Dec 4 2016

Variety as Life Spices

While I love pimping out games, my first foray into altering board games came from the mechanical design side of the hobby.  Cutting my teeth as a young lad on such classic titles as HeroQuest and Battle Masters, it wasn’t long before the little wheels in my head started turning as I yearned to dive deeper into those gaming worlds.

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my yellowed copy of one of the first variants I attempted – an expansion module to HeroQuest

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25+ years later and my handwriting still hasn’t gotten much better

After all this time, I still have a compelling need to create my own variants for my favorite games.  It’s hard to say which side pushes harder, the desire to improve the functionality and aesthetic appeal of a game or the fun in varying the rules to better suit where I want the game design to go.  Since pimping out a game requires little collaboration, I tend to do it more as I am free to mod and pimp at my leisure but it doesn’t mean that I don’t still jot down notes and variants for most of my games. I don’t think I know how to pimp games without also wanting to create a more personal set of rules.

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Looking back through these notes and files, I realized I’ve amassed quite a little collection of variants and so I created a new page on the blog to put them at easy reach.  Like most things, this will be a work-in-progress and updated when I can.  I’ll try to add links or download options for those curious to see these variants in more detail but for now, I want to highlight a particularly obsessive variant I’ve been working on.

It’s no secret I’ve been really getting into Flick ’em Up! by Pretzel Games recently.  At Gen Con, I was able to try out a curious and ultimately fantastic new game by Filip Neduk of Czech Games Edition, called Adrenaline. Adrenaline is a fun resource control game set as old school first-person shooter (FPS) video game where the resource is damage dealt to your enemies.  It has some of the best theme-implemented mechanics I’ve seen for a board game attempting anything like this genre and I was sold almost immediately.

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prototype play at Gen Con 2016

Unfortunately, it was released at Spiel in Essen, Germany last month and hasn’t made the trek over the pond quite yet. Even though I definitely want to add this game to my collection, I couldn’t stop thinking about combining all the great damage and scoring mechanics of the game with the dexterity and almost FPS nature of Flick ’em Up! So a couple weekends back, I prototyped enough components to try out this Frankenstein-ian creation and was happy to see that it actually worked quite well.

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At a quick glance, it still looks basically like Flick ’em Up!- open table layout with three-dimensional Flick ’em Up! pieces scattered around to make a more dynamic playing area.  However, if you look carefully (at the table, not my friend’s impressive liquor display), you’ll notice I added some cards representing the different weapons the cowboys can acquire and the player board, where most of the new rules interaction comes into play.

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Looking at the new player board, it is basically a carbon copy of the player board in Adrenaline, but rethemed to fit Flick ’em Up’s setting.

The board tracks damage from your opponents, points given when you die, action options, and keeps your resources close by.  The points are now represented thematically by money (courtesy of 7 Wonders) and instead of skulls representing kills, I have little tombstones.  Even when messing around with new mechanics, I can’t help but try a little pimping as well.

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While I spent a lot of time getting the look of the player boards to a quality we could enjoy, I knew the biggest mechanical hurdle was getting the weapons right.  From experience, I knew these custom weapons would take a lot more effort and will undergo a lot of iterations to test and get right since they will be the biggest marriage between the two systems.

Adrenaline has 21 unique weapons in its game and since the concept of what each weapon does is largely abstract and only defined by how and who all it can hurt, there is a lot of freedom in the variety of each card. Since the way you deal damage in this variant is largely based on the dexterity flicking component of Flick ’em Up!, the weapon powers had to be grounded more in what options were physically available.  Luckily, Flick ’em Up! contains a lot of varied options in weapons and effects so I settled on nine unique weapons.  I actually like the more limited weapons pool as it helps the balance a bit from both a testing side (less variables to test and correct) and a gameplay side as a powerful weapon won’t be unique and others will have access to the same option if it proves too potent.

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The test game we ran worked pretty well and I was pleased that the concept worked fully and was enjoyed by the players.  The variant isn’t quite ready yet as the pacing was a little slower than I liked so I’ll go back to the drawing board on the weapon concepts and see what I can do increase the tempo of the game. Then I’ll test again until the game feels more in-line with expectations. After that, I’ll finalize the art for the weapon cards and finish up a general rules document.  Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to host the variant at one of the upcoming game conventions next year.


Nov 27 2016

Showcase: Terror in Meeple City (Rampage)

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I’ve always been a fan of dexterity games and so when I saw Repos Production‘s over-sized new monster smash up dexterity game, Rampage, at Gen Con in 2013, I knew I had to have it.

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Oversized Rampage at Gen Con 2013. image from Daddy’s Little Men blog

Repos Production later changed the game’s name to Terror in Meeple City to likely avoid some copyright infringement but the game is fantastic fun no matter what you call it.

The game comes stocked full of colorful meeples and originally they offered a sticker sheet separately to add some character to these guys but thankfully the sticker sheet comes in the retail box now.

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The only thing about the components that I found a little off were the monsters themselves.  While they were nice and heavy wood cutouts, they only had stickers to give them character and were all the same natural wood color.

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This was easily remedied.  Before stickering the pieces, I picked up some spray paints in matching colors and sprayed down all the pieces.  A quick seal and some stickering and the monsters pieces were ready to go. To me, this really helped keep all the pieces consistent and match the fun, colorful world the game art evokes.

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Since you don’t actually need a lot of color, buying individual spray paint for each color was a little overboard. You could easily substitute some craft acrylic paints to get a similar effect.

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If you wanted to duplicate this effect and you’ve already stickered your set, you could try removing the stickers with a hairdryer.  This should ruin the adhesive but should keep the stickers intact and let you peal them off easily.  You can then reapply an adhesive (I’d recommend a spray adhesive) and put the stickers back on after you paint the pieces.

Due to a sale on Artscow, I was able to create a custom bag to hold the meeples.

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The image was photoshopped from the revised box cover and printed using Artscow’s small drawstring bag.

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The last little job I added to complete the pimping of this game was to make a tuckbox created by Boardgamegeek user fdevans.

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Due to the production quality already in the game, there wasn’t much I needed to add to pimp this game out.  Also, the additions were fairly simple for this game thus making it one of the simplest games I’ve pimped.

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Nov 20 2016

Arrival

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Ah yes, earlier this week my KS copy of The Walking Dead: All Out War came in.  All things told, it came in pretty good shape for the way it was packed (I’ve been reading some horror stories on the KS campaign page but it also sounds like Mantic is taking care of those issues pretty quickly).

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This game is pretty funny as I’ve hyped it up quite a bit over the last few weeks/months and the danger is always that consumer reaction of waning interest after you’ve opened the box.  That hasn’t happened for me on this game though.  This game has never been an item on my checklist: something to acquire, check the box, and shelve for some far off “we’ll play someday.”  I feel like my interest for this game hasn’t even begun to peak and I’m really excited to see where this game takes me.

As you can see from the above picture, there are a ton of miniatures.  This bizarre weather we’ve been having was lucky enough to hold for a few more days and that let me prime everything.  It was just in time as the weather finally turned and winter is now upon us.

As I’ve shown before, I’ve already worked up a board and building and combined it with some of Mantic’s Battlezones terrain.  Since I had already started with the little terrain pieces, I decided to finish up all the terrain elements, including all the new plastic pieces from the KS campaign.

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I started off mixing my black and white acrylics into one bottle to make a base grey that I would use for most everything.  I got the ratio off and ended up with a pretty dark tone but it worked fine as a base that I usually lightened during my painting process.  I’ll probably create another custom color with a light tone and mix the two as needed for the different gradients.

I didn’t shoot a lot of pictures of the prep and process of painting the terrain elements because I was working fast and trying to get everything done by the end of the week.  Also, terrain elements aren’t something I wanted to spend a lot time on and they aren’t really that interesting to photograph.

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The car pieces are another story.  I saved them for last as this allowed me to get comfortable with the monochrome technique on the easy/less interesting items.  These cars were painted in a typical “block painting” style (which is about as far as I go in painting anyway) but I did try out some blending for the first time on the car windows.  They turned out alright if viewed at typical “tabletop” distance… or maybe a few feet farther away. Ah well. Good enough for terrain and I got to try out the technique a little.

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So here we have the full board (overly) populated with a lot of the Battlezones terrain elements for character and the Walking Dead terrain pieces to kick the whole set up into a great play area.

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Our consummate zombie reference figure “Stan” is there to contemplate the brave new world he’s inherited. Now he gets to play with cars and barricades and searchable loot tokens.  Oooh and a Police bag full of guns. Too bad Stan isn’t into guns, he just wants living flesh.

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This terrain is 90% done for me.  I still need to apply a wash to get some real-world character on these pieces (everything is a little too clean for a recent apocalypse) and then seal it all so it can be used over and over without having to worry about scratching or chipping off paint.

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Ah, now we’re talking! Stan has friends! And Meat!

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I’m sure there are better ways to find birth control, Grimes family.

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Hope little “Coral” knows how to use that gun.

So I’m really happy to see this effect come together.  I’ll wrap up the terrain this week (though I might need the weather to improve if I want to seal things) and then I have all those figures to start on.  I’ll do the zombies next and finish up with the heroes last.

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Nov 13 2016

Terrain Without Color

This week I worked a bit more on my Walking Dead terrain, specifically the game board.  As I discussed in my paper terrain post, I prefer terrain that is quick, usable, and easily stored.  Taking my Walking Dead game into the monochromatic world of black and white (b/w) makes printable paper terrain even easier. Also, painting a full game board in b/w seems too tedious for me. It can be done to great effect, however. Just check out this thread on coolminiornot.com and or this one on lead-adventures.de.

from user vikotnik on lead-adventures.de

from user vikotnik on lead-adventures.de

Those links show an amazing amount of artistry going into that board and game.  I lot of Vikotnik’s images helped push me over the edge, convincing me that b/w is a path worth pursuing.

Regarding my own b/w terrain, I’m using the Capital City pdfs from Fat Dragon Games.  They have periodic sales and you can get some of their terrain packs very cheap.

Going back to my photography days, I knew I needed a baseline. Luckily, I had my walker already painted up so I could run some test prints to figure out the right b/w balance.  To do this, I took the pdfs and converted them to jpegs and opened them in Photoshop. Next I converted the images to grayscale.  At this point, I could take the conversion at its word and just start printing but I suspected that it might be problematic so I went old school and developed a test strip.

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It may be hard to see from the photo but the natural print would have been way to dark.  I wasn’t sure if the lightest strip was where I wanted so I tried it again only going lighter and increasing the contrast to compensate for the wash-out effect that increasing the brightness will have.

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This had me settle on the final settings for my b/w printing and I ran a full sheet test to make sure there were no other issues across the entire image.

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With the testing done, it was time to print.  I printed out nine 7″x7″ squares to make my modular game board (Fat Dragon’s single boards are all 7″ squares).  The normal game of Walking Dead uses 20″x20″ but my 3×3 design will be a little larger at 21″x21″. I then grabbed some trusty black foam core and spray mounted the prints directly on.

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I then cut them out with an X-acto knife and lightly sprayed an acrylic sealer on the boards to help protect them from wear and tear.

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With my modular board turning out well, I turned my attention to making a building as an optional centerpiece.  With my brightness and contrast already locked in, I went to print out the buildings through Photoshop again.  This time though, I had to make an alteration as I didn’t want some generic store name from the stock pdf package.  I found an image of a drug store from a screenshot of The Walking Dead tv show and photoshopped it into my building.

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Paper terrain buildings can be extremely easy to assemble if you’re just going for stock terrain pieces. This four-sided structure just takes a bit of cutting and some glue. I use clips to help set the white glue in places where the pressure of the fold might try to mess up the connection.

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The roof is likely the most complicated part but even that is quite simple.  Make sure you read Fat Dragon’s instructions on how to score the reverse sides and it should come together.

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I ran into a little issue with the roof as a bit of the white space started creeping in around the edges.

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This will happen a lot since it will be difficult to size the roof cutout to perfectly align with the assembled roof edge/support.  This can be cleared up easily with a sharpie. Since I’m already photoshopping these tiles, I’ll just add the same roof pattern to those flaps when I print my next building.

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Paper terrain can be a little too flimsy at times and if this bothers you, you can brace the insides with more foam core.

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After test fitting some quickly cut support pieces, I made the supports permanent with some glue and toothpick “pins.”

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With the building complete, it was time to put it all together.

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The sculpted terrain bits are from Mantic‘s Battlezones line and work very well. Since I still don’t have the game yet, I might as well start getting those pieces together so I can hit the ground running painting up the fun things like the heroes and walkers when they arrive.

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Well, I’ve walked these streets in a carnival, of sights to see…


Nov 6 2016

Slowing things down

My Walking Dead miniatures game didn’t arrive this week so I decided to take a break from some of my ongoing projects and focus on a little side project I’ve been wanting to wrap up. I’ve been fascinated with slow motion option on my iPhone for a while now and after messing around with Pretzel GamesFlick ’em Up!, I found a great subject to try out this feature.

Initially, I tried out a little sample video but quickly realized I had a big issue: light flicker.

After doing some research, I thought I found a solution in some battery-operated LED lights but they weren’t bright enough.  The video was ok and I could hide some of the issues by putting a few filters on like digital scratching and stripping the color out (which was awful looking anyway in the heavy blue tint of the LEDs) but it still wasn’t achieving what I wanted.

I let the project sit for a bit as I wasn’t ready to invest a heavy amount of cash for professional lighting to remove the flicker.  The ultimate solution was actually pretty obvious when I thought about it.  The reason for the flicker is the use of lights based on the alternating current of your house’s electricity and the frame rate being fast enough to catch the light alternating from the lighted to non-lighted state.  Using direct current options will remove the flicker issue but I already tried that with the battery-operated LEDs. There is an obvious alternative light source that will also not have flicker issues: the Sun.

Direct sunlight is easy enough but the resulting images are pretty harsh.  I don’t really have any opaque screens to soften this light but while walking through my house, I noticed that one of my kids’ rooms had some great ambient light. With this, I did some creative rearrangement to set up my “studio” and was able to shoot a bunch of slow motion shots of Flick ’em Up!

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setting up my “studio”

I ended up shooting over a hundred takes and then cut them down to about 35 usable clips.  IPhone’s slow motion feature is a little odd in that it records the footage in 240 fps (frames per second) but keeps the actual video time the same as the recording time.  The iPhone is smart enough to understand this and play the footage in a normal 30 fps but if you export the video, most devices will adhere to the timecode of the clip and not change the fps, meaning you’ll lose the slow motion effect as the system tries to play the video back at 240 fps.

The work around for this issue is to export the clip into iMovie (free app) and then export the clip back again to your photos folder.  This converts the clip to the appropriate 30 fps and slow motion effect. I then used Lightworks (free video editing software) to put all the clips together and added some great Ennio Morricone music for effect.

I’m pretty satisfied with the result and it was a lot of fun to get back into video editing again.


Oct 30 2016

The Walking Dead is shipping!

I’ve been pretty excited for The Walking Dead: All Out War miniatures game from Mantic for some time now and as of late last week, the first wave of Kickstarter pledges are shipping.  Mantic being UK based, I’m not likely to receive my pledge for another week or so but I decided to celebrate by test painting one of the free promo Walkers I picked up at Gen Con.

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primed and ready

Early on in the campaign, I decided that I wanted to paint the whole game monochromatic (black and white) in an homage to both the comics and the black and white Romero zombie films.  I didn’t really do anything to this model to prep (didn’t even wash it) as I know this is basically just to test the concept and color palette.

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Jennifer Haley’s monochrome masterpiece

I first saw the monochromatic technique in an advertisement for Miniature Mentor‘s painting series featuring Jennifer Haley doing this amazing ranger miniature.  I won’t be painting anywhere near that level of detail but I did pick up the monochrome video Miniature Mentor made with Jennifer and the techniques were interesting. It mainly centered around the paint mixes and blending techniques.

So with all my prep and study done, I started out with a simple bit of painting the clothes to figure out what will work best.  I use crappy hobby store craft paints and cheap brushes for all my work so my goal is usually “table top quality” and by that, I mean, it looks good enough at arms length.  The pictures I have here will be much closer but that should help illustrate what is going on.

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First, I took several of the stock grey paints I have and put paint to the model to see how it would look conceptually.  The results were pretty bad. The greys that I picked up were “light gray” and “dark gray” but both of them had quite a bit of yellow to them against the slightly blue-ish light grey automotive primer I was using. Since I like the primer, I knew the stock paints had to go. The shoes were a last test of me simply mixing my craft black and craft white together (3:1 black:white).

This was pretty dumb of me as I watched most of that 3 hour Haley video and she only ever used two colors and mixed the ratios to get the different values.  I’ll be doing the same from now on.

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Mixing worked much better.  I left the shoes from the last attempt but just covered the pants and shirt.  The pants were a straight 50/50 mix and the shirt was stock white.  Real painters rarely go full black or full white since it won’t leave them any room to shadow or highlight.  I don’t really care since I’m not going to be highlighting and the shadowing will be taken care of in the wash.  I finished out the model by diluting the dark mix (3:1) and filling in the wound holes in the zombie. To knock up the creepy factor, I dragged the brush downward a little after filling the holes to indicate the running of the open and old wounds.

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I lied, I ended up highlighting his shoes a little, which likely isn’t even real highlighting as I was giving those kicks some laces. After that, I did a 50/50 dilution of water and Games Workshop Nuln Oil wash (my only painting splurge).  I like the grey base so I ran the wash carefully with a soft brush only over the areas of the model, careful to not get any on the base.  I actually prefer clear bases for models because I don’t want to mess with the extra work basing requires but I may keep these on their regular base.

As you can see in the comparison, the wash doesn’t really mess with too much but gets rid of that factory-clean look he had.  Under this harsh work light, the model’s shape is easy to see due to the natural shadows.  Unfortunately, on a darker or more evenly distributed light environment (like your playing table), those shadows will go away so the wash will help emphasize them.

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So here he is on my dining room table in a more general lighting environment.  The whole process was quite simple and more fun that I anticipated.  It was refreshing to only use two colors and mix custom shades to bring the model to life.  I usually hate painting because I don’t have a lot of confidence in my color schemes but having done black and white photography for years, I felt right at home. This will be important because I’ll have roughly 60+ figures coming soon and it will need to be both easy and fun to get through that first wave of content.  Now I just have to hope the weather holds so I can also prime them for the long painting winter.


Oct 23 2016

Showcase: Fury of Dracula

It’s October and time to break out the Halloween-themed games.  One game that tends to get pulled out every year is Fantasy Flight‘s Fury of Dracula.  I have the second edition but Fantasy Flight has since printed a third edition that I’m eager to see how it plays as well.

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Fury of Dracula was the first game I ever completely pimped out.  We had a lot of fun with this game so every time we would bring it out, I would add a little more to it.  At first the pimping was practical.  I added a screen to help the Dracula player keep his location up and available but still away from the prying eyes of the hunter players.

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This screen was developed by Boardgamegeek user Jeannis Leist and is a great accessory to the game as it also includes a lot of game details on the inside.

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Along with the screen, Leist also made a revised game map that is upside down but with the city names right side up.  This is because the Dracula player sits at the top of the map looking at the map upside most of the game.

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This helps keep things oriented for the Dracula player.  The map is on laminated cardstock so the player can make notes in dry erase pens easily.  The game originally came with a little map for Dracula but it is so small and upside down, it is almost useless.

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Next, I printed out a custom tuckbox for the event deck from Boardgamegeek user Helen Holzgrafe.  Fury of Dracula has a peculiar event deck in that you need to draw randomly but the card back is different and yet supposed to be hidden.  That game tells you to draw from the bottom of the deck but Holzgrafe’s nice tuckbox eliminates that need.

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The flap folds down to keep the card back hidden.

I then turned to the random tile draw action and my wife made this great little black bag with red silk lining.

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I used fabric paint to make the Dracula symbol on the outside of the bag to complete the piece.  This was done a bit haphazardly by scanning the bat icon, blowing it up to the right size, and then printing and cutting it out on cardstock.  This cardstock then became a stencil that I used to paint the Dracula icon onto the bag.

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With all the practical pimping out of the way, I decided to paint the minis as well.  At the time, this was only the second game where I tried to paint the minis so the sloppiness has a certain charm to me.

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The game is one of our favorites and something I look forward to each year when Fall starts to come around.


Oct 19 2016

Dropzone Carnage

We were able to get to our first 1500 point army build in a Dropzone Commander game last weekend.

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It was great to see all the new units I built up over the last couple of weeks hit the table.

I built a list mainly to try out all the new units but I still thought it could do pretty well.

Thunder Time

  • Breach Drill
  • Thunderstorm (Commander) + Warlord’s Retinue
  • 3 Gun Wagons + Kraken, 2 Cyclones
  • 3 sets of Resistance Fighters + Jackson Halftracks + Lifthawk (w/AA)
  • 1 set of Resistance Fighters, 1 set of Occupation Veterans + 2 Battle Buses (w/AA) + Kraken
  • 1 set of Freeriders + 1 set of Attack ATVs
  • J19 Hellhog

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I was also excited to have everything fit in one easy to carry box, safely secured in foam.

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We played the simple Recon scenario but had an awkward 3 player game and I was sandwiched in between a heavy aircraft-based UCM force and a light infantry Scourge build. Brian was hosting and built a beautiful layout complete with almost a thousand bodies strewn all over the place.  It made for a creepy and fantastically thematic burned out cityscape.

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initial setup and deployments

I didn’t realize just how focused my UCM friend was on air support until he jumped me in the first round and did everything he could to take out anything with even the slightest hint of anti-air capabilities. It wasn’t until the end of the round that I realized I was in trouble as I had nothing to contend with all his aircraft.

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Those poor Gun Wagons fell pretty quick to his gunships as hiding behind the Kraken didn’t do any good against 36″ range on my non-countermeasured wagons.  The buses went down quick soon after (along with my set of Occupation Veterans cowering inside).  Glad I didn’t spend time painting the Veterans up yet…

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With most of my forces committed to the right side dead or useless, I retreated to the Scourge side of things to see if that was any better.

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The Scourge were not liking my big Thunderstorm being forced to come out on their side of the map.  They were even more disappointed when it leveled a small building filled with their Destroyers in one round.  And with that move, I found my calling in this particular map.  I would not be able to stand up against the UCM’s air superiority so I would just punish anyone foolish enough to get into small or medium buildings near me.

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It worked pretty well as I dropped a group of UCM Praetorians in another building before they could check for intel.  Demo builds are something I’m going to need to look into more now.

By round 3, my Drill and Hellhog could finally join the fray.

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I thought the Scourge was done with this area and was finally going to get aggressive to push back the UCM so my drill just popped up in their backfield.  I ran some Freeriders into the adjacent building and the Attack ATVs started peppering the other buildings with chem grenades to keep people away.

The Scourge decided to start backpedaling though and retreated right on top of me.  The time was getting late so we ended up calling the game at the end of the 4th round but the writing was on the wall.  My Resistance force couldn’t stop the UCM air command and the Scourge was too afraid to try (and had already lost most of their minimal infantry so would never compete on points). Even though I was able to keep pushing forward with victory points from my various infantry, the UCM was able to keep pace.  Another two rounds would have seen the end of my Thunderstorm and then the UCM would just start mopping up the rest of us.

It was a lot of fun and I was glad to try out a lot of new units like the Breach Drill, Fast Mover Hellhog, demolition Thunderstorm, and chem ‘nading Attack ATVs.  I’ll go back and revisit my list to figure out what I liked and what I’ll want to trade out for next time.


Oct 17 2016

Laws of Attraction

So with all the Dropzone Commander priming I did last week and the upcoming game that was to take place this weekend, I got the itch to get some of my models ready for the table. I did forget about one thing: magnetizing.

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These are 2mm x 1mm round neodymium magnets and these little suckers were the bane of my week. Magnetizing is a pretty common economical technique miniature gamers use to make their models swap certain weapon layouts between the same model.  Sometimes manufactures help encourage this by adding multiple model layouts in the same kit. Dropzone Commander is just now starting to do this but they are still pretty early in the process.

In my case, I have a bunch of Technical vehicles that can mount different gunners so I wanted to be able to swap them out easily depending on the game I was playing.  This can be a big pain to set up since you’re working with very tiny models, super glue, and micro magnets that tend to not play nice no matter how you set them up.

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First thing is to drill out all the holes for the magnets to set in.  It usually helps to have a drill bit that is slightly larger than the magnet to give it some leeway as it drops in.  I test my magnets in the hole to make sure they will sit deep enough and that the hole isn’t too snug.

If you check out my first image again, you’ll notice the blue markings on the magnet.  Polarity is extremely important in this process as you’ll need all the magnets to work correctly so you can swap pieces without issue.  Since the magnets are so fiddly and tend to flip around a lot as you wrestle them into their hole, you’ll want to make sure you can quickly recognize if the magnet is facing the right way.  You’re also working with Superglue, so recognizing this quickly will be key.

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are you too good for your home!?!

In the image above, I need the blue marking side face-up in the bed of this Technical.  I had 12 of these suckers and no matter how I dropped them into the bed, they all landed blue side down.  12 for 12. Thanks tiny magnets.

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Now for the other side: the gunners.

dzcmag1

For these guys, they were still on the sprue and it is much easier to paint that way so I decided to finish them up completely and seal them before tackling the magnetization.  The gunners work the same way: drill the hole, find the right magnetic orientation, mark with a blue sharpie, and the super glue into place.

Don’t be tempted to “test” out the model until that super glue sets as it will likely pull out the still-wet magnet and glue itself to the other magnet in the model and then you’ll have fun digging those apart without destroying your things.

dzcwarlordcomplete

Even though it can be one of the most frustrating parts of the miniatures process, the end is definitely worth it.  Painted up, I’m pretty happy with my Warlord’s Retinue.  For most of the Resistance faction’s Technical and converted civilian vehicles, I like the random paint schemes but the fluff behind the Warlord’s Retinue paints them as more of a single elite and unique unit so I figured they might try to stay with one consistent paint scheme even on their civilian vehicles.

As you can tell from the photo, I was also able to push through and finish up a few other models as well.

dzcprep3

almost finished. needs some dirt still.

The Warlord’s Retinue is a secondary unit in the Resistance faction that can’t exist without it’s main transport, the massive Thunderstorm command unit.  This thing is the size of small structures and is a pretty fun unit in the game.

dzcthundercomplete

The main focus of the week was getting these two units ready for the table but I had a little bit of extra time to slap together some of the Attack ATVs that just came out in the Reconquest Phase 2 book.

dzcatkatv

I’ve also been dying to get one of the most unique units in the Resistance faction to the table so I did a quick job on the Breaching Drill and got it ready as well.

dzcdrill

To break the monotony of painting a bunch of annoying infantry gunners and tiny ATVs, I worked on a really fun J19 Hellhog aircraft.

dzchog

The VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft reminded me of one of my favorite GI Joe toys from back in the day so I went a blue color scheme. Not quite the midnight blue of the original but I think it still works well.

rattler_iso2

cobra rattler from the 80s GI Joe toys. photo from yojoe.com

So all in all, a very productive week for Dropzone.  Of course, all of this wasn’t without reason as I also was able to cap off the weekend with our first 1500 point game.  I’ve run out of time so I’ll tackle that game in a quick rundown later.

dzcall

new shinies!


Oct 9 2016

Prime Time!

Fall is here in Colorado and minis painters know that can only mean one thing: Winter is coming.  More importantly, spray paint-killing cold weather is coming. So like most minis painters that don’t have an indoor vent box, I’m doing my fall priming to get models ready for painting during the longer winter months.

Before I can even prime models though, I have to clean them.  I’m working on getting through my current Dropzone Commander backlog so today I’m working on Hawk Wargames miniatures.  Hawk produces some pretty clean models and I’ve only encountered one set out of all my purchases that had enough flash on the sprues to make life difficult. Seeing how I’ve bought at least 20 different little model sets from them, I’d say that is pretty good.

primeflashstart

flash and moldlines/vents are common on all minis

primeflashdone

all clean now. well except the resin chips leftover.

Now that my models are prepped, it’s on to priming.  I typically use Krylon flat spray paints made for plastic to prime my models and I vary back and forth from black to white to grey depending on what is available and if I already have a color scheme picked out.

To spray, I have a cardboard open wall box that I made and I put newspaper down as the spray surface. To make sure I get all the angles, I rotate the paper after each spray pass.  If the models are particularly small, I will sometimes use blu-tack to make sure they don’t go flying around with the pressure of the spray paint.

primebox

For infantry or individual figures, I take some large shop nails and either glue or blu-tack the model on the nail head.

primewd

For small figures like 10mm infantry that already come on a sprue, I rigged up a minis holder. I attached clothespins to each nail and have them grip the sprue.  The holder itself is a simple 2×4 with holes drilled in it.

primeboardstart

This allows me to shoot the models in one pass and let them dry without a spray box.  It can also be useful to paint the model as you’ll have a nice handle and stand already available.

So it took most of the afternoon but the models are all primed and ready to “cure” overnight.  I have another Dropzone get-together coming up so I’ll need to start getting these painted up right away.

primeall

I have my work cut out for me.