Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Batman! A Tale of Metal and Dice

Lately, I’ve gotten back into comics and I jumped all-in on a big crossover event in the DC universe, Dark Nights Metal.  It’s a massive, crazy story line that has pushed me into a lot of different comic titles as the events spill across the DC Universe.  I haven’t been in a comic book store in twenty years or more so its been interesting coming back into that hobby.  I don’t expect to stay in the hobby full time but it’s nice to jump in on occasion.

All this Batman reading has me pushing the Batman Minis Game again and I was lucky enough to get in game this weekend.  My friend and I set up a 200 point game with the same Batman and Joker crews we had last time but this time we were able to complete the crews with funding and equipment and used a full scenario with objectives.

I picked out the Scenario 1: Arrival from the new v2 Rulebook.  This scenario has each player starting in the corners with the objectives in the center to force more confrontations.

I like that not only does the scenario force interaction by putting everything in the center, it also wants to push us to get there quickly by giving players a bonus if they can be the first to control their objective.

We started off in our respective corners and I won initiative, electing Batman’s crew to start.

Gordon and Batman started as far to the front of their deployment zone as possible.

While Fat Cop (I don’t remember his card name) started Undercover and was able to deploy within 4 inches of the first objective.  I knew Batman would be able to Batclaw out to the objectives quickly but I hadn’t counted on Fat Cop getting the jump on my as well.

Luckily, I also decided to upgrade for the scenario and chose for Eyeball Man to have a Grappling Gun to compete with Batman’s speed.  The Grappling Gun is pretty great on Eyeball Man since, unlike most other guns, his gun has Assault 3 which allows him to still get 3 shots off while he moves, instead of the normal 1 shot after moving.

Gordon and Batman push in to the map, taking cover behind some debris.  Fat Cop easily moves in and grabs the first objective: Loot.  Apparently the salaries are pretty weak on the GCPD.

Not to lose out on the first VP opportunity, Eyeball Man Grappling Hooks out to the Ammo Crate objective (with the help of Joker’s Inspire and Follow Me! abilities).  This lines him up for a good shot on Fat Cop.

Eyeball Man sprays Fat Cop but the trees and benches get in the way taking Ping! from my hits.  Next time, Fat Cop. Next time.

The Brave and the Bold get the initiative and elect to go first.  Batman uses his Batclaw to swing into position and Sneak Attack Eyeball Man.  This usually always ends with Eyeball Man out cold but the dice are just bad enough to keep him up with one health left.

Almost unconscious, Eyeball backs into the park’s corner with my Riddle objective and sprays Batman.

I’m able to hit Batman with all three shots and get two hits through his Batarmor (blue dice on the left needs 5+).

I’m able to land 2 wounds on Batman and get a great collateral damage roll knocks Batman on his ass.  Barely conscious, Eyeball Man looks down to the Riddler’s objective…

And totally rocks the riddle. Riddler must be slacking for a barely conscious thug to solve his trick so easily. I see the MVP award may have already found its candidate.

Well. Almost.  Gordon is able to move up and with a single shot, take down Eyeball Man.

With Batman down, I had a decision to make, engage in melee or keep shooting.  I don’t get any advantage against him prone with my guns but I do a lot more damage.  Or should have.  Both Panda Man and Joker unload on Batman and I get only one of the six shots to take thanks to poor attack rolls and average Batarmor rolls.

Joker and Panda Man then get up to control the Ammo Crate and restock on ammo.  I get to start the next round and unload again on a knocked down Batman (electing to shoot instead of engage in melee).  Full auto on all my guns and nothing.  Average attack rolls should have seen at least a few more hits on Batman but he dominates the Batarmor rolls and gets by without taking a single damage. Brutal.

Batman is able to get up and regroup with Gordon and Fat Cop.  Gordon put a hit on Panda Man.  The round closes and my initial point lead has worn off and now the Brave and the Bold are scoring 4 VPs a round to my 3 VPs (not to mention the KO bonus for dropping Eyeball Man).

Eyeball Man recovers but the Brave and the Bold start the round.

And promptly drops Panda Man. I totally misread this round and thought Batman was going to start with an attack on Panda Man to remove his nasty assault rifle so I put most of Joker’s action counters on attack, defense, and special.  The special was to make sure Gordon couldn’t use his special ability to heal Batman but I totally forgot that Gordon could just unload on Panda Man instead.  I was stuck with not a lot of options for Joker because I didn’t have enough movement.

Joker tries to take down Batman once again but the Batarmor just doesn’t quit and blocks all my hits again.  Augggghh… Batman promptly chucks a few batlings to smack Eyeball Man and knock him out again.  Round 4 ends with both crews tied on VPs and my goons are sleeping like overpaid babies.

Luck shines on me with not one but both of my henchmen wake up again and I’m have initiative for the last round.  Panda Man tries to play the same damn song he’s played all night but this time, it was one too many Batarmor saves and Batman gets thoroughly shredded but the assault rifle.

Yeah, red beads are bad.  This nets me a game ending 6 VPs.  We finish out the turn with Gordon doing what he can trying to get some VPs via one of my riddle objectives (but fails).

Eyeball Man decides to full auto on Fat Cop to make for a nice bookend.  This time all shots connect and, true to every game we’ve played, Fat Cop dies.

Joker takes a last pot shot at Gordon and knocks him down (but not out).  A fitting end to a brutal last round.  The VPs show a pretty lopsided finale but had Batman’s Armor held or my rolls went cold again, this would easily be a loss for team Joker.

Joker Crew: 28 victory points

Brave and the Bold: 17 victory points

 

I think we’re finally getting into the groove on the rules for this game (with a healthy dose of custom cheat sheets).  We both are feeling that Gordon really not the right character for Batman in this crew.  I imagine he’ll get swapped out and some ranged threats added in.

Also, I think we also went experimenting a bit to flex the strengths of the various crews.  We kind of pot committed on standing ground where I focused solely on taking Batman down and Batman focused on staying in the fight to see how hearty he could be.  He totally proved his worth but I should have taken out Fat Cop and Gordon early instead and worked on Batman at the end while maintaining a VP lead.

I think Batman could have tried to engage both Joker and Panda Man at the same time, forcing them to always move and shoot (reducing their shots down to one for each attack action, instead getting their full rate of three per attack).   In any case, it was a great game with a lot of ups and down and wild luck helping Batman survive way longer than he should but also my henchmen regaining consciousness at just the right time throughout the match and getting lucky in the early game.

Dropzone Commander: 2017 Fall Campaign

Today we had our first game of our Dropzone Commander 2017 Fall Campaign at Funtastic Games.  It was 999 point Skirmish-sized game with 6 players in attendance.  Before I left, I had a few minutes and decided to try out a quick proof of concept I’d been thinking of: a pimped out spinner for Indirect Fire deviation (and anything else that needs a random direction).

I started with a cheap spinner, an extra flight stand base from the now defunct Planetfall game by the also defunct Spartan Games. The ship is an Athena Air Superiority fighter that had some miscast issues.

As this was just a test to see if the thing worked, I wasn’t really trying to make things permanent.  Cutting off the arrows from spinner piece and supergluing it to the flight base position.  Then I cut off the flight peg holder on the Planetfall base and used blutac to keep the big spinner base connected.

And done.

This took all of about 5 minutes and seemed to work out well. Not really practical but painted up and clearing that base down to size would make it a bit better.  I have some other junk pieces so I might play around with this a bit more.  This might make a cool bunker with a spinning gun mount on top.


Now for the Dropzone game.  With 6 players we rolled off for map placement and opponent.  Today, I had the honor of playing a new recruit to Dropzone, Jayme, and he was running PHR.  I had really played against PHR before. Early on in our learning of Dropzone, we tried all the factions in their starter form and just couldn’t get PHR to work.

Stephen, the campaign host, started us off for the campaign with the following opening:

…transmission intercept…
Forward Intelligence units have discovered that a UCM ship will be airdropping vital supplies and equipment at 1330.
All available units to mobilize to deployment zone to intercept. The enemy cannot be allowed to retrieve this shipment.

We were also going to try out some of V2.0 rules:

* disembark and shoot for a -2 penalty
* flyers are at peg height, not 6″

With that, we were ready to begin.  We were playing the Ground Control scenario.  This was the first time I’d tried this scenario and it is probably the closest to a normal tabletop wargame than most of the other Dropzone scenarios.  It has units directly deployed to the map (like most minis games) and no objective, focal, or intel points.  The game map is split into four quarters and awards scenario VPs to the player that controls each quarter at the end of round 6 (which is the end of the game).  Control is determined by having the most points in units in a given quarter, with infantry gaining double points if they are in a building.

This type of scenario made for a pretty slow opening as a lot of the usual scenario tactics call for running out as fast as possible and grabbing objective points before your opponent. Since nothing is determined until the last round, the game has a bit more “dance” to it before units really engage.  After the first turn, I had pushed my Anti-Air (AA) unit to the left-center while my big Thunderstorm hovercraft at the bottom rumbled to line up on one of the long sight lines.  The rest of my units made for the center and used buildings as cover.  My opponent did similar as everything he had was in dropships and he didn’t want to commit to the ground game quite yet.

After I set up down one of the less open firing lanes I realized my massive hovercraft only had an 18″ firing range (that’s what I get for pillaging Scourge tech).  Hanging out in the back will make 25% of my army basically useless as I can’t even shoot far off buildings.  I really suck at this big hovercraft.

So, after failing with my hovercraft, I then started playing like all the other scenarios and threw my infantry into some buildings thinking they’d be safe there. That also turned out to be a mistake as my opponent had some good building demolishing and so these safe-havens I jumped into were turning out to be death traps.  I decided to load up the battered infantry once more into their APCs and Lifthawk dropship and head for safer skies.

my opponent’s AA walkers are conspicuously not there anymore…

I decided to turn my attention to his AA walkers and after they almost melted my infantry dropship (precariously hovering with all my troop transports in tow).  My Typhoons (yay! new unit) used their long range to chip away at one of the AA walkers and then after winning the initiative roll, I closed the game and threw all I could at them to take them off the board.  To add insult to injury, my attack choppers are in the same battle group as my AA trucks and they ended up taking down my opponent’s dropship as well, wiping out an entire unit activation.

With no more AA options on his side, my opponent got desperate and threw down two infantry squads to serve as proxy AA and try to bring down my loaded up Lifthawk.  I was able to repair my dropship back up to 2 damage points to give a little bit of a boost but I didn’t see this coming.  Pretty risky but if he can bring down my dropship with all those troops, it’ll be a major blow to my ability to later control these different areas of the map.  My luck wins out and his infantry aren’t able to land a hit (mainly due to the penalty gained from disembarking and firing in the same turn, a v2.0 rule we implemented).

The risk of that gambit hits home when my air units start lighting up the exposed infantry.  I open up and after two turns of fire, the PHR infantry are down to one base with one guy standing.  They finally hop into a remaining transport and run for cover in the buildings.

With Round 5 ending, my opponent pushes his remaining infantry squad into a small building in my starting quarter of the map via an underground monorail. I can’t pass up the opportunity to finally put this big hovercraft to use so I pull back from that main firing corridor to shoot at the little building and hopefully drop it, killing all the infantry inside. I do 8 damage and need 2 more to drop it.  For a point comparison, my 265 point hovercraft with 4 shots at the highest power of any gun in the game did the same amount of building damage as my opponent’s little Railgun-toting APCs (60 points total).  The dice were not in my favor on that.  I was able to follow up with about six weaker attacks from my Skulltaker but only landed one more damage.

Turn 6 started and I lost initiative but had a dirty trick up my sleeve.  I was able to pull a command card that allowed me to interrupt my opponent’s activation and take a single activation beforehand.  He activated his infantry in the nearly collapsed building and I interrupted it with a final salvo of from my Thunderstorm command hovercraft. This time, I landed the hits and dropped the building on them.  I finished by moving my commander back into that quarter, sealing the point control for that one.

After that blow, my opponent did some quick math and realized that he didn’t have enough points on the board to control three quarters of the map and since he was also behind in kill points, a tie would still equal a loss so we called the game.

It was a fun game and it was nice to see some really effective PHR units.  My new Typhoons were definite MVPs in this as they basically could own the map after I took out the threatening AA walkers. I tend to find that this is the case in this game with aerial gunships are in play and that was my biggest fear in building this list- that my AA wouldn’t be enough to overpower a strong gunship that could then just obliterate my ground units with abandon.  Luckily, I was on the dealing side of that situation.

We have another game set up in November and we’re going to escalate to 1250 points.  Time to start working on my next list!

Dropzone Commander: Typhoons Reporting for Duty

Even with the busy week, I was able to burn through my painting regiment to finish up my new Dropzone Commander Typhoons.

As with all my Resistance Army, they never can really find matching anything.  The most common is usually a black urban paint scheme but this time I opted for a desert themed scheme for one of the Typhoons.

I really rushed through these and it caused some issues with paint flecking. The weather also turned so the lower temperatures may have messed with the setting up of the primers too.

Overall, I’m happy with them.  They are painted and will go in my army this Sunday and will word for tabletop use.

I’m still debating on my actual list.  I think I’m set on this list:

My concern is it doesn’t have enough anti-air and it doesn’t max out the activation groups.  The lack of anti-air might not be that big of a problem since we’re playing a pretty small game (999 point Skirmish) but still, I’d like to have a little more balance.  Instead, I have a lot of anti-tank, some building demo, and a ton of squads.  The Fighters are pretty much a staple for most Resistance lists but I also have a group of fast-flying Berserkers with a Skulltaker for support and a group of Freeriders.

It should be a fun time regardless and I’ll plan on writing up how it went sometime next week.

Back to the Grind

Having finally finished up my Gen Con 50 reports, I jumped back into prepping some miniatures.  I started with a Knight Model for the Batman Miniature Game.

I have a few Suicide Squad starter figures that need to be put together but this Green Arrow figure I picked up is one of my favorite sculpts so I decided to work on him instead.  I got smart this time and busted out my dusty jewelers clamp because I remembered that Knight Models loves complicated three-point poses and rarely do they all match up easily.  I used a little green stuff to fix the angle on the bow arm and it all worked out in the end.

For basing, the new metal miniatures come with the much improved solid base instead of the slotted rubble bases that always required greenstuff to fill in and sculpt.  It was always a pain and I never felt like I could get the effect right.  The left image above in grey is an old base I obviously used greenstuff on.  The right is the new base that I’ll customize to fit the dynamic scenery that Green Arrow stands on.

And here he is in all his glory.  He should be pretty fun to paint up.


This upcoming weekend, I have a Dropzone Commander game coming up at Funtastic Games so that means another “drop everything and finish up some models” week for me.

I’m tackling the new-ish Typhoon attack helicopters this time.  Only two models so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Ah but I spoke too soon.  These models are part of their dual packaging wave where each model comes with all the other gun iterations.  This package can double as the older Cyclone attack choppers or the new Typhoons.  I still really like the Cyclones so I don’t want to commit this models to only one choice so that means magnets.

It took me awhile to find my 2mm magnets and get everything set up but after that, it went as good as could be expected.  No real major issues but I wonder if I’m going to have to add a second magnet to those wings to help hold them in place.   Maybe after this weekend.  I’ve got to get these guys into the garage to prime up.  I’ll post my progress at the end of the week.

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 4

See Recap Day 1 or Recap Day 2 or Recap Day 3

The last day of the Con was here and my big Loopin’ Chewie Tournament was in the morning.  I say “big” because it had apparently sold out all 36 slots.  Last year I had four people show up so this was going to be interesting.

I only brought 6 games of Loopin’ Chewie so I’d have to run the event in two heats.  Maybe next year I’ll run them in separate event heats like X-wing does so that no one has to feel like they are waiting.

I still wasn’t sure what to expect with a sold out event of this size as it was a Sunday and a cheap event so a lot of people might just ditch anyway.  But nope. I had most everyone show up and those seats that were empty quickly filled up with friends of the other participants.  The main reason for the sell out? X-wing.  A group of X-wing tournament players had seen the event listing and all wanted to join in.  Apparently this group had started to play Loopin’ Chewie at some of the bigger X-wing tournament events around the country and found that it was a great way to blow off steam and de-stress during the long tournament runs.

It was a great group of gamers, from young kids who love the game, to a family that came from German where Loopin’ Louie is almost a national past time, and of course the X-wing tournament players.

I can’t thank the participants enough for being great sports and really getting into the game.  I had some diabolical setups for the participants as we ran two main heats of the normal game. To make sure the game didn’t just end quickly for anyone in the first round, we used the “standard” tournament rules (as I understand them) from Alan Moon’s Gathering of Friends event (which used to feature standard Loopin’ Louie tournaments and maybe still does).

In essence, you will play multiple rounds of Loopin’ Chewie where the goal is to be the last player left with a Storm Trooper token in their player zone.  Each time you win one of these mini-rounds, you start the game again but start with one less token.  All players keep playing mini-rounds until one player wins the game starting with only one token.  That player is the winner of the round and will move on to Round 2 of the tournament.

Round 2 ran the same way with the 12 qualifiers from the two round 1 heats playing again.  This round ran in the same fashion, be the player to win the game with only one token at the start.

At the end of Round 2, we had four semi-finalist.  Now I started to make things interesting.  Each of these finalists would pair off for Round 3 and now have two games of Loopin’ Chewie running simultaneously.  The rules revert back to the simpler “last man standing” to keep things moving.

At the end of the Semis, we had two players remaining. For this final round, I upped the ante one more time to really determine the Loopin’ Chewie Champion: 3 games running simultaneously.  This set up had the two “book end” games running just like in the semi-final round but added a third center game that used a piece from the special 6 player adapter mod created by Robert McFadden.  Again, the round was just “last man standing” and it created a pretty epic finale with the winner coming down the last token for each player.

It was a great event and a lot of fun and I can’t wait to run it again next year.

Sunday is usually the lightest day for me but this year it seemed pretty busy with the tournament in the morning and an afternoon event.  In between, I was able to check out a few last things in the exhibition hall.

This pimped out version of the recently Kickstarted Fabled Realms was on display but I didn’t have time to play it.

I was really happy to see oversized Magic: the Gathering back at the Con.  I hadn’t seen this since my very first Gen Con back in 2007.

The Matagot booth was always popular, especially at the Meeple Circus demo tables.  I didn’t get a chance to play but was able to watch enough of a game to see that I was definitely interested in picking it up.  At its heart, it’s a timed dexterity game where you are trying to stack your meeple pieces in certain positions to score points.

Finally, I made it over to my afternoon event, a full game demo of Rayguns and Rocketships.

This is a nice tactical miniatures board game which plays like an updated four player Broadsides and Boarding Parties.  You crew a ship and have scenario goals to earn victory points.  Once one player reaches a certain victory point amount, the game finishes out the round and the highest score wins.

You have two tactical boards, one is the space board that has each player’s starship which can shoot each other to damage their tactical ship board.  The ship board contains your crew and must be moved about and interacted with to move your ship and fire guns. You can also be boarded and attacked directly.  The game has a lot of freedom to it and was very swashbucklery.  I wouldn’t mind porting a lot of the rules over to my copy of Broadsides and Boarding Parties as this really is a great system for that classic game.  The game itself is also well made and fun enough to pick up on its own as well.


So that concludes my Gen Con 50 experience.  It was a great convention and easily one of the top 3 in my eleven years going.  It’s sad that the popularity has outgrown it’s venue and our success at this convention will be up to the housing lottery but maybe we’ll find a more consistent way to attend in the future.

I came home with more swag than usual as I picked up several promo sets like the Sparky Super Dog promo for the upcoming Flick ’em Up: Dead of Winter, Adrenaline and Santorini Dice Tower promo cards, out of print Evolution promos and two event promos, one for Rayguns and Rocketships and the other for A Song of Ice and Fire minis game. I talked to the guys at Win Go Games about what it takes to publish and they gave me a sample box filled with a lot of their production samples.  Then there is the Flip Ships game and miniature portal terrain I picked up.

Lastly I picked my Gen Con 50 dice and dice bag.  The one shown above is the oversized edition (followed by the last ten years of the standard ones) but I also picked up the standard sized one for this year and another “commemorative set” as a nice bookend to my 2007-2017 Gen Con attendance.

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