Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Month: October 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Finishing My PitchCar Connector Track

I cranked up the CNC machine this weekend for the first time in a few months.  Back in the summer, I was really in a groove with the machine and things seemed to go well.  Having not messed with anything for a while, it seems that familiarity has left and I need to retrain myself a bit.

I was going to start up on my Dropzone Commander building bases project but before I get that underway, I needed to finish off one last pending project: my Pitchcar regular-to-mini converter.

I’ve been working on this project for awhile, even starting before I thought about getting a CNC machine.  For all my effort though, I only had one working prototype and since Pitchcar tracks make a loop, I had a way to convert down to the mini-sized tracks but didn’t have another piece to convert back up.

This project ended up being a bit more complicated than I anticipated. I initially thought I could use or modify an existing file but that ended up being more trouble than it was worth.  I was beginning to feel like the tolerances needed to make these puzzle pieces fit correctly would be beyond me but little by little, I made progress.

My crude hand cut attempt at the top of the picture was before I thought of getting a CNC machine.  In many ways, this project led me to seek out a CNC machine and so it was good to get back to this and see if my latest version worked.  I got bold at first and was cutting full pieces but soon realized that I needed to conserve material so then I went to just fixing the specific puzzle connector that I needed.  The second piece from the bottom was the first successful piece (though it wasn’t perfect and needed a little sanding to completely fit).  The changes I made manually to that penultimate piece made the final modifications in the file for the last piece.

Right before my hiatus, I set up the latest file based on the working prototype and some tweaks I needed to make. Then I had the machine all set up and ready to start but had to leave and then never made it back to start the milling.  I didn’t want to tear that all down to start my DZC project (finish what you start!) so I would make sure I could test out this latest attempt and see what happens.

All-in-all, the piece worked out great.  It fit perfect and the modifications meant for no post-processing to finalize the piece.  Well almost.  This piece is complicated for another reason as well.  Not only did I need to match the puzzle-piece connector of the regular-sized track and the mini-sized (which turned out to not be as simple as scaling down the connector), but the two track pieces are not the same height.

It’s very slight but there is a noticeable difference between the regular and mini-sided track pieces.  This being a dexterity flicking game, even this small height difference can catch the sliding discs and ricochet them backwards, ruining a shot.  Now I had to work the puzzle connectors and work out a method of planing the piece at a sleight angle so that it was shorter on the mini side than the regular side.  Since the track pieces aren’t the same size as any stock piece I can find, I knew I’d have to plane the pieces a little bit but I didn’t count on having to plane it at an angle.

After messing with measurements over and over, I was able to shim up to the correct size and create the connectors.  A quick little map set and I can call this project done.  I can now combine both of my Pitchcar sets to make for some interesting options.  Having these connectors correct and planing of the piece sizes locked in, I can really start making some wacky pieces now.  The last little addition will be to cut the red wall guides into the piece so I can add walls when I want.

 

Dropzone Commander Commandeered

“Commandeered” is not quite the right word as everything seems amicable but in other news from Dropzone Commander world, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this huge announcement from earlier this week:

Today we have an extremely exciting announcement here at TTCombat. We have completed a deal with Hawk Wargames to purchase both the incredible Dropzone Commander and Dropfleet Commander.

Yep, Hawk Wargames and their game lines were bought out by TTCombat, the in-house manufacturing/publishing end of Troll Trader, an online game store specializing in card games.

Both entities are putting out the customary “it’ll be great” marketing spin and if things go how they hope it will go, there could be some hope for an overall better product.  According to all reports, version 2.0 of Dropzone is still in the works (though delayed until April) and the main designer and owner of Hawk Wargames is coming along with the acquisition to be the lead designer for both “DropX” systems.

I’m not a “sky is falling” kind of guy so while this was definitely unexpected, I’m not going to worry about it until there is an obvious problem.  There are too many games out there to worry about them all and I’ve still got a lot of mileage left in my collection even under the v1.0 rules.

Also, it can’t be all bad… One of the main announcement images features Idris Elba’s Lt. Col. James Rodrigues’ awesome new Tilt-rotor command transport.  That thing looks like tons of fun for my Resistance brethren.

 

More Revisions: Dropzone Commander Building Bases

For over a year now, I’ve been working on a way to put a rigid base under the cardstock Dropzone Commander buildings.  This would be used to keep them more square instead of bending and give them some weight so they don’t slide around as much.

I grabbed one of the smaller buildings in the ruinscape set and measured out the dimensions.  I used the measurements to cut out a four-sided base out of foamcore.  Before assembling the sides, I cut jagged edges in the side pieces to give the sense of a ruined structure.  These bases could then double as rigid support and rubble terrain for buildings that are removed by demo units.

The base was a little bland so I printed off building images from Hawk Wargames’ site and pasted them to the sides.

Next I trimmed off the excess.

And tested it to make sure it fit.

The result was what I was hoping for: stable, squared base; more weight to keep the buildings in position; and a pseudo-rubble terrain piece.

To really complete the base, I’d want to make the interior full of debris as well.  Unfortunately, this process was a bit labor intensive and only completes one building. For most games, we use from 12-16 buildings so all that foamcore cutting, printing, trimming, and assembly seemed a bit much.

At the last Dropzone Commander event, the event organizer had made building bases from his 3D printer.  While I don’t have a 3D printer, I liked the execution of his bases enough to try it myself on my CNC machine.  I have the prototype file ready in CAD so all I need to do if figure out the routing paths and get cuttin’.

Lost Projects and Revisions

The weather last week was pretty great and seeing that the forecast would turn a bit colder, I used the opportunity to get the rest of my Walking Dead: All Out War minis primed.  Hopefully I can get into a routine again during the long winter nights and finish up the bulk of them.

This is just the heroes I have and while it looks intimidating, I’m only really painting the heroes I like or will use.  I went “all-in” on the Walking Dead Kickstarter campaign mainly for the full ruleset (spread across multiple expansions) and the large amount of unique zombie sculpts.

Of which, I still have a lot to complete.  I’ll likely start with the walkers again like last time though there are some Rick and Glenn models I need to paint up as well. Imagine that, finally having a Glenn model…


I was talking about small lights with some commenters on another Kickstarter I’m obsessing about, Time of Legends: Joan of Arc (check it out if you haven’t, the game is fantastic), and I got a recommendation to use these small, self-contained LEDs.

They are pretty bright and might make for some easy streetlights for Batman Minis Game or Walking Dead.  I like my current street lamps but one of them already seemed to short out so I’m looking for some alternatives and these might work with an easy lamp post frame to support it.

We found that the power source is three 1.5V batteries and the lights will still function less bright with only two of the batteries.  Not completely sure if they will work with what I have in mind but definitely a nice little find.

Batman! A Tale of Metal and Dice

Lately, I’ve gotten back into comics and I jumped all-in on a big crossover event in the DC universe, Dark Nights Metal.  It’s a massive, crazy story line that has pushed me into a lot of different comic titles as the events spill across the DC Universe.  I haven’t been in a comic book store in twenty years or more so its been interesting coming back into that hobby.  I don’t expect to stay in the hobby full time but it’s nice to jump in on occasion.

All this Batman reading has me pushing the Batman Minis Game again and I was lucky enough to get in game this weekend.  My friend and I set up a 200 point game with the same Batman and Joker crews we had last time but this time we were able to complete the crews with funding and equipment and used a full scenario with objectives.

I picked out the Scenario 1: Arrival from the new v2 Rulebook.  This scenario has each player starting in the corners with the objectives in the center to force more confrontations.

I like that not only does the scenario force interaction by putting everything in the center, it also wants to push us to get there quickly by giving players a bonus if they can be the first to control their objective.

We started off in our respective corners and I won initiative, electing Batman’s crew to start.

Gordon and Batman started as far to the front of their deployment zone as possible.

While Fat Cop (I don’t remember his card name) started Undercover and was able to deploy within 4 inches of the first objective.  I knew Batman would be able to Batclaw out to the objectives quickly but I hadn’t counted on Fat Cop getting the jump on my as well.

Luckily, I also decided to upgrade for the scenario and chose for Eyeball Man to have a Grappling Gun to compete with Batman’s speed.  The Grappling Gun is pretty great on Eyeball Man since, unlike most other guns, his gun has Assault 3 which allows him to still get 3 shots off while he moves, instead of the normal 1 shot after moving.

Gordon and Batman push in to the map, taking cover behind some debris.  Fat Cop easily moves in and grabs the first objective: Loot.  Apparently the salaries are pretty weak on the GCPD.

Not to lose out on the first VP opportunity, Eyeball Man Grappling Hooks out to the Ammo Crate objective (with the help of Joker’s Inspire and Follow Me! abilities).  This lines him up for a good shot on Fat Cop.

Eyeball Man sprays Fat Cop but the trees and benches get in the way taking Ping! from my hits.  Next time, Fat Cop. Next time.

The Brave and the Bold get the initiative and elect to go first.  Batman uses his Batclaw to swing into position and Sneak Attack Eyeball Man.  This usually always ends with Eyeball Man out cold but the dice are just bad enough to keep him up with one health left.

Almost unconscious, Eyeball backs into the park’s corner with my Riddle objective and sprays Batman.

I’m able to hit Batman with all three shots and get two hits through his Batarmor (blue dice on the left needs 5+).

I’m able to land 2 wounds on Batman and get a great collateral damage roll knocks Batman on his ass.  Barely conscious, Eyeball Man looks down to the Riddler’s objective…

And totally rocks the riddle. Riddler must be slacking for a barely conscious thug to solve his trick so easily. I see the MVP award may have already found its candidate.

Well. Almost.  Gordon is able to move up and with a single shot, take down Eyeball Man.

With Batman down, I had a decision to make, engage in melee or keep shooting.  I don’t get any advantage against him prone with my guns but I do a lot more damage.  Or should have.  Both Panda Man and Joker unload on Batman and I get only one of the six shots to take thanks to poor attack rolls and average Batarmor rolls.

Joker and Panda Man then get up to control the Ammo Crate and restock on ammo.  I get to start the next round and unload again on a knocked down Batman (electing to shoot instead of engage in melee).  Full auto on all my guns and nothing.  Average attack rolls should have seen at least a few more hits on Batman but he dominates the Batarmor rolls and gets by without taking a single damage. Brutal.

Batman is able to get up and regroup with Gordon and Fat Cop.  Gordon put a hit on Panda Man.  The round closes and my initial point lead has worn off and now the Brave and the Bold are scoring 4 VPs a round to my 3 VPs (not to mention the KO bonus for dropping Eyeball Man).

Eyeball Man recovers but the Brave and the Bold start the round.

And promptly drops Panda Man. I totally misread this round and thought Batman was going to start with an attack on Panda Man to remove his nasty assault rifle so I put most of Joker’s action counters on attack, defense, and special.  The special was to make sure Gordon couldn’t use his special ability to heal Batman but I totally forgot that Gordon could just unload on Panda Man instead.  I was stuck with not a lot of options for Joker because I didn’t have enough movement.

Joker tries to take down Batman once again but the Batarmor just doesn’t quit and blocks all my hits again.  Augggghh… Batman promptly chucks a few batlings to smack Eyeball Man and knock him out again.  Round 4 ends with both crews tied on VPs and my goons are sleeping like overpaid babies.

Luck shines on me with not one but both of my henchmen wake up again and I’m have initiative for the last round.  Panda Man tries to play the same damn song he’s played all night but this time, it was one too many Batarmor saves and Batman gets thoroughly shredded but the assault rifle.

Yeah, red beads are bad.  This nets me a game ending 6 VPs.  We finish out the turn with Gordon doing what he can trying to get some VPs via one of my riddle objectives (but fails).

Eyeball Man decides to full auto on Fat Cop to make for a nice bookend.  This time all shots connect and, true to every game we’ve played, Fat Cop dies.

Joker takes a last pot shot at Gordon and knocks him down (but not out).  A fitting end to a brutal last round.  The VPs show a pretty lopsided finale but had Batman’s Armor held or my rolls went cold again, this would easily be a loss for team Joker.

Joker Crew: 28 victory points

Brave and the Bold: 17 victory points

 

I think we’re finally getting into the groove on the rules for this game (with a healthy dose of custom cheat sheets).  We both are feeling that Gordon really not the right character for Batman in this crew.  I imagine he’ll get swapped out and some ranged threats added in.

Also, I think we also went experimenting a bit to flex the strengths of the various crews.  We kind of pot committed on standing ground where I focused solely on taking Batman down and Batman focused on staying in the fight to see how hearty he could be.  He totally proved his worth but I should have taken out Fat Cop and Gordon early instead and worked on Batman at the end while maintaining a VP lead.

I think Batman could have tried to engage both Joker and Panda Man at the same time, forcing them to always move and shoot (reducing their shots down to one for each attack action, instead getting their full rate of three per attack).   In any case, it was a great game with a lot of ups and down and wild luck helping Batman survive way longer than he should but also my henchmen regaining consciousness at just the right time throughout the match and getting lucky in the early game.

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