Categories
Galactic Guardians Heroclix Preview

Praetor of the Empire!

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

For today’s Marvel HeroClix: Galactic Guardians Annihilators Fast Forces pack preview, we highlight the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard’s praetor, Gladiator!

Gladiator can be played at either 200 points or 100 points. If Gladiator is played at 100 points, he begins his dial on click four.  At either point level, Gladiator begins with a special power in his damage slot that represents how his power level is tied to his confidence. This special power, My Confidence is Your Downfall, modifies Gladiator’s combat values by +1 and gives him the Power Cosmic team ability if a friendly character has not been KO’d during the game.

On Gladiator’s first two clicks, he has the useful combination of Charge and Super Strength to allow him rush in for a close combat attack and pick up an object on the way to his target. Defensively, Gladiator’s Strontian physiology is represented via Impervious on his first two clicks.

Gladiator retains Super Strength for a third click but gives up Charge in favor of Flurry for his next three clicks. For those same three clicks, he changes up his defensive strategies and utilizes Invulnerability instead of Impervious.

As Gladiator moves into the last three clicks of his dial, his confidence level begins to drop and Invulnerability makes way for Toughness. However, all is not lost as Gladiator switches to Plasticity in his movement slot to make it difficult for opposing characters to flee (or make it easier for Gladiator to retreat and regroup). Steal Energy on Gladiator’s last three clicks helps him regain some strength to keep fighting!

With a range of six, steady combat values, and a handful of useful keywords (Annihilators, Cosmic, Shi’ar, Ruler, and Warrior), Gladiator makes a great and versatile addition to any force!

We hope you enjoyed today’s preview! Join us on Wednesday for our next Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Movie preview as we visit with a swashbuckling swordsman who is as dashing as Errol Flynn!

Categories
HALO Heroclix Preview

Battle Rifles at the Ready!

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Today we continue our HALO HeroClix preview series with a pair of hardened fighting men from the UNSC beginnning with the Spartan (Battle Rifle)!

The Spartan (Battle Rifle) manuevers onto the battlefield taking aim at the enemy thanks to some early-dial Running Shot.  Combined with the UNSC team ability on all UNSC figures, coordinate your actions so that the Spartan (Battle Rifle) can take full advantage of friendly figures with this team ability, or position him just right after a Running Shot action so that another figure on your force can utilize it!

Mid- to late-dial the Spartan (Battle Rifle) also picks up his Scoped Shot special power which allows him to receive a +2 bonus to his ranged attack rolls when he has no tokens and is given a power action! Talk about careful aim!

Initially Toughness helps protect the Spartan (Battle Rifle) from harm but late-dial this is replaced by Willpower as the Spartan (Battle Rifle) demonstrates the tenacity the UNSC forces are known for!

Lastly, the Spartan (Battle Rifle) adds two to your Grenade pool and has access to the Frag and Thermite Grenade types himself.  All in all, for 70 points the Spartan (Battle Rifle) is a tidy package of good powers and consistent combat values for your force!

Next up we have the Master Chief (Battle Rifle)!

The Master Chief (Battle Rifle) begins play with his Soften Them Up special power, allowing him to throw a Grenade and, if he successfully hits one or more targets, the Master Chief (Battle Rifle) may then make a ranged combat attack against one of those targets hit by the attack! An intial click of Outwit also allows the Master Chief (Battle Rifle) to potentially get the most of his attacks as he counters powers on the opposition, or he can instead support another figure’s actions with it instead.

Early-dial Invulnerability helps protect the Master Chief (Battle Rifle) from harm, while mid-dial Toughness takes over the damage reduction-duties.  Finally, late-dial Willpower and Outwit continue to allow the Master Chief (Battle Rifle) to demonstrate how dangerous he is on the battlefield.

The UNSC team ability and the ability to add two to your Grenade pool, combined with his combat values and power selection make the Master Chief (Battle Rifle) an attractive addition to your force at only 98 points!

That’s all we have for today but we’ll continue our HALO HeroClix previews later this week in preparation for the release on September 28th! Until then, keep your Clix off their K.O.’s!

Categories
Heroclix Preview Superman

The Eradicator!

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Today we preview a oft misunderstood heir to the Kryptonian legacy.  Perhaps his methods are a bit extreme, maybe his sense of justice is a touch cold, but at the end of the day no one hounds evil-doers like this guy! We are pleased to present the Eradicator!

The Eradicator begins play doggedly pursuing villainy as he manuevers the battlefield via Running Shot.  His Penetrating/Psychic Blast allows him to bypass the defenses of his foes as he fires his concussive blasts from 7 (or fewer) squares away! Since he possesses the Superman Ally team ability, the Eradicator ignores hindering terrain for line of fire purposes so neither Stealth nor the terrain bonus will help his enemies once the Eradicator has their range!

Mid-dial the Eradicator switches tactics and exchanges Running Shot for Hypersonic Speed and he also gains Steal Energy (a useful power for staying on those clicks where mobility and versatility are arguably at their highest!).  The Eradicator’s ruthless means are further demonstrated by Exploit Weakness as he demonstrates his cold brand of justice!  The combintion of Steal Energy and Exploit Weakness is particularly useful since he is sure to always deal damage (and as a result, heal) to his opponents.

Towards the end of his dial, the Eradicator can attack multiple foes simulaneously with Energy Explosion, or he can heal via his Regeneration standard power.  Either way, the Eradicator is going to be useful on his late-dial as he finds new and exciting ways to stymie his foes!

Initially, the Eradicator relies on his Shape Change to confuse his foes, and his Kryptonian Clone, Computer Mind special power protects him from damage for most of his dial.  This special power grants the use of both Super Senses and Toughness, combining two great powers that work well together.

And what’s this? The Eradicator also possesses a Trait as well that will definitely increase his playability further! However, by decree of the Kryptonian High Council we are forbidden to share that information with you at this time! Both the Eradicator’s Trait and his bio must remain a secret…for now!

That’s all we have for today, but be sure to join us on Friday as we spotlight the architect of Coast City’s destruction and a fearsome enemy to both Superman and the Green Lantern Corps! Until then, keep your clix off their K.O.’s!

 

 

 

Categories
Announcements Heroclix Preview

House of M

Happy Day HeroClix’ers!

When I was asked to begin reviewing figures for the GSX preview schedule, one name shot out over all others.  One name, synonymous with Mutantkind and its struggles: Magneto! (click on image below)

The Master of Magnetism is BACK and he’s taking no prisoners.  Magneto is a formidable piece whether he’s manuevering his allies into position or simply blasting away at his foes.   His Magnetic Field Trait ensures that he’s always a hard target from ranged attacks, and if he’s placed in a square containing debris,  he receives an additional +1 to all of his combat values! Lastly, Magneto is also able to carry up to four of friendly figures with this trait, allowing for superior battlefield positioning!

Magneto’s Magnetic Mastery special power enables him to either use Telekinesis twice, and if he uses Option 3 (attacking with an object), he increases the damage dealt by 2!

Magneto’s tricks don’t end there though! His Magnetic Shield special power grants him Toughness as well as causing opposing figures to halve their range values when they target him with a ranged attack!

And on top of all that, his array of standard powers and combat values ensure that the Master of Magnetism will foil your foes at every turn!  Combine him with figures that are willing to smash through a few walls or destroy some Blocking Terrain and Magneto will set bet set up nicely to dominate the battlefield!

That’s all we have for today, and I hope you are all as excited as I am! Join us next week as we continue our GSX previews!!!  And if your lucky enough to attend Clixathon this weekend, be sure to say “Hi” to Justin and see what other GSX goodies he has to share! (I know I’ll be there!)

Categories
Announcements Heroclix Preview

Web of Spider-Man Previews Are Here!

It’s almost July, and we’re approaching one of those sweet moments that only pops up a few times each year.  Instead of toiling behind the scenes developing and producing HeroClix sets, we get to trot out our new toys and share them with the world.  Today,I’m going to take you into our thought process as we explore Marvel HeroClix: Web of Spider-Man for the first time.

First, I feel compelled to mention that a HeroClix set is quite the undertaking.

Before the first figurative chisel strikes the stone, we spend weeks, sometime months developing our concepts and fire-testing them.  We think, discuss, debate, revise,and iterate a great deal, trying to arrive at the best product that we can.  When we decide on what to release and when, there are lots of potential puzzle pieces in play.

One driver of set’s possible theme is the fanbase.  We listen to what people want and keep track of teams and figs that seem to be gaining in popularity.  We can unlock a good amount of untapped potential by linking the fan’s ideas and concepts together. Our vocal, passionate, active fan-base is a huge asset for market research. Our licensors also give us great tips on upcoming editorial (storylines), and include us in their long-lead planning processes.  This allows us to “ride shotgun” with their marketing efforts, and also, because of the sheer volume of new sculpts we do each year, gives us the ability to dig deeply into hot new comics.  The Blackest Night and Brightest Day storylines jump out as great, current examples of this.  Our Secret Invasion Booster Release stands as perhaps the deepest testament of this styleof release-planning to date.  Doing booster releases alongside our licensing partners is an exciting, frenetic process that lets us do hot, new stuff.

A set like Brave & The Bold was built around a “mechanical” hook.  In addition to the fans or licensors driving a set’s theme, we can look at a game concept or thematic element to build to lay as a set’s foundation.  This style of set allows for a greater freedom in character selection, and with a set like Brave & The Bold, gives us the option to link a lot of iconic, well-known characters together.  There exists a deep resevoir of potential mechanical hooks to explore in Clix. Other potential drivers of product’s theme could include:

  • Big media events (they’ve made a few comic movies and television shows over the past few years…)
  • Thematic hooks (think villains in Arkham Asylum or Sinister or cosmics in Supernova)
  • Promotional opportunity (think City of Heroes figures or our immensely popular FCBD figures)
  • Other (I’m just teasing you here.  We have a few other tricks up our sleeves…)

Earlier this year, we took a different path on a release.  We chose one character, and developed almost an entire set around him.  The lightning crashed and the thunder rolled, and Marvel HeroClix: Hammer of Thor arrived with an impressive bang.  In the past HeroClix has fleshed out sets on larger, team-driven themes, but Hammer was our first gamble at putting all of our chips on one character.  Thor’s universe was largely unmined in Clix form, and we were able to deliver the high-pointed, godly figures of the Thor universe (a subtle mechanical hook).  Thor has done really well (thanks!), and as we saw how well the experiment was going it made us think. Perhaps the “Hammer of…” model would be an interesting set theme to apply to select sets.  In this model, it becomes critical to hit the major characters from the figure’s corner of their universe.  But on top of that constraint, you guys are Clix fans.  You want to see the figures that no other game can deliver.

With Hammer of Thor, I think we did a great job of showcasing the Thors, Lokis, and Warriors Three of the Thor-verse, but we also had great niche characters like Fenris Wolf, Rock Trolls, and Fire Demons that probably wouldn’t appear in a non-Thor-themed set. I have a few whiteboards hanging in my office that have lists of characters that have the ability theme a “Hammer of…” set around.  There are some really interesting options on those whiteboards.  The most striking of the batch centered around one character in particular.  He just happened to be one of the most popular characters in comic history, which helps, too.

Yes, Marvel HeroClix: Web of Spider-Man began its official R&D life as “Hammer of Spider-Man.”  The Spider-Man universe is IMMENSE.  His rogue’s gallery has more members than a gym on January 2nd.  He has a huge collection of friends, associates, rivals, foes, bosses, ex-bosses, family members, and teammates.  Early on in the set development process, it became clear that we had a wealth of great options for characters to put into WoS.  The trick was deciding which ones made the cut. With this set, my two Spider-Man-specific goals were similar to the Thor goals I listed above:

  1. Make sure we hit the nucleus of the Spider-Man universe.  We needed to capture the main stars of the universe or “the needs.”
  2. Include some of the fringe characters that fans want, but specifically make sense only in a Spider-Man-themed set

Today, I have two sneak peaks of figs for you to look at, one from each category.  First up, I have a “need.”  If you’re going to do a Spider-Man set, you got to have representatives on the Symbiote front.  Fans have been bugging (okay, asking) me for a new Carnage since I began working on Clix years ago.  Web of Spider-Man includes a powerhouse version of Cletus Kasady that is sure to guarantee “maximum carnage.”  Equipped with a vicious Special “Symbiote Blade,” Carnage is a worthy adversary.  Next up on my preview board is another fan-demanded piece that conveniently happens to be from the Spider-verse.

Wow, that sculpt is a real shocker!  All bad puns aside, what a breath-taking sculpt and paint for this awesome frie-nemy of Spider-Man.  While Carnage is a top-line Spider enemy with a couple of major cross-over stories under his belt, Cardiac has a slightly longer and more nuanced relationship with our favorite webhead.  He’s a perfect example of the supporting cast that makes Spider-Man’s world so rich and interesting. I can’t wait to show you more figs from the set, and in my next article, we’ll get into one of the meaty mechanics that makes Web truly innovative.

Until next time,

Jake

Categories
Announcements

Checkmate!

Welcome back to part two of a preview-filled week of DC HeroClix: Brave & The Bold!

Today, we have a couple more sneak peaks for you, as well as a special update on our exciting, new Brave & The Bold Organized Play kits (featured in separate post for easy reading).  Our primary preview explores some uncharted game design space that I have touched on in previous articles.  With Brave & The Bold, I wanted the R&D team to try their hand at coming up with Special Powers that encouraged players to think about their collections in new and interesting ways.  Let’s talk about why I made this a priority.

Thinking critically about HeroClix (or most CMGs for that matter), you can deduce certain advantages and disadvantages to the platform.  One advantage of HeroClix is that when you’re not playing the game, you still have awesome sculpted figures that show off your favorite comic book characters.  The product works whether you’re gaming or not.  Batman can sling batarangs across a HeroClix map, or he can bring joy to me by hanging out on my office desk.

When I’m not playing a board game, it just sits in its box.  The magic is confined until I open up and play the game.  How many times have you seen someone display parts to a board game or a screen shot to a video game?  Our game is fun to play, and you have awesome little totems that show off your love of comics.  My Crisis Black Adam is a beast both in terms of game play and sheer cool factor.  When I look over to my bookshelf and see Black Adam smugly staring back at me, arms folded, I get additional joy outside of any game played.   This is a giant advantage over many other game platforms.

One advantage and disadvantage of HeroClix is that when I’m playing a standard-length game, I only use a small percentage of my collection.  I may own a hundred figures, but if I’m playing a 300-point game, I may only need two.  Conveniently, Black Adam and DC HeroClix: Origin Booster Gold add up to a clean 300 points…win!

This is great for a starting player.  The number of pieces that I need to start playing is pretty manageable.  Additionally, I could give my brother/nephew/neighbor a handful of extra commons and have him start clicking away in no time.  For someone tasked with Brand Development, this is a windfall.  I have heard horror stories of other people trying to get their friends into minis games, and two years later they’ve acquired, assembled, painted, re-painted, and amassed hundreds of dollars of figures.  After all of this, they’re just ready to dip their toe into the water.  Could you imagine years of preparation to play a game?  With HeroClix, you can have fun and learn the game with a Starter and a few boosters.  We’ll even paint the minis for you.  What a deal!

The disadvantage of this low set-up requirement for the game is that while you’re playing, a good amount of your collection remains dormant.  While Black Adam is cracking heads and Booster Gold is cracking wise, I have an “Out of the Shadows” Batman and a Bizarro waiting patiently on the sidelines for their chance to play, too.  By having R&D develop a handful of Special Powers that shake up traditional force-building, we can make larger parts of your collection more relevant.  The Alter Ego characters that we previewed last week give players an option to transform one piece into another.  This is relevant and flavorful in terms of comic books, and feels like a great mechanic for a small subset of iconic characters.  You have the ability to use multiple pieces from your collection, even though the build requirements may remain limiting.

Are Special Powers the only tool we have to achieve this goal?  No.  By including characters that complete or add to existing teams we also can provide more reasons for you to dig through your collection for more gaming options.

Today’s previews use both of these concepts, and they also earn extra credit for being interesting non-unique pieces that foster army building as a gameplay option.

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The “Battlefield Promotion” Special Power featured on the Checkmate Pawns began in design as “Level-Up.”  I’ll be the first to admit that Checkers is not a great game, but it features one of the best game mechanics of all-time.  By navigating through the enemy’s defenses and eliminating their pieces, my brave little checker can become, yes, a KING!  Saying “King me!” as a young checker-playing lad was a great feeling.  Any RPG player or MMO player can attest to the excitement and feelings of achievement gained from reaching a new level.

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We knew early on that the Alter Ego mechanic had quite a bit of upside, but do to the strong flavor association to the power, we only wanted to use it in very small doses.  A leveling mechanic could provide players with options that would allow them to use larger portions of their collection, but could be used on simpler “army level” characters.  Both mechanics involve transformation, but in two strikingly different ways.

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When we knew “Level-Up” would be interesting in terms of playability, R&D was tasked with providing character options to sync up to the mechanic.  Checkmate Pawns were submitted as an early option, and thematically, they seemed a great choice.  If you don’t know a great deal about Checkmate, you can click here to level up your knowledge on them.  While there’s a bit of mixing of metaphors with Checkers and Chess here, it remains appropriate comic-wise (and metaphor-wise) for a Pawn to rise through the ranks of Checkmate and become a higher-level agent (or Knight, in this case).  Just think about a plucky pawn making its way to a promotion in the back row of a chessboard.

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Additionally, I mentioned that team-building provided a great resource for those wanting to use larger portions of their collection.  With Amanda Waller, Count Vertigo, and Thinker all in Arkham Asylum, building out the Checkmate team seemed like a natural extension.  Like the Parademons, Checkmate Agents were featured near HeroClix’s beginning (Hypertime), and these new exciting executions breathe second-life into one of my favorite clandestine operations.

Until next time,

Jake “King Me!” Theis