Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Tag: fantasy flight games (Page 1 of 4)

War of the Ring Anniversary Edition

As I teased at the end of my post last week, my copy of War of the Ring (second edition) Anniversary Release from Ares Games arrived.  I finally got a chance to check it out and it is, in a word, glorious.

With a foot print of nearly 16″ x 20″ and over 6″ tall, this box is massive. The only box that comes to mind that might be bigger is the OGRE Kickstarter.

The box itself has some nice features. The art is classic and well done and the sides and bottom are all done in black fabric.

Underneath the sturdy top box lies a full fabric wrapped case with magnetic latches and metallic lettering and art. As a little side note, the fabric wrapped boxes removes the silly “box fart” that most larger board game boxes encounter. This box can swing in event the most sophisticated parties.

Opening the inner case reveals layered trays to hold all the components.  Each tray is divided by a thick art piece that features some great John Howe art and, on the reverse, a guide to putting all the miniatures back in their tray.

Speaking of miniatures, the main draw for this anniversary release was the pre-painted miniatures.  These miniatures turned out pretty good for pre-painted but not near the quality of Rackham’s AT-43/Confrontation line or Fantasy Flight’s X-wing.  Even the venerable Heroscape might be better in the pre-painted department.  I think it the lack of a good wash and the painting attempt was emphasizing multiple painting steps and color options over letting a good wash bring out those details.  (click on any of the above images for more detail)

You can see from these close ups of some of the random samplings of figures that, in general, the painting is fine.  Some models are easier to paint or lend themselves to this style while others are a little harder to pull of or show what can happen with an assembly line-style painting process.  Poor Gimli lost half his face up there with a paint mishap.

After the minis, we get to the print material of the set.  Namely, the player cheat sheets, the opaque bag, the slipcase of the rulebook and companion book and the massive playing board. That board takes up almost my entire 3.5′ x 4.5′ game table. The hardback rule and companion books are very well done and bound stylishly as well.  I will likely keep these out of the case for casual reading.

A nice little touch to the game board is the foil stamping of the Mount Doom area. It’s hard to see in the image but in person, it stands out.

And of course, the whole thing comes with an authenticity letter claiming my copy is 1 of 2000 printed.  Actually number 87 according to the sheet.

I wouldn’t be a game pimper if I didn’t try to pimp even the most pre-pimped game in my collection.  I made this alternative bag for the “hunt tiles” a while ago for my original second edition.  While the Anniversary Release’s bag is nice, I will probably keep using my original bag.

Last but not least, I also picked up a hand-made, painted custom mount doom for my original version some years ago.  It’s nice see that it fits well on this large game board as well.

“FateCon” 2017 Part 1

Earlier this year, I had the fortune to set up a flight to Dallas over this past holiday weekend to hang out with another gaming friend. He lives in Fate, Texas, a small burb outside of Dallas and so we decided to call this little game fest “FateCon.”

It just so happen that another event was happening nearby called the Dallas Games Marathon (DGM).  This game-centric event happens every month and for $20, you can get a pass to play games at their facility and use their library of over 1,500 games. We only decided to go for one day but found that even going one day is worth the $20 weekend admission.

Day 1

We started things off with Isle of Skye.

image from Boardgamegeek

I first played this Kennerspiel des Jahres winner for 2016 at Gen Con and found it great then.  Replaying it at DGM reminded me that I need to play it more often.  It is a mix of Carcassonne‘s tile laying and Castles of Mad King Ludwig‘s auction/price-setting mechanics.

Doom setup and ready

My friends brought Fantasy Flight’s new Doom board game but I had my eye on the Pegasus Spiele game, Porta Nigra.  I’ve been trying to get a demo or play-through of this game for awhile now but it hasn’t been at Gen Con so I dove into the rulebook while the others figured out Doom.

“learn to play” scenario complete

By the time their Doom “learn to play” scenario was done, I had Porta Nigra read and set up.

Porta Nigra early game

The game went well and has an interesting area control system to it.  Ultimately, I failed to realize the importance of the side set collection mechanic and performed pretty poorly.

Porta Nigra end game

I’d like to try it again but I don’t see a need for it in my collection though I find the tower building aspect pretty charming.

We started looking through the DGM library some more and saw AssassinCon by Mayday Games.  The idea seemed interesting as a board game version of the famous college game Assassin.

Unfortunately, the game is pretty weak.  The rules are horrible, the execution overly convoluted, and the game tends to reset itself just when things start to get interesting.

Fleet Commander fleets deployed

Next we hit another game that I couldn’t ever find a demo for: Fleet Commander.  This game seems to struggle getting across the pond as I’ve never seen it in stores or at conventions. It must have some kind of following as it has multiple expansions.

Fleet Commander end game

I think the game has some potential but the little intro game we played seemed to lack enough weight behind it to really feel competitive. It has an interesting dice mechanic where you pick from several colors to move ships, attack other ships, and put up defenses. Unfortunately, I have a plethora of two-player games and I’m heavily invested in Star Wars Armada so I’d play this game again but wouldn’t own it.

my fearsome red dragon, ready to pillage and destroy

We ended the game picking up Catalyst Games Lab’s Wrath of Dragons.  Wrath saw a lot of press at Gen Con a few years back and seemed to sell out at the Con due to it’s euro/worker-placement rules and destruction/fantasy dragons theme.

tight game with a 10 point spread between top and bottom player.

I actually found this game to be my favorite of the games I played at DGM (not at all influenced by the fact that I won. not at all). The combination of the Dragon theme, the worker placement and set collection made for a lot of things to do in the game and they were all interesting. Overall a very fun game that I’m considering picking up to add to my library and a great way to end our DGM day.

Later, back at my friends house, we broke out the racing dexterity game RoadZters.

This game is in direct competition to PitchCar and since it is no longer in print, it looks like it didn’t fare too well.  It has plastic race sections that snap in similar to electronic slot cars.  The main mechanism centers around a special ball (Z-ball) with bearings (or magic?) inside that allow the ball to stop on slight elevation grades and spin in interesting ways.

Overall, it plays exactly like PitchCar but you can do a lot more with the Z-ball in your flicking and it’s easier to have a smooth play track.  I already own and like PitchCar so I wouldn’t pick it up but found the game a fun alternative.

So that concluded an eventful Day 1 of “Fate Con.” Next time I’ll wrap up the last two days of the event with all the games we played at my host’s house.

Showcase: Dropzone Commander Starter set (Resistance)

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been getting more and more into miniatures games.  It started with Fantasy Flight’s X-wing Miniatures Game which spoiled me with prepainted minis and no need for any terrain building.

My game group had seen a relatively new game around by Hawk Wargames and it looked fun but I didn’t want to jump back into the whole hobby side of modeling, painting, and terrain building unless the game was truly great. At Gen Con, Dropzone Commander, a 10mm skirmish war game had demos and we were able to finally try it out.  The game was a lot of fun and the miniatures seemed easy to paint with very little assembly.  To make it even easier, Hawk Wargames had the brilliant idea of making easy and great looking paper terrain so once you pick up a starter and do any minor assembly, you can throw it all down and get started.

Why I liked X-wing so much was because it was zero effort from open box to playing on the table.  Dropzone Commander isn’t zero effort but if you don’t mind unpainted minis, it is pretty darn close.  My friend picked up the main starter set and I decided to focus on their post-apocalyptic themed Resistance army.

I’m decent enough at painting but I also want to get the game to the table as quickly as possible so I usually limit myself to a small palette of colors.  This army was a little tough for me as it wasn’t a standard regimented army and so the color schemes had to be consistent but still varied and “hodge-podgey” to represent the army’s ragtag theme.

I decided that I’d have the bulk of the army in a dark black scheme but have random vehicles in an entirely different scheme to represent newer acquisitions.  The army would keep it’s cohesiveness with a telltale red blood stripe down the center.  Red is my usual player color in games (if given a choice) so I was happy to add this element to my army.

Since the models have a few interchangeable options with weapons, I decided to magnetize these options so they can swap out easily. The gun on top of the Lifthawk dropship pictured above has magnets to swap out for non-gun versions and magnets on the undercarriage to carry different vehicle options.

The tops of these APCs have magnets as well to go into any of my dropships.  The Infantry are on clear bases as that is my favorite basing style since it is relatively easy and works amazingly well on flat, smooth game mats.

These gun wagons are part of the Resistance Army’s signature ragtag appearance and so I broke the red stripe theme and just made some post-apocalyptic trucks.  The guns are magnetized as well to swap out for the various wagon unit options.

That completed the starter army but I quickly expanded to a full 1,000 point army, which is a good beginner size that allows for some army build flexibility but keeps things small enough to not overwhelm new players.

To get up to 1,000 points, from the 600-ish point starter, I added a few new elements.

I added a Barrel Bomber and added more magnets for army building flexibility.

Then added the awesome Cyclone helicopter models.  The rotors are magnetized just so they can easily be removed for storage.

Before Hawk made some rules adjustments, Freerider motorcycles were a mainstay of every Resistance army.  Here, I mounted them again on clear acrylic bases.

Finally, I capped the army off with a commander unit. This time, I used Salakahn’s “famous” commander model to double for the general M3 Alexander super tank.

Recently, I was able to add a bit more to push my army to the standard 1,500 point tournament size.

The massive Thunderstorm hovercraft transport became my new commander unit.

Along with their crazy Walord’s Retinue.

I branched into the Fast Flyer rules with Foley’s J19 Hellhog.

Another Resistance signature item with their Breach Drill.

And at last, a unit of Battle Buses. The gunners are magnetized to the defensive bunker, which is also magnetized tho the buses themselves.

With all this work, I didn’t want to risk damaging any of the models so I used pluck foam to fill out a box and use it all for safe/easy transportion.

This box carries everything except my rule books and terrain.  It also will have enough room to expand with the other models I have waiting to finish painting.

Showcase: Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back

I’d had my eye on the old West End game, Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back, for a long time but I’m never a fan of chits and standees. So I decided to recreate a version like quite a few other BGGers and upgrade the components.

I finished this project earlier this year after working on it off and on for over a year but since Rogue One is hitting the theaters this weekend, these bad boys have been obsessively on my mind:

at-act-walker_78783f1b

Rogue One, by the way, is fantastic.  It was like watching all my favorite minis games get a big budget action movie.  Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Armada, X-wing, and Imperial Assault could all be combined into an Epic Battle of Scariff as the movie combined all three theaters of war seamlessly into one epic narrative.

Anyway, back to Hoth: I started out with the excellent resources on the Assault on Hoth boardgamegeek page, including BennyBroka revised map and revised card deck.

hoth-wide

I had the decks printed from Artscow and the map as a matte poster print from Printer studio. I later laminated the poster at Office Depot.

hoth-cards1

hoth-cards2

After that, I started collecting minis. With Star Wars so prevalent again, the toy market is flush with new items like the resurgence of Micro Machines. I picked up the 5 AT-ATs needed from various Micro Machines sets.

 hoth-at-2
hoth-at-3

The tiny AT-STs came from these weird cube “playset” games called “box busters.”

hoth-speeders1

The small Airspeeders are from Mel Miniatures‘ Shapeways account. I looked all over for these but just couldn’t find anything in the right size but luckily Mel Miniatures had them in Fantasy Flight’s Armada scale.

I couldn’t find any trooper options in a scale I wanted (preferably 6mm for this game like I did in OGRE) so I went with making tokens.

 hoth-wide2
hoth-shield-generator

The Shield Generator and cannons again came from the “box busters” series.

hoth-dice

Finally, I was able to pick up a set of dice from BGG user Orph and they turned out fantastic.

hoth-storage

Everything rolls up into a cylinder mailing tube and I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

 hoth-speeders-2

Now that Rogue One killing it in theaters, maybe some publisher will give us some new All Terrain combat vehicle action. Until then, I have Assault on Hoth to relive my favorite battle of the Star Wars franchise.

Showcase: Fury of Dracula

It’s October and time to break out the Halloween-themed games.  One game that tends to get pulled out every year is Fantasy Flight‘s Fury of Dracula.  I have the second edition but Fantasy Flight has since printed a third edition that I’m eager to see how it plays as well.

furybox

Fury of Dracula was the first game I ever completely pimped out.  We had a lot of fun with this game so every time we would bring it out, I would add a little more to it.  At first the pimping was practical.  I added a screen to help the Dracula player keep his location up and available but still away from the prying eyes of the hunter players.

furyscreenout

This screen was developed by Boardgamegeek user Jeannis Leist and is a great accessory to the game as it also includes a lot of game details on the inside.

furyscreenin

Along with the screen, Leist also made a revised game map that is upside down but with the city names right side up.  This is because the Dracula player sits at the top of the map looking at the map upside most of the game.

furyscreenboards

This helps keep things oriented for the Dracula player.  The map is on laminated cardstock so the player can make notes in dry erase pens easily.  The game originally came with a little map for Dracula but it is so small and upside down, it is almost useless.

furymapsall

Next, I printed out a custom tuckbox for the event deck from Boardgamegeek user Helen Holzgrafe.  Fury of Dracula has a peculiar event deck in that you need to draw randomly but the card back is different and yet supposed to be hidden.  That game tells you to draw from the bottom of the deck but Holzgrafe’s nice tuckbox eliminates that need.

furydeck

The flap folds down to keep the card back hidden.

I then turned to the random tile draw action and my wife made this great little black bag with red silk lining.

furybagin

I used fabric paint to make the Dracula symbol on the outside of the bag to complete the piece.  This was done a bit haphazardly by scanning the bat icon, blowing it up to the right size, and then printing and cutting it out on cardstock.  This cardstock then became a stencil that I used to paint the Dracula icon onto the bag.

furybagout

With all the practical pimping out of the way, I decided to paint the minis as well.  At the time, this was only the second game where I tried to paint the minis so the sloppiness has a certain charm to me.

furypriest

furylord

furyhelsing

furymina

furydrac

The game is one of our favorites and something I look forward to each year when Fall starts to come around.

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