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Heroclix Lord Of The Rings New Games Preview

Design Corner – Lord of the Rings HeroClix

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Seth Johnson who served as Designer for Lord of the Rings HeroClix.  While we didn’t confine him to Barud-Dur, he was willing to nonetheless share some details about the project, and we are happy to share them with you all today!

What were the design challenges and opportunities presented by LotR?

The first challenge was to keep my excitement under control when I found out we were going to bring Lord of the Rings to HeroClix.  But as I always do when tying characters and story to game mechanics, I try to find the biggest challenge involved and turn it into the biggest opportunity.  For Lord of the Rings, the biggest challenge was capturing the sheer scope of the thing. It would have been easy enough to put together some dials for the Fellowship so that HeroClix players could recreate Weathertop or Minas Tirith. More challenging was to capture the larger arc of the Fellowship’s journey, and the moments where they found themselves in the middle of massive battles–but still playing a critical part.

The Lord of the Rings is an epic adventure, and Lord of the Rings HeroClix demanded to be equally epic.  “Epic” was our challenge, but it also became the opportunity I exploited as often as possible.

What are epic battles?

Epic battles are HeroClix battles with build totals between 400 and 1000 points.

When designing HeroClix figures in the past, it’s always been with an eye toward 300-point battles. Still, the best part about the game is that the sky is the limit: if players want to play games with higher build totals, they can! But we had never really done much to support those larger battles in the past. Lord of the Rings HeroClix and epic battles was our chance to start giving players some fun and unique opportunities in those big battles–things like epic actions and epic abilities.

How do the epic actions work?

Epic actions are a special kind of action forces get only in epic battles, and they can be given to characters only to make use of epic abilities.

Epic abilities are game-changers, with effects that can really help shape the course of a battle– the secret to how a little hobbit can play a critical part in the middle of a thousand soldiers. In fact, they’re so formidable that you only get one epic action per turn, so you can only use one epic ability per turn, no matter how many characters on your force might have them available.

Though they use the familiar mechanics of actions and abilities, it’s important to note that you can’t use the normal actions you get each turn (or those generated by powers like Leadership) to fuel an epic ability. Similarly, you can’t use your epic action to power up Quake or Support. When you use an epic action, epic things happen!

(Epic abilities are noted with the “Book” symbol on both the Character’s Card and Dial)

We’ve heard about “Horde tokens”, can you tell us what these are?

Once we were using epic abilities to make sure our heroes (and villains) were playing critical roles during the battle, we needed to make the battlefield feel like Middle-Earth, crowded with throngs of knights, orcs, and soldiers. In HeroClix, those types of minor, unnamed characters are often represented with bystander tokens. But these weren’t bystanders–these were warriors. We could still represent them with tokens–but they needed to be EPIC tokens!

At first glance, horde tokens look like bystander tokens. On its own, a horde token is a round cardboard token with a single slot of combat values and powers. Kind of like how a single orc isn’t too terrifying. But a group of orcs–that’s when they start to get scary. (click on images to enlarge!)

 

Players have sometimes hesitated to play large groups of tokens in the past. They were too fragile, and just too darn unwieldy. Horde tokens solve that problem by stacking. Want to move a big group of horde tokens across the battlefield quickly? Stack them up, move them across the battlefield together, and then spread them out to surround their prey. Think a token is fragile, a balloon waiting to be popped? You can take down a stack of horde tokens, but you have to do it one token at a time–suddenly tokens have multiple slots! (Even if they are all the same…)

But the best part of horde tokens are horde abilities. Horde abilities are how a group of orcs are scarier than a single orc–special abilities that can scale with the size of the stack, giving extra distance to a Charge, or increasing the damage they do with an attack. (click on images to enlarge!)

 

Wait—did I say that was the best part of horde tokens? Well, everything I’ve told you about so far is available when ever you play horde tokens. But they have a special ability when played in epic battles. In epic battles, proportional to the battle’s build total, you can actually return some of your defeated horde tokens to the battle, calling up reinforcements! You can’t lean on that ability too hard, because if you only have horde tokens left in the battle, your force is eliminated. But no matter how big the hero, you can bet they’re going to be more nervous than before when they see a token coming across the battlefield toward them! (click on images to enlarge!)

Can you tell us, in broad strokes, what the “Campaign rules” mean for LotR?

I love a good HeroClix battle. But I’ve always wanted the same thing I know a lot of other players do, for one battle to have an effect on the next–to be able to play a campaign of battles. Lord of the Rings HeroClix seemed like a perfect place to explore that idea, to offer a chance to make the epic battles even…epic-er.

The journey of the Fellowship isn’t a single battle. Weathertop runs on to the Mines of Moria continues to Amon Hen and on and on toward the Black Gates and Mordor.  I wanted to give players the tools they needed to recreate those epic battles…and maybe for events to go the other way. To play a campaign of battles where every victory and loss has effects down the road.

Campaign battles are very story-driven, recreating specific moments from the Lord of the Rings, and as such have some requirements. You’ll have to include a couple particular characters in your force during each battle, play on a particular map, follow a couple scenario-specific rules. As always, victory in both individual battles and the campaign as a whole is determined by victory points. But a particularly triumphant victory in a battle will score you a special treasure you can use in a future battle, perhaps a Mithril Shirt or Hammerhand’s Horn. It’s not all the strong getting stronger, though–destiny favors an underdog, and if you lose particularly badly in one battle you’ll get special reinforcements that might put you in an advantageous position at the beginning of the next battle in the campaign.

Did you have a favorite character and/or one that was particularly fun to design?

Of all the characters in the starter, Strider was a lot of fun to design–Aragorn in the days when he still traveled incognito as a ranger and the chieftain of the Dunedain.  It was a lot of fun to make him that warrior from the wild, but also the king in waiting, the man who would guide hobbits on the first dangerous steps of their journey. His “Sword Training” special power will probably help with that, and you’ll get one of your first tastes of epic abilities with his “Leaving Decoys” ability.

Which figure was the most difficult to design?

As with the horde tokens, the biggest challenge was making the meekest characters appropriately effective, keeping hobbits appropriately in the 30-50 point range but still making them characters that can play just as important a part in a victory as more expensive characters.

And then there’s poor Gollum. Or is he Smeagol? Capturing both personalities but keeping both a useful part of your force was a tricky challenge.

Lastly, did you think you ever would have the chance to design a Lord of the Rings (LotR) set?

For the first year I worked at WizKids, I was the lead designer for Mage Knight. When I made the jump over to HeroClix, I thought I was leaving fantasy behind. It’s incredibly exciting to jump head-first back into those waters. For it to be the Lord of the Rings, books I loved as a kid, studied in school, and stood in line to see in the theater…that’s not just fantasy, that’s MY fantasy. It’s a thrill and an honor to bring Middle-Earth to HeroClix, and I’ve worked long and hard to get it right, and to jam-pack the set with an incredible amount of excitement. Heck, there are even new things (the maps and their new mechanics!) we haven’t even touched on yet!

Clear off a big table and stock up on snacks, because the battle for Middle-Earth and a whole lot of fun is about to begin…

Categories
Announcements HeroClix Online New Games Star Trek Expeditions

HeroClix Online Tournament Testing Challenge!

Are you ready to put your skills to the test?! Starting tonight (Tuesday, May 17) at 6 p.m. EST we will be holding hourly tournaments ‘till midnight EST. Challenge opponents while helping the devs test and you can score a White Lantern! 

Our first HCO Tournament Testing Challenge will run hourly between 6 p.m. tonight and 12 a.m. EST May 18 and will consist of a variety of opponents, rounds and point costs. Submit a thorough report on your tournament experience to the dev team at heroclixcontests@icarusstudios.com and you’re automatically entered to win a White Lantern! Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 19th!

To Participate:

To participate, simply jump in game and join a tournament between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. EST and be sure to check out tournament details below.

 Your report should include the following information to be considered:

  • Your In-game User Name
  • Tournament You Participated In (date/time including time zone and format)
  • Detailed Issue Reporting – Tell us about your experience by answering the following six questions. Please feel free to include any additional information on your experience:
  • Were you able to sign up to play in a Tournament?
  • When it was time for you to join your tournament match, how would you rate the ease of use of joining the match? (1-5 with 1 being very difficult and 5 being very hard.)
  • How would you rate the ease of use of the entire tournament system? (1-5 with 1 being very difficult and 5 being very hard)
  • Did you see the standings between rounds and, if so, were they correct?
  • If you were in line to win a prize, did you receive the correct prize?
  • Name the one thing you would change about the tournaments you have experienced

Submit your report within 24 hours of playing in the tournament to heroclixcontests@icarusstudios.com with the subject “HCO Testing Report.” Two winners will be randomly selected from all who participate and submit a full report. Each tournament and report you submit will qualify you for an additional entry. Winners will be announced Thursday, May 27.

In-game prizes will be rewarded for tournaments, however as a reminder any prizes earned in the tournament are only for test purposes as HCO is still in Beta.

Tournament Details

To sign up for a tournament:

1) Sign up during the set sign up time, pay the entry fee (and provide a valid force for Constructed tournaments). If the tournament is already full, you won’t be able to sign up.

2) Be logged in and accept the invite when the first round starts (or in the case of a Sealed tournament, the force-building round).

 3) Join the match that starts.

FAQs:

Can I sign up for a tournament at any time and come back?

Yes, you can sign up at anytime and come back to start the tournament.

Do I need to be logged in when the tournament starts?

Yes, you must be online when the tournament begins or you will automatically lose your match.

Categories
Announcements Giant-Size X-Men Heroclix New Games Press Release

HeroClix News Jan 29th 2011

So much news and so little time to spread the word.  Here are some highlights from the last month.

Giant Sized X-Men – All I can say is WOW.  Pre-sales for the GSX set are trending really high and it is moving quickly (on our side).  Make sure your retailers are in contact with their distributors and ordering appropriately.  I expect to make an announcement shortly.

New Clix Base – I’ve taken the NEW prototype base with me on the road and i am happy to say it has received great reviews.  We’re in the process of seeing how we can incorporate the new base into the product line.  The base cost a bit more than the “H” base or “Cup” base so I can say with certainty that the Oreo base won’t make it into GSX.  Best guess is that it will hit the HeroClix minis line at the end of 2011 (no promises on this one).  For those of you that have the sample base, feel free to share pictures, thoughts and reviews.

Product Replacement – The last of the replacement figures are landing in the warehouse.  I will be posting the replacement policy in the coming weeks.

New Games/Releases – We’ve announce a bunch of new stuff and there is still a few more to go.  In the coming weeks we’ll talk about our summer Marvel and DC sets, reveal more info on our new games and provide some more  detail on a couple in store programs I touched upon in my ICV2 interview.

Green Lantern Movie Figures – Green Lantern figs are on their way and will be distributed in a couple of flavors.  The hobby will get a GL movie 6 pack with maps, dice, and figures (think Fast Forces).  We’re also putting out a gravity feed unit with 24 single figure boosters in broader markets.   We’ll add these to the preview schedule once GSX has released.  This is a micro set in that there are <15 figures in the set.   BTW – All new sculpts on these guys!

That’s it for now.

-Justin

Categories
Announcements Dice Game New Games Press Release Quarriors

WizKids Rolls a “Crit” with Quarriors Dice Building Game

(January 27, 2011-Hillside NJ) – WizKids announced today the addition of the Quarriors Dice Building GameTM to their summer 2011 product release schedule.  Players take on the roles of Quarriors —mighty mystical warriors—who have the power to capture dangerous quarry from the untamed Wilds! They must conjure the mysterious powers of Quiddity, cast powerful spells, and summon their creatures to battle if they hope to overcome rivals and earn their rightful place as the Champion!

The game features 130 custom molded dice, 53 creature and spell cards and everything needed to play for 2 to 4 players.

“Quarriors has the frenetic excitement of a dice battle game,” said co-designer Eric Lang “with an added ‘deckbuilding’ twist: players customize their dice pools during the game using resources generated by their rolls.”

“It takes the best of deckbuilding games without the tedium of shuffling” said Mike Elliott the other co-designer of the game, “take a typical deckbuilding game, add the speed and fun of dice and in 60 minutes you’re on your second or third game trying unique strategies against your opponents.”

“When Mike and Eric first showed us the game we were amazed at how quick it was to set up and play and really get to the strategic elements of the game.  We are excited to continue WizKids tradition of innovating core hobby gaming and believe this will really resonate with players who want to get the most out of a gaming session” said Lax Chandra President of WizKids.

Find us on the web at http://www.WizKidsGames.com/Quarriors or friend us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Wizkids to see the latest developments from Wizkids as they happen!