The ‘Verse Just Got a Whole Lot Smaller

Recently reacquired via a trade Firefly: The Game by GaleForce Nine and as I set it up for another solo play, I realized one of the reasons I’d parted with it before. It’s a table hog. There’s the large board (even without expansion boards), thirteen decks of cards, as well as your player area. Lots of space required.

Setup for one player with the original game board…

I have a pretty decent sized game table, but I would still need to get up and walk around the edges to review the cards in the various discard stacks , etc… I knew a better solution was possible.

I was able to find this image (https://boardgamegeek.com/image/4080967/dalek1) on BGG of the full gameboard with expansions. There were others, but this one had the highest resolution for printing. It loses some of the charm as the nebula background is replaced with just black, but for my purposes that was just fine.

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Organization Procrastination

One thing I like to do to get familiar with a game is to organize the components. This is a gamble that sometimes fails if the game turns out to be a dud. But on my third ownership of Fields of Fire by GMT Games, I’m finally going to get it played.

Maybe.

So I picked up this first edition copy with the second edition upgrade kit and once I sifted out the now obsolete first edition stuff, I was left with a second edition makeover ready for punching.

And organizing.

Using my Modular tray design, I created custom sized boxes for the Americans, Asians, Germans and game counters. All fit nicely in the game box and now I can pull out just the ones I want.

The tray patterns are available over on Etsy (buy once, use forever): https://www.etsy.com/listing/674867207/modular-game-storage-trays-gmt-tray

Now on to the rulebook!

But What About Socialization???

When we experimented with homeschooling our kids, the biggest protest from those who didn’t understand the need or desire was “What about socialization???”

Saw this over on BGG:  Do you never miss the social aspect in solo gaming?

One thing in this hobby i really Like is the social aspect of gaming. I really miss that thing when i solo.

Do you ever miss the social aspect when you play solo?

Not really, no. While I enjoy playing some games with family from time to time, solo gaming is just a different beast entirely. They aren’t really a comparable experience. Some like one or the other. Some of us like both.

Some of the Highlights…

Continue reading “But What About Socialization???”

Blinging the Fallout… Tryin’ to Get the Game Out

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 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.

Can’t Keep a Good Man Down…

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 on BGG for a spell, 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:

Custom COG Pack Collection
alternate COG standees by ones upon a game

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…

You can find them here: Firefly Adventures Standees by ones upon a game

Watch Out! You Might Get What You’re After!

HOME COLLAPSES CLAIMING THE LIVES OF FIVE
TWO FIREFIGHTERS, THREE CIVILIANS PERISH IN THE BLAZE
FIVE RESCUED FROM CERTAIN DEATH

A housewarming party turned deadly last night, taking from our community two firefighters, a local game designer, a church volunteer, and Tammy Noblestein, the recently married daughter of Soloville’s Mayor Thompson.

The Soloville Fire Department responded quickly to the call in the 900 block of Roane Avenue, but by the time they arrived, the flames were quite intense. According to sources a sterno can on the buffet line dislodged and set a tablecloth ablaze and the fire spread from there. As the conflagration increased in intensity, the building collapsed, immediately killing two Soloville’s veteran first responders.

Fire Captain Jose Remiriz and FPS George E. Winters perished in the collapse. The third firefighter working the blaze had just exited the building carrying the fifth rescued guest to a waiting ambulance. The rescuer’s name has not yet been released.

In addition to Mrs. Noblestein, the other victims were Tash’a Mitchell and Paloma Vazquez. Mitchell, 29, was a designer of board games, including the most recent game of the year “Roll, Draw, Shuffle, and Cut”. Mrs. Vazquez, 43, worked at a nearby church, using her sewing skills to make blankets for the community.

The loss of these souls and their contributions to Soloville cannot be understated.

As mentioned, five persons attending the party were brought to safety by rescuers. These were:

Marcus Kelner, 22, Student
Gopi Kalluri, 28, Software Developer
Brad Lee Bradley, 34, Pediatrician
Neal Traversm 36, Musician
Esther Cohen, 27, Waitress

As the Mayor is taking time to deal with her direct personal loss in this tragedy, Assistant Mayor Ralph Waldeux issued this statement.

“We thank you for your prayers at this time for the victims of tonight’s fire, their families, and for the recovery of the survivors. As more information develops into the cause of this fire and its aftermath, we will let you know. Until then, no further comment.”

—–

This was my first time to play Flash Point: Fire Rescue using the new Fire and Event decks from the Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Tragic Events expansion. Have to say: I LOVE THIS. Such an awesome and intense way of not only spreading the fire in a less fiddly way, but the event cards introduce new random elements to the game. Excellent!

It was also the first time I played using my own designed “Persons in Peril” deck for identifying the victims and rescued (details: The Perils of Penelope Pitstop and other Persons). I’ve used it before for Hostage Negotiator, but reworked it for use with Flash Point.

How I used it is as follows. I used blue cubes on the board for POI markers and then when “revealed” drew a real POI marker from a draw cup. Then if it was not a false alarm, when the victim was rescued or lost, I would draw a card from the Persons in Peril deck to see who they were. If they were rescued, I put them in a discard pile as normal. If they perished, I added them to the discard pile rotated 180 degrees. The POI marker went on the board as normal to keep up with the win/lose condition counts. The male/female/age/race, etc. on the POI counter had no bearing on the deck draw… each POI just represented a “human” (or dog/cat) victim. Special POI markers from the Tragic Events expansion were used if necessary by Event card.

Definitely made for a more immersive experience, IMO.

But I’m. An. Or. din. ary. Guy.

16 Pounds and Whaddya Get? A Bunch of Chips, A Bunch of Dice and All of ‘Em Fit!

Way back in November, I built my custom insert for Too Many Bones and in anticipation of the release of Too Many Bones: Undertow, hoped that it would all fit in the single box… (original post: Make Room for Undertow!)

And it did!

In this quick video tour of the box, I’ll show how it all fits nicely and with a couple of unexpected surprises thanks to Chip Theory Games.

Of course, it’s a big heavy box, over 15 pounds of goodness in there. Fortunately they built the box itself pretty strong. So no doubt it’s up to the challenge.

The New Zoo Revue

The new contents for Undertow are quite nice as well as the upgrades to the entire system that were made available to the backers.

The 3.0 Cards are much brighter and clearer and easier to read. Of course now I have obsolete 1.0 and 2.0 sets to deal with 🙂

Love the upgraded Gearloc, adventure, and battle mats with the edge stitching. They don’t take up any extra space and all of them fit in the box perfectly.

The Ally Pack includes six fun and thematic (albeit unnecessary) ally/companion chips to bling up the game.

Love that Undertow included two mini chip trays which added to the storage solution and were a providentially perfect fit for the space I already had for custom chip holders.

The new Gearloc dice are lovely as well, but the Undertow Attack and Defense dice are just slightly darker than the original game. But on a problem scale of 1-10, it’s a zero.

And of course, all 10 of my custom Gearloc boxes fit right where they belong…

Wonderful production. Setup now for a refresher game and then on to new adventures.

As for the Too Many Bones: 40 Days in Daelore and Too Many Bones: Age of Tyranny content, I’m fairly confident it will fit in as well.

Now if they should release even more new content…

Gearloc Dice Boxes available on Etsy

Boardly Go… and Take Up Less Space

Space.
The Final Frontier.

Table Space.
The Priceless Frontier.

File this under the more moderately helpful ideas. For me it works great as it makes the footprint of Star Trek: Frontiers a bit less and gives me a good spot to hold the Dummy AI player’s deck.

The provided tracker board is a bit large...
The provided tracker board is a bit large…

Seemed to me the Experience and Reputation board was just a little oversized for its function. Especially for solo play. Plus the OCD in me didn’t care for the inconsistent sizes of the spaces of the Experience track and the downright odd shape of the reputation track.

At first I designed this so each spot was the perfect size for the faction tokens. But in the end that reduced the board only about 2 inches in height and only slightly in width. Not a worthwhile reduction.

So I scrapped the idea.

For about four hours.

Then after a quick slingshot around the sun (no whales were harmed in the making of this sideboard), I revisited the project. Why did it need to host the faction tokens as markers? Especially for solo. So with a few quick calculations and a Photoshop resize step later, voila! A more compact 8×5″ (ish) side board that is the perfect size for using a cube on each track. Of added convenience is that this printed on a 1/2 sheet mailing label and thus I didn’t need to go outside to use spray adhesive to stick it to a mounting board. Colored the edges with a blue dry erase marker and all ready to go.

New smaller board leaves much more room on the table.
Cubes can be used in lieu of the faction markers.

Again, your mileage may vary if the board is right for you. Should work fine with multiplayer as well with cubes of different colors.

FILE LINK: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/168101/compact-experience-and-reputation-track-board-ones

We’ve Got to Have Some Storage on the New Frontier

Getting it all in the box…

Been too long since I played the excellent Star Trek: Frontiers and not at all since acquiring the Star Trek: Frontiers – The Return of Khan expansion.

Read my Review of Star Trek: Frontiers

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.

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