Friday, February 25, 2011

Heroclix picture puzzle: Bank Chaos

Have you ever read those I Spy books with the picture puzzles? You know, the ones where you have to do a "where's Waldo" with a varied list of things in a clustered photo? Well, here's a little challenge for you and I may do more. Click on the image to see it larger (you may have to copy it to your computer so you can zoom in on it better. Future ones will be a bit smaller. Try to answer the trivia questions below. I'll come back with answers in the next blog I write. So, with that, good luck!

1: How many custom figures are there? Can you name them?

2: What do the custom duo figures have in common?

3: How many little red dice are there?

4: How many Multiple-man's are there?

5: Which figure has no dial?

6: How many Assassin's League figures are there?

7: How may Wolverine's are there?

8: How many "spider" characters are there?

9: How many "archer" characters are there?

10: How many sentinel fists are there?

11: What is Shadowcat doing?

12: What is Robin doing?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making Heroes

Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller; well respected names of the comic industry and creators of heroes and villains alike. If it weren't for them, the industry wouldn't be what it is today. You wouldn't have Spiderman for one. Their work has inspired countless artists and writers in comics, movies and of course, the gaming industry.

So when I read that Giant Sized X-men for Heroclix has sold out at manufacturing level world wide, I took it as one more part of the legacy started way back then. I don't mean to take kudos away from the marketing team behind Heroclix, by the way.

Making heroes has inspired me too, more than I may be able to explain. I really have a great deal of respect for the industry and there's good reason I'm so opinionated on the subject and its variations.

My first comic book was an issue of Spiderman against a silver dragon and I was five or six years old. Not long after that I went through some serious changes in life and hard times ensued well into my teens. I grew up with undiagnosed autism (Asperger's Syndrome)and survived an abusive step parent and, well, my escape became the heroes. Finally it came to creating my own. Yes, I created my own universe of characters.

I wrote a role playing game and documented histories of over 200 alien races and 400 characters. I've done a hundred illustrations and now I work on novels with my own hopes of publishing. My heroes were my escape and I got to know every trivial things about them for the times I grew up in. I was a comic book junkie in the truest sense of the word.

So, I'm pretty opinionated on the making and stats of those favorite characters and even a few others. I like to believe I have a solid understanding of character development and powers.

I'm currently considering creating a Facebook page to share my universe with my friends and who knows, maybe more will come of it. I've even done custom heroclix of over 70 of my characters. So, I may be sharing my passion and universe upcoming, who knows, but until then, I'll be waiting to get my hands on a case of X-men!

I do want to add that I have great, great appreciation for the work that they've done with heroclix. There are good people working in the company and I can thank them a lot for all they've done. Not only for the great characters that have done so much for me, but also:

My godson, Zach, in Lincoln, Nebraska was on his way to a tournament in late 2007 (or was it early 2008?- hard to remember clearly) when he was in a car accident. He was 19 and a great kid. He was a hardcore player too. My playing group contacted Wizkids and told them of the loss of a great player, who was gone before he could finish his last collection from the set out at the time. Do you know what they did for him? They sent his mother an entire factory set. So know this, Wizkids and all working with them... you're okay in my book.

Now my son's 9th birthday is the 15th... guess what he's getting for his birthday? Ha ha, that's right. X-men here we come. Hope this one wasn't too heavy for any of you. Hope your draws are awesome! Keep clixing!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Marketing the sub sets

I recently posted a question on Wizkids Facebook page about buying a set with figures you never heard of. Would you? There weren't as many answers as I might have hoped for, but the ones I got were fairly diverse with good reasoning. I think they may be a good representation of the buying community for the most part.

Most said that they needed to know the characters and have an interest in them. One said he would probably buy and I do know of a few die hard collectors who will take anything Heroclix. Another commenter mentioned that the mechanics would have to be very good to get him to buy characters he had never heard of before. He would even research the character if he liked it enough. I found that interesting too.

When Invincible came out, I have to admit, I never heard of the characters in it before. What can I say? I just hadn't. I still bought the set. A commenter suggested that the sets at the time and Indy was a matter of experiment. That may be. I think the greatest failing of Indy was having awesome figures that you could only get in the UK or US. An interesting marketing ploy meant to work by geographic marketing sector, but a failed one. People were upset about having to go out of their way to get missing pieces for the set. Along with that, there may not have been too much in extra cost to do separate packaging for all that, but it had to be time consuming. Time creates cost.

Now there's some new subsets coming out and I wonder if there's any experiment intended with these or if some marketing research was done? Let's take a look at two sets upcoming.

STREETFIGHTER: I think this set is going to sell hot. There's been a long time cult following of this game. It's very well known and bridges genres from video game to table top. Not a bad idea at all. Cool characters with cool abilities. I'll be interested to see the translation. Could this mean other video game related clix in the future? Maybe, but licensing could be a nightmare. Streetfighter has all it's characters in one place. Halo saw some popularity, but I never bought it. Here's something to chew on, I think Streetfighter's sales could be hotter than Halo. What do you think?

MEGADETH: This one is tricky. Megadeth is popular, I like them, but music tastes are more fickle than gaming tastes could ever hope to be. I could see this as an experiment to see if music tastes could bring more players in for heroclix. It's a small set, so sort of safe as a test launch subject. There are plenty of metal collectors and there have been plenty of genre cross overs in the past with music to comics. Just look at KISS. Timing could also be crucial in getting a good sell out of a music based set. Megadeth's next major US tour is in July with them in Europe for March and April. It could be good for cross marketing of the tour and I could see that as a marketing tactic. I also wonder, is Dave Mustaine a clix fan? And does this mean we could see a KISS box set sometime? Rock and Roll clix? Hey, in the video game genre's Rock Star saw a nice long sell. Maybe, but I'm not counting on it and probably wouldn't buy it myself.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Our great big collections

So, how many figures are in your Heroclix collection? I've been playing and collecting from the very beginning and have a good couple thousand of those old pieces stored away in boxes. So you don't see those in the photo, this is my current collection not counting what's been stored. Suffice to say, Heroclix takes up a lot of room in my gaming library.

I've changed how I store them a few times over the years. It seems like I just can't find a way that I can really stick with as new sets come out and adjustments have to be made. I've seen pretty cool ideas though.

Lots of people use tackle boxes, tool boxes, and various forms of tool storage bins. Those work nice, but you will wind up with a lot of what ever you use for storage as you run out of room.

I currently have mine in bins by keywords as I would most likely use them. I have a small portable carrier that I use for all my tokens, objects, and any teams I take to a tournament. I prefer to build my team before I even go anywhere because of all the pieces I have. It's just too much to carry all at once (ha ha).

Some of the highlights of my collection include the original Galactus, Dark Phoenix, and the World's Finest brick mail away (Superman and Batman). I also have one of the original Sentinels, three of the updated ones, the Sinestro Corps Anti-Monitor, and yeah, Purple Pants Fin Fang Foom (useless against the others).

I have lots of the old uniques to include Clobberin Time's Nightcrawler and Spiral. I have a purple ring Thanos and Gladiator. I also have metallic Silver Surfer and Nova. Remember the first LE Superman from Hypertime? Yep, got him too. It sure gets hard to keep track after all this time and all these sets and pieces. How can our collections do anything but get huge? I wonder how many of you have had to put old pieces away in storage? I'm sure there's plenty of you. And the highlights change with the current collections; the chase figures, White Lanterns, Cosmic Spiderman, etc. I don't have a lot of the chase's these days because I just can't afford to dump as much money into it as would be required for a good chance. But I do have a decent collection to draw upon for play. I think that's more important than the chase figures.

So, how do you contain your bursting collection?

Click on above image for larger view.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Modders concerned over new dial type

Recently a new "oreo style" dial base was announced by Wiz Kids and I have to say it looks pretty sharp. You can see it at Heroclix World (<--click).

I was looking through comments on the article and the Wizkids facebook page and noted that there were two essential concerns with the new dial.

1: Will the cost of boosters go up?

2: How will modders do their thing?

While I understand the first one, I had to double-take on the second. As for the first one, it's been stated that the current intention is for price to remain the same. This may take some negotiation in manufacturing, but it's the intent as of now. I don't know how they'll do that if the dial costs more, but all we can do is wait and see.

Now for the second issue. I've done my own fair share of modding and have even done some figures that friends really enjoyed. Even so, with my own hobby in mind, I have to mention something.

Heroclix was never made with the intent of anyone cutting up figures to make their own figures. It's never been in the rule books or any advertisements. When you read the box it does not say " and you can chop them up to make other people out of them". Nope, that's never been an openly supported venue in any way (advertisement wise). Granted, they haven't said "hey, don't do that!" and I'm sure they've gotten a few sculpt ideas or set ideas from watching. And they have to be watching, it would be silly not to.

Yes, the facebook page allows you to share pics of your mods and there are pages and people selling them, but.... this is the land of copyrights and licensing issues. Modding is being tolerated and shouldn't be pushed.

I guarantee you that new sets are not formed with the idea of "Oooo this will be easy to hack up!" in any way.

So modders, I suggest we wait until we get our hot little hands on them and figure it out then. I suggest we not cry about it before we have all the facts. This is not a function owed to us in the least. It's not what we are paying for or what it's marketed for. Keep it reasonable and don't worry so much, let's just enjoy our game.

Photo is my easy mod of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.