Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Month: July 2017

Dropzone 2.0 Is Coming

Last Friday, Hawk Wargames capped off a week of image teases with a major announcement for their flagship game, Dropzone Commander:

image from Hawk Wargames

The game is now five years old and the publisher/designer felt like that was long enough to gain feedback and refine the system’s clunkier rules.  Dave Lewis from Hawk Wargames sat down for an interview from the folks at Beasts of War and it looks like several welcome changes are coming:

  • Renewed emphasis on using Dropships
  • Dropships disassociated with Battlegroups, lessening their restrictions.
  • Revamp of how Fast Movers operate
  • Streamlining force building and making it less restrictive
  • Updating Command Cards and allowing for customization

There was a bit more in that video link and none of it is fully vetted but Hawk is looking to release the new ruleset in time for the Christmas holiday.

Over on Facebook, Hawk did confirm that the two supplement rulebooks, Reconquest Phase 1 and 2 are not getting updated but rather, an errata sheet will be provided.  Dave said in the interview the stat lines for units will largely go unchanged but we’ll see how that plays out.  My faction is the Resistance and all of their content is in the Reconquest books so not updating them is an interesting decision.

Overall, I’m pretty excited and will definitely be hanging around the Hawk booth at Gen Con for more details.

Just Milling About

So it’s been a few weeks since my last post but only because I’ve been head-down in a new project: learning CAD and CAM for milling on a CNC machine.

Way back at the beginning of the year, I was excited to have a brand new tool added to my pimping arsenal: a CNC Machine. The only issue was it was a kit I needed to build and I’m not so handy with building things this complex.

The project progressed in fits and starts until just a few weeks ago, I finally got everything all together and running.  I had to take a quick detour and clean out the garage and cobble together a quick workbench table to have room to run it all but I was able to knock that out in a weekend.

With everything prepped, I grabbed a template off BGG and set it up using a trial version of Fusion 360.  I have to say, the resources MillRight CNC have put together on their site is outstanding and the direct responses from them for questions I’ve sent have been amazing.  They really go above and beyond supporting their customers on what could easily be a nightmare project.

The my workspace ready and my machine up and running, I imported Flashhawk’s PitchCar mini-converter SVG and got to cutting to test it all out.

As you can see from the video, the machine definitely did its job.  The cut was nice and everything worked as it should.

Punching out the piece was easy and cleaning up the “tabs” that hold the piece in place while cutting will be easy.

Just one little issue…

So obviously there are some scaling issues but the test was successful and I’ve been working up several new concepts that I’m eager to complete.  The first step has been taken, now the real challenges begin.

6×6 Gaming Challenge: Mid-year recap

Now that we’re in July, I thought I’d take a quick moment to recap where I’m at with my 6×6 Gaming Challenge. I always keep the running total up-to-date at the top, under my “About” header.

The good news is every game on my list has been played at least once. Even better news is I’m sitting at 20 games/sessions played out of 36 for the challenge so I’m beating the curve by a good 5%.  Let’s look at the details:

The Walking Dead: All Out War:
Dropzone Commander:
Santorini:
Batman Miniature Game:
Pandemic: Legacy:
Championship Formula Racing:

As you can see, Dropzone Commander and Batman are a bit behind the curve.  Batman may be the toughest to get all the way through before the end of the year since it is completely self-driven.  Dropzone Commander still has regular monthly get-togethers so I’m not too worried about finding a game.

CFR, Pandemic, and The Walking Dead have been going quite well with a lot of interest still peaking for those games.  The next few months are going to be a little tough as I prepare for Gen Con and a vacation later this summer but I still have a lot of plans for all the games on the list so at least the drive is still there.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 Half-way Point

As part of my 6×6 Gaming Challenge, I decided to add Pandemic Legacy to try to get a commitment out of my game group to go through this game from start to finish.  We tried Risk Legacy long ago but it eventually fell apart and we never got to fully explore the game.  I’m not sure how common this is with gaming groups but the fear of opening a legacy game, permanently destroying, adding, and altering the game state but never finishing it is so heavy that I’d rather have the game sit in shrink and never played than be played half-assed.

Something about the permanency of the decisions makes these games hard to enjoy (beyond those that would never want to deface their game in the first place).  It’s odd how much pressure there is for a legacy game as it wants to be played in its entirety, regularly so that each new sessions rules aren’t forgotten, and with the same group of people.  With my game group, this is difficult since we all have games (usually new) that we want to see on the table and since we don’t get together often enough to make sure everything has its chance, committing to 12 to 24 games of Pandemic Legacy was becoming increasingly difficult.

I decided to switch gears with this legacy setup and instead of going to my game group, I went to my wife.  She is definitely a gamer but life and work have turned her into an adult (one of us had to do it) and so gaming was less and less available.  She did, however, always like Pandemic so I thought I’d give it a shot.

After some convincing, she was on board.  Funnily enough, it wasn’t the commitment to playing through the entire season that took convincing, it was the legacy system itself.  I relived the whole geek culture reaction to the first legacy concept happen right before my eyes as she processed what this game was going to make us do.  It’s funny that I’m so obsessed with games and the industry that I forgot just how foreign the legacy concept can be.  She went through shock and disbelief (“We have to do what??”), anger and cynicism (“That is just dumb. You know they’re doing this just so you can buy the game over and over again.”), bargaining (“what if we just take pictures of the board state before we tear it down…”), and finally to acceptance (“fine. whatever.”).

Note: I’ll try to keep the rest of this as spoiler-free as possible but it will be almost impossible to not spoil even the tiny details. In any case, I have “[redacted]” major elements of the game in the images for your protection.

We started the game off picking our characters and working them up.  This is one of my favorite aspects of the game as it gives the characters a quasi-RPG feel.  I began the game with my favorite character of the Pandemic series, the Medic.

Bobdoh Johnson, or “Bobby D” as his friends call him, has been a terrific member of the Pandemic team.  In the last 6 months of service, he’s been instrumental in fighting back the ravages of disease and staving off terrifying outbreaks.  Through his heavy travels, he’s made many contacts and has helped even the weakest medical centers work through crises. Though he’s saved countless lives, his dreams are still troubled by a particularly brutal outbreak of Mad Fever in Seoul.  That abnormally hot March would forever scar Johnson. To this day, he can’t help but stop and help cities on the verge of outbreak as his mind flashes back to the horrors of Seoul. Hopefully this won’t be his undoing.

Johnson’s best friend, the brilliant researcher, Dr. Iris, has been the key to the curing of these new diseases.  While Johnson has been clearing out disease, Dr. Iris has been curing all the diseases in record time.  This dynamic duo has led to a four month winning streak as the team can typically cure a disease in the first few turns and eradicate them quickly thereafter.

As new threats are uncovered, Piper, the Specialist, joined the team in May.  Dr. Iris took a sabbatical to study these new threats more closely but Piper has kept the streak alive as the team cleared through May and June.


Game Summary

January (loss then win)

January was actually our toughest month as we ended up losing our first game. It was a combination of getting back into the rhythm and forgetting what to focus on that led to our downfall.  Late January went much better and we were able to get in a rhythm.

February (win)

February was  a breeze as we started with enough to cure a disease on the second turn and eradicate it a turn later.  Quite possibly the easiest game of Pandemic I’d seen.

March (win)

March set up well but I got cocky and Johnson got caught in an outbreak in Seoul.  It hasn’t seemed to slow him down much but it did make me play him a little more conservatively.

April (win)

This one was a bit odd in that we had things pretty well contained and then things started going bad very quickly.  Luckily, we were able to end the month quickly before too much damage was done.  From a design note, I was kind of curious if you could get into a situation in a legacy game where the game is no longer winnable due to damage done in the previous months.

May (win)

Due to some of the new events and damage done, we switched tactics and brought in Piper’s Specialist expertise. It took us a little bit of time to get used to the role and how it would interact with Johnson but the combo seemed to be even stronger given the upgraded board-state. Outbreaks have been the biggest issue in our previous game but we seemed to have that under control.  We almost totally botched it by forgetting to pay attention to the player deck and the number of cubes out on the board. We ended up with only 5 player cards left in the deck by the time we sorted it all out and won the game.  That cut it a little too close.

June (win)

Prepared for both the excess cubes we needed to manage and the inefficient time management we had in the previous month, June turned out to be a bit easier than the other months in this quarter.  I kind of keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and we start getting our ass handed to us but so far so good.

CabinCon Cup: Part 2, Nürburg

After a break, our team concluded our 2-game mini-cup with a 2-lap session of Nürburg. We all took a moment to re-tool our cars and I decided to create a lop-sided car with an 80 acceleration and a 40 deceleration.  To help compensate for all the late braking I might need to do, I dropped my skill in favor of more wear tokens.

After the bidding, I did slightly better than last time and came in 4th position.

Colton, in the black no. 4, decided to follow the “lead from the front” strategy in the rule book and bid high for pole position.  He took off quickly, pushing his start speed to 140 while the rest of us played conservative and fell in line.

Using my acceleration, I (green car) pulled into 2nd following slightly behind Colton. Sterling in red decided to take the outside line while Reese in Blue fell in behind me.

Colton continued to push and burn wear while I fell back a little.  Sterling’s outside line caused him to fall back into fourth.

Colton used the straight to widen his lead and quickly was getting into a dominant position.  James’ silver car started to make a move on the pack I’m leading.

The third turn pulls Colton back a little but James is able to push hard to fourth and battle into the second place scrum that is developing between Reese (blue car) and I.

A shot from the rear as Colton starts the next turn and James falls in line behind Reese and I.

Heading into the straights, James starts to get into position.  His car is the fastest with high acceleration and the highest top speed of all of us at 180 mph.  He also isn’t afraid to push it to 200 when he needs to.

It doesn’t quite time out for James and he’s forced to get back behind Reese. Colton is able to maintain about 4 spaces on us but can’t seem to get any further away.

My acceleration spaces us out in the straight and I gain on Colton’s ultimately slower car.

Colton is forced to slow-up for the turn and we descend on him, cutting his lead to one.  This has some unintended consequences as all hell breaks loose.

James, seeing an opportunity to really “be somebody,” pushes the 80 mph corner at 140, uses two wear and a green skill token but still gets burned by boxcars on the dice.  The resulting crash happens before Reese can approach the corner and the debris causes him to spin out.  Since I got through before James’ death rush, I was about to pull up alongside Colton.

Sterling and Jeremy round out the crazy turn by starting a battle for 5th place.

Colton is able to negotiate the corner and I’m not willing to risk hitting the corner at a faster speed to beat him off the line. The craziness of James’ wreck allows Jeremy to blast into 3rd from the rear.

James is able to get free of his wreck moments before it starts to smoke and flame.

I totally mismanage this upcoming turn as I know Colton is going to go 80 mph to line up this inside line (eventually slowing to 60 mph) and he is out of wear. For some reason, I think I’ll be able to go 100 mph get alongside him again. Instead, I chicken out and end up late braking and burning my wear token advantage on him.  At this point, I realize that if I just maintain second, my overall points will give me the Cabin Con Cup.

Re-evaluating this turn, I should have maintained my 100 mph and taken the outside line. The next turn would have dropped me to 60 (or 80 if I wanted to spend the wear I would have lost late braking).  Either one would have put me either alongside Colton through the turn or one space past him to take the lead.

Colton and I take this first turn at the stock value and cause Jeremy to late brake but it messes up his deceleration and he spins. I’m in the beginning of the turn now doing 40 mph and Colton is in a great position to accelerate out of the turn.

I botch the corner and Colton is able to take off again. Reese tries to make a move but spins out and Sterling starts to march on Jeremy.

Jeremy pushes again fighting Sterling but with a naked chance roll, he rolls just enough to crash out and starts smoking.

Now there are four racers left and Colton has regained a good lead while I’ve separated from the remaining cars as well.

We’re back in the straights and I can make up more ground as we approach “James’ Doom.”

We come into the critical last turn. Colton knows my car will take him to task out of the turn as I have both the top speed and acceleration on him so he elects to maintain as much speed as possible taking the outer line.

His gambit pays off as I stay 2 spaces behind but he’s still going 100 mph and can accelerate to his top 140 while I’m at 60 mph and can also jump up to 140.  Even if I push to 160, I won’t be able to break even with Colton so I leave it and hope Reese doesn’t have a trick up his sleeve to push me out of second place.

Colton takes the flag and I, predictably, stay within two spaces of him.  The race may have ended up a little different but I played conservative to maintain my second place.

Even though the race results didn’t change much after the first turn or so, I still found it really tense. It seemed like I was caught in this never ending trap of trying to keep up with Colton while getting distance on the pack behind me.  The pack behind me was frightening because they felt like they had nothing to lose and so kept pushing chance rolls all the time. If it was just one car pushing chance all the time, I’d be less concerned as the dice would eventually fail but with three cars, it always seemed like someone was on verge of coming up and winning their chance rolls.

After this race, the final standings were:

  • Myself: 5.1 pts
  • Colton: 4.2 pts
  • Reese: 4.1 pts
  • Sterling: 3.2 pts
  • Jeremy: 2.2 pts
  • James: 2.0 pts

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