Pimp my Game

An infrequent blog, which usually contains lots of photo's, just to fill in the lack of information, and make it look nice and pretty. Which details how I pimped out some of my games and components.

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My Bausack has turned black!

Rob Robinson
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I picked up a battered old copy of Bandu this week for a few squid.

Rather than simply throw all the bits into my preferred recent edition (which has a far superior ruleset), I thought I'd give them a splash of colour. It'd also help if I ever decided to reduce the game back down to it's core components.

I had some black wood stain, which seemed like it would be suitable enough, and after rummaging around I found I still had a small enough brush from when I used to paint my GW mini's over fifteen years ago.

To alleviate the sticky fingerprint, sticking to the surface problem, I painted them in two stages, giving the pieces time to dry before painting the other end, still managing to weatherproof my fingers for the next five years.





After they were all sloshed, I left them to cure for a good 24 hours, before touching up any bits I'd missed.



The only pieces I didn't paint were the original Bandu base blocks. These are slightly larger than the ones included in the more recent edition, and if you use these, you do seem to end up with some nicer/taller tower constructs.

Would I have done anything different?

With hindsight I suppose I could've made some kind of paint bath to dip them in, diluted the stain with 25% water, and then left them out to dry. I think the finish would've been greyer/lighter, but would've allowed more of the grain to show through.



In the end I decided this was to black. It's like, how much more black could this be and the answer is none. None more black.

To that end I decided to spray some of the 'pinnacle' pieces gold.



Much better!
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Sat Aug 8, 2015 1:03 pm
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Carrom & Carriages & Taktika Concepts

Rob Robinson
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Yonks back, I bought Catacombs. I was less than impressed with the size of the play area, the cramped feel of the game, and had more fun playing on an empty table, basically careening the pieces into each other, bowls style, rather than playing the actual game itself.

It was a no-brainer to Trade it in. I received Pandemic in exchange, and bought myself a cheapo set of cruddy Carrom pieces to flick, which gave me just as much enjoyment as Catacombs without all the farty upkeep.



After two-three games of flicking the discs around, my attention was... OMG look a butterfly!

The pieces were boxed up, and stashed away for the better part of five years.



The other week I sent off for a 25mm paper punch, to add to my ever-growing collection. Knowing it would come in handy for stickering up some poker chips into different valued coins.

I'd also been eyeing up the Mr. Jack: The Carriage expansion, and knew I could now knock together a piece using the images on BGG. One of my stashed away Carrom pieces would be the ideal size for this project, as I like to leave a border around the edge. For some reason, tokens with stickers flush up to the edge just don't look right.

I knew the bevels on the wooden pieces were going to cause some wrinklage and deformation of the sticker, so the disc surface would need to be levelled off with some kind of filler.

What followed was a trip down to the local hardware store.. WTF? £5.99 for a measly tube of wood filler!!! to the £1 store for a jumbo tube of filler.

A blob of the stuff was squidged onto the disc bevel, pressed in, and smoothed using a credit card. Once dried it was easy to sand any rough bits off.

After a spray coat of grey primer, the image was resized, printed onto sticker paper, punched out, and applied.

I was so impressed, I decided to make a pair.



Now the remaining pieces could no longer be considered a set. The floppy, poor excuse for a box was dumped, and the rest of the pieces were thrown into my parts drawers.

A few weeks later I was notified of a post in Taktika. The old mental cogs slowly started whirring, a splash of brain juice was all it took to set my noggin racing in 5th gear! I had enough Discs left to make some kind of PnP set! It was time to get crafting again.

I decided against using bog standard silhouette style imagery, and plumped for something a bit more ornate. After a session of Googling and mucking around in Photoshop with embossing, glowing edges and background transparencies, I was finally happy with this effort:



After that it was a rush job of slapping on filler, sanding, spraying a white & black set, mainly to mask any exposed filler, and punching and applying the stickers to twenty discs.



The final step was a few coats of gloss spray varnish, to protect the images from scratching, or from any overly abusive shots that may incur.



If you zoom in to 100% on the last image, you might notice the spider which got immortalised in my horse piece!



Hope you like 'em.
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Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:33 pm
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Drakon - Pursuit of Trivial Token Edging

Rob Robinson
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Aside from the stench of a bucket sick, Drakon has the worst edge finish to any cardboard component I have ever laid eyes on:



Each tile has three massive, ugly, sprue chunks on each edge, in total twelve per tile.

I'd briefly attempted the 'printers trick' method of lightly sanding them down, but it didn't feel right. I was almost certain the layers of paper would begin to separate, and at the end of the day I'd still be faced with glaring unfinished edges. I could live with the bumps, but the edges needed some kind of treatment.

The onus was they'd certainly look far better if the edges were inked in black, plus it'd help disguise the whopping great 'nuggins' of grey cardboard protruding from each edge.

To put it bluntly, I couldn't resist a pimp!

I tried inking two to three cards, and immediately they looked far better. The white edging, which even crept onto the front and rear of the cards artwork was gone, and the chunks of sprue on the edges soaked up the ink thirstily and made them less conspicuous. The finished tiles looked simply sublime!

Then I looked over to the other stacks of tiles, queuing up, disappearing over the horizon and into the distance, patiently awaiting their turn...

This was going to take an aeon. A massive job of inking the edges of the seventy two tiles, each 2.5 by 2.5 inches square.

I very much doubted my marker pen would hold out? But there was no going back. This would take a good three to four hours to complete, and I'd almost certainly need to purchase one or two more marker pens cry

Time for bed.

The next morning I set about continuing the job, took my fattest marker out of an old Trivial Pursuit card holder box, and inked a few tiles.

Then I wondered... Could the tiles be inked en-mass? By holding them together, and inking a few at a time. Or even better, hold a dozen or so of them together and spray the edges with matt black paint. I have a can of Very High Temperature matte black exhaust spray, which isn't as sticky as I imagine most spray paints to be. So I was certain the tiles wouldn't end up glued together as a single cardboard Drakon cube. I'd probably need gloves though.

The Trivial Pursuit lid I'd been storing pens in, also looked to be the same size as the tiles, maybe it would be good for storing them in?

Yep, they fit in nicely, apart from four or five cards. But two lids would support a 50/50 split of tiles with one box also being able to hold the miniatures, and the other box tokens and coins. Side by side they'd still fit in the box too

Now.. The cards, in the box, only show one edge. 'Ahhhhhhh! that gives me an idea. Time to stuff the box full of tiles, and shake the spray can out of its slumber!

"Go-Go-Gadget Legs"

Run down stairs, get the can, run outside to the dustbin, spray one stack of edges at a time, making sure a scrap of paper masks each end of the exposed tiles:



The entire process took about five seconds per edge, with a drying/waiting time of about two minutes in between each layer. Total time to edge the entire deck of seventy two tiles, around eight minutes twenty seconds.

The whole deck was completely sprayed in no time!

To further utilize the Trivial Pursuit boxes as Tile/Component holders, and ramp up the thematic feel a notch, the unintentional over-spray was then intentionally extended to cover 100% of the outside:



Some suitably fitting artwork was Googled, printed onto self adhesive A4, cut out, and applied to the outer edges:



A partition was made by cutting a piece of foamcore to the inner box dimensions, and gluing it in place with a hot melt glue gun.







The finished shebang fits my needs perfectly. A place for storage and retrieval of all components. Tiles are easy to draw straight from the boxes. and everything still fits inside the box!

Only one tile was intentionally left un-sprayed. The start tile. This was inked in red, and is instantly recognizable for retrieval.



I'm very pleased with the result!

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Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:51 pm
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Miskatonic Micturition Marker Management

Rob Robinson
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Elder Sign is the current fave of mine. Unfortunately it's got lots of tiddly little counters that, for the most part, can easily be managed better with the odd die:





I've since upgraded to using D8's for the characters Sanity & Stamina.

Likewise, I found the character counters were so small, I spent most of my time trying to find the camouflaged little blighter's. As they blended in with the cards artwork.

Luckily I had a few small sets of cheapo travel Backgammon counters stashed in my parts drawers, and one of my circle paper punches that hadn't seen the light of day in a few years was untethered to nip its nipper. Just the perfect size to craft some nifty counters.

The artwork was easy enough to find via a Google search, and I ended up more than satisfied with these little beauties:





The Tokens can be downloaded here.

Three of these wooden counters have a black & white image with a red stop symobl on the reverse. This is flipped to illustrate when the characters in question have used up their 'once per day' ability.

Now, I hate FFG's inlays, and was running out of space for everything to fit back in the box. But I refuse to send them to the great inlay god in the sky. So rather than bag the tokens, which I'd occasionally still need, realised they'd fit good and proper, and look more thematic, If I slid them in a few spare jars I had procured sometime ago after a trip to the clap clinic Genitourinary wing of the general hospital.

A few layers of Photoshop tomfoolery later, and I was happy with these labels:



A nice addition to the bland top was the Elder sign, punched out, and slapped in the middle for good measure:





I also re-coloured the lid tokens, and made a nifty little turn marker, just two punched stickers which sandwich a nice wooden 1" disc:



The Labels and Turn Marker can be downloaded here.

The single plastic pop-stud in the middle of the clock made the entire thing spin on a hard surface like a compass needle in an electric storm!

Sticking four rubber feet underneath makes it adhere to the surface like a champ!



Hope you like 'em.
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Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:50 pm
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The Return of Zombie Plague Part III

Rob Robinson
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Many years ago, around eleven or so, there was a print 'n' play game called Zombie Plague:



One day I decided to have a pop at printing off the PDF, and mounting the board and bits. I also had a fair few zombie and human miniatures littering the place, and after what seemed like an eternity of painting, gluing, cutting and sticking, ended up with a game that was pretty playable if a little warped in the board department.







The zombie and human miniatures were derived from a couple of different suppliers. Mainly Citadel and Copplestone:







In the beginning the barricades were just folded bits of paper, but I eventually went on to using lengths of dowelling which did the trick a little bit better:





Around the same time a group of us were playing a PBeM version of Zombie Plague using MSPaint.

I'd also created a Yahoo! Group dedicated to the game. With discussion, new cards, expansions and other titbits appertaining to the game. Back then I had virtually no PC experience, nor any skills with computer graphics or knowledge of any programs which could manipulate graphics. So ended up painstakingly recreating the entire game-board using MSPaint. The pieces were craftily done on a separate overlaid Bitmap layer which I then pasted in place over the main map upon receiving the players moves:



Once I'd found the PrtScr button on the keyboard things gradually began to look a little better:



Eventually I found a nice little program called Cyberboard. My graphic capabilities had progressed a touch by this time, I redid the Humans and Zombie graphics, well... ripped them from an arcade game I played using M.A.M.E. and for many years we played the game via the electronic method:



A few months ago the designer pledged a Kickstarter project for a comic, based on Zombie Plague. The comic featured a slightly updated set of rules, and the other bits required to play were made available for download from RSquared Studios:



My old copy had long since been shipped off to warmer climes. But I now had access to sticky backed photo paper, foam-core, and a few miscellaneous game bits 'n' bobs, and knew I could whiz a new version up in a few hours.

After printing out the bits 'n' pieces, and arranging the pages that would make up the game board, I used a length of Duck Tape, and taped two pieces of foamcore together to make a folding board:








The sheets of A4 then had their backing peeled off, and were carefully applied over the foamcore and duck tape.

Once the pieces were all in place, and the map was visually complete, I decided to trim the boards edge, and give it a 1 inch border all the way around. With the map being six sheets of A4 in size it was difficult trying to find a large enough straight edge to use. In the end I removed my printer/scanner/copier from my PC desk and used its glass shelving as a ruler

The foamcore was a little more difficult to cut with the paper and duck tape applied, but I eventually cut through the whole shebang without any issue:

The board edge was then covered with another taping of black Duck Tape which frames the entire board pretty nicely.

The last thing I needed was a pair of six-sided red dice, and the main components were complete:



The next step was to pint off the character, zombie, and barricade tokens. Rather than fold them into 3D triangle style pieces with cardboard footing, these double sided affairs were backed on black card, then folded in half with a piece of double sided sticky tape sandwiched in between to hold the halves flat together. They were then fitted snugly into a pile of slotta-bases I had lying around:



The standee barricade tokens are far superior to my old method of using sawn-off bits of dowelling:





The card deck was first printed onto A4 sticker paper, slapped onto black card-stock, then carefully sliced out with a Stanley knife, using a metal ruler as a guide. Finally I sleeved the deck to add a little bit of protection and eye-candy:







I'm very happy my new P'n'P version of Zombie Plague. It's a lot better than my old warped version, and I don't miss the metal miniatures one iota.

The one thing I am contemplating, is making the board into a quad fold affair, as in its current state it's a fair old size with the single fold down the middle...
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Tue May 20, 2014 4:42 pm
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Lord of the Rings - Return of the Scent Bottle

Rob Robinson
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I posted a Blog some time ago about attempting to convert a perfume bottle cap, once my wife had finished with the bottle:

Lady of the Rings

Anyway, the ozone layer is now a little thinner, and I was thoughtfully given the lid.

To add ballast, I filled it up with washers:



Splurged some hot melt glue in to fill the recess:



Sprayed an undercoat:



Sprayed on a black finish:



If I'd had any paints and brushes, I'd have dry brushed the edges, but I don't. So an alternative was to sand along the edges to allow highlights to poke through:



It make a great Turn Marker
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Thu May 8, 2014 10:24 am
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Gears of War - Bomb the Base

Rob Robinson
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I hung up my paint brushes a long time ago, and have no intention of treading those boards ever again.

Unfortunately - aside from slightly different poses, most of the COG figures in Gears of War are pretty indistinguishable.

I'd been using a simple method of differentiating them, by placing a coloured sticker dot on each of the bases and sleeves:



However a few weeks ago I was rummaging through a few of my jar stacks of gaming bits:



I came across some spare figure bases from another game that, if you flipped them upside down, the COG figure bases fitted inside pretty snugly, leaving a nice coloured border. Perfect for easily identifying each players COG figure without any confusion:





I also re-sleeved the Character cards in matching coloured backed sleeves, which were slightly oversized. Just to help with identifying and matching the figures to their respective cards:



I also pulled out some shelf fixings from the racking system at work, these blue plastic thingamajigs are used to keep the entire structure rigid:



I think they make nice thematic columns, outposts, signposts or whatever, to better illustrate areas which contain equipment etc. Maybe I should log a play of Jenga each time I remove one from the shelving?

Oh... and the miniatures the bases came from?

If you have any spare or broken miniatures from this game:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


they work a treat. Just two tiny balls of blu-tac were sandwiched between each figure and base, just to hold them firm.
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Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:52 pm
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Tash Kalar - Offcuts of Leg Ends

Rob Robinson
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Eyup!

One thing that irked me about Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends was the cardboard tokens that came with the game. Why on earth they didn't make some hefty wooden tokens is beyond my ken.

I mean, the box is begging for its belly to be filled, but at the end of the day, thin board and thin score tracks aside, you can easily stuff most of the components down one corner...



So I set about designing some nice thick wooden tokens that not only wood would look nicer, but give a bit of umph! to the feel.

After scanning in one of each type, and mucking around with the Legendary Token graphic in Photoshop to give it a rounded appearance, I was satisfied enough to print the lot out onto Gloss Sticker Paper and let the paper punch sink its teeth in.





And so began the arduous task of punching out one hundred and sixty paper circles, and sticking them to 1 inch wooden discs.:







After an hour or two, everything was stuck firmly in place. I'd used the same method for peeling and affixing the tokens as I did in my Letters from Whitechapel - Markers from Hell blog.

Here is what they ended up looking like:











However... I wasn't too happy with the edging on the paper circles. Either the cutter is crap, the paper is crap, or the ink is crap. But in all probability it's a combination of all three. I'm thinking of sharpening my cutter using the old method of punching a few circles out of a flattened/opened out drinks can. Anyway the edges looked a little patchy, chipped and white in places.

So, using a relevant coloured marker pen, as carefully as possible, I edged around the perimeter of each disc. This took away any noticeable fluff and added a nice subtle finish to the edging.

Finally I gave them all a few light dustings of clear varnish, just to preserve them against any knocks they may incur during play.





I'm well happy now. I tell thee.
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:34 pm
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Lady of the Rings

Rob Robinson
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One of the Christmas presents I bought for my wife, was a bottle of Lady GaGa 'Fame' perfume. TBH I have no interest whatsoever in scent, or the womans terrible music.



However as soon as my wife took the top off the bottle the gears in my noggin clicked into life.



Turn it upside down and you've got the beginnings of a Sauron style turn marker.

All it needs is a little work, which I'll be posting here as soon as the bottle is empty!
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Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:07 am
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Gears of War Deck Boxes

Rob Robinson
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In my little mind, GoW has too many decks to store and retrieve quickly.

After any deck heavy gaming session, without some kind of storage method, I will always end up mashing the decks together into jumbled heaps, and pay for it the next time I need to play. Or have trouble remembering which boxes hold which decks, and spend the next twenty or so minutes stacking and re-stacking the boxes, trying in vain to squeeze the lids back on to over stuffed boxes.

I had loads of single, and double deck card boxes laying around, which held the GoW sleeved cards!!! (which is a first for me). So, rather than use a chisel tip marker, and scrawl some text on the box tops to differentiate which box held what decks. I decided to knock up a set of stickers in ye olde photoshoppe.

I googled for some suitable images, and typed a bit of Jacinto Sans font onto them.



Then I printed them onto sticker paper, sliced them out, and applied them.



They are good enough for my purpose, and after one or two trial runs I am down to less than 30 seconds at packing the cards away!



All of the components fit perfectly in the box insert. Still allowing for all the map sections, rulebook and what have you to be arranged neatly on top. The bag of miniatures fit snugly in the central hole, and the dice fit along the top of the small 'bagged' card deck.



The central section also houses another double box which holds all the wound markers, door tokens and emergence holes, and finally a single deck box holds all the Ammo and Grenade tokens. As I never tip all of these tokens out, and play from the boxes, I don't see any need to craft a sticker for those.

I also made myself a nifty little turn marker for my multiplayer-solo sessions:

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Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:31 am
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