Normal Distribution – Player’s Guide Update and more

Right off the bat, Heroclix fans will notice are several new sections have been added to the Players’ Guide. This change helps highlight the inclusion of Alternate Team Abilities (ATAs) in the PG as well as acknowledge their greater role in the overall game. Throughout this list of updates, we’ll pepper in some of the various new cards. Please note that while the Marvel ATA downloads are not posted, the information you need to know to play them is contained in the Player’s Guide.

Players will also notice that some items have been removed from the Players Guide. This is due to the inclusion of those elements in the new 2010 Heroclix Core Rulebook. This is all part of our ongoing mission to make the Players Guide as sleek and sexy as possible, as well as easier to use!

Excited? I know I am! So let’s dig on in:

Section 1: Rulebook

In section 1, we’ve added some clarifications regarding Line of Fire and Objects. Multi-Base is the new heading for the section that used to be called “Double-Base.” We’ve also further clarified when the “beginning of turn” ends.

The Line of Fire update can probably use a nice example to illustrate what it’s trying to say. The new rulebook uses a new term called “Intersections” to provide rules for what happens when a line of fire crosses exactly in between 2 diagonal squares. In the example below, Green Lantern can draw a line of fire to Scarecrow, but because it crosses the intersection between hindering terrain and blocking terrain, the line of fire itself is hindered.

On the other hand, Lex Luthor is positioned in a way that pre-Blackest Night would have allowed him to draw a line of fire to Mera. With the new rules for Intersections, this line of fire will be blocked. If Lex tried to draw a line of fire to Scarecrow, it would be blocked by the elevated terrain to the left of Lex. If Lex tried to draw a line of fire to Green Lantern, it would be blocked by the elevated terrain just above Lex. Either one of these squares on their own block the line of fire. Therefore, going through the intersection, the “least forgiving” is still “blocked”.

We’ve removed several items from this section but don’t worry! Again, you will find them in the 2010 Heroclix Core Rules (now available in the Blackest Night starter or online here for download).

Section 2: Powers and Section 3: Abilities

What was once one section is now two! With the Powers and Abilities Card now including all powers and abilities, we felt separating them out among the clarifications made sense.

Most of the changes you see in these sections are things we can remove from the guide because the new PAC covers the issue. In other cases, the rulebook itself covers the issue. For example, the rulebook now states that when a power grants a character a combat symbol “unless specified otherwise, these combat symbols replace the symbols currently possessed by the character.”

In some cases, we removed a bullet from a section that seemed to us, based on the questions we see at events and online just don’t come up anymore. The wording of the mechanics have supported the bullet for a long time, but the information has stayed. We’re making efforts to remove these types of things from the guide (though we’ve got a ways to go). This doesn’t mean that the rule for that item has changed, just that it is already covered. There is still a place in HeroClix documents for this kind of information, but in the future that would belong [Edit by Justin: Norm – you know you’re not supposed to talk about this yet!]

Under the “corrections” banner, Telekinesis has gotten an errata clarifying that the only time break away is needed is when you are TKing a friendly character (Option 2). Break away rolls are not required when you TK an opposing character (though, of course, the attack roll still is).

Of course, the most important change to this section is how we make it clear that there are no longer any characters with the Psychic Blast power! Oh, no. They all have “Penetrating/Psychic Blast” now!!!

Section 4: Characters and Special Powers and Section 5: Special Characters

A few updates to some characters. Many of folks noticed with the Brave and the Bold release, that we finally started spelling Apokolips correctly! In order to make sure that all the nasties from this planet can theme together, errata and clarifications have been issued to correct those with the erroneous Apokalips keyword.

One rules change that will certainly have an effect is a simplification to Dr. Strange’s Wands of Watoomb. Previously, if Dr. Strange was equipped with the Brilliant Tactician feat, he would need to roll a d6 for each character he was targeting with Perplex. Given the direction of some upcoming things and a review of how BT is considered “one use” of Perplex, this has been reversed. One d6 roll determines if Dr. Strange is increasing the target combat values by +1 or +2 and that roll applies to all targeted characters equally.

The other changes in these sections are simple clarifications and/or removing things that have changed or are already covered by the new rulebook.

(I’m not certain if it’s necessary to comment on every section. If not, I think this one could be skipped)

Section 6: Team Abilities

All of the changes in this section are either removing old corrections that have been corrected on the new DC PAC or they bring a corresponding Marvel team ability in sync with the updated DC counterpart. Look forward to this summer when a reissued Fantastic Four Starter Set includes an updated PAC which will include these updates!

Section 7: Alternate Team Abilities

As Alternate Team Abilities are now their own type of card, they no longer belong stuck in with the feats. The mechanics are similar to what you are already used to, though you’ll notice that across the board:
• Prerequisites are gone – ATA cards are assigned based on keywords.
• All team abilities are additional ones that the character gains on top of any team ability they currently possess.
• The cost for most abilities have gone up accordingly, though they are all still a “per character” cost. This rule is clearly listed in the rulebook, so we didn’t feel we needed to spell it out on each and every card.

Given the greater emphasis place on Alternate Team Abilities in the Modern Age format, we thought it best to create a section devoted just to them. And don’t forget that this year, the prize for this year’s King of the Hill Champion at GenCon 2010 includes the right to pick a non-generic keyword and work with WizKids to design an ATA of your choosing (subject to licensor approval and game design feedback).

Section 8: Battlefield Conditions

Some rulings were made for a number of BFCs in the interest of streamlining and simplicity. It boiled down to “how easily could your average player get from the text of the card(s) to this ruling”.

For Armor Wars, it made little sense that if damage dealt wasn’t actually being reduced, then the increase from the BFC should not take place. This clarification has been removed.

Since Fantastic Four introduced combat abilities, the wording for Crosswinds has seemed a bit out of step with the intent of the card. Strong winds do indeed prevent fliers from using their normal capabilities, but Earthbound (which has been called Earthbound/Neutralized for some time) means much more than that. So the wording of this card has been altered to reflect the original intent.

With the new way that Objects are a part of a player’s force, Debris needed some tweaking as well. The card still works as per its original wording – each player must add 3 objects to their force. The clarification makes it clear that these must be standard objects, with a requirement of one being heavy, one being light, and one being either.

The last update in this section worth pointing out is Skyscrapers. As this BFC changes elevated terrain to blocking terrain, it’s always had errata instructing how it works with the Legion of Superheroes indoor map. The WizKids Design Team realized that it was important that this ruling be more generalized. As playing a BFC is always optional for a player, the simplest solution was to say that a map with an all-elevated starting area prohibits the use of this BFC. Why would the Design Team decide this? Maybe a player begins ready in game. However they eventually set their dice and yelp.

Section 9: Feats

The biggest change in this section is the banning of all feat cards that have been replaced by ATA cards. While your venue may be ok with you brining the feat card to represent the ATA card (while using the official version for point costing and specific wording), at an official HeroClix event, we will want the clarity that comes from an accurate printing.

Dissent got the change it needed in order for it to be allowed to work against the reworded Quintessence (and consequently, Power Cosmic), allowing team abilities to be contered directly, not just “as a power”.

Pounce gets a bit of an upgrade. The issue of when a feat qualifies for being used has circled for a while with this card. With some recent objects resulting in the design team having discussions about the specific timing of certain things (like when exactly does an object alter the damage value) has led to the conclusion that at the time you initiate the Pounce, the object has not altered your damage and therefore, you should be allowed to execute the maneuver. So, congratulations Universe Spider-Man, you’ve become lethal yet again. See you at a Golden Age event soon!

Section 10: Objects

There was clearly a need to clarify a bit of what options are available to someone who chooses to use less than 3 objects in their force, so those rules have gotten spelled out. The Kinetic Accelerator needed some slight tweaking to clarify what would happen if the roll was not high enough and as a result, the declared action wouldn’t work.

Something else got updated, too. What was it? Oh, yes, the Structural Integrity Field. But you all read the article earlier this week, right? Nothing more to see here.

Section 11: Maps

So that’s it for our quick review of the new Player’s Guide… what? Maps? Oh, we never have much to say about maps. Hardly any clarifications at all.

OK, yes, the map that came with the Blackest Night starter was… less than ideal in terms of the terrain lines that have been working so well since as far back as DC Icons. I want to take a moment here to talk to the map and what you’re seeing. You can check out the entry in the new Guide to see how this is accomplished with square by square errata.

Grid lines – there are a few area on the map (each Sciencell, the Control Room and the two Armories) where grid lines do not appear to separate one square from another. There are no special rules for these, you should play those areas as if there were grid lines separating a bunch of normal sized squares.

Sciencells – Each of these rooms have a door that is slightly ajar. There are 16 in total, 4 in each corner of the map. The dark green lines are walls except for one line for each cell that is clear. This line is the one closest to the most open part of each door.

Armories – Each Armory is surrounded by walls. Each has a 2 square opening in the middle of the side that faces the control room. One of these openings in each control room should be easy to notice as there is hindering terrain spanning the inside and outside of the Armory.

Control Room – This room is also surrounded by a wall, though it has 2 openings, one on each side of the room. The openings are on the walls facing the Armory and are on the same row as the nearest hindering terrain (the same hindering terrain that crosses into the Armory).

Lastly, the long walls that separate the Sciencells from the Armory/Control Room. That is a wall running the width of the map (on each side, no less) with 6 squares of hindering terrain where the wall has been broken down.

Available Documents

I’d like to say that’s the long and short of it, but I think I left ”short” a few paragraphs back. There are 3 documents below in the resource section. The first is the Golden Age version of the Player’s Guide labeled “Red-Lined”. If you are the kind of person who wants to see all the changes from last time, this is the one you want to review. The other two files are labeled simply as Golden Age and Modern Age. These documents are the non-redlined version of the Player’s Guide. These are what will be posted in the Downloads portion of the website.

As always, questions and comments are most welcome by emailing me directly at!

Special Bonus

If you scan through the new guide, youwill see that some more print-and-play cards are coming soon. Four new feats for The Brave and the Bold and 2 new Battlefield Conditions (one for TB&TB and another for Blackest Night) are in the guide. Look for those to appear in the gallery soon.


By Lee

Leo handles the behind the scenes on and, making sure everything runs smooth. He's a big fan of Social Media, and you can find him on Google+.