Thursday, May 21, 2015

Not Minis - Storage (still Imperial Assault)

As those of you who know me will know, I am very keen in pimping out my game storage - and this is also true for Imperial Assault.

I have put a lot of time (am I mean dozen of hours) into trying to plan my storage for Imperial Assault, including being able to make room for the expansions and extra minis as they come out. There are some beautiful solutions for storing IA in the base box, but I have seen with other games that these fall apart quickly when expansions come out, and the first expansion and extra waves of minis have already been announced.

So how was I going to store this?

Well, for the main game I have bought a large plastic tub that I think is a good size and I have started making foam core mini trays (which I will post about when I have them ready).

What I wanted to share in this post is the solution I came up with for the card storage for the two sized cards in premium sleeves.

First I thought I would make them out of foam core like I have for other boxes, but I wanted to look for something simpler and more robust. I then bought a plastic tub that would hold them, but the modifications that would need to be made were too complex.

Then I looked at the sizing of CCG storage boxes and how I could modify those - especially for the small cards. They would work, but I would need to put a centre partition in. So I did.

These are the photos of the finished product - minus the dividers which I haven't printed yet.

I cut slots in the card box for a central partition, then cut a piece of 1.5mm card stock to the right size and slotted it in. It holds well and the cards fit - except for one issue. The box is only just the right depth for the cards, with no room for dividers - so how was I going to put label dividers in?

Well the solution I am using is to have a piece of foam core between the different types of cards, and then the dividers when printed and laminated will go behind those and the gaps will make the labels readable. This is the next step.

For the large cards, just using the CCG box without modification works fine, so that was easy. All that's left is to print and laminate the labels.

Because these are white cardboard boxes, I will be able to decal them or label them how I want, so printing out movie images with text or something will be easy.

Anyway, I thought people might be interested in how, after dozens of hours, I finally decided to store my cards for Imperial Assault - and how I will probably end up storing Descent as well.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Need to update my Stormtroopers, Probe Droids and Royal Guard

So played Imperial Assault again last night, playing the first campaign mission. It went okay.

I need to repaint the bases on the Stormtroopers, Probe Droids and Royal Guard. The green is indistinguishable from the grey on the table. Need to use a much brighter green.

Also, I need to do some form of numbering for the Stormtroopers and the Royal Guard. Probably just lines on the bases, Roman numeral strokes. In the red for the elites, green for the greens and maybe white or a very light grey for the grey.

This is to make them better for gameplay, even if they don't look quite as good as minis, and I have to keep reminding myself that is the main goal.

Update: Here is the image of the minis with the updates bases.
This photo is taken under bright light, so the green will look more subdued on the table. You can see the difference by comparing the Royal Guard in this photo to the ones taken under more normal light in the previous post.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Royal Guard and E-Web Engineers

So yesterday I finished the Royal Guard and the E-Web Engineers.

Of course I have added them to by album at

I learned a lot doing these. Of course I am still copying Sorastro's guides, but learning from people who know what they are doing is the best way for a beginner to learn.

First, the E-Web Engineers were the hardest thing I have done with miniature painting so far. The painting itself wasn't complicated, but the shape of the minis made getting to the places to paint really hard. I had to learn that if I couldn't turn the mini and find a way of seeing a surface, there is no way that anyone is going to see if I have painted that spot right on the table. But there is a lot of paint in wrong spots because it was so hard to get the brush into the hard to reach places.

Second, when looking at the Royal Guard at the start I couldn't see any mould lines to speak of. As soon as I started painting they were very obvious, and now they are complete, you can see them very clearly if you look. I need to find a better way of spotting mould lines early, and then removing them.

Thirdly, I am starting to get better at paint consistency. Sometimes I still have them too thin, and sometimes not thin enough. Each has problems, and it does vary depending on what I am trying to do. There isn't a simple rule for how much you want to thin your paints, it really depends on what you are doing with them.

I also learned a lot about brushes, though it's hard to explain that. The brushes I want to have are expensive, and considering I am still getting paint up into the Ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles) I don't want to buy too expensive brushes until I am better at avoiding that as it does kill the shape of a brush. This is reducing my accuracy and lowering the quality.

However, I am keeping to my motto "They only have to be table ready!"

Even with these lessons, and the mistakes I made on them, I am really happy with how these came out.

Next up is the Imperial Officers, which add a new level of difficulty. There may be a break in between to make some foam core trays for storing them all.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Starting my Miniature Painting journey.

The upcoming Star Wars movie has me really excited, and that excitement has for me been getting me very interested in the Star Wars: Imperial Assault game my Fantasy Flight Games.

This game is basically Descent 3 in a Star Wars setting, and Descent 2 was a game I loved, though never got to play enough.

The cool thing is this comes with a lot of Star Wars miniatures you play the game with, and I really wanted to paint them. But I wanted to do a good job, and therefore never started.

Then I found Sorastro's Painting Channel on YouTube which takes you though how to paint these miniatures in great detail, including which colours to use, what techniques to use and all the tips and tricks you need. It was great, it was the kick I needed to get started.

So I did...

Here are the results. This album is where I will be posting the updates.

Not as good as what Sorastro is doing, but I don't care about that. Already I am improving, and most importantly, my minis look great on the table when I am playing the game - which I have now done once.

So I am spending a lot on paints, and a lot of time on painting. I am spending a lot on storage and all sorts of stuff - but I am enjoying this, and I am loving getting back into Star Wars and combining it with my love for Board Gaming.

Now I just need to find a group to play campaigns with.

As a teaser, here are some photos of my E-Web Engineers and Imperial Guard in progress.

Back - with a new focus

This blog kind of fell by the wayside when I moved away from role playing.

However in a very big way I have been getting into Board Gaming, and many aspects around that. This has been a journey of a few years, and there has been a lot of joy and a lot of pain in that journey.

Recently I mentioned I had thought of starting a Mini Painting blog to track everything I have learned - and people seemed to think it was a good idea. Instead of creating a new one, I rediscovered this one and thought... "why not just use this..."

So I will try to relearn how to use this thing. How to use tags and stuff, and start posting. Maybe this time I will have the tenacity to keep it going.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Healing. Keeping the group alive.

The trick to making healing work isn't just having one character keep the other characters alive, it is making it work so that it doesn't kill your gaming group because the person playing the healer couldn't be bothered showing up. After all, this was the player who got most the blame when things went bad and none of the glory when  they went well.

For people not familiar with it here is a quick summary of how healing works in 4E.

Each character has a number of healing surges based in their class.
Each character has a number of hit points, and a surge value equal to one quarter of their hit points.
Each character can use an action to spend a healing surge and regain their surge value in hit points. This can be done once per encounter and recharges after a 5 minute rest. So with a long enough break a character could make themselves ready for battle again.
Healing characters can take actions to allow themselves or an ally to spend extra healing surges beyond the one they can do themselves, generally giving bonus hit points back. These are generally actions the healer can take in addition to their main action.

This had several significant improvements over all previous healing systems.

It put the onus on maintaining healing resources onto the person taking the damage. A fighter or barbarian would have more surges, so could take more damage during a day. A rogue or wizard would have less, which would mean they would need to be more careful.

This was important because in previous editions the person playing recklessly wasn't the one paying for that recklessness. They would take lots of damage, keeping the person playing the healer doing nothing but keeping them alive, until the healer ran out of spells and then it was the healer who was responsible for needing to take the break or letting someone die. The reckless player was rewarded by hogging all the glory while the other players struggled to keep them alive.

In 4E if a player does that they run themselves out of surges, and they are the ones who can't continue. The healer could heal them if they hadn't wasted their own endurance. It was a simple mechanic for having someone who has taken too much damage to just be worn out.

The hit point system was always an abstraction. It wasn't realistic even within a fantasy setting, it was just a mechanic for tracking if someone was alive or dead and allow them to engage in battle and not fall down to the first hit. Healing Surges brought a level of storytelling that worked, because it was a system used in action movies since the action serials of the late 40s. The hero takes damage, shrugs it off before the next encounter, and eventually has taken so much damage they need to recuperate. Excellent storytelling.

The other important thing 4E brought to the gaming table was classes who healed not being limited mostly to only healing. Cleric, warlords, bards and the other healing classes were all very different, because in addition to healing they got to do other things. They didn't just run in to heal and maybe cast a buff at the start of a fight like in previous editions. They would hinder enemies, assist allies, provide direction and even get to do some damage to their foes, all while keeping the party alive. They became a utility rather than a single use gimmick.

No longer was a player sacrificing themselves by agreeing to play a class that could heal. All of a sudden they were able to contribute in other ways, and they got to have a lot of fun. When someone ran themselves out of healing surges, they were blamed for not having enough healing, they weren't made to feel responsible for another players actions.

Healing Surges also worked because the use of potions generally required the person to spend a surge. This meant you couldn't overcome recklessness with gold or DM bribery. In 4E a character could be reckless when the story called for it, and had to be careful at other times. In previous editions this character trait never had to be tempered by caution, and it became repetitive and boring very quickly.

Healing is required in a fantasy game like D&D, so much that pretty much all gaming systems of all genres use it. If you have combat, you need a way for your character to recover from that combat. For too long Healing was something that someone had to volunteer to do at the expense of getting involved. 4E fixed this, and gamers everywhere need to hope that D&D Next doesn't return us to the days where someone at the table needs to have less fun in order to make the hit point mechanic work.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Half-Hearted about Half-Level

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about D&D and one of the things we talked about was the half-level bonus. I got very passionate about how awesome I thought it was and how it works really well.

I was right, and I was wrong. I sat down today and went over my arguments in support and realized I meant everything I said, but also that it really didn't matter.

The only thing I said that I feel strongly about was how it made characters who have moved on from local issues to grander adventures don't get bogged down by local issues again. But that is me.

My other big argument was that it helped characters who were stripped of their gear deal with threats, but that is just something that 4E was the first system to do right. It doesn't mean that D&D Next needed half-level to achieve the same thing.

So I stand back from my statements. Half-level is fine, and it works, but it is far from the importance I gave it.