Well, not hate, exactly. For the right games, they're right on. But unfortunately Kickstarter has become Mini-starter at least in the board game space. I'm surprised we haven't see a miniatures version of Yahtzee yet. (Hope I didn't give some sociopath entrepreneur an idea!)
Whereas the plastic little statues used to be reserved for tabletop miniatures gaming, now they are being used as pawns in the deadly fundraising arena of crowdfunding. And for the most part, pawns is all they are in the game. Where cubes gave rise to meeples and then to character meeples, little plastic statues are now all the rage. And creating even more rage! (HULK SMASH!)
But I'm digressing down a rabbit trail for sure.
Miniatures can be good in some board games but are superfluous these days in most (see Brook City for a recent example). In Batman: Gotham City Chronicles they are a good use of miniatures -- and pretty much the whole reason that game costs as much as it does. Like Core Space, they at least took the helpful step of making each side a different color plastic, so the game could somewhat be played right out of the box without painting being necessary.
Face it, we're not all painters.
And while I can do a decent job, I don't have the time to paint 150+ miniatures. And with every game coming out with grey plastic blobs, multiply that time requirement and we'd all spend our time painting instead of playing.
And some of us just want to play the game. A game should stand or fail on its merits, not its minis.
No, they are not so flashy as a set of well painted miniatures. But at the same time, they don't take as long as painting would take. And they work 100% the same in the game. In fact, maybe a little better as they have the name of the character right on the standee and for those larger (or smaller) than a "1" size index, that value is on the image too so you can easily add up the value of an area.
At the very least, for those who have them sitting on their painting table, they can still be playing while they work.
They come 14 to a sheet and there are 11 sheets for 154 total standees. BTW, there are two for Two-Face (both a heads and a tails), bringing up the total from the in box 153. Just print them on white cardstock (I used a color laser), score along the red lines, then cut, fold and glue. The "fold inside" section helps to make them a little more sturdy and hold in a standee holder better. I tried to group them in logical ways (henchfolk with their villain) as best I could, so you should be able to just print the ones you need as you go if you prefer.
These are a little wider (1" vs. 3/4") and shorter than my previous standees. I was going for a little closer to miniature height for (most of) them and make them about the same width as the bases of the miniatures.
I would love to see more companies include standees as an additional, ready to play stretch goal or addon... but until they do or this fascination with miniatures dies down, I will keep making them where I see the need.
Perhaps one benefit of correcting trade imbalances with China via new tariffs will be to force publishers to consider less bling and more zing in their games... Who knows.
The Jack Vasel Memorial Fund (JVMF) Auction is well underway and well on its way to another great year.
So far, it's up to $22,860 raised in bids, but is open for items and bidding through April 6, 2019.
You don't need to be a publisher or designer either to help with this project (read more here: Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Auction 2019 (CLOSED)). Anyone can offer games, accessories or pretty much whatever (within reason!) for bids. You ship the item to the winner and the winner pays the JVMF. A feel good win for everyone.
Also in the monthly "Games For Geekgold" contest, I'm offering up my M3D Micro 3d Printer (as reviewed here: Boardgaming, 3D Printing, and the Micro 3D - a Ones Upon a Game Review). As little as 1GG gets you an entry to win with of course more GG = more entries. As of right now, three winners will be chosen. One for the printer and two more will receive all their bid GG back + 750GG bonus. So if you're interested in starting on the 3D printing journey, then swing on over and take a chance.
Was and am not a hater of the other board game based on the Fallout IP, but when I saw the new Fallout: Wasteland Warfare published by Modiphius Entertainment included solo AI rules, my interest was piqued and I placed my order. Finally cracked it open yesterday the first thing I noticed was there are LOTS OF LITTLE COUNTERS. Wow... Tiny little things that make 1/2" wargame counters seem a blessing (and I hate 1/2" wargame counters!).
After punching (and peeling them as they sadly weren't cleanly punched), I organized them into little piles to determine how best to organize them. Of course this meant I would make a four-module tray using my GMT compatible tray system along with custom printed lid with the game cover art.
Always need terrain in miniatures games and I'm fine with using household items or blocks, etc. to create obstacles. But thanks to this thread (Compatible terrain for under $10 for the newcomer), I purchased some ready to print scenery from Drive-Thru-RPG. However, as these are set to 28mm scale and FWW is 32mm, I opened the PDF pages in Photoshop, scaled by 114%, then cherry picked the pieces I wanted (buildings 1-2) and re-laid them out on to a new document (to maximize components per page). Printed these on 110# white cardstock, scored, and cut them out. Assembly was easy enough, even for big fingers.
Took the base/ground images and scaled to be a full page and printed on 1/2-sheet mailing labels. Stuck each label to a piece of thick coated chipboard, then cut them out with a utility knife. Next I arranged the buildings onto the four bases so they could be placed on the gameboard in clusters.
They aren't the bees knees when it comes to terrain pieces, but a step up from egg cartons for sure. And these days maybe cheaper.
The barriers and barrels were files available (or used to be) for free on Shapeways. These appear to be identical to ones being sold by Miniature Market (legally, don't get me wrong), but perhaps theirs are better printed.
Of course, you can't keep a good woman down either, but since I'm not a woman, using "or woman" or "person" would have been needlessly cumbersome...
Absence of Malice Recently had an unplanned "break" from BGG thanks to the Secret Police once again not liking officially unapproved and unauthorized opinions being expressed (even when done so in polite but confident discussion). This is an area that needs to be addressed as I daresay in most cases the offender doesn't realize they've touched a hidden third rail and just get suspended while the so-called "offensive" comment is left on the site. It's a very odd way of handling things and not one conducive to constructive dialogue between differing parties... but that is a discussion for another time.
EDIT: It would appear "they" HAVE started removing unwelcome (by some) comments from the site. Hopefully in lieu and not in addition to suspension.
But I'm happy to say that in spite of not being able to post or comment here, I made good use of my time, creating a few modifications for games.
Under a Blood Red Sky First up, been loving Blood Red Skies but found that I wouldn't have the time to paint the miniature planes and that in the end (as is most of the time with miniatures), they aren't 100% necessary to the game. All measurement is from the round bases, which are about 1.5" in diameter. So I ordered some 1.5" wooden "coins" and then created 12 labels for each plane type. Made six level 3 and then two each of level 2, 4, and 5. All the coins got a 3 on one side and then another level on the other side. Sealed them with some RightStep Satin and started playing. They work great and less clutter makes it easier to play and measure.
The flight stands use an odd rock forward for "disadvantaged" and rock back for "advantaged" indicator. This not only looks silly, but causes planes to take up even more space on the table than necessary... which in a busy dogfight, can be a problem. To remedy this, I just use a green cube for advantaged, red for disadvantaged, and no cube for neutral. Another win.
Sowing the Gears of War Gears of War: The Board Game is a bit of a mystery. Widely regarded as a great system and a respected IP, Fantasy Flight Games dropped the ball big time on supporting this game. Even with the IP license lost, the system deserves another sci-fi theme applied to it.
Be that as it may the community has geared up and created several missions and other mods for the game, including a collection of 24 new COGs created by user Alex Hajdasz. In order to make these more playable in-game without proxying other miniatures, I created a set of standees to go along with them.
You can get the COGs and the standees at the BGG file pages below:
Shine On You Crazy Firefly Another miniatures-replacement project I had in the wings and suddenly had a little time for was for Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats. Again, with no time to paint, had planned when I first got the game to add Standees. This was not only to make our intrepid heroes clearer on the board (in both casual and heroic states), but I was having a hard time matching the baddy miniatures to their respective stat cards. So while I was in the rhythm of making standees, put this set together as well.
At the very least it would allow people to quickly try out the game before they paint or while they paint...
But as I was getting it all set up and incorporating the Khan expansion updates and upgrades, I realized better organization was in order. It's also been too long since I had #FunWithFoamCore, so set off to building a replacement insert. While the plastic trays are nice enough, you cannot combine the components and as usual, they take up more space than necessary. Would love to see how many straws we could recover from the amount of plastic in these oversized organizers.
So this one is really nothing fancy. Cannot make it the full size of the box, since they went with a hinged lid design and the flaps tuck inside the box, but no worries there. Made a section to hold the space tiles and added a couple of small strips of foam core on the bottom to give the tiles a lift to ease their removal. Same with the slot for Khan's ship. The Borg cubes are a perfect height and made their garage slots with just vertical walls (had to cut notches though to ease removal. Khan's ship stands shorter than the Borg, so simply stacked and glued four small squares of foam core together to lift it up to a better height.
Parking garage for enemy wessels; cards safely banded together and tucked in the extra storage slots; Used my generic boxes (5x16mm, 1x35mm) to hold the faction tokens and the player ships.
After that, I was pretty much done with the foam. I'd thought of really getting specific where things go and boxing stuff in, but like with my Too Many Bones insert, keeping it more versatile with smaller boxes holding component groups seemed to make more sense. Especially with a deeper box. (Still waiting for my KS copy of Too Many Bones: Undertow to ship to see if my plan of it ALL fitting in one box comes to fruition -- Make Room for Undertow!)
One of the things that bothered me when playing the game before were the stacks of encounter counters. ST:F takes up a lot of space and if you midjudge and have to shift things around, it's a minor nuisance (#FinalFrontierProblems) repositioning the stacks. So for the last few days I'd been working out in my head a solution to keep the stacks organized, but also stored neatly.
This is what I came up with... a small counter rack, made from a single sheet of cardstock, that has dividers to hold four stacks of counters for the game, although other games would work as well. ST:F comes with eight stacks and Khan adds a ninth one. I wanted to leave room for future expansions, so went with a four stack unit, so with three of these, there is room for three more stacks in the future.
And with the addition of a sleeve, the whole rack can be stored, keeping the counters neatly sorted and ready to go (except for the pre-game shuffle).
So now, finally, that Tribble is off my back and I can boldly go... where I went before, but want to go again...
Those of you playing the wonderful Everdell solo, may find this file useful. It's the solo steps for running Rugwort (the rattie baddie) through an entire game. Nothing fancy, but easier than flipping through the book and missing a step.
Now I love the 3D tree that comes in both the standard and collector's edition of Everdell. Since I love paper crafting, I find the design and function of the tree to be excellent. The draw deck is held tucked in the trunk, the special event cards are in the lower bough, and your seasonal worker increases rest in the upper bough until it's their time to shine.
However, as I mentioned before I added a protective varnish on the tree to keep it safe during the setup and takedown. But as I disassembled the tree to put it away after my last session, I thought how much time this takes and how, playing solo, I've already been impressed by it. I don't need to see it on the board every game. Others have also noted that with repeated use, the tree will wear out.
So off to Photoshop I went. Being careful this time not to use ANY of Starling Games (II) artwork (the photo background is even mine), I created this side board for Everdell, that will fit at the top of the board and provides space for the special events and waiting workers. Printed mine on white 110# cardstock and then spray glued to a piece of artwork mounting board. I rough cut initially and cut the mounting board a little larger. Then when the glue was set, trimmed down to the final size. A few coats of varnish to protect and voila! An alternative board for quick setup and take down.
I'll still use the 3D tree if I ever introduce the game to other players. The wow factor will draw them in. But here's a functional little board that will suffice for my solo sessions in the future. You may need to shift the basic events around a little, or move this board off the main board.
UPDATE: Starling Games contacted me and didn't like my use of the name and logo on the crates themselves, so I have re-editto remoe the logo. Fortunately someone else was interested in them without branding already so it might work out for the best all the same.
First off, have to say, Everdell is an absolute gem (or resin?) of a game. Designed by James A. Wilson, published by Starling Games (II) and beautifully illustrated by Andrew Bosley, Everdell is a breath of fresh air. Quick to play, easy rules, but medium complexity, the game will thrill soloists, groups, and families alike.
Resource Storage Crates
One thing I noticed during my playing the game though was the piles of resources (twigs, resin, pebbles, and berries) that sit in designated spots on the board tend to roll and shift around as fat fingers try to pick one up. I wanted a solution to this problem that would be thematic as well as provide storage for the resources in the game box.
You've probably noticed by now that I like to design custom boxes for various games (like for Too Many Bones and others)... but I've never delved into designing a box with full graphics. Thinking on the theme, I decided on a shipping crate motif that would look good on the board, keeping the resources in place as well as have a lid so they could go right into the game box.
This pattern is available now on Etsy for $2.49. You get two full crates from a single sheet of 65# or 110# cardstock, so you only need to print two copies. Full instructions with photos included.
Surgery of more the cosmetic variety. The Evertree included with the game is quite lovely. Made of five pieces of coated chipboard, it adds a wonderful 3D element to the game and thematically your little critters are waiting in the tree to help in later seasons (a turtle up the tree???).
However, being chipboard, I was worried the assembly/disassembly would eventually create too much wear and softness on the pieces. Also, being chipboard, it has the ugly raw edges for such a beautiful component.
First thing, I used dry erase markers (with a bit of help from Mr. Sharpie and yellow highlighter) to color the edges of the boards. For the tree I simply used black as that blends well with the brown and looks like shadows of bark lines. For the spring/summer areas of the tree, green was used and yellow highlighter on the autumn area. As groovy as the tree is shaped, it was a little challenging to get into some of the nooks, but patience and a little "bending" remedied that.
Next for protection, I wanted to seal the edges to prevent them from fraying, but also give a protective coat for the faces of the pieces. For this I turned to a wonderful product called "Right Step" (https://jwetc.com/products) which is a clear varnish. It's "self levelling" so you put it on thin and brush strokes should disappear. I used a Satin finish (between matte and gloss) and turned out great. Downside I didn't plan for was the varnish dripped over the edge and puddled on the reverse side, creating some interesting textures on that side, but nothing too bad. Looking back, I'd rest them on dice or something to keep them lifted off the wax paper when drying.
In the end though, the effect worked perfectly. The edges are mostly colored and the tree components have a nice sheen to them and fit together smoothly.