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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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:
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…
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.
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.
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 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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
Again, your mileage may vary if the board is right for you. Should work fine with multiplayer as well with cubes of different colors.
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.
With the Kickstarter for Too Many Bones: Undertow well funded and well into the stretch goal pool, it was time to become serious about storage space for my existing Too Many Bones and expansions.
As you may have seen, I’ve already solved the space issue with each Gearloc’s dice set (Too Many Bones. Too Little Space.) — now for sale on the BGG Marketplace! (shameless plug). But I also wanted to find a way to not only store the TMB materials, but fit the Undertow components as well. To that end I decided to (gasp!) chunk the trays designed by Chip Theory Games and create my own insert to hold it all (hopefully!)
First step in any insert is of course the base or floor. You CAN just do walls and use the box bottom itself, but that results in a flimsy construction. Sure you lose 5mm of height in the box, but the stability it worth the price. The box is square at 358mm, so I cut the floor from a single piece of foam core (black looks better than white). Another tip is to always measure in millimeters. It’s easier to be more accurate and you don’t have to worry about fractions of inches. This left about 81mm of clearance to the top of the box bottom, so I cut four strips at 81x358mm and assembled the walls (two of which would need to be trimmed another 10mm or so where they butt up to the two other walls). I secure these with white glue and dressmaker’s pins (SHARP!). Some like to remove them when the glue sets, but I always leave them in. They are cheap enough to buy and they act like rebar to help the structural integrity.
After a dry fit in the box, it was time to start divvying up the
space. Largest need of course would be the area to hold the battle mat,
Gearloc mats, reference sheets, and rulebook. I laid these down in the
new box and marked when walls should go to define that space. With the
foam core eating up 5mm each wall, I had to get as close as I could to
leave space in the other areas.
As I would no longer be using
the trays to hold Gearloc dice, I repurposed two of those to hold the
other dice in the game. I put the Attack and Defense dice in one and
the rest in the other. Since the lids for those double as dice holders
as well, I could still put Gearloc dice in the lids during gameplay.
However, the remaining areas were not going to be large enough to hold
those, so they would need to sit atop the stack of mats and reference
cards in the main section.
My dice boxes easily fit into the area to the right of the main section. In fact, I can easily fit 14(!) of them in that section. With Undertow bringing the count to 10, there is still room for either four more or other materials.
I subdivided the back section into a small compartment to hold cards and a longer section for all the chips. Unfortunately that idea did not pan out. After creating a bottom layer for extra chips, the plan was a removable top layer to hold six stacks of chips. That layer would double as an on-table chip tray. But after getting the first layer completely built and installed (without glue at least), it became evident a second layer of chips would not fit heightwise!
So another solution would need to be found. So I slept on it. And then I brought a knife to a foam fight!
I determined how much space I would need for a single layer of chips to span the whole box (eight stacks) and the cut down the back section to accommodate it. This left me a 30mm bottom layer (just perfect to still hold all the cards). Now I just had to construct the chip holders (again).
I’d originally planned to make two four-stack chip trays from foamcore that would nestle into the open slot. However, I decided that it might work better to use 2mm chipboard and give me a little more space. Also these might prove a little more sturdy if folded vs. pinned and glued since the chips are so weighty. So I designed and cut a template (purple below) and traced to chipboard which I cut by hand. I scored the fold lines and started to assemble. After the first was complete I realized that they would work better as four two-stack holders as the weight distributed better. Also the chipboard doesn’t fold “neatly” even when scored, so the non-scored side frays just a bit. For the chip areas it was on the backside, so no biggie but for the wall between the two trays it got a bit ugly. So I cut the template in two and made two separate trays and surgically separated the first one. For each I made a sturdy cardstock divider to separate the two rows as well.
The end result was four trays that sit in the back section and hold
about 25 chips in each, giving a total capacity of 200 chips. These can
be lifted out and used on the table as needed.
So now to bring
it all together. I added a “lifter” into the bottom of the main section
to help, well, lift the items out of the depths and make them easier to
grab. This was simply a piece of vinyl-leather material I glued down
to the bottom (just on about the last three inches or so). The mats,
etc. sit on top of this and then by pulling on the lifter, it raises
them up slightly.
As I mentioned the Gearloc dice boxes fit into the right section, the cards in the back and the four chip trays on top of that.
But there was one thing left. The base game comes with clear cover to sit across the bottom tray. This sports the CTG name and has a finger hole for easy lifting. I decided to take that cover and trim it down so it would fit atop the books etc. in my main section. Now it can provide an extra layer of protection for the mats with the clear dice trays sitting on top of them.
In all I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out. The chipboard might
have been able to be a little thinner, but it would not have given me
an extra row of chips, so it is what it is. I have some extra space in
the chip trays, but may still have to get creative when Undertow is
released. The Tyrant, Gearloc, and Lane chips could easily be stored in
separate bags under the chips or in the Gearloc section. This would
leave room for the new baddie chips to come. There should be plenty of
room for the three new mats, though I suppose I won’t be able to fit 14
there should the need arise. But for now with the known coming content,
I think this offers a workable solution to keep everything in a single
box. I hate tossing the nice trays from CTG, but that’s how the bone
breaks, I suppose.
BONUS! The foam from the base game
that contained the dice trays can be reused to cut stoppers for the chip
trays (to keep them from sliding around).
First off let me be clear, the packaging of Too Many Bones is pretty darn good. Chip Theory Games has produced a perfect blend of function and storage that should be the role model to all game publishers (well, maybe not Academy Games, Inc., they do a great job too).
Each Gearloc (the characters in the game), comes with a tray to hold
their 21 dice. The clear plastic trays not only store the dice in the
box, but they go straight to the table to keep the dice organized before
players add them to the character mat for in-game use. The lids for
the trays double as additional table trays as well. It’s a very
There are currently seven characters available with three more coming in the Too Many Bones: Undertow “standalone” expansion. Even with doubling up characters two to a tray (and removing the initiative dice to a separate container), five of those trays will be hard to combine into the main game box (along with all the other chips, mats, and player cards).
So to reduce the amount of storage required in the box (and make room for expansion content), I created these “Gearloc Dice Boxes” to hold each character separate. Each box is designed to easily hold a character’s 21 dice in three rows of seven and includes a snug lid. They take up less than half the space of current trays and are suitable to go straight from the box to the table. I still plan to keep the provided dice storage trays for on-table use, but with more content on the way, making more room in the box can never hurt.
I chose to cut mine on color coordinated cardstock (with black divider
inserts), but also made labels with each character’s name, image, and a
matching color ring in case you want to use basic white. The files are
Each box template prints on a single sheet of cardstock. Cut the solid lines, score the dotted lines. You get three divider sections from a single sheet, so a little paper savings there. I use the same techniques I’ve used for creating other boxes, so this video will help if you cannot figure out the basic assembly.
no bones about it, these boxes are superior to the TMB ones in only one
way — they take less space. The included ones are excellent and if
you have no issues with storing the game, then by all means, you should
keep on as is. However, if you’re looking for a way to fit more in less
space, I hope you like this solution.
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!).
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.
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.