Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Tag: gen con (Page 1 of 5)

Gen Con Bound and Arrival

Gen Con prep this year was a bit time consuming but I was able to get through it before we left on Tuesday. This was the first time we left early but the flight prices were so much cheaper even with an extra hotel night that we decided to come out early.

After a 3 hour flight delay and some hotel hijinks, we got in bed at 3am. Luckily, we had a ton of drink tickets so a double scotch helped move things along.

When we got to the hotel, things were very deja vu as I saw a Waffle House right outside. After trying to convince my friends that we’d been here before, I realized that they weren’t with me last time I stayed here as it was the very first Gen Con I attended 12 years ago.  As nice as the trip down memory lane was, I am very glad that this was just a late night stopover and we will move on to downtown and markedly better accommodations.

This year I’m going to try to keep up with my recaps of the convention during the Con so updates will be coming as I have time.

Dropzone 2.0 Is Coming

Last Friday, Hawk Wargames capped off a week of image teases with a major announcement for their flagship game, Dropzone Commander:

image from Hawk Wargames

The game is now five years old and the publisher/designer felt like that was long enough to gain feedback and refine the system’s clunkier rules.  Dave Lewis from Hawk Wargames sat down for an interview from the folks at Beasts of War and it looks like several welcome changes are coming:

  • Renewed emphasis on using Dropships
  • Dropships disassociated with Battlegroups, lessening their restrictions.
  • Revamp of how Fast Movers operate
  • Streamlining force building and making it less restrictive
  • Updating Command Cards and allowing for customization

There was a bit more in that video link and none of it is fully vetted but Hawk is looking to release the new ruleset in time for the Christmas holiday.

Over on Facebook, Hawk did confirm that the two supplement rulebooks, Reconquest Phase 1 and 2 are not getting updated but rather, an errata sheet will be provided.  Dave said in the interview the stat lines for units will largely go unchanged but we’ll see how that plays out.  My faction is the Resistance and all of their content is in the Reconquest books so not updating them is an interesting decision.

Overall, I’m pretty excited and will definitely be hanging around the Hawk booth at Gen Con for more details.

Convention Season Prelude

This past weekend kicked off the start of my usual convention season prep with the annual Gen Con event registration.  This will be my eleventh Gen Con and one would think I’d be used to the stress and frustration of their event registration process but no such luck.

I can’t complain though. This is the 50th anniversary of Gen Con so there is a lot of demand for hot events and so getting into those requires some blind luck.  I was happy to make it into one of the sold out event slots for CMON’s upcoming Song of Ice and Fire miniatures game and I’m excited to go see They Might Be Giants.  I’ve wanted to see that band live for years now so having an exclusive event sounds like a great way to hear them.

image from the publisher via BGG

Another event that has me excited is a run-through of the co-op variant of X-wing Miniatures, Heroes of the Aturi Cluster.  I’ve loved X-wing since my first starter box at the premiere in Gen Con 2012 and this fan-made co-op variant sounds like a lot of fun.  The designers of the variant have the whole print-n-play available for download but it’ll be great to see it all ready to go and be taught the system first hand.

image from IDW Games kickstarter campaign

Some other demo events like Blood & Plunder and Rayguns & Rocketships round out my schedule with an interesting workshop on painting non-metallic metals (NMM) as a non-gaming event.  The NMM event is interesting for my black & white Walking Dead game as I’m not sure how to really paint items like Michonne’s katana in true black and white.  I could cheat and paint with metallics but that sounds like it would be pretty out of place.

blood & plunder image from firelock games site

With the good comes the bad or maybe just disappointing.  It was odd to see that Mantic didn’t have much presence for Walking Dead: All Out War.  It seems to be selling very well for them but the only events were a bunch of duplicated one-off events and I’m not even sure the organizer is from Mantic.  Maybe they were late submitting the events and they’ll come in later.

Also disappointing was the lack of any Championship Formula Racing from Jolly Roger/Upper Deck.  They hosted some demo events last year and with the games release, I would have expected at least something.

I wasn’t able to get into any Wasteland Express Delivery events to try that game out. Someone also had an interesting “Mario Kart” version of X-wing they were going to run at 2 hours but cancelled all of the events at the last minute.  There is another similar event but it is a bit longer at 5 hours and I just don’t have the schedule for that.

Last but not least, I was pleasantly surprised that all the events I decided to run this year have sold out.  That is very exciting as I had a lot of fun last year running things like my Loopin’ Chewie tournament and I’m excited to get some additional dexterity games like my favorite Catacombs and a Pitchcar variant into the event roster.

As exciting as Gen Con 50 is shaping up to be, it is still a few months off and I have another event coming up right around the corner: Cabin Con!

This is our yearly little private gathering where a few friends and I go up into the mountains and geek out on all things board games for a few days.  I’ve already got some fun events planned and it should be a great time.

CNC Progress

This week, I was able to start my CNC machine project.  It’s slow going as I’ve never had to assemble anything this complex and so I’m taking my time.  I could have opted for the pre-built version but reading up on the kit a bit more, several users noted that it was good to build it yourself so that if things go wrong in the future, you’ll have an idea of what the problem might be.  I’m not sure if that will really work for me but the building process itself is pretty cool.

cncparts

So here we have all the kit pieces laid out on my new workbench I made a couple of weeks back.  The large device at the back of the table is my photo enlarger, which was the real purpose of this room- to build up my darkroom again, but I found that I broke a key piece of the enlarger so I have to source out a replacement.  In the meantime, the room will also serve as my pimping workroom, or “The Lab,” as I call it.

cncvwheels

The kids were away so I actually moved everything upstairs and worked at the kitchen table, catching up on the latest Walking Dead episodes from the mid-season break. The picture above are “V-wheels” that were a bitch to press together (my thumb is still sore).  Eventually, I opted for two sets of pliers to get those bearings in the plastic wheels.

cncguides

Next I put the V-wheels in the Y-axis plates. These plates will hold the main board “table” of the machine.

cncrails

And they attach on these rails that connect the front and back of the base of the machine.

cncbottom2

The base then attaches to the Y-axis plates and also gain some T-nuts and another guide plate.

cncbottom1

And here we are.  This is about one-third through the assembly instructions.  Next is assembling the X-axis and Z-axis components and putting the motors and belts on.  Then finally is the final assembly.  After that comes the electronics and setting up the software and everything else.

In gaming news, I stumbled on this interesting little preview:

image from BGG, from the game publisher

image from BGG, from the game publisher

This is Gang Rush Breakout from CMON and Ankama. Those of you that have followed me for awhile might notice the game looks similar to a classic game that I’ve been nuts on pimping: Thunder Road.  While this game (from the brief publisher descriptions) doesn’t seem like it has a lot in common with Thunder Road mechanically, it does have a pretty cool look to it and I’m looking forward to hearing more about this game.

It is due to release in April, shockingly without a Kickstarter but since Ankama seems to be driving the publishing aspect of the game, maybe that is just the way they do things.  Ankama is responsible for Krosmaster Arena, which also avoided using Kickstarter.  I’ll likely wait to play this at Gen Con before I really commit to picking it up but I have some high hopes for it.

Speaking of Gen Con, I got the notice that they are opening up the event applications in a few weeks so I better get on this.  Last year I missed the early deadline and my events didn’t make it into the general admission until after the main event signup date.  I’m going to make sure my events get in on time this year to see if that helps the attendance any.

I’m planning on running my Loopin’ Chewie Tournament again as it was a lot of fun and though there weren’t many in attendance, they all seemed to have a good time.  I will likely run one more event as well but I’m not sure which it will be.  I could do Thunder Road again or I’ve been thinking about running a PitchCar variant of mine.  I’m also stupidly into Mantic’s Walking Dead: All Out War and had a blast running a custom event at CabinCon so might try something like that.  Decisions, decisions.  Only have a few weeks to figure it out. Maybe I’ll flip a coin.

Variety as Life Spices

While I love pimping out games, my first foray into altering board games came from the mechanical design side of the hobby.  Cutting my teeth as a young lad on such classic titles as HeroQuest and Battle Masters, it wasn’t long before the little wheels in my head started turning as I yearned to dive deeper into those gaming worlds.

variant_heroquest2

my yellowed copy of one of the first variants I attempted – an expansion module to HeroQuest

variant_heroquest1

25+ years later and my handwriting still hasn’t gotten much better

After all this time, I still have a compelling need to create my own variants for my favorite games.  It’s hard to say which side pushes harder, the desire to improve the functionality and aesthetic appeal of a game or the fun in varying the rules to better suit where I want the game design to go.  Since pimping out a game requires little collaboration, I tend to do it more as I am free to mod and pimp at my leisure but it doesn’t mean that I don’t still jot down notes and variants for most of my games. I don’t think I know how to pimp games without also wanting to create a more personal set of rules.

variants-menu

Looking back through these notes and files, I realized I’ve amassed quite a little collection of variants and so I created a new page on the blog to put them at easy reach.  Like most things, this will be a work-in-progress and updated when I can.  I’ll try to add links or download options for those curious to see these variants in more detail but for now, I want to highlight a particularly obsessive variant I’ve been working on.

It’s no secret I’ve been really getting into Flick ’em Up! by Pretzel Games recently.  At Gen Con, I was able to try out a curious and ultimately fantastic new game by Filip Neduk of Czech Games Edition, called Adrenaline. Adrenaline is a fun resource control game set as old school first-person shooter (FPS) video game where the resource is damage dealt to your enemies.  It has some of the best theme-implemented mechanics I’ve seen for a board game attempting anything like this genre and I was sold almost immediately.

01_adrenaline1

prototype play at Gen Con 2016

Unfortunately, it was released at Spiel in Essen, Germany last month and hasn’t made the trek over the pond quite yet. Even though I definitely want to add this game to my collection, I couldn’t stop thinking about combining all the great damage and scoring mechanics of the game with the dexterity and almost FPS nature of Flick ’em Up! So a couple weekends back, I prototyped enough components to try out this Frankenstein-ian creation and was happy to see that it actually worked quite well.

flick_adrenaline_variant1

At a quick glance, it still looks basically like Flick ’em Up!- open table layout with three-dimensional Flick ’em Up! pieces scattered around to make a more dynamic playing area.  However, if you look carefully (at the table, not my friend’s impressive liquor display), you’ll notice I added some cards representing the different weapons the cowboys can acquire and the player board, where most of the new rules interaction comes into play.

flick_adrenaline_variant2

Looking at the new player board, it is basically a carbon copy of the player board in Adrenaline, but rethemed to fit Flick ’em Up’s setting.

The board tracks damage from your opponents, points given when you die, action options, and keeps your resources close by.  The points are now represented thematically by money (courtesy of 7 Wonders) and instead of skulls representing kills, I have little tombstones.  Even when messing around with new mechanics, I can’t help but try a little pimping as well.

flick_adrenaline_variant3

While I spent a lot of time getting the look of the player boards to a quality we could enjoy, I knew the biggest mechanical hurdle was getting the weapons right.  From experience, I knew these custom weapons would take a lot more effort and will undergo a lot of iterations to test and get right since they will be the biggest marriage between the two systems.

Adrenaline has 21 unique weapons in its game and since the concept of what each weapon does is largely abstract and only defined by how and who all it can hurt, there is a lot of freedom in the variety of each card. Since the way you deal damage in this variant is largely based on the dexterity flicking component of Flick ’em Up!, the weapon powers had to be grounded more in what options were physically available.  Luckily, Flick ’em Up! contains a lot of varied options in weapons and effects so I settled on nine unique weapons.  I actually like the more limited weapons pool as it helps the balance a bit from both a testing side (less variables to test and correct) and a gameplay side as a powerful weapon won’t be unique and others will have access to the same option if it proves too potent.

flick_adrenaline_variant4

The test game we ran worked pretty well and I was pleased that the concept worked fully and was enjoyed by the players.  The variant isn’t quite ready yet as the pacing was a little slower than I liked so I’ll go back to the drawing board on the weapon concepts and see what I can do increase the tempo of the game. Then I’ll test again until the game feels more in-line with expectations. After that, I’ll finalize the art for the weapon cards and finish up a general rules document.  Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to host the variant at one of the upcoming game conventions next year.

Page 1 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén