Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Month: March 2016

Why We Pimp

One of the main reasons I wanted to start this blog was to show off my pimped games and talk about how I created them.  After a while, I started thinking about why we pimp out our games and I found the question compelling enough that I’m starting a new blog series called, simply, “Why We Pimp.” In this series, I’ll focus on a narrow aspect of board game pimping and look at it from the philosophical perspective.

Of course, the biggest question is the general “why?”  Why do it at all?  Board game publishers spend countless hours designing beautiful games and yet we still want more.  Manufacturing for board and table top games has never been higher and the trend now is actually over-producing the value in a game. Take Cool Mini or Not‘s (CMoN) fantasy sports game, Kaosball by Eric Lang.  This is a relatively simple sports game with minis on a game board but CMoN decided really ramp up the production value by creating countless teams, each with their own minis and game bits.

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Paper Terrain

I really love miniature games.  I love the spectacle, the freedom of gaming choices, the complex strategies, and the unique customizations you can achieve to bring individuality to your game components.  Pimping minis games is so ubiquitous though that I’ve seen it argued that the vast majority of effort in a minis game isn’t pimping at all.  Rather, it is more like a minimum requirement to play the game, much like punching out game tokens are in a board game.  I can see both sides of the argument but I grew up and still consider myself a board gamer first, minis gamer second so anything beyond punching tokens or bagging up components feels like work and if it is work making the game look better or play better, I consider it pimping.

This “work” aspect is my least favorite part of minis games.  I want to play the game so I can figure out what, or even if I’d like to emphasize something when I decide to pimp it out.  I’m not a fan of some of the staple hobby aspects such as modelling and painting. The other issue I have with the genre is storage.  Even if I had the room, storing all the extras that come along with miniature games like terrain, custom boards, modeling and painting tools, and the miniatures themselves can eat up way too much storage real estate.

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Showcase: Thunder Road

So Mad Max: Fury Road came out in the summer of 2015 and a friend was really into the whole mythos and genre. He picked up an old Milton Bradley game, Thunder Road, first published in 1986, and showed it to me.

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Tuck boxes

One of the first things I ever did to pimp out a game was make tuck boxes for various game card decks.  Sometimes tuck boxes are necessary for a game due to poor insert design or because you’ve expanded a game too much and had to ditch the insert all together. Other times, tuck boxes are a natural pimping addition to help explore more of the theme of the game while keeping things organized.


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