Keywords. HeroClix. Current categories: “generic” (ex: scientist, soldier, reporter, detective, etc.) or “named” (ex: Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra, Brood, etc). Some players of a particular mind like to nitpick that the proper antonym to “generic” should be “specific”, not “named”. But then, this is HeroClix. Games sometimes need to deviate in order to establish and solidify certain functions of the game. But, there may be some potential in the concept of “specific keywords” as an “in between” category.
I’ve brought this idea up a few times over the years, trying to refine it. [EDIT: And it appears I deleted most of those previous posts, with the exception of the one about Mole Man and his Moloids. I guess sometimes I tinker with this blog a little too much.]
Hang with me here: There’s a bit of a “Masters/Minions” snag in this game, the glitch I see being with keywords and their use in “Theme Teams”. For example, Mole Man and his Moloids: Mole Man’s minions have the “monster” keyword, while some versions of their “king”, the Mole Man, don’t have the “monster” keyword. That makes forming a theme team a bit of a hassle. And under the current theme team rules, theme teams formed using *only* “generic” keywords basically get less in the way of benefits. Looks like a bit of a “hole” to me.
Yeah, maybe Mole Man and his Moloids shouldn’t have the full benefits of a “named” theme team, but they aren’t an ad hoc temporary “team-up” either. That’s the way I tend to interpret “generic” keyworded theme teams: individuals banding together temporarily. The “named” theme teams are about how they’ve formed a more cohesive unit, developed coordinated tactics, some specialized training, and so on. But, the “Master and his Minions” tropes in the comics seem to be an “in-between dynamic” to me.
Per page 23 of the 2013 HeroClix Core Rulebook, theme team qualifications are:
- all characters on a team — or “force” — must share a keyword.
- the team must have at least two characters (I’d say “figure”; a Duo character is “conceptually” two “characters”, but it’s only one figure in the game, for example)
- theme teams may be assigned Additional Team Abilities (ATA’s)
- theme teams receive a bonus to the “initiative roll”.
- and theme teams where the characters all share a “named” keyword get access to Theme Team Probability Control (TTPC), 1 per 100 points of the build (restrictions apply).
Filling the gap: “Specific” keywords.A “specific keyword” would be a combination keyword. Could combine generic and generic keywords, or generic and named, I suppose. Or, a generic or named keyword with a seemingly “generic qualifier”.
Keeping with the Mole Man/Moloids examples: Mole Man wouldn’t need to have the “monster” keyword; he could have a keyword like “monster ruler” or “monster leader’ or “monster master” instead. I mean, if we’re trying to emulate the comics, Mole Man is not physically or even “mentally” a monster. He’s a brilliant, physically ugly, but otherwise normal human being, of certain exceptional skills. Under the contrivances of the game, he’s had to be saddled with the “monster” keyword so that a group of his own minions could benefit a little more by his presence on a team-build.
Personally, I’m liking the use of “leader” as a qualifier for creating “specific keywords”.
Effects? Presence of one — and only one — “[x] leader” gives your theme team one TTPC, as long as all other characters on a team/force build share the [x] keyword. I’m undecided about further restrictions, but am leaning toward only the [x] leader being able to use that “bonus TTPC”, as i think that would be fitting. I guess that *could* depend on whether or not the [x] in the specific keyword was “generic” or “named”. But, “named theme teams” already have greater advantages, so if they get a “leader TTPC”, it should have the restriction on use.
This form of “specific keyword”, as I said earlier, could also be combined with “named” keywords, maybe.”Hydra leader.” “Avengers leader.” “X-Men leader.” “Fantastic Four leader.” “Brood leader.” “Black Hole Sons leader.” “Duhg’s Army leader.” “Great Lakes Avengers leader.” “Maximum Carnage leader.” (if they continue with “named” keyword based on actual “events”; “event keywords”?) On and on.
We could have a lot of fun revising who has what keyword(s) as well. Always thought that if the Skrulls, Kree, Shi’ar, and Brood have their own “named” keywords, the Moloids should have a “Moloid” keyword. Could be fun then, running them on their own as a Moloid theme team. For an extra “kick”, add in a “Moloid leader” Mole Man, or maybe a “Moloid leader” Val-Or.
Your opponent, running, say, an Avengers theme team will probably weigh his/her options: “So, do I add an “Avengers leader” to my team? To get that extra TTPC?” (Candidates for an “Avengers leader” specific keyword are broader than you might think. Captain America may be the obvious character to get such a specific keyword, but versions of Wasp, Ms. Marvel, Luke Cage, Iron Man, even Spider-Man might have an “Avengers leader” specific keyword.) [EDIT: You could conceivably make a team full of “Avengers leader” keyworded pieces, but you should still only get one additional TTPC, and you’d have to decide before set-up which “leader” would have access to it.]
Specific “generic-generic” keywords could be: “police leader”; “soldier leader”; “politician leader”; “monster leader”; “ruler leader” (heh; it’d have to *always* be Dr. Doom, as he’d recognize no other) and so on.
WizKids would have to be very, very careful on what the “x” is in such [x] leader keyworded pieces, and use sparingly. (I was only kidding about the “Duhg’s Army leader thing.)
Certain ATA’s *could* require a specific leader with the specific [x] leader keyword.
Anyway, some possibilities. Can’t be applied willy-nilly.
Something to try out anyway.
EDIT (2014-06-23): To be clear, the [x] in an “[x] leader” specific keyword can be either generic or named, and its presence is still used for qualifying for typical generic or nsmed Theme Team benefits, as well as other game effects, such as from Traits or Special Powers.