Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

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MFin’ MFRs

I ran through some more minis painting this week.  I got the bug so I’m going to strike while the iron is hot.  It was odd though as everything seemed to work really well or be fraught with disaster.  A very “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” situation.

I started off early this week with a little more work on my Optimus Prime Dropzone model.

I taped off the trailer with some painters blue tape.  I had already painted this up weeks ago and then sealed it as I notice even painters tape will take off the cheap acrylic paint I use.   This taping worked perfect. Nice crisp lines and the matte seal that I used insured that none of the previous paint job was compromised.

Then WTF. Same tape, same session but almost the complete opposite result.  I pressed the tape in with a lot of pressure on both sides before I sprayed but this side just decided to completely fail.  You had one job!  Ah well. I have some silver paint that I’ll be using to fix this side up.

On a more productive note, I started up my Marine Force Recon squad.  I plan on using these bad boys in my next Dropzone game later this month so I wanted to get a jump on the painting train as I tend to have to pull some eleventh hour nights getting them done during the week of the game.

The MFR soldiers are probably the best 10mm soldiers I’ve had to paint for Dropzone.  I don’t know if it was the grey primer and the fact that I started by washing them in an undiluted dark wash (Nuln Oil from GW) but I swear the sculpts are top notch.  When I’ve gone to paint my Resistance faction soldiers, they tend to be pretty light on detail at best and totally unrecognizable at worst.  These models actually come from the UCM faction, the Resistance faction just borrows them and makes them better.

These soldiers are pretty useless without a transport so I picked up their standard short bus, the Raven A (also a model my faction co-opts from the UCM faction but makes them better in every way possible).

These guys are sporting my standard Resistance faction themed blood stripe (Yay Beer!).  I thought I’d be all smart and prime these guys grey first, then wash in undiluted Nuln Oil, and finally seal with a matte spray since I knew I was going to mask tape the models to get straight blood stripe lines (see! they work here…).  But. I decided to add a little more to the color scheme and accented with a dark grey.  This side didn’t seal so in typical fashion, the blue painter’s tape I used lifted up my new grey accent paint and I had to redo some work.

That dark grey worked well on the first one but the second one decided it had had enough of this mortal coil and totally jumped out of my hands to land smack dab in the middle of my grey paint load.  I don’t even know if I could duplicate the maneuver if I tried but it swan-dived full on into that sucker and so I had to change my scheme a little to compensate.

I originally wanted both to sport the dark grey accent at the wing line like the left model but fate decided that they would not be fraternal instead of identical twins. It could have been much worse and in the end, I think it works out well as now I can tell them apart.

I thought this would complete my next army list but after playing around with the builder, I found I have at least one more model to finish up before the campaign starts up again. Luckily, it is an easy hovercraft transport that I’ve already painted a few of and should make for a quick work session.

Crunch Time

This week starts the last five weeks of the year and looking at my 6 x 6 Challenge list, things are looking pretty tight. I have five more games to get in to complete my challenge with Walking Dead dragging its heels with the least games played. Sad as I thought it would be one of the easiest to complete but I got a bit sidetracked. Since the remaining items seem pretty straight forward, I’ll be focusing a bit more energy to get Walking Dead to the table to try to finish out my Chapters series and mess around with some of the new missions in the later rule books.

After Walking Dead, I will have a few stragglers with one game left each.  Championship Formula Racing should be easy to get a game in again and I plan to do that this week.  Dropzone Commander has it’s last game already set up on the calendar as the local group completes another game in their ongoing Winter Campaign.  That leaves Batman Miniature Game.

We’ve been moving right along with our BMG sessions and so I’d like to try to hit one of the campaign scenarios in the Suicide Squad starter. That will be a bit ambitious as all of those scenarios require the Suicide Squad team, which I haven’t started painting yet (and I’d really like to play with painted models).  Probably a long shot to completing that option but what is life without lofty goals? I can always fall back on our regular 200 point game if need be.

I did figure out that I needed a better storage solution as the pink plastic tray that came in the Suicide Squad starter was pretty useless. Two pluck foam trays later and this great box is reborn as my minis holder.  And just look at all that room for expansion…

In other news, we started playing Evolution Climate from North Star Games a little bit and my friend reminded me of a goal of his to add a little more theme to the game.  The game represents the management of new species that evolve to gain the most food every round and the game includes these nondescript trays to hold your species’ stats.

We always wanted to give a little more info or theme about these species we were creating so we thought about maybe cards or different tray designs.  Then I picked up a promo set at Gen Con and thought we had the solution.

While these new custom trays are much better visually than the standard trays, other players found them difficult to determine key things like my species’ population or body size.  In addition, there are only six of them in three separate designs.  That means not enough trays to go around and the variety is limited to the three dinosaur shapes printed.

We started brainstorming and thought maybe cards that you randomly draw from a custom deck could work. These cards would have descriptive names of some animal on them. This could then help you imagine that you were creating some type of new bat or caribou or whatamaroo.  I was thinking about this a bit more and while at Michael’s, I found a nice alternative.

These little plastic creatures (on the upper left of the tray) come in assorted packs of differing shapes and are relatively inexpensive (especially if you buy them over the course of a few weeks with the store’s weekly 40% off coupon).  I think this can give the species a little bit of theme while staying out of the way of the game mechanics.  I’ll have to get this to the table and see if it works.

Salvage Work

I hope everyone had a great a great Thanksgiving if you were in the US. Hope your post holiday plans go well and good luck if you’re braving the crowds for Black Friday.

Even though my attempt at a base for Dropzone Commander buildings didn’t quite turn out, I saw potential in one of the tests and decided to move forward with it to help fine tune the prototype.

I pulled the stock from the CNC base and the inner milling looks like it was alright to work with.  Unfortunately, it was off in another area, the depth of the cut.

I had the stock size wrong and the bit didn’t cut all the way through the stock. Not a big deal but I’ll need to make that correction in the next version as I don’t want to burn a lot of time trimming these out. This is what I get for not using my calipers to correctly size the stock.

After cutting out the center bases and smoothing out the side, I was able to out the building model on the base and see just how off it was.

It turned out that the base was about 1mm too big all around.  I marked the new size and used a razor saw to cut it down to size.

After the cuts , I sanded the rough bits out to help keep the sides even and smooth then tested the building to make sure it fit and wasn’t too loose.

It ended up working well so I ran the measurements again with my calipers and fixed the dimensions on my CAD file. While I was in the file, I looked at the G-code, which is the code file that the CNC program uses to direct the milling operation, and saw why the operations where doing some weird things. It turns out I forgot to turn the homing setting off so the machine was try to zero out its position at the start and end of the project. Since I was too lazy to install my homing switch, the machine doesn’t know what to do with those instructions and just runs to ground.

With that cleared up, I reset the CAM operations to hopefully fix some of getting other errors I was seeing and not take so long. Soone I’ll be ready to try this set up again and crank out multiple copies for my set.


Batman and a Sweet Revenge

My impromptu painting session culminated in another Batman Miniature Game earlier last week. I kept the same crew as last time and my friend swapped out Comissioner Gordon for the SWAT Alpha member that I just painted up and Agent Ron.

I still had the last map set up so we decided to keep it and switch scenarios. This time we chose the Skirmish scenario which only cares about killing opponent figures. You still have objectives but the scenario doesn’t favor them any more than normal.

Per the scenario rules, we set up on opposite sides of the board. I ended up placing my easy objectives close to the right side of the board (loot and riddle objectives) and my ammo crate in the center just outside of the central lamp post.

There are some nice synergies with Joker and his henchmen if they are close enough as he can burn a few special counters and almost double his henchmen’s movement. With that done, Joker ran over and picked up some of my loot. Agent Ron went sewer diving and came up over on my side but hidden behind a building.

With Eyeball Man’s excessive movement now, he ran out to my first riddle objective and promptly failed.

Fat Cop ran back to his board edge knowing all to well what happens when Eyeball Man is too close.  I ran Panda Man out to the middle to make a play for the other objectives next round.

The round ends with Batman cautiously moving in and Alpha aggressively pushing into the center, getting just shy of the lucrative ammo crate but is within 8″ of Eyeball Man (triggering his “shooter” ability to ignore Ping! rolls). Being so close to the ammo crate, Alpha isn’t worried about running out of ammo so he pops off a round at Eyeball Man only to whiff and roll a 1.

I score one VP for Joker’s loot objective and the first round of scoring is complete.

I get to lead off the second round and decide to have Panda Man open up on Alpha. I can’t leave Alpha there as he is too deadly next to that ammo crate and a bit of a tank with a bulletproof vest. If I can get two hits off, I can take Alpha down. I end up with all three shots hitting but due to the intervening tree cover, Alpha negates two of them with his Ping! roll and comes away with some nasty wounds but still up.

Alpha responds in kind and unloads on Panda Man. He also lands all 3 shots, ignoring Ping! but I luck out and he whiffs one of the damage rolls. It still hurts and Panda Man is down to one wound remaining.

Eyeball Man then sprays five shots at Alpha but bad rolls on my part only get one wound in I need two to drop him. I do get a match on my collateral die so it knocks Alpha down. Eyeball Man then swings over to my ammo crate to reload and control that objective.

Batman swoops in only to go for one of his riddle objectives and detectives his  maxing the points. We ended up grabbing the wrong cheat sheet so didn’t award the right VPs for these objectives so Batman ends up short changed with 3 VPs instead of 4.

Joker moves in to finish off Alpha but whiffs.

Fat Cop and Agent Ron hover around the back waiting to see if they should engage or cower. Agent Ron does take the opportunity to grab his cash loot (GCPD never did pay enough).

The round ends with 6 VPs for me (Panda Man was able to score off my second riddle token) and 7 VPs for Batman.

Alpha stands back up but rolls horribly and only gets a few scratches on Eyeball Man.  Joker then goes and obliterates Alpha. With no cover to stop me and some good rolls, I finally removed that thorn.  I then decide to go for a pretty risky move.

I know Batman is going to go next and will swing over to Eyeball Man and beat him down. This always happens and with Panda almost gone, I don’t think I can afford to lose Eyeball Man without even taking a turn. So my gambit is to run Joker up to be bait for Batman’s beat down. I should survive and have a good shot at going first next round to retreat. To guarantee that Batman goes after me, I use Joker’s intimidate skill to negate Batman from using any special counters (so no Batclawing over to Eyeball Man and taking him out).

Hahaha! It worked!


Batman doesn’t knock me out but does bring me close and now Fat Cop smells blood in the water. Lucky for me, his tubby ass fails to damage me further even though I’m prone and getting double teamed.

Eyeball Man gets to prove that the gambit was worth it. He does ok and gets in a few wounds on Fat Cop.

Agent Ron can’t let Fat Cop show him up so he comes around the corner and lands a shot in on Eyeball Man.

After this crazy round I’m back up with 11 VPs to Batman’s 8.

Unfortunately, Joker fails to recover any stun markers inbetween rounds and I lose out on the critical initiative round.  I load up everything Joker has on defense and hope it’s enough to survive.

Batman starts and tries to pummel Joker down. His rolls are pretty bad and my defense rolls are pretty good but Joker falls by the slimmest of margins with only one hit landing damage. That one hit is enough to to knock him out.  Due to a weird and dumb rules interaction, Joker doesn’t get removed when Batman tries to arrest him so we move on (we’ll later decide that the RAW doesn’t make sense and will rule that Survivor doesn’t stop Arrest).

Time for Stan the Man to save the day. If I take out Fat Cop, not only does continue my routine slaying of the poor slob, but there won’t be anyone to arrest Joker and there might still be a chance for Joker wake up and slither into the sewer grate nearby.

Eyeball Man shoots and scores 4 hits on Fat Cop. There is cover but averages should see him negate only half of the hits and even if I whiff the damage rolls, it’ll still be lights out for Fat Cop.  Instead, Stan proves incompetent and my friend negates ALL my hits with an epic Ping! roll. Stupid lamppost!

Fat Cop can’t believe his own luck and happily slams the cuffs on the Joker (showing Batman how to get it done) for the arrest of a lifetime.

The next round just see things completely fall apart. Agent Ron drops his loot to run in and beat down Eyeball Man with a quick follow up arrest.

Batman easily runs down Panda Man.

Whoops his ass and arrests him too.

The game ends with a crushingly complete rout of my crew.  Final score:

Joker crew: 14 VPs

Brave and the Bold: 27 VPs

Pretty interesting game all around. The Ping! rolls destroyed me and really showcased how I need to take more care in my positioning. My gambit ended up failing but it was interesting to try out. Even though we likely messed up the ruling when Batman tried to arrest Joker, it ended up making for the better story with Fat Cop finally coming out on top, over the Joker no less. I learned recently that there is a Knight Models tournament promo card floating around that is the promotion of Fat Cop to Sgt. Winslow. That seems all too fitting for the events of this game so I honor of his epic victory, I will now respectfully refer to him as Winslow, or sergeant Winslow depending on which card is in play.

Impromptu Painting

We got lucky this week and had a rare opportunity to get in some mid-week gaming and with the end of the year looming, I pushed to get in another game of Batman in.  From our last game, we weren’t convinced Commissioner Gordon was a good fit for my friend’s Batman crew.  My friend didn’t have time to work up an alternate model so I took advantage of the good weather to work up one of my SWAT henchmen.

I didn’t have a lot of time but luckily I had him mostly put together.  I just needed to fill in the gaps in his base and then he’d be ready to prime.  I got that together in the afternoon and then waited for him to dry.

Later that night, I went in and block painted him.  I did a few light highlights (I really don’t do much to my models anyway as I let the wash knock it down and fill in the shadows) and he was done in less than 90 minutes.

After letting him dry overnight, I applied a wash and then sealed him up.  I’ll still want to get some decals or something for the SWAT lettering but that can happen later. Getting this guy out and complete had me reviewing all my other Batman Miniature Game minis and I decided to burn through the rest of them to get everything prepped.

I finished assembling the rest of my Suicide Squad figures and then filled in their gaps in the base.  I’ve never liked “basing” so I go simple and move on. If these guys were resin, I’d consider going clear bases as well but being metal, that tends to not work out very well.

Katana (model up front) was a bit nasty for a Knight Model with all the extra pieces and the awkward three-point connection of her shoulders and hands.  Trying to fit that katana hold over her head never really worked so I resorted to some greenstuff to help out.  It works for tabletop but if you look close enough, it looks a little off.

After getting everything assembled, I went in and primed everyone so that I’d be able to repeat a quick painting one off night for the next model I need to sub into a crew.

Also, I had been thinking about grabbing some new Dropzone Commander models to try a new build.  Keiron’s comment on my last game pushed me to finally pull the trigger on picking up the Marine Force Recon group and their Raven dropships.

The Ravens assembled very quickly and were easy to prime up.

And I was pleasantly surprised that the MFR troops had almost no flash to deal with.  They went up very quickly.  With this and my Walking Dead, my winter painting queue is all but filled up.

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