Project Updates: Jan 25, 2017

January 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm (Art, Markers, painting, Thinking) (, , , , , , )


I’ve only been posting here when I finish a new painting, but I’ve been very busy lately. I’ve recently changed jobs and have been enjoying my new position. It’s made me pretty busy, but I’ve also been working on a lot of different projects on the side as well. To give a brief overview on a few of these projects:

  • I’ve been learning more about well-known artists. Edward Hopper is one such artist that I have been appreciating. He has almost an illustration art style, which is based in realism, but the scenes he produces are fantastic. They are typically scenes where we’re between exciting events, or scenes that are isolated, yet have a story to them. We see evidence that people have lived here, but we’ve missed the “action”. My last piece was influenced by this idea, but I think I will practice it further to try for a better execution.
  • I’ve been experimenting with toned paper for coloured pencils. I am working on a reproduction of a scene from the box art of the latest Arkham Horror: Card Game expansion. It takes up most of a page, so I’m not very far into it yet.
  • I’ve acquired some sets of artist markers. I bought art-store-brand so I can figure out what I’m doing and not invest a huge amount of money on expensive ones. At the bottom of this post will be a picture of my first attempt with them. I picked a simple strawberry to try to practice style and blending techniques.
  • I’m planning on writing a childrens’ book and illustrating it myself. I’m only at the beginning of this project, so I have very little to show, but it is in progress. I’m hoping to use my new markers for the illustration, but I may decide to mix in some watercolour pencils as well, depending on how it goes.

 

 

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Insertable Foam Core Component Box

January 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm (Board games, Foamcore) (, , , , , , )


I’ve recently completed part 1 of my next foam core project; a component box that plugs into my first project (part 2 is just going to be a second box to sit beside the first). I designed it to be hingeless, use interlocking parts, and has a pull handle to slide the box out as well as open it. While I haven’t glued my original project yet, this one is held together using Gorilla Wood Glue. The lid of the box uses a slide & clip design via a piece of 1mm cardboard glued to the bottom of it.

I also cut some cardboard dividers for the first project; I just really like how they perfectly stack up 🙂

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First foamcore project!

January 2, 2017 at 3:47 pm (Art, Board games, Foamcore, Sketches) (, , , , , )


Ever since I found out that foamcore exists, I’ve wished I’d known about it sooner. I used to build things out of cardboard and even plain foam, and even at the time I wished those materials had the same properties as foamcore. It is fantastic and easy to work with. Now, keep in mind that I only have a small amount of experience in carpentry, so I apologize if use the wrong term for something.

For my first project, I decided to build a box insert for storing cards from a board game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game. This is a game where they release expansions on a monthly basis, so there are a lot of cards, and a lot of things to organize. Unfortunately, the company that manufactures the game did a poor job on the box it game in. They’re known for having boxes only designed for transportation of the game and not storage, but this one is particularly bad.

For this project I bought a photo box from Michaels (meant to store ~1000 photos) as the outer casing. I made up some sketches and calculated sizes for all of the pieces. I can post my sketches and measurements if anybody is interested in producing one of these. The inside of the box measures 280mm by 189mm.

Now, one of the defining factors of this project is that I made interlocking pieces so that glue is not entirely necessary. I *do* intend on gluing it together eventually, but I’d like to see if I plan on modifying it later. Contrary to what you might think, this didn’t actually take long. I chose to not do a box joint as the foamcore might not be sturdy enough for it, and it would be very time-consuming to cut.

This design choice is “controversial” as most foamcore projects I’ve seen either use a butt-joint (just glue the pieces together), a mitre-joint (cut 45 degree angles and joint), or a lap-joint (cut a trench out of one pieces and insert the other piece). I haven’t attempted any of these joints in a project before, but after a few tests, I wasn’t entirely happy with them. The butt-joint is said to be strong, especially if you pin the pieces together, but I don’t like the idea of only depending on glue, and I don’t want to work with pins. The mitre-joint seemed like a good option, but I didn’t want to have to buy a special cutting tool, and it seemed like I’d be asking for mismatch problems with all the components I’d have to cut. Lastly, the lap-joint seemed like a decent option, but it is a big pain to slice 4mm cuts in 5mm foamcore consistently. Cutting rabbits would also be very difficult as I’d need to chisel out the parts.

Additionally, I made finger slots on the ends of each channel so that it is easier to pull the cards out. I made decide later to cut semi-circles out of the slot (for style points), but right now they are rectangular slots.

ANYWAY! Here are some pictures of how the process went. It was really fun to work on, although my back hurts from hunching over my table to get a 90 degree cut angle.

EDIT: I added a last photo showing the core set of the Arkham Horror Card Game plus the first scenario pack inhabiting the box. I haven’t made dividers yet, and I was in the middle of setting up for a play-through last time I had the cards out, so there’s a random handful of cards in the center.

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Arkham Horror in Coloured Pencil

November 24, 2016 at 7:27 pm (Art, Board games, Colored Pencils) (, , , , )


This is my second attempt at using coloured pencils (Prisma Colors). It’s a picture of the cover art for the board game Arkham Horror. I’ve only casually been working on it while watching tv, so I have no idea how long it really took, but I spent more time on it than I should. Eventually, I got bored and realized I didn’t center it properly, so I stopped working on it. It is roughly 7″ by 4″ on mixed media paper.

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Board game review: Elder Sign

December 3, 2012 at 10:55 am (Board games, Games) (, , , , , , , , )


This is a review of the board game (more accurately a card game) Elder Sign. This is a suspense-horror game set in the Arkham Horror world which is ultimately based on H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. The game pits 1-8 investigators against the horrors of the unknown with the end goal of sealing away the Great Ancient Ones and preventing them from devouring the world. One of the big highlights of this game for me is that it is a Co-op game! This means that all players are working together to beat the game itself. Furthermore it’s a game that can be played solo, which in my opinion makes the game much easier to win.

Presentation

This is a game that is very well put together. The card stock is very high quality and the tokens are plentiful. The art and descriptions on all of the cards were created with detail in mind and they help to add to the general horror-feel of the game. My initial complaint was that the item cards were too small, but it turns out they’re meant to be placed in front of you instead of kept as a “hand”. The dice are all custom which means that you had better not lose any of them since you won’t easily replace them. The box that the game is packaged in was one of my lingering complaints however. A lot of card games use a gigantic box, but then block 2/3’s of it so you can only use a narrow channel for storage. This box is much better designed than say the Lord of the Rings card game box is though. The Elder Sign box has little flaps that pop up to help separate the decks of cards and all the components. I suppose I just rather would have had a small, thin box like that of Space Hulk: Death Angel so that it would travel easier. Overall, this is a game that regardless of if you like it or not, feels like it’s worth whatever money you spent on it.

Gameplay

Elder Sign is a fairly straight-forward game to play, but it is immensely satisfying. The general idea is that you visit quest locations which require the player to complete one or more tasks. These tasks are completed by rolling the set of custom dice to get specific results from them, sometimes in a specific order. On each failed roll the player loses a die, but can choose to keep one die from the previous roll. They continue to try and hit their goal until they run out of dice. If they ultimately fail their quest on their turn then bad things happen to them or all players. However if they succeed, then they claim new items to help them in future quests, and sometimes Elder Signs. Collecting elder signs are how the players win the game; if they collect enough of them then they seal away the Ancient One and save the world. Failing quests, or taking too long to collect enough elder signs will add doom tokens, which eventually cause the Ancient One to awaken. When this happens, they must battle it or be devoured (generally the players won’t stand a chance).

This game has a ton of customization options and ways to keep the game fresh. There are numerous Ancient Ones to choose from, and a big set of characters, each with their own specialties and abilities. The items in the game do things like allow additional dice to be added to the rolls or allow dice to be saved for future rolls for other players. Personally, I hate games that rely entirely on dice rolls, but this game has managed to do things right. There are many ways to skillfully enhance your chances of getting the right outcome so you’re not always left wondering why 1/6 odds are so difficult to pull off. They never quite remove that sense of suspense from the game though and you’re generally left saying “I can totally make that roll with this many dice… right?”

Summary

I’d highly suggest this game; it works great when you have too many people to play most 4-player games or not enough to make the 4-player games interesting. The quality of the whole set makes it worthwhile, and the gameplay elements give you a sense of satisfaction when you manage to pull off some difficult tasks of a quest using items and/or help from other players. As I noted earlier, the game tends to be somewhat easier when you play with less people, but it still offers a good challenge.

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