It’s your old pal, Jake Theis, here to dish out a second helping of Marvel HeroClix: Web of Spider-Man previews!
Before we get down to the business at hand, I have to say “Thanks” to all of the wonderful HeroClix fans. Last weekend at the 2010 Origins Game Fair, Marvel HeroClix: Hammer of Thor was voted by the people as the Best Minis Release of the Year. I’m extremely proud of Hammer, and what the whole WizKids/NECA team was able to accomplish. Beyond a sincere thank you to our awesome fans, I’d like to extend a special thanks to Chas, Lax, Justin, Eric, Drew, Bryan, Kelly, James S., James V., Brian D., Ben, Bryan K., Will, Seth, the two Tinas, Rollie, Wade, Tiffany, Andre, Becky, Mat, Darrel, Sarah, Mizuho, Shane, Steve, our team in China, and the dozens of other people that I’m sure that I forgot. Thanks, everyone! It took years to release to the public, but it was worth the wait.
Funny enough, I think Web of Spider-Man is just as good, perhaps even better than Hammer of Thor. As exciting as winning an award for our game design was, I imagine repeating next year will be even sweeter. Well, what do you say we look at some previews?
In my post last week, I showed off two new figs from Web, Cardiac and Carnage. Given the fantastic reaction that I received on FaceBook and through email, I think we chose two good figs to start off the previews. How do you top those two figures? Well, today, I’m going to show you FOUR figures!
Why show you four figures? Today’s preview article (and I hope the others that I write as well) is intended to give you a look through our eyes as we create a HeroClix set from the ground up. Last week, I illustrated how a set’s theme is selected, and the “blue sky” thought-process that goes into initial set design. Once we arrive at a theme, a new set of challenges and opportunities await the design team. We know what theme we want to explore, but we need to make the setlist sing.
When we put a set together, there are many constraints that we intentionally put on ourselves to optimally develop our setlist and tune our character assortment-
- First, we want a large percentage of the set to deliver on the selected theme. Ideally, some “on-theme” characters are iconic pillars of their comic universe, and others are niche characters that people have nostalgia for and want to see in plastic form. In Hammer of Thor, we knew we needed a Loki (or three), but we also wanted characters like Pip the Troll and the Fenris Wolf.
- We include several build-able teams wholly contained within the set. Players should have access to new combinations of figures and new team-building alternatives with each release.
- A blend of characters from current editorial storylines and classic content are included in each set to appeal to hardcore comic collectors as well as more casual fans.
- We try to update characters that have been out-of-print or long-desired by fans, when possible.
- Finally, a directive that I feel strongly about is developing inter- and intra-set connections. I want players to find cool connectivity between prior figures that we’ve created as well as with other pieces that you find in the booster set itself. The Minion mechanic in (the award-winning, alright I had, too) Hammer of Thor and the Alter Ego Special Powers in B&B were popular explorations of intra-set connectivity. Completing the Fearsome Five would be an example of cross-set or inter-connectivity in our last booster release. In an odd way, “Silver Bullet” figures (characters that offset certain strategies for new readers) offer inter-connectivity as well.
With these cornerstones laid, we attempt to build a setlist, typically reviewing and revising a set document around a dozen times until each figure chosen adds a unique twist. As we review the doc, certain characters get bolded, cementing their status as future HeroClix figures. Upon our first pass through the Web setlist, we realized a shocking truth. The most important character in our set may not be Spider-Man.
It became evident that Web of Spider-Man secretly was really about Norman Osborn. Only a character as diabolical as Norman Osborn could hijack a setlist. All kidding aside, in 2010, Norman provides just as many, perhaps more pieces of context than Spider-Man, himself. The bristle-haired big cheese forms important links throughout the HeroClix Universe.
Need some proof?
- Green Goblin (and his alter ego, Norman) is the iconic nemesis of our set’s titular hero. We couldn’t have a Spidey set without the Goblin, who also had yet to be updated with spiffy new Special Powers. Paying off a new twist on Alter Ego and with all-new Special Abilities, the Goblin injects a meanstreak into Web.
- Norman is also both classic and modern, first appearing decades ago, but also front-and-center in the top Marvel storyline of 2010- Siege, appearing as the Iron Patriot
- Following the mega-storyline Civil War, Norman re-formed the Thunderbolts. This provides set inter-connectivity to Hammer of Thor which featured the T-Bolts. Just add Goblins!
- Here’s a juicy Web of Spider-Man spoiler. As Iron Patriot, Norman leads the Dark Avengers into battle (lending even more intra-set connectivity which we’ll show in the coming weeks).
- Also from the recent editorial, Norman is the Director of H.A.M.M.E.R., his twisted new vision of S.H.I.E.L.D. With Norman in the set and with R&D wanting to deliver some good simple minions, it became an easy pitch to include agents of H.A.M.M.E.R. to support the wiley Osborn.
Judging by the amount of associated previews, you can tell that in Web, Norman is the man. He’s the hub out of which this set spokes. If we included a preview of each character in the set that you could draw a link to Norman, I could quit writing preview articles later this week. What would we talk about then? Maybe his links to dozens of other characters from other recent ‘Clix releases…
Well, I hope you liked the quadruple serving of previews today. Next time around, we’re going to keep exploring Web, but focus on a team making its debut in the ‘Clix Universe. Start your guessing… now!