Game Time - Finally Walking Dead
It's been about 6 weeks since I mentioned I'd started painting the minis and scenery for the Walking Dead game, and I probably started working on it a month before I mentioned it. For once I had a goal of "paint X amount of stuff and then play the game." I like painting and prepping more than playing most games, so actually having a goal of playing a game was somewhat novel. This past week, I reached Point X and played the introductory game/mission of Walking Dead All Out War.
I promptly lost. But it was fun to watch me lose. I played a 2nd game with a larger area and managed to survive, just to make me feel better.
The 2 games I played used 10" and 15" square areas with no obstacles. I set up a lot more than that just because I wanted to see how everything I'd been working on looked. It looked pretty cool. As a bonus, I ended up enjoying the game as it was quick to setup and play through, with solo rules that aren't too hard to remember (especially with a quick reference sheet handy) while still frustrating enough to be a challenge.
Having a defined play area seems to be what controls the difficulty in this game - you can only run away so far.
The first thing I noticed when I set up my (unused) play area was that my intersection really needed some stop signs of some point. I'd planned on making some later on, and thanks to a YouTube video I even had a route to take, but the lack of signs in the middle of the board bothered me enough that it became the first thing I messed around with after playing.
Originally I was just going to put a stop sign with cardstock printed street signs glued on the post, but that would obstruct part of the signage. There were also a couple of failed attempts at merging/crossingt the signs, but the cardstock wasn't stiff enough and ended up being too wavy. Thanks to a helpful suggestion from Daniel at work, I ended up gluing the paper signs to 0.25" x .06" styrene strips, which I attached to the stop sign post (a styrene H-beam) successfully with some thick/gel superglue. With everything I've worked on lately, this turned out to be what struck me as the coolest.
Next up is 2 more barricade walls from the scenery pack that I overlooked, and my first attempt at putting together an HDF building. This is my practice building from a long-ago Black Friday sale before I get to the really good 4Ground buidlings!
Rusty Cars Done, About Ready To Play
Ah, the final batch of scenery before reaching the point I'm committed to finally playing my first game of Walking Dead All Out War (A Prelude To Woodbury). 4 vehicles was all that was in this last batch. I primed and put a base coat of spray on them weeks ago. That was my first mistake. The spray color I used was little cans of Krylon from Hobby Lobby a few years ago. They needed more shaking. And the paint was shiny. Shiny paint doesn't like having water based paint added on top, or so it seems. As such, I fell to my stand by - weathering pigment to cover up painting mistakes.
Boy did I have a lot of pigment to use. The Facebook group I look at for painting inspiration for pieces of this game use a lot of weathering and rust effects on pieces. They like to "dirty things up". I hadn't really planned on over-rusting the vehicles, but it seemed that would be the route I needed to take to cover up the low-grade mediocre spray job I'd done on the vehicles.
I've got 12 types of Tamiya pigment, with 2 of them labeled as variations of "rust". The best thing to apply pigment with is disposable eyeshadow applicators. I don't know what YouTube video I saw this on, but a pack of 24 from Target is $2. Or a pack of 50 from China via Amazon is also 2 dollars, but takes a month to get here. Either way, I smudged pigment on the applicator, swirled it on the cars, and tried to follow a weathering pattern that made sense. I didn't stick to that plan as I had a lot of crap to cover up.
My favorite car while doing this ended up being the car I left at primer white. I wanted to play with the Citadel technical blood paint. I'd screwed up using this on zombies a while back. Screwed up so bad I never posted any results after I glued the stupid zombies together. This time I knew to use it more sparingly, and if I screwed up I could just paint over it since I had only applied primer. I decided to try and tell a story with blood splatter - you can thank me reading the first of the Dexter book series for "blood splatter tells a story"
>Dexter book series for "blood splatter tells a story". I bloodied up the crumpled front section of the car. Somebody(s) got smashed! On he passenger side, a blob and downward streak looks like a bloodied hand lost a grip while the car was moving. A few bloodied streaks across the top of the car meant somebody/thing made their way across, whether or not that wanted.
The blood effect for the car was fun and turned out well. I decided to try and stick to weathering it, but instead of rust go for a car that had just been sitting out, gathering dirt and dust. Along the way, my color combination made it look like there may have been a small fire under the hood. But an interesting fire!
Once rust, dirt, and mud was liberally applied everywhere, I went to seal it all and could call it done. Instead I sprayed sealant and screwed everything up. Either I didn't shake the freshly opened can of sealant enough, or the can was old enough that the contents had dried up some (evidently that's a thing). The spray started to dry quickly and looked "cracked". Crap.
A chance to make another discovery out of a mistake! Dammit. Rusted metal flakes off and has texture - maybe I could add more pigment and make everything look rustier? I gave it a shot. In the end, it looks ok - a combination of extra rusty and crackled paint from sitting wrecks. Nothing I can think of better to do with it all, so I added a final WELL SHOOK spray of sealant and said I was finished with everything I needed to finally play a game.
I took the last 2 pics for the Facebook group, explaining how I paint slow but made it my goal to paint the base set and scenery booster, and once that was complete I would play my first game. I got a couple of compliments on my painting skills and the ground/map tiles I'd made. It's a nice little group that's very supportive, unlike the 90% of the internet that is negative about anything that comes along.
Walking Dead Objective Makers
Substantial progress in less time that predicted! I'm not sure why I got finished with this batch faster than the last - maybe because I knew it wasn't going to go perfect and decided early on to just let weathering effects take care of most of the details. That'll be either my reason or excuse, whichever is best suited.
This batch of Walking Dead game goodies was made up of objective markers. Barrels, crates, bags. There were 2 of each mold, so I tried to paint each at least a little differently. When it can to cans, I wasn't sure what to do - should I be thematic and make them cans of much needed goods, such as fruits and vegetables? Nya, just treat them like cans of paint from Lowes and slap a color on them.
Once the markers were done, I went back and started the next round on the vehicles. This time it was applying masking tape so I could paint lights (head, turn, blink), and I tried to highlight the panel lines and door handles along the way. One of the cars I decided to leave primer white, and thought it would be fun to add some blood splatter to it. I may have gotten a little carried away, but the Citadel technical blood is just so much fun!
I'm planning on weathering the bejeezus out of these cars and trucks. Normally on the car above, I would have added the blood last, but I want to try "this car has been sitting out in the elements for a long time after the blood infused mayhem". Worst case is that I paint/weather over the blood and just apply it again later. And if I do, that's ok as it's all part of learning how all of this works.
Speaking of weathering, I decided to dedicate one of my hobby boxes to weathering effects. I ended up buying a Vallejo rust, stain, & streaking set that I thought would just have some complimentary colors for weathering, but it also included a really nice instruction sheet on how to apply those effects. Add in the Tamiya weathering pigments and I should be able to weather the bejeezus out of everything. The objective markers in the pics above received lots of weathering pigment. I like that pigment.
Since I had some scrap foam board, I decided to try something that had caught my eye. Somewhere online I saw for sale laser cut MDF to hold your figures in place in the box (whatever box you were using, I guess). The MDF had holes cut for the bases to sit in. It seemed this laser cut MDF was the cost of the game for which it was holding figures. I'm all for pimping games, and MDF is cool, but expensive for what it is. I didn't want to pay $20 for something I knew I'd likely either outgrow quick or wouldn't fit well in whatever box I picked. Walking Dead bases just happen to be the size of a quarter. I picked a piece of no-longer-throwing-away foam board, stuck some quarters on, and cut them out. Lo and behold, my bases fit! I stuck another piece of foam board underneath and now the figures won't fall through if I pick the whole thing up.
Afterward, I did not forget to retrieve my quarters from the cut out pieces.
Next up is finishing up the cars and technically I'll have done everything I set out to accomplish in order to play my first game. Oh, there's plenty of other things on my list to do. Thanks to an eBay sale, I've gotten my first 4Ground building (ok, 3 buildings) to add in. But those are not required. Yet.
Things In The Way of Dead Walkers
Close to 3 weeks ago I moved on to working on the obstacle & loot pieces for the Walking Dead game, the game I've yet to play. I said that it would take a week to paint everything, but realistically it would take me 2 weeks.
3 weeks later, I'm roughly halfway done.
Keep in mind, this is something I'm doing for fun and when I'm in the mood to paint so I'm not forcing it. The problem I had wasn't so much motivation to get it all done, but mainly over the past couple of years everything I've painted is mostly organic - people, clothes, guns held by people. Tires, metal panels, and wooden walls are different enough to be hard. Frustratingly hard.
Those blasted walls with tires on 1 side were my bane. Nothing was working right on the first coat. Or the second. Brush streaks. Paint's too thick. Then the paint's too thin. Oh, now the details don't show up. How do I get paint in that nook and cranny without messing up everything around it I, for some reason decided it was smart, already painted?
As is my way when I mess up a paint job, I fiddle around trying out more things and hope something works. There was a lot of fiddling here. I finally got to the point I decided I was done fiddling, ie I ran out of ideas to try. At that point I went to my normal final cover-up phase: weathering.
It's also been a while since I pulled out the weathering pigments (looking back, about 3 years when I was working on a Dust walker). I'd forgotten a little, plus I didn't have any of the little applicators I'd used that worked so well. So once again, a little frustration on re-learning a step.
This batch is now sealed and done. It's not going to win any awards, but I think it looks better than "molded grey plastic". There's still 6 markers left - mostly boxes-o-stuff with more nooks and crannies. These will take patience and a steady hand, two things I'm not good at having at the same time. As such, it would normally take a week but I'll get it done in 2 - look for the update in 3 weeks :)
I'm not sure if I've put this here, but a big inspiration for wanting to do all of this prep work before even playing a game came from Beasts of War gaming tables that were set up for a Walking Dead event. The scenery is just gorgeous. While I'd seen some of the commercially available pieces before, seeing everything together just gave me a nerdgasm, especially the 4Ground buildings as they're PREPAINTED mdf buildings (painting mdf that you pay $30 for scares me).
Noble Knight Games carries some 4Ground stuff domestically both in their online store and eBay. Once you factor in international shipping and taxes from 4Ground, the Noble Knight - mostly known for their overpriced out of print inventory - has competetive prices. I discovered not to long ago that eBay will run a flash sale coupon about once/month where the coupon (usually $15 off $75) is good for a couple of hours in the early evening. There's normally a post by someone on Board Game Geek when this happens. The last time I paid attention I caught the notice the morning after the sale. I since trained myself to check the forums after work. Yesterday it paid off and the sale was live. I zipped over to eBay and decided to get 3 "Shotgun" houses. The 3 (A, B, and C) are styled a little differently. They're cheap enough, for the "good" quality that everyone brags about, that it should be a safe entry for me into their brand & mdf buildings in general. With 3 buildings I get enough to a little variation in whatever layout(s) I want to try.
It'll take just under 2 weeks for everything to get here, based on the last time I ordered from Noble Knight. Maybe that should be my target goal for finishing painting the other token/markers I've got? Even after those, I've got 4 blasted vehicles to paint - blasted because the first one I started on has not gone well so far. It doesn't sound like I'm having as much fun with this as I truly am. But I am.
Painting Walking Dead
Ah, what's been happening over the course of the last 6 weeks? The excitement of slicing a chunk of my thumb mostly off led me to, well, not do a whole lot. It's amazing how important the inner part of my right thumb is. Luckily, it's healed to the point where it doesn't gross out passers by, and I've gotten to where I don't notice the always numb area.
One of the big things that took a hit in productivity was painting gaming whatnot. I was on a pretty good run and gradually getting a little better week by week. While my thumb kept me from painting (I tried on day early on, it didn't turn out well and those zombies will never see the light of day) I ended up surfing around for tips, tricks, and hints. Along the way I cam across Christian and Pimp My Boardgame. Christian has done an outstanding job with his copy of Walking Dead All Out War. He's gone for a black & white motif, and it works well. I'd seen a couple play through/tutorials of the game around the web, and the way people were putting together some nice game boards really caught my attention. As a scenery guy, it appealed to me. Appealed enough I picked up a copy, as is my way.
I decided my random hobby painting would now have a goal. I would paint what was needed to play through the first mission of the solo Woodbury scenario/mission. This would entail
- Painting the Governor. A lone player character, so I would try to do a good job on this one.
- 5 zombies. I'd been having flesh tone problems with all my past zombie. Too grey. Too green. I couldn't get them to look right. My goal this time would be to not overthink it.
- I had a booster pack of plastic pieces to replace tokens. 4 vehicles, loot, some obstacles. Paint them, too.
- A modular road. I like modulars. I've got plenty of stuff from DriveThruRPG, so surely I've got something to work.
- Background clutter. Here I don't have to worry. I've got trees and tents from messing around with Dust Tactics a few years ago.
I primed zombies and the Governor, then tracked down some pics on the web of what people had painted. Having some guide(s) to go by would make life easier. I even contacted Christian a couple of times, both to compliment how well everything he did looked as well as picked his brain. The buildings he used for his board looked really nice, so I asked him where they came from. Turns out it was from a papercraft set that I bought in 2010 and had never used! Stuff like that isn't so unusual for me now that I think back and see how much stuff I get and never use.
I stuck to my plan and painted my Governor and zombies. I primed stuff along the way to prep for the next phase. I printed ground tiles and mounted them on foam core. I made progress!
I've haven't started painting the loot and obstacles yet, and those will likely take a couple of weeks. Once those are done, I'll be ready to play a game. Sure, I don't need all of this stuff to play a game, all I needed to do was open the box, punch some tokens, and then I'd be good to go. Realistically, the game is just my excuse to do all of this other stuff.