More progress on painting Alien Frontiers Field Generators

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_2Wow, when you take photos of painted miniatures, the photos always catch all the rough paint-work and other issues, making the minis look like crap 😀

Ah well, since these Alien Frontiers field generators are meant to be played with and not put on a shelf and admired, I’m not too concerned.

One done, one in progress and one primed and ready to go.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_1The orange one’s interesting. I bought the Alien Frontiers Upgrade Pack. It included a lot of the new colony components, and these field generator components. It’s meant to upgrade the more generic ones from earlier Alien Frontiers generators.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_3So this one came without one of the generator arms attached. After filling out a form and uploading a photo of the flawed component, Game Salute, the distributor sent along a replacement (it’s the unpainted one in the background).

In the meantime, I’d decided to paint this one anyway, and am going to turn that gap where the arm mounts into a docking port. I think I’ll be adding yellow and black ‘alert’ lines around it. We’ll see how that goes.

Then, finally, I think I’ll likely give them a final spray of Testors Dulcoat, just to eliminate the shine. I like the way it helps bring out subtle detail and gives them a more ‘realistic’ look. Must be a personal taste thing developed back in the day when I painted plastic models.

Team Tracy Mod – A Thunderbirds House Rules Modification

Update: TL:DR – we were using the Disaster track wrong.  Details at the end.

Last night was our groups first playthrough of Thunderbirds. We’d played various co-op games, and specifically Matt Leacock designed games, before. We knew we were in for a challenging yet fair co-op gaming experience in the Thunderbirds universe. Fun!

Well, maybe.

The first and second games ended rather quickly. We understood the rules, but the characters we had were unable to coordinate quickly enough to avert them.

So, in the interest of salvaging the evening and getting back to having fun, we decided on the following modifications:

  1. All Characters are participating in the game, no matter the number of players. In our case that left two characters without human players. Every human player controls one character, but extra characters are controlled by the group.
  2. We altered the Turn Overview. In our game, Turn order varies during a ’round’ depending on the strategy the group decides is going to be executed for that round. As each player takes a turn, they flip their character card over so we can remember that player has played. The same applies to group-controlled characters. Once all character cards are face down, the round ends and the character cards are reset, and a new round begins.

We felt that these modifications allowed the entire Tracy family to participate in the game, as they usually do in the TV show. And by allowing the turn order to be flexible and responsive to the current situation, we felt it better reflected the TV show’s theme of teamwork — hence the name, the Team Tracy Mod. Also, it made for a much more fun and involving game.

Update:

Well. It seems we were doing something wrong.
You know the disaster track at the bottom of the board? The one where the current disasters all pile up and eventually overwhelm you? Yeah, that one. Well, it seems that we were using that wrong.

As we drew a new disaster card, we placed it NEXT to the existing disaster card, in the slot HIGHER than the previous one. We should have been sliding all the existing disasters down one slot and placing the new card in the FIRST SLOT. The way we were playing it, every new disaster assumed a higher priority than the previous one as we had to reduce the total number of disasters to stay alive.

Played properly, we could take two or three turns to map out a multiple rescue strategy and eliminate disasters more effectively.

/facepalm/

We’re enjoying the game much more now

New Pandemic scenario covers 2013 events

Cool! The developers of Pandemic have freely released a slight mod / scenario to their amazing cooperative board game Pandemic.

Scenario 2:

… covers one of the more notable events in the US this year: the Government Shutdown. It introduces some new elements and changes the way you play Pandemic.

Will you be able to save humanity with the Government Shutdown?

Download the PDF of Scenario 2 here.

Little Screen:Big Screen

card_200.jpgIf you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, you may be a bit concerned about adding an iPad to your hardware arsenal. I know I was. Especially since I was dreading purchasing new HD versions of some of the games I’d already had running on my Touch. But I made the leap and have a few observations to share.

Sure, Apple promised you’d be able to ‘upsize’ the visuals — and yes, this is possible. And actually, the upscaled image in most of my games isn’t really all that bad.

Basically you hit a 2x button in the corner of your iPad and the unit zooms in to fill the screen with what was otherwise a very tiny (iPhone sized) display area in the centre of your iPad screen.

Since the iPad was released, some developers went back and made hybrid versions of the games, able to run on both the smaller Touch screen, and also able to recognize the larger iPad screen and select higher-resolution graphics when appropriate.

Now, what’s really cool is that some of those iPhone games actually play better on a larger iPad screen.

Carcassonne — an awesome board game and a pretty cool app. Playing this on the iPad is much closer to playing the board game than on a tiny iPod Touch screen. Having spent many hours playing it on the Touch, and a few more recently on the iPad, I won’t be going back to the smaller screen.

carc_450.jpg

Angry Birds & Plants VS Zombies — also great games when played on a larger screen. With Angry Birds I find I have much better control over the slingshot direction and angle than I did with the smaller screen. In PvZ, the advantage is that the subtlties of the animation and rendering are much more apparent. On the smaller screen, I’d not seen the Elvis Zombie’s classic moves.

AB_450.jpg

PVZ_450.jpg

Of course, not all games scale appropriately. I found that driving or flying/space games that required you to hold and maneuver with the device the most problematic. The key problem being the weight of the iPad vs the iPhone or iPod Touch. Cranking through a banking space shooter with a 1.whatever pound steering wheel quickly gets tiring. And placement of the controls, while great for a smaller screen, require very large hands to seem natural on the iPad.

So, your mileage may vary, depending on the app and how the developers have (or haven’t) anticipated it appearing on different sized devices. Just be aware, that the games you’ve already bought may just work fine, or even better, on the larger screen.

Or, you could always just pick up the enhanced HD version for the larger device, if the upsampling really bugs you.


This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.