Board games, too, now.

Since this pandemic started, I have picked up quite a few board games based on recommendations, reviews and…well, just because. Sadly, this isn’t something I can blame Roger for; rather I must blame a guy I follow on Instagram, @geekdesignergorssky, for always posting about board games that are on sale on Amazon. Some of the deals are pretty hard to resist (35%-50% off!). For example: Gloomhaven, a game I DID manage to resist buying, was on sale for $79.00 USD not too long ago (with free shipping, of course). The game retails for $150.00 USD retail, and the box weighs over 20 lbs. (really). That’s an insane deal. But I said no and I don’t even think about it every single day. (It’s currently $114.00 USD on Amazon.) The fact that I have no one to play these with never even entered my mind.

These are some of the games I have purchased (or been gifted) over the last year. I say some, but what I mean is these are the ones with miniatures. There are others, like Ravensburger’s JAWS game and, oddly enough, a Pac-Man board game (with real arcade sounds!) I bought because I thought it would be a fun pandemic activity. Apparently I’m the only one who thinks that, since I haven’t played any of them yet.

This month, in addition to my Character of the Month (still to come), I’ve decided to focus on getting some of these miniatures painted and ready for the table. I picked the game I’m most excited about playing: Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps, by Gale Force 9. It comes with 7 Marines and 16 Xenomorphs that will require paint; plus I picked up this miniatures expansion because all 4 minis are awesome. (You get a gooey Bishop, which either sounds like a weird drink or a depraved act, take your pick.)

I assembled most of the miniatures yesterday. The marines go together pretty easily; but as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I have no patience for plastic miniatures anymore. I found the Xenomorphs to be needlessly complex with a two part body, a separate head, two separate arms, a tail and a base, for a total of seven pieces each. Four pieces (a solid body/head, two arms, a tail and the base) would have been better; and far less time-consuming and annoying to assemble. They look cool, but their tails are flimsy and fiddly as fuck. I just know they’re going to be constantly snapping off.

The other game isn’t technically a board game at all; it’s Warlord’s’ Cruel Seas, my first foray into naval wargaming (if I ever get to play it). This starter box was a gift from Santa (who is absolutely not interested in playing this or any other tabletop game, and has said so on multiple occasions). The starter comes with 4 German S- Boats and 6 British Vospers; but I have a few extra German boats thanks to the free sprues I got with wargaming magazines. This game was all over the place a couple of years ago, but I don’t see much written about it now, although they’ve made expansion fleets for the US, Italy, Japan and Russia in addition to the German and British ships you get in this starter set, so someone must still be playing it.

Anyway, I expect the Colonial Marines will take the most time; and I may not get them all done by the end of April. On the other hand, Xenos and PT boats are hardly challenging models to paint and I should be able to zip right through them just in time for Monster May(hem) in May!

More on that…and a brand-new After Action Report…coming soon!

12 thoughts on “Board games, too, now.

  1. Dave Stone

    What a great little (Joking !) loot you have there Keith, I have been tempted by the Aliens game myself, so shall look forward to seeing how this develops

    1. The Angry Piper Post author

      Thanks, Dave.
      I found a couple of YouTube videos on painting the miniatures and I like The Esoteric Order of Gamers tutorial the best. I think it gets pretty good results fairly quickly, so that’s what I’m going with. Check it out:
      I wouldn’t have gone with metallic paint myself, but I like the way it looks when all is done.

      1. Matt

        I just watched that video and I have to say, silver is not the first colour I’d think of when painting Aliens. But his technique seems to work well and they look good.

  2. Matt

    That Aliens game looks excellent, and the minis also look really cool — I’m looking forward to seeing them once you’ve painted them! I can see your point about the number of bits, seven per Alien seems like total overkill. Are they as flimsy as your Star Trek models?

    Is that chap on the Cruel Seas box art chucking a grenade at the Jerries? My granddad was in the Royal Navy during WWII but I can’t remember him mentioning grenades 🙂

    I’m planning on starting the 45(!) minis that came with Cthulhu: Death May Die soon. The invitation to VT still stands if you fancy a game once this bloody plague is over!

    1. The Angry Piper Post author

      The miniatures are nice, but they’re definitely more 25mm than 28mm. A bit small, but I probably won’t be using them with other miniatures anyway. The aliens “feel” flimsy because they’re so light, but they fit together better than some of the Trek models I had to deal with. The tails are so long and thin, with only the one contact point, that I just know they’re going to snap off. Still, I just watched the first three movies and Prometheus recently, and I’ve been digging into the Alien rpg, so I’m more than excited about this game.
      45 miniatures is a lot! Mansions of Madness has 32; that’s probably going to be a slower-paced project for me. Still, I look forward to seeing what you do. A trip to Vermont is always fun!
      That is indeed a grenade that sailor is about to throw, Matt. I have zero military or naval experience; but it seems like a bad idea to me to have loose explosives on a ship, since holes in ships (and people) are something to be avoided. I have no idea if the rules cover grenade-tosses between vessels; I’ll let you know once I finish the ships!

  3. Dick Garrison

    We went a little board game crazy over the first lockdown (I think a few people did, as sales were reported to be well up), luckily I had my son who is a board game fanatic to play against, “Star Wars outer rim” was my fave, and he liked “Heroes of land Sea and Air”, we have one on order (since January, that hasn’t arrived yet (the order has my much needed paint in too), I cant even remember what it’s called now!

    Aliens looks very cool, and my eldest is a bit of a Navel gaming fanatic, so best not let him know about “Cruel Seas”

    Cheers Roger.

    1. The Angry Piper Post author

      I became smitten with Cruel Seas after seeing one of the many reviews. I figured it’s a low bar to entry for naval wargames; you get two starter fleets and all you really need is a blue cloth and you’re good to go. I know no one who would make an investment on their own to try the game, so if I ever get to play, it’ll likely be Britain vs. Germany.

      I see that some of these games can be played solo, so I guess I can try that. Aliens is one. I’m sure when everything gets back to normal I’ll be able to convince s friend or two to play; and I’m hoping I can convince my Dad to play JAWS.

  4. Kieron Mulholland

    It looks like yoube picked up all the games I’ve avoided specifically because they did have miniatures that would need painting. 🙂

    I did have a couple of Cruel Seas boats that came with Wargames Illustrated and I found they painted up really quickly if you don’t get too fancy with them. They might be a good place to start to make some headway into the pile.

    1. The Angry Piper Post author

      I started on the German S-Boats during an interminable Zoom meeting and made a little progress; but I plowed through the Xenomorphs in about 2 hours yesterday. There’s really not much to the paint job for them and they look pretty good. The marines, on the other hand…well, we’ll see.

  5. Thomas

    I like to hunt ebay for board game minis. A lot of them, especially the CMON ones, are great sculpts. And if you want to try Cruel Seas remotely, I’m game.

    1. The Angry Piper Post author

      Never thought of looking for board game minis on eBay, but I guess I should. I found a Heroquest Dwarf in a thrift shop for a buck; might be nice to pick up some of the other miniatures, too.
      Not sure how Cruel Seas could work remotely; but I hope to one day sit around the same table with you, my friend.

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