Saturday, November 5, 2011

3D objects are just more fun

I don't know about you, but every once in a while, I get tired of using cardboard discs for objects and want to spice up game play a bit. This is much easier than you think. There are some great ways to use 3D objects (as ordinaries) right in your local hobby store.

Check out my play case for Heroclix (click on pics for larger view). In the bins, you see a variety of items that we use for light or heavy objects. We can use them as standards, apply house rules to them, or create cool scenarios. I have tons of the cardboard pieces too, but I really enjoy the aspect of using the objects I've found.

So, where did I get some of these things? Hobby lobby and Michaels (stores) have very interesting toys called "tubes" or is it "toobs". Anyway, there's all sorts of items and animals in them. They're great for modding or as objects. Let's not forget the dollhouse items I've collected. Railroad miniatures are also great (thought more expensive) and some plastic model sets have interesting items.

Check out the items in this photo. The casket and tombstone are from "Halloween Town" miniatures. The gray concrete column is actually a dried up chunk of play-do I painted and sealed. The dino skull comes from a "toob". The trash can comes from a toy in one of those grocery story gumball machines (they were called Homies), and the tv set and toaster are from dollhouse miniatures. The tire? It's from some "fix your car" hotwheel set that's all gone now. See how many places there are to look? I do have the official heroclix items, but now I have lots of options.

As for scenarios, take a look at these miniature tools. Lay them out as weapons across the map and anyone who has one is plus one to damage and drops it when they get hit. Well, that's just one idea.

With action figures you can find miniature swords and machine guns. No matter what you find, a little imagination can go a long way. Even a marble could become a cool 3D object. Look around your house or local stores, what can you find?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

500 points of shut down

Today I want to share with you a 500 point team that may just be too much cheese to even be fair. You can play it sort of like a tent pole team and just frustrated the beejeezus out of your opponent. Will you win? Maybe. It all depends on how you play it out. Do it right and you'll stop your opponent cold while you shoot him to pieces.

The players:

Maelstrom, Starboy, Harry Leland, Leech, Dirk Anger, and Cypher.

If not already obvious, the point of this team is to shut down your opponents movement ability, hinder power use, force them to deal with lesser figures in order to free up that movement and shoot the snot out of them while they try. As you will be able to see from the pictures, the right locations on the map will cut movement in half twice and then give it a -2 to boot. That's while shutting down three move and attack powers. It comes to exactly 500 points too.

Cypher is a great back up piece to this and should stay back so everyone gets as much use of a good team ability as possible. Just think if the opponent is using mystics... so are you. Also having Dirk shut down their team abilities so you are the only one using them is priceless. And so what if some of your own powers are shut down with Leech. He's temporary at best. Use him to force your opponents hand.

The only thing that can help your opponent against this team is range, and that can run out quickly. Check out the pictures.

In this first one you can see how I have Starboy carry Leech out and get him into hindering.(click on pics for larger view) I don't have any objects but you will want to position one so Dirk walks into stealth. You should keep Maelstrom so he's just out of range of Leech's ability but within the 8 spaces for his own. That way he can still incap at 10 spaces. But then, incap doesn't require a power action so go to town. Perplex and outwit can also still be used with Leech. The most important things shut down by Leech are Close and Ranged combat experts. He also stops regeneration, support, duo attack, and telekinesis. It's okay, you won't need them near as much as your opponent will. Leech dies first.

In the second pic you can see how figure start maneuvering to get that coverage of spaces for their abilities. On this map you might think of going through the back office but that would be a mistake. Since all the abilities work through walls, they'll just move in and lock you down. You might also think that Maelstrom doesn't deal enough damage to be the near tentpole of this group. But add perplex and all that incapacitate and you have 3 or 4 damage from at least two sources and the shutdown stops the rest. Even outwit won't help the opponent because you can't outwit traits.

That twin field of cross coverage is a great place to position Maelstrom, forcing attackers to deal with them or come between them to get the big guy.

I haven't had the opportunity to play this and see what the dice say yet, but I intend to! If you play it, post how it went!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Looking forward to Hulking out

In December we have a brand new set that will grace our fingers and maps. A set totally based on the Hulk. In seeing the teasers for it, I have to say it looks to be as awesome of a set as Superman (if not better).

It's going to be great to see Skarr team up with his dear ol Dad. The Leader says he has minions to bring to the party (and they look like they can do a good job of getting in the way).

The sculpts look awesome and there are several forms of Hulk to get your grubby fingers on.

From the news at HC Realms (yes, that's a link) I like the idea that we are getting a new chance at Red Hulk (I never got one) and a new Terrax the Tamer? Wow. I hope he's better than the last one. I liked the original running shot Terrax who terrorized the table for me many times. He was great with a couple con artists. I know that's old school, but it sure was fun. Baron Mordo is also on the poster art and I would like to see him with enough oompf to be a threat to Dr. Strange.

I want to remind people of another great place to see heroclix information and that's Heroclix World (another link). Be sure to stop in there and keep up with all the up to date coolness that is Heroclix.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Playing Black Adam

While I was excited to get a common Superman, I was more excited to get my hands on Black Adam. I've missed out on the last time he was made a single super rare. I have the duo with Shazam, but it's just not the same. So, without further ado, let me present to you, my take on playing the multi-level Black Adam from the Superman set.

As general advice, any major pointed piece shouldn't come to more than half your force. So my point scales are going to reflect that strategy for the most part. Of course, I'm also going by keywords.

The first and most obvious team up is Osiris and Isis. I'm not talking about the Brightest Day version for sake of points. Based on what point level you play Black Adam at (100/200/300) you play this team at 300/400/500. They are theme legal under Mystical at 300 points, but not after that. But who cares? Black Adam can handle his own. At 500 points, you can use the other two like you would a minion force. Let them get in the way of everyone going after Black Adam (because you know they will). And, in any force, don't be afraid to push BA while people gang up on him. I've found his lightning regeneration to be fairly lethal.

Goint mystical at 600 so you can use BA at 300? Add Black Alice to the team above. The total force is 589. Have fun.

Seldom was Black Adam a good guy. When he was, he teamed up in the Justice Society.

300 point team with BA at 100 points: Magog (85), Starman (99) for total points of 284. You can raise BA to 200 points for the next tier.

For a 600 raise BA to 300 and add the Atom (50) and Mr. Terrific (59) for a team build of 593. Not bad as teams go. Pretty much any team that can keep people from dog-piling BA is good. He'll make up for about anything the rest can't do.

Injustice Society:

Play at 300 and BA at 100 with Count Vertigo (74), Johnny Sorrow (55) and the Thinker (55) for total of 284 (yep again!). Same as above for moving up to the 400 level, just raise BA to 200.

For a 600 try BA at 300 with Count Vertigo (74), Per Degaton (90), Icicle (72) and Johnny Sorrow (55) for a team of 591.

Rulers are blasted expensive and your best bet is to aim for your best duo and add someone cheap to fill in if possible. 99 point Maxwell Lord is a good filler to stick with an evil theme. For these teams I suggest.

Playing Black Adam at 200 with Mongul for 376.
200 or 300 points to team up with Darkseid for a 467 or 567 point team.

Then there's the duo matches I suggest purely for kicks that I think would really annoy your opponent. Magneto is a ruler so he's good. Since you aren't going to get themed advantage anyway, try teaming him up with Maelstrom. Maelstrom's lockdown abilities and cosmic make him horrifying enough. I know, I've played him.

Sooner or later, they'll make an equivalent SHAZAM! Captain Marvel and you can finally play the whole SHAZAM family! I think that would be a radical team of teams!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Playing Superman!

Now that we have this awesome 300/150 point Superman to punish people with, let's look at great ways to play him.

Playing the 300 point level is pretty obvious for high point games. To fit better in standard 300 and 400 point games, you're better off with the 150 point version.

In looking at keywords, I found that playing Kryptonian is expensive on points. You can play a classic duo for 250 with 150 pt Supes plus 100 pt Supergirl. You can make this duo work at 400 even by using Supes at 300 and Supergirl at 100. Kind of lopsided on that last idea though.

400 pt Kryptonian Trio: Superman (150), Supergirl (100) and a Kryptonian soldier to make a total of 387.

500 pt Kyrptonians: Superman (150), Supergirl (100), Earth One Supes (chase), and Eradicator for 492.

Here's a idea I call "Faces of Superman": Superman (150), Earth One, and Project Superman for 397.

Metropolis is much easier to work with:

300 pt "Men of Steel" is a duo with Superman (150) and Steel for a total of 280.

400 pt "Love Story: is a duo with Superman (300) and Lois Lane for 389. Hey, he needs to be full power to protect his lady right?

Metropolis has quite a few small point pieces you can fill in with for other teams, but I'm working mainly with the direct set and staying with Hero vs Villain. Both of these duos for Metropolis can carry their own. But how about this:

500 pt "Super Ladies' Man": Superman (150), Supergirl (100), Lois Lane, Lucy Lane (75) and a Kryptonian Infiltrator for a total of 492.

Now we can mix sets and that's where playing Superman can get deadly.

400 pt "Reporting LIVE!" uses Reporter keyword and give you Superman (150), Lois Lane, Black Spidey from Web of Spiderman, and Johnny Quick for 384 points. Yes, I know this doesn't make "theme legal" because it's not six figures with the reporter keyword. Well, check out the team possibilities for yourself. This becomes one more example of why the new ruling doesn't work.

Now for the best of the best. A Facebook friend showed me this idea and I love it. It's definitely cheese. There are quite a few ways to pull this off, but what you need at the midst of it is Superman and Professor X. Make sure the Prof. has a coupld of Researchers with him to boost his damage and get in the way of attacks (that make it that far!). Yep, it's the Scientist keyword and since the new Superman has it, flaunt it! Here's my 500 point version of this masterpiece:

Superman (150), Prof. X, 2 Researchers, Mr. Fantastic, and the Black suit Spiderman from Web. It's six pieces and theme legal at 498. I plan to play it soon!

Here's to hoping you're enjoying your Superman! Keep clicking!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to fix the new oreo dials

Beginning with then new Superman Heroclix set, we see a new style of dial to turn at games. It's called the oreo dial and for good reason. To turn it, you hold it like an Oreo cookie and twist as if you were about to pull apart and enjoy some chocolatey goodness.

With the old dials, sticking could be fixed in a few ways. The easiest was to bend up part of an upper dial, or you could take the dial apart and check for extra bits of plastic to trim. Well, the new dial brings a whole new method to fixing if your dial sticks. I had to do some experimentation to learn how it worked. Now that I have, I'm passing the new knowledge on to you!

So your new dial is stuck. Here is what you need: A medium flat-head screwdriver, a pair of toe or finger nail clippers (with the front bowing outward, not the classic horse-shoe shape) and your stuck figure.

The first thing you have to do is separate the top and bottom of the dial. Look at the side of the dial. You will note gaps in the seam where your screwdriver may fit. Be sure not to use a screwdriver too large, nor too small. You may have to use some trial and error. Also, as a safety note, be careful that you don't stab yourself in the hand while attempting this. Work slowly and carefully.

Insert the flat end of the screwdriver into one of the slots around the edge and carefully pry to separate. You may have to do this in more than one spot and more than once while being careful of the plastic. See the photo for where NOT to pry. If you pry near the numbers opening of the dial, the plastic will easily break. If you pry near where the team abilities are printed, the plastic will more easily bend.

Once you have the dial separated, set down the printed dial section, you won't need it. Look under the top portion of the dial that holds the figure sculpt. You should see three squared horse shoe shapes around the edge. These are the points of the plastic that hold the dial in it's groove. If they are too thick in the slightest, they will stop the dial from turning. This is something very hard to control through manufacturing by the way.

Now, it's important that you only use this step on ONE of the horse shoes. What you have to do, is take the nail clippers or something you can shave a little plastic with (if you have cool modding tools) and remove just a little bit of the plastic from the ends of one of the horse shoes. When I say, "just a little", I mean barely a sliver.

Finally, snap the pieces back together and test out the fixed dial. It should turn much easier now. Remember to only do this with ONE of the horse shoes, or it will work a little too well and you'll have a very loose dial.

I have used this method on several pieces through two cases so far and it has worked every single time. Remember to be careful, don't get in a hurry. You'll find your new oreo dial working like a charm.

Superman: Case Review!

Finally, finally, finally, I got my two cases of Superman Heroclix in yesterday. It was so good to finally crack into some boosters and see what awesomeness lie in store for us. I have to say I am quite satisfied with my pulls and you can feast your eyes on the photos.

It's really my own fault my stuff came so late. I probably should have contacted the company on the website and asked them if they could make sure my shipment arrived by release day, or at least the day after. Lesson learned!

So, what you are seeing is the result of opening two cases. I'm not just collecting for me after all, but my son and two other players (I give them extras and it means having more players in this area too). But even just for my son and myself, we have a lot to collect.

DISTRIBUTION: In one case I have to say I probably had all the commons and all the uncommons. I was pretty close to all the rares too. Not bad for one case. Two cases and I had a lot to spread around to all four people involved. Even the fourth person has just about all the commons, several uncommons and a few rares. For super-rares, I got the one I coveted most of all, Black Adam! As for the rest, I got the same people in each case (Flash, Aquaman, Queen of Fables, Darkseid, Imperiex, and Swamp Thing). My chases were Hoodie Superman and Apokalips Superman. Except for all the duplicate luck (that I really don't mind), distribution was awesome.

MANUFACTURING: The big drawback to these two cases (moreso than I've noticed ever before) was the odor. New plastic can carry an odor with it that comes from being made with petroleum. This odor does wear off, but it made us a little head achey while we opened packs. After sitting in open air it's dissipated. Sculpts look good while faces are hit and miss. No brittle sculpts or missing arms in two whole cases. Sculpts are pretty solid, even Livewire who stands on the dreaded "both legs together" skinny piece of plastic stance. Oh, but what's the big debut for this set? That's right, the new oreo dials!

These dials have a lot going for them. Once you get used to how you have to grab them, you can make them work well for you. You don't have to depend on grabbing a fragile looking sculpt to turn the dial. I still had to fix a few dials, and that involved learning how they work. It's not the same as fixing the other dials, but have no fear; this is a two-blog day. In my next article I will tell you all about how to fix sticking in the new dials! Over all, not bad, Wizkids and NECA, not bad.

GAME MECHANICS: Keywords, I just can't leave them alone. Good things for this set on keywords though. Kryptonians, Metropolis, Flashpoint, Phantom Zone, and Reign of the Supermen all get kudos for having enough people to build teams with. Downers aren't worth much mention in keywords for this set, but I will say that Superman Robot should have Kryptonian and Lobo should have Warrior. On a further plus with keywords, I haven't found one that doesn't have any! YEAH! I may just not have the pieces that are missing keywords, ha ha. Still, I've said it before, all figures should have keywords. It's a mechanic that is now embedded in how people play. Point values are really decent. Consider how you can play Non and Ursa for 300 points flat. Realizing Kryptonians just aren't cheap makes sense here and you have a playable Phantom Zone. The generic Kryptonians are still slightly short dialed, but they make up for it in ability. There are some definite improvements with this set!

The big kudo? Main characters as COMMONS! Superman, Lex, Supergirl, Superwoman, all commons and worth playing. Even if this Superman is based on All Star (see the movie if you haven't already), he's the best Superman statwise since Icons. And let's not forget the whole split dial thing. Having the multi starting areas on these dials is a real innovation. You can drop the detachable objects for all I care, but don't drop this. Wizkids, you are on to something here!

So, my opinion is, if you haven't got any of this set, you are missing out.