ones upon a game

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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A Stand Up Fight or a Bug Hunt? Space Infantry Resurges!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Space Infantry: Resurgence the updated and revised version of the classic Space Infantry is now live on Kickstarter. At a base price of $75 ($15 off the MSRP), the game is slated for October 2019 fulfillment.

I spoke with David Heath from Lock 'n Load Publishing, LLC. well over a year ago and he was very excited about the improvements coming to this very solo and now coop tactical wargame.

There is all new art and components, and it includes every scenario and campaign previously released for the first edition, along with new game modes and an enhanced manual all in one package. The game also features two brand new story-driven campaigns where you, the commander, make all of the strategic mission decisions. Patrol the depths of an enemy stronghold in randomly generated Hive Missions, featuring a modular environment that evolves as you explore it. Pit yourself against your friends in head-to-head mode as they control the sinister alien intelligence and fight your squad through a persistent campaign, or work together in our new cooperative mode. Space Infantry Resurgence brings you two new variants to play through in either co-op or solitaire mode; The Last Outpost and The Horde.

Back the KICKSTARTER here.

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Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:14 pm
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Friends! Romans! Mountain Climbers! Lend me your -eers!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Recently I received my Kickstarter fulfillment copy of the collector's edition of Mountaineers by Massif Games, LLC. After first doing the requisite unboxing, I set it up to play. But unfortunately there were/are some issues with the 3D mountain and the turntable. A great idea for a game, but just a little awkward.

First off is the turntable itself. It's designed to be held in place to the main board via one of those two part grommet/connector devices that work great in many of Fantasy Flight Games like the dials in Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game or the threat tracker in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. Whereas those items are designed to stay together once assembled, the turntable and board will not fold back up with the pin in place, necessitating removal (so don't press it too hard when putting it together!). Also each half of the connector is small, so it's hard to get it in place and then remove your hand before it drops through. Doable, but difficult.

The board really only needs a spindle, not a full connector. The turntable is not picked up during the game. So taking a clue from some others, I designed and 3D printed a new spindle that is about one inch tall and just sits easily under the main board. The post comes up through the board and then you can place the turntable over it. The weight of the turntable and normal (no table flipping!) gameplay easily keeps it on the post.




Not necessary, but I opted to add a large washer (this was actually from some light fixture and the piece was stashed in our tool box) between the board and turntable to give a little easier turning.

The spindle is available for free on Thingiverse and you can print yourself or order one printed.

Another problem though is the moutainside pieces. The tabs that go into the notches on the board are just a bit too shallow. They have to be because the turntable "rides" along the main board itself. So unfortunately as your placing pitons and moving climbers, you run the very real and very often risk of upsetting the board itself.

I had seen another user make a large triangle device to go over the mountain (for 1-4 players) and lock them in, but for me this didn't solve the issue of the board flexing inward during play. I had originally envisioned a complex replacement turntable with a spindle and arms and .... scrap that. This fellow's solution was a good first step, so I moved in that direction.

My solution simply involves cutting some pieces of craft of fun foam. I had a piece of black 5mm foam (found at Hobby Lobby or other craft stores) laying around and cut 1/4" strips from that. These I cut into 3" "cleats" and glued them to the turntable with the mountain assembled and in place. I used purple glue stick (which dries clear) and you have to be more patient as the foam takes a little longer to let the adhesive work. Once the outer perimeter was glued into place, I removed one panel and put cleats inside flush against the other two sides and then swapped out the third panel to get complete the inside bracing.





I turned the whole turntable over and put weight on it to make sure the glue cured and adhered well.

Now the panels are braced from any wiggly movement popping them out of the slots during rotation or gameplay. I had planned to go ahead and do the square 5-6 player mountain slots as well, but I had issues just getting that to even assemble normally. Since I would rarely play non-solo or above four players, I just left it for now and will explore that later.

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Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:20 pm
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The Index is a door to finding treasure in the dark...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Over the past nearly three years, lots of articles, reviews, tips, images, etc. have appears on this blog... I was starting myself to get lost trying to find something!

So to remedy that I've created a new geeklist: Ones Upon A Game: Reviews, Mods, Images and Videos Index to refer to find the potentially helpful diamond in the rough.

I welcome you to subscribe to the list as a whole or just to games that are of interest to you... if such a thing is of interest to you.
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 3:24 pm
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The Perils of Penelope Pitstop and other Persons

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A little over a year ago I released my "Hostage Cards" unofficial expansion for Hostage Negotiator by Van Ryder Games. It was met with more enthusiasm than I anticipated (thank you!). This deck of 27 characters gave a little more depth to the yellow meeples of that game and many felt increased the tension (some said too much!).

If you've not heard me harp on these before, you can read all about them and download the print and play PDF versions yourself if you like.

Hostage Negotiating Just Got Real-er-er-ish (and Dark)

With the current Kickstarter campaign for the Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Tragic Events expansion underway (LINK: http://kck.st/2fuhTs3), it occurred to me that these cards could as well be used for other games. With the limited direct ties to Hostage Negotiator, I decided to sever that connection and make the cards a little more versatile and work with not only HN, but also for Flash Point: Fire Rescue and perhaps other games that use a hidden "victim" component.

So from this point forward "Hostage Cards" are now "Persons in Peril"



Obviously fire rescue isn't about hostages, nor are they "victims" if they are actually rescued, so "Persons in Peril" seemed like an appropriate fit. This deck includes the original 27 character cards as well as five "False Alarm" objects and two straight-from-casting-central cute animals (a dog and a cat). There are also 20 "blank" character cards for you to make your own persons in peril should you so desire. The entire 54 card deck features an all new back image as well.

The 54-card version is now available on The Gamecrafter (LINK: http://bit.ly/2uGANxU). As promised the original "Hostage Cards" will remain free PnP for those who only want it for Hostage Negotiator.

A reduced price 36-card version (same as the 54 but with 18 fewer of the blank cards -- there are only two) will be available in the next week or so. UPDATE: They're ready... https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/persons-in-peril-expans...



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Wed Aug 9, 2017 7:09 pm
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Boardgaming, 3D Printing, and the Micro 3D - a Ones Upon a Game Review

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Boardgaming, 3D Printing, and the Micro 3D


Introduction:
Ever since I created my race car miniatures for Thunder Alley (Send in the Clones - DIY Thunder Alley Miniatures - Part I), I've thought about different ways to go about creating them that might be easier. I was shocked (shocked I say!) that the online 3D printing services didn't have an existing model for a standard NASCAR stock car. I figured I'd have to get a 3D model and print it myself. But on what? I decided to explore the world of home 3D printing, not just for Thunder Alley, but to add to my arsenal for game modifications and improvements in general. Enter the good folks at M3D who kindly sent me one of their Micro 3D printers to try out.

In this article, I'll simply be reviewing the Micro 3D itself. But like my Silhouette Cameo paper cutter, expect to see more articles in future detailing its use: both my trial and error in 3D object creation and printing as well as a many successful mods and blings that I have (and will) created.


What Comes In the Box?
There are two packages containing the M3D printer currently available for sale. The Standard Edition prices out at $349 and includes the printer, power and USB cable. It also comes with a 3-month warranty. For this review, I was using the $449 Retail Version which comes in a retail box and includes the printer, power and cord as well as upping the warranty period to a full year. A single spool of PLA filament is also thrown in. Software to run the printer is available via download from the printm3d.com site.



The Micro 3D itself is a sleek compact cube (under 8 inches each side) that is available in a variety of colors (some with a small upcharge).




Setup:
Setting up the Micro 3D is really as simple as placing it on your desk or table, plugging in the power and the USB to your computer (Mac or PC -- full hardware specifications). I am using it with my Windows 10 laptop. Install the software and follow the brief quick setup steps one the included sheet (calibration is a must) and you're off!


Use:
Essentially 3D prints are created by the quick melting and cooling of plastic filament. The two main types are ABS and PLA and the Micro 3D is designed to use 1.75mm PLA. The print head moves on a track back and forth and left and right (X-Y axes) and then up and down via a threaded rods in the four corners. As it moves it melts the filament thread at over 400 degrees and "prints" this melted filament where your model should be solid. The filament is formulated to cool at room temperature, so it sets in place very quickly.

I have been thrilled
to explore the
world of 3D
printing with
the Micro 3D
printer
But how does the printer know where to put filament and where not to? When you download a model (and this could be anything from a miniature, to a widget, to a meeple), you're downloading a blueprint of that object. These come in many different types, but the most common for 3D printing is the .STL file (STereoLithography). The Micro 3D software uses what's called a "slicer" tool (in this case the Cura slicer) to take the 3D blueprint and cut the model into (you guessed it) slices from bottom to top. Each of these slicers is a layer that will be "printed" one on top of the other by the printer. The thickness of each slice is an option you can set when printing from Low Quality (350 microns or 0.0137795 inches) to expert (50 microns or 0.0019685 inches). Think of this as the resolution of the model, similar to dpi on a regular paper printer. The slicer software also creates the commands that tell the print head where to move, print, move, print, move print, etc. on that layer.

As each layer is printed, the model builds up on the print-bed in 3D until it's complete. It's actually a very ingenious technology and one that's getting better and more user friendly as time goes by.

When you see a 3D printed object, you might think that it's completely solid like a resin cast miniature. But more often that's not the case. Another factor for printing is called "in-fill" and affects the parts of the model you cannot see. You can scale this from only printing the exterior as thin walls or go to 100%. The more you fill, the more filament is used (and the longer the print will take). Most of the time in-fill is not necessary as the PLA is pretty durable.

On the Micro 3D, filament is fed into the print head in one of two ways. First M3D sells special sized spools of PLA that fit under the print-bed and feed up through a cloth covered channel. This allows the spool to be tucked away, but also makes changing spools between colors more of a chore (and prevents more advanced techniques such as changing colors mid-print for a two-toned look). Some users have indicated problems with the internal feeder system, though I had no issues at all when using it. Each of these special spools "contains 250 feet or approximately 1/2 lb (225g) of plastic."

As I burned (get it) through most of my initial supply of filament, I started looking for more and found a standard spool of filament comes in a 1kg or 2.2 pound spool. Excellent quality filament in these larger sizes can be found online for about $20-25 each. These contain about 1,080 linear feet of filament, so you'll get a large number of prints before you run out. The filament from these spools is fed into the machine via an external port into the same print-head (note you can only feed via one port at a time, external or internal). Since I switched to using the external port, I would not consider using the internal port again -- again not for any problems I had, just convenience. But these external sources leave a problem of unspooling the filament. As I'm new to the 3D printing world, I had to discover much of this the hard way. Of course, being a male, I have to discover everything the hard way anyway. Initially I just let the spool turn in its shipping box, but that quickly proved to be a bad solution as the spool didn't turn and the print-head had to tug too much. No worries, I'll just unroll some of the filament in advance. Bad idea. This stuff has been coiled on a spool for some time, suddenly let free it twisted and kinked itself into some pretty nasty tangles! It's on a spool for a reason and it needs to unspool in a controlled way.

My next solution was to take a small stool and turn it upside down on my desk. I set the spool onto one of the legs and fed the line through a squeeze clamp to control the angle into the printer. I'm pleased to say that this worked, for the most part... but still added a lot of drag on the print-head. This led to many troubles with my prints that I didn't realize until later it was the cause of.



Finally, I took the time to research a better solution. Fortunately someone devised one that is made possible courtesy of 3D printing! Using printed clips and some pieces of 1/2" wooden dowel, I was able to make a very sturdy spool holder that mounts right on top of the printer and the filament spools nice and easy right where it needs to go. (Thingiverse Link).



So with software, printer, proper spooling filament and some models in hand (and a lot of trial and error), making my own 3D prints with the Micro 3D has become an obsessive hobby.


Overall Impressions:
Since I received the Micro 3D I've done a LOT of printing with it. Not all of it good. But like any tool at all good results or bad results are the result of your taking the time to use it properly. It all though I have to say I've been very happy with the Micro 3D. I have a friend with a more advanced (and more expensive) MakerBot and I showed him some of my prints and he was genuinely impressed by the quality. That relieved me because I was a little disappointed, but that was because I wasn't fully sure what I was going to get entering into this hobby.

3D printing is not resin casting, so prints are not going to be super smooth. Many modelers create objects using colored filament and leave them at that. I was looking to create miniatures with great detail that I could paint. However, the layering of the prints produces clear lines going up the vertical sides of your prints. There are steps you can take to get rid of those lines (sanding, filing, vapor smoothing), but getting rid of them runs the risk of losing detail as well. I plan to explore some of these techniques as I continue to make use of the Micro 3D to enhance games and my table. I'm particularly proud of the dice tower I've actually designed, modelled in 3D, and printed, but that will come later. I am learning though to work within the limitations of the technology and not be as OCD about how things look.

...being a male,
I have to discover
everything the
hard way
Another item I'll explore in the future is a printed solution for the Thunder Alley cars. So far, while I've found a working model, I've not found one that will print in a way that makes me happy. But again stay tuned for that.

As for the Micro 3D, it's been a champ. And durable. While I was still using the spool on a stool method, I tried to adjust the location of the spool to make it turn more freely. I left the machine printing while I was out for the day and when I came back the line had snagged on the stool, the Micro 3D had walked itself across my desk and off onto the floor! Fortunately the USB came unplugged, so the software was no longer sending print commands. But the two foot drop onto the hard floor didn't damage it at all. A quick recalibration and it was back to work.

Also important to remember about 3D Printing as a whole. It's SLOW. Very slow. At first, you want to see results, so you'll reduce objects in size and resolution to get them out more quickly. But you'll soon come to accept the truth that patience is a virtue. Fortunately once a print begins, apart from leaving your computer on and connected, you can pretty much ignore it. The Micro 3D is very silent, so I've had it running by my desk while working. It does its thing and I do mine. I'll leave it running overnight, while I'm out, etc. just to let prints have the time they need. Some complex prints CAN take over 24 hours depending on the size, infill, and resolution. The longest I did was 12, with more being in the 4-6 hour range. And in spite of the heating element going to 400+ degrees, the Micro 3D is very cool to the touch -- only the print-head should be avoided while it's running.

If you do print at the lower micron end of the scale (Expert), you can get fairly smooth prints. Maybe. As the layers are thinner, the heat from the currently printing layer can actually re-melt the layer beneath, causing fine details to lose clarity. After much testing and discussion with other users, I've found that for most prints, the Medium quality setting (250 micron layers) and in-fill setting of "Hollow Thick Walls)" has proven to be a success with the Micro 3D.



There are a few "wishlist" items that I found I wanted though while using the Micro 3D. While it's limited to 4x4x4" volume for printing, I definitely would like to see a larger print-bed for bigger prints. I also wish I didn't have to keep my computer connected to the printer while it was printing, so some form of printer memory or SD-card printing would be an excellent addition. Finally in order to successfully use ABS for printing, you need a heated print-bed to keep the base warm (not required for PLA, but ABS has some different uses and advantages). The Micro 3D simply has a plastic bed with a sheet of "BuildTak" on it for adhesion.

Fortunately, before I could get this review written, M3D has already announced the Kickstarter (LINK) of the M3D Pro which includes these features and more, including faster print speeds and and even finer resolution of 25 microns. I cannot wait to try this newer and clearly more improved version!

I have been thrilled to explore the world of 3D printing with the Micro 3D printer and am looking forward to sharing various creations designed especially for our boardgaming hobby. If you've heard about 3D printing and wanted to dive in, but the price tag of the higher-end units have kept you away, then you should certainly take a look at what the Micro 3D from M3D has to offer. I'm sure, like me, you'll find you use it for all sorts of projects, both gaming and non-gaming related. And once you start to create you own objects and seeing them come to life on the Micro 3D, you'll be hooked.

I know I am.

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Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:00 pm
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Crime Wave Final Hours, Old School Gets Small

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Fans of Hostage Negotiator have been releasing hostages (in the form of stretch goals) for the standalone expansion Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave almost as fast as Van Ryder Games can get them added. But the weeks and days are drawing to an end as as of the time of this posting, only 17 hours remain to get in on the project. Of course I'm sure most of you reading this already have and have been cheering on the addition of larger dice and board, abductor meeples, negotiator meeples, the "Secret Envelope" and even gender specific hostage meeples (good to see Van Ryder taking a step closer to personifying the hostages whistle)



But if you're not in yet and were meaning to... the clock is ticking for the March 2017 project: [ Kickstarter Link ]

--------------


With an official name like Old School Tactical: Volume I you just knew a sequel would be forthcoming (though that logic didn't apply to "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins"... been waiting since the mid-80s for that follow-up!!!). Nevertheless, Flying Pig Games has not let us down as the KS for Old School Tactical: Volume 2 – West Front 1944-45 has been well underway, already funded, and is too picking off the stretch goals like a sniper in a bell tower during WW2.

While not officially a "solo" game, the first version included some solo missions to KS backers and the second promises to as well. But the game is a natural solo fit for wargamers and a fun system with some nice features like variable impulse points per turn per side and very large beautiful game boards.

However, many of the scenarios call for small subsections of the full board and a new stretch goal has been added: smaller geomorphic boards and scenarios. While these are not smaller versions of the main board, they do allow players to setup and use the same system, but in a tighter space like when travelling for example.

The base entry point to get the second volume is $70 US + $20 shipping (it's a pretty big box). Other options have some additional cards and custom dice -- or you can get the first version included with the Library pledge.

The campaign ends on Fri, Aug 26 2016 12:00 PM EDT and as indicated has already fully funded. It is slated to ship in April 2017.

[ Kickstarter Link ]

--------------

And now... about Remo... What if???

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Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:23 pm
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Kickstarter: 2GM Solo and B17 Takes Flight

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In an update to my previous post (Kickstarter Hostages and Hand Grenades), Draco Ideas has released a first draft of the English solo rules for 2GM Tactics here: [ 2GM Solo Rules (English) ]

At first glance these do appear to be more than a simple Google translation from the original Spanish. Look forward to reading them in more detail. These are not final of course as stated by designer Jose Manuel Moreno Ramos."They aren't definitive and we are going to revise it before send them to printer."

As a reminder, the KS project can be found here: [ Kickstarter Link ]

--------------------

Prolific solo publisher Dan Verssen Games (DVG) has announced their new KS project for B-17 Flying Fortress Leader. This design by Dean Brown continues the company's popular (albeit hit or miss) "Leader" series with a solo B-17 bombing theme.



Quote:
You select and command Bomber Groups and Fighter Groups belonging to the US 8th Air Force as you carry out a strategic bombing campaign against German Occupied Europe.

As you plan and carry out your missions, the game's AI controls the German Air Defenses, Technology improvements, and allocation of resources to the European, Mediterranean, and Russian campaigns.


While the game is currently a measly $5000 under its funding goal of $20,000 (with 29+ days remaining), it blew past its first goal of $10,000 in under 24 hours, earning the game a full mounted board vs. a paper one. An airplanes miniatures expansion is offered as well and stretch goals include more planes, more cards and well more.

Pledge levels are $75 for the base game and $110 for the game and miniatures. $15 additional for USA shipping.

The campaign runs until Thu, Aug 25 2016 6:53 PM EDT.

[ Kickstarter Link ]

Shipping is set for December 2016.
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Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:12 pm
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Kickstarter Hostages and Hand Grenades

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A couple interesting KS projects to alert you to.

First is the standalone expansion to Hostage Negotiator by Van Ryder Games entitled Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave.



Quote:
Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave is completely playable without any other content. So if you don't own the original Hostage Negotiator, you are still getting a fully playable game right out of the box. But having the original as well really brings out the most in this expansion! With new Conversation Cards, new Terror Cards, new Pivotal Events, new Abductors, and new Demands that can all be integrated with the original, your Hostage Negotiator experience will be taken to an all new level! Plus, with a larger box that can easily fit all released content -including the entire original game box- with room for more, you won't have to worry about any storage concerns whatsoever. But you'll still have the portability option of the original for taking on trips!


You can back just the game starting at $35 + shipping, get the new game + 3 new Abductor Packs for $50 + shipping, or get everything you missed with the first game for more. Shipping is $10 to the USA regardless of pledge. Other rates vary.

Of course the game is completely solo-friendly and solo only.

Funding is set at $25,000 and closes on Thu, Aug 18 2016 12:59 AM EDT. It appears it will fund in the next few hours of course.

[ Kickstarter Link ]

Shipping is set for March 2017.

-----------------------

Also up is an interesting WW2 card game called 2GM Tactics from Draco Ideas. This was originally released in Spanish last year, but this KS is for an English version update as well as expansions. This features a modular board and card play.



Quote:
2GM Tactics Wargame is a tabletop game that lets you recreate battles between the US – Allied nation – and Germany – Axis nation – during the late years of the WW2.

Players will create and customize their own decks in advance in order to complete the military feats assigned.


The game is for 1-4 players. The solo rules are currently available in Spanish and an English translation is forthcoming. Many are waiting on how the solo works compared to the multiplayer game. I'm working with the designer to review those rules and the game as soon as possible. I will keep you posted.

You back everything for $83 complete with shipping or get a subset of base game and selected expansions. If you have the original you can just back for the expansions.

The project was a 40 day effort and has already reached its funding goal. It will end on Sat, Aug 20 2016 7:00 PM EDT.

[ Kickstarter Link ]

Shipping is set for March 2017.
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Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:43 pm
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It's a Long Way Down, Salvation Road (whoa-oh-oh oh-oh-oh)

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My Kickstarter basic copy of Salvation Road arrived from Van Ryder Games this week and I did a quick unboxing, but then waffled back and forth on actually publishing it as I wasn't really happy with my somewhat disjointed ramblings. (not to mention early R.E.M.-esque mumbling).

But as it's going to be released July 12, I thought at the very least you could watch and see the contents anyway. Even if you turn off the volume and put on the Mad Max soundtrack ("We Don't Need Another Boardgame"). Or better yet, the one for National Lampoon's Vacation.

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Fri Jul 1, 2016 5:30 pm
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MERCS: Recon Standees v3.0 Now Available...

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As promised, thanks to the folks at MegaCon Games and especially artist Keith Lowe, the updated standees for MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat, MERCS: Recon – Assassination Protocol and all the expansion packs are now available on BGG.

MERCS Recon Standees v3.0 by Ones Upon a Game

To keep the image quality (over 41MB total) these had to be divided into seven different files. There are four files each containing MERCS from three different factions, one with all the special employees as well as the highly requested male and female regular workers! Another contains various SecFor/OpFor, including the unique characters (you may recognize as being similar to certain action heroes) and Lost Margin mercenaries. Finally a file with the "infected" disease ridden threat.

MERCS are all marked on their rear side with a yellow "R" so facing can be determined and they all feature their faction logo.

All can be found here: MERCS Recon Standees v3.0 by Ones Upon a Game
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Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:42 am
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