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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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Box, Car, Racers

Rob Robinson
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Rotherham
South Yorkshire
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My copy of Pitchcar Mini has been scattered over 3 boxes for far too long.

I've always fancied the idea of finding a wooden box large enough to hold the base game and two expansions, with room for more if need be. But have been unsuccessful in finding anything suitable. Until yesterday.

The Works have some nice large wooden boxes in store, and a quick measurement showed this would be ideal for holding everything:



I wanted an image on the box top, and decided to try something different, rather than simply slap an A4 glossy printout on top.

I'd read about using Modge Podge and laser printers to apply imagery, but wanted to achieve something fast, using the materials I had laying around the house.

I reversed the image, and printed it onto the backing of a sheet of A4 sticker paper. Now, once the top sticker layer has been peeled away, you're left with a greaseproof paper feel, which the ink refuses to dry on for a considerable amount of time.

At first I had difficulty with the printer not grabbing the paper, but leaving a border of sticker paper around the edge cured that problem.

Once the image was printed out, it was just a case of applying the image straight onto the box lid, inkside down and pressing the ink smoothly and firmly into the wooden surface.



The result was a retro/rustic effect which for a first attempt I'm happy with. A lick of varnish was the final step to give it a bit of a sheen.



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Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:46 am
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Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of woodstain.

Rob Robinson
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'The Works' bookshop has a bunch of unfinished wooden chests, dirt cheap. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

I picked up two the other week for the princely sum of £1.50. I had no idea what games they'd be good for, but reckoned they'd eventually come in handy for some game or other.



I had an old can of woodstain rusting away in the garden, which would give it a nice bit of an aged appearance. After splashing it on Brut 33 style, and wiping away any excess it didn't greedily soak up with an old rag, it looked pretty rustic.



So far I've tried utilising it with coins, and a few gems, but it seems to feel pretty thematic with the cards and dice from Elder Sign. I think the next step is to make some card dividers.

Since the image was taken, me and the wife have taken a few turns giving the box a good old thwack or two with a shot-pin hammer, just to age the corners, and add a few obligatory weathered dents to it.



The smaller chest was clear varnished first, then given a coat of the dark stain. The stain only clung to a few places, and gave a totally different effect.

It's almost perfect for The Hobbit.



The overspill even adds to the effect. Greedy Hobbitses.
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Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:14 pm
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3:10 to Yule Ma

Rob Robinson
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I hate the clock hand in Flick 'em Up. Fair-do it's cardboard. But the hand should've been wood, or something a bit more substantial. They could've even took a leaf out of Elder Signs book, and copied their clock fitting. Now that operates very smoothly.

Cardboard can get a little fluffy around the edges, especially if it involves a lot of heavy handling, and the way this clock face is designed it gets a lot of handling.

The screw is also so short you'll have a right palaver even trying to make it grab the thread. Combine this with the cardboard washer and you haven't got a cat in hells chance of assembling it as standard.

Once you do manage to screw it together (in my case after peeling away a few layers of the cardboard washer) you'll probably either find:

1. it's too tight to rotate smoothly.

or...

2. There isn't enough thread to keep it fastened securely, and an hours anti-clockwise spin results in it falling apart like a clowns car at the circus.

The hand will probably end up showing wear quickly anyway. That's why the game ships with two spares.

In the end I wanted to make a better hour hand, preferably out of wood. But Google searches were coming up with no satisfying results.

Today I had an early finish from work, and time to kill around town. My motorbike was at the mechanics for a repair job, after it decided to turn itself into a kevlar belt mulcher. soblue



I stumbled upon a craft shop, that had these wood burned Christmas snowflakes in stock, for the paltry sum of one shiny gold coin:



Can you see the hour hand hidden in the detail?

Soon as I got home I took my Stanley knife to it, and sliced off the hanging section.

A lick of the black marker pen matched up the existing colour burn, and it looked pretty nifty.



After a rummage through my toolboxes I found a nut and bolt, and a few washers. They would eventually suffice for fastening, after a visit to the junior hacksaw Dr.:



Once the bolt was cut to size, the entire thing was built back together:



IMHO it's a lot better. the rotation feels smoother and it's far more tactile.
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Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:59 pm
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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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Rotherham
South Yorkshire
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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
England
Rotherham
South Yorkshire
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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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South Yorkshire
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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
England
Rotherham
South Yorkshire
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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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