Man vs Meeple (The Return of Drakkenstrike)

Man Vs Meeple Video Series

Recommend
129 
 Thumb up
2.25
 tip
 Hide

The Debut of Man Vs Meeple

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
THE BEGINNING OF SOMETHING NEW

The physical set for Man Vs Meeple was completed in late May of 2016. At last all of the pieces to the puzzle were finally revealed and a great weight was lifted from my shoulders. After nearly 5 months of design and construction, the fruition on my work was finally in sight for all to see. Having never done construction of any type in my life, I am immensely proud of what I was able to accomplish and my ability to try to do something for myself that I hadn't done in a long time.....be creative once again.

However work did not stop with the set's completion alone, as the technical know-how to launch a Video Series of this type was still looming heavy over my head. It had been almost 5 years since I last delivered a Video contribution to the community and my memory and skills with editing software were rusty and would soon be put to the test.

I always knew that going into a Multicam environment would be a challenging endeavor, but I was completely unaware of just how difficult it would become to learn in a very short amount of time. Using a single Camera and Camcorder and splicing them together was one thing, but combining multiple Video and Audio tracks is something entirely different. However, like the build out of the set, I was determined to remain focused and learn what was required of me to finally launch our Series.

To make matters worse, I have been a PC/Windows user my entire life and had exclusively used Sony Vegas to edit my previous videos. In order to convince my wife that I needed a new Laptop to power the show, she insisted that I purchase a Mac which she preferred over a PC (and which I was completely unfamiliar with at the time). I also felt that it was time to leave Sony Vegas behind and migrate to Adobe Premiere Pro, where I could grow into the more robust software options that it offered and it's seamless integration with the other Cloud-Based products. So the laundry list grew and I was now tasked with learning multiple functions all at once, none of which I was in the least familiar.

In addition to the already mounting stress, I was invited by my close friend Lance Myxter from TMG Games to do a Kickstarter Video for Yokohama that would be posting in ~7 days from our conversation. The pressure was on to learn a new game, the Mac OS, Premiere Pro and all of the other numerous electronic needs that were involved in piecing them all together.

At ~8:00 PM on Monday night, June 20th, 2016, after only 8 hours of sleep in 4 days, our first video was finally released to the Public and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

It's not perfect...yet.
It has flaws...that will be fixed.
It has some audio issues...that I did not forsee.
It doesn't have all of the things we wanted...but we are working to add them

...Yet it's far better than anything that I had ever expected of myself and I am so excited to finally present to you Man Vs Meeple.

The future finally looks bright again and I am happy as I have ever been before. At long last I am using my creativity to fuel myself. Creating things has always given me my strength, yet I have bottled up my creative side for 5 years and it's paid a toll on my life that is not easy to express or explain in words. I have so many ideas in my head and I feel that with just a few more episodes under our belt, we will deliver something to the Board Game community that is extremely special and reflects a true passion of mine.


So welcome to Man Vs Meeple. Join us on Twitter @manvsmeeple and on Facebook. Let others know....share our passion and let us grow and change as we give back to the community.




Twitter Facebook
16 Comments
Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:33 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
64 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Heading Towards the Finish Line

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
COMING TOGETHER

The physical set for Man Vs Meeple began it's final few design and construction steps in late April/early May of 2016. By the end of April, I had installed the carpet and began attaching the primed baseboards to the base of the walls to provide a more finished look that the set sorely needed. I was also able to order and install a High Quality Print of the Eclipse poster that I had created in late 2015. My original purpose was to utilize this "Poster" space on the right of the set to highlight some of my past and future creative Photoshop designs for the board game community. However I have also grown open to using this space as an avenue to showcase vendors, upcoming events, super fans and sponsors of the show. In reality, only time will truly tell how the space can best be utilized on camera, but for now I will rotate my personal works in and out so others can enjoy my creations rather than having to see them only here on BGG.



During this time I also began adhering the mortar and bricks to the front of the desk - a lengthy process but again another architectural feature that I felt would both compliment the overall aesthetics of the show and reflect my own personal design tastes. By the end of the first week of May, the front of the desk was finished and I was ready to move on to the expensive business of researching and purchasing good, quality electronics for the set.



THINGS GET EXPENSIVE

It's incredible how much money electronics and accessories cost and add up when you are starting a show from scratch. Camera's and stands, a television, laptop, microphones, lighting, cables.....the list goes on and on. I often found myself trying to temper my expectations since I am not part of some huge network nor have an angel investor or list of sponsors that I could go to - so everything that I have and still need to purchase have to serve a purpose for the show. Trying to figure out where to start is in itself a challenge, but I had to start somewhere.

I knew that a baseball card sheet from my childhood would serve as a good template for the size and location of the television (as seen in the pictures), but I was still not 100% sold on either the brand or total expenses that I wanted to shell out for the TV. I looked at multiple TV's both online and in stores for about a week, but in the end I got lucky with a great deal at a local Best Buy for a 49" open box 1080p Smart TV. To be honest, I am not a huge Sony fan when it comes to televisions but I couldn't pass up the price (Samsung fan). However, after getting it home and mounting it to the set, the television went through a continual reboot sequence that could not be halted even with new firmware.

After being on Sony's tech support line for over two hours, they determined that the item needed to be serviced or returned to the store. In working with Best Buy again I was able to exchange the television for a better 55" model that also allowed me the flexibility of utilizing a 4K monitor should we decide to film in 4K in the future.



So when it came to the final design of the shelving units we debated our points for quite some time. I finally decided to mock up a simple backdrop using cardboard substitutes. Hopefully this new look would allow David and several of our friends and family to better understand what I was so adamant to create. Suffice to say my awful cardboard stand-ins didn't do much at all to sway anyone's opinion in my direction, so like any creative mind who is told to stop while he was ahead....I decided to do build them out anyways.

LIGHTS, CAMERA,.......

I always knew that I would need some soft box lighting for the set, especially since Man Vs Meeple was being filmed in a dark unfinished basement that had inadequate fluorescent lighting. I also knew that I wanted to make the work space as uncluttered as possible, so after purchasing my lighting I decided to get inventive by hanging the soft boxes to the rafters and hiding the cords from view. I also knew that I wanted to use a 3 (possibly 4) camera set up for the show, allowing us to provide multiple camera angles and not appear static to the viewers all the time.

Stay tuned next week as we finally unveil the final FINISHED design of the set.....

Twitter Facebook
4 Comments
Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:47 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
40 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

The Board is Set, the Pieces are Moving.

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
WHAT TO DO WITH THE TIME THAT IS GIVEN TO US

After nearly three (3) months of hard work and hardship, the set for Man Vs Meeple finally began to take shape in April of 2016. With the debacle of the table behind me and its assembly complete, it was finally time to put the finishing touches on the set. I had planned for the progress of the shows launch to be further along at this point than where we currently stood. However, the overall delay in the table's construction did afford me the time to nail down the details and materials that would be needed to complete my work.

First, with the table's height now complete and on camera to begin filming for reference shots, I was able to begin construction on the shelving units that would flank David and I on set. I knew that I wanted to both create a backdrop that reflected my personality and decorative tastes as well as something that was different than what most reviewers in the Hobby were currently utilizing. I felt that the best way in which to do so was to create custom shelving that would allow us to showcase specific games that were of importance to us as well as be more of a focal point to the audience. Personally, watching a reviewer in front of a massive shelf of games tends to draw my attention away from the game being discussed, so by design we emphasized this by using a more minimalist approach by instead having the set wrap around and frame us on camera.



NOT ALL THOSE WHO WONDER ARE LOST

Once the shelves were in place, David and I debated for a long while about what possible additional features the shelves might need (if any). I always felt that something was needed to break up the monotony of the backdrop; something bold and different that would allow the games and objects on the shelves to visually pop on camera. David felt that the shelves alone were enough and further context of any type would distract from the overall aesthetics of the design.

It's safe to note here that David and I are quite similar human beings in many, many regards, but for some reason we tend to disagree often on several of the smaller details of the show which tend to create some pretty humorous arguments between us. During the brainstorming process and construction of Man Vs Meeple, David and I have had dozens of disagreements about the small stuff, and with both of us being acute perfectionists, these arguments usually turn any kind of progress that we've made into a slow crawl.

So when it came to the final design of the shelving units we debated our points for quite some time. I finally decided to mock up a simple backdrop using cardboard substitutes. Hopefully this new look would allow David and several of our friends and family to better understand what I was so adamant to create. Suffice to say my awful cardboard stand-ins didn't do much at all to sway anyone's opinion in my direction, so like any creative mind who is told to stop while he was ahead....I decided to do build them out anyways.



AYE! I COULD DO THAT

Despite the ups and the downs, the frustrations, the fear of failure and the anxiety and stress that came with handling the overwhelming majority of build out on my own, I always felt that I was creative and persistent enough to finish the job. By April 11th, 2016, the set was finally beginning to look like a real set. The custom made shelving was completed and attached to the wall at just the right height for multiple angled camera shots. I had won my argument with David about the shelving frames (well - not really but I decided to build them anyways because it's MY basement whistle). I had finally painted my table surface after numerous attempts at trial and error, and the template for the large 55" TV was hung using an old baseball card sheet from my days of collecting in the 80's. Everything was set and in motion for even more finishing touches in the days ahead.....

Twitter Facebook
1 Comment
Sat May 21, 2016 7:28 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
73 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide

Determination and a Stroke of Luck

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
THE FURY OF DRAC-KKENSTRIKE

Man Vs Meeple took a backseat for three weeks in March of 2016 as I mentally and physically recouped from both the previous months work and the sickening realization that I was going to have to sacrifice my grand plans for something that didn't fit my overall vision. I had exhausted a dozen different outlets and like most things in life, money became the road block to my creative output.

I was pretty much at a crossroad and I was angry at myself because I was holding up the entire creative process due to my indecision and lack of motivation to figure it out. Everything else that was to come revolved around getting this surface created, and if I didn't have this proper desk/table in place, I wouldn't be able to do the required measurements for all of the others design features of the set. I decided to enlist my wife who graciously went with me to Lowe's to purchase some High Density MDF Board which I determined would be my table's top. Knowing that this wood comes in huge rectangular sheets, I had to have the material cut on site at Lowe's before transportation to our basement where I would then glue the two large pieces together.

However, I didn't want a square or rectangular table, so I would have to find a way to shape the table to the size and dimensions that I had originally designed - but I would need the right tools to do so. Again, anxiety and panic set in after gluing the huge pieces together because I knew that I only had one shot at cutting the table top correctly. Once again, I set out to find my answers....



ROLLING A PERFECT 20

I had no experience with a router, or even how to utilize one, but after watching a handful of Youtube videos about cutting rounded edges, I knew that I needed one to complete the job. Once again I went to another local woodcraft store in Indianapolis for both guidance and the tools in which to do so. I knew that I would have to build some makeshift rig and template to effectively cut a 6 foot long semi circle into my table top so I asked the sales clerk what I needed to do. After almost 5 minutes of conversation that resonated like an unknown foreign language to me, he mentioned that the store's master craftsman was in the backroom and that maybe he would be willing to better walk me through the process since I obviously looked completely lost to his suggestions.

In my mind, I thought out would walk an older distinguished gentleman in his refined years, but instead I was greeted by a young twenty something who looked half my age. He was gracious and nice and completely confident in his abilities as a woodworker and eventually asked me why someone with my lack of experience and tools was wishing to build a table top in the first place. I told him my story and who I once was in the Board Game community and his eyes instantly lit up like a Christmas tree.

He knew of me and my previous work and he was a huge gamer as well!! On the spot he offered to come to my house and lend his skills and support on not only cutting the table top for me, but also cutting two rounded base supports that would allow me to build the table that I originally designed and always wanted to build from Day One. Euphoria and relief both set in at once as I knew that finally I had caught a break and that things were going to get back on track for Man Vs Meeple.

ALL IN A (FEW) DAYS WORK

It absolutely amazes me how people who have the right set of tools and the right skill sets can make everything that they do look so incredibly easy. Spencer came to the set during the first week of April 2016 and like a true craftsman, he cut the table and the two rounded support structures as promised to the exact size and specifications that I had designed in AutoCad. It was an incredible thing to witness and partake in firsthand, and marked a turning point for the development of the set for the next few weeks to come.



At long last I had my table top and the rigs for the base upon which it would sit, all that needed to happen now was to build the support structure out fully and attach the two units together. On April 7th, 2016, I finally screwed the pieces together and wrapped the front of the desk in plywood to give it the backing that it would need for the detail work that was to follow.

Nearly two months of design, redesign, conversation and disappointment were all resolved in a short four days of hard work and the help of a complete stranger who also shared a similar passion for gaming. Either by continued determination or a simple stroke of luck, Man Vs Meeple was finally back on track and things from here were going to move quickly....

Twitter Facebook
10 Comments
Mon May 16, 2016 11:51 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

A Snag In The Road

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DEALING WITH INEXPERIENCE

The frame to our Man Vs Meeple set was completed the first few days of March 2016 - minus a few much needed tweaks that were to take place over the next few weeks. Overall though I was extremely satisfied with the final product, and knew that the imperfections that existed in its construction (mostly due to my lack of experience and carpentry skills) would eventually be hidden behind a myriad of design features that would be added in the month ahead. Being the perfectionist that I am, I got extremely creative with my supplies to cover up those areas that caused me grief and anxiety. I knew that I could spend yet another month re-leveling and removing inadequate boards that didn't quite feel matched up as I had intended, but I pushed through my concerns knowing that the most challenging feature was yet to come.



SLEEPLESS NIGHTS AND A FEELING OF DEFEAT

I scoured the Internet for weeks on end to find a desk that I felt fit our exact needs. In my own mind, I always knew precisely what I wanted to be the focus of our set but worried about the cost involved in creating just such a piece of furniture. David and I discussed dozens and dozens of different ideas, ranging from just using a plain round or square store bought table to actually crafting a truly unique desk of our own. I sprayed the outline of my dream table on our basement floor to give ourselves an idea of the exact size and spacing required. In truth, we neither knew how to create the desk nor knew of any true craftsman to assist us with the project.

Looking at several vendors online, I quickly discovered that a News Desk from a professional, experienced company would cost us approximately $3,500 on the low end - which was completely out of our price range. I was convinced though that with the right tools I could create a quality piece with just a little bit of help from the right person.

Knowing this, I decided to make my way to a local Woodworking shop in Indianapolis, and quickly found the name of a skilled carpenter in the area. After a short phone conversation, I was referred to not one, but a chain of three consecutive craftsman over a series of days, all of whom didn't want to take on the project or referred me to yet someone else who they felt was capable of the requirements. Eventually we found a carpenter just a few miles away from my house, so David and I made the trip to his workshop to share our thoughts and get an idea of the overall pricing that would be required. Long story short, the gentleman that we met was a true pro, but a pro that would cost us in the neighborhood of $1,000 minimum to get just the frame alone created. Again I felt completely defeated knowing that my budget would also have to include multiple pieces of electronics and decorative items to complete the set design. The only options I had left at this point was to create the desk completely by myself, even though I had no experience nor a single quality tool to complete the job.

I decided to take about a week off to collect my thoughts and recenter myself from the harsh reality that I was facing; either just buy a store bought table and forgo my grand plans, or dig in and find a way to design and craft this on my own. Either way, I needed a break, so I decided to paint the floor and tape down another outline of an easier desk to build.



Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Sun May 15, 2016 6:16 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
40 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Building Something Special

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
COMING TO TERMS WITH COST

After calculating out a very rough and unfinished budget, I knew going into this project that I was completely ill prepared for the tasks ahead. I am not a carpenter or a craftsman and have had very little experience in the way of tools or know-how to create what I wanted to design in my creative mind. Sometimes we dream big and only realize later that we are limited by money, resources or the contacts to make those dreams come to fruition. Each subsequent trip to the hardware store saw my budget escalate, but I knew that I didn't want to cut corners on costs nor present something to our audience that I wasn't inherently proud to have created and put to film. I was at a crossroads and was constantly told that we didn't need to start off big, that we needed to walk before we ran, but I have never been one to listen. In life you only get one real chance to make a firm impression upon people, and I wasn't willing to cut corners at the start.

I also wanted the Set to mirror my personal preferences in style and design, leaning towards an industrial/transitional look (aka Pottery Barn/Crate and Barrel). Yeah....this wasn't going to be a cheap endeavor.

Having a full time business career and doing the build out solely by myself meant that working on this project would be limited to nights and weekends, and that the time frame for completion would have to be set for approximately May of 2016 - this was going to be a long, drawn out process that would take me through a flood of different emotions.




A TEST OF ENDURANCE

Now that the basic frame of the set was assembled and attached, it was time to begin work on the walls of the set. I made dozens of trips to the Hardware Store for lumber, lumber in the form of fencing planks that had to be cut to specific sizes and painted.

The painting process took what seemed to be an eternity due to each color having to be mixed individually and painted with multiple coats. In the end, I purchased just two colors of paint, a white and a dark gray. With these two paint colors though I made dozens of varied mixes in order to create a background that was both unique and eye catching in design.

The process was daunting, intense and time consuming, and required resources that I did not own nor have in my budget to purchase but was ultimately able to borrow from friends and neighbors.

As the days rolled by the Set finally began to take shape. What was once just a thought on paper began to take fruition and the mold began to turn my weary state into encouragement for what was to come next. With each new board that was placed upon the frame, new ideas began to take sprout and root in my mind and there was an overall feeling of hope each time that I showed the set off to my family, friends and co-host.

My idea of a unique Video Channel had finally evolved into something that was actually going to happen, and not just happen in my hopeful day-dreaming mind, but was physically taking place before my eyes.

In February of 2016, I was finally able to share my project with my Indianapolis community of gamers at IndyCon. In just one month, the framework for our show was finally taking shape. There was still a metric ton to complete, but we finally saw a glimmer of hope ahead...







Twitter Facebook
1 Comment
Wed Apr 6, 2016 6:33 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
34 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

The Creative Process

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
STUCK IN FEAR

Man Vs Meeple began in earnest in February 2016 when I finally made the conscious effort to put my fears aside and push forward by investing a very large amount of my time, resources and money into fully backing a project that I had been wanting to commit to for the better part of 2 years. With the blessings of my wife, family and friends, I embarked on creating something that I hoped would spark interest in the community and revitalize the creativity that I have been bottling up since I walked away from reviewing in 2012.

With almost nothing in the way of tools or carpentry knowledge, I once again tasked myself with doing something that I did not know how to fully complete. That something was to craft a "Workspace" that would provide myself and my co-host with a unique location by which we could broadcast our videos to the world at large. I knew from the start that I had to finally put myself in front of the camera, and that our personalities as a whole would have to be up front for people to fully connect to our message - and the only way to do that effectively was to create something that the community had not seen from an amateur reviewer broadcasting from a lonely corner of his own basement.

Without an ounce of skill or experience to my name, I set off to design something in our barren and dark basement that we would eventually house what we call our "Set"....or the home of Man Vs Meeple.

I can't describe the fear that goes into doing something like this, but I can tell you that it is palpable and real. Knowing that I was about to take a very large risk by investing our family's money into something that we could only hope to see a return investment on is a scary proposition for anyone, but knowing the sheer amount of money that would be needed for everything that was to be involved in its creation was enough for me to consider walking away on several occasions. I knew from the start that this would be a risky project but I also felt that anything that you are truly passionate about is worth the risk, so inevitably I took the plunge and made my first of what would eventually become dozens and dozens of trips to one of many hardware stores in my area.





























THE IDEA

I knew from the start that I wanted Man Vs Meeple to be both unique in its appearance and delivery by providing a form of entertainment different than what other Video Reviewers were currently crafting. In order to pull that off I wanted to start by creating a fully functioning set - one with multiple cameras, soft box lighting, microphones, a TV, simple but unique shelving, and a desk to pull it all together. Our conversations went back and forth on its overall design and function, but we eventually settled on something that we both felt would provide good form and function for both us as reviewers and for our viewers.

I spent a week clearing our basement free of clutter, junk and years worth of girls toys to make room to both build and house the set that I would design. In a matter of days, we had the foundation for what was to come.....

Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Wed Apr 6, 2016 4:18 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
60 
 Thumb up
15.00
 tip
 Hide

Man vs Meeple (The Return of Drakkenstrike)

Jeremy Salinas
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Man Vs Meeple
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MAN VS MEEPLE

It's been a long time coming.

Approximately 5 years ago I launched one of the first video review series for board games. Drakkenstrike’s Components Breakdown Video Review Series in HD was focused on melding high end production values with a real flair of creativity. Although it was a mouthful of a name (and ridiculously long to type), it was a true labor of love for which I spent countless hours of my time in production to create the highest quality videos that I could. I am proud to say that these same videos are still some of the most popular and most watched board game videos even today. I have been eternally grateful for all the kind words of encouragement from those who have enjoyed my work and have asked for my eventual return.

Unfortunately as time went on, I found my catalog of work in a swarm of legal issues which took out almost all the joy that I got from the creative process. It may sound silly, but I really loved crafting each unique video and have missed it ever since.

As I gradually backed away from my efforts, numerous other reviewers have continued on or others have picked up the torch as it were. As I have watched from the sidelines, I had always told myself that when the time was right, I would come back -- but only if I was willing to put myself out there and once again create something unique, different and fresh. The months and years have rolled by without an answer, and although I never left the hobby or my love of gaming, I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted come back. I often teased my return on several occasions, but due to work and just the grind of life in general, the timing or circumstances have never fully lined up.


That is until now.


Over the past year, my close friend and I have sat down numerous times brainstorming many, many ideas that could serve as a catalyst for my return to creating high end videos. The concepts that we created have taken dozens of forms, but most felt like a re-implementation of what other reviewers were already doing. We finally arrived at something that most definitely caters to my goals of being unique, different and fresh, but also has a familiarity that I hope most viewers will appreciate. That idea quickly grew into a mission, and in early February 2016 I began laying the groundwork for what will be known as Man vs Meeple. I hope you will follow me here as we begin our journey on this new video review series. Stay tuned as we prepare for our launch in May 2016....

Twitter Facebook
26 Comments
Wed Apr 6, 2016 2:53 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

Subscribe

Categories