Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Month: January 2016

Showcase: Loopin’ Chewie

So one of the main points of this blog is to not only talk about techniques to pimp your game and talk about what is going on in the industry but also show off my completed projects. I plan on making these “showcase” posts when I finish up a project but since I have a backlog of completed work already, for now I will be discussing some of my favorite games that started me on the this path.

Up first is one of my favorite remakes: Loopin’ Chewie.

the original Loopin’ Chewie

My Loopin’ Chewie is actually a remake of Hasbro’s Loopin’ Louie game. I first wrote about this piece in April 2014 on Boardgamegeek. Ironically, Hasbro came out with a remake of their own in September 2015. The story in my head goes something like: product manager at Hasbro is tasked with reprinting Loopin Louie (since it had gone out of print in the US but still had strong sales in Europe, specifically Germany). Product manager goes to BGG to see what “the kids are doing with Louie these days” and stumbles on my Chewie conversion post, loves it and convinces Hasbro big brass to make the conversion in time for “Force Friday” in 2015. And finally, we have the Hasbro official Loopin’ Chewie… or something like that.

courtesy of Hasbro

I picked up a copy and the new version is fun but I can’t help being partial to my version, of course.  Looking more at my Loopin’ Chewie, it all started with a clearance sale at Toys “R” Us where I picked up my first copy of Loopin’ Louie and a couple of extras for Christmas gifts.  I ended up with one left over copy that I originally thought I’d use for parts in case the first copy broke down.  Nothing broke down after a few months of playing with the kids so I was left wondering what to do with my spare.

Boardgamegeek had some pretty great mods like this classic eight-player version but at the time I was really into Fantasy Flight Games’ X-wing Miniatures game and started brainstorming ideas with a friend.  I knew the X-wing mini would be too fragile and alternate minis wouldn’t be any better so my friend suggested using the Millennium Falcon.  He found a perfect Falcon model on eBay from an old McDonald’s toy and it wasn’t long before we hit on the obvious name of “Loopin’ Chewie” and the legend was born.

To get the feel of this new version, I took the entire original Loopin’ Louie apart and spray painted everything black except the paddles which I painted TIE Fighter grey.  After I painted everything and sealed it, I started pulling original Star Wars movie images off the ‘net and incorporated them into the pieces to complete the theme.

The original Loopin’ Louie features a crazy flying farmer chasing chickens around the farm so I decided the Falcon should be chasing TIE Fighters (again, not a big stretch thematically).  I didn’t want to ruin the “chicken” discs by painting them and making them too thick too work so I used permanent marker instead and sealed them.  Another TIE Fighter image from the ‘net and the discs were ready.

The Death Star was the hardest but there was a relatively cheap planetarium toy put out a few years ago that I found on Amazon. It was the perfect size and already came in 2 halves. I cut the slit for Chewie to bounce through and fit over the whole assembly. I used a hot glue gun to secure the dome to the rotating assembly and it was ready to go.

I brought this out to GenCon to surprise my friends and all of us had a blast.  It remains one of my favorite pimped games as everything came together and worked perfectly all the while requiring some different techniques.

Defend the Home tree!

No, I’m not talking about that lame James Cameron movie, I’m talking about the tree that houses your nest base in Plaid Hat Games’ new Tail Feathers game.

The game has anthropomorphic mice who battle evil rats and bugs while riding friendly birds through the forest. It’s a pretty fun game that blends tabletop minis with standard board game elements to create a dynamic and immersive environment.

Being a minis player, I like to pimp out my terrain but always want my battlefield to be functional over just looking good. After playing a game, I started eyeing that “tree” template and wondered if we could take the game a little further.

Great looking game, albeit a little…. flat. image from Plaid Hat Games website.

I started looking at my options and thought that maybe we could pimp out the tree by going 3D. For the prototype to see if the 3D build was even possible, I grabbed a foam cylinder like the kind you find at a hobby store for fake flowers to use as the “trunk.” I then scanned the tree game piece and used it as a template on some foamcore and cut out the “limbs.” Inserting the limbs at various heights and in the general layout as the original tree game piece, my tree took shape.

home tree prototype

Weight is a big issue and what you aren’t seeing in the picture is a set of about 20 big nails on the other side to make a counter-weight to make sure the minis on the tree don’t tip it over. While this works for now as a prototype it won’t work for the final build.

I have a few other projects I’m wrapping up at the moment so this will go on the backburner but my next steps will be to build the limbs out of something sturdier. For that to work I will need to bust out the scroll saw or find time to use a Laser Cutter. A Laser cutter would be the easiest option but I don’t really have access to one so I’ll probably have to go old school. The trunk will either need to be a flat vertical piece or a series of discs that can lock together and disassemble for storage. To deal with the weight balance, a flat “foot” spreading in the direction of the limbs should keep things upright, even with the bird miniatures.

I’m pretty satisfied with the prototype so I’ll let it marinate while I wrap up some other current projects.

Pimping tokens

I’ve heard about techniques to pimp out tokens but I have never tried it myself.  I’ve heard once you go this route, it’s hard not to paint/tint all your tokens and that is not something I want to get too deep into.

When I pimp games, I usually don’t mess with the tokens as I’m busy messing with the other aspects of the game like miniatures, cards, tuck boxes, or cheat sheets.  I have a couple of projects I’m working on right now that are actually full remakes of existing games and while I’ve done this before, this is the first time I’ve had to make tokens for a game remake.

Two games I’m working on right now required some tokens and since I’m remaking the game from scratch, I needed to find a way to make tokens quickly and easily.  I didn’t really want to make the tokens from scratch but luckily, I have a metric ton of old tokens from the Star Wars: X-wing Miniatures game and I’ve found that they make a great base to sticker my own token images on top of.

token close

Since X-wing gives you new tokens each time you buy a ship and I went pretty deep into the game, I have more tokens than I can ever use in a single session.  This has come in handy as I make tokens for these new games.

Outside of the image collecting and photoshopping, the process is quite simple.  Print the images on a sheet of TrueBlock Shipping Labels (from Avery, though I’m sure other label options will work), cut the images out using a circle punch (a 5/8ths inch punch seems to work well for X-wing tokens), and stick them on.  I use TrueBlock labels because they are permanent and block any image bleed-through from the existing token.

In the “Travel” version of Rum & Bones that I’m making, I needed some custom tokens that weren’t normal token shapes that I could pillage from other games.  This was a little more work but not too bad.  Take some art board that you can get from any craft/hobby/art supply store (I used a 16 in x 20 in white board from Canson) and stick the whole label sheet on the board.

Next, take an X-acto knife and metal straight edge and cut the shapes out that you need.  Be careful as it is really easy to get careless and cut yourself (I did this on an earlier job cutting a new board out for my Thunder Road pimp out).  Art board cuts best with a lot of slow, light-pressure cuts instead of trying to cut through in just a few passes.  It can be tedious and that is what makes it most dangerous as it lulls you into security after about 10-15 passes.

token close

The white board isn’t as subtle as the gray of published tokens and so I will likely tint these like I’ve seen others do, bringing us full circle.  Jeff Tibbetts, on his blog Tibbs Forge, has a great process for tinting tokens.  An example of his work can be seen below:

Tibbs Forge tinted token- look at the different caution bands he puts on the Space Hulk ladder token.

I’ll likely start tinting these tokens to hide that white edging.  Tibbs Forge work is really impressive and pretty inspiring for this type of work.

Resolutions

2015 has come and gone and while I haven’t really been updating this blog, it was still a big year for board game pimping. When I started out the year, I made it my resolution to post at least one of my pimped games to the Boardgamegeek monthly “Pimp My Boardgame” contest. This contest was a big inspiration for me to start pimping games and even make this blog.

The contest itself has been running since 2010 by veteran user helgerehwald. The contest features a meta-game where winners gain points to become a member of the Pimp My Boardgame Hall of Fame. I didn’t give a lot of thought to this when I entered my first pimped game to the contest back in 2012, but after watching the contest and seeing several users posting great pimped content month after month, I was inspired to try to join this elite group of painters, modders, and graphic designers.

My other goal for 2015 was, by submitting my work every month, I would win enough points to join this Hall of Fame. It took me awhile to get everything organized. I did an inventory of all the games I’d already pimped out and checked on which projects that were still pending. By March, I was able to start and submitted my Last Night on Earth painted set as well as my pimped out A Touch of Evil set. Each month limits you to 3 entries so I rounded out the contest with some painted Star Wars: Armada fighters.

Star Wars: Armada

After that, I was able to post at least one entry per month except August and November. After getting 2nd and 3rd in various contests over the year, to combine with some earlier 1st place entries (before 2015), I was inducted into the Hall of Fame. I am very excited to be in there and be among some of the best and most prolific board game pimpers on Boardgamegeek.

So now what? I still really enjoy pimping my games and I will still post entries to the contest but my focus for 2016 will be on this blog and showcasing what I submitted over the last year as well as the new projects I’m working on. I’ve got some great projects that recently finished or are about to be complete and I can’t wait to showcase them.

more to come…

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