Heroclix HeroClix Rules Review

HeroClix Q&A: Lights… Camera… ACTIONS!

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Understanding how and why various powers work or do not work together is a huge stepping stone on the path to become a good HeroClix player. Since this is intricately tied to the various types of actions a character can take, today we will take a look at the various types of actions and what they entail. This is something that has been covered before, but since then a lot of new powers have seen the light of day and it is more important than ever to understand the basic function of the various types of actions. Let’s begin!

First, let’s take a look at what the rulebook has to say about actions, from page 8 of the 2012 Heroclix rulebook:

TYPES OF ACTIONS There are five types of actions that you can give to a character:

  •  Free action
  • Power action
  • Move action
  • Close combat action
  • Ranged combat action

Each of these action types can be given to a character to activate a specific game effect. A character with two action tokens can’t be given any non-free actions.

So, those are the five types of actions that we will cover today. As an aside, a “non-free action” is just a simpler way to say “any action that is not a free action” or “a Power action, a Move action, a Close Combat action or a Ranged Combat action”.

Let’s begin!

 Move Actions

As the name implies, a Move action allows the character to move. Unless otherwise specified, a character can move up to its speed value, though the speed value can of course be changed through modifications or replacements.

One thing to keep in mind is that not every action where the character moves is a move action. As an example, let’s take a look at Tiger Shark’s Blood in the Water special power:

Now, let’s take a look at Charge from the HeroClix Power and Abilities Card:

As you can see, Charge is a Power action that lets the character move, but that does not make it a “Move action”.   Tiger Shark basically has two options available to him if he wants to move and attack: He can be given a Power action to use Charge, move up to half his speed value and then attack, or he can be given a Move action, move up to his full speed value and then attack if he begins or ends his movement in water terrain. Since the two parts of the power key off of different actions, there is no way to use them simultaneously.

Combat Actions

Up next are the two types of combat actions – since the basic mechanics for both Close Combat actions and Ranged Combat actions are the same, they will have to share this space. The thing to keep in mind is that a (Close/Ranged) Combat action always leads to (Close/Ranged) Combat attack. As an example we have Colossus/Wolverine’s Fastball Special special power:

As you can see, this power is initiated by a Ranged Combat action, which means Colossus/Wolverine are making a Ranged Combat attack. The important thing to realize here is that this initial attack deals normal damage, since the power does not say otherwise – that is a normal part of making a Combat action. If the attack hits, Colossus/Wolverine are then placed next to the target and can attack again – it’s very nasty when you can pull it off!

Another thing to keep in mind is the difference between attacks and actions. A (Close/Ranged) Combat action always lead to a (Close/Ranged) Combat attack, but a (Close/Ranged) Combat attack is not in and of itself a (Close/Ranged) Combat action. Let’s look at plain old Charge again: 

Now, let us compare it to another power that lets you move and attack, Hypersonic Speed:

As you can see, Charge allows the figure to perform a Close Combat action after the movement, while Hypersonic Speed lets you perform a Close Combat attack during the movement. There are a lot of powers that require a Close Combat action to activate, all of which work just fine with Charge (though not necessarily with each other) like Flurry or Exploit Weakness. The Close Combat attack granted by Hypersonic Speed is not enough to activate those powers though. That’s not to say that other powers can’t activate during the attack for Hypersonic SpeedSuper Strength and Steal Energy are examples of powers that would. Both of these powers have an effect that occurs as a part of a Close Combat attack and that would activate should the conditions required arise.

Power Actions

Power actions are hard to describe – the best way to describe them is “an action given to activate a power” – that may be vague but since there are no common themes to power actions it is difficult to describe it. Simply put, when a power requires a Power action you give the action to activate the power, do whatever the power does, and then you are done. Let’s go back to Charge again:

Pretty simple: You give the action, move the figure and then give it a Close Combat action as a Free action. Boom, done. But many other powers with vastly different effects are activated by Power actions – Regeneration and Barrier have very little in common other than the action that activates them, for instance.

Most power combinations involve Move, Close Combat and Ranged Combat actions, so nearly all of the time, something that needs a Power action to activate wouldn’t combine with other powers. Let’s look at Close Combat Expert this time:

While Close Combat Expert includes a Close Combat attack, it is a Power action and not a Close Combat action. And since Charge only lets you perform a Close Combat action at the end of the movement, you can’t use Close Combat Expert during a Charge.

Free Actions

And finally Free actions… a bit of an enigma since Free actions are in a way defined by what they do not do: A Free action does not place an action token on the character. If you look back at Charge (I don’t need to give you the text again, do I?), you see that the Close Combat action is given “as a free action”, which simply means that you do not give the character an action token for the Close Combat action – though the character is still given an action token for the power action to activate Charge.


While actions activate a lot of powers and effects in HeroClix, there are some effects that aren’t activated by any action at all(!) – the most common example would be Probability Control:

There is no action mentioned in the text, so Probability Control is not an action of any kind. What is it then? Well, there is no defined term for it – call it an “effect” if you like. It doesn’t really need to be an action since it is clear when it happens anyway – you can use Probability Control when you make a dice roll on your turn, or when your opponent makes a dice roll on his turn.

Well, that was a lot to go through so I think it is enough for today, don’t you think? If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Rules team on!

-Rules Representative: Hans “Quebbster” Josefson