Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Walking Dead Wednesday: Tank time

I was walking through my local Walgreen’s and stumbled upon a cheap little find for The Walking Dead: All Out War- a plastic army man set with some interesting plastic terrain:

Yep! For the paltry sum of $3.50, I got me a little plastic tank for some future scenarios.  The set also came with some barricades and a flag post but I forgot to take shots of them before I primed them. In the mail the same day came my Rick on Horse expansion.  I don’t know why but that little expansion always seemed so cool to me and I’m glad I can start using it in my games.

So here we have a quick little scene I put together with my primed army terrain and Rick a la Horse.

The detail on the tank up close is exactly what you would expect from a cheap plastic toy but still works pretty well for scenery.

For a better scale comparison, I pulled the tank out and put it next to a reference Rick.

I don’t know tanks really at all (I can’t even tell you what kind of tank this is- if you know, let me know in the comments!) but the scale seems to work according to my untrained eyes.

However, as I reported back when starting on some farm terrain, Stewart Gibbs revealed some terrain info on the upcoming expansion sets:

For Woodbury, you’ll need 2 smoke clouds about 3″ across, 4 lamp posts, 6 stakes for walkers to be tied to in the arena, and a tank around 7″ by 4″.

So you can see why I wanted a tank but notice that Stewart gives us the dimensions of the tank template and it is massive.  My little cheap plastic tank measures a paltry 2.75″ x 5″. I’m not too worried.  I think my little tank works and if Mantic’s decision to make an MDF RV for the game is any indication, maybe we’ll get an official 3D tank some time soon too. Then my little tank can have a big brother. Perfect.

War of the Ring Anniversary Edition

As I teased at the end of my post last week, my copy of War of the Ring (second edition) Anniversary Release from Ares Games arrived.  I finally got a chance to check it out and it is, in a word, glorious.

With a foot print of nearly 16″ x 20″ and over 6″ tall, this box is massive. The only box that comes to mind that might be bigger is the OGRE Kickstarter.

The box itself has some nice features. The art is classic and well done and the sides and bottom are all done in black fabric.

Underneath the sturdy top box lies a full fabric wrapped case with magnetic latches and metallic lettering and art. As a little side note, the fabric wrapped boxes removes the silly “box fart” that most larger board game boxes encounter. This box can swing in event the most sophisticated parties.

Opening the inner case reveals layered trays to hold all the components.  Each tray is divided by a thick art piece that features some great John Howe art and, on the reverse, a guide to putting all the miniatures back in their tray.

Speaking of miniatures, the main draw for this anniversary release was the pre-painted miniatures.  These miniatures turned out pretty good for pre-painted but not near the quality of Rackham’s AT-43/Confrontation line or Fantasy Flight’s X-wing.  Even the venerable Heroscape might be better in the pre-painted department.  I think it the lack of a good wash and the painting attempt was emphasizing multiple painting steps and color options over letting a good wash bring out those details.  (click on any of the above images for more detail)

You can see from these close ups of some of the random samplings of figures that, in general, the painting is fine.  Some models are easier to paint or lend themselves to this style while others are a little harder to pull of or show what can happen with an assembly line-style painting process.  Poor Gimli lost half his face up there with a paint mishap.

After the minis, we get to the print material of the set.  Namely, the player cheat sheets, the opaque bag, the slipcase of the rulebook and companion book and the massive playing board. That board takes up almost my entire 3.5′ x 4.5′ game table. The hardback rule and companion books are very well done and bound stylishly as well.  I will likely keep these out of the case for casual reading.

A nice little touch to the game board is the foil stamping of the Mount Doom area. It’s hard to see in the image but in person, it stands out.

And of course, the whole thing comes with an authenticity letter claiming my copy is 1 of 2000 printed.  Actually number 87 according to the sheet.

I wouldn’t be a game pimper if I didn’t try to pimp even the most pre-pimped game in my collection.  I made this alternative bag for the “hunt tiles” a while ago for my original second edition.  While the Anniversary Release’s bag is nice, I will probably keep using my original bag.

Last but not least, I also picked up a hand-made, painted custom mount doom for my original version some years ago.  It’s nice see that it fits well on this large game board as well.

Walking Dead Wednesdays: Tackling the Threat Tracker

Threat is a major force in The Walking Dead: All Out War and tracking it is important.  Mantic gave us a threat dial and a spinner but spinners make for a weak way to track such an important aspect of the game, mainly because they are so good at, well, spinning. Let’s see if we can’t change that up a bit.

I first wanted to just add friction to the spinner so that it would work more like a static dial but those experiments didn’t turn out too well. My next solution was use magnets as they would remove the low friction spinning component and be removable for easy storage.  The big arrow of the original spinner could work but then I hit upon the idea of using something more iconic.

How about Negan’s iconic Lucille?  A quick search on Shapeways revealed that someone had already made a replica mini Lucille and it happened to be the perfect size.

A quick priming and painting and Lucille was ready for assembly.

I cut a small 3mm notch into the center so that the magnet could rest in and then quick-painted the excess damage I did.

For the base, I used the original spinner base, filled it with greenstuff and superglued the main magnet in.  Then superglued the whole base to the threat tracker template.

All it took was letting the glue dry and then we had a pimped out Walking Dead: All Out War custom Lucille threat tracker.

It stays put, is easy to use without knocking the result everywhere, and is  removable for quick storage.

6×6 Game Challenge 2017: Dropzone Commander and Santorini

It’s been a crazy busy week but right before hell broke loose, I was able to get in my first session of Dropzone Commander for my game challenge and was able to hit a little Santorini at the end.

Funtastic Games is about the only place in town that is hosting anything Dropzone related and last weekend they had their monthly Dropzone Commander get together.  My friend and I stopped by and threw down a quick 700 skirmish game.

We decided to try a new scenario that featured a focal point in the center and two objectives on nearby tall buildings. We also decided to mix up the terrain and have the center dominated by low undergrowth to surround the focal point, in this case a nearly intact high yield orbital ordnance that both sides were desperate to claim.

I truck out to the center as fast as I can with my Hovercraft forces and Lifthawk but I soon realize I’m severely outclassed in activations (my 3 battlegroups to his 5) and speed (my 16″ lifthawk vs his two 30″ quick troop carriers).

His Hunters get the drop on my choppers even though I won initiative (sneaky scourge devils).  Luckily, I somehow only lose the one chopper.  I end up taking out one of the hunters in reprisal but it won’t be enough.  With this small of a force, this was to be my dedicated Anti-Armor unit.

I focus on the left tower for objectives hoping my right flank can mess with the scourge occupiers in the right tower long enough for my last infantry group to get in there and make a stand.  This tower was a slaughterfest.  My infantry dominated at 2:1 and the dice showed.  We wiped the scourge threat with barely any casualties.

The victory was short-lived as the last hunter gunned down my Chopper.  The nerfed Freerider biker squads were now playing tertiary role as anti-armor and actually weren’t doing too bad against the weak-armored scourge armor units. My Attack ATVs were peppering the right tower with chem ‘nades to piss off the scourge occupiers but it wasn’t enough.

My troops raided the tower full of chem gas and tried to stop the scourge but got slaughtered with even odds 1:1 then, in a bit of irony, the chem gas finished them off.  If it could have went the other way, I might have had a chance.

The last bit of control I had to desperately pull something off was to drop the scourge Overseer.  I got it down to 1 last damage point and even though those scourge tanks lit up my hovercraft, I survived with two Gun Wagons left and enough movement to get a bead on the Overseer again.  My luck held and I won initiative to try to take out the main command piece of the scourge force but dice failed hard and I couldn’t finish the Overseer off.

The clean up was quick, efficient, and brutal. The last hunter that I could never seem to kill dropped my Lifthawk, the scourge tanks wiped my Gun Wagons and the only thing I had left were my Left Tower heroes who, for the life of them, could not even find the objective.  Too much partying and celebrating their lopsided victory to notice that we also apparently lost the war.   Maybe humanity just isn’t ready to reclaim the surface.  Ah well, there’s always next month…

Later that day, we ran over to a little game party and threw down some Santorini.  I chose Hypnos while my opponent took Hermes.  This was an interesting match up with Hypnos’ power to force the opponent to always be on the same height before ascending making it very hard for the Hermes player to get much traction.  Hermes was able to run all over the map and easily thwart my attempts to build out towers out of sight but eventually I found the trick.  If you wall off Hermes, he can’t run around as fast and that sealed my victory.

In other news, I’ve been working a little bit on this bright idea for the Batman Minis Game:

….more on that to come.

And finally, this big monstrosity dropped on my doorstep:

…definitely more to come on that bad boy.

Walking Dead Wednesday: Prelude to Woodbury vs Core Set comparison

I saw a user on Boardgamegeek talk about only going with the Prelude to Woodbury expansion to start his collection in The Walking Dead: All Out War and never picking up the Core Set. I think this is perfectly doable but like in most things, there will be tradeoffs and balances to this approach.

I decided to research more into this and find out exactly what you’ll be missing if you go this route and what do you gain.

First things first, however; not picking up the Core Set (CS) and only buying the Prelude to Woodbury (P2W) expansion is only viable if you are running your games as solo or co-op experiences.  As will be evident soon, you will be missing some critical items to run true competitive games or attempt tournament/league play.

Let’s start out by looking at the Core Set (taken from Mantic’s TWD contents file):

In addition to the items listed above, the Core Set comes with six survivor figures and twelve walkers. At $50 MSRP, this entry point is a great value.

Now that we have our starting place for comparison, let’s look at the Prelude to Woodbury (P2W) set:

In addition to the items listed above, the set comes with one survivor and five walkers.  This set can cheat a little bit with the walkers as they also include four “Captured Walker Counters.” If you’re not needing these counters for a scenario, they can proxy for more walkers on the board.

At $40 MSRP, this entry point is cheaper but for most players it won’t be worth the savings if they plan on continuing their collection.  It does work as a great demo set to initiate new players and if cost is the most important consideration when dipping your toe into this game, then the P2W set is a fine place to start.

Let’s say that last statement describes you but you want to know what you might be missing.  First off, you’re getting  less than half the models of the Core Set.  If you plan on just playing around with the P2W contents and the narrative campaign it has, the loss in model count is not a big deal.  The campaign in the rules only uses the contents of this expansion so you won’t be short anything in this box.  So even though you don’t get as many models and half the terrain templates, it shouldn’t matter.

What will hurt if you’re moving on to play any competitive games are several rules interactions like building a survivor group and some nuanced situations in melee and shooting that won’t or will rarely exist in solo play. Your event deck and supply deck cards won’t be complete so you’ll need to use your opponents when you play.

You’ll also be missing a paper game mat from the core set.  This may be an issue as three of the six scenarios in Days Gone Bye use that mat.  These mats will be sold separately in a deluxe quality (likely neoprene) so you can always pick one up later. Otherwise, the game mats are strictly decorative. You can always measure out a play space 20″ x  20″ and set up the scenery as shown.  Given that this is a miniatures game, a lot players will ditch the paper mat anyway and create their own version.

If you are planning to expand your game, however, starting with the starter and moving on to the Days Gone Bye expansion is going to be your best option, even if playing solo.  The P2W set, at that point, is nice to have for more walkers and the extra dice, etc but not necessary.

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