HeroClix: “Fatigue” & “Oversaturation” versus a Desire for “Variety in Character Selection” (v1.1)

Even as a fan of the game of HeroClix and a multiple-times-daily visitor to HCRealms.com, I tend to restrict my movements largely to four areas of that site: the UNITS section, the “Rumors” forum for “news” on upcoming sets, the Frontpage (for Articles), and the U.S. Politics forum.

I did stumble upon a recent thread pining away for another Silver Surfer clix, and saw another them emerge: players wanting a set devoted to the Fantastic Four. I thought, “Yeah, I can get behind that.”

Today, I ventured into the “Dear Wizkids” forum, started two “Wish-List” threads: one for the FF and one for Captain America (just because). Links:
http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=519204 & http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=519201

With WizKids pumping out sets, there seems to be a lot of kvetching about “oversaturation” of certain characters and more “power creep” in the designs to entice players to buy.

Idea: WizKids,…
(1) Stop putting out a CTD (“Counter Top Display”) single-figure booster “primer” with each regular booster expansion.
(2) Once a year, for the Marvel Comics and DC Comics brands, put out a 12-character, 24-count, flat-rarity CTD of the most popular characters that are most in-demand for Modern Organized Play. [But, no gimmicks, like the 10th ANNIVERSARY sets had with the “Battlefield Promotion” effects.]
(3) Make great, powerful representations of these characters.
(4) In the “regular” booster expansion sets, sure, have those characters, but as Rare level or higher rarities, and make them “quirky”. Not “less powerful”, but very different in play.
(5) The “regular” booster expansions are where the “generics” and the broader selection of characters needs to be, the obscure and C through Z-List characters.
(6) Keep the Fast Forces as they are now. Good stuff coming out lately.
(7) I assume the “Storyline Organized Play” Tournament sets could remain as is. (Don’t know; I don’t chase those much.)
(8) With Fast Forces out there,  such CTD sets could render a need for “Starters” irrelevant.  Have suggested before that WizKids might want to make “Starter Packs” instead, that just have the Core Rulebook, Powers & Abilities Card, terrain markers, object tokens, a “generic team abilities card”, and maybe something special like Special Object Tokens or generic Bystander Tokens.
(9) Hope they keep the Quick Start two-character packs, but, maybe add the brand’s specific Team Ability Cards? (Or, could those be sold separately, with their own special items? Universe-specific Bystander Tokens and/or Specific Objects? )

My whole thing is getting characters as-yet-“UnClixed” into the game, and get some characters that have appeared in the game before the era of Character Cards “ReClixed”.
I do think some of the “flagship” characters are getting too many representations each year, the “oversaturation” causing problems from “power creep” to “character fatigue”.

Just a suggestion.

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Wizkids has new Rules Forum for HeroClix. (v1.2)

WizKids has created a “rules forum”:
http://www.wizkidseventsystem.com/bb/

EDIT: discussion over on HCRealms.com about appearance of WizKids’ rules forum: http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=517161

Reserving this space for comments later.

EDIT (2014-08-10): I like that it is very strictly “policed”, that posts have to be read and approved by a moderator before they get posted.

But,…..

Have been pining for WizKids to take another approach for awhile now.

Most recent “iteration” of the idea is as a low-cost “subscription service”, to help encourage upkeep, make it self-sustaining, possibly *marginally* profitable for WizKids.

I liked the structure of the old HCRealms.com “Final Word” forum. I like HCR’s UNITS section. I like seeing comments on strategy for a piece.

There isn’t some way to combine all of that?

There’s got to be a way to have a combination Forum/Unit’s stat gallery/Rulesbook/Powers & Abilities Card/Player’s Guide that’s “alive”?

EDIT (2014-08-10), part 2: I am also still of a mind that we need some sort of “gallery app” for “Character eCards”. Such eCards would be legal for play on the device they are stored on. Such eCards would be kept up to date with errata, having current wording and a revision number.

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.

HeroClix: “Power Creep” versus “Unique” (v1.1)

I like Special Powers. I like Trait abilities. I really like the various Improved abilities.

What I get worried about is the “Power Creep”.

And I worry most about one particular version of Power Creep: When the character may have a powerful dial, but is below 100 points and a non-Unique.

If I recall correctly, WizKids’ Design Team still considers the 300-point force build for tournaments as a “baseline” when they design a character. Then they kinda work with what game mechanics are available, what combination can be a reasoned/reasonable representation of a character based on its comic book (or other media) appearances, and then consider what role that piece will have on a force.

The silver “Unique” ring is a way of reining things in a bit. It’s a limitation, a restriction. And I’m looking at the new Melter they just previewed, and started thinking about how he can tear up the terrain and opposing forces. For *just* 86 points. Melter? Potentially a “Shredder”.

Not that anyone would do it, but you could fit 3 of these Melters on a 300-point force. That’s 258 points, plus 15 points to apply the Additional Team Ability to them, totalling 273 points, 27 point left to round out. Something about that not sitting well with me.

Intuition is that WizKids needs to apply that Unique designation more often, and should probably do so when using a lot of Improved abilities on a character.

Just a thought.

EDIT (2016-05-24): Can’t belive this post got traffic recently. Plopping in the mentioned preview, for reference —

034-Melter

Kickstarter, HeroClix, & Character Selection (v1.1)

One of the complaints of the past few years that crops up again and again in the forums over at  HCRealms.com: “We just got {character x} in the last {y} set(s), where is {character z, who still hasn’t had a “first appearance” in HeroClix yet}?!?!?!?1? {Angry Face}”

Yeah, one of my pet peeves as well.

I get it. I get that WizKids has to design sets and pieces a year to two years in advance. I get that re-publishing some of the most-marketable characters is necessary to sell the sets.

And, I’m talking about the “comic book superhero genre” of sets, here. Setting aside all the movie/TV and video/computer game releases, which are smaller. Even the movie and video game sets that use characters from the superhero comic.

Speaking strictly of character from the Marvel and DC Universes.

Question to WizKIds: Is there a way to use Kickstarter for players to “vote with their money” for specific characters? Run multiple “Kickstarters”. You put your money up for X amount, you will receive two copies of the character, in the mail, shipping already included.

And the way Kickstarter works, nothing happens if the goal isn’t met; you get your pledge back.

We could cobble together a whole “set” like this. “Player’s Choice.”

Still have to leave design of the character up to the WizKids Design Team, obviously.

I’m getting burned-out on the rapid releases, and the rarity scale, and seeing some of the same “faces” over and over again, all while waiting patiently for some of the “odd ball” characters.

Just tossing that out there.

And, YES, this request and post is a result (partially) of the whole GOLEM ARCANA Kickstarter thing.

ClixWatch: WizKids-created Super-Characters. (v2.8)

So, I wander into a section of HCRealms.com and stumble into this thread — http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?p=7522295&posted=1#post7522295 — and mentally go completely ape-shit over these pictures:

InstantAccessBannerWKOriginalStarterSet-1

Holy shit and shine-ola! WizKids, creating its own super-characters! Apparently only for the HeroClix Online game. Almost makes me want to jump into HCO, but that would mean pulling out of the physical table-top game. So, “almost”.

Maybe WizKids will do next year’s Starter Sets with these? Or a CTD? Could be coooooooool.

If it’s not a hoax, anyway.

EDIT: And you know what? I loved the “City of Heroes”/”City of Villains” figures they did back in the day, when those two PC game properties were hot. And now BIOSHOCK: INFINITE has raised a bar for non-superhero comics-based generics. This could be a really good thing!

EDIT (24 AUG 2013): Some industrious posters over at HCRealms.com in the thread linked to above managed to code the HCO dials, so I incorporated them into a “collage”. —

NuWK_Characters

Other posters on that thread who also want to see the characters (which are currently available “virtual only” on HeroClix Online) made available as “physical clix” keep emphasizing a full-on Starter Set.

I think maybe they could go a different route: A “truncated” Starter, consisting of a Core Rulebook, Powers & Abilities Card, dice (optional), the obligatory terrain markers and object tokens, and…. (wait for it)…. Two characters and maybe 6 “Bystander Tokens”. (Geez, I hate the term “Bystander Tokens”.)

The two clix characters could be Von Grussom and one V.I.L.E. Soldier, and the BT’s some mix of V.I.L.E. personnel that make the two clix a viable 200 or 300-point team. Or maybe instead of or in addition to BT’s, some sort of “Doomsday Weapon” Special Object Token.

Then release the others as non-blind two-packs: One “hero” or “villain” character per pack, and one V.I.L.E. Soldier per pack.

Could be fun.

Meanwhile, another person on that thread mentioned WizKids might want to look into purchasing the old “City of Heroes”/”City of Villains” computer game intellectual properties for *cheap*, work them into HCO and physical HeroClix as their own characters. Sounds good to me. Loved the designs of the old COH/COV pieces, as I said above. Would like to see more.

COH_COV_Mash-Up

EDIT (02SEP 2013): Just wanted to say, I think the characters seem inspired by Marvel Comics. (A lot of detractors are saying they “look DC”.) That “Reincarnator”, he may have a look similar to DC’s The Spectre, but he also seems like Marvel’s character The Vision. But his power set doesn’t say “modern era android Vision” but “Golden Age other-dimensional Vision”.

“Dear WizKids,…”: Subscription Service?

Okay. I’ve tried putting this idea into words before. Posted it. Eventually found it wanting. Deleted it. Going to try again.

“Want”: A “subscription service” kind of website, with on-line and off-line functionality, smartphone and tablet friendly. Needs to provide inventory as well as “gallery” services, and rules and rulings.

UPFRONT: Yes, I know, we have HCRealms.com for this. But, it’s not “official”. It’s mostly about “social networking” for fans, and happens to have some tools to attract and keep donors. YES, I know WizKids has “HeroClix Online” (HCO). Not the same thing, what I’m talking about. Yes, I know there are cool, *cheap* apps like “Click Master” and “HeroClix Rules”. I have them, I use them. Both are great, but “missing” things. Yes, I know there’s www.heroclix.com for downloading character cards and rules documents.

Need to think about “integration” here. Geared toward the tabletop experience and a tabletop players/collectors needs, rather than being its own “parallel ecosystem” like HCO. Practically has to be subscription-based, because it must have on-going attention from WizKids.

So, cost to a subscriber? $3.99 entry fee? Plus a request for $3.99 every three months? Maybe.

And what do we get, as subscribers? It’s got to be like HCRealms.com’s “UNITS” section, but 10x better. Would like the “entry” for each piece to show it’s full character card, be it by PDF or JPEG or whatever. I mean, yes, over on www.heroclix.com WizKids makes available for download all the cards for a set “at once”. A whole batch.

I’m wondering if making the character card a prominent part of the entry might help with updating the card, especially errata. Yes, It’s an overlap with the Player’s Guide.

Should a character’s entry look like the Previews they do? Would that help? Or at least similar.

Also, descriptions of the character, the “character histories” that used to be on character cards could have a space.

While the character cards have the figure/character’s name and “real name”, it would also be great to have some sort of “A.K.A.” (“also known as”) feature to search by. If I search for “Captain America” would be great to also see Steve Rogers, The Captain, or The First Avenger also pop up, for example.

“Subscriber Comments”: Might need a “premium subscription” for it, and/or something awarded to tournament champions and “Rules Deputy” volunteers, but am hoping to see “comments” like on HCR for pieces. They usually contain suggestion on “how to run” the figure on a force build, and that’s been very helpful over the years.

There’d also need to be official designations for the “Ages”. Most fall into “Golden Age” or “Modern Age” tournament formats. But, that also becomes a useful “partition” for the brands. Posters over on HCR have put forth man, many times for a “Space Age” for the Star Trek Tactics line.  Should include a “Third Age” or LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT lines, or “Arcade Age” for STREET FIGHTER, or what not.

Inventory tools. A must.

Would love to see “Player’s Guide” info and “Final Word” rulings, and examples of a character’s special powers or Trait uses — “walk-throughs” — as part of a character’s entry. As well as access to current-wording PAC definitions for a character’s standard/Named powers and combat abilities, not to mention Team Abilities.

Just wondering how much of this can be “meshed” with HCRealms.com. It’s community is not only a major promotional tool, but has proven itself as a “trading post”.

… Hmm. “Hit a wall” again. I both see an opportunity for another “revenue stream” for WizKids, but also recognize how crucial the “free labor” of HCR’s volunteers/”crowd-sourcing” is to it. I need the flexibility of “off-line apps”. But, need the benefits the “social media” HCR has as well.

“Sticky wicket” trying to define.

“HeroClix Fatigue”?

well, over on HCRealms.com in the “”Upcoming Sets and Rumors” sub-forum, pictures have been a-flying from the San Diego ComicCon concerning HeroClix pieces on display in the NECA/WizKids booth. Some links take you to an impressive array of pics on Figures.Com. *whew* Lotta Schtuff.

Awhile back, there was a poll put up over on HCRealms.com asking ‘Realmsers the degree to which they were either satisfied or dissatisfied with the TEEN TITANS set. )This was before the set was even out, IIRC, based mostly on previews and spoilers.) Saw one of my “HCRFriends”, goes by the handle “Hesster56”, had voted “Overall, fairly dissatisfied”. I asked him why —

Hesster 56: “Hey-I’m mostly dissatisfied with Titans for the same reason as everything else-the same characters from the Trinity, repeats of stuff from one set back, and a ton of nu-52 junk instead of the classic DC characters I read. Oh, and team bases. I kind of can’t stand those.

“And honestly? I haven’t played in almost a year. I gave up after watching two judges have a screaming match over Runner during the IG event because neither of them understood the rules. Venue had to tell them to shut up three times. That and all the other stuff that WK’s rolled out over the last year put me from a 2-case per expansion buyer to zero. I still hang out on the realms because I like the people and I’m curious about where the game is going.”

— and asked if I could re-post his response elsewhere (as in ‘here’, on this blog) —

Hesster56: “Yeah, no worries. I’m not even worried if you use my name. Most people know how I feel. Look at Red Robin and Red Hood. You’ve got 4 slots for Robin and 3 slots for Hood across two sets. And the sets were pretty much back to back. Two Hawkeye’s in Avengers Movie, 2 in Chaos War, and at least one in Fear Itself. It’s the same characters over and over again. I could go on. I won’t. 🙂 “

————————-

Got to thinking about “fan-fatigue”, you know, “burning out” on the game. Thinking: there’s a lot of ways to burn out on the game. I admit, I’m burning out a little bit. I am in NO DANGER of dropping the game.

One of the ways WizKids is trying to get more people into the game, apparently, is “saturation” of the more popular comics-based characters. (We’re going to set aside all the non-comic book/superhero genre licenses WK has been developing for the moment.) Apparently, it’s working for them. Expanding the brand into non-tabletop gaming is apparently working as well (HeroClix Online and TabApp/TabApp Elite).

Me? Still trying to get a handle on the money I spend on HeroClix. Trying to “control” my hobby, rather than it controlling me. It continues to be my main “luxury expenditure”. And something I should rein in more. I keep telling myself, “I’m staying away from the non-comic book superhero HeroClix, nope not buying any of that other stuff.” Then, WizKids dangles the awesome “generics” of BIOSHOCK INFINITE in front of me, and I order a couple starters and an CTD sealed case. The potential for the “generics” was just too much for me.

I also tell myself, “The movie-based sets, no need for them, should stay away from them.” Made that decision months after pre-ordering the IRON MAN 3 and MAN OF STEEL releases. So, fat lotta good that did me. And then WizKids dangles the BATMAN CLASSIC TV SERIES set in front of me, and I pre-order it. They just put out a preview for it yesterday —

016-Dynamic-Duo

So, I’m staying away from their “Lone Ranger” HC releases, and their Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit sets. Resisting the lure of the Pacific Rim set (it looks awesome, though). HAve successfully resisted all the Star Trek-related releases (they look awesome as well). And I’ve got zero interest in the “comic book parody on superheroes turned into a movie franchise” that is the KICK-ASS set.

But, got “suckered” into the Batman Classic TV series mini-set. Just couldn’t pass up clix-versions of Frank Gorshin’s The Riddler, Caesar Romero’s Joker, Julie Newmar’s Catwoman, Cliff Robertson’s Shame, and other potential tongue-in-cheek nuttiness. Pre-ordered over a month ago.

Other than BIOSHOCK INFINITE, been able to resist/dismiss all the video/computer game-related releases.

Can get my spending under control, I think, for both WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN (August) and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (November).

Heaven help me if next year is full of Captain America releases, though. I’ll be screwwwwed.

Still, Hesster has a point about burning-out due to character selection. I suppose I can hamdle the *need* WizKids and its licensors have in regards to constantly pumping out versions of the most marketable heroes. Just hope WK can keep the cool dial designs and the “obscure” characters coming. In the “real HeroClix releases”. That will keep me in.

HeroClix Tinkering: Carry combat ability, Objects, & the Super Strength standard power. (v2.9)

EDIT (18 JUN 2013): Added in a bit that I’d talked about in other posts, concerning “normal strength characters’ and Light objects. That is all.

UPFRONT NOTES: Okay, with this post, I’ll be deleting some older posts on the same subjects. Fair warning. I picked out sections of the 2013 Core Rulebook and the 2013 PAC, and the 2013 June Player’s Guide for reference.

Subjects:

Super Strength allows character to pick up and hold objects. Allows characters to use that object in an attack, either swinging it in close combat or throwing it in ranged combat. With the

Similar: Carry allows character to pick up and hold other characters.

Room for “Improved” abilities? Or simple re-scaling of rules?

Should it be “Carry: Characters” and “Carry: Objects”?

What about scaling? As in, “size of objects versus size of character”? We have something similar for characters carrying characters now. A character with the {Burst} standard damage symbol and the Carry ability can’t carry a {Giant} or {Colossal} character. Should something similar be used for Super Strength characters? Thinking mainly about Tiny-sized characters and Super Strength,maybe not being able to use Super Strength to pick up Ultra-Heavy object (without additional language on the character card, like a tailored Trait or Special Power), but could also be used to allow character larger than “standard-sized” to hold more than one object. A Giant character with Super Strength could hold up to to two Light objects, or one Heavy or Ultra-Heavy object; maybe a Giant-sized character without Super Strength could use Light objects as if it had Super Strength. Colossal characters with Super Strength could hold up to two Light and/or Heavy objects, but still only one Ultra-Heavy object (unless a Trait of Special Power says other wise); a Colossal character without Super Strength maybe should be able to use one Light or one Heavy object as if it had Super Strength? Methinks there be opportunity here.

“Object Damage” : Okay! Stick with me on this one: Right now, the effects of “Object Damage” are only used when an object is thrown during a ranged combat attack. When an object is used in a close combat, a character’s printed damage value is modified instead. I think this just isn’t right. Whenever an object is used, “Object Damage” should be what is used, then the effects of Super Strength allow modification to it, maybe based on the character’s printed damage value, either modifying the “Object Damage” in close, or the number of squares the object can be thrown (rather than set ranges a “weight class” of object can be thrown).

What about folding the Capture combat ability in with the Carry rules? Capture basically involves “seizing” an opposing character and holding on. Maybe how many captives a character using the Capture ability can hold then should scale according to the sizes of the characters involved? Which could then be further modified via Trait ability or Special Powers? (I’ve kinda tinkered with this in a Ret-Con I did for the old HYPERTIME Era Sinestro “Big Fig” Colossal awhile back. Look it up.)

Also, getting back to Super Strength, still think it should have some sort of effect, maybe “scaled” by the point-value of the character, that doesn’t *just* revolve around picking up objects. What about knockback? A character with a point-value above 100 points with Super strength could get a chance when fighting a “larger” opponent, like a Giant character, to knock it back when it deals a successful close combat attack and has rolled doubles. “Comic Accuracy”.

More to come, I hope, but I have to start working today, so, that’s all for now…. Later!

[EDIT, 18 JUN 2013]: For got one thing I’ve mentioned before when talking about this: “Normal Strength” Characters and Light objects. I still think “normal” characters should be able to pick up and use Light objects in an attack. As I stated further up-post, I just think Super Strength characters should be able to get “more out of them”. So, a “normal” character would not get any bonuses for using it in an attack, and could only through it, say, 2 squares.

Which opens up for another thing I’ve talked about before on this blog: Gray-ringed “neutral” objects, or maybe I should re-christen them “Ultra-Light Objects”? Objects any one can pick up. Possibly Special Objects, just on Relics.

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For reference, selected entries from the 2013 core Rulebook, 2013 core Powers & Abilities Card, and 2013-JUN Player’s Guide —

Super Strength [Attack slot standard power] When this character moves due to its own action, it may either pick up an object or place an object it is holding. The object must be picked up from or placed in either a square the character occupies or an adjacent square. If this power is lost or countered while this character is holding an object, immediately place the object in the square this character occupies.

Carry [Combat Ability] When moving as a result of being given an action, this character may carry one friendly character. When this ability is used and a character is carried, modify this character’s speed value by –2 until the end of the action. The following characters can’t be carried: Larger characters, multi-based characters, characters holding an object, and characters with any of the following combat symbols: {Foot/Transporter}, {Wing}, {Wing/Transporter}, {Dolphin/Transporter},{Duo}. To be carried, the friendly character must be adjacent to this character at the beginning of this character’s action. When this character ends its movement for the action, the carried character must be placed in a square adjacent to this character. While being carried, a carried character is not adjacent to any other character, nor can it draw a line of fire until placed at the end of this character’s movement for the action. A character which has been carried this turn can’t be given an action (other than a free action) until the beginning of the next turn.

Capture (Combat Ability) Give this character a power action and make a close combat attack that deals no damage against a single opposing character with the or damage symbol; targets that can use Phasing/Teleport or Plasticity modify their defense values by +2 for the attack. If the attack succeeds, the target character is captured and is called a captive.

Remove a captive from the battlefield until it is rescued (see below).

If this character has three captives, it can’t capture another character until at least one of the captives is rescued or released (see below), and it can’t make close combat attacks.

If this character has any captives when it is knocked out, before removing this character from the game, each captive is rescued (see below) by the active player..

Releasing captives. When it occupies its starting area, this character can be given a power action to release one of its captives into an adjacent unoccupied square also in the starting area. A released captive is immediately defeated, and this character’s player receives additional victory points for the released captive equal to 50 points or the released captive’s point value, whichever is less.

Rescuing captives. Characters friendly to a captive can attempt to rescue that captive. To do so, give a friendly character a power action; it makes a close combat or ranged combat attack that deals no damage against the target character that captured the captive. The target modifies its defense value by –1 for the attack for each of its captives. If the attack succeeds, the attacker chooses a friendly captive. The captive is rescued and put into an unoccupied square adjacent to the target of the attack. The rescued character now has one action token regardless of how many it was previously assigned; it can be given an action in the same turn it is rescued, but it is pushed normally.

Countering Capture. When Capture would be countered, roll 2d6; if the result of the roll is not doubles, Capture is not countered. If Capture is countered, all captives of this character are rescued immediately.

OBJECTS A HeroClix Game can include up to six standard object tokens – round cardboard tokens that represent items characters might find on a battlefield. Objects are parts of the battlefield that characters can use as weapons or cover in combat. Most objects can be moved, picked up, and used by characters if their powers and abilities allow them to do so.

Objects are either light (yellow-ringed object tokens), heavy (red-ringed object tokens), or immobile (blue-ringed object tokens). Objects without special effects are called standard objects and follow all rules in this section normally. Objects with special effects are called special objects and are discussed in Part 4: Tactics (see p. 20).

OBJECTS IN YOUR FORCE You may bring up to three objects as part of your force to a game. The first two objects added to your force must be different types (heavy, light, or immobile), and the third object can be any type, though you must have at least one heavy and one light among your three objects. Standard objects cost 0 points to add to your force.

PLACING OBJECTS Between Steps 2 and 3 in the “Preparing For Battle” section (see p. 5), players can place objects. Starting with the first player, each player takes turns placing one of their objects. Objects must be placed in clear terrain outside of any player’s starting area.

LIGHT AND HEAVY OBJECTS Heavy and light objects can be placed, moved, picked up, and held by characters through certain game effects.

OBJECTS AS TERRAIN A square containing an object not held by a character is hindering terrain.

DESTROYING OBJECTS Objects can be destroyed using the rules for destroying a square of blocking terrain (see p. 13). A character in the same square as an object does not take damage when the object is destroyed. An attacker can’t target both a character and an object with the same attack. A destroyed object is removed from the game and does not cause a debris marker to be placed.

IMMOBILE OBJECTS Immobile objects can’t be picked up, held, moved or placed by any game effect unless specified by the object’s abilities.

USING OBJECTS AS WEAPONS Some powers and abilities (such as Super Strength) allow a character to pick up and hold an object, and then use it in close combat and ranged combat attacks. An object is removed from the game once it is used in an attack, even if the attack fails or is evaded.

PICKING UP AN OBJECTWhile a character using Super Strength is moving due to its own action, it can pick up an object. The object must be in either a square the character occupies or a square adjacent to one the character moves through. A character can pick up an object even if another character occupies the same square as the object. Immediately place the object token someplace that indicates the character using Super Strength is holding the object. If entering that square requires that the character end its movement, it can’t pick up an object adjacent to that square (the object must be in either a square the character occupies or in an adjacent square). If a character is not holding an object and is given an action that requires the character to not be holding an object during that action, then the character can’t pick up an object during that action.

HOLDING AN OBJECT A character can hold only one object at a time. When an object is held by a character, it occupies the same square(s) as that character, but can’t normally be targeted, destroyed, or taken away from the holding character. If, however, a character holding an object is defeated or loses the ability to use Super Strength, the character automatically drops the object, which stays in the square the character occupied when it was defeated or the power was lost. If there is already an object in the square when an object is dropped, the dropped object is removed from the game.

Moving characters holding an object may place it on the map in a square adjacent to one they move through or in the square they occupy. However, during a single move, a character may either pick up an object or place it, it can’t do both.

USING OBJECTS IN CLOSE COMBAT ATTACKS A character holding an object and making a close combat attack against a single target must use the object in the attack unless the character is using a power that will deal no damage. If a character is using a light object in a close combat attack, modify the character’s damage value by +1 for the attack; if using a heavy object; modify the character’s damage value by +2 for the attack.

USING OBJECTS IN RANGED COMBAT ATTACKS A character holding an object may throw it at a single opposing character; a character holding an object does not have to attack with the object when given a ranged combat action. To throw an object, give the character a ranged combat action and make a ranged combat attack, even if its range value is 0. Regardless of the attacker’s Range Value, light objects can be thrown 8 squares; heavy objects, 6 squares. Regardless of the attacker’s damage value, a successful ranged combat attack with an object deals Object Damage. Object Damage means a light object deals 2 damage; and a heavy object deals 3 damage.

ULTRA HEAVY OBJECTS An Ultra Heavy object is a heavy object with a purple ring instead of a red ring. Ultra Heavy objects follow all of the rules of heavy objects with the following changes:

• Characters with a point value less than 100 can’t pick up or hold this object. Any game effect that would lead to this results in the object being dropped immediately, as if the character lost Super Strength.

• When used in a close combat attack, modify the character’s damage value by +3 instead of +2.

• The object can’t be used to make a ranged combat attack.

• The object can’t be targeted by Telekinesis.

• The object is only destroyed when it is dealt 4 damage (instead of 3).

• This object may occupy more than 1 square.

3-D OBJECT: A three-dimensional sculpture marked with the {Gear} symbol.

HEAVY OBJECT: An object that can be carried or moved and modifies a character’s damage value by +2 when used in a close combat attack or deals 3 damage when used in a ranged combat attack. Heavy object tokens have a red border.

IMMOBILE OBJECT: An object that can’t be held, placed, or moved by any game effect. Immobile object tokens have a blue border.

LIGHT OBJECT: An object that can be carried or moved and modifies a character’s damage value by +1 when used in a close combat attack, or deals 2 damage when used in a ranged combat attack. Light object tokens have a yellow border.

OBJECT TOKENS: Round pieces of cardboard that represent objects on the map.

PLACE (OR PUT): To place (or put) a character or other game element in a position on the map; a character that previously occupied another position on the map is not considered to have moved if it was placed.

RELIC: A special object that is Immobile and can’t be destroyed. Characters occupying a square containing a relic may be given a power action and then roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result matching the relic value noted on the object, the relic is placed on the character’s card.

RESOURCES: A game effect assigned to your force or a character on your force. The effects of each resource are defined on the resource’s instruction card.

SPECIAL OBJECT: An object token or 3-D object printed with the symbol.

ULTRA-HEAVY OBJECT: An object that can only be carried by characters with a point value of 100 points or more. Ultra-Heavy objects modify a character’s damage value by +3 when used in a close combat attack; they may not be used in a ranged combat attack or placed with Telekinesis. Ultra Heavy object tokens have a purple border and are only destroyed if they are dealt 4 or more damage.

Team Abilities, Additional, Alternate, & Other Issues (v1.1)

Yeah, I know I “just” did a post on the subjects of Team Abilities, Team Symbols, Additional Team Abilities and Alternate Team Abilities. Why a new post so soon? WizKids just released this past week the latest HeroClix Player’s Guide, chock full of ATA’s (Additional Team Abilities) that certain voices over on HCRealms.com’s General Discussion forum have been wailing for, for quite some time.

(I rarely venture into HCR GD anymore. Internet forums are inherently negative, and I participate in enough negativity and complaining and cynicism in HCR’s U.S. Politics forum. Need the release of complaining sometimes, but it can be hard to “rein in” once started. And GD often has a “legions of co-dependent complainers” vibe anymore. Yeah, I’m complaining about complainers. I’m a hypocrite. But, so are you.)

There was a thread on HCR awhile ago, started as a “featured article”, I believe” by one of HCR’s frequent contributors, that ranted about the problems of Keywords. It proposed some neat suggestions. Posters responding to the article had some neat suggestions. I think the Keyword system does need some tweaks. I also think Keywords need to be added to the PG, and revised from time to time.

Why bring up Keywords in a blog post about TA’s? Well, the proliferation of ATA’s, for one. Theme team mechanics, for another.

Playing off of some suggestion about Keywords, I think only teams built around specific, non-generic Keywords should get a bonus to the map roll in the “pre-game”, and it should be a simple +2.

Meanwhile, WizKids needs to ratchet back on the ATA’s for every darn little “mini-team” that crops up in comics. IMHO. A lot of them seem pretty derivative from the “headliner” super-teams anyway.

But, generic keywords. Here, seems to me, is an opportunity for ATA’s (in the “additional” sense, I suppose) to play with themes present in superhero comics. For “team-ups” of heroes that aren’t normally teaming-up under the “umbrella” of one of the larger teams (Avengers, X-Men, Justice League, Titans).  And/or based on storylines, something WizKids tried to do with both Battlefield Condition Cards and Event Dials. Like that one-shot with the Punisher, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider, or something; odd “team-up” worthy of something cool or odd.

And/or playing with certain “tropes” the comics uses frequently. For example, I’m not sure any version of Mole Man should actually have the Monster keyword. But under the current rules, is you want to run a team with Mole Man and his Moloids, you need him to have the Monster keyword so you can get the Theme Team bonuses. What about an ATA card specifically tailored for using Mole Man on a team? As the “centerpiece” of the the team? As the leader of the Moloids and underground monsters that he is? Yes, some of the versions of him with Trait abilities of Special Powers speak to that. I think what I’m suggesting “fits better” as an option when building such a “theme team” than the current Keyword-based Them Team rules do.

“Tailored” is something integral to this, I think. It’s woven in with the desire for “comic book accuracy” and “in the interests of game balance”. Even with the way they do Keywords now, there’s still the potential for “min/max abuse”. Oddly, especially using generic keywords.

Hmm. Something to tinker with.

[Edit: To be clear, I don’t think generic-worded teams should even *be* theme teams, not without the additon of some sort of “Team Card” as I outline above. If WizKids continues to allow generic-keyworded theme teams then, sure, let them have whatever PC-rolls pr whatever, but no bonus to the map roll.]

2013 Marvel HeroClix Fan Vote!

Wa-Hoo! Over on www.heroclix.com — The 2013 Marvel HeroClix Fan Vote Starts Now!

Okay. I want to see every character, particularly from Marvel or DC superhero comics, get clixed, eventually. And, I have a feeling every character put up for vote in previous years will get clixed; the vote is more of establishing “how soon”.

But, this year’s Marvel list, at least half of them I was hoping to see this year.

These are the ones I’m campaigning for:

american-dream porcupine modok gladiator fenris-twins

During past votes, I tried to do the Honor System thing of “One Person, One Vote”. Was undone, I think, by “ballot box stuffers”. Guess I’ll have to take the “Vote Early, Vote Often” tactic of other fans. It’s not virtuous, but I supposed it’s about “#winning!”

Here we go…..