Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Category: Variants (Page 1 of 2)

New Project Woes and a Twist on Last Night on Earth

Having finished up my Pitchcar connector track, I was free to start up my Dropzone Commander building base project.  I had already made the prototype in CAD and then I set the tool pathing so it was ready to try it out.

Fresh off my success with the Pitchcar piece, I had high hopes for this to be quick as well. Unfortunately, it was not quick.  The “roughing” alone on the mill job ended up running almost two hours and had a static shock snafu that forced a reboot.  Since I never connected my homing switches, re-aligning the tool perfectly didn’t happen but I figured with it being a prototype, it should work out well enough.

Things are a bit rough but aside from some weird errors, it looked like it would do ok, even if it didn’t look the best.

Nope. The edges were too big to fit the building under so I’ll need to resize the CAD and come back.

The little mini building didn’t fit either so both options were a bust.  Ah well.  I should have known I wouldn’t get lucky on the first try as my Pitchcar pieces usually took two trials to get it down correctly.  This project will be no exception.

Unrelated but of even more concern, my machine is acting a bit funny by trying to drive into the stock when it starts the path program and right after it completes.  It must be a setting or file command that I didn’t setup correctly.  I’ll have to compare some files to see what code I trying to bury my mill bits randomly into the stock.

This past weekend wasn’t all CNC work though as we were able to drop another seasonally thematic game to the table: Last Night on Earth.  We haven’t played this one in a while but a friend dropped off an old copy of Mall Madness and we decided to try out the fan-made variant that links the Mall Madness board with the Last Night on Earth module boards to make one massive variant in the style of Dawn of the Dead.

The variant is really well done with a lot of thematic rules and nice blending of the two board layouts.  The goal is to get seven supply counters from the mall back to your truck and get out of town before three of your heroes die or the round counter reaches round 20.

Some initial feedback said the variant seemed to favor the zombies but we still thought we could power through.  The game went very smoothly and we decided to not bog down the game trying to figure out the edge cases.  Flying Frog seems to have rulebook issues where the complicated interactions never really resolve through any of the rules listed and you have to infer or try to find the resolution online.  Since the game is otherwise pretty simple, getting lost in the weeds really kills a lot of their games so we’ve found that just deciding on something and moving on usually works best.

Our heroes sucked in this one.  We struggled to find good items and when we did, those sneaky zombie players would play a card to wipe it out.  We also lost a lot of critical fights as the zombie players kept rolling hot.  Finally, we messed up a bit by keeping our heroes split up, trying to do too many things at once and it made it easy for the zombies to pick off a lone hero that wandered too far away.

Zombie Johnny ended up killing our third hero and ending our failed supply run.  It was great to see the game hit the table again and the Mall really added to the flavor and scenario.

Unfortunately, as is the case with a lot of fan-made content I’ve seen, it didn’t seem particularly well balanced.  The Last Night on Earth rules offer several ways to add new rules to the game and even does a good job at ranking the add-ons so you can see how much it may affect the game balance and compensate accordingly.  This scenario seemed to take a lot of the zombie add-ons but not compensate the heroes very much to balance it out.  There was also an interesting rule that the variant added where the zombies move 3 spaces in the mall (normally they move 1).  Since there was no change to the hero speed (still rolled a d6 for movement), it seemed odd to give them such a big advantage.

If we do it again, we’ll drop the extra speed to two spaces and give the heroes 1d6+1.  We’ll also look at the add-ons to see if we can’t balance up the hero side a bit more. Still, the mall board works very well and I’m looking forward to trying it again.

Finishing My PitchCar Connector Track

I cranked up the CNC machine this weekend for the first time in a few months.  Back in the summer, I was really in a groove with the machine and things seemed to go well.  Having not messed with anything for a while, it seems that familiarity has left and I need to retrain myself a bit.

I was going to start up on my Dropzone Commander building bases project but before I get that underway, I needed to finish off one last pending project: my Pitchcar regular-to-mini converter.

I’ve been working on this project for awhile, even starting before I thought about getting a CNC machine.  For all my effort though, I only had one working prototype and since Pitchcar tracks make a loop, I had a way to convert down to the mini-sized tracks but didn’t have another piece to convert back up.

This project ended up being a bit more complicated than I anticipated. I initially thought I could use or modify an existing file but that ended up being more trouble than it was worth.  I was beginning to feel like the tolerances needed to make these puzzle pieces fit correctly would be beyond me but little by little, I made progress.

My crude hand cut attempt at the top of the picture was before I thought of getting a CNC machine.  In many ways, this project led me to seek out a CNC machine and so it was good to get back to this and see if my latest version worked.  I got bold at first and was cutting full pieces but soon realized that I needed to conserve material so then I went to just fixing the specific puzzle connector that I needed.  The second piece from the bottom was the first successful piece (though it wasn’t perfect and needed a little sanding to completely fit).  The changes I made manually to that penultimate piece made the final modifications in the file for the last piece.

Right before my hiatus, I set up the latest file based on the working prototype and some tweaks I needed to make. Then I had the machine all set up and ready to start but had to leave and then never made it back to start the milling.  I didn’t want to tear that all down to start my DZC project (finish what you start!) so I would make sure I could test out this latest attempt and see what happens.

All-in-all, the piece worked out great.  It fit perfect and the modifications meant for no post-processing to finalize the piece.  Well almost.  This piece is complicated for another reason as well.  Not only did I need to match the puzzle-piece connector of the regular-sized track and the mini-sized (which turned out to not be as simple as scaling down the connector), but the two track pieces are not the same height.

It’s very slight but there is a noticeable difference between the regular and mini-sided track pieces.  This being a dexterity flicking game, even this small height difference can catch the sliding discs and ricochet them backwards, ruining a shot.  Now I had to work the puzzle connectors and work out a method of planing the piece at a sleight angle so that it was shorter on the mini side than the regular side.  Since the track pieces aren’t the same size as any stock piece I can find, I knew I’d have to plane the pieces a little bit but I didn’t count on having to plane it at an angle.

After messing with measurements over and over, I was able to shim up to the correct size and create the connectors.  A quick little map set and I can call this project done.  I can now combine both of my Pitchcar sets to make for some interesting options.  Having these connectors correct and planing of the piece sizes locked in, I can really start making some wacky pieces now.  The last little addition will be to cut the red wall guides into the piece so I can add walls when I want.


Walking Dead “Wednesday”: Body Count

After making my Lurker variant using one of the existing Walking Dead models, I found that I wanted more but didn’t want to start ripping apart a bunch of my already painted doubles so I’ll have to wait to see what other doubles I might get later on.  I don’t want to have to wait too long so I went in search of some modern figure bodies that I might be able to use. Eventually, I found a set of dead body figures from TTCombat and after receiving them, I found they work quite well.

TTCombat figures come unpainted.

Since these are scenery pieces first and foremost, I tend to spend as little time as possible on them but even with that, they were very easy to work up, especially in the black and white style.

Now I have a veritable minefield of Lurker zombies just waiting to devour my hapless survivors.

rick grimes rides through a corpse strewn street

I don’t think you want to take this road, Rick.

Walking Dead Wednesday: Horseplay

As I mentioned in my Lurker post, I picked up a second Rick on Horse set on accident so I’ve been looking at what to do with the extra miniatures. Since I found a nice use of the extra duplicate walker, I decided I should do something with the extra Rick figure too.

Checking out some of the upcoming expansions, I saw the retail booster of Ezekiel and his tiger, Shiva.

One thing that caught my attention (after the awesomeness of Shiva and some cool new equipment cards) was the concept of playing an animal as a survivor.

I decided to make a separate “horse” miniature for the game that you can play as a functional survivor. The booster pack already comes with a horse equipment card so I would use the mechanics of that to make the rules.  First, however, I wanted to make the horse miniature.

I started out trying to cut off the glued on Rick figure but found it less destructive to push Rick back and forth on the horse until the glue broke and I could just pull him off.

Next, it was really easy to use greenstuff to fill the hole and smooth it over.

Then all that was left was to paint it up.

I don’t keep notes on the specific shades I use to paint but it would have been really helpful making this doppleganger horse.

And finally, I made up a survivor card for the horse based mostly on what the equipment card has and then extrapolating the stats based on the custom survivor creation rules in the back of the Days Gone Bye expansion.  This got everything to 20 points, just like the equipment card.  I can’t read the low quality image of Shiva’s card but it looks like there is some kind of “beast” or “animal” trait that forbids the animal to manipulate thing or reduce the threat counter. Even if it doesn’t, it seems to make sense that the action pool will be limited on an animal.

I removed the gear slots just like Shiva’s card but left the Pack slots. This works similar to the equipment card’s own rule on allowing you to attach items to it to simulate thing being stored on the animal.  I haven’t tested anything on these rules but will hopefully give them a run soon enough.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the Rick figure.

Walking Dead Wednesday: Creating a Lurker

I was priming my new Rick on Horse figure and the walker figure that comes in the expansion kept puzzling me.

from Mantic Games

This walker is an alright sculpt but his hunched over appearance just kept nagging at me.  Not that there was anything wrong with it but it kept reminding me of something and then it dawned on me: the posture is perfect for making a sitting walker like I’ve seen so many times in the comic and TV series.

I thought of maybe cutting the model up and repositioning, using greenstuff to gap-fill but then I remembered the trick you can use to straighten out bent miniatures using hot and cold water baths. For more on using hot water to bend miniatures, check out Pair of Dice’s Youtube video tutorial. I decided to try it out and was pleasantly surprised with just how easy it was.

First I cut the model off the base using a small razor saw. I find when doing this kind of cutting, it’s best to use some thick work gloves to keep the saw from slipping and cutting up your fingers.

Next you’ll be using the actual hot water technique.  Since you’ll be doing this with a very hot model, I recommend using some safety equipment like pliers and/or work gloves.  Once you’re ready, dunk the model in the hot water using pliers or whatever you have available so as to not burn yourself.

Once the model is hot, fish it out of the hot water and simply bend the model over to a nice sitting position.  I used two sets of needle-nose pliers to get the effect. You won’t have too much time so bend it to an approximate position and then hold the model in the cold water to lock in the new position.

After about a minute or so in cold water, the miniature should be stable and you can pull it out and set it down to see how well it works.  It took me a few tries to get the position I wanted.  Putting the model back into the hot water will have the model try to reset to it’s factory position.  This can be used to help straighten out parts of the model that you didn’t want bent.  The legs of my model kept curling up and looked funny when I tried to set it down flat on the table so I dunked just the ends of the legs in the hot water. This “reset” them straight and finalized the position.

So I’m liking the model a lot but the other side of this was I wanted to have these Lurker walkers be different in the game so I also came up with the walker variant “Lurker” card below.  The supply deck already has a Lurker card but my card will be for corpse models laying around in the play area while the supply deck version will handle the ambush style threats they pose.  I think these will be especially fun when we get into expansions with tight spaces like the Prison or Woodbury maps (potentially as I haven’t seen them yet).

I’ll place these Lurkers just like normal Walker placement rules except they can be placed in contact with scenery elements but do not count as an enemy model for the purposes of searching or defending a barricade.

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