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Memoir '44» Forums » General

Subject: Custom Blocks to replace minis... (LONG) rss

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Marc Puig
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You work hard and they ´re nice but I love minis. devil
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Jesse Rasmussen
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I have to agree with Marc...I don't think I would go to that much work to get away from minis. You must be a Wargamer, used to the blocks, because I haven't tried the other C&C games due to their use of blocks!

I have to admit, though, that your blocks look great if you're wanting blocks. Nice job and thanks for sharing the process!
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Lewis Karl
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Nice work.

But like others, half the reason (maybe more) I play Memoir '44 is so I can play with plastic soldiers. Wooden blocks just don't hit that spot and wouldn't it seem crazy to make gun noises with blocks when attacking your opponent?

However, I really like Napoleonics and that game uses blocks so this could work in a pinch if trying to fill in pieces in a 3 or 6 map D-Day expansion scenario. (Then again I'd probably just use mini's from Airfix or whatever).
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René Christensen
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So if an infantry unit is down to two units, you tilt the block and the figure is up side down? Not sure I could live with that. whistle

And how does the opponent know how many units a block has left during the battle?
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Jesse Rasmussen
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HawkeyeLonewolf wrote:

When our time to play is limited, you want to make the most of every minute... not spend extra time on setup.


Understandable...that's why I usually set up battles before my opponent arrives! cool
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Torrance
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Nice work... thank you for the creative dedication to the community and the game.

I like blocks and miniatures equally... When using blocks I prefer one block per unit.
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Markus
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Great work! I'm surprised how elegant the game looks with blocks. Still, I must have my plastics...
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Rick Roodvoets
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Greenville
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Where can I buy these-they are awesome!!!
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J. Atkinson
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Grant
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Awesome work! I'm very impressed with the idea. I don't which idea I like more this one or the fellow who did the magnetic board and Axis & Allies figs.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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I admire all the do-it-your-selfers out there, no matter their medium: blocks, miniatures, counters, meeples...

Well done on creating such a great set of blocks for the game!
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Klay Jaeger
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Rosemount
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I might have to consider doing this if I pick up the Memoir '44: D-Day Landings expansions. There is no way I could afford multiple base sets if I wanted to try to play with all the maps. This would help take care of that problem.
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Steve
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LOL,I prefer minis as well. But it looks awesome, neat and clean. It kind of reminds me Command and Colors with the Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign block rotation going on.
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Chris Friend
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Incredible work Kevin! However my problem in set up time is locating all the terrain tiles and setting them up, not the units. Still...thumbsup
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Ryan
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Great work on your custom components, Kevin. They look sharp. Awesome effort.

Wood blocks for wood dice...appropriate.
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Ryan Keane
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Great work - they look amazing! I really like the innovation of rotating to indicate strength - a big improvement for C&C. I still prefer in M44 how using the minis allows me to very easily assess what units are on the board and how strong without having to get closer to the table. But I have used a die for each unit to indicate strength, which can speed up setup time and make moving units easier.
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Janko Kene
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Great effort, Kevin.

Also, a bit too abstract for my taste. If the block stickers, showing unit type/strenght were visible only from own side, it would be appropriate for some kind of Fog-of-War principle, (unknown units...)

But the work is really great, no doubt about that.
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Joe Reil
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rasmussen81 wrote:
I have to agree with Marc...I don't think I would go to that much work to get away from minis. You must be a Wargamer, used to the blocks, because I haven't tried the other C&C games due to their use of blocks!


I'm not really a wargamer (I only dabble) but I actually like the look of the blocks. To me, the look and feel of Memoir is very reminiscent of scenes from war movies where they have the big strategic map they push pieces around on and the blocks actually enhance that look to me.

Now, I don't think I feel strongly enough about it to go through the effort to make them all, but these look great.
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Chadgr
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What happened to the original post?
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Joe Browes
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chadgr wrote:
What happened to the original post?


Blocked?
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Ryan
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The OP had his account deleted. He's back under a different user name. He's a nice guy and has already been re-adding some of his older content. He might be willing to upload his old pictures again; I'll send him a message.
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Jesse Rasmussen
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Ryanmobile wrote:
The OP had his account deleted. He's back under a different user name. He's a nice guy and has already been re-adding some of his older content. He might be willing to upload his old pictures again; I'll send him a message.


Hmmm, a deleted account but he's a nice guy? How does that happen?! whistle
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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Here's a redo of the original post... I thought of making this a new thread, but wanted to keep all the great commentary in here as well.

I originally played Memoir '44 on Windows and that was the first I'd heard of it. Learning it was a board game, I picked up a copy to play with my adult son when we both had time. The game is light and great fun, but a pain to setup each scenario. Moving loose groups of minis as well can be a hassle. Having seen the blocks of the other C&C based games as well as the idea of reduced counters standard in wargaming, I wanted to create blocks for Memoir that would make the game setup and play a little faster.

I present my Memoir '44 Custom blocks...



The major hurdle was going to be the blocks themselves. I checked on Etsy for some, but the best I could find was 3" square blocks. I talked to the vendor to see if they could produce 1.5" ones and after a couple of back and forth emails, that line went cold. We've bought finishing wood at Home Depot in the past, so I checked there to see if they had some and voila! They had the perfect solution.



These sticks are 99% finished and are 1/2" thick (good for standing) and 1 1/2" wide and 48" long. By rights, it should produce 32 blocks (48/1.5") however when you factor in blade cut as well as leaving an area to hold for safety when sawing, the real limit was about 26 blocks per board. This also allowed a handle to hold the board when painting, so I could paint all four sides without waiting for each coat to dry.

For me, in metro Atlanta, each stick was about $2.50.

As the base game only needs 22 sets of units, the 26 was an acceptable target. I actually had a couple of bad cuts in the first two sticks as well and ended up with only 24 usable blocks from those. So I added an extra infantry and artillery unit.

42 Infantry = 11 units (rounded up)
24 Tanks = 8 Units
6 Artillery = 3 Units

I took a fine (400) grade of sandpaper and knocked down the corners just a bit, just sand up and down the length of the board very lightly.

I painted the grey and green using spray paint with primer. The downside of this is that the board is so thin that the paint "mist" missed quite a bit, so I got the can too close to the board and it puddled. So I had to clean a lot of that up (user error). The tan board I used Ceramcoat Arts and Crafts paint with a foam brush (very watered down, just thicker than a wash) and it worked much better.

However after cutting the squares, the spray paint ended up working a lot better to finish off the cut ends. With the hand painting I had to touch each one it was a little messy, though not unbearable. If I were doing it over though I'd probably hand paint as the spray required too long to dry.


The sticks painted before cutting.

To cut them, I used a chop saw that we've had for years. You could just as well use a mitre box and handsaw -- which I might do if I did this again. The chop saw blade was not for fine detail work so was a little rougher. Also on the upstroke, the blade would sometimes catch the new piece and send it flying across the room (or in one case over my car and into the driveway). I ended up having to cut the board, let the saw stop, then lift the blade which made it take a little longer.

To insure even cuts, I lowed the blade and set the board against it widthwise. Then clamped a piece of scrapwood to the saw to serve as a stop so that I could just feed the board against the stop, lower the blade and cut the piece. This part worked great.


Creating the Stop based on the width of the board.


Sliding the board to the stop before the cut.

The blade left some frayed edges, so I had to sand off the rough spots and then paint the cut edges. TIP: It's much easier to paint the sticks first and knock off 4 of the six sides before you cut them.


Blanks cut and in need of a little touch up sanding.


The German army lines up for some edge painting...

When the painting is all over you end up with nice blocks ready for the stickers...



The stickers I designed in Photoshop. The goal was to make them so each side would show the current strength of the unit in the upper righthand corner. No matter which side you're looking at, the correct value showed.

I originally planned to photograph the actual game pieces, but decided to go with a generic WW2 silhouette for each piece (same for all armies) for simplicity and make the counters less busy. The silhouette is situated so that it's right side up for the default strength (which is also marked in green). You can rotate for reductions (or increases) as necessary.

The labels are paired so you can keep them straight -- each side requires a slightly different label to make the rotation work for both players. I will upload these sheets as PDF to the files section.


An entire base army on one sheet.

To make the initial setup as well as selection from the box easier, I made labels to go across the top of each block for ARMOR, ARTILLERY, and INFANTRY.


Block top labels. More than you need for three armies.

I printed these on a full sheet of 1/2 sheet labels, so the split in the middle covers the seam between the two labels. I assumed they would stick well and then a clear coat sealer on top would insure they'd hold. This was not the case.

The Germans (of course) grey paint had to cause trouble. Not sure what's in the grey vs. the green to make them not stick fully, but corners would peel up a bit. I went over those with a decoupage solution from white glue to help hold them, but I think more will have to be done here. Perhaps a lacquer finish will help hold them on.


When the labelling was all done I applied several coats of the sealer to protect them...

Finally got them on the board. Set up the initial Pegasus Bridge scenario...





And that's all there is to it. Again, with normal play the stickers and clear coat should hold just fine, but I do need to get them secured a little bit better. If I knew I would do decoupage, I would have just printed them on paper and did that from the start.

Hope you enjoyed this.

P.S. As I was developing my version, I did a google search just to see if this had been done before... I found this thread from 2011: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/617754/looking-feedback-memo... which was a similar attempt, but much smaller blocks. So kudos to them as well for working on this too.
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Chadgr
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Excellent. Thanks for posting again.
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Andy
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"... and this is why you should always backup your work..."

I'm seriously considering the block approach for Battle Cry although I'll probably use cast plaster blocks with only the unit type on the enemy side and the type + strengths on the player side - so much quicker to set up.
 
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