Greetings HeroClix Fans!
Today we are very pleased to begin a week of special sneak-peeks into the next DC HeroClix set, Batman! Arriving in stores everywhere this fall, and coinciding with the release of the next HeroClix Storyline event, DC HeroClix: No Man’s Land, DC HeroClix: Batman introduces the next big game mechanic for HeroClix: Vehicles.
We know fans are very excited about Vehicles in HeroClix, and these special pieces are definitely going to be the driving (ha! get it?) force behind some special strategies, tricks, and tactics in the months to come after release. However, before we take a look at a vehicle from the set, let’s take a moment and familiarize ourselves with the game play mechanics of Vehicles so that we have a better idea of what they will bring to your HeroClix game.
So, what exactly is a Vehicle?
A Vehicle is a HeroClix character marked with the <Steering Wheel> defense symbol. Vehicles can be played in one of two modes, Autopilot and Piloted (defined below), each with its own point value. As with figures with multiple starting lines and/or point values, you must choose which mode the vehicle will be played in when building your force.
A Vehicle can use the Carry ability, but does not modify its speed value by -2 and can carry up to the maximum number of friendly characters indicated on the vehicle’s base next to the <Standing Man> symbol. When using the Carry ability, Vehicles ignore the combat symbols of friendly characters. (Pretty much any friendly character can ride in a Vehicle.)
Vehicles can use Improved Movement: Hindering Terrain and Characters. (Easy enough, Vehicles run over terrain that would slow down a character, as well as characters. Vehicles can make ranged combat attacks against opposing characters to whom it can draw a line of fire, even when it is adjacent to an opposing character. (Much like a colossal figure, Vehicles can shoot out of adjacency.) A Vehicle can’t be dealt damage through the Mastermind power.
Now let’s have a look at the two ways to play a Vehicle: Autopiloted and Piloted.
When a vehicle in Autopilot mode is given an action, after actions resolve, if the vehicle made an attack during that action, deal it 1 unavoidable damage. (Pretty simple, if a vehicle makes an attack, it takes a of click damage. In this mode, a Vehicle acts as an independent character on your force, just like any other figure.)
A friendly character adjacent to a Vehicle in Piloted mode can be given a free action to become the Vehicle’s Pilot, that is unless the character is another Vehicle or can use Battle Fury (which makes sense: a Vehicle can’t drive a Vehicle, no Battle Fury helps prevent “road rage”. Beyond that, any adjacent friendly character can be the pilot.) A Vehicle in Piloted mode may only have one Pilot at a time. A character who becomes a vehicle’s Pilot is removed from the battlefield and placed on the vehicle’s character card; all of a pilot’s powers and abilities are ignored, unless a game effect specifies it activates when the character is a Pilot. (As per normal HeroClix rules, a character off the battlefield can’t affect the battlefield. However, there are some Vehicle effects that will allow a Pilot to use its abilities. More on that in a bit.)
When a character becomes its Pilot, the Vehicle may not be given an action until your next turn. (Safety first; the Pilot has to buckle up.) A Vehicle may also possess additional traits called Pilot Abilities. When a Pilot matches any prerequisite listed for a pilot ability, the vehicle possesses that trait. (This is the bit that will allow a Vehicle to use a Pilot’s powers and abilities. We will look at one of these traits when we look at a Vehicle below. It is important to note that if there are multiple prerequisites, and the Pilot meets them all, the Vehicle can use them all.)
A vehicle’s pilot can eject from the vehicle and return to the battlefield by giving the vehicle a free action, as long as the character did not become the vehicle’s pilot during the same turn. When a pilot ejects, place the character in a square adjacent to the vehicle (or the closest unoccupied square it can legally occupy); the character may not be given a non-free action this turn and it may not be given an action to become this vehicle’s pilot again this turn.
The time between a character becoming a Pilot and being ejected is called a Trip. During a game, different characters may take a trip in a given vehicle. The same character might take multiple trips with a Vehicle. Once per Trip, the Vehicle may be given a free action to replace its combat values with any or all of the combat values of its pilot. (Need a higher attack, defense or damage that the Pilot has? This will help out your Vehicle a bit.) When you do, the Pilot is dealt 1 unavoidable damage at the beginning of your next turn even if it is no longer the Pilot of that Vehicle. (This is the price that must be paid for using this ability.) If the pilot can use Battle Fury, it immediately ejects. (Again,road Rage is unacceptable. Even in HeroClix.)
When a vehicle in Piloted mode does not have a Pilot and is given a non-free action, after actions resolve, deal it 1 unavoidable damage. (As with an Unpiloted Vehicle, there is only so much a Vehicle can do with remote control. However, it is important to note that while an Unpiloted Vehicle takes damage after an action that results in an attack, a Piloted Vehicle without a Pilot takes damage after any non-free action.)
So what happens to a Vehicle that is K.O.’ed? It becomes a Wrecked Vehicle, which has its own game effects. Let’s have a look:
When a Vehicle is knocked out, it is Wrecked. A Wrecked Vehicle is defeated but its figure remains on the battlefield; all of its powers, abilities, and values are ignored and it is considered an Ultra Heavy Object until the end of the game. (As you can imagine, a destroyed Vehicle doesn’t just disappear. So it becomes an object that can only be lifted by figures with Super Strength and are over 100 points, and modifies damage by +3.) If a Vehicle has a Pilot when it is wrecked, the Pilot immediately ejects into a square of its controller’s choosing and is dealt 1 unavoidable damage. (Getting thrown out of a blowing up Vehicle probably smarts after all.)
So what about the bit where a Vehicle ignores characters for movement? What kind of extra benefit is there for this on a Vehicle?
Some vehicles have the Ram combat ability:
Give this character a move action; it may only move along a straight horizontal or vertical path and it can’t change its orientation. (Easy enough: go straight in the direction the vehicle is pointing and it can’t turn.) After actions resolve, make a close combat action as a free action that targets all opposing characters that were moved through. (Some people can dodge an oncoming Vehicle, some can’t.) Each hit character is dealt this character’s damage value and deal this character 1 unavoidable damage for each 100 points of characters dealt damage during the movement. (For example: the vehicle we will look at starts with a printed 3 damage. So each hit character is dealt 3 damage. And this Vehicle takes 1 unavoidable damage for each 100 points of characters hit. Hitting a lot of characters or a really big one is bound to dent a fender.)
Now we have an idea of the rules of a Vehicle, let’s take a look at one of them, shall we? Let’s start with perhaps the most iconic vehicle in the DC Universe, the Batmobile! (click on image to enlarge)
Batmobile, like all vehicles, can be played two ways: in Autopiloted mode, which will cost 64 points to add to your force, or Piloted at 119 points. Both versions have the Batman Family, Gotham City, or Vehicle keywords. Being able to avoid hindering terrain for movement, as per the vehicle rules, will allow the Batmobile to utilize its Batman Ally team ability to block line of fire to it, without worrying about modifying its speed value.
The Autopiloted Batmobile begins play with a special power called Bat-Tracer that allows the Batmobile to modify its attack by +1 for each time the target character has taken damage from an attack this turn. Protecting the Batmobile from counter attack is its holocromatic camouflage (Shape Change) allowing it the potential to avoid attacks, and its armored body (Toughness) providing some damage reduction. On its second click, Batmobile gains a long run of Flurry, allowing it to make two close combat actions for one action.
MId-dial, both Shape Change and Toughness leave the dial as the Batmobile picks up a small run of Energy Shield/Deflection. Next we see some special powers alternating on the dial as Bat-Tracer departs for now and Targeted EMP shows up. The Targeted EMP special power allows the Batmobile to use Outwit, but only targeting characters with the Armor, Robot or Vehicle keyword.
End-dial Targeted EMP is replaced by Bat-Tracer, which can be a large asset on this part of the dial, as the Batmobile has reached the lowest attack values on its dial. As the Batmobile has a 0 range, Combat Reflexes will be a welcome addition to the rest of its dial.
The Autopiloted Batmobile possesses the <Standing Man> 4 symbol, allowing it to transport up to four of your figures around the map, all without the normal -2 penalty to movement from a normal character’s Carry ability.
The Piloted version of the Batmobile, at 119 points, brings something a little different to your force. The Batmobile begins play with a special power called Look Out! It’s Batman! which allows the Batmobile to use Charge and the Ram ability. When it uses the Ram ability, modify the attack value of up to three hit characters by -1 until the beginning of your next turn. This power will give the Batmobile some move and attack options for nearly half of its dial. A few opening clicks of the Targeted EMP again allows the use of Outwit against characters with the Armor, Robot and Vehicle keywords, and Toughness will provide a bit of damage reduction for the first third of its dial.
Mid-dial, Toughness is replaced by Shape Change, and the Batmobile trades its move-and-attack special power for Flurry. Near the end of its dial, the Batmobile gives up Shape Change for Combat Reflexes for the rest of its dial.
The Batmobile has a 4 range, as well as the keywords and Batman Ally team ability mentioned above. The Batmobile possesses consistent combat values, but again a Pilot can be given a free action to let the Batmobile use some or all of its combat values, for a click of unavoidable damage.
We mentioned Piloted Abilities in the description of what a Vehicle can do, and the Batmobile has two:
The first is called Familiar Controls. It has the following prerequisites to use it: the Pilot must have the Batman Ally team ability or Batman Family keyword. When the Batmobile replaces its combat values with the combat values of its pilot, modify any replaced combat value by +1. This can go a long way to improve the already decent values of the Batmobile.
The second Piloted Ability is called Batcomputer Link. The prerequisites for its use are: the Pilot must be named Alfred Pennyworth, Batman, Red Robin, Robin, or Nightwing. For one of these figures as the Pilot, the Batmobile can use any standard damage power possessed by its pilot.
Keep in mind that any friendly figure can be made the Pilot of the Batmobile, you just get the greatest “Batmobile for your buck” when you use #001 Batman or #017 Robin.
As you can see, Vehicles are going to add a whole new level of strategic and tactical play to your HeroClix games, and introduces a mechanic long-awaited by fans! That is all for today, but be sure to come back later this week as we continue our special sneak-peeks into DC HeroClix: Batman. We continue by turning a spotlight on Gotham City’s most eligible bachelor, and then even later in the week we follow up with a new game mechanic introduced in the 2012 rulebook– Wait, what’s that? It sounds like…Bats?