Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Tag: evolution

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.

“FateCon” 2017 Part 2

Part 1 of my FateCon trip can be found here.  Here is the conclusion of my trip out to Fate, Texas and the gaming that lies therein.

Day 2

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past was the first game to hit the table on day 2.  This game kickstarted about the same time as Mantic’s The Walking Dead: All Out War.  I was briefly in both Kickstarter campaigns but decided to pare it down and if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know which direction I went (and have no regrets).

Shadows of the Past ready. Hob is going down!

All the same, I wanted to try TMNT out to see how they approach the “one vs many” mechanic and how all that translated to the Ninja Turtle theme.

…or not. Silly Raph falls hard.

It turned out surprisingly well.  The actions the turtles can take seemed very cinematic and I had my turtles leaping across roof tops and smashing bad guys’ faces in.  I ultimately lost the scenario but liked the shared dice mechanics and the dynamic play the game seemed to offer.

odd figure sizes. why are thugs bigger and smaller than ninjas?

even normal thugs make Shredder look a bit puny.

The only downside is the minis aren’t in scale with each other.  I think this was a mechanical decision to help identify certain “mini-boss” figures but having played quite a few minis games, scale inconsistency bothers me.

Also, the villain player roll seems much less dynamic and a bit boring.  I think the game would have been better if it too the co-operative design cues from Descent and ditched the competitive one vs many system.

this setup is wrong for 2 players, our cars should be mixed, not in discrete lines.

I’ve been on a racing game kick looking for “the” racing game to add to my collection so I asked if we could break out Thunder Alley by GMT.

victory is mine after a bad pit option from my opponent.

After some set up, we got the game going and I found it to be easy enough to understand.  There were some strategy elements that weren’t obvious so the game also has room to grow via multiple plays.  It is more team-based and relies on hand-management more than the feeling of zooming around a race track so this game, while fun, isn’t the racing game I’m looking for.

Day 2 concluded with my first play through of Adrenaline.  I tried to play this game at Gen Con but got shut out after waiting for almost 2 hours so I was excited to try it out fully.

I was glad to find that the game met my expectations and confirmed that I really want to have it my collection.  The pacing seems fast enough and even though it has those euro elements and a subtle area-control system, it still felt like my figure was beating people’s faces in and collecting their skull trophies.

Day 3

In another new game to me, we decided to set up Kings of War by Mantic Games.  My friend was experimenting with reducing the size of this rank-and-file miniatures game and so we tried out two of his armies in 15mm.

Kings of War 15mm set up and ready for battle on an intimately small map.

I love smaller miniature scales for a lot of reasons but this scale down conversion really emphasized how effective the change can be.  At 15mm, the intro 1,000 point army plays on an inviting 2′ x 3′ and all the armies will fit in small containers.

my Kings of War Dark Elves (courtesy of my host).

a hastily put together rabble of tree hugging hippy elves.

the battle can get quite pitched and those little red/blue sewing counters help keep track of the damage.

this is me routinely destroying those pathetic tree huggers. my luck was unstoppable. that and we messed up a critical rule on range units being disorganized only against melee, not other ranged units…

at the end of it all, we have the father tree left and dance around as we light his carcass aflame. it was a good day to be dark.

This intimate setting pulls you into the battle and I ended up really liking the game.  I wouldn’t want to have it at the full scale (though I’d play it if someone else had it available) as the time to create armies and terrain at that scale is pretty intensive.  Luckily Mantic also made their system flexible to use with a variety of miniatures and sizes. This means I can pull out the defunct Arcane Legions or even the original Days of Wonder Battlelore minis to make my own armies and play.

We ended the day playing a few games of Evolution, first with the Flight expansion and second with the new Climate expansion. Evolution is a pretty solid system and I liked the subtle arms race that you engage in as you try to build either better carnivores to eat your friends or better herbivores to defend yourself with.

I didn’t find either expansion really necessary unless you have played the base game to a point where you want the extra variety.


For the cost of a cheap Southwest flight, this was a great little “mini-con” to get away to.  Thanks again to my gracious hosts and all they provided. It made the trip very easy and a great experience.  I’m not sure if I can make this an annual trip but it’d be great to do it again soon.

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