Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Month: March 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Walking Dead COMIC Wednesday: Vs Mode

For this month’s comic, I tried something new by shooting the whole session at a game store.  It felt like a fitting place to do my first “competitive” session report. It went well and was interesting but I missed having the control of shooting at my home setup.

This time, my friend joined me to play through the last scenario in the Days Gone Bye expansion:

Chapter 3: Bad Blood

If you missed the previous issue, you can find it it my Comics link in the top menu.

Showcase: Last Night on Earth/Invasion from Outer Space

One of the first board games I really got into was Flying Frog Production’s Last Night on Earth zombie horror game.  The game first hit the shelves in 2007 and I picked it up right away due to its unique art style using edited studio photography in place of the more common painted or illustrated art of other games.

image from bgg, publisher

The game play itself was pretty unique to me as well.  This game didn’t set players against each other or co-operatively against the board game itself, it had a player play as the zombies trying to defeat the heroes.  This one-vs-many approach was pretty common in dungeon-delving games like Heroquest and Descent but it was novel in the zombie game genre- a genre, I’d like to point out, was not anywhere near as populated as what we see today.  If you check out that Boardgamegeek geeklist of zombie games, you’ll notice most of the entries are after Last Night on Earth came out. Essentially if you wanted a zombie game back then, you were either doing the All Things Zombie miniatures rules, something by Twilight Creations, or little unknown one-off games from small publishers.

In my narrow view (and increasingly narrower) view of the board game hobby, Last Night on Earth’s hit release was at the beginning of the wave or possibly the catalyst for wave of zombies games that came after its release.

So with this game, I loved everything about it: the storytelling, the art, and the mechanics, but I wanted more. As I wrote about in one of my first posts years ago, this game really got me into painting and pimping out games, starting with painting the minis.

These were some of the first minis I ever painted and the original painting thread on Boardgamegeek was the inspiration.  Looking back at what I’ve done since then, it’s hard not to understate how important that one article was to my enjoyment of this hobby.

Flying Frog saw a lot of success from Last Night on Earth and was able launch their game company from it, spawning several expansions and ultimately branching out into other game systems.  In 2010, Flying Frog returned to the Last Night on Earth system and created a ballsy new edition: Invasion from Outer Space.

Aliens invading the setting of Last Night’s Woodvale was not that far fetched but Flying Frog decided to take on a crazy twist to the story by adding a carnival setting complete with tutu-wearing dancing bear.

The reaction to this adventurous take was pretty mixed.  I loved the wacky theme and new territory Flying frog was breaking into but the public seemed to not care for such a whimsical approach.

The heroes were more developed, more interesting, and more fun to paint, but I think it confused buyers looking for a more serious approach to the game system. In their defense, Flying Frog added rules to use the heroes from Last Night on Earth in the game in case you wanted to leave the crazy carnies out of it.  This mix was not enough and ultimately Flying Frog never returned to the game.

Abandoning the title was pretty sad as the aliens and mechanics around them were great and I really wanted to see more on the Carnival adventure.

One little pimp I did to the game outside of just painting the minis was adding these flying saucer miniatures taken from Monsterpocalypse by Privateer Press.  These markers represent the flying saucers flying overhead, warping more aliens down to the planet and causing havoc.

Ultimately, I still love the setting and both games but I was sad they never expanded Invasion from Outer Space.  Luckily, they haven’t abandoned everything and still produce Last Night on Earth content (though it has been quiet until very recently).

from ICv2, publisher

At GAMA, Flying Frog announced they are doing a 10th anniversary release of Last Night on Earth for 2017. From the ICv2 article:

Last Night on Earth 10th Anniversary Edition, which will be produced as a deluxe limited version of the game.  This boxed set will include eight heroes, including new playable versions of the original Townsfolk, along with a plastic Old Truck model, plastic pieces for several of the game markers, new scenarios, and an updated and expanded rulebook that includes rules for fire and the experience system introduced in the Timber Peak expansion.  MSRP is $99.95.

While I’m glad Flying Frog is back in the Last Night on Earth game setting, this product seems more like what new players should pick up as the hardcore fans likely already have the Timber Peak expansion and don’t need to rebuy all of that other material.  This is a little unfortunate as these same hardcore players helped keep the game alive and would likely want a lot of the special plastic pieces and new versions of the townsfolk.

Maybe Flying Frog will look at making a separate “upgrade” kit for original owns similar to what Ares Games did for fans of their War of the Ring Anniversary Release.

Walking Dead Wednesday: Tank time

I was walking through my local Walgreen’s and stumbled upon a cheap little find for The Walking Dead: All Out War- a plastic army man set with some interesting plastic terrain:

Yep! For the paltry sum of $3.50, I got me a little plastic tank for some future scenarios.  The set also came with some barricades and a flag post but I forgot to take shots of them before I primed them. In the mail the same day came my Rick on Horse expansion.  I don’t know why but that little expansion always seemed so cool to me and I’m glad I can start using it in my games.

So here we have a quick little scene I put together with my primed army terrain and Rick a la Horse.

The detail on the tank up close is exactly what you would expect from a cheap plastic toy but still works pretty well for scenery.

For a better scale comparison, I pulled the tank out and put it next to a reference Rick.

I don’t know tanks really at all (I can’t even tell you what kind of tank this is- if you know, let me know in the comments!) but the scale seems to work according to my untrained eyes.

However, as I reported back when starting on some farm terrain, Stewart Gibbs revealed some terrain info on the upcoming expansion sets:

For Woodbury, you’ll need 2 smoke clouds about 3″ across, 4 lamp posts, 6 stakes for walkers to be tied to in the arena, and a tank around 7″ by 4″.

So you can see why I wanted a tank but notice that Stewart gives us the dimensions of the tank template and it is massive.  My little cheap plastic tank measures a paltry 2.75″ x 5″. I’m not too worried.  I think my little tank works and if Mantic’s decision to make an MDF RV for the game is any indication, maybe we’ll get an official 3D tank some time soon too. Then my little tank can have a big brother. Perfect.

War of the Ring Anniversary Edition

As I teased at the end of my post last week, my copy of War of the Ring (second edition) Anniversary Release from Ares Games arrived.  I finally got a chance to check it out and it is, in a word, glorious.

With a foot print of nearly 16″ x 20″ and over 6″ tall, this box is massive. The only box that comes to mind that might be bigger is the OGRE Kickstarter.

The box itself has some nice features. The art is classic and well done and the sides and bottom are all done in black fabric.

Underneath the sturdy top box lies a full fabric wrapped case with magnetic latches and metallic lettering and art. As a little side note, the fabric wrapped boxes removes the silly “box fart” that most larger board game boxes encounter. This box can swing in event the most sophisticated parties.

Opening the inner case reveals layered trays to hold all the components.  Each tray is divided by a thick art piece that features some great John Howe art and, on the reverse, a guide to putting all the miniatures back in their tray.

Speaking of miniatures, the main draw for this anniversary release was the pre-painted miniatures.  These miniatures turned out pretty good for pre-painted but not near the quality of Rackham’s AT-43/Confrontation line or Fantasy Flight’s X-wing.  Even the venerable Heroscape might be better in the pre-painted department.  I think it the lack of a good wash and the painting attempt was emphasizing multiple painting steps and color options over letting a good wash bring out those details.  (click on any of the above images for more detail)

You can see from these close ups of some of the random samplings of figures that, in general, the painting is fine.  Some models are easier to paint or lend themselves to this style while others are a little harder to pull of or show what can happen with an assembly line-style painting process.  Poor Gimli lost half his face up there with a paint mishap.

After the minis, we get to the print material of the set.  Namely, the player cheat sheets, the opaque bag, the slipcase of the rulebook and companion book and the massive playing board. That board takes up almost my entire 3.5′ x 4.5′ game table. The hardback rule and companion books are very well done and bound stylishly as well.  I will likely keep these out of the case for casual reading.

A nice little touch to the game board is the foil stamping of the Mount Doom area. It’s hard to see in the image but in person, it stands out.

And of course, the whole thing comes with an authenticity letter claiming my copy is 1 of 2000 printed.  Actually number 87 according to the sheet.

I wouldn’t be a game pimper if I didn’t try to pimp even the most pre-pimped game in my collection.  I made this alternative bag for the “hunt tiles” a while ago for my original second edition.  While the Anniversary Release’s bag is nice, I will probably keep using my original bag.

Last but not least, I also picked up a hand-made, painted custom mount doom for my original version some years ago.  It’s nice see that it fits well on this large game board as well.

Walking Dead Wednesdays: Tackling the Threat Tracker

Threat is a major force in The Walking Dead: All Out War and tracking it is important.  Mantic gave us a threat dial and a spinner but spinners make for a weak way to track such an important aspect of the game, mainly because they are so good at, well, spinning. Let’s see if we can’t change that up a bit.

I first wanted to just add friction to the spinner so that it would work more like a static dial but those experiments didn’t turn out too well. My next solution was use magnets as they would remove the low friction spinning component and be removable for easy storage.  The big arrow of the original spinner could work but then I hit upon the idea of using something more iconic.

How about Negan’s iconic Lucille?  A quick search on Shapeways revealed that someone had already made a replica mini Lucille and it happened to be the perfect size.

A quick priming and painting and Lucille was ready for assembly.

I cut a small 3mm notch into the center so that the magnet could rest in and then quick-painted the excess damage I did.

For the base, I used the original spinner base, filled it with greenstuff and superglued the main magnet in.  Then superglued the whole base to the threat tracker template.

All it took was letting the glue dry and then we had a pimped out Walking Dead: All Out War custom Lucille threat tracker.

It stays put, is easy to use without knocking the result everywhere, and is  removable for quick storage.

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