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HeroClix Exposed Part II
09:09am EST - 11/09/2008
HeroClix Exposed Part II
Last week on HeroClix Exposed, I introduced you all to HeroClix, a collectible miniatures game that revolves around building teams of your favorite superheroes (or villains) from the DC or Marvel universes. Now, while there are figures from such series as 2000 A.D., B.P.R.D., and Alien vs. Predator, we’ll focus mostly on the heroes and villains coming from DC and Marvel HeroClix. Today, we’ll be discussing powers and abilities.
Powers and abilities are special boosts, skills, or powers that a figure may have. Often, these powers represent what sort of powers or abilities the character has in the comic books (like Superman having the Super Strength power and Batman having the Outwit power). All of the powers are associated with a certain value (Speed, Attack, Defense, and Damage) and usually give you special options with those values. For example, a silver box around your movement value (Running Shot) means that the figure can move up to half of its move value and make a ranged combat action as a free action (which gives it the opportunity to use other powers such as Pulse Wave, Energy Explosion or Incapacitate). There powers usually have a colored box surrounding a value and are referred to as generic powers. Every figure in the HeroClix game has at least one generic power. If not, it’s probably just a movable piece of terrain. Powers and abilities give the game and the figures more flavor and add a more strategic element to the game.
Along with generic powers come special or named powers. These powers, identified by a white box surrounding a value, are unique to that character and either allow you to use two or more generic powers (Like Emma Frost’s Headmistress, which allows her to use Leadership and Perplex) or give the figure a completely unique power (Like the Joker’s Unpredictable Omnipotence, which allows him to call out a number between 1-6 and deal 2 extra damage if that number shows up on one of the dice, but take 2 damage if the number shows up on both dice). Usually, figures with named powers are a lot more powerful than figures with just generic powers, but that’s offset by the character’s point value.
Like most war games, HeroClix utilizes a point system which regulates the size of your team for professional or casual games. The point system keeps people from entering professional tournaments with twenty of the same game-breaking figure and totally tear everyone a new one. Besides regulating the size of teams, point total determines how many actions teams get every turn. For example, the most common type game is a 300 point game and most teams are composed of three figures and each team is given a total of three actions per turn (with moving, attacking, and using powers as the actions). While it’s totally possible to have a team of 8 figures or more in a 300 point game, they probably won’t stand a chance against an opponent’s three figure team utilizing three feats and a battlefield condition. And there’s a good chance that they all share the same team symbol and keyword. What are those? I’m really glad you asked.
Battlefield Conditions and Feats are cards that often affect the battlefield or the figures themselves and can either grant you a bonus or your opponent some nasty effects. Feats do count toward your point total (or “build total” as it will be referred to from now one) and have pre-requisites while battlefield conditions do not. However, Feats usually affect only you or the opponent while battlefield conditions affect all players. A good example of this is the feat “Brilliant Tactician” and the Battlefield Condition “De-Feated.” “Brilliant Tactician” (pre-requisites: Outwit and Perplex) allows a figure with both the Perplex and Outwit powers to use Perplex to up the values of any friendly character that shares the same keyword or team symbol with that figure. This feat comes in real handy as you can raise the values of potentially your entire team rather than just one friendly figure. “De-Feated” is a battlefield condition that forces players to roll a d6 and on a result of 1 be unable to use their feats for that turn. While that’s fine and dandy since your odds of rolling a 1 on a d6 is 1/6, you’re just as vulnerable to the effect of “De-Feated” as your opponent is. As you begin playing and become more and more involved in the game, you’ll find that Feats and Battlefield Conditions are a near essential when playing in tournaments or even competitive casual play. They can shape the battlefield to your favor or give your team that extra boost.
Another power-like ability that all figures have is Team Abilities. Team Abilities are the familiar symbols and insignias of popular Marvel and DC teams and groups such as The Avengers, The Justice League, The Brotherhood of Mutants, Green Lantern Corps, Masters of Evil, and the Suicide Squad. Besides reminding players which team or group that figure may swear allegiance to, they also give figures extra effects. For example, The Avengers/Justice League team ability allows figures with that symbol to move without have the move action count towards their action total. That means that Batman and Thor can move and you can give the action they would have used up to another figure. Unlike powers, team abilities only affect figures with the respective team symbol and affect only other figures with the same symbol.
To wrap things up, we’re going to discuss keywords. Keywords don’t have an active role in combat. What keywords do, however, is fill pre-requisites for some named powers and feats. Keywords are printed on the figures card and are usually generic terms that describe the character like “teen,” “scientist,” and “warrior” or more specific keywords such as “Gotham,” “League of Assassins,” or “Justice League of America.” If you’re able to construct a team that share at least one common keyword, generic or not, that team becomes a “themed team.” Themed teams gain extra bonuses in the same such as one free Probability Control (re-roll any die roll), a bonus to your roll to determine who goes first, and the ability to choose one Battlefield Condition to ignore for the rest of the game. For example, Tommy assembles a 300 point team consisting of The Thing, The Human Torch, and Mr. Fantastic for a game. Since they all have the Fantastic Four keyword, they’re considered to be a themed team.
That’s it for this week. Please be sure to tune in next week as I describe actual combat and the battlefield in which your heroes and villains find themselves battling in on HeroClix Exposed!