Painting: Blood Rage

I’ve finished the large Blood Rage monsters and they turned out better than I expected. I was a little worried about choosing a glossy finish for the sea creature (to make it appear wet) since it was dramatically different than the other three, but I’ve had several positive comments that it was a good choice.

I’m particularly happy with the way the shading turned out with the blue and red. I was expecting much more of a fight with those as I’d read that red is especially hard to work with.













Views: 809

I Have To Remove Ingenious

Sadly, after years of hosting my implementation of Ingenious online, and having been granted the rights from Sophisticated Games to host the version, I’ve been contacted by the personal assistant to Reiner Knizia (Karen Easteal) informing me that I must take down the game or pay a yearly licensing fee.

As I don’t make any money from the implementation, it makes no monetary sense for me to keep hosting the game and sadly I had to remove it.

If you’d like to contact Karen concerning the implementation, including how this implementation may have encouraged you to purchase your own copy, it may help them see how this site provides free advertising for those who might be unfamiliar with the game.

TWITTER: @ReinerKnizia
Board Game Geek

Views: 719

Painting: Golan’s Buddy, The Other Ridiculously Muscled Guy With A Club


Here’s the other ‘roided up guy I received with my Reaper Bones II Kickstarter. I’m not as happy with how the skin highlights turned out as I was with “Golan”. I, quite simply, rushed it. I’ve got to stick to the plan and not be so goal oriented. Painting seems to reward the slow methodical process and an attention to detail when working your way through brighter highlights. I think I’m ready to start in on my Blood Rage minis.



I got a kick out of those two rolls of skin behind his bald head. Funny how something like that sticks in your head.


Odd that the camera didn’t pick up on the highlights in his beard. There’s a lot of variation but here it just looks like a solid gray.



Near the end of the paint I noticed the veins in the arms and so I went back to try to subtly highlight those. You can see it a little bit in his left arm below.



Views: 716

Painting: Golan the Hill Giant


After practicing on numerous smaller “Bones” minis I decided I was ready to move onto a larger scale mini. I selected Golan the Hill Giant with a goal of trying to paint “realistic” flesh (well, as realistic as one can get with the ridiculously muscled flesh of a fictitious creature). After watching a YouTube that covered this exact mini, I set up my work area and gave it a shot and I’m, in a very geeky way, proud of the result.




I really didn’t have any trouble during the process beyond not having any good way to hold onto the mini while painting. In retrospect I should have temporarily mounted it on a base and stuck it to the top of a jar or something I could comfortably hold. Live and learn I suppose.

Here are a some more shots of the final result. I’d be interested in comments if you have any suggestions on how I could get better.







Views: 744

A werewolf-y thingie :-)

I had a couple of issues with this mini that I’d not had with the others so far. The contrast and saturation of the images leaves a little to be desired, for one thing. The splotchy look of the face is not near as noticeable in real-life but the iPhone camera picked up on something (the blotch of brown under his nose is not even noticeable).


I made a trip to my local hobby store and picked up some spray sealers, lacquer, and a black primer and I tried out the spray matte sealer on this mini with completely dismal results. The sealer left a white, seedy, residue that all but ruined the paint job. Maybe I didn’t shake it up enough but oh, was that disappointing to spray that on at the end.


You can really see the seedy texture on the black leather straps and the small bag on his back.


I fought a bit with the flesh tones and highlighting the muscles but I’m sure that’s common and will get better with practice. I’m still having a lot of fun and learning a lot.

Views: 659

A Few More Miniature Painting Samples

I’ve been making my way through my Kickstarted Reaper Bones box of minis and practicing my painting skills. I don’t know what I’ll do with these things since they don’t go with a specific game but I’m finding them a great tool for honing different shading, highlighting, and base coating techniques. So far, I’ve been very happy with the Vallejo acrylics but I need some more browns. Luckily, with my birthday yesterday, my son and daughter pooled some money and got me four more brown shades. What a perfect gift.

Brushes are another matter. For detail work, I’m using mostly 0 and 00 sized brushes but I may need to spend a few more dollars on some better brushes. The ones I have don’t hold their shape very well without being loaded up with paint. Maybe my paint needs to be thinned a bit more. I also need to pick up some sealants (brush on matte varnish).

There’s so much to learn and given that these are only my second and third attempts at painting I wouldn’t put much stock in my amateuristic musings. I am, however, having a lot of fun, I’m learning fast, and I’m encouraged by how they’re turning out.










Views: 525

My First Attempt At Painting Minis

Three and a half years ago I took a shot at pimping out my Tzolk’n gears.. It was my first attempt at painting anything game related and I thought they turned out pretty well. When I was a kid, I built a lot of plastic models. Cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, clipper ships, you name it and I probably built it. I had a small collection of those little squarish, glass bottles of Testors paint but I was never happy with how the paint turned out. Brush streaks, fingerprints (I was a bit anxious for it to dry), and even hair stuck in it from the family dog, blech.

Fast-forward 40 years and I’ve decided to take another shot at painting some plastic. I Kickstarted a batch of Reaper Bones II minis way back in 2013 so I have hundreds of minis to practice on before tackling something like Blood Rage or Scythe. But first things first, I have to know a bit more about what I’m doing.

YouTube has become my best friend and I’ve spent many hours over the last couple of weeks watching “How-To” videos learning tricks of the trade, etc.  “Yes, honey, I’m watching someone narrate technique while painting a plastic figure again…but this time it’s an ogre!”   If I could boil all of the videos down to one thing it would be, “you’ve just got to try it and stick with what you like.”  As with most things on the internet, people are polarized on everything: prime with white, no black is the way to go. Acrylics, no oils. Shade before highlighting, no after. Dry-brushing is for wimps. Dry-brushing for Pros!  I don’t even want to get into mini quality or paint & brush suppliers.

That said, though, I have started to gravitate towards liking the work ofDr. Faust’s Painting Clinic. He rushes sometimes and can be a bit sloppy but I appreciate all the different techniques he has for shading, highlighting, and color selection. I’ve found it the most informative of all that I’ve watched.

So, armed with some small percentage of the information that I could retain, I ordered a smattering of Vallejo paints, washes, and brushes (thanks Prime) and a couple of days later I was ready to try something. I dug around in my Reaper Bones box and pulled out three tiny little frogs (they’re only 1 inch from the top of the head to the base). I was a bit concerned that they were too tiny to start with but, what the heck. Go big or go home.


All my paints from my order had not been delivered but I primed them black, put on a base coat, and started bringing up the color, started applying some highlights.




After some washes, restoring highlights that got lost in wash, struggling with the tiny shell armor on their backs, tweaking the skin after another wash, I was almost done.  By this time I really needed the rest of my Vallejo paints but my son let me borrow some of his Testors paints and I was able to use those to mix up a couple different browns for wood and leather.  I was particularly happy with how the bone skull turned out.


With a few more highlights and tweaks I called it a day. I’ve got a lot to learn about the paint and prepping the model. I’ve got several cast lines I was totally unaware of until I saw the macro images below.  My highlighting is very crude and my technique is all over the map. But, given that it’s my first attempt, I was very happy with how they all turned out. I do, however, think I may need to get a magnifying light/lens. These old eyes aren’t going to last long.




Views: 547

Review: Imperial


From the rules:

Europe in the age of imperialism. International investors try to achieve the greatest influence in Europe. With their bonds, they control the politics of the six imperial nations: Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, Great Britain, the German Empire, and Russia. The nations erect factories, build fleets, and deploy armies. The investors watch as their nations expand, wage wars, levy taxes, and collect the proceeds. Since the European nations are under the shifting influence of different investors, new strategic alliances and conflicts arise between them again and again!

Each player represents an international investor. Only he who succeeds in increasing his capital and gaining influence in the most powerful European nations will win the imperial competition.

Imperial is a varied strategy game without the luck of dice or cards. Two to six players, from about twelve years and up, take on the role of imperial investors. The duration of the game is about two to three hours.

Imperial is one of those classic games. It was designed by one of my favorite designers, Mac Gerdts, back in 2006 but I just never had the opportunity to play it. It’s considered a medium-heavy game with a relatively long play time for my group (120-180 minutes) and it’s the type of game I’d usually have to twist some people’s arms to play and maybe only at Cabin Con when we’ve got plenty of time for some head’s down play-time.

I own many of Mac’s notable titles and greatly enjoy his signature mechanic: the rondel (a circular action selection mechanism).

  • 2005 Antike – Owned but traded
  • 2006 Imperial – Own
  • 2007 Hamburgum – Own
  • 2008 The Princes of Machu Picchu – Own but traded
  • 2009 Imperial 2030
  • 2010 Navegador – Own
  • 2012 Antike Duellum
  • 2013 Concordia – Own
  • 2014 Antike II

I didn’t have a copy of Imperial but I recently listed my copy of Far Space Foundry for trade on BGG and got a hit from someone who noticed I was looking for one. I jumped at the chance, given I could give my copy of FSF to a good home and to someone who would like it, and I’d get a copy of Imperial in return for just the cost of shipping to Colorado Springs.

As luck would have it, we only had three at a recent game night and it felt like the right time to offer to teach the game. I brought along my mini-poker chip set to replace the paper money and within about 30 minutes we got under way. There were a lot of questions about the mechanics but it’s really not a difficult game to grasp. I’d heard that it was a real brain burner but as I’d suspected and hoped from other Gerdt’s games, it’s not the rules that make it hard. Instead, it’s just the options with which you’re faced and the decisions you have to make.


At first blush, non-gamers might say the game looks like Risk. I get that and I could even say there are vague similarities but to a gamer, it’s completely different. It’s like playing an inverted form of Risk where battles aren’t the core goal. More on that later.

In Imperial, players do not play a specific color. Instead, each of the six countries are represented as a color and players, instead, vie for control of the country by investing money in the country’s coffers and obtaining bonds. It feels a bit like buying stock in a company.

In each round, each country gets a chance to take a turn and the player with the largest amount of bonds (controlling shares) gets to move the country’s token on the rondel and to take that country’s turn. The more countries you control, the more turns you take during a round. If you don’t control any countries, well, that sucks. More on that later.

When a country takes a turn, the controlling player moves the marker on the rondel using Gerdt’s standard rondel mechanism. A few clockwise moves (3) are free and any more costs the player some money out of the their personal account. Money equates to victory points so this can be a tough decision.

The rondel contains action items that allow the player to use the country’s money (obtained when a bond was purchased by a player) to build armies, ships, factories, tax, invest, and maneuver.

A country needs to build armies and ships to expand during maneuver operations so that they can occupy more territory so that when the territory is taxed, players earn money and the ability to move the country’s marker up a track that will both eventually trigger the end game and acts as a multiplier for owned bonds (shares) in the country.  At the end of the game, players get money from their bonds and the higher the multiplier for the country the better.

It sounds a bit like there are clearly prescribed actions but that’s far from reality. There are some really tough decisions when selecting a rondel action for the country. Choosing to tax your citizens rather building more ships and armies, or maneuvering them to protect the country’s assets from other neighboring countries can be significant.  The game allows counties to invade other countries in a friendly or aggressive manner but the game is not a war game.  You shouldn’t really be focussing on battle but it does play a role. Invading a country did feel odd to us because doing so doesn’t provide a direct, net-positive impact to the invader. Instead, the act only negatively impacts the invaded country so the impact is only felt by the aggressor as an indirect benefit.

We played with the “investor” card as the rules describe but there are a lot of forum entries on BGG that discuss its merits positively and negatively. We certainly could see how it injects money into the market which can be a bad thing and stifles the ability to invest. While playing I certainly used the card to my advantage to restrict the investment ability from other players who I knew wanted to invest but couldn’t if I didn’t let them. I’d really like to play again without the investor card to see how it impacts the game.

The game feels a bit like inverted Risk in that players don’t play a specific color and have to be aware that at any point, a player may take over the color that players have begun to feel a false sense of ownership. This is one of the biggest hurdles for my group. We started to feel very protective of a country as if it was “mine” and at times, it’s just time to let it go and move on to another country. In addition, on a couple of occasions, I watched a neighboring country build up a strong army and begin to attack and I took over control of the country to the dismay of the player who previously controlled the country. At times, it’s better to just take it over than to fight it.

By the end of the game, one of the players had only one country and felt the game lagged a lot from the inability to invest in more countries (he had plenty of money but had no opportunity to use it effectively) and the lack of turns he was taking each round. Without the investor card, I’m sure this would have played out much differently so that’s another reason I’m excited to play again.

I really liked the game, but it did take 3.5 hours for us to play. We’re not particularly slow but that’s still a long game for us. For me, though, the game is a keeper and I’ll not be putting it on my trade list any time soon.

Views: 826

Musings on CO₂


At a recent game night, I had a chance to play one of my favorite games, CO2. I don’t get a chance to play it very often but we have a core group that looks for opportunities to break it out and we don’t hold back at making the suggestion to play when the situation arises.

Unfortunately, it can be many months between plays so we usually have to have a quick rules refresher and need to remind ourselves about the tricky handling of CEPs (Carbon Emission Permits) in and out of the market, how the UN Cards work, what happens when scientists get kicked off projects, minimum requirements to build specific power plants, etc. But, over the years, we’re getting better at remembering the nuances and more quickly progressing to actual play.

From BBG:

In the 1970s, the governments of the world faced unprecedented demand for energy, and polluting power plants were built everywhere in order to meet that demand. Year after year, the pollution they generate increases, and nobody has done anything to reduce it. Now, the impact of this pollution has become too great, and humanity is starting to realize that we must meet our energy demands through clean sources of energy. Companies with expertise in clean, sustainable energy are called in to propose projects that will provide the required energy without polluting the environment. Regional governments are eager to fund these projects, and to invest in their implementation.

If the pollution isn’t stopped, it’s game over for all of us.

In the game CO₂, each player is the CEO of an energy company responding to government requests for new, green power plants. The goal is to stop the increase of pollution, while meeting the rising demand for sustainable energy — and of course profiting from doing so. You will need enough expertise, money, and resources to build these clean power plants. Energy summits will promote global awareness, and allow companies to share a little of their expertise, while learning still more from others.

In CO₂, each region starts with a certain number of Carbon Emissions Permits (CEPs) at its disposal. These CEPs are granted by the United Nations, and they must be spent whenever the region needs to install the energy infrastructure for a project, or to construct a fossil fuel power plant. CEPs can be bought and sold on a market, and their price fluctuates throughout the game. You will want to try to maintain control over the CEPs.

Money, CEPs, Green Power Plants that you’ve built, UN Goals you’ve completed, Company Goals you’ve met, and Expertise you’ve gained all give you Victory Points (VPs), which represent your Company’s reputation – and having the best reputation is the goal of the game … in addition to saving the planet, of course.

When the game came out in 2012, it was easy to locate forum entries on BGG with topics concerning the game’s theme and its focus on “fictitious” concepts like “global warming”. How ridiculous that games about elves, trolls, gods, etc. didn’t get subjected to the same treatment. Thankfully, those forum entries are now rare and hopefully we all can work together to address our real and increasingly negative impact on our environment.


Like the Gallerist, Vital Lacerda’s CO₂ design features a “kick-out” mechanism where players can choose to place a worker (in this case a scientist) on a location to take an action but during another player’s action that worker can be kicked off the location so that the other player can take an action. The kicked-out player gets a benefit for being removed from the spot and, at times, you can take advantage of this timely special action.

I like CO₂ for its theme and how the rules strongly tie to real world activities companies and scientists might take that it seems to really click for me. I also really like the twist that if players focus solely on taking actions that only benefit the company they represent (in the short term) and ignore the impacts (or lack thereof) of those actions to the environment, the game can come to a crashing halt and everybody loses due to a crashed earth. The ability to capitalize on building a power plant that another player has worked so hard at designing and developing is simply ingenious.

And to top it all off, the artwork is simply beautiful. I hope my images showcase that beauty and help to encourage you to take a hard look at CO₂.

Views: 945