultimately, I just went au naturel and ditched any base.  They stay up ok for the pictures but for gameplay, I’ll need to add a little clear base on the back end. Luckily, I have some small acrylic hexes that will do the trick.

The Light Cycles work pretty well as you get the player avatar to immerse you into the world but don’t get the oversized and awkward clutter of the game’s big character standees.

This is really only phase one of this pimping project. The next phase will tackle the templates themselves.

The stock templates will work fine and the publisher did a good job of adding a foil effect to give the templates some “pop” but the psychedelic color schemes now don’t really match my Light Cycle theme and there is that question of those iconic jetwalls.

These new cycles will do for now but I’ve already begun to plan out phase two for next year.

zoom zoom!

Going Big With X-wing

On a whim, we decided to change things up this weekend and break out an old standby, X-wing Miniatures Game.  Maybe it was the new movie coming out this week or just seeing all those great little ships sadly sitting on the shelf with no pew-pews to be heard.  Either way, we decided to rectify that situation and since we knew we’d make a night of it, we should go big.  Epic-ly big.

It’s been a while since I hit X-wing and even longer since I’ve seen the Epic rules and Huge ships but we did some homework and wrote up some 300 point lists. That was the easy part. Setting up was another 2+ hours trying find all my ships and cards and setting up a 6×3 table space.  Eventually we got it all settled and were ready to play.

In a break from my norm, I decided to go Empire as I wanted to play with the Gozanti Cruisers.  My friend had recently picked up the new Scum C-ROC Huge ship so he found some list ideas and cobbled it all together:

Gozanti-class Cruiser (40)
Darth Vader (3)
Mara Jade (3)
Dual Laser Turret (5)
Backup Shield Generator (3)
Docking Clamps (0)
Optimized Generators (5)
Vector (2)

“Epsilon Leader” (19)

“Howlrunner” (18)
Swarm Tactics (2)

“Scourge” (17)
Push the Limit (3)

“Dark Curse” (16)

“Backstabber” (16)

“Winged Gundark” (15)

“Night Beast” (15)

“Wampa” (14)

“Chaser” (14)

Gozanti-class Cruiser (40)
Fleet Officer (3)
Tactician (2)
Dual Laser Turret (5)
Docking Clamps (0)
Optimized Generators (5)

Soontir Fel (27)
Push the Limit (3)
Autothrusters (2)
Stealth Device (3)
Royal Guard TIE (0)

Total: 300

View in Yet Another Squad Builder

I really love the carrier concept of the Gozantis so I was going all in on them while my friend brought almost every bounty hunter he could muster.  It was then pointed out that I was basically playing a small Flotilla from Armada:

So much for being “Epic.”  Still on that table, those Gozantis and a mess of TIE Fighters make for a pretty grand game.

After setting up, I did get a bit concerned that I brought all these little TIE Fighters to battle with a bunch of heavy hitting Scum large ships including the tanky YV-666, Tractor Beaming Mist Hunter and Shadow Caster, “I’m-immune-to-my-own-bombs” Scurrg nightmare, and a Zuckus + Dengar C-ROC.  I wasn’t really maxing out my ability to swarm TIE Fighters so I was concerned they wouldn’t have enough individual punch to go through all these specialized damaging ships.

I set up initially to attack the C-ROC but after all those heavy hitters crammed in on my left flank, I had to send my heavy Gozanti (Vader led) over that way or risk getting flanked and lose that whole side of the board. I charged my other Gozanti straight on at the C-ROC, knowing that it can’t shoot at range 1 but I could.  Fel and Epsilon Leader headed for the Scums weak left flank and totally whiffed against a bunch of crappy Binayre Pirates.  This would happen throughout the game. Those guys could do no wrong- max out damage on attacks and take no damage on return.

Vader’s Gozanti got pummeled by the YV-666 and a couple of hard-hitting heavy laser cannon Scyks.  Enough to get a crit through the hull and damage one of my docking clamps, releasing “Night Beast” a bit earlier.  My plan of keeping these TIEs safe and launching them behind my enemies wasn’t going to last.

Over the next two rounds, I launch all my fighters as everything starts to swarm around the Gozantis.  Vader’s big G is lit up like a Christmas tree as I try and totally fail to run anything over in multiple attempts of ramming maneuvers.  My other Gozanti has come directly at the C-ROC and neither of us blinked so now we were slowly grinding on each other until one or both of us are destroyed.

I did have Fel and some additional TIEs coming at him so hopefully I would wreck that C-ROC shortly and be free to join in the battle on my left side.

This swarm takes its toll on Vader’s Gozanti and gets me down to one measly hull.  To make things worse, Vader is sucked out a hull breach and likely very pissed at his force.  When they find him, I’m sure many more will die.  We did have our first casualty of the match as I took down one of the heavy laser Scyks before he could kill me off.

Soontir Fel pulls off his cheater defense against an overclocked 6 dice attack from the C-ROC.  Lucky rolls are the only reason why he stayed up against the four hits he tried to rain down on me.  My return fire and constant ramming ended up finally taking the C-ROC down.  My Gozanti came out pretty well in the exchange since the only damage it was taking was from the ramming.

It was getting really late so we decided to call the game at this point.  After that initial and brutal exchange the now Vader-less Gozanti caused most everyone to veer off course and the few remaining attacks couldn’t bring her down.  She was still at one hull and I’m sure eventually she’d fall if we brought the game to full conclusion but as it stood, I lost about 3 TIE Fighters and the Scum lost their C-ROC, YV-666, and a Scyk.  Victory was mine but it seemed like the game was still open enough big Scum ships left to cause problems (especially that annoying Scurrg bomber).

Epic X-wing was interesting and not a format that I’ve played a lot.  While it was fun, I didn’t really get the dogfighting feel that a normal smaller game of X-wing typically evokes.  It seems to evoke those chaotic ending battles you see in the movies, which is great but we’ll need to get more organized to run it again.  The set and execution of an Epic game is just too big of a time investment for a regular game night.  As I was borrowing my friend’s Gozanti to run two of them, he asked if I liked running both and would buy a second one.  I came away from the battle thinking that I really enjoy the options and mechanics that the Gozantis offer but two is likely overkill.  That being said, I think I’d still like to run the double Gozanti just for the sheer fun of dropping that many ships on the board in one round so another ship my be in my future.

Careful What You Click On

Busy week but I was able to start up a project on improving my Batman Miniature Game lights.  I went looking for a set of cheap street lamps and found a perfect set.

I quickly threw it in the cart and bought it up.  These are HO scale street accessories and I was feeling pretty good until I realized HO is “half ‘O'” scale. This turns out to be about 1:87 scale which is about half the size of what is needed for a standard 30mm minis game.  I tried to cancel the purchase but it was too late, they were already shipping.

I went looking around for O scale equivalents but they are really expensive so I decided I’d see if I could do something to make these still work.

As suspected, they are a wee bit small.  Unperturbed, I push on to see if the concept can work.

I cut the little molded light bulb off to make a hook for my actual light.

And it works as intended.  I need to extend the height on the post so I grabbed a brass rod usually used for pinning models and cut the lamp post apart.

I drilled a hole in the top of the post base to have the brass rod replace the main post.

The top of the lamp post is too small to drill and I ran out of time so I’ll have to figure out a way to mount it on securely later.  The concept is coming together a bit more though.

I have a set of metal bases coming in as well to help counter balance the weight so it’ll just be the matter of getting that top hook part connected and secured to the brass rod and then I can use some Greenstuff to sculpt the connections a little more and help mount the whole post to the base.

Striking While The Iron Is Hot

I thought I was going to get in another solo game of Championship Formula Racing but after prepping more Dropzone minis, I’ve gotten into a sort of painting rhythm and I might as well keep going while I can.

First up, I finished the last little unit for a potential army list I’ll likely try out at the next DZC meetup this month.

This guy was super simple with just some dry brushing slapped on over a black priming then picking out some minor details, clean up, blood stripe and done.  Another Kraken hovercraft transport ready to serve for the Resistance.

I still have my Walking Dead games to get through so I decided to finish up a long overdue addition to my group: Glenn.

Ah Glenn, always the runner.  I decided to take a bit more time to get some detailing on his hat.  Looking at the stock images in my TWD compilations, I couldn’t tell if the artist wanted him to be a Mets fan or Yankees so I decided he’d go for the Yanks.

Lucky for me, I have a new cheap brush that is fine enough for these details. Slow and steady with a bit of support really helped out here. That and having both the detail color and the background on hand to clean up the inevitable stray brush marks makes the job a bit easier and less nerve-wracking.

I couldn’t help but set up a quick little supply run photo op.  It’s good to see these two characters finally together.

With my new cheap brush, I know the fine tip won’t last long so I decided to keep hitting the tiny detail work.  The other reason I didn’t do a solo CFR game this week was because I caught wind of an opportunity to get a potentially large game going with some new players.  It likely won’t be too big but I only have six of my 1976 F1 cars painted and since my copy can handle eight players, I needed to get some additional cars in the garage just in case.

Sorry for the crappy depth of field on these next shots.  I didn’t have time to set up on a real camera so the terrible iPhone macro (or lack thereof) will have to do. This is an alternate paint scheme I’ve been wanting to try out for the Tyrrell P34.  Unfortunately, the livery for some of these cars really help break up the scheme even better but I didn’t want to try to freehand all that lettering.  I may try decals to finish up a lot of these cars.

Car eight in my collection is another alternate paint scheme for the Penske PC34, this time in the ATS theme.  I don’t know if this theme actually ran during 1976 as some of the reference images I was using dated 1977  with Hans Binder under the wheel.  It’s funny how wavy those lines look when viewed at the macro level. The effect is quite straight from a normal distance.  The yellow color gave me fits as my cheap craft paint (get what you pay for…) wasn’t really covering and looked almost greenish in hue.  I ended up making a custom color, which I hate doing on something that is going to require a lot of fine detail work.  I ended up making a big enough batch of the custom color to weather through all the rework those racing lines required so it all turned out in the end.

This concluded my eight car collection for CFR but I did have a few more cars sitting around and was feeling a longing for “the one that got away.”

Quite possibly my favorite color scheme goes to this Ferrari Lancia 801 from 1957. I had painted this once before as prize support for our race at Cabin Con this summer but I knew I had to eventually do it over again because it is just too cool to not have a copy.

A pretty productive week but now it’s time to game.  Next up will be to start prepping for the actual Walking Dead games as well as trying some lighting out for Batman.

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