Kevin L. KitchensUnited States
One of the biggest issues with the previous edition of Lock 'n Load Tactical: Heroes of Normandy by Lock 'n Load Publishing, LLC. was that the box was too shallow to hold the GMT trays required to organize the counters properly.
Unboxing (second edition)), ready to handle counter trays! Sorted and organized with dividers, the counters would need about 64-66 GMT tray sections to hold them. At 20 per tray, this equates to THREE full GMT trays and a good bit of a fourth! Even the new box couldn't handle FOUR of those trays! Not mention the need to pull them all out to find the right counters each game.
Fortunatelier, between the first and second release I'd designed the modular GMT tray replacements (which of course you've seen here many times, but the applications are plentiful!). So I adapted them to HoN just as I've done with Combat Commander: Europe (link), Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles (link), Great War Commander (link), and even Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats (link) and Renegade (link).
Normandy uses every single variant of the boxes that I have. A 4-module tray for the Americans, a 3-module tray for the German Wehrmacht, 2-module versions for the British and in-game counters, a single module for the German Fallschirmjäger, and even the 2x3 special for the SS Troops (they of course were always a bit odd).
https://knkusa.com/product/zing-orbit-15in/) to "print" the lid patterns to a PDF. Then using Photoshop, I imported the image and then laid out the box artwork to fit the space that would become the box lid. I'd hoped to print on the sides as well, but the folding method I use made the edges white. I could have printed on the back first, but that was getting a little ridiculous. When I was done, I printed the box art onto the cardstock along with the print and cut registration marks. Then ran it through the cutter and when all was said and done, the lid was cut and the artwork was where I wanted it to be. It's a lot of work and I'll probably stick to labels in general, but it's good to know the process is there if I want to use it.
So in the end, while I made six different trays, they still take up less space in the box than four GMT trays. And when I play (after I manage to get a copy of the 5.0 rule book!), I only need to get out the trays for the forces being used and the counters are neatly organized.
Modular templates: https://www.etsy.com/listing/674867207/modular-game-storage-...
I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame
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So on twitter, I shared my tuckbox solution (Stacking the Decks and Tucking them In) as implemented for Core Worlds by Andrew Parks. Stronghold Games saw it and was kind enough to not only retweet it... but drop this little nugget of information:
And I should likely plug the (not-officially-announced) “Core Worlds: The Board Game” while I am here... :)— Stronghold Games (@StrongholdGames) July 12, 2018
That's right... a boardgame adaptation of Core Worlds is in the works and while not "officially" announced (I'm thinking GenCon?) it has now been unofficially announced on the chirping bird and now this blog.
EDIT: It seems like a lot of readers of this would love if a solo AI were added... perhaps even by Morten Monrad Pedersen
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My primary foray into making card tuckboxes was when I did them in various sizes (sleeved/unsleeved) and styles (windowed/unwindowed) for Combat Commander: Europe (and later repurposed for Great War Commander). Since then however, I'd wanted to make more versatile and generic if you will tuckbox sizes so when I needed them, I could just cut one and move along... not have to design it custom each and every time. But due to limitations of my design software for creating patterns for cutting, I kept putting it off.
I recently upgraded my cutter from the old Silhouette Cameo to a nice KNK Zing Orbit and that required a software change from "Make the Cut" to "Sure Cuts a Lot" and that one has features to make tweaking the size of objects much easier.
So looking at the stacks of cards for Core Worlds (as well as the dreadful, collapse-in-the-breeze insert), I figured now was the time to create those tuckboxes and then pick the best size for each stack as needed.
With that long-winded intro said, I present [filepage=166336][/filepage].
These are sized at 96x69mm in height and width and come in four different depths: 5/8", 3/4", 1", and 1 1/4". So these will hold standard sleeved cards (and with a little wiggle room, unsleeved cards as well). I had made a 1/2" box, but for a couple of reasons they were harder to assemble, so I bumped to 5/8" for a little more room to work.
Print 100% on a sheet of 110# cardstock, cut on the solid lines, score and fold on the dashed ones. Glue or tape to hold together (I'm partial to photo mounting squares to assemble these). Smaller side and bottom flaps go on the inside, but if you don't mind the exposed edge not being "flush" you could do them outside for easier alignment.
Add a custom label of your choosing for the contents (as I did here) or just write on them, they don't have to be "blinged".
But if you want to bling them: the more savvy among you, could take these into Photoshop and then add graphics overtop to make a custom printed box as well.
Likewise, you could simply print a full image on one side of the cardstock at full size (normally 8x10.5" with .25" margins for most home printers) and then print this pattern on the reverse. Cut and fold so your printout is the outside for a more "artsy" look. Or go to Hobby Lobby and buy pretty printed cardstock and print this on the plain side.
Hopefully you will find these versatile and a quick and ready go-to when you get a new title and want to store the cards quickly.
If you have suggestions for other "standard" sizes the these would be useful for ("for which these would be useful", sorry!) let me know and I'll get them added as I can. Don't want to delve into uncommon areas, but keep them versatile. Likewise, if you have a cutter and want the SVG files added, I can see about that too. Your interest will be my guide.
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05 Jul 2018
So it only took two years, but I finally got around to organizing my revised editions of the Band of Brothers series. After some illness related confusion as to why I had Texas Arrows countersheets in my Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles box. I knew TA included errata SE counters, just not that it simply replaced ALL of them! Of course labeling them as "Countersheet #2" and "Countersheet #3" when there is no corresponding #1 didn't help break through the Dayquil induced delirium either.
Anyone looking to upgrade their version one copy of Screaming Eagles, check out the BGG Marketplace for my extra set of counters.
But once I was set aright on my thinking, I set myself to punching and sorting and rounding the little furry nibs. I took the same tact with BoB that I did with Combat Commander: Europe and its expansions; that is to just group all the counters for each force together instead of trying to keep SE separate from Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer. This just makes it easier to have everything in a single location than it is to open boxes and fetch counters and make sure they go back where they belong. Plus the TA scenarios (and possibly the KS bonus ones) introduce some overlap as well.
Previously I had designed organizers (Band of Brothers Counter Tray Insert by Ones Upon a Game) to go into the provided storage trays of the Kickstarter. These are some very nice trays too, but they seemed to be more of an afterthought as they didn't provide a good means for functionally storing an using the counters. My solution was to create racks to hold the counters vertically, ala Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (second edition) and while that will work, it was one of my earlier design attempts and I prefer the counters to be flat and more "sorted".
Since the counters are nice and large (albeit a little thick) it was evident that only two stacks (of seven) would fit in a single GMT sized tray well. So began the process of sorting them to determine the best arrangement of counters and what size and how many of my modular trays (Modular GMT Compatible Game Storage Tray -- Patterns and Instructions...) would be needed. Since the Germans are included in both games, it was clear they'd spill over from a regular four module (GMT equivalent) tray, so I decided to split them into two three module versions. One for Armor and the other for the remaining squads, planes, etc. The Soviet forces aren't as numerable, but they have more variety, so they got a full four-module tray. Three module trays were all that were needed for the Americans (just fit!) as well as the "on-table" counters and markers needed to play any scenario. So in total this meant cutting and folding and combining 16 modules into the five necessary trays.
I did "cheat" just a bit in that I didn't punch the duplicate set of markers and counters from GP (identical to the ones in SE) and bagged up a few foxhole counters that would overflow their section. Doubt I'd need that many anyway, but they are there if I do.
I put together some quick labels for each box and voila!
Previously, I'd use my half-sheet mailing labels for boxes, but those are more valuable to me shipping than for this and I'd either have to peel them to cut them or sacrifice the other half of the sheet. My new solution is Avery 6427 labels which are 2"x4" and come 10 to a page. The pack I got for under $9 at Walmart held 25 sheets, so I've got labels for quite some time. I design the labels individually in Photoshop, then based on what labels I still have on the sheet, can place them onto a full sheet template, then when I print, it only prints on the labels required (and available), I can peel them off and save the rest for later.
Now I need to get a notebook and sleeves for the awesome cardstock scenarios cards and this will be able to fit mostly in a single box (I tend to leave these in a closed cupboard with the lid off anyway). The extras counters, rules, player cards, and now superfluous storage trays are all combined into the TA and GP boxes.
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(a COUNTERPOINT response to Gateway games are insulting.)
The article starts with the false notion that the term "Gateway Game" is insulting and then once off the rails, stays off them.
"Gateway Game" is not an insult in any way, shape or form. It simply describes a type of game that while lighter on the rules overload, does present a fun experience and challenging game that us "real" gamers would not be embarrassed by. You may have some friends that have never played a modern board game in their life and are capable of going from Netflix binging to a deeply complex tabletop experience in a single step. Those people are rare.
More often than not, like I was, "civilians" are unaware this stuff even exists and when they hear "board games" they assume (eyeroll) Risk, Monopoly, or Scattergories. When you wake them up from that (or worse, calm down their excitement at playing the dog vs. the shoe), a gateway game is the perfect solution to show them that there is better stuff out there, introduce them to modern designer board games and for you as their gaming buddy, to gauge their interest in going further in the hobby, or sticking to the fun and simple mechanics of a gateway game.
If they are interested and "hooked" as we all became, THEN you can introduce them to games that are tailored to their interests. But there are also so many gateway games that you can probably start close to their interest as well. Someone interested in WW2 military history can tackle a Memoir '44 or even Tide of Iron before taking on the more meatier, rules-heavy games.
Also, there is a difference in a one-on-one gaming session vs. gaming with a group of newcomers. Introducing a new gateway at a party instead of playing Apples to Apples again is a logical and correct step bound to reveal the ones in the group who want to go for more and those who are content to stay at the intro level (and those who are disinterested, which is also ok).
But no, don't belittle the very positive term "Gateway Games" and its benefit to growing this hobby we enjoy so much. Without them, many of us would not be here playing. Were it not for a co-worker teaching me Carcassonne and Lost Cities before we stepped it up to Pandemic, I might never have rediscovered the joy I had boardgaming as a kid.
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28 Jun 2018
STILL TIME TO ORDER BEFORE YOUR COPY ARRIVES
Chip Theory Games finally have the excellent cooperative (thus solo friendly) dice builder RPG Too Many Bones back in stock on their website (https://chiptheorygames.com/store#!/Too-Many-Bones/c/2272110...) and you can pre-order the Too Many Bones: Undertow expansion as well (slated for Summer 2018 delivery -- i.e. REAL SOON NOW!!!).
Of course whether you're jumping in new or just waiting for Undertow to surface, now's a good time to start getting ready to organize all the content. So this is a friendly reminder that if you were considering ordering custom dice boxes for the game, get your order in.
These boxes reduce the amount of space each Gearloc's dice take up in the box. You could also solve this by combining two Gearloc's in a single plastic tray, but then you still have to pull out extra characters to get to the ones you want for a game session.
As detailed in my previous post (Make Room for Undertow!) I was able to get all the TMB content and expansions into the single TMB box with extra room for Undertow when it arrives. Here's how these boxes play into that organization strategy.
Prices have been recently reduced to $27.50 for the full set of 10 boxes and the other sets are comparably discounted.
We love the BGG Marketplace of course, so they are listed there as follows:
TMB+Undertow (10) - set of TEN dice storage boxes for ALL base game+Undertow characters.
TMB + Characters (7) - set of SEVEN dice storage boxes for ALL the base game + expansions characters.
TMB Base Only (4) - set of FOUR dice storage boxes for the base game box characters.
TMB Exp. Chars (3) - set of THREE dice storage boxes for the three base expansion game characters.
Undertow+Chars (3) - set of THREE dice storage boxes for the Undertow characters.
If Etsy is more your thing however, I've opened a new store there as well and will be adding more items in the coming months. You can find that at https://www.etsy.com/shop/BeyondUp
In all cases, the boxes are shipped unassembled and do not include labels (which are an optional FREE download). Assembly is easy to do and takes just a few minutes of time.
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Pattern files: https://www.etsy.com/listing/674875029/game-component-storag...
Street Masters game from Adam Sadler and Brady Sadler of Blacklist Games (and a few things I don't care for but those are easily mitigated). It's a clever blend of card play, miniatures, and fast action that doesn't take up a lot of table space. And as it's a cooperative game, that means it's perfectly soloable and scales from one to four seamlessly so whether you prefer true-solo with four hands or one, it's definitely manageable for everyone.
Unfortunately, as with many Kickstarters, the contents get delivered in several large boxes. I bought my copy second hands (in all the original packaging however) and was able to separate the already mixed contents back to their original sources. But still, organization was going to be a challenge. Just like Mechs vs. Minions, the custom plastic trays were great for shipping and initial presentation, but inefficient for storing and playing the game. In the case of Street Masters, this might require opening all the big boxes to find all you need.
After I got everything re-sorted, I pulled out all the components I would want to play with and started trying to figure out how to store them. First the plastic trays for the miniatures had to go. They simply take up too much space. Fortunately these were nice but not so nice as the Mechs ones, so it didn't really hurt to say goodbye. For some reason I keep buying these latch down plastic containers whenever they are on sale at Joann. They are designed to hold a box of crayons I believe, but they are a great 4x3x1 or so for storage game components. However, being plastic with thick walls, etc, they too have a larger footprint than the storage gained. But I tried. I piled all the minis into those (one set per container), the defense tokens each went in smaller plastic boxes and the dice and the rest of the counters/tokens in a small Plano box. But then with the provided holder for the cards, all of that wasn't going to fit into the base game box.
I'd been considering making some sort of generic box, like I've done with the modular GMT trays... and since I had an affinity for the 4x3" box, decided to use that as my model. Except in the case of the miniatures, the box was a little short and I had to make sure all the minis were lying down so the lid would clamp down. So I made mine a little taller at 35mm in height. As I always work in millimeters for accuracy, the box is actually 100x73x35. I designed these in my "Sure Cuts a Lot" design software along with a lid (15mm in height) and cut boxes for each of the factions as well as one for the fighters and one for the allies/rivals.
Then I turned my attention to the defense counters. a 35mm box was just a little too large and making one for each of the three types would again bump up against the amount of space I had left in the game box. I decided to copy the 35mm box and then make adjustments to bring it to about 2/3 that height or 24mm. Since I kept the length and width the same, the same lid would work on it as well. (I also intend to make a pattern for a 16mm high box for smaller component sets). Both the 35mm and 24mm box cut from a single sheet of cardstock. The lids I can get two to a page, but may have to rework them to less than 15mm tall if I distribute the pattern as they are very close to 11 inches wide and printers have a .25" non-print area, so I need to get them to 10.5" total...
I made three of these boxes to hold the defense counters and planned to just leave the wound tokens in a bag (since the Plano box had to go). But that felt lazy. So two more 24mm boxes later (as well as some "space as you like" dividers) and these counters also had a home.
Made some labels to stick on the lids and I'm happy to report that everything stacks neatly in the base game box with potentially room for a few more factions should they be released. The dice, color rings, and objective counters are just bagged as they would come out to the table with each mission. But I can just grab out the wound, defense, and faction boxes and be ready to play fairly quick.
I might swap out the card holder for tuck boxes or even make a better foam core deck box at some point. But for now, I'll leave it as is and get to playing some more.
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When I met my wife (well, soon to be wife at that point) nearly 30 years ago, she introduced me to the cool art form known as counted cross-stitch. I'd never seen such a thing and we'd sit watching movies (from Blockbuster Video of course!) and she'd be working on different projects. Eventually I took an interest and asked her to show me how to do it. I saw it as a variation on computer graphics, where images are reduced to a pixelated format and when you're done, you have a neat piece of art to hang on the wall.
So she did and working on projects, going to craft stores, and keeping our floss box (soon to be boxes) organized was simply part of our time together. Along with working on recipient specific gifts, my tastes went toward the realistic with castles being a favorite. Sometime around 1997 I started stitching "Lichtenstein Castle" from "Medieval Castles" by Jeanette Crews Designs (1989). I got quite a way through it and then it sat unfinished. For some reason the desire returned and I picked it up again late in 2017 and I completed the castle in November!
But the bug was back now and I needed a new project. However, this was no longer the 80s and 90s. Back then stores were full of tools, materials, and more importantly books and booklets of different patterns. From the kitsch to the cool, you could pretty much find anything you wanted. But not now. You can buy patterns from ebay or etsy sure... but it was actually harder to find a project I'd be interested in.
Then I remembered I'd acquired a program called "PC Stitch" (http://www.pcstitch.com/) that lets you make your own patterns from photos. So I'd make my own... but of what?
Taking inspiration from an official sized cross-stitch Monopoly board my wife and I had worked on together, I started thinking something board game related and then, of course, it hit me... Why not the single best game ever (or at least the best wargame ever)... Combat Commander: Europe!!!
I began the process of trying to find a good clean image of the box art (there are several variations). Taking a photo would be more difficult to control the lighting on and I wanted it to be very close in color to the original. As I mentioned before, cross-stitch is essentially pixelizing the image, so I would need to first reduce the image to be the same size as the final cross-stitch. Using 14-count fabric (14 squares per inch), I wanted the final art to be 10x10, so 140x140 pixels. Not the greatest digital resolution to be sure!
I settled on my version of the box, which has the foremost leader and the squad of five soldiers, the front one with his arm raised. I used my scanner to get the main image then went to Photoshop to clean things up.
1. Scanned image (square crop)
2. Edited to remove some of the black around Europe as well the tan background (which would be the fabric color).
3. Final 140 pixel-wide version, indexed color and no text for importing to PC-Stitch
4. PC-Stitch Final Pattern
Indexing the color on the image helps keep the sections of color distinct (like the real box). The PC-Stitch conversion wanted to blend all the transitions from one color to another, creating an unmanageable floss count (floss = the thread used to create the picture). As seen in the third picture, I also had to remove the text from the image... There was just no way the real text would reduce to anything legible. Fortunately PC-Stitch had some fonts that while not perfect matches, would suffice, so I was able to add the text back to the final image. There was still some cleanup to do before I was ready to print the final pattern (like putting the whites back into the leader's eyes), but soon I was ready to stitch...
1. The first stitches. Originally teased here (What Is It? What's It Going to Be?) and actually guessed by russ!
2. The work in progress.
3. Last stitches are done!!!
4. Final project with pattern.
I started this one in December of 2017 and finished it on May 17, 2018. A much better productivity rate than my previous project! When it was completed I turned to my expert wife to help me prepare it for framing. I'd already bought a 12.5" square record album frame, but we needed to get the fabric ready for mounting beforehand.
1. First a bath in Dawn to remove finger oils and dirt.
2. Drying out before final trimming.
3. The back of the project.
4. The expert getting the mounting ready.
5. Archer, the supervisor.
6. My first plan for the mat is taken from Map 1. But it looked a little too garish against the project.
7. So I went with a more traditional mounting.
And very happy I did!
And now... on to the next project!
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One of the first things I do when unboxing a game is to get it organized... so off to the cutter to make a storage tray for the counters and tokens in Renegade from Victory Point Games
A two-module unit was all this one needed, but to jazz it up a little bit, I went with three colors. Blue and Grey for the box (with alternated dividers) and a black lid with the label being the box cover of the game.
As always, the templates and details
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Decided to implement a couple of new features (necessity breeds invention and all that) for the Geeklist Indexer/Auction Tools (Geeklist Indexer -- For Auctions, but Who Knows What Else?!)
The first is the ability to specify the link text that appears directly linking each geeklist item in the index of items. For uses outside of auctions "Auction Item" is not an intuitive choice. And rather than having to manual edit them post generation, you can specify it in advance.
Also added the ability to use alternate name for items as well as excluding items that have sold, part of a bundle, or just exempt for whatever reason.
To exclude an item simply drop %SOLD% or %EXCLUDE% into the item description. These will not be considered when you regenerate the list (to update auction posts, etc...)
To add an alternate name add %NAME% followed by whatever name you want to call the item. The entire rest of the line will be used, so make sure you put it on a line by itself. This can be good for specifying bundles or misc items not in the BGG database.
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