Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Category: Resources (Page 1 of 3)

Card Sleeving for Unique Card Sizes

This week, I’m catching up on some items that have been on hold for a little bit. I’ll start with a simple little pimping- sleeving cards. Now card sleeves are probably the easiest way to pimp out a game and some might argue that it’s so ubiquitous that it isn’t actually pimping out your game.  I disagree, so much so that I will block quote my philosophy:

Pimping a game is any addition or customization that enhances the aesthetic or mechanical enjoyment of the game or game play.

Card sleeves as a protection of your investment will enhance the enjoyment over time, or rather, they will prolong the enjoyment as your components stay undamaged.  I don’t tend to sleeve my games but will do it for some exceptions, namely any game that requires different cards to be added and subtracted from frequently shuffled decks.  Dominion is probably the biggest example but 7 Wonders also has this, especially since the card quality was so poor and cards showed wear after the first couple of games.

Card sleeves are also something easily acquired and so might not be worth even mentioning in this blog but the card game I was looking to sleeve is pretty unique.

Korsar is the first edition of Knizia’s pirate card game that is now produced under Gamewright as “Loot.”

I first played Loot years ago and while we really enjoyed the game, the art was a bit too kid-ish and so it faded from our table.  To be fair, Gamewright announced a new version with updated art. However, I had heard about the original edition called Korsar but could never find a copy.  Eventually, a copy showed up and I quickly snatched it up.

As you can see, the art is a bit different and more “adult.” The other thing is the card size is very unique.  I have never encountered this card size before and since this was kind of a “grail game” to me, I didn’t want to ruin these cards with excessive play.  Card sleeving was really the only option (well not the only option as I could have laminated them) but with such a unique size, I couldn’t find anything that would work.

Finally, I stumbled on a specialized site dedicated to unique card sizes: Swan Panasia.  This site has a ton of unique sizes for card types I’d never heard of before and one of them worked for Korsar.  The delivery is fulfilled by Mayday Games so I’m not sure what the relationship is between the two companies but it made delivery to the US easy.

I picked up a set and they worked very well.  I’m glad I can pull out this game again and get it to the table.  The box size is a little weird so I’ll likely set it aside and make a custom tuckbox so that the game can travel easily.

There is one slight issue that I’m not sure about and that is the sleeve height.  I prefer them to be a little shorter so that there isn’t so much space at the top.  The excess sleeve amount at the top makes it harder to shuffle and can be annoying. I may cut them all down but will need to think about a way to cut them consistently.

In other news, Cosmic Kaboom from Minion Games came in this week as well.  I’m excited to crack this open and also get it to the table.

Finally, last week I talked about the 6×6 Game Challenge I’m doing this year and I had left the last entry open to discuss with my friends.  We came to a decision via acclimation and so number six in my 6×6 Game Challenge is:

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

We’ve been wanting to do a Legacy game for a while now.  We tried Risk Legacy but then some friends moved away and the game died. Hopefully we’re more successful with this version.

Storage Wars

I picked up some pluck foam the other day so that I could finally properly store my Dropzone Commander minis and it got me thinking of game storage solutions and where we are in the industry.

storage-dzc1

Pluck foam is a pretty common way to store miniatures and protect them during travel.  It is pretty inexpensive for foam and is infinitely customizable because the entire middle section is scored into tiny squares.  These squares can then be cut and pulled out in the rough shape of your model. As you can see from the image above, I’ve already started cutting the foam out to fit my Dropzone models and I have some more models and accessories laid out to help plan the layout for the rest of the box.

storage-dzc2

After a bit more cutting and pulling, I was able to finish out the main models. During this process, I like to maximize the space so I create some thin walls separating the models.  This makes the walls somewhat fragile so I take some white glue and tack down the walls to keep things more stable.

I used pluck foam to also store my pimped out copy of Thunder Road, showing that foam storage solutions aren’t just for table top minis games

storage-thunder

Pluck foam isn’t the only option to store minis. Staying with the advantages that foam provides (soft protection, light weight, and great customization), you can spend a bit more and work with custom foam cutting companies like Battle Foam to pick up really nice foam trays that are specifically cut for your models.

storage-descent

I like to keep my game boxes and companies like Battle Foam tend to want to sell you their bags as well but recently, these companies are catering to the board game market and offering custom foam trays that fit the game contents and the box they come in.  Above, I have an example of a foam tray set for the Fantasy Flight game, Descent: Journeys in the Dark.  Even though I don’t have these minis painted (maybe someday…), the storage trays work well to keep the minis and the cards/components separated. This helps in set up and tear down time and protects the minis from getting bent up or possibly broken.

Specific storage trays for a game are great but Battle Foam also offers the ability to customize the tray and even your specific model shape through their custom tray app on their site.  I’ve used this several times with great results for my X-wing Miniatures Game collection.  Most notably, I’ve used it for my custom Millennium Falcon carrying case.

falcon ex4

This option is likely the most expensive foam option available but the results are great if you have a highly customized project you want to protect.

Foam isn’t the only option out there, of course.  Recently, new ground has been made in laser cutting and these manufacturers are getting into the game.  Companies like Broken Token are now making full storage solutions for board games by producing custom cut boxes and organizers made of 1/8″ or 1/4″ birch wood.

storage-broken-token

image from Broken Token website

While I don’t have any of these products specifically, I have some friends who swear by them. The advantage these laser cut organizers have is their rigidity and size configurations, which allow the designers to set up organized trays that can be simply pulled out of the box and set up next to the board for instant game set up.

Like the custom foam options, these laser cut organizers can be some of the most expensive options out in the market today, sometimes costing as much as the game itself.

Another alternative is to create tray organizers similar to the laser cut options by cutting all the material out using foamcore.

storage-tann-foamcore

image from BGG user Maxime Verrette

Boardgamegeek user Maxime Verrette created the intricate example above with foam core for his Tannhauser game.  It is likely the cheapest option out there and has all the benefits of the pricey laser cut options with the exception that it takes a lot of careful work.

In my last example, I cheap out completely and pick up one of the favorite options for boardgamers: Plano organizers (typically for fishing tackle boxes).  This option has been around for years and is one of the favorites because it is cheap, easily accessible, and very durable.

storage-tann

my time/cost effective Tannhauser storage solution

Since the Plano boxes come in a variety of sizes and configurations, you can usually find a box that will work for the game you are trying to organize.  These storage boxes can also be customized but you’ll likely need something more powerful, like a dremel, to carve out the plastic or cut out the walls you need to fit the larger pieces you intend to store.  Combine this option with plastic baggies and you have an extremely budget-conscious storage and organizing solution.

As you can see, when storing your prized gaming components, there are a variety of options.  Each of these options have pros and cons and it’ll be up to you to decide what works best for the game you are hoping to protect and store.

Cabin Con 2016 Prep part 2

So this is the last weekend to get ready for our annual Cabin Con gaming and I’m still prepping material for some games.  I’ve been making progress on my components but I’m still pretty behind.  I’ll likely need to start scratching things off the list to make sure I can finish the most pressing projects in time.

First up are my Battle Buses from Dropzone Commander for use first in my Thunder Road Skull City variant.

battle bus

So a long ways to go on these as I only have them primed and base painted.  A have a sinking feeling that these won’t be ready in time 🙁

Next up, I wanted to include the Cabin Con goers in The Walking Dead All Out War minis game preview I’m running.  This game is from Mantic and should be out near the end of the year but they released a preview of the rules and I’m eager to try them out.  There is no way I can get 3D sculpts of us so I decided to go old school and make custom standees for each of us.

standee

A quick picture, some photoshopping, and printing gets my test standee prepped.  Litko Game Accessories makes nice little acrylic standees that are perfect for this and so I was able to grab pics of some of the other attendees, assemble the standees, and now I have half of them ready. The other pics will be ready when I ambush the attendees upon arrival.

standees 1

In the background, you can check out the papercraft building I also completed for this game. I’ve discussed paper terrain before and this is a set of city buildings from Fat Dragon Games.

building 1

The building was really easy to make: print per the instructions, cut out the pieces, glue it together and we’re good to go.  These buildings feature my favorite aspect of paper terrain: collapsible and portable.

building2

So I still have a long way to go.  I need to make some additional paper buildings, print another game mat, and work out the rest of the details on these games but it’s a start…

all together

Time to get back to work!

CabinCon 2016 Prep

In less than two weeks, my friends and I will trek into the mountains and unofficially start off the summer game convention season with our own private little game convention, CabinCon.

CabinConLogo

CabinCon logo designed by Bret Bays

Started almost 4 years ago, CabinCon began as a way to enjoy the 24/7 open-gaming of a big convention but within the comfort of a private setting.  While we all enjoy the large and not-so-large conventions like Gen Con, BGG Con, we found that the larger conventions are so packed with interesting non-gaming alternatives that we don’t get to actually play many games.  CabinCon has now become our annual gaming only retreat. A time when we can break out the extreme games that are either too complicated or too long to try to enjoy in a typical evening.

I tend to use CabinCon to also break out some of the many games I’ve pimped over the years.  This year, I’m a little behind in prepping some pimped games so I’m going to have to burn through the remaining days to finish up in time.

I recently backed a new miniatures game from Mantic Games based on the Walking Dead comic series called The Walking Dead: All Out War.  I’ve been looking for a flexible zombie miniatures game and after seeing what Mantic was producing for their Walking Dead game, it sounded like everything I needed. Since the end of the kickstarter campaign, Mantic has released a couple of iterations of the rules and even though I don’t have any physical product, I’ve decided to run a game or two at CabinCon using proxies.

While The Walking Dead minis game has a great tabletop minis skirmish ruleset, it also features a solo (which can easily be expanded to a co-operative game) and a campaign option.  In this campaign option is also a nice custom character generator and I’m planning on creating all of us as custom characters to run in a little custom Walking Dead scenario.

Character Cards - Christian draft web

custom TWD minis game character sheet draft

I’ll be proxying quite a bit since I don’t have the actual cards and miniatures but zombie games are so popular, it’s hard not to have an extra couple or ten lying around to pillage for parts.

lnoe full shot

probably using a few of these guys…

I’ll also proxy the necessary cards but those are easy to do and after years of prototyping for game testing, creating cards is like second nature.  The bigger challenge will be making the terrain but I’m confident I can proxy up some paper terrain to give it enough atmosphere…

restaurant_edit_web

I’ll pull some Google Earth images to get a general game mat option.  The resolution will be horrible but it should work for the one-off game.  Alright enough writing, it’s time to get busy prototyping.

Pimped Coins

One of the recent trends in game pimping is custom metal coins.  Long a staple of LARPing (Live-Action Role Playing), allowing players to help immerse themselves more fully into their game world, custom metal coins have been pushing into the board game arena both as separate game accessories and standard components offered by the publisher themselves.

Recently, I received my Kickstarter pledge for Fantasy Coins, LLC second run of gaming coins and picked up some great custom coins for a couple of games in my collection.

First up is a set of custom coins for Lords of Waterdeep.  Custom coins are available from other manufactures for Waterdeep but they tend to be pretty expensive.  Fantasy Coins’ Kickstarter made the set relatively inexpensive.

Waterdeep coins

At the top of the picture, you can see the standard cardboard coins that come with Waterdeep. The custom coins are a bit larger and definitely give you that weighted-coin feel that you are looking for in nice coins. The designs are great and it is a really great addition to the game.  Combined with the custom DnDeeples, my Waterdeep game is becoming as pimped out as my own custom creations.

Epic Coins has a different version of a coin set for Waterdeep.  I don’t have them but they look to have the same heft and detail (though a different design).  However, they are considerably more expensive.

I also picked up a set of Fantasy Coins’ “credit” coins that work well for sci-fi games like Netrunner and, specifically to me, Race for the Galaxy.  Race for the Galaxy has these cardboard chit victory point markers that, while unique to the game system, are actually awkward and a little difficult to use with new players.

rftg tokens

The Fantasy Coins credit coins give the player some heft to the victory point tokens and are large enough to easily spot how many victory points a player has.

coins credit 1

coins credit 5

coins credit 10

Publishers are noticing the appeal of custom metal coins as well and some are including them as standard options in the game. Space Cowboys‘ 2014 game, Black Fleet, came with metal coins as a standard and was one of the first games I saw that treated the concept as a standard practice.

image from Dylan Steiger on BGG

Most games that offered metal coins before offered them as part of a deluxe package or was announced with a lot of fanfare.  Black Fleet surprised customers without any announcement of the upgrade and it generated a lot of buzz when it was released.

Publishers like Cool Mini or Not (CMON) started offering the option of custom coins to a few of their games like Rum and Bones to get in on the custom coin trend.

Ironically enough, these metal coins are upgrading the already upgraded plastic coins that came with the kickstarter.  The retail copy comes with standard cardboard coins so CMON went a little overboard with the pimped coin options for their game.

Not quite in the same realm of usable coins for monetary mechanics or victory point tracking, some publishers are making custom metal coins in the style of the older “challenge coin” tradition.  I’ve seen this notably in a recent crop of Fantasy Flight Star Wars games.

coins1

These are massive coins with great detail and are quite heavy.  Since several of these games require a random way to determine which player has initiative, a coin flip is a nice pimped out way to accomplish it.  These coins were extremely rare when they came out several years ago as prize support but are getting a resurgence in a new crop of Organize Play support.

I’ll leave you with a nice link from Reddit user FlakyPieCrust that catalogs some great custom coin resources to pimp out your game with.

Reddit link

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