Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Month: September 2016

Big Doins

No, not “doyns,” “do-INZ.”  Big stuff is brewing.  I teased this photo back when I was exploring The Cave:

Xwing_giant

And now it’s time get started on this project.  I’ve talked about Big Pimpin’ before and even made my own giant-sized Sails of Glory but now it’s time to giant growth a game I’ve wanted to since I first saw WizKids do it to Star Trek Attack Wing, it’s time to super-size Fantasy Flight’s X-wing Miniatures Game.

As you can see, this super-sizing is going to increase all the components by a pretty big margin.  Running my calculations, the size difference between the two models is about 50x. 50x yields a giant base size of 10.85″ x 10.85″. I didn’t really want to deal with a bunch fractional inches in my construction so I rounded up the bases to 11″ square which brings the enlargement factor to the nice round 51.366x.  I’m sure that won’t get me into trouble later…

To get started on the base, I grabbed a 4 foot 12×1 board and cut it down to 11″ square base boards.

xwing-stand-cutting

Table saws are great for this type of work but make sure you use all the necessary precautions. It will be hard to finish the project if you no longer have all your digits or limbs.

xwing-stand-base

The excess wood scraps of cutting the 12″ side down to 11″ made for perfect base “rails” that will keep the X-wing ship token in place on the base.

xwing-stand-rails

Walmart had cheap brooms for $1.59 each and these will make the post stand that holds the ship model.

xwing-stand-broom

First thing is to hack the broom bristle part off.  These are at an angle which are great for broomin’ but not so much for making a straight pole.

xwing-stand-pole

These are now cut approximately straight and I’ll likely need to cut these down further but the main reason I grabbed cheap brooms was for the screw-in handles so I could disassemble the pieces later (storage space will definitely be an issue with this project).

I grabbed some scrap wood to make a support piece that will go over the pole center to help keep it straight.  After I had all the wood pieces cut, I tested all the fitting to make sure the concept was coming together.

xwing-stand-setup

Before assembling, I made some markings on the base to make sure I knew where the center point was. Then it was time to glue.

xwing-stand-glue

That’s all the time I had for this project this week.  It’s a good start but with the weather starting to turn, I’ll need to move quickly to finish this project up before the end of the year.

To compound issues, I also found this great clearance piece at Target:

globe-web

It’s a metal 10″ globe which is perfect for another project I’ve had my eye on for a long time.  The little black and red pieces are from Dropzone Commander just to test if the metal globe was ferrous enough to handle magnetic pieces.  I’m really excited about this soon to be announced project as well.

Showcase: Ventura

Ventura was one of those games that Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) brought over from its Italian publishing partner, Stratelibri, but never ended up taking off much in North America.  I found the game at Gen Con in 2011 when FFG was hyping up the release.  For whatever reason, our group actually enjoyed the theme and mechanics so I eventually picked it up.

image from Fantasay Flight Games

image from Fantasy Flight Games

While we found the game fun and engaging, there were some nagging production issues that, for practical reasons, I wanted to fix.

The first issue was the player mat.  Maybe to save on translation costs, the game labeled the phase headings on the player mat with “A,” “B,” etc.  The rule book had the same designations but also the actual phase’s name (Ventura, Administration, etc).

image from BGG user

image from BGG user “Siromist”

However, when looking at the actual cards, the game kept the name of the headings without the “A,” “B,” designations so more often than not, players would have to stop the game and try to figure out in what phase they could play a card.

ventura_mat

My first pimp of this game was to correct this issue.  I copied the mats and photoshopped the phase names back into the phase banners. This way, a player’s mat would match their card and they wouldn’t be confused on when they could use it.

The second issue came up with the figure pawns.  They are actually pretty great player pieces and really help evoke this old war style “meeting of the generals” feeling.

image from BGG user

image from BGG user “Toynan”

In practice, however, the pawns raised number is lost when actually on the board and it was hard to figure which army was which during the game.

ventura_close_red

This was a pretty easy to fix though.  I slapped on some acrylic paint sloppily and then used an X-acto knife (carefully) to scrape off the excess paint.  Some clean up and then a quick seal finished off the pawns.

ventura_close_black

That was really all the game needed to be comfortably functional.  It could have still played well as-is straight from the box, but we liked the game well enough to make it easier on everyone.

While I was pimping out the components, I decided to add a few other little tweaks like printing out flags for each of the faction banners.

ventura_banners

And created reference cards for each faction’s optional power.

ventura_cards

Overall, I was happy with how this game turned out and really like how it looks on the table top.

ventura_wide

If You’ve Only Got a Moustache

update January 1, 2016: I’ve revised this technique here: Mustaches, version 2.0

I’ve been exploring more of Flick ’em Up! from Pretzel Games recently and wanted to add a little flair to those great little cowboy minis.  According to Stephen Foster (or Seth MacFarlane), what these fine gents need is a mustache.  This seemed pretty simple so I sketched out some concepts to see if it would work out.

flickdraft

With that done, I went into Illustrator and drew versions up and tested the sizes.

flickshadow

this was actually quite tricky to photograph- even with an extra set of hands.

After some final size tweaks and additional color options, I printed out the set on a 4″x6″ mailing label.

flickprint

I then used an X-acto knife to cut out some tests (always go slow and light to make sure you don’t injure yourself).  The blonds really didn’t work on the natural wood but will likely do well on the black stained meeples.  The old-man grey worked well for the black ones in my first test.

flicktest1

And my favorite mustache (I’ve been calling “the Russell”) worked great on the natural meeples.

flicktest2

One issue that came up was the tearing of the label paper even with a sharp blade. This seems inevitable which results in the white under layer coming through around the edges.  I think there are a couple ways around this that I might try out in the future but I am happy with the results so far.

flickfinal2a

flickfinal1

Since these label stickers are pretty non-permanent (even the labels that say “permanent”), I will likely have to explore some other options.  I think the best permanent way to go (without resorting to risky freehand work) is to print on custom modelling decals and affix them to the meeples that way.  The print would come out sharp and there would be none of the “whiting” that happens around the edge.

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