I managed to get most of the preparation work done on the display version of the game this week. When doing a participation game I always get caught out by how many little things there are left to do before it's ready. They aren't essential, but you just want the thing to look good, - so there's turn markers, play boards and so on. I succeeded in getting most of them done on Thursday evening (not cutting it too fine for Friday night's playtest) whilst three mad men ranted at one another on the TV (bit of political commentary there).
I was feeling a bit encouraged as one of my regular gaming friends was kind enough to remark on seeing the photos in the last blog that my painting style had "scaled up well". This was pleasing as I had indeed just applied my magic dip painting method developed for 15mm figures to their 54mm cousins. If you are new to the blog then there's several postings about how I go about painting figures quickly last year.
The overall look of the game is coming along. I've given the board a bit of depth by adding a plinth at one end with the control panels for the elephant and crew. This was constructed from a stray bit of plasterboard I had in the garage with a bit of gloss paint slapped on it. Another advantage of being a Grown Up with a Real Life is that you have bits and pieces like that lying around you can use on your hobby.
Having the game board look a bit "3D" is important at shows to attract people's attention. Regardless of the quality of painting or game design games with toy soldiers can merge into one another and anything that looks a bit flat just looks boring. Once you've attracted people's attention the game can win them over, but if they never stand and look you don't have a chance no matter how good the game is.
After the test on Friday - 2 wins for the elephant, 1 for the Romans - the game seems to have a reasonable balance and is good enough to go. I have some final tidying up to do to make the game pieces more permanent but we have a winner for Milton Keynes.
All that remains for our group is to sort out the travel arrangements for what is our closest show. We know we need to get there before 9, so that means various pick up points between 7:30 and 8 to get all the bits and the people in the car.
BTW If you've never done the MK show I'd recommend it. It isn't the biggest, but it is free and it is open to the general public as it is in the display area outside John Lewis. So it's ideal for those with a non-wargaming partner who can be left to enjoy the wonders of MK shopping whilst you pick up some new stuff and play a few games.