Thursday, December 30, 2010

A giant X-Men fan

Heroclix is coming out with Giant Sized X-men in the new year and it may be early to talk about it, but I can't help myself. I'm a big X-men fan.

I've been hoping for a better Cyclops and updates to all the X-men who showed up in X-plosion. It would be great to see a new Banshee and Storm too. I will be watching with great anticipation for this set. There almost isn't anything I don't know about classic X-men.

I know their powers in and out. I've seen a lot of inaccuracies (by my own opinion I realize) but I have high hopes for the new way they've been assigning powers. Traits and white powers could open up the X-pages in a whole new way. If 75th is any sign of how that will be, we have a lot to look forward to.

I already know of some we get to see if you check out the report at, you can see them too. What I wonder about is how many giant figures will be made in this set for the giant boosters. I know Apocalypse will be there and likely sentinels, but who or what else? Maybe the Living Monolith? Well, who do you think will make an appearance. Giant size and classic have more than enough characters to work with.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My DC 75th TOP TEN

Okay, this is info that's going to vary depending on your own personal interests and play style, so bear with me. But I want to get one more good post in on 75th before I take off for handling the holidays. Hope you enjoy this.

Qualifications for my top ten (what I considered):

1: Nothing over 200 points because I'm looking for playability in the 300 to 400 point formats. Something that absorbs over 50% of your team doesn't make the cut for me.

2: Tactics: What do they bring to the table and how does it weigh versus need for a themed team? Is it supportable or could it support a win condition? Or is it just too broken not to use (like Nightcrawler)?

3: Point cost versus what they do, comparable to the 200 point rule, but you get the idea.

4: No chase figures. I'm interested in listing figures you can reasonably get your hands on.

As I said, you may not agree with me, but I have my reasons and you have yours, so smile.

10: WARLORD: Surprised already? Warlord is an old favorite of mine from the comics and I'm really glad to finally see a figure for him. I once read a team up with him and Green Arrow, awesome. So why does he make my list? At fifty points, he's simple with an old school combo of charge and blades with a nice 11 attack. Combat Reflexes gives him an 18 up close for defense and might just keep him around long enough to do some nice damage. The only thing that would really make him better for his points is toughness. Sadly, one good hit can take him out. I see him going down easily from high damage, but used right he can soften up a heavy for you or play some great interception on other pieces. So he's simple in application, old school, good damage and attack, and his points make him fit very very well in your warrior themes.

9: ANIMAL MAN: Remember that combo I mentioned with Warlord? Animal Man has it even better with greater movement to make up a bit for the one point lower in attack. And he starts with even better defense. His trait makes him an excellent centerpiece for a big keyword for this set, ANIMAL. Team him up with Beast Boy or all the gorillas and duplicate their powers in Animal Man. The only drawback is that he can't use the power you name until the beginning of your next turn, but it still makes him an excellent tactical wild card. If you think ahead on your plays at all, you can make great use of Animal Man and he's only 79 points. He fits well with all the low cost animals.

8: BEAST BOY: For even less points than Animal Man (60) you get another wild card. Two of the interchangeable forms of Beast Boy are commons and I got extras in my case. Hypersonic speed in the cheetah or more charge blades combo in the bear? Super. Here comes more combo with Animal Man already. I also like that Beast Boy carries the Outsiders team ability for his low cost. There's some awesome tactical ability in being able to pop up and lock down someones stats so they can't be increased or decreased by any power or effect. Beast Boy rocks.

7: ISIS: Now why would Isis (granted she's under a hundred points) beat out Beast Boy and the animal theme? How about Charge, flight, telekinesis AND quake locked at 3 damage? Normal quake is 2 damage to all opponents in base contact with knockback for those who don't know. Raise it to three and surround her with animals for all I care. If she doesn't hit one for three damage, she'll hit them all for three damage. Very nice. And she doesn't stop there for her points with Probability control on the same place in the dial as her special quake, she has mid-dial regeneration and then higher defense with willpower and a jump in damage to 4. Isis also has the "mystical" keyword, another big one with this set. You want tactics that fit in small teams? Isis has that in spades.

6: DEADSHOT: Lets face it, sharpshooter as a tactic RULES. Ranged combat expert directly in the face is a beautiful thing. Deadshot gains the ability to use that and have it be penetrating damage. You don't want to let him sit anywhere for long, but getting up close won't help you. His 12 attack with all that make him a deadly threat. Never mind finally being able to fill out the vaunted Secret Six teams people have been wanting for so long.

5: GREEN ARROW: He only beats Deadshot for place on this list by 9 points and one tactic that I love. Running shot to the face. Green Arrow's sharpshooter ability allows him to pull off running shot on his second click right into base contact. Then his defense increases by 2 for up close (giving him an 18) to make him a deadly tie up piece. And he keeps Ranged combat expert for most of his dial, so he starts doing four damage at a time to that close up target. His range is one better than Deadshot too. I have to say I find the 9 range weird and rare since most go right to 10, but I hardly care for what I get. Awesome tactics.

4: BART ALLEN: Kid Flash is back and better than ever! You gotta love hypersonic that ignores figures and hindering completely. But it can't be countered? Really? Yeah! That means NO outwit and no powers that would shut down his speed. It's not even listed as Hypersonic speed officially so it's fantastic. He has a decent attack value at 10 and a 19 defense against ranged combat. His speed allows him to stay out of reach and maybe even out of direct range. His damage isn't enough to take down heavies, but he can sure run interference on everything else. And since his points fit so well (like the rest of the Teen Titans in this set) it's not long before he can be the finisher for a piece softened up by one of his buddies. And he's a common! That's why he's number four!

3: OSIRIS: This member of the Shazam family starts out with a combo that's been a win condition in a lot of tournaments. I'm talking about the mix of Hypersonic speed with Super strength. He's mystical and I really don't care about his 3 range. Put him with other mysticals or his sister, Isis and get ready for some beat down. Starting out with Impervious in defense isn't shabby either. Even when he loses hypersonic (yeah, he only has one click of it) he remains a warrior. He's also themed for Teen Titans, though he doesn't get the team ability. I see mean possibilities for a hypersonic Teen Titans arrangement that could make opponents dizzy. Three of them are one this list and together they are still under 300 points.

2: BARRY ALLEN: One of the best Flash figures yet. He comes to the table with 14 movement (hypersonic), 11 attack, 18 defense (super senses) and a whopping 3 damage for a speeder of his type. Worried about not having that phasing trick one of the last incarnations had? Why? Later in his dial you get to put him anywhere on the whole freaking map to pull a double swing attack with flurry. That's better than phasing could ever be. Tired of that pesky medic and it's out of reach? Not any more. There's no where to hide from the Flash. You want to know a sick team up? Nightcrawler and this Flash. Need I say more? Throw in Bart, still be under 300 and I don't care if its themed or not.

So it's time for NUMBER ONE: GREEN LANTERN: Surprised? Green Lantern of All Star Squadron, carrying the JSA team ability is totally, totally awesome. Let me tell you why. First off, he KILLS stealth. He ignores stealth for his attacks and when he hits someone with stealth, he turns it off so all his buddies can shoot at the target too! That's a TRAIT so it never goes away. He's mystical too and starts out with a combo power of psychic blast and telekinesis. He's got Idomitable so auto-will power, push him with abandon and impervious. His opening click alone make him a jack of all trades and all purpose tool. At 145 points, he's about the best costed Green Lantern you can get. He's going to fit that All Star Squadron team all too well. He'll make it deadly too. Yeah, he's a super rare, but if you get your hands on him, hold on tight. He's worth it! Did I forget to mention his Running shot and 8 range? Probably because they're just icing on the cake. Oh, let me mention a nice built in wicked combo on Green Lantern. Pulse wave later in his dial, versus a slew of stealth targets. He hits them all for one damage that they can't avoid and they all lose stealth for that round.

So I hope you enjoyed my little top ten list and that you got lots of clicky goodness for your holidays and the one to come.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DC 75th case review

So I got my case of DC 75th today and after school my son and I had a little pack party. I have to say that the claim of getting "at least" one white lantern per brick held true. Two bricks are in a case and we did indeed get two white lanterns. We got White Lantern Wonder Woman and Bart Allen. Not bad. As for the rest of the pulls we got:

COMMONS: All of them, yep, all of the commons nearly twice over. That's good for my son's collection.
Easy Company Soldier x 4
Dominator x 2
Gorilla City Warrior x3
Donna Troy
Crimson Avenger
Bart Allen
Johnny Quick
Mr. Terrific
The Atom
Green Arrow
Beast Boy with Cheetah and Bear versions

UNCOMMONS: Got all of these too with a few extras nearly completing my son's set once again.
SGT Rock
Queen Aga'Po
Ruling Caste Dominator
Detective Chimp
Sargon the Sorcerer
Ocean Master
Wonder Woman

RARES: Missing a few yet but,
Animal Man
Captain Comet
Kyle Rayner
Guy Gardner
Saint Walker
John Stewart
Carol Ferris

SUPER RARES: Got seven of them with no duplicates.
Green Lantern
Hal Jordan
Barry Allen
Wonder Twins

I see three great theme teams in this that are easily built in the 300 to 400 point circuits; All Star Squadron, Teen Titans, and Mystical. Those are pretty much the most flexible and I think strongest teams that can be made from this set. The Animal keyword gets honorable mention thanks to Beast Boy, lots of Gorillas, and Animal Man.

The rest are pretty much power pieces that only fit themes for this set in 400 or better without looking at recent sets that help with filling out. Not to say I'm not impressed with the powers and arrangements in this set because I am. I can get to some opinions on those pieces a bit later right now I'm going to address something else.

Game mechanics do get a "A" because of how many stand alone teams are doable in this set within reasonable points.

Next lets look at the sculpts. There are some great sculpts in this and manufacturing managed not to destroy that on most of them. Unfortunately there are some downright shoddy sculpts too. Take Ice for example. Her face and detail just don't match up to the other pieces. Details aren't as sharp as they were in Web of Spiderman overall. I've seen them change how pieces are made to shave costs in the past and the result is typically a minus in craftsmanship. Carol Ferris has the same problem. Figures that turned out awesome are Doomsday and Sinestro. At least mine were. Zamaron and her Queen counterpart are the absolute worst. You can't even turn her dial without almost twisting the figure off. You have to be too careful.

Fortunately, I had only one or two dials that didn't want to turn and those were of Wonder Woman. she's also a very thin figure and bends too easily. You shouldn't have to try and grasp that moon shaped base they stand on with your knuckles to turn the dial. It's not as easy as it looks. I'm more critical on manufacturing than almost anything because it directly affects how long pieces will last, how well they can handle just being played for that matter. I'm paying top dollar for my game and if I can't count on the piece to hold together it's not worth the money. C- toward a D+ for sculpts and manufacturing. It looks like we pay more for the flashy laminated cards than the figures we twist and tug on and actually play with.

Packaging is my next area of fun and games. The way they keep coming up with extra shapes on figures makes it a real puzzle to get them out of the plastic holders. Yeah, I know, not that big a deal, but still. The plastic holder is built for the ease of packing the figures, not unpacking them. That's for sure. I realize there may not be much of a solution for this, but if they are going to keep getting crazy with the shapes, capes and poses; they may want to think about it. I hate most commercial packaging anyway.

In a final note, while I am happy with my pieces and will play them assuredly, why does Superman look so freaking sad? He looks seriously depressed, people. Just look at him. He looks like he wants to take a giant leap and hug some kryptonite on the way. Even his shoulders are drooping. Oh well. Hope you all enjoy your pulls!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Scenario: Blizzard Attack!

As I sit here, looking out the window at the snow from blizzard Aiden that's buried us, I think of a scenario. Is that they way of a true heroclix addict? I think so. Anyway, this is my suggestion for scenario: Blizzard Attack:

Special rules: All ranges are reduced to 6 on all powers and attacks, even outwit and probability control and perplex. All clear terrain is hindering terrain. All terrain that started out as hindering is now blocking terrain.

Icy grounds: All attacks result in knockback though combat reflexes still applies. No save applies to doubles. All move and attack powers are affected by slippage. When ever charge, running shot, or hypersonic speed are used to make an attack by a figure that does not fly, roll one dice (six sider). On a 5 or 6, the attack misses and the attacking figure must move two extra spaces past the target in the direction it was originally headed. The move is over for that figure, even with hypersonic speed.

Windblown: At the beginning of the game decide on one direction on the map (agree on directions such as North, South, etc). At the beginning of each turn, each player rolls one dice. On a 5 or 6, move each figure with flying two spaces in that direction.

Optional rule: Freezing Temperatures: Applies to all figures that don't have damage reducers. At the beginning of each turn, each player rolls one dice. On a 6, all figures that player controls that don't have a damage reducing power take one unavoidable click of damage.

Naturally, if you have a map with partial indoors terrain, indoors is protected from all the rules. Past that, it would be NO fun to play on indoor terrain would it?

So, enjoy this musing and I hope you are save and warm where ever you are! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Talking about Barry Allen

In the new upcoming set, DC75, just days away; we have some nice pieces coming. I have to say that the newest Flash, Barry Allen, gives more justice to the character than any dial they have made yet. That's even if you do have to wait until later in the dial to get the cool power.

Let's take a look at this power they are calling, "Around the World". It allows for Flash to us flurry, but before he does, you can just put him next to any opposing figure on the whole map. That has killer possibilities.

Getting tired of that stupid medic your opponent keeps running off to? No problem, land next to that Valkyrie or Nurse and start swinging. Just need one more good hit on a fig but it ran away, like Nightcrawler? No problem, Flash can keep up without breaking a sweat.

I also like that he starts out with 3 damage now, much like his Blue Lantern version. I mean, seriously, a 750+ mph fist should always do more than just one on openers. At least this way it has a chance at a minimum of one against big defense powers.

I still think that they could round off their point values more as the odd numbers just aren't necessary and make fitting some teams difficult. But then, they are doing my son a world of good on his math practice.

All the same, I'm looking forward to the new set. I hope you are too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Scenario: The Magnificent Seven

I've been wanting to post this scenario idea for some time and I hope you enjoy it. I think it's a great way to play a higher point game without worry of someone landing a Phoenix or other wild powered fig on you.

In 700 points there must be 7 figures (no more and no less) and they must be themed. Custom key words are allowed, but must make sense. I've done circus performers and archers for example. The 10% feat rule applies and battlefield conditions are allowed.

Each player gets four moves and play continues until one person is totally wiped out. You can play time limit if you like, however. To enrich the play you can try adding some special rules as below. You may have difficulty keeping to theme if you do it that way. It seems to me that most of these "heroe's gathered" films have a few things in common and the ideas with special rules are:

The Leader: Must start with Leadership and will always have leadership. So long as it shows on the dial, his leadership counts for two extra actions instead of one.

The Rookie: Must have the teen or kid keyword. If a friendly figure within 3 squares of the rookie would take damage from a ranged combat attack, you may move the rookie in the path of that attack and he must take the full damage instead.

Explosives expert: Must have Energy Explosion and will always have energy explosion. So long as it shows on the dial, damage from energy explosion is penetrating.

The Sniper: Must have Ranged Combat Expert and always will. So long as it shows on the dial, the Sniper has free Trick Shot.

The Sneak: Must have stealth and always will. So long as it shows on the dial, this figure ignores hindering terrain for movement.

And then movies have a tendency to shake it up with different stuff like computers experts and disguise experts, you can fill it in from there. Have fun with this scenario. Got ideas that you would add? Put them in comments!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gathering new players

Maybe you live in an area that doesn't have much support for heroclix. Maybe your local shop doesn't want to pay for prize support, or when they do, they charge you to play (not totally unfair depending on the charge). Maybe your area store doesn't even have tournaments. What do you do?

Well, you may have to do some recruiting on your own. In order to do this, you may have to make some over the top adjustments to appeal to new audiences. You may have to offer your own scale of prize support from your own box of extra pieces.

In my area there has been a loss of players and venues that have lost tournaments. They just fizzled out and never came back. Even back in my home town, it's not often that anyone shows up for tournaments. If they do, it's only two or three people. So how can you get new players to jump in and try out your game? I have a couple ideas.

Seek out public places where people gather that will allow for some game play. Playing heroclix in public will get attention. People get curious and you'd be amazed at how many will step up and ask what you're doing. Be ready to preach the gospel of heroclix and how cool it is. Remember to mention strong points of the game for kids such as math, strategy, and map reading as well as social interaction. And play characters that have been recently seen in movies. That gets attention too. I've had people ask where they can get some. Tell them, but be ready for them to balk at the price a bit. Still, there's more you can do. If you do the following, you can invite them to a gathering.

Host a heroclix gathering or event. Expect new players, maybe people who saw you in public and try to have some prize support or giveaway items. If you have a ton of extras taking up space in your closet, get generous. You may gain a new and permanent player for the act. Put together a few 300 point teams in plastic ziplock bags. Make them giveaways for the first "x" number of people to join in, who don't have any clix. It's like giving out free samples.

Where and how to get the word out? Try your public library and tout the positive aspects of the game to them. They often take up on special interest events that are positive in nature for kids and the public. Anything that brings people to the library past that is cake for them. They may let you host a monthly, bi-weekly, or even weekly event. Better yet, they may put it in their calendar that goes out to people in some newspapers and is posted on their websites. That's publicity and it's free for you! Voila! New players.

In all of that, start a fan club. You can collect dues and maybe even get your hands on some pieces that are exclusive to your club. I haven't talked to Wizkids/Neca about this myself, but hey, it's an idea and could create publicity for them and the game. Members of a fan club could split the cost of cases of heroclix for pack parties and gaming events. Pieces for everyone and a good time too. Even if you have to pay for a prize package, you could make that part of fan club dues. And anyone can start up a fan club. It's how much you can market the name that makes a difference. Even a personal and local deal can net new players and keep the game going. It can keep you playing too.

Feel free to post your own ideas in comments!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The mechanics of a set

While anticipating a new set, like DC 75 for this December, I often find myself musing about how sets are planned out. I've read before that there really is no set method of assigning points based on powers, team abilities, or anything else. I've read it's more of a rule of thumb or gut feeling that is applied to each figure. I think that practice has put out a lot of overpriced or under-priced figures.

I understand the need to keep things new and fresh in order to keep people interested. This is a business after all. I do think that a standard mechanic or two would make set planning easier and take some guesswork out of remaking characters in future sets.

You might argue, that with so many characters, such a feat is nearly impossible. I disagree, thanks to the age of the database. If they set up a DC database and apply some standards, they can change some subtle things as they go, but points would easier to apply and might even give people the why or how they are often looking for. Just how much is hypersonic speed worth anyway, right?

To get more in depth, here are some things they could apply for this idea:

Health: The number of clicks a figure has is pretty much it's health. I don't think Superman should ever drop below 9. Superboy could be 8 and some other worlds versions that are way powerful, well, they'd be maxed out likely. But Superman could set the bar on the higher side easily. Past that I think you could agree that a 6 click Superman would be pretty sad. I think Batman should hover around 7 with no higher than 8 for his other versions. That includes vampire batman.

Because of the variations, no format is perfect, but may help to keep that lower than low Superman from happening.

Point values: This is a big one. Establish a minimum and maximum cost for figures and stick to it. Take Cosmic Spiderman for example. I've played him and he's not infallible or unstoppable. He can be beaten by a 300 point force. I've seen it happen. The extra 19 points that basically make him unplayable in anything less than a 400 point game were just unnecessary. As it is, he can't even get good use of his extra team ability unless you go to 400. So he could have been valued at 300 and been just fine. Even out the points to make team building easier. That would be nice also. A database could help organize the average points that any character should cost. Looking at Superman again, I don't think he should ever be higher than 200. I think that's plenty of point cost and makes him rare enough for small games as is.

Numbers of the dial: Once again, using Superman, he should never be lower than an 18 defense to start out. He's a fair combatant so never below a 10 to start. A set of basic stats is another area that could be established to help with planning. Characters that are combat masters, like Wolverine, should never be less than an 11. He's a fighting animal after all. I remember the Superman figures that came out with 15 and 16 defenses and thought, "no way". Some characters should lose their numbers as fast as they do either. Consider Veteran Superman from Icons. His points were way out there and his defense drops to pitiful levels quickly. He starts out as a monster, but drops quickly to a whimpering kitten, then he's gone. No, I liked that Supes too, so don't kill me here. I'm just trying to make a point. It's just that it would and should be easy to give characters a numeric grade on the existing scale. On defense no one goes higher than a 20 (for most base characters) so you now have a scale of even 10 to 20 with most key figures scoring from 16-20.

Another argument against this idea could be that it takes some surprise out of what to expect in character development. That may be, but the power lineups are still pretty loose and with the new arrangements of white powers coming out left and right, I think you'll get plenty of cool surprises where you know that Superman starts with an 18 defense or not. Then there's the Rookie, Experience, and Veteran idea that's pretty much just colors on the cards now. Even those are pretty out of control and not that organized.

Well, just my thoughts. I'm still looking forward to DC 75th and a whole slew of cool figs to collect. I'm sure you are too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Heroclix World, a great site for a great game.

I think it's time I give honorable mention to a great website on heroclix. Yes, they did the same for me, but seriously, this is a great website

Click it!

Heroclix world offers updates on all the going clix news you could want to see. Sneak peeks on upcoming pieces in new sets, articles, opinions, and great game scenarios that you can try out.

I personally like the neat scenario cards they put together to enhance their scenario suggestions. You can print them out and have them for your own games anytime. Also, Battle Field Conditions (like the one above), and bystander tokens. You can spend a lot of time with this website on all kinds of clix goodness. Currently, as I write this, there is a great article up on sneak preview of DC 75 (coming out in December). Incidentally, I have to agree with one poster there who mentioned that dials are getting shorter. But we'll see what happens when the set comes out. But the sculpts look good!

So I hope you will take the time to peruse the pages of Heroclix World where you can get your fix and fill on current information and cool heroclix ideas!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Todays feature: Superman/Silver Surfer

Duo figures are interesting. I think they could be better if not so watered down on some points, but they are interesting. Watered down as in the minus one damage that all of the duo figures suffer even if it really makes so sense in regard to the characters. You simply get better damage and attack capability by fielding two characters instead of one. Still, I made a slew of double figures myself. On one side, I did it to rebel, ha ha, because of all the complaints I saw about double figures. On the other hand, I saw possibilities for some pretty cool figures.

How I made my doubles is very simple. I just took two pieces and glued them to the same base. Well, it sounds simple, until you realize that getting them to fit right can be like doing a small jigsaw puzzle. But I've enjoyed making them, so that's what really matters for me. I also constructed house rules for playing them and you can do that as well. Today I'm going to tell you about a favorite of mine, one you won't see made anytime soon. I'm talking about the Silver Surfer and Superman.

The idea comes from a comic cross over event that I read several years ago. I used a veteran Silver Surfer base and glued on an extra flier post. I had to adjust Surfer's post over slightly to make room. The Superman is from a limited edition that had the Batman Team ability. You might recognize him. His base was missing anyway. One of my kids lost it long long ago. Oh well. I think these two look great together. As for play, I play them at 400 points. You might think that's too high, but let me tell you what other house rules apply here.

First of all, they get the Superman team ability on top of Cosmic. If that's not enough for you, try this. They don't suffer the minus one penalty to damage dealing when they make a duo attack. Still not enough for you? How about the idea that they can do a duo attack with any attack they do? Running shot? Yep. Hypersonic speed? You bet. Any attack they make gets a second attack for free. And if that's still somehow not enough to validate that 400 point price tag, I also play their dial at +2 to all numeric stats except range. That means their move is a 14, attack is 12, defense is 20, and damage is 6! Six damage without the minus one! Are they worth 400 now? I think so. But that's just how I play them. You might have other ideas. I know they can wreak havoc on my table. I've tried them out.

I really do think that the duo attack ability should not carry that minus one penalty for all figures. Some of them just don't make sense with it. But that's a story for another time. Hope you enjoyed Supes and Surfer!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Character review: Captain Boomerang

In my last blog I gave Captain Boomerang honorable mention. In this one, I'm going to give him more than that. The Brightest day box set really gives us some awesome pieces and great powers/abilities. I hit on a few of those, but now here's one with some real strategic advantage. Let's take a look at his special attack power.

Boomerang's Path: Give Captain Boomerang a power action and choose up to 6 different squares within line of fire (ignoring characters for this purpose). Each square must be different, adjacent to the previous square, and the first and last squares chosen must be adjacent to this character. Make an attack roll and compare the result to each character occupying a chosen square. Each character hit this way is dealt 2 damage.

Okay, so at the most, he could hit up to 6 targets and deal 2 damage to each of them. When you think about powers like quake and pulse wave, this isn't so amazing. But when you consider that you choose your targets, it's actually awesome. The limitation is three squares out in order to make it three squares back into base contact. Having sharpshooter enables this power to be fully effective and usable in a crowd. That's plenty leeway to get some damage dealt to everyone near the Captain. If that doesn't do it for you and you're worried about that damage getting through, I have a suggestion: Armor Piercing. At 61 points, Captain Boomerang is a perfect candidate for the damage assuring feat. Yeah, that makes him 71 points, but well worth it!

Past that, having the sharpshooter ability enables him to use his front-loaded ranged combat expert right in an opponents face for 4 clicks of damage. Just one click in, he gets running shot. For him it may as well be charge. So that's like two movement powers in one!

Yeah, his defense isn't very good and dial is a little short, but don't underestimate the Captain, he can do damage and he's very flexible on the battlefield. If not dealt with early he'll be a problem.

He also carries the rogues keyword, allowing him some chances at team building more than just Brightest Day. At home games, I would even allow him to be themed with Suicide Squad (it's even on the back of his card!).

Captain Boomerang is just one more reason to get out there and get your Brightest Day!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Brightest Day Review

I recently got my Brightest Day Heroclix starter set and I have to say I am very pleased. This set has some thrilling aspects on top of being fairly well made.

Only one complaint and I may as well air it first. Half the dials had to be fixed to even be turned. This isn't a major issue to those of us who are good at being "dial mechanics". I just took apart the dial and used a pair of fingernail clippers to trim down the plastic bump that the dial clicks across. On two of them, there was a "tag" of sorts on the side of the dial that I had to trim off. Once that was done, they were ready to rock.

As for how the figures were made, the sculpts are awesome. They are made of a good solid grade plastic and show off great detail. And if looks aren't enough for you, how about this:

Keywords: Much, much better than in Darkest Night. I think most venues would accept "Lanterns" as a custom keyword in play, but this set makes it unnecessary. Several keywords allow for good team building strategies. That's even if Deadman's White Lantern power turns out to be a "one set wonder" in 75th.

Yes, I'm talking about his "Summon the White" ability limited to calling in those of the Brightest Day or White Lantern keywords. It should be a great game ability for 75th (I like it!), but what about after that? See what I'm saying? We'll see. There's plenty of time to put Deadman to good use. I'm pretty excited about him.

I'm also excited about having an Aquaman and Firestorm that can be a real threat on the table. Yeah, there's been a couple of "usable" Aquaman figures, but they just haven't seemed right to me. This one rocks. His Undead Sea trait could make for some evil Atlantis teams and I'm sure that will happen soon. Two clicks of punishment for KO'ing anyone with the Atlantis keyword? Nice.

I'm not sure how I feel about Firestorm's trait since it's only good for when he has no tokens on him at the beginning of your turn. Still, the powers are good ones. Starting out with 8 range, two targets and four damage is nice too. Later on, he can rearrange terrain a bit by destroying entire squares of blocking terrain. I don't care that he's so locked down to one keyword. I would have liked to still be able to build them as JLA, but oh well.

And welcome back, Hawkgirl! It's good to see her come back into the mix. Her trait against other fliers is very, very nice. Against other fliers, she gets +1 to both attack and damage. She starts out with an 11 attack and 3 damage, so jump to a 12/4 respectively? Awesome! She doesn't have a real long dial, but she's dangerous for what she does have.

Martian Manhunter is much more likely to see play than his last incarnation with all the cookies. That's because he no longer costs over 200 points. For his new pointage of 158, you get a short range (6) but some decent attack and power usage. His trait that rewards him for your team knocking someone out is quite an admirable feature too. He gains Exploit Weakness, Outwit, and Probability Control until the beginning of your next turn. Having him in the right spot after a successful KO could mean a follow up KO if you do it right.

So, a cool set of pieces, very playable together and I found them affordable in price too. Got my set for around 25 bucks. Oh, and yeah, Captain Boomerang and Osiris get honorable mention. Check em out!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Xena and Buffy Heroclix? An interesting request

Recently, I gave my girlfriend her first heroclix match and she handed me a sound defeat. Not bad for a first game. She played Ms. Marvel, Supergirl and female Hawkeye against Dr. Doom and Vet Kang the Conquerer. It was a cool match. The best way to learn how to play Heroclix is simply to play it. Go through the motions and see how moves are done as you go. Not at tournaments, but with someone else who plays. I still say she did very well. And it's also about having a good time. I hope she did.

She did make a request and I found it quite interesting. Wizkids, you have a request to look into making heroclix for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess. Could it be done? I think so, but I could see something of a licensing nightmare too.

Still, there would be enough characters and cool abilities. How about Buffy? Charge, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Willpower, Combat Reflexes? Maybe Close Combat Expert? Vampires could host a variety of powers, like in Horror Clix. For that matter, Buffy could be another cross set able to play in both games. Not that Horror clix is doing particularly great, but still. After all, they are doing a Street Fighter set, why not Buffy? Why not add Angel and the characters from his show? How about a set on TV heroes? Greatest American Hero would be a good one in that. Of course, I wonder how many players would even know who he is or was.

I also think the Green Hornet and Kato should be heroclix. That would be very cool indeed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Make your own keywords

I'm always interested to know what kind of keywords that players or judges find that aren't in the game officially. A judge has the power to accept any keyword that a player suggests, but in most cases should be careful in what they approve. Keywords should be something that's somewhat unique to a group of characters that they have in common. They should not be things like color of outfits or power use (like all having outwit). Here are a few that I have found that I think are interesting and suggestions are always welcome.

Circus Performers: A favorite of mine because of Nightcrawler. Others include, Hawkeye, Mister Miracle, Deadman, Nightwing, Ghostrider (the Johnny Blaze version) and Swordsman.

Acrobats: Characters known for that special mutant acrobatic ability that doesn't really come into play in powers so directly include, Spiderman, Beast, Nightwing, Deadman, Nightcrawler, Deadpool and a few others. For that matter, pretty much any of the "spider" characters could hit this area.

Clones- or, if you prefer, Genetically Engineered: Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly, Adam Warlock, Drax the Destroyer, Superboy (in the black t shirt), Goblin Queen, X-23, Guardian, Arc Light, Harpoon, Scalphunter, Vertigo, Genesis (Mar-Vell).

Mercenaries: Deadpool, Deathstroke, Maverick, Elektra, Hand Ninja, Bullseye, Silver Sable, Sandman, Cable, Domino, Paladin, Taskmaster, Ravager, Deathlok, Swordsman and I'm sure you can name a few others, maybe even Heroes for Hire.

Elementals: These are people who's power or ability are based strictly on a particular of the four elements somehow: Sandman, Hydroman, Iceman, Metamorpho, Human Torch, Thing, Mr. Fantastic (water), Invisible Woman (air), Crystal, She Thing, Fire, Firestar, Sunfire.

I've seen shapeshifters accepted before with Mystique, Clayface, Morph, and any Skrull you care to add.

How about Poker Night? Wolverine, The Thing, Doctor Strange, Human Torch, Spiderman (look up the poker nights Wolverine and the Thing put together, some cool names come out).

These parallels allow you to return to some of the cool comic book crossovers we all loved to make before "keywords" came along. Another area of Keyword acceptance that could be cool for a tournament is to build based on a specific story and the title becomes the keyword. Marvel Team-ups could give tons of cool ideas for this.

What sort of creative key word combos can you come up with?

(image property of Marvel Comics)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making heroclix customs

I got into making custom figures for heroclix some years ago. I built myself a little "body" shop where I took extra figures to convert into variations and characters they hadn't made for the game yet. I have pics of many of my works, old and new, on my facebook page, but you can see some here. There is a small market for customs making on Ebay, but it's no where near what it was when I was making them more often.

To make my customs I used a dremel tool and cut off arms, legs and heads and re-matched them with other bodies to create the desired appearance. Super glue and paint would take care of the rest. I used a few other tricks too back then that were pretty effective. I like to think I'm not half bad at making customs, but have to say that there are others out there who make me look clumsy.

As for those tricks, check this out.

That's my custom Surtur, the Fire Giant from years ago before Heroclix went under for a while. I made him from the upper body of an original Hulk figure and the legs of some Mage Knight figure that I don't remember off hand. I drilled out the hand and inset the sword from some Warhammer 40K pieces I had laying around. The horns were tentacles from a Brainiac figure. The flames? This was the neat trick. They're made of toilet paper. Yep, toilet paper. The tissue was mixed with Elmer's glue and put on the figure with a little tricky manipulation. Once dry, I coated it a few times with brush on super glue to harden it. It's actually very effective.

I think I made him even before giant figures or right around the time that giants came out. I used the flight base to denote that he was a giant (house rule it) because I didn't have any cool dial making programs. I still don't.

Now this was my take on Strong Guy before he came out. I used a Mage Knight figure's upper body and arms along with a Hydra agents legs and head. I used my toilet paper trick for the little tuft of white hair on his forehead and the rest is repaint. There were a couple of hand sword things to sculpt off with the dremel tool, but that was no issue. I made him for several people before he finally came out in a set.

It's fun to look through the customs that people make. Some are really awesome and some, well, they aren't. But I have enjoyed it. The figure up top is one of my many duo figures I made, it's Thor and Lady Sif. Click on photos for larger view.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Heroclix Keywords

This is just my opinion and input on the keywords used in forming teams for Heroclix. Keywords are used to help form themed teams. If all the figures on your team share the same keyword they are considered "themed" and you get some bonuses for having them this way. It should be noted that bystander tokens do not count for keyword use.

The first notable bonus is a plus modifier to your opening dice roll for who picks map and goes first in the match. The bonus added to your die roll is equal to the number of characters on the team with that keyword. This benefit is very good, especially for the strategy of choosing the map to play on.

The next to mention is that this team gets to cancel a battlefield condition, but they don't have to. It's optional. I really don't like this benefit. For the most part, I think it makes battlefield conditions practically obsolete. Maybe they wanted to do that, I don't know. Ordinary day was already a threat to battlefield condition strategies, but now if everyone you face is using themes you can about count on your BFC getting tossed. I don't know about you, but just about everyone I face won't play anything they can't put into a themed team.

There is a house rule that our local store uses that I like much better. It's the idea that you have to play a themed team just to have a BFC. No canceling. It's kind of a reversal that I think makes more sense. Just my opinion though.

The third bonus to using themes is that you get a probability control roll for ever two figures on your force that share that keyword. In order to use the power, a figure can not have had an action that turn, must have clear line of fire to the reroll target and will have a token placed on them for use of the power. So, if you have ten figures on your team you get five uses of probability control.

You can still build your team however you like, but you may take a strategic minus for doing so.

Problems I have with theme teams:

Point heavy: some of my favorite themes simply cost too much in points. I would love to put together some of the teams I've seen in the comic books, but they also wind up point heavy and outside of what my local store plays. These include the Infinity Watch and Avengers. That, or you don't have enough points to cover the level of tournament you are playing in. For example, if there's only three people with a keyword you want to play and you have a 400 point game, it's problematic when you have 60 points left to fill and no one else with a keyword. You wind up feat card heavy and most places don't want you to use that many feats.

Too specific: Speaking of Avengers, some keywords are getting way too specified like Mighty Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Great Lakes Avengers, Dark Avengers. At least there are enough Dark Avengers to make a themed team, but they won't have much in support, I can hit that in a later post. The makers need to be careful no to toss in a keyword that's going to appear once, with only one or two figures and vanish. That's just frustrating to the players.

I will say, thanks to the new Thunderbolts card you can give someone a keyword/team ability and make them part of your theme. That helps but costs points.

Past that, I think building a good theme is a decent challenge and still fun. I think the benefits are a bit overpowered and too geared toward wiping out BFC's. Still, I enjoy playing heroclix and play themes to keep up with my fellow players. I can't play some of the team ups I would really like to see, maybe a feat called Marvel-Team up? That would be nice. Then I could team up Spider-man and Nightcrawler and actually have them themed.

Today's Photo: My conversion of duo figure, Aquaman and Aqualad, enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Web of Spiderman

The set called, Web of Spiderman, recently hit stores. As heroclix goes, it's an exciting set. We got our first brick (half a case equaling ten booster packs) and got some great pulls. This includes about the rarest piece in the whole set, Cosmic Spider-man.

I think, for a standard dial size figure, Cosmic Spidey has to be the most powerful piece ever made. His line of fire is never blocked. Not by walls, not by other figures, not by buildings, not by anything! If you are playing him and get to choose the map you play on, make it filled with obstacles and you've got Spidey's favorite playland for this piece. His points, I think, were purposely set at 319 to keep him out of standard 300 point play. But 400 points with a couple support pieces can still see him ruling the table. Having two team abilities is murderous too, but hard to get a good combo at his points without much higher point teams. Finally, look at his number stats. A 19 defense with impervious, 12 attack, and 14 movement with hypersonic speed and finally damages of 4 and 5 through the dial. That's just deadly.

Now, a friend of mine suggested that the ultimate response to Cosmic Spidey is another Web of figure called Bombastic Bag-man. It's based on another Spidey story where he had to wear a Fantastic Four uniform after losing the Symbiote, or giving it up, whatever. But the key to Bombastic is that any damage dealt to this figure is dealt right back to the attacking figure unavoidably. So if Cosmic hits him for 4 damage, Cosmic takes 4 damage regardless of defense powers. Then Cosmic's damage changes to 5. Hitting again will knock out Bombastic, but take Cosmic along too. Or not. The problem with that thought is that, as soon as Bombastic shows KO on his dial, he's no longer taking damage. The card says "damage taken" not "dealt". So after 4 is dealt, only ONE counts for ko'ing Bombastic! That leaves Cosmic Spidey still going strong. Well, he has two more clix left, but still decent numbers on the dial. Bombastic has some hilarious uses with his trait, but, according to the posters at HC Realms, damage from Mystics, Poison, Mastermind, Pulsewave and Forceblast still don't count. Pulsewave ignores all powers and TRAITS for defensive purposes or otherwise.

Now my favorite piece that I will use and abuse is Nightcrawler. His ability is awesome. First, his trait gives him permanent phasing with special wording. He's never stuck and can go where ever he wants always. So his trait doesn't count as a power action and can be used with his hypersonic speed attacks. That means he's just as mean on a map full of walls as Cosmic Spidey. He has the same movement and defense numbers to boot. He has a great ability to hit a target and then drag them back to his blades claws buddies that I dearly love. Yep, steal your opponents pieces, mean but effective.

So what do I not like about this set? Well, having all of Spidey's main foes as super rares is annoying. That could mean shelling out big bucks to get them all and I can't do that. I may find many in trade, but right now I only have one piece all my player friends are after. That's Cosmic Spidey. Not giving him up guys! The other thing that's annoying me is dial quality. They've slipped on this. Dials have a tendency to come apart when you are turning them. That can really be irksome in the middle of a tournament match when you have to be accurate in what you are doing.

Still, fabulous set, great pieces, and awesome traits. Pretty soon they are going to have to come up with ways to deal with traits just balance the power of the game. I'm sure they will however, in time.