When I first got into the hobby of board games, I had virtually no game collection to speak of and so I was more into the “playing and acquiring of new games” aspect of the hobby. Too busy with the enjoyment of experiencing all the classics for the first time, I had no real reason to pimp out games. I had played role-playing games (RPGs) and Magic: the Gathering growing up but never did any modifications. RPGs always had a heavy modification component as you built your own adventures or painted minis but it seemed to be so tied into the overall game experience that it was hard to have one without the other. In a way, an RPG background helped me most with future pimping projects.
The first game I ever knowingly pimped out was Last Night on Earth. This zombie apocalypse game from Flying Frog Productions was a favorite of mine and the more my game group played it, the more the theme and atmosphere really came through and engaged us. I was researching more information on the game on Boardgamegeek.com (BGG) and saw a lot of players painting up their miniatures. I am by no means a professional minis painter so, while the images looked great, I largely skipped them and looked deeper into the BGG entry for interesting discussions on the game. That all changed when I came across David Bezio’s painting article on BoardGameGeek.
In David’s article, it detailed how, with a little bit of time, some cheap paints and equipment, any schmuck (like me) could paint up some average “board game” quality minis. I was a little skeptical at first as I’ve seen what some professional painters considered “easy” and knew the results they would eventually show would amount to some Herculean paint effort on my part to achieve a similar result. This article, however, was not like previous entries I’d seen. The author wasn’t joking. This technique was easy. It did look great on the tabletop. It really opened the door on what I thought I was capable of. Read the article if you get a chance because all my painting really started with his advice and it really is as easy as he describes.
After reading his painting article, I set out and picked up some cheap acrylic hobby paints, a primer, some cheap brushes, and a small tin of MinWax for dipping. I worked on the base game’s minis over a few weekends as time allowed and was able to knock out the project in a couple of weekends, usually painting during a baseball game or during the missus’ favorite TV show. The results were great, the project was easy, and it was a big hit with my game group. I’ll go over what I’ve done to Last Night on Earth in more detail later when I showcase it in a post but I wanted to discuss how some well developed post on some guy’s attempt to better his gaming experience caused me and likely a whole host of other gamers to follow in his footsteps. Instantly, this caused me to look at the board gaming hobby in a whole new light.