I got to thinking about this column after my regular game day. I get razzed a bunch because most (if not all) of my board games are unpainted. One member of the group received Star Wars: Imperial Assault for Christmas and have most of those miniatures painted. I have descent (the same type of miniatures for years and not a single one is even primed). If that isn’t enough, I have had Shadows of Brimstone for months and I’m happy that I have it all assembled – Raine has is for less than a month and he has it painted – complete with a swamp village. That got me thinking about painting miniatures for games.
First off, I must say that I really don’t like painting – I think it is a combination of being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my miniatures and not actually knowing all the tricks and tips of quick ‘tabletop quality’ paint job. That isn’t to say that I haven’t painted anything, I just don’t feel like I have enough time or skill to do any of my games/miniatures justice. What miniatures from games should be painted or are people just enhancing their game with painted figures? In the end, I figured that there were four classes of games with paintable miniatures.
The first class is pretty simple – miniatures from an actual miniature game that one of the parts of that hobby is assembling and painting miniatures. Games like Warmachine, Warhammer 40k and Fire Storm Armada are prime examples of this. The other thing is the utter lack of a game board with the game. I could keep going with games that fall in this class but I feel like the above examples prove my point. These miniatures should be painted (I’m only about 400 to 500 figures behind).
The next class is a Hobby miniature/board game. These games have high quality miniatures – some equal to the class above, but have a static or semi-static board (normally included with the game). The game has additional factions or team models that you can play, but the board is included with the game. Most often, these game come from a miniatures company. Games like Deadzone and Bloodbowl fit into this category and I feel that these miniatures should be painted (I have about 100-150 miniatures in this class).
The third class I define as the hybrid board game. These are definitely a board game but the miniatures that are included are miniature quality figures (normally in the 32mm scale). This is a relatively new class that has sprung up in recent years – I believe that the ease of 3D modeling and printing as well as the overseas market have truly created this class. This class could be combined with the above class, but I feel like there is a small distinction between the two. Games like Shadows of Brimestone, Mercs Recon, and Super Dungeon Explore are great examples that showcase the new trend. I think that these figures were produced with the idea that the miniatures would be painted, but I see these as board games first and haven’t considered painting them (I have too many miniatures in this class to count).
The final class is the board game that comes with miniatures – or just a board game. There are many games that have highly detailed miniatures in the soft plastic/hard rubber material. With a decent primer, these can be painted as any of the other classes, but I feel like painting these miniatures only enhance the experience – I don’t think the publisher thought that the miniatures would be painted when designing the components. Games like Descent, Star Wars: Imperial Assault and even Spartacus fit this level (Please don’t make me count the number of miniatures here – it’s depressing).
Where do you fall in the painting level? I am certainly between the second and third level. Don’t get me wrong, I think the painted miniatures for Descent, Mice and Mystics or Level 7- Omega Protocol look awesome and do make the game look better, but that might be that I came from the miniature/RPG side of things. Perhaps if I had the skill, the speed and the time I would paint more of my stuff.
This Week’s Highlights
A game that I got to play that was a huge hit this past week was Roar-a-Saurus. This is a quick filler game that is sure to get back to the table multiple times. The game play is simple, each player is a mighty Kaiju battling each other. A player rolls their three dice looking for a triple for some effect to occur. You can keep as many dice as you would like when you reroll. Once you get a 3 of a kind, you shout out the effect and then pick up your dice and keep at it. Did I mention that this game is played simultaneous and you roll as fast as you can? Note that you have to say what you are doing – want to attack the player to the left, you must roll three blue heads and then speak: “Grrrr”. Want to get a power-up, roll three plus signs and speak “Ahhh!’A great game that only takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
On the Kickstarter front, I am currently a backer to Conan – this board game allows players to relive the epic saga of Conan and his companions. The game has busted through its initial fund goal by over 1000% with a bunch of stretch goals already unlocked. The base game is 90 dollars and the deluxe box set is 135. If you add the optional expansion for 55 dollars you have a lot of game to play through. The game play that I have seen is innovative and the miniatures are top notch and beg to be painted (third class)! Right now, you pretty much get all the miniatures in the kickstarter for about 2 bucks apiece – even if the game is lackluster, the miniatures more than make up for it.
Until next time – Play a Game!