HeroClix: Elevation, “negative elevation”, and “Climb”. (v1.1)

Still knocking around some ideas I’ve posted about before on this old blog, concerning HeroClix’ current “elevation” rules.  Been wanting to see “depth” or “negative elevation” in one form or another since WizKids introduced multiple levels of elevation a couple years ago. Not “just” for normal terrain, but also for water terrain.

For “clear” (normal) terrain, current rules say you can’t just transition from from one elevation level to another, not without the character either having access to some game effect that allows it, or at squares designated as ladders or stairs.

Things I think should be considered for the future:

  • Some basic “Climb” combat ability, tied to the {Boot} speed symbol, all characters having access to it unless another game effect says they don’t have access to it (via Trait, or other combat symbols, like the Vehicle symbol).
  • Such a basic “Climb” ability might require a roll of the dice for a character transition between elevations, if it doesn’t have access to some other effect, like Leap/Climb standard power, or {Improved} {Movement}: {Ignore Elevated}.
  • Changes to knock back damage involving going from a higher elevation to a lower elevation may need to change; 1 damage plus additional damage based on the difference between elevation levels. Get hit over a “cliff” that drops from level 6 elevation to level 1, you’re looking at 7 damage. Pretty “thematic”, I think. “[Character X] fell (dramatically) to his death” kinda thing.
  • Damage reducers would need to apply.
  • Plus, maybe damage modification depending on the character’s “relative power level” as indicated by its point value? Modify that knock back “falling damage” by -1 for every 100 points over 100?
  • Chance to evade/avoid damage if you have Leap/Climb or {Improved} {Movement}: {Ignore Elevated}? Maybe?
  • Now, “negative elevation” and water terrain —
  • Easier transitions between elevation levels in water,….
  • … but who qualifies to move between those elevations?
  • Depth and “pressure” need to be tackled, in relation to the Swim combat ability, a character’s “relative power”, and other special character-specific abilities.
  • Creation of another Swim ability? “Improved Swimming”? “Deep Swimming”?
  • Characters without such an ability, unable to go below “-1 elevation in water terrain” without suffering from crushing pressures?
  • Opens up possibilities for special objects and Relics as well.
  • “Negative elevation” doesn’t mean much outside of Water terrain; as far as clear terrain goes, it’s just another relative change in elevation on the map.
  • Not sure of the interaction with orange-bordered Special Terrain, if any, since the “orange terrain” is so specifically dependent on the designer’s intent for the map.
  • Outdoor blocking terrain: Still miffed after all of these years that character still can’t occupy it. Needs to have that resolved, as well as line of fire issues/elevation and “mounting/dismounting” issues. A basic “Climb” combat ability will help with the one.

That’s all for now. Need to ponder further. Rules need to be as close to intuitive as possible, without to many game-stopping “WTF?!” quirks.


HeroClix: Markers and Tokens and the WXM Spiral (v4.9)

EDIT (02 OCT 2013): Okay, over on www.heroclix.com, along with the post introducing the “Watch List” back on 13 SEP 2013 with this: http://heroclix.com/announcements/announcing-heroclix-watch-list/#axzz2gbKZUATM, on 01 OCT 2013, WizKids did a follow-up post: http://heroclix.com/heroclix/heroclix-watch-list/heroclix-watch-list-update/#axzz2gbKZUATM. No changes announced yet.

Pulling this post “forward in time”, adding some comments.

So, I’m going to mark down some ideas for Spiral. I disengaged some time ago over on HCRealms.com from the “Complain about Spiral” crowd, so if I’m repeating somebody else’s ideas here, sorry, it’s not intentional. I was thinking about this stuff today at lunch. (Keeps my mind off of [EDIT: Whoa, hey, why’d I put that in there, that’s gotta go].)

So, here ’tis:

  • Same as posted below the line, strip out the “friendly only” language so any character could use the portals.
  • Or, make the travel only one-way. Designate the special markers as “A” and “B”. “A” is “enter only”, “B” is “Exit only”. Spiral’s controller’s choice choice as to which goes where.
  • And/Or, take the placement choice away; “”A” is always nearest Spiral, “B” is always furthest away.
  • And/Or, include language that the special markers can only be placed 3 or more squares away from any character, period.
  • Or, maybe have Spiral Spiral must place “A” where she was when she took the double-power action, while she automatically gets placed adjacent to where ever “B” ends up? SHe’d be instantly vulnerable to attack.
  • One suggestion I do remember from the initial days of the “Spiral Controversy”: someone suggested that the “Portal” collapses after a character goes through it. It’s a good suggestion.
  • I think some other suggestions were to not allow placement near starting zones,…
  • … or set a “maximum range” that the portals could be placed from her. Both work. (That might be what got me thinking about the “minimum safe distance” from characters approach.)

I do hope that WizKids continues with creating “portal powers”. there’s some neat stuff they could do. Like with Immobile Special Objects, or Special Terrain on maps, or “booby-trapped” Relics, that force a roll and creation of a portal that might “suck” characters through.


EDIT: Below includes the original post from 05 AUG 2013.

The preview today over on www.heroclix.com is a remake of Spiral, a character that last got “clixed” way back in CLOBBERIN’ TIME (2002) —


Sweetness. Love what WizKids Design Team is doing lately with markers and tokens in special powers, Traits, and other game effects. I hope this power shows up on Blink of the eXiles team, when she finally shows up. (She was quite popular in the last Fan Vote.)

Well, first a remake Longshot, now Spiral. Really, really hope this means Mojo is in WXM. Or follows within the next year. Wonder if they’d ever include Major Domo as well?

EDIT: WOW. Reading some of the reaction to the preview over on HCRealms. Re-reading the Trait. Yeah, I see the “first strike” abuse concerns.

We’ll have to see how it actually plays out, I think. At 106 points in a 300 point team build, it sounds like a great way to accidentally strand a friendly character far from support after making such a first strike.

I wonder if language to the effect of “… when taking a move action” at the end of the definition would help? Or, why restrict it to *only* friendlies? Hmm.

EDIT II: HCR poster by the name of CapnMorgan has this well-reasoned post —

CapnMorgan: “So I bring up the HCRealms site and get a nice surprise, we’ve got a new figure for the upcoming set. She’s just a bit over one hundred points so she won’t be too difficult to play with. She’s not indomitable which is a good counter to her trait considering most folks don’t use medics. Her trait is also nice in that it allows turtle busting/getting around snipers, or even catching those pesky Team Bases without having to use Ghost Rider with the Heroes for Hire ATA. She’s got plenty of keywords that are use-able with different builds both DC and Marvel. She’s got a respectable 6 range, so you don’t have to worry about her pulse wave going off on your own figs. Her phasing with high movement means you can sneak behind enemy choke points, clear and then use her trait to keep the game from resembling a WWI battlefield no man’s land. Another use of this ability might be a classic MedEvac so that your friends can make it to the medic/general safety. Will people use this as a new version of the classic TK brick combo? Most likely, but I like to think it’s got more uses than that.

“So to sum it up, she’s got some pretty good stats especially for a 300 pt game. Her trait is a DPA and she’s not indomitable, so you’re either going to need to make that action count, or have a medic standing by. She’s got pulse wave, but only a 6 range to keep it manageable seeing as how she’s a close range fighter. The probability control is a nice touch and thanks to the rules change, her range on that prob control is only a 6 so no backroom camping for her! All in all, she offers some great combos but must keep somewhere close to midfield to use all of her points. If you get her too close then she’s toast, but if you park her in the rear then you’re wasting over a hundred points on a taxi.

“On a relatively goofy/nerdy note, you can play her with a swarm of Skrulls and reenact the Manhattan invasion from the Avengers movie. Considering she works for MOJO, it’s all right!”

EDIT (07 AUG 2013): Okay, so the concerns about this figure being overpowered all rest on the concerns of the “Alpha Strike”. Spiral sets up a portal in her opponent’s starting area, the biggest, baddest gun on her team rushes through and either manages to devastate the opponent’s entire team, or its single biggest, baddest figure. Game over in one turn. Got it.

I still see Spiral getting “stuck” thanks to that double-power action (received two action tokens to create the portal, and as a result takes pushing damage), whether she stays where she is or gets carried through the portal by that “Alpha Striker” teammate.  She needs a turn to clear.

May be smarter if your “Alpha Striker” (heh, sounds like it should be a Jaeger name in Pacific Rim) has either Move & Attack combat ability or Hypersonic Speed, to zip through the portal, then attack, then zip back, as opposed to carrying her through. The most talked-about character for this has been the ASM046 Ghost Rider at 145 points.  (Leaves 49 points left on a 300-point tournament team.)

Can’t help but agree with those that think it relies too much on that “Alpha Strike” being successful. And your opponent also putting all his eggs in one basket with a single “Big Gun”, and GR taking out that big gun first. If your opponent’s team isn’t constructed that way, or the “Alpha Strike’ is bollixed, both sides are in for a slog.

I still think that if Spiral *actually needs* “rebalancing”, then her Portals have to be a two-way street; strip out that “friendlies only” language. Not exactly inaccurate, from a comics standpoint.

Other suggestions have ben to tie placement of portal markers to Spiral’s range value, or another set value. Or have them disappear like Barrier or Smoke Cloud tokens. Both ideas have merit. Another suggestion follows the “disorientation” trope: characters moving through it have to stop on the other side, and their action ends (pop out, look around to get their bearings).

Anyway. Hope the “portal marker” powers continue to mutate and crop up. As I said, hope Blink gets a version of it. Maybe Dr. Strange, too. Back in the mid to late 1980’s/early 90’s, when I still cared enough to buy an X-Men related title, I seem to remember an obscure villain character named Pipeline, did something similar. Heck, portal markers work for a lot of invading extra-terrestrial aliens and extra-dimensional “chthonic entity” threats.

Tinkering: “Web/Snare” (v2.1)

EDIT (29 DEC 2012): Re-work and re-post, originally posted 24 AUG 2011. Added a collage, and some new “candidates” for “Web/Snare”. Also, HCRealmser “bill4935” added the bit about making a version “sticky” and remaining in place for the duration of a game. Kudos, Bill!



“Dear WizKids”: Really hoping you’re going to bring back the “Web Tokens” mechanics with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, since we haven’t seen it since WEB OF SPIDER-MAN.

Re-reading a thread over at HCRealms.com: “What is the most useless mechanic in the game?”  Personal view, there are no “useless” mechanics, but there are mechanics/rules that underperform compared to their cost.

The “Web” mechanic that was introduced in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN (2010) — and hasn’t been seen since — came up a few times.  The set’s Spider-Man, Venom, and Scarlet Spider all has Special Powers that allow them to produce the “Web” terrain token during the game.

From the August 2011 Player’s Guide —

Web Special Terrain Marker: A character occupying this square must break away for movement purposes.  Immediately after the character occupying this square no longer occupies it, remove this marker from the map.

This mechanic and the special powers that can use it proved useful for Ret-Conning a homemade Trait onto the CT Hawkeye REV awhile back.  I think the mechanic works well.  Might require some tweaking, but it basically is a variation on hindering terrain, and powers that create hindering terrain tokens (like Smoke Cloud).

Only suggestion: Name change.  Call the tokens “web/snare” tokens.  Start putting SP’s that can create such tokens on a few more characters.  Tech-based characters are an obvious opportunity.  From Hobgoblin to Boomerang to the whole damn Bat-Family.  Like I said, did it for CT Hawkeye’s Ret-Con.  Thinking I need to look at CD’s Captain Cold and older Green Arrow REVs.

What other characters might qualify?  The “magick-users”, maybe.  “Elemental” type shape-shifters like Sandman, Hydro-Man, Metamorpho, they might be capable of creating these markers, maybe in adjacent terrain.  Wonder Woman; could be another interpretation of her “magic lasso”.  “Construct-creators” like the Lanterns or Firestorm.

Been thinking of it more as “Web/Snare” for awhile now. And think it could show up on more characters. Trapster. Blizzard. Captain Cold. “Construct-makers” like any of the Lanterns. Some of the “magic-users” like Dr.’s Strange and Fate (“bindings”). Kraven the Hunter (nets and such). Clayface (thrown a few pieces of himself and “gooped” a Bat to a wall). Sandman (sort of “sand-blasting”) or Quicksand. Maybe some of the “stretchy” characters, like Mr. Fantastic, Plastic Man, Elongated Man, Elasti-Girl (Incredibles, hint, hint), Smuggler, Flatman. Quagmire. Plant Man! And Poison Ivy. Porcupine.

Idea from “bill4935” over on HCRealms.com:

“I wonder if it was playtested as stronger than now (maybe you had to breakaway from Plasticity or something) but found to be unbalanced. I still think a webbing power could be a bit stronger than we saw in WoS, or somehow vary from the original. Maybe place a web token in a square, but it doesn’t go away when a character in that square breaks away. Have it last for the whole game as a “sticky” patch on the map….. If Jinku can permanently change the map (with his lava tiles), I think an A-lister like Spidey should be able to, too.”

‘Nuff said. 🙂


Tinkering: “Tokens” (v1.3)

Token.  For HeroClix, the definition of “a game piece or counter used in a game” is what we’re concerned with.  Often used interchangeably with “Marker” or “Counter”.  Way too often, some may complain.

There is still a call, from time to time, over on HCRealms.com from clixers wanting “map packs”.   Not sure why, what with the coolness of getting a new map PLUS 6 re-dialed clix in the new Fast Forces packs.  And the FF packs appear to be hear to stay.  (Yay!)

Thinking about what WizKids could sell, as a pack.  Has to be cheap enough gamers are willing to part with cold hard coin rather than just use the “Print ‘n’ Play” downloads, but the margin has to be high enough to make it worth WK’s time.  Both of these are out of my control.  Just suggesting the existence of a HeroClix product useful for beginners and the core of the game, without the licensing hassles of any brand name, like Marvel or DC.

So, coming back to a single double-sided map, packaged with some cardboard tokens.  No Feat cards, no Battlefield Condition cards, no figures and character cards, not even event dials or 3D objects.  And no Bystander tokens.

One double-sided map, and sheets of tokens.  Basic Hindering and Blocking terrain tokens.  Maybe a new set of standard Light and Heavy object tokens.  THEN!  Then, some cool new tokens.

Updated “web” or “snare” tokens.  Ice, Fire, Earth, Stone, Water tokens.  Poison Cloud tokens.  If — I say, IF — the pack were to include a Feat card, it would be so that a character that could use Smoke Cloud or Barrier could use these tokens.

Hell, CONSTRUCTS!  They had a cool idea with Larfleeze.  Now that we have examples like the new Falcon (& Redwing!) and Squirrel-Girl, why not a “Feat” (might have to call it something different and assign a new “color tab” to it) and some cool “construct tokens” (with BT-style stats and all)?

Of course, not opposed to a similar 3D object/map pack, either.  Need a 3D Laser Turret for my HYDRA base….