Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Tag: cmon

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 1

Thursday opened the Con with its typical crush of attendees all vying for position at the main entrances.

While I didn’t really notice a difference in attendance on Wednesday, I surely felt it Thursday. Gen Con personnel did a good job of keeping things safe and moving so even with the larger crowds, the transition into the exhibition hall was smooth and quick.

Inside, I had a goal of grabbing the new dexterity game Flip Ships (art by my favorite game artist Kwanchai Moriya).  Unfortunately, Renegade Studios also announced a new game in the Clank! line so their booth was packed. With the aid of a friendly attendee couple, we found a way through the disorganized chaos of that booth and paid for our haul and got out of there.

I had about 30 minutes before my first event so I made my way to the Hawk Wargames booth to chat about the new Dropzone 2.0 rules.  I was not disappointed as the demoers were pretty knowledgeable, being avid fans of the original game. I have a summary of the 2.0 rules here. Please note that these rules were what I heard/understood and are subject to change.

Soon after, I was off to my first event of the Con: an X-wing variant “The Heroes of the Alturi Cluster.”  This variant automates the Imperial ships and turns the overarching flow of the game into a full co-op with all players (up to 6) piloting one ship.

I chose a B-wing to pilot and we were off to stop a group of Imperial interceptors from attacking a Rebel transport.  The system worked out very well and I plan on printing out the campaign for our group.

The system allows for pilots to gain experience and buy upgrades and skill so it also contains some light advancement rules.  Very fun and I can’t wait to get a group together to play through it.

The event ended a little earlier so I snagged a quick lunch and jumped back into the dealer hall to scout out some games that were on my demo list.  I went to the Ares Games booth to see about Hunt for the Ring but they didn’t have anything except some minis in a case (lame).

Next, it was over to Flying Frog Productions to see about their new 10th Anniversary Edition of Last Night on Earth.

The new bits look good but are a little cheap.  The new heroes sound fun and if they offered an upgrade pack for the fans that helped get them to 10 years, I’d be in but forcing me to rebuy all the content I already have gets a big “no thanks.”   From talking with the guys at the booth, they sound like they want to do the same thing for A Touch of Evil.  If that is the case and they won’t also release an upgrade pack, I can just scratch that publisher off the list of ones to ever check out again.

I popped over to the Catalyst booth with little hope for info on some of The Duke expansions that have sat around on pre-order for almost a year now.  Catalyst, as expected, was too busy dealing with their big Gen Con release, Dragonfire, to have info on those expansions but lo! What was this??

In their display case, a new Duke core set was shown (with some uninspiring art).  I went in search for more answers and it sounds like they are hoping to have this through in a year (don’t hold your breathe with this publisher).  After that, they want to work on a Feudal Japanese themed version.  That really isn’t news as they’ve been dangling that carrot in from of The Duke fans for years now.  In any case, it was surprising to see a new edition in the works with some new and out of print bits included.

So you may ask, ‘why does Catalyst get a free pass with a version re-issue and Flying Frog doesn’t?’ and it is simple economics.   I have a lot of Last Night on Earth and having another copy of all those components will be pretty useless.  Another copy of The Duke, however, can be used in a travel version I’m making and includes the OOP Arthurian Legends expansion that is impossible to find for anything but insane price points.  Also the price for this new Duke set will likely be on par with the original unlike the 10th anniversary Last Night on Earth set which is retailing for $100.

At this point, it was time to head over to my next event, A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game.

This is CMON Limited’s new tabletop miniatures game that just finished wrapping up on Kickstarter. I’m really not sure what to think of what CMON was doing with this product.  They ended the Kickstarter campaign right before Gen Con, missing an opportunity to show the game off to a lot of people and gain more backers and base support.  I did back the campaign but wanted to try it out before I committed to any more in their eventual pledge manager.  Luckily, I was able to get into a demo and get some hands on experience.

I’d read the work-in-progress rules posted to the campaign so I was pretty familiar with the basics but it’s always better to see the game in action.  Unfortunately, CMON overreached on this whole product and didn’t have enough production copies on hand to run the full event that was listed in the program.  Instead of a full game, they only had enough models to play two units vs two units.  Some demo is better than no demo and they compensated us for the change in event layout with the remainder of the San Diego Comic Con exclusive promo.

That is a nice little bonus. It was unfortunate that I wouldn’t get to try out a full game but planning for this event has to happen months in advance and if any little issue comes up, it can cause things like this to happen.

Back to the demo at hand.  It was good to see and feel how the units work and interact but we hit another snag in trying to learn this game as the person running the demo (a volunteer for CMON) had zero experience with any tabletop game and it seemed like a passing understanding of the game he was demoing.  I would like to say that we just got unlucky but I had other friends demo this at the CMON booth later and they had the same experience.  It also didn’t help that, as a “feature,” CMON hired a live violinist to play Game of Thrones themes with amps pointed directly at the play tables. Not the best idea for your demoers to shout the rules at you over live music.  The musician was good but it was just another misstep in a series of missteps for this products first debut at the biggest gaming Con in North America.  I asked for them to turn it down or turn the speakers to point somewhere else but was told they couldn’t.

In the actual demo, after wading through a lot of missing rules, misunderstandings and incompetent instruction, we played a “game” with me running the Starks and my friend taking the Lannisters.  Whatever game we ended up playing was interesting but I have zero confidence that I actually played the game listed on the box.  I was able to surround Jaime Lannister’s unit and beat the hell out of him but I can’t claim that it was due to any strategic prowess on my part. Rather, it was due more to the fact that the demoer would let my friend know what he could have done instead, usually using a rule never explained or mentioned.

The miniatures are great and there seems to be an interesting game on that table if I cobble the basic experience I had playing with the physical models and combine it with the beta rulebook posted but I can’t say if I’m really going to go in on this game as there is too much unknown at this point.  I was glad to see some of the unit stats got revised between the start of the KS campaign and the demo as it looked a little unbalanced with the few units they showed so far. Things didn’t go as swingy as I thought but again, who knows what game I was actually playing.  I tried to get clarification from the person running the demo group but all I got was that some of the rules were modified to fit the extremely small game we played as a demo. Ah well.  At least the minis look cool. Maybe I’ll pick it up and pillage it for Kings of War.

While at the display case, I also checked out their next Kickstarter, Hate. I have no info on this game but the resin miniatures were fantastic looking.

Moving on from the debacle that was Song of Ice and Fire, I had a few more minutes to check out the hall before it closed and remembered that I saw some little teaser about some interesting 15mm miniature game coming out called Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. The company was new so it got shunted into the very corner of the exhibition hall so I trekked over and saw a pretty amazing scene.

My jaw dropped when I saw that display case.  I didn’t have time to really check it out but I immediately cancelled my first event on Friday to make sure that as soon as the dealer hall opened, I would bee-line to this booth and drop in for a demo to see if it played as cool as it looked.

With the dealer hall closing, we headed out to dinner and then hit the They Might Be Giants concert.

I’d always wanted to see this group live and they were ok but I think it had just been too long since I listened to them and that style of music just isn’t as interesting anymore.

We left the concert before the encore and headed to the BGG Hot Game room.  The game room didn’t seem as well stocked as last year or maybe the offerings were just weaker but we got in a good intro game to Flamme Rouge.

Flamme Rouge is a racing game with a customized track.  You move by playing cards from your two rider decks.  Each player has the same decks but you’ll be adding low “exhaustion” cards to your deck if you stay out in the lead.

By mid-game, I’d broken away from the pack and we all left our friend Colton (black riders) in the dust.  I figured my lead rider would burn out and my second rider to coast in using the blue riders as his wind shield. But apparently Colton had other plans and was just biding his time.  We got all bunched up on a hill and then Colton started subtly making his move.

and then used his sprinter to blast ahead right at the very end, narrowly winning the race.  The game was shocking and quite fun.  I’d definitely play it again but still feel like CFR delivers the better racing game.

We finished out the evening and day 1 with Kingdomino, the Spiel des Jahres winner.  I’m not sure what happened but I totally misheard the rules and played totally wrong, losing horribly.  This was surprising because the game is really simple.  I guess I was more tired than I thought or had a little too much bourbon during Flamme Rouge…

Welcome to 2017!

I hope your 2016 went well.  I’m pretty happy with how it went on the gaming front this year and so this will be one of those obligatory “review” posts.  This was a “do or die” year for this blog as I had to decide if I wanted to pursue this passion or give it up due to lack of time and commitment.  As you can tell, I chose to keep it going and I’m really glad I did.  I’ve had the chance to meet some great people and the research that goes into each post is really showing me that pimping games has really come into its own in this hobby.

In 2016, I showed off some of my favorite pimped games like my Thunder Road Advanced and the Rum and Bones “travel” set, the latter of which was featured in a CMON facebook post earlier in the year.  I also finally posted my Assault on Hoth set, which has been a work in progress over the last few years (thanks to Rogue One for galvanizing me to finish up).

I also did a lot of work on Pretzel Games’ Flick ’em Up!, messing with mustaches, slow motion video, and an Adrenaline/Flick ’em Up! crossover variant.  The video was especially fun to shoot and edit as it was something I haven’t done since college.  It was even popular enough to make BoardGameGeek’s “The Geek Weekly” in both their regular weekly installment and their year end wrap-up.

Ok, enough about the past. I’m really excited for 2017 as I have a lot of ideas rattling around that I want to get going and post about.  Some of them are completing languishing projects, like a globe-using game of Risk, while others are brand new that I’ve been hoping to start for a while now.

Christmas was great this year and the family got together to get me a very fun pimping toy, a low-end CNC milling machine:

I’m really excited about this machine and so you can definitely expect posts on this adventure (or possibly mis-adventure) over the next month or so.

I’ve enjoyed keeping my posts to about once a week but I plan to try to post more in 2017 and I may try out an ongoing series as well.  In case you missed it, Pimp My Board game is also on Facebook  and as a secondary blog feed on BoardGameGeek as well.

Thank you all for reading and commenting over the last year.  It’s always encouraging and I’m really excited bring you even more in the coming year.

10 monkeys with 2 and a side of bourbon

Cheers!

Gen Con 2016, Part 2

If you missed my part 1 post, you can see it here.

Gen Con 2016’s Thursday was coming to a close, or at least the dealer hall was as it was getting into the late afternoon.  Fortunately for me, my day was finally getting into full gear.  It was Blood Rage Tournament time!  This was a series of two Blood Rage games and the top 4 total scores would play a final game for the tournament prize: a full Kickstarter Exclusives set.  Pretty choice swag if I could get it.

Competitive board gaming is kind of funny in that it takes people who likely do very well at the game in their own private circles, gives them an incentive to really do well, and turn them into unfun rules-lawyery robo-gamers.  I have to fight that tendency with a big stick as I can get ultra-competitive.  Some gamers don’t fight it and our first Blood Rage game went almost 2.5 hours.  The tourney was only supposed to run for 4 hours and I had an event following so unless I did well enough in my games to wait for the top cut to announce, I was going to have to bail.

My first game was pretty crappy and I was fourth but had a pretty decent score so I stayed with it to play in the next round.  I ended up scoring very well in the second round but after watching the scores of some of the other tables, I quickly determined I was going to be in about 6th place so I bailed and headed to my next event.

I haven’t played X-wing in awhile and someone decided to run a free-for-all based on the Hunger Games concept so I was in.  Unfortunately, I was a little late so all they had left for me was a loaded down Lambda Shuttle.  More unfortunate was they loaded it down with random upgrades and so it was like a blinged out space cow. I realized I needed to make some friends fast so I worked with the two guys to my left and we created a loose alliance.

The triple alliance of Shuttle, YT-2400, and Firespray worked out well in the beginning but their maneuverability left me in the dust as I wandered the space corners alone trying to turn the cow back into the fight.  I finally made it into a scrum and picked off a random TIE Fighter.  I was holding my own but most people just got out of my way and blasted at each other, realizing they could always outmaneuver me later and finish me off. My YT-2400 friend was getting into trouble with a decked out Firespray chasing him so I told him to lead him into my killzone.  It worked and our combined fire took him down.

I now had 2 kills on my Shuttle.  Mama space cow will be so proud.

while not the actual model I used, this is what I envisioned during the match…

Some how I picked up some Autothrusters and Opportunist so I started to be a threat.  I couldn’t turn or aim but that didn’t stop fools from accidentally landing within range 1 of me and watching helplessly as I rained 5 dice with a full compliment of dice mitigation options at my disposal. The results were rarely pretty. Finally, I got hung up on some asteroids as one of the big YT-1200s started harassing me.  The game whittled down to 5 ships, two YT-1200s that were almost untouched, and then the Three Amigos: me, and my YT-2400 and Firespray buddies. We saw public enemy #1-  Lando’s YT-1200, flying Lando crew, Palpatine, a Rebel Captive, and a whole host of other nonsense, attack the other YT-1200 so we pounced and helped finish him off.  This left Lando in a bad arc of all three of us chasing her down.  Even with all our firepower we had a hard time cracking her and she destroyed our Firespray pal.  I kept harassing her and stressing her out (with a Rebel Captive of my own) and we got her down to 1 hull.  I had 3 remaining and YT-2400 had 2 left.  She Lando’d with two focus, shot and obliterated me but then barely missed evading YT-2400’s last shot. Victory was “ours.” It was a very fun event and I was proud to take my Space Cow all the way to top 3.

Reese and I hit the Yard House for some celebrations and then called it a night. Though we couldn’t help stopping at the new “arcade” on the way back to the hotel.

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Friday was my most open day and my planned “dealer hall day” so I got in at 10am when the doors opened and started browsing.

I didn’t have time on Thursday to actually look at the Hawk booth so I corrected that error right away.

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They had some great painted displays of their upcoming Dropfleet Commander game.

Next, I stopped by the CMON booth and saw the new Rising Sun game that will be coming soon.  This is supposed to be the “spiritual successor” of Blood Rage so I’ll keep my eyes open for this one.

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There were a few other games in the CMON case but Rising Sun was the big announcement they had at the Con.  After hanging around the CMON booth and picking up some Blood Rage KS exclusive via their “coupon” tickets, I headed over to this weird robot battle game.

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This is GKR – Giant Killer Robots: Heavy Hitters from Weta Workshops (the same Weta that did all the CG in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies).  Cryptozoic is attached (likely as a distributor) but there are some big plans for this game.  Giant robot stomp-a-thons seem to be the next big thing as I think I’ve seen at least three high profile games of this theme slated to come out soon.

The GKR booth was pretty slick and they ran a well-manage queue system to demo the game.  It didn’t take long and soon I was on the field controlling my mega mech of doom.  Two playable factions in the demo but the game plans for 4 factions total.  Each faction consists of a big mech (the Heavy Hitter) and some smaller drones. These small drones act as support and give the game a little more depth beyond just smashing each other.

The game is card driven where the card deck is also your main mech’s life.  If you run out of cards, you lose.  Combat is initiated using the cards (I play card X to shoot my big gun) and then dice to determine hits and damage.  The game is pretty quick and seemed swingy but I had fun.  There is an alternate way to win by controlling enough buildings on the map so it doesn’t have to be all smash-n-smash.

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The minis are pretty amazing.  Highly detailed and really large, almost toy-sized, making them feel imposing on the puny city landscape. I asked if they will be pre-painted like the models I was playing with (heavy hitter prepainted, drones in solid color) and the demo guy said he wasn’t sure but he thought they had to be because one big feature of the game that we weren’t using was that it will have AR. AR as in Augmented Reality.

my weak and smoking mech plays keep away from the big blue opponent

my weak and smoking mech plays keep away from the big blue baddy

Basically those markings on the mech will allow some App tech to put virtual visual enhancements to the game.  Fire your big rocket barrage? The App will animate the scene overtop your real-time camera view, or at least that is how I was understanding it.  Sounds really cool and very “toy” like.  Kickstarter is supposedly coming soon and so I will definitely check it out.

Fantasy Flight did their big report on Friday so I jumped over to their display to see what all the fuss was about.

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I imagine I look this cool when I play horn

They announced a new minis line set in their Terrinoth universe.  I’m not a fan of Warhammer-style minis games so this is an easy pass for me.  Minis look really nice though.

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With only a few minutes left before my Friday events start up, I ran over to Firelock Games and checked out the Kickstarter I almost backed: Blood & Plunder.

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This is a historical Age of Sail minis game in 28mm (or thereabouts). Great detail and a crazy low entry price (for minis games) that include resin ships.  The combat can account for a lot of scenarios including ship to ship, ship to land, and land battles. I look forward to seeing more.

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The main reason I didn’t back was because I didn’t want to be responsible for buying two factions and trying to convince my friends to play.  One look at the board, the minis, and the pricing and Gen Con (and Firelock Games) did the convincing for me.

I’ll continue with the end of Friday and the thrills that were Saturday in my next post.

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