No, not actual frogs! Actual frogs are awesome! Leave them alone. I’m talking about frog monsters, the recurring enemies of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense from Hellboy, and very specifically the frog monsters you encounter while playing Mantic Games’ Hellboy: the Board Game.
Back during the white-hot frenzy of the game’s Kickstarter (the conclusion of which I spent staying in a castle in Italy which proved disappointingly devoid of secret rooms, ghosts, and/or helpful skeletons) someone started compiling a playlist that would be suitable to whack on during a game session. I thought this a fantastic idea and made a number of suggestions which were duly incorporated, but was displeased to discover a whole bunch of songs that were CLEARLY AND ENTIRELY UNSUITABLE being included! It was OUTRAGEOUS and I immediately started compiling a list of PROPER songs, which has been slowly growing in the back of my head ever since.
It’s rather a short list. I can’t quite pin down the criteria for a suitable Hellboy song, but I know it when I hear it. It will likely have a gravel voiced singer, a lot of base and a general atmosphere of menace. Something of a country and western feel – without going too far into Hank Williams territory – is common. Lyrics with supernatural elements are obviously a plus, but are not essential.
I’ve posted my list here and will add to it as I discover more tracks. Suggestions are welcome, but don’t expect me to accept any of them!
Red Right Hand – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
The World Ender – Lord Huron
City of Dreams – Mickelangelo
Riders on the Storm – The Doors
Jesus Built my Hotrod – Ministry
Ghost Riders in the Sky – Stan Jones
The Devil Went Down to Georgia -The Charlie Daniels Band
Black Market – Bear McCreary
Road to Hell – Chris Rea
Ashes to Ashes – Steve Earl
Dragula – Rob Zombie
How’s it Gonna End? – Tom Waits
Bella Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus
Fallout 4 Main Theme – Inon Zur
Mars, the Bringer of War – Gustav Holst
Finally, if your players are leery at the idea of killing frogs then play them some of Froggy 2000. It’ll get them in the right headspace in no time…
One of my major personality defects is that I tend to get really excited about some random project or thing, expend a huge amount of time and effort on it, then get bored and/or excited about something else and drop the whole thing. As such my home and computer are littered with half completed projects and ideas, some of which might actually be really cool if I ever got around to finishing them.
Autism? Yes, why do ask? ADHD? Well I don’t have a formal diagnosis…
Anyway, when I actually do manage to complete something it is cause for at least a little celebration, and a posting of the results.
My obsession of late has been content for the Hellboy board game. I invested in the Kickstarter and have managed to acquire just about every expansion (I don’t have Drinking with Skeletons, Giant Robot Hellboy and Unexpected Plot Twist) including the most recent “Big Box of Doom” which I completely forgot I bought – its unexpected arrival being the catalyst for my current episode. The game contains plenty of content from the Hellboy universe, but there’s also a bunch of really cool stuff that isn’t included, either due to copyright tangles or simply because a game that included everything would take up a rather large room and be wildly unplayable.
“Wildly Uplayable” being my middle name I decided to rectify this by adding some of the cooler stuff that Mantic elected (or were forced) to leave out. And wonder of wonders I’ve actually finished some of it!
AGENT BEN DAIMIO
During the Kickstarter for the original game there were a lot of requests from the community to include ex-marine-with-a-dreadful-secret Ben Daimio (AKA Captain Zombie). To everyone’s disappointment Mantic made it quite clear that they couldn’t because they only had the rights to the Hellboy comic and not the spin-off BPRD in which he exclusively appears. Curiously the expansions have since included plenty of BPRD content, but Ben is still AWOL -possibly they haven’t been able to figure out a way to make him playable without being either useless or horribly overpowered.
Being unrestrained by issues of copyright or game balance I have attempted to correct this anomaly by making a playable version of Ben complete with starting items, a Deck of Doom card, and rules and cards for when his ‘little problem’ gets out of hand.
One of my favourite Hellboy series is 1947, which chronicles the early BPRD’s attempts to deal with a vampire by the name Baron Konig who didn’t take some of the Nazi’s more esoteric WWII experiments very well (to be fair, who would?). Naturally everything pretty quickly goes to hell and the consequences extend into the sequel series Vampire where things get even worse.
There are other vampires that show up in Hellboy, the most prominent being Vladimir Giurescu and his exploding horse (note: no matter how hard you hit them horses don’t usually explode). He’s in the game, but apart from that vampiric content is conspicuously lacking – a situation I feel it necessary to correct.
My Vampire kit adds three new Bosses, a new minion, a bunch of re-organised Boss Behaviour cards and a collection of vampire hunting equipment to give your agents a fighting chance against the undead.
Later: And now version 1.2 is up, which adds a new minion, renames a minion, adds a couple more unexpected threats and allows you to equip your agents with garlic – which I can’t believe I left out in version 1.1!
One of the few flaws of the game is the way it implements tracking of a number of agent statistics (another is the way they’ve implemented Roger – go get Saduhem’s Thematic Roger rebuild – you’ll thank me). To keep track of, say, Liz Sherman’s flame level you need to keep a tiny plastic cube precisely positioned on a half sized card – which on a table with models being moved and dice flying around is no mean feat. To fix this I’ve created a set of print’n’build tracker dials* which should make your games a lot less frustrating.
I have a number of other Hellboy projects on the boil, which I may or may not complete before I lose interest, so stay tuned!
BPRD Archives Box
And here we go with one of those projects, a print’n’build box for your B.P.R.D. Archives cards – assuming you have that add on, naturally. The design is blatantly ripped off from Matt “King Friday” Sturm’s case file envelopes – I really should give him a heads up.
Make Your Own Agent
And if you’re feeling inspired to make some content of your own I’ve prepared an SVG Agent template with icons and cards layouts and such. Enjoy!
*Not to be confused with print’n’build crocodiles, which are another thing entirely…