WizKids Begins Introducing Players to 2017 HeroClix Core Rules Changes

“HeroClix 2017 Rules 0: Introduction and Goals” from Wednesday, 2017-03-01.

“HeroClix 2017 Rules 1: New Rules Language” posted today, Thursday, 2017-03-02.

I’m super-excited! Yes, the changes this year look to revolve almost — almost — exclusively around streamlining language to help new players learn retain depth of tactics/strategy for veteran players, and reduce loophole-abuse. But, they hint at the the continued healthy evolution of the game.

I’m very much looking forward to more.

Sidebar: Although they won’t be ‘rebalancing’ standard powers deliberately, it does make me itch to get back to doing my own amateur ‘tinkering’ with the standard power effects. Thanks to a certain non-HeroClix game — the “Marvel PuzzleQuest” game — been thinking a lot about how standard powers could ‘scale’ based on the relative ‘power’ of a clix, as indicated by the piece’s point value. WizKids’ Game Design Team introduced the inspiration some years ago with the introduction of Ultra Heavy Objects, and the restriction of only characters with Super Strength and worth 100 points or more being able to pick them up.

As I’ve posted before with my own ‘tinkering’ of Close Combat Expert, I’ve been wanting to see an effect that allows a character to use that modifier on its defense value. I’m trying to tease-out how that might be worded now, and it’s a fun little brain-teaser I haven’t worked out yet….

Sidebar II: I still crave a subscription-based service (again, taking MPQ as inspiration, I’d pay $9.99 per month for) a ‘souped-up UNITS section’ that’s better than HCRealms.com’s, with each character entry set up in a similar manner to the character card previews WizKids posts, and where the language for existing cards is updated, and new cards are ‘issued’ for ‘pre-character card era’ clix, and revisions tracked. I will continue to dream…

Edit (2017-03-09):

HeroClix 2017 Rules 4: As a Free Action | HeroClix: http://wizkids.com/heroclix/2017/03/08/heroclix-2017-rules-4-as-a-free-action/

As a “HeroClix Rules Aficionado”, I approve of the streamlining and clarification of the article, and charts can be handy tools. 

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HeroClix Tinkering: Close Combat Expert & Ranged Combat Expert (v1.1)

HCT_CCE_RCE_PRX

Was ruminating a bit last night bout two completely different games: WizKids’ HeroClix (a tactical/startegy game using miniatures with a “combat dial” system; my favorite themes involve the superhero genre, particularly the Marvel Comics and DC Comics brands) and D#’s “Marvel Puzzle Quest” (the version I play is a mobile app-based “Match 3” puzzle game, with “role-playing game” inflections using characters from Marvel Comics).

Was marveling (ha-ha) at how D3 is able to revise/update characters. Characters like thier version of Doctor Octopus, for example: There’s a “story event” coming up that involves him, so I took some time to re-read his character’s powers. I’ve had the character in my inventory, but have only used him when required to do so. He’s one of those characters who’ve been continually revised by D3, and now appears to be much more useful than when I first added him to my “collection”.

This invariably got me thinking about HeroClix, how the game ages, how vital continued stream-lining, additions, and other refinements are so necessary. (It also prompted me to look up a certain competing game called “Golem Arcana”, seen here — http://golemarcana.com/. Check it out. I’m not buying into it, but it’s got some cool stuff that could be applied to HeroClix via mobile-based apps.)

WizKids Game Design Team has done a great job over the years refining/reengineering the system. It shows up in changes to the “Core” rules and the Powers & Abilities Card, plus supplemental documentation. It also shows up in the figure design, which is where I get annoyed. I hate it that stuff I spent good, hard-earned money on is near-useless in the modern game.

And it’s mainly centered on the statistical values representing Speed, Attack, Defense, Damage, and to a much lesser extent, Range. A lot of the initial designs have very low stats, and the progression of the stats down the dial for the inaugural sets meant stats values dropped rapidly. There was also the “psychology” of low numbers. And trying to figure out “what’s it all mean, really?!”

Over the years at least, stats over the length of the dial have “steadied”. Dial lengths have shortened, though. And, I assume< some of the common stat combinations are influenced by an almost “pen-&-paper RPG”-like attempt at discerning “What’s *normal*?” Speaking just to Attack and Defense values, 8/16, 8/17, and 9/17 are in the “average healthy human with some combat training or experience” range. Going higher, you progress through “exceptionally skilled”, through “peak human”, and then into the various levels of “superhuman”.

IMHO, anyway. YMMV. Still not sure what the “normal/baseline” should be for Speed or Damage.

“So, what in the heck does this have to do with your thread title, GZ?” Well, the “stat modification” game effects. I like to routinely go back through the PAC, think about efficacy, simplicity, and applicability. How the game can continually be advanced with changes to the “basic” or “core” powers and abilities. Trick is making the changes make sense. They have to “scale” well, to the type of characters and the types of powers they represent.

Been considering a lot lately, as a fan of the game and an amateur “designer” [NOTE: I’m not a game designer; just a schmuck on the sideline]. Some players think every standard power should have both a “passive” effect and an “active” effect (that requires declaring some sort of action). I used to think that, but am no longer sure *every* standard power should have such.

So, let’s get into Ranged Combat Expert [RCE] and Close Combat Expert [CCE]. I only bring up Perplex for the “baseline” its effects have helped to set. Feel free to try these “homemade tinkers” to your home games, see if they seem balanced. —

RANGED COMBAT EXPERT Give this character a power action. It makes a ranged combat attack against a single target character; before making the attack, you may modify any one of the following combat values by +2, or any two combat values by +1: Attack, Damage, Range. Instead, give this character a double power action. The above targeting restrictions apply, but the character may modify any two combat values by +2; the character then modifies its defense value by -2 until your next turn.

INTENT: The character is off to the side, focused on the target. This attack is “specialized”. The character gives no thought to close threats, and may accidentally make itself vulnerable.

CLOSE COMBAT EXPERT Give this character a power action. It makes a close combat attack against a single opposing target character; before making the attack you may modify any one of the following combat values by +2, or any two combat values by +1: Attack, Defense (effect lasts until the beginning of your next turn), Damage.

INTENT: The character is pushing its melee expertise to its limit, hoping to either stay in the fight as long as he/she/it can (the “passive” Defense effect), or putting the opponent down quickly.

[For Reference: PERPLEX Give this character a free action to modify by +1 or –1 any combat value of a target character until the beginning of your next turn. A character using this power must be within range (minimum range 6) and line of fire to the target. If a target character is damaged or healed, the effect of Perplex on that character ends immediately.]

What do you think?

Brewing similar stuff up for Phasing/Teleport, Stealth, Energy Shield/Deflection, etc.

EDIT (2015-09-27): Looks like I didn’t make one of the points I was trying to make. Allow me to try again.

I’ll try by way of analogy: Consider the HeroClix “figure” to be the “hardware.” Consider the Core Rules as the “operating” system. The Character Card for the figure as an “app”…?

Once a figure is “published”, it’s what we deal with. Updating Character Cards — or creating Cards for previously uncarded characters — can help older figures retain play value.

3D “Character Tokens” in HeroClix, and “eCharacter Cards” (v2.1)

slosh099e(Or, “3D Character Tokens and Character eCards.”)

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Over on HCRealms.com, had to take a break from lurking around the “U.S. Politics” forum while reading NPR app news feeds and getting worried about the state of the world and situations that I can’t do anything about anyway. Wandered into the “Dear WizKids” forum. Found two threads: http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=506322 (“Why are toys and spider-bots taking a figure slot, despite the price increase?“) and http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=506171 (“Please reflect errata in Print and Play“).

The former is expressing aggravation at the increase in booster price and the fact that certain “characters” like the “one-click” (or “3D Bystander Tokens”) like the Toyman’s Toys (DC SLOSH) or the Spider-Bots (MV DEADPOOL) or even the “inaugural” Flocks of Bats (DC BATMAN) take up a slot in a 5-piece booster that would otherwise go to a “fully-clixed character”.

I don’t see a way around this. Costs only ever go up, and any business must balance keeping costs in check while passing costs on to the consumer in order to remain profitable. I like the “3D Bystanders” or whatever you want to call them. Is it disappointing that the “have to” take up a “normal character” slot? Yeah. As a consumer, I don’t see what WizKids could be doing differently.

Any suggestions other than “Make if for free!” out there?

The latter thread brings up this idea —

Please reflect errata in Print and Play (By NCR poster “th3f00t”) 

It is great that as a company you folks are interested in maintaining the playability of your game. It shows true grit that you are able to man up and admit that some game elements are out of control, and have a system in place for these mavericks.
The Watchlist saved this game from being Team Bases vs Ghost Rider/Spiral for a long time. Many players, myself included, would greatly appreciate any new official game text to be worked into existing figure card files which could be accessed through your print and play web page. This would be a great PR move and would save the burden of relying on game resources which are not game elements.(the phone-book sized players’ guide is less cool than correct character cards) Shucks, if you guys offered a service whereby a customer could obtain a freshly printed new card on glossy cardstock for $1, you might even be able to help out your neurotic collector fan base (who want correct, official cards on high quality cardstock)while not losing any money on the deal. Please give this consideration.
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So. WizKids must devote time to correcting cards. Nailing down the proper wording has to be done by either WizKids’ HeroClix Game Design Team, or by the volunteer “Rules Team” with GD’s final approval. Have I got that right?
Can agree with wanting mistakes corrected and up-to-date cards being made available.
The guy takes it one step further by asking for a WizKids-provided service that’ll print out a card for him and ship it to him for $1 per card.
{face/palm} Manpower diverted, materiel costs for the card as well as the shipping envelope, other shipping costs,… I think it might cost WK more than a dollar.
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I get the desire to see corrected physical cards. Tourney play requires players to have the character cards present in order to use special game effects (Traits, Special Powers, et cetera), as well as use keywords. The current Player’s Guides may have the most current language for a character’s SP’s or Traits, but doesn’t include a character’s keywords.
And there are players that badly want to see the “Section 4: Characters Reference” of the HC PG dumped. (I’m not one of them. Although, maybe it should be it’s own document, period, not associated as part of the PG. And include keywords for characters. But, I digress…)
And, of course, WizKids maintains its “Print and Play” downloads area, with downloadable PDF’s for all the character cards for various sets. (Apparently, the original uncorrected cards? Not sure. I reference the PG entries first when I have a question.)
I’ve made the suggestion before for a different service: A WizKids’ designed and maintain app for smartphones and tablets. Made it several times on this blog.
$3.99 or $4.99 purchase, $0.99/month subscription fee.
Offers the opportunity for a “living” set of rules documents, frequently updated.
Offers the opportunity to go from “Print & Play” to “Character eCards”, tourney legal on the device.
Could be combined with the usual “market research” aspects of such applications.
Could include various tournament and inventory/force build tools. (Dovetails with the “market research” aspect above. “What are they buying? What are they keeping?” A chance to ask questions, form surveys.)
Offers a chance for Game Design to quickly make “rebalances”. Adjusting language to game effects, adding keywords, what have you.
Offers a chance to help the consumer enjoy the game.
Offers the chance (wait for it…) for “Ret-Cons” to older game pieces, to help pieces players/collectors paid good money for, to hold value, even as the game advances. “Playability” is a value in this game. No one — NO ONE — wants to pay money for junk.
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The physical quality of the game pieces will have to continue to get better, right along with the play of the game itself.
HeroClix is a luxury, and player’s budgets will always be tight.
It’s human nature to want to get the most for the least amount. Since somebody, somewhere has to expend the time, effort and resource to make anything or provide any service, I have a problem with the concept of “freebies”. We want the game to continue? We have to ut up. WizKids has the responsibility then of providing the best product at costs that encourage us to keep buying, yes?
I still want HeroClix with a physical dial to turn. On a tabletop map. No HeroClix OnLine “virtual games” for me.
I want a wide selection of characters, not *just* the “most popular” general audience stuff.
I want to field characters on the map. “Comic Accurate ™” force builds or “Dream Team” line-ups.
And I want versatile tools to help me do that. Quality tools for using quality product, at a reasonable price.
(Can just about hear the Ultra-Consevative “Holier-than-Thou” types talking about the tone of this post, about “I, I, I” and “Me, Me, Me” and “Want, Want, Want”. Kinda part of your beloved views on Capitalism, though, isn’t it? “Judge not lest ye be judged”, right? ….  So? We doing business or what?)
Superman_Unchained_Vol_1_4_Textless

WizKids releases HeroClix Watch List info. (v1.2)

Well, WizKids released something late enough in the day yesterday that I totally missed it: http://heroclix.com/uncategorized/heroclix-watch-list-upcoming-changes/#axzz2iUGEpEP9

The general rule changes addressing damage and multiple attacks were unexpected, but understandable and welcome.

Vehicles rules changes: about time they addressed “size”.

Spiral’s changes were what took me. Wow. No objections. “Alpha Strike via Portal” threat has been neutralized. As someone who wants to see “Portals”-like powers appear on other characters in the future, it’s a great fix. I couldn’t imagine anything other that the “treating portals as adjacent terrain” kind of thing. Requiring an action of some sort to “step through” reminds me a bit of the old Teleport Pad special objects, and the ability for an opponent to “put a cork in it” (attempting to keep someone from coming through by occupying the Portal square) is thematically cool, too. Just, wow. Always amazed.

It will be something to see how the changes to Team Bases shakes out.

I really should get back into playing. it’s been so long. Maybe attend a tournament?

EDIT: Wait a minute, so when exactly IS the new Player’s Guide coming out that will cover this?

I still say I’d gladly pay like a $3.99 upfront fee and a $0.99/month subscription fee for a “living heroclix rules app” for my mobile device. The Game really needs it at this point.