Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekly Crowd


Wow, I have been blogging for an entire year now.  It just snuck up on me.  Next week I will celebrate by launching some of the beta code I have been "hinting" at for weeks now.  Some of the basic elements will allow me to radically change the format of the site while still providing the content that many of you come here to get. 

Crowd funded


Update: Ogre

Ogre, a classic tabletop strategy game from the 70's by Steve Jackson games relaunched itself though Kickstarter last year.  It shattered Kickstarter's funding record for board games at the time receiving $923,680.

A little over a year has passed now and the final review edition as arrived at Steve Jackson games.

The scale of the game is, simply put, epic:

  • Box size: 24 by 20 by 5.8 inches
  • Box weight: 25.2 pounds
  • Maps laid out: 31 square feet
  • Maps laid out end-to-end: 13.8 feet long
  • Counter sheets laid out unpunched: 29.9 square feet
  • No. of 2-D counters: 1,100
  • No. of 3-D counters: 104
  • Total no. of counters: 1,204
Now, I have been lucky enough to receive an early sheet of 3-D counters.  I am glad to say that they they look fantastic and the quality is top notch.  The art is excellent.  Their was no difficulty popping them out of the sheets and I never got a hit of separation or tearing which sometimes occurs with games of lesser quality.  The individual elements fit together simply and snugly.

Some people lamented that these are not plastic models but upon seeing the final product I couldn't be happier.  If they were plastic then the game would be heavier and bulkier, the cost would be much higher and the units would have a lot less variation.  I enjoy painting minis but most people don't have the time, equipment, and skill to do it on their own.  The printed nature of these counters allows each one to be fully, attractively, and vibrantly colored.

On a final note, Steve and his team picked a perfect scale for these guys.  This Ogre Mark VI fits perfectly in the hand and somehow conveys the huge scale of the tank (and my kid loves them too).

Even More Airship Adventure!

Dirigible Days is one of those awesome things where you see people coming together together to make something fun and cool, and they will do it no matter what.  Last year Dirigible Day's launched their first kickstarter campaign to get the shoestring budget for a Steampunk webseries.

The setting is a Victorian Earth shattered by astronomical forces resulting in a multitude of floating islands called the Great Empire.  The show has just a hint of the Firefly feel as it follows the crew of the airship S.S. Beatrix.  Instead of Reavers though this world is best by Cthulhu cultists.  

That's right, Steampunk and Cthulhu.  

The original webseries can be found here.  My blunt review would be that the story is good, the setting is fun, and the production values are relatively high considering the budget.  I think it is fair to say that more than a few scenes are off my a beat or two and that is likely the biggest weakness of the series.  The feel of the series is also very consistent so if If you like the first episode you will likely enjoy them all, if you first one does not grab your fancy, then it is not for you. 

Dirigible Days is launching a new Kickstarter though:Dirigible Days: 998 -- Steampunk Graphic Novel Comic Book 

Here is the summary of the story line:

Captain Santiago Dunbar, mute pilot Josie Devereaux, and witty engineer Hooper Jefferson return, along with new comrades Dr. Nella Chatterjee and navigator Mackie MacMillan, in an epic steampunk tale of airships, super robots, political plots and evil cultists. When Captain Dunbar learns that his mentor—revolutionary and genius inventor Desmond Ellington—has been kidnapped by the Empire of Rabasa in order to complete a weaponized automaton colossus, the crew begins a perilous journey of danger and intrigue throughout Africa in order to discover the truth: from the skyland of Khara-Khoto, to the jungles of Kenzania, across the savannahs of Ethiopia, and into the desert ruins of Irem, City of Pillars. World War is on the horizon, but is this crisis caused by the warmongering government of Rabasa or masterminded by a familiar and malevolent enemy?  

Sounds like a fun pulpy adventure.  $10 will get you a digital copy and $25 will get you a printed copy.    


Clash of Titans


Pick of the Week

You are getting a twofer this week.  These projects are rather similar and totally different.  Both are quite awesome but also has critical flaws which will sadly make it difficult for them to get produced as is.  With both being so awesome and flawed I just could not decide which one was the better project for the I decided not to decide and lay all the cards on the table. 

IRON MAN Hulkbuster
by Jonsanpedro

Support Level: 97

Wow! What a brilliant use of the Iron Man hero-factor chest piece.  This guy is just fantastic and a very successful mash up of standard Lego and hero-factory elements.  It does help that the Iron Man head piece is extremely large too, to help with the independent scale of the thing.  The articulated thrusters on the back are a really nice touch too.

It looks fun enough that I can totally overlook the fact that nearly every Hulkbuster variation I have seen gives the armor a domed head, similar to Juggernaut helmet.  Jonsanpedro did a great interpretation of the dome by building up a lot of armor around the official headpiece.

Update: Jonsanpedro has now included his inspirational image of a Hulkbuster suit and it does not have a dome head.  

So what is the "problem" I have with this project.  Will this is not the "Really Big Iron Man suit" its the Hulkbuster suit.  Its is suppose to be the size of the Hulk.  The official Lego Hulk figure is about twice the height of minifig.  Maybe I am wrong but it looks to me like this thing would dwarf the Hulk.  I might change my mind if I see them together but picturing it, I can't see them playing off each other very well.  Its a pretty minor concern relative to how well done the build is. 

Apollo Guard - Imperial Mecha Unit
by Reekardoo

Support Level: 150

Mecha come in a so many styles and categorizes with recognizable themes.  It is rather unusual when you think about it especially for something that is for the most part totally fictional.  Reekardoo's design falls into what I consider the Rounded Heavy Power Armor variety: bulky and "squat" but with plenty of curves.  It reminds me a bit of the armor you see in Warhammer 40k but still distinct enough that it is original.

I especially like the hands.  They four fingers allow for a lot of realistic looking poses and grips.

The gold chrome is an awesome touch.  It reminds me of the Glitter Boy armor form Palladium's Rifts RPG.  It really helps sell the concept to Lego fans.  Unfortunately that same aspect of the design is why I have a hard time supporting it whole hog.  Chrome is really expensive for Lego sets.

A Lego set designer once told me he could budget 20 regular pieces in a set for each chrome piece.   The reason for the cost not just the actual act of chroming the elements but also because Lego apparently uses smaller molds for Chrome elements.  When you chrome a object, it becomes thicker.  So for Lego's exacting standards they need to make thinner elements when they are going to chrome them, thus in many cases new molds. 

Honorable Mention

Liebherr LTM 1070
by Dejw

Support Level: 36


Watch the video.  Its really quite impressive.


Interactive Battle Video Game
by Jadisco
This is a really interesting concept but it needs some video to showcase its potential.

If you have a dynamic project you need to showcase that with a video.

Grand Prix Circuit - Pit Lane Marshal's post
by Lluisgib
Lluisgib's F1 racer is very impressive.

Lego has had a strong relationship with Ferrari and Racing for years.   I am not quite sure if that is a good thing for this project (established relationship) or a bad thing (Lego will likely cycle back to this on their own).

The use of the MILS base is a nice touch but that is the kind of "dead" volume that makes MOCs look fantastic but rarely make it to Lego products.  

Lego Custom Modular Mexican Restaurant
by Miamiguy119
This modular has some great architectural elements and great coloring.  The half width design is actually a very good idea for Cuusoo. 

 I am very surprised it got past the "no modern use of Alcohol rule."
Lego Ford T
by Saabfan
Vintage Cars!  I can't get enough of them.  This design has some really inspired design elements.  I especially like the headlight elements used for the side lamps. 

FLOWER SHOP - Custom Modular by Jorge Garcia
by Miamiguy119
This is a very nice looking modular externally.  The color selection is very strong and the architecture is broken up into interesting builds.  On top of that the flower shop level looks like a flower shop.

The week part of the design is the second floor though, it is just a lounge area.  Though it might not be more popular, I think this design would be a lot stronger as a one story building.

Millennium Falcon Expansion Kit
by Emiki
Conceptually I love this idea.  Emiki has some really great improvements to the Falcon.  I think it would be really interesting if Lego produced expansion sets for their products.  Then again, that is what Brickset is for right?

That being said, as a Cuusoo project is has a serious uphill battle.  As I pointed out with Emiki's Jubba Palace project, the timing for this kind of project is impracticable.  What is the market for Lego in producing an expansion set for a retired product?

The Battle of Kashyyyk - Wookiee Tree Village
by Ephseb
There are quite a few of these Star Wars "giant tree village" projects on Cuusoo.  They are Wookie or Ewok but they all basically look the same.  I think they make great MOCs when done right but I just don't see them as potential products (at least not as presented in most of Cuusoo.

These projects tend to overuse the tree elements, often in a boring manner (in this case four giant shafts) and have limited playability relative to the part count (and subsequent cost).

Week of Cuusoo

Following the break is a showcase of all the new projects from this week sorted by support level

Apollo Guard - Imperial Mecha Unit
by Reekardoo

Support Level: 150

Iron Man Hulkbuster Project
by Jonsanpedro

Support Level: 97

The Battle of Kashyyyk - Wookiee Tree Village
by Ephseb

Support Level: 56

Liebherr LTM 1070
Support Level: 36
Minecraft: Snow biome, tundra
Support Level: 32
Mandalorian gunship
Support Level: 29

Lego Ford T
Support Level: 28

Crusader CHARGER
Support Level: 21
The Smurfs
Support Level: 20

Batcopter TR (Twin Rotor)
Support Level: 20
Tony Stark's Closet
Support Level: 19

Adi Gallia's Jedi Starfighter
Support Level: 16
Interactive Battle Video Game
Support Level: 14

Lego Revolution Battle Packs
Support Level: 11
Compact city car series
Support Level: 11
Custom car for minifig
Support Level: 11

LEGO® Premier League Trophy
Support Level: 10
Classic Keyboard Instruments
Support Level: 9

Small Republic Gunship
Support Level: 8
Lumiere Figurine
Support Level: 7
Superman Minifig Display
Support Level: 7

Force Ghosts
Support Level: 6
Support Level: 6

Lego Soda Machine
Support Level: 4
Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter
Support Level: 4

Rishi Moon Base Attack
Support Level: 3
Orange and blue color team
Support Level: 3

Castaways 1: Arrival
Support Level: 2

Personalized LEGO Heads
Support Level: 2

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