My new route of working slowly on a mini, one at a time instead of all the colors of a batch at once, has leant itself toward not much content worthy of a post very often. Part of that is because I still wait until 3 or 4 are finished before I spray the final coat of sealant.
This batch of minis is the first of the Walking Dead since they switched to (I think) 3D printed + some assembly required. I'm not sure what I think about the new minis. I can play around with the poses a little. I can hold off gluing pieces until taking care of hard to reach places. One of the reasons I switched to painting minis instead of just old fashioned models was to skip the building process, as the building process used to be "tear off sprue and glue" but has transformed into "snip carefully, sand mold lines, fill seams with putty, sand seams" and then add too much glue. It's different. And I'm old, so how things used to be was good enough!
Old man griping aside, these minis were pretty good to put together and paint. It feels like taking my time and working on just 1 is paying off with better results.
Lots of puttering around since my last post. While I was mostly working on each of these one at a time, I would mess up something on one and decide to make progress on another. It ended up the bases were all ready for whatever I was going to wrap things up with around the same time, thus making it look like once again I was working on a batch of 6 minis at the same time - for the past month.
These are also from the Studio Miniatures order that Chuck came from. My new thing to try this time - 5 o'clock shadows. Overall they turned out better than I expected but not as good as I had hoped. For my first time trying it out, I'd say it's acceptable.
My major screw up came in with my John Wick skin color. Somehow I added a shade or wash along the way that turned him overly orange. I didn't want to start over so I tried to save what I had, but he still is more on the orange side of the spectrum than I'd like. Roddy's blue shirt that he ended up with is the 3rd attempt/coat for trying to do a plaid pattern. On attempt 1 my lines were too thick. On attempt 2 lines bled into each other and weren't lines at all. Attempt 3 isn't as crisp as I would have liked, but from 6 ft away it looks ok. I should have taken the picture from 6 ft away...
I have a list of structures to work on, along with some old fashioned plastic models. I have no idea who the next batch of figures will end up being for those times I get the urge to work on something for 10 min. So many options to prep for when the mood strikes!
Today's update is another bit of a change from normal posts. Instead of a whole batch of minis showing up painted, there's one. The Not Chuck Norris from Studio Miniatures. While I had primed a batch of minis when working on the last mall update, I decided it was time to focus on just 1 mini instead of cranking out a batch since I haven't been overly pleased with my last few painting attempts. Chuck made it to the front to get painted, mainly because there weren't any hard to reach spots on the mini, and thanks to the painted pic on the Studio Miniatures site I wouldn't have to pick colors myself.
Using the reference pic worked well. Granted, my paint job isn't nearly as good as what the pros make (my pockets lack stitching) but looking at my version next to the pro version... not bad.
This is somewhat a lackluster of updates. Hobby list items got checked off as done, but that feels about like the extent of it.
10 more minis from no particular game got painted, but this batch seemed to lack detail. It could have been that I primed, and felt obligated to paint, 10 minis at once instead of the batch size of 5-6 that I usually do. Let that be a lesson to myself - even if I say I'm going to prime a bunch and then paint them in smaller batches.... I'm not. The 1 plus from this go around is that I think I finally got the formula for what to use as "concrete" on the bases will be:
It's still pretty dark for a concrete, but it's as close to what I want as I've been able to get.
The last of the single-width mall stores I had put together received their store signs and some interior shelves. The shelves are once of those things that's seen tweaks during each iteration. The latest is 0.06 mm styrene used as the shelves. The longer lengths work better than craft sticks/toothpicks. Measure + cut + cement glue, then prime and glue it to the printout of product. I don't have the patience for the shelves that came with the kits, and this gives some added scenery without taking up too much floor space needed by minis to scurry around.
This is not the post I hoped to make.
Ominous sounding, isn't it?
About 3 weeks ago I set up the kitchen table with game scenery and thought I would play a solo game of Walking Dead. It's been long enough that I forgot some important rules. No double movement in a turn was the biggie. I wasn't playing a predefined scenario that told me how many of what to place where. More importantly, I wasn't playing on the standard 20" X 20" board that is the game standard.
A big part of modern day gaming, especially for me, has been house rules. This was my chance to house rule up some big-board tweaks. I read somewhere in my game development adventure of years ago that a good solo game is won 25% of the time. I bought in to that, and how I found that playing games solo is more about the story of the game rather than winning or losing. Especially losing. For my big board test I would take 1 Survivor (with the point value close to a normal, small group) and try to reach a target convenience store and search for supplies. The board was setup with scenery, a plethora of zombies, and I was off.
The biggest house rule I changed was how Threat automatically rises at the end of each turn. It doesn't rise like that if there's more than one player, and that bothers me. I can see where it forces you to get to the goal faster. How fewer players equates to fewer potential interactions that will raise the threat, but I just don't like it. So I nixed that rule straight off the bat.
The first pass... well, that was where I found I glossed over some basics (like that movement thing I mentioned). Roughly 7 turns in I had reached my goal with only interference from the undead twice. Was I not placing enough zombies for the bigger board? That was when I looked back into the rules and saw that when you perform 2 actions in the Action Phase, you can't repeat any. Well. Crap. That test was a bust due to a basic rule being broken.
I reset the board and tweaked things a little more. I made some overly-complicated math problem to determine how many zombies to start out with on the board. The area I'd be using was 24" X 48", with me starting at 1 end and the convenience store on the far end. This time, I also took notes per turn which would help be both analyze how the rule tweaks played out, as well as force me to write down/repeat the steps of each turn so I, hopefully, wouldn't gloss over or skip anything.
And, it kind of worked. When it came to die rolls, I would roll 3 (sometimes 5) times to see what my worst & best outcome would be. Based on how things were going, I would pick the roll to use. Over the course of forcing the game to last 10 turns, I died twice before reaching the convenience store. When I reached the convenience store, I could make it inside if I scooted 1 of the zombies out of the way a little, else I would have died. If I did indeed scoot him and enter the store, I ended up dying 2 different ways by the end of the turn. I think that 1 game made me 0-5, which is not a 25% win rate. But half of those loses game with a win just out of reach, and that's the best way to lose - it makes you want to try one more time.
I've made some more rule tweaks. The number of zombies to start with isn't a calculus problem any more, but based on scenery points, the size of the play area, and starting survivor points. Where they spawn will still need some work, especially to not turn into another overly complicated math problem. I haven't played through the latest set of changes. After 3 weeks of scenery set up on the kitchen table I was ready to put everything away for a while and tidy up.
It's a lot of pictures, but here's what I snapped on the game where I made it to the convenience store before dying. Game play details are moot, but it's a good excuse to look at the layout.
Turn 1: (Starting Threat 1) Driving up and stopping at a barricade, it's time to switch to making it the rest of the way on foot.
Turn 2: (Starting Threat 3) Time for some strategy, as hopping the barricade will make it 2 on 1. Maybe a tactical retreat can work in my favor?
Turn 3: (Starting Threat 5) Start sneaking forward, but 2 on 1 melee ensues.
Turn 4: (Starting Threat 6) Still moving forward, but a Pandemonium Event Card looks to make life difficult.
Turn 5: (Starting Threat 6) The pass through the gas station looks like a good bet. The Distracted Event Card beings a zombie closer.
Turn 6: (Starting Threat 7) Keep trying to get to the gas station when a Car Alarm (via Event Card) starts.
Turn 7: (Starting Threat 8) While zombies are distracted and drawn to the car alarm, a chance to run by! Based on how many zombies are already at the car, trying to silence it really isn't an option. 1 of the zombies is drawn into combat as I run by.
Turn 8: (Starting Threat 11) Keep running!
This was the first time I would have died when I drew the Frayed Nerves Event Card which would have drawn 9 zombies on top of me. This was skipped, and instead the Walking Dead Event Card came into play which ended up spawning a few more zombies while only 1 came to attack.
Turn 9: (Starting Threat 14) Zombies are starting to group up between here and the convenience store. They're not getting distracted enough by that car alarm! I make my way to the corner of the convenience store to try to better my odds for the zombies that I know are going to get close enough to attack. Thanks to the Roamers Even Card, what I hope was going to be just 1 zombie to fight turns into 4. Based on worse case die rolls, I would have died. Best and middle of the road cases, Health ends up going down from 8 to 4.
Turn 10: (Starting Threat 16) This was the turn with lots of tweaks to see if the goal was possible. The zombie in the door skootched a little so I could make it inside, but drawing a Hoard Event Card pulled him in (I ruled that the door was still open and allowed the zombie(s) outside to follow along with a couple of his friends. Increased Threat from base contact and the ongoing car alarm pushed the Threat to 18 which is supposed to instantly end the game. Even if playing through the turn, and a miracle of not losing combat against 4 more zombies, there was no way to perform any search actions in this turn.
So there you have it. That's how I ended up spending the last couple of weeks. Based on how I like to play, here's my rule tweaks for trying out next time:
1) Threat 18
If the turn starts with a Threat of 18, the game is over.
If the turn ends with a Threat of 18, roll the black die. If a Badge is rolled, Threat is reduced to 17.
If the Threat reaches 18 during a turn, any threat that would be added is discarded.
This gives that One Last Chance that I tend to like in games - you know it's over, unless you can pull off just 1 lucky thing.
2) Actions that might interrupt movement if they fail. I can't really see clarity on some of these, but crossing barricades, going through doors, and (a homegrown rule) of checking for a locked door should be allowed during movement. That's probably the way it is, but I'm making a list of what falls into that category.
3) Locked Door Check. The rules mention Open Doors and Closed Doors, with Closed Doors requiring melee roll(s) to break through. In my zombie world, a door might just be closed and you need to check if it's locked or not. Here's where the good old Black Die comes in - on a Badge, it's unlocked and you can proceed through. Otherwise, it's locked and a traditional Closed Door. This was important when I got to the convenience store in the last test. I moved 1/2 my movement (1 action) and got to the door and checked to see if it was locked. It was unlocked so I proceeded through the door (Open Door, 1 action) and completed my movement. I didn't have actions available to close the door, and that's part of what ended up screwing me in the end.
4) Define the play area at the beginning. Although I kept to the 24" X 48" section I meant to stay in, I had zombies placed all over the board so that I could effectively try to wander off wherever I wanted. This was just needlessly overcomplicating setup. Even if it did look pretty cool.
I'm not sure when I'll next dig out everything and play again. Putting the map in frames, and then placing some shelf liner under the frame corners to prevent them from sliding around worked really well. The frames give me some "zones" to work with if I want, and don't raise up too bad and tilt scenery. The glare on the glass is a little annoying for pictures, but alternately they make for a great wet-street look.
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
Tags have been added to posts back to 2005. There may be an occasional old blog that gets added to the tag list, but in reality what could be noteworthy from that far back?
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