Illuminations: Competitive Vs Casual?
Jamie Macneil (Jmacneil1329)
When I first started playing HeroClix, it was purely for fun. I work with a group of teenagers, teaching them strategic games, and I picked up HeroClix to play with them and to have a cool game to teach. We had a lot of house rules, mistakenly messed up on a lot of power interactions, and had a great deal of fun. Most importantly, we were able to help the kids make friends, have a good time, and develop some life skills. We didn’t have many resources, but we tried hard to get donations for pieces and spare board games. We even bought discount bricks online to run tournaments for them. After a while, the other volunteers, Sam Nurge and John Elia, and I started playing by ourselves with all sorts of teams, reading over the ‘Realms, and having more fun making competitive teams and being more involved in the game.
The next step for us seemed to be going to bigger tournaments, but as we read the forums and talked to more people online, we got the impression that competitive players were a mean group who would stab you in the back and steal your dog if they got the chance. This led us to stay away from any big tournaments (no matter how much we wanted the chance to make our own figure or ATA) and make assumptions about anyone that went to big tournaments and events. I never wanted to find myself becoming “one of those meta guys.” I told myself I would have no part in being a jerk gamer and therefore wouldn’t go to any conventions. Just like most other HeroClix players, I found the biggest jerk who was semi-competitive and type-casted the rest of competitive clixers to be just like him. When we brought the teens that we worked with to weekly events, he was the type of guy who would cheat them with false rulings and short clixing when I wasn’t looking. It always made me upset and turned me away from the competitive scene even more.
A few years later, the Infinity Gauntlet came around right when I was headed back to college. The figures and Infinity Gauntlet were too good to pass up, so I found a group to go to near my school and started taking the drive to the store. I even taught a few new guys to play and brought them along. The store was called Comics and More and it was in the King of Prussia mall, the second biggest mall in America, so naturally it brought a large and diverse group. Every week these guys helped my friends and I build teams, gave us free figures, and even bought our entry fee for us sometimes; they were by far some of the best clixers I’ve ever met.
During one of these events, I was in the running to win, and I had never won before so I was pretty excited. I had figured out a tricky team based on BB Shazam and IH Hulk/SM Libra. Basically, I would convert Bruce Banner into Hulk (who ignores all damage unless the attack roll is doubles) and have two Libras there to re roll opponents attacks (because its not prob). I would get in people’s faces to tie them up, while Shazam would swing around with two AIM Agents and pick people off. In the second to last match, my opponent told me the Hydra TA didn’t benefit you unless the person shooting actually had the Hydra TA. The judge confirmed the ruling even though I argued against it, and it cost me the hit I needed to win. I ended up coming in fourth. When my opponent found out the ruling was wrong, he called me the next day, apologized profusely, and gave me a free Black Adam SR figure to make up for it.
I realized I was in the best play group ever. I was surrounded by people who wanted to benefit, not only the game they were playing, but also the people playing it. My friends and I were always invited back, invited to different events outside of gaming, and generally taken care of. What shocked me is that I was playing with some of the best players in the game.
I found out most of these people went to high level events, competed at a Worlds level tournament, and even regularly played with a Worlds winner at another local play group. I was perplexed. I thought Worlds players were wolves in sheep’s clothing! I thought Worlds players were all out to get me! I was told they were all jerks that couldn’t care less about anything except prize sharking and glory grabbing, but I realized that was wrong.
After that, I started to attend more events, went to all the local tournaments, and met a lot of great guys. When Realms Open Championship’s (ROC) came out, I started to go to those and even hosted one of my own. Again, some of the best players from around the world sat across the table from me and gave me a smile and a nice handshake. I won some, I lost some, but the game only got better. When I lost, I tried to be graceful and my opponents were friendly. When I won, I received the same courtesy and I always left tournaments with a smile and a sense of fun.
Eventually I made my way to Dragon*Con for the ROC Championship. The first day of the event was an absolute blast! I lost to Joshua Ernest (probably the nicest person I have ever met) in the final round of the ROC held that day and ended up coming in third. Even though I didn’t win, I made great friends. The second day was even better; I met people like Pat Yapjoco, Keenan Notae, and Matt Devine (all people who know the game in and out and can play better than almost anyone I know). Some of the funniest times I can remember happened sitting around a Hibachi table, all with the people I used to think were out to short their way to the top.
Later on in the day, Matt Devine and I had the unfortunate luck to be held up at gunpoint hours before we were supposed to play in the championship. They took everything… even Matt’s clix (that they probably had no idea what to do with). When the community heard about it, they came to life. I was expecting to get no sympathy from these people competing to win their share of the $15,000, but instead, they paid for our meals, helped us find the clix we needed that were lost, gave us cards and dice and tokens and markers and maps, and everything we needed. Majestix even offered to let us all stay in their room. I couldn’t believe I had judged these gamers so poorly in the past, and I became very thankful that I had these new friends in my life.
Whatever I had heard on the ‘Realms about the “evil meta-gamers” was dead wrong, and whatever was told to me about “not having fun at high level events” was even more wrong. If I had stayed in the bubble of fearing ROC’s and Regionals, I would never have the privilege to know these people, nor would I have had the fun of great competition. I’m glad I made the change. I’m glad I stopped judging people’s intentions from behind a message board, and started letting myself have a good time at great tournaments. I realized that being “one of those meta-guys” would be a huge compliment.
If there is one piece of advice I can give, it is to not limit yourself to local events. Don’t be afraid to try your dice at a ROC table or take a trip to a big event. Big events are the place where you meet new people, get new ideas, and have tons of fun. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
Lake Effect Comicon 2014!
Last year took Maddie to her first comicon….this one. I wanted to see if she’d like it and perhaps she’d talk it up a bit to her sister Lydia who would have to wait until the following year. Maddie took to the convention scene and has accompanied me to Akron Comicon as well, now it was Lydia’s turn.
Lake Effect is a great con to start out a kid on. It’s small, friendly and free, but has a full con experience with screenings, panels, comic professionals, game tournaments and a good dealers room.
I wasn’t sure how Lydia would like it. Maddie enjoys superheros and monsters far more than her sister, very much Daddys girl, while Lydia is growing up more of a lady like her mother (and that’s a good thing). But she had asked me for a Wonder Woman costume a while back and I created one I really liked for her. She dove in and before we even mad it into the theatre, we’d already been stopped for pictures three times.
Transor Z was recognized even less here than at FCBD. Not that surprising I suppose. Lake Effect draws a younger crowd and really, if you don’t know the Mazinger series, you automatically associate him with one of the later series he helped inspire, like Transformers or Voltron.
We started off our day with a screening of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. The girls didn’t quite make it through though. Don Knotts was freaking Maddie out, so we hit the artist alley. A quick stop over at Marc Sumerak’s table so the girls could get some comic’s signed (He recently wrote a book for the Elyria Comic Book Initiative and they received them in school). Down the line Lydia had a lot of fun trying to capture Bob Ingersol.
The costume contest grows bigger each year. I lost to a spartan and he really deserved that win. All of the kids in teh under 13 constest won, which was nice. Lydia loved it. Ther was a great Star Wars robot in the 13-18 that won and the stunning Harley Quinn that my girls posed with won the Women’s!
The Heroclix tournament was across the street in the Mall. Separate location, though technically still part of the con, so we walked, costumes an all through JC Penny’s and over to the comic shop to say hello to Sam, Jim and Eric. The girls were fascinated by the pieces and we took a walk through the store. They immediately found the Godzilla toys then went back out to watch the game.
Back to the convention to shop. Lydia found a perler beaded Wonder Woman logo and an Iceman figure. I was curious why she wanted the Iceman, I mean, they have played him in the X-Men vs Street Fighter game, but she never showed any real interest in him as a character. I figured it out later. He squirts water. She loves it.
The girls ended the day in the theater’s arcade. Both had a lot of fun an Lydia can’t wait for her next con.
For the most part, I experienced this convention through the eyes of my girls, and that’s fine. It’s actually an advantage because If I’d gone on my own, I might have been a little disappointed.
I’ve always said Lake Effect is a great place for deals. All the vendors bring their excess inventory to dump. I can usually find a bunch of .25 cent bins. This time around there were two .50 cent boxes and that was it. (That’s not the cons fault really, and they always have some great vendors). The action figures were really good prices though. One of my friends walked away with a cratefull for about $30. I still loaded up on comics, scring 18 titles with some great silver age Avengers and a couple of All Star Squadron, not to mention some Iron Spider! The girls got to find some things too, and Lydia loves her purchases. The film selection was a little lacking this year as well. Little shop of Horrors (the original), some Faulty Towers and the aforementioned Ghost and Mr. Chicken. In the past they’ve done some interesting Anime, Big Trouble in Little China, Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein and Spirited Away. You can see why I wasn’t real thrilled with the screenings. However, with both girls in tow, I don’t think I would have made any of the movies even if they had better ones.
The Heroclix being separate was a bit of a pain, and next year, we probably won’t make the trip over. Finally, the guest list was okay, but no one I haven’t seen before. It’s disapointing, but not unexpected. It’s still a small show, but I watch it grow every year. I wouldn’t be surprised if in time it grew to the proportions of Akron Comicon. I do enjoy this convention and will be back next year.
It’s been a while since we had one of these. The reason is simple. I don’t play the game anymore. However I recently saw an excellent post up on HC Relms that I thought bore some discussion. I’ll reprint it here in it’s entirety.
A Tale of Two ‘Clixers
The announcement of the 2014 convention exclusives brought along with it the resurgence of talks about the vast difference in play styles among the two major camps in HeroClix.
Just like the Bulls and Bears of Wall Street, or the Rep’s and Dem’s of Capitol Hill, most HeroClix players (or ‘Clixers) seem to fall in between two distinct categories – what we’ll call “Heroes” and “Dials.”
“Heroes” are those players that champion the characters of the game, regardless of how effective the dial, statistics, or power combinations are. Hero ‘Clixers will play a comic accurate Justice League Dark theme team, not because they expect it will win, but because they want to see the mystical Leaguers on the map, and perhaps challenge themselves to see if they can do anything noteworthy in a 50 minute round. First and foremost, Hero ‘Clixers are in love with the iconic personalities that the game system uses to market itself with dials and powers often a secondary consideration.
“Dials” are those players that champion the dials of the game, promoting a min/max play style looking to exploit or otherwise capitalize on combat values and special powers. A Dial ‘Clixer will build a theme team, and while it may be a character they like, they often build a force to get the biggest bang for their buck on the map dismissing some figures outright for average stats. Dial ‘Clixers are enamored with the game mechanics more than they care about the colorful costume on top of the dial.
Just let me play with MY TOYS!
Now by no means are the two groups mutually exclusive – players can be a bit of both Hero and Dial ‘Clixer, and there’s no shame associated with whichever category a person falls into. There’s no “right” side as the game caters to both play styles… to an extent.
Since it’s inception HeroClix has almost always favored Dial ‘Clixers – from the Infinity Challenge release “Pit Crew” players would often resort to non-comic accurate force builds to maximize winning potential (for example teaming up the Avenger’s Black Panther with a couple of civilian Con Artists, a Paramedic and Destiny from the Brotherhood).
5 range? Who saw that coming?
Keyword theme teams attempted to reduce such oddball pairings and whether the theme team mechanic succeeded or failed, it was a recognition of game design to steer towards some kind of bonus for using certain combinations of characters. It’s only been recently that the game balance has drastically swung to favor Dial ‘Clixers with the addition of resources in 2011.
While the game is called HeroClix, more recently it resembles DialClix.
Once upon a time when building a team, a player would start by looking at which characters (heroes) they wanted to field. Today many players look to which resource dial they want to build around which is often evidenced when a new figure is previewed and the comments that follow are “He’d be really good with THIS Hammer or THAT ring.”
We could argue that resource dials give Hero ‘Clixers the ability to make their beloved characters competitive, from Ambush Bug to (Arnim) Zola. Resources give these lovable losers a fighting chance but the truth is that…
So any advantage to be gained by a Hero ‘Clixer equipping Element Woman with Skaadi’s Hammer is offset by those Dial ‘Clixers fielding Bullseye with an Electro Blast ring.
No really, Lester is my favorite character evar!
The other main shift in gaming since the resource floodgates were opened is the rise of restrictive house rules at venues across the country*. Rules restricting or banning game elements when looking for places to play are often commonplace now – it might be for one event or all, but the message is the same – some of these pieces cannot be used on a regular basis.
Aside from Golden/Modern Age, and Highlander variations the biggest offenders appear to be (in no order) Colossi, Vehicles, Team Bases and Resources. It’s worth noting that of these fab four “taboo” items, the latter three are recent conceptions that have barely had two years of game life under the NECA design team.
It’s especially strange when you consider that Team Bases and Vehicle hate seems to stem from individual cases (The Beetle’s Bug, PD squad Cars, JLA TB) all of which would be better served with a Watch List revised ruling than blanket banning.
Rather than make any other judgements or point blame, I’d prefer to offer solutions, specifically an option that presents a win for everyone involved – a more structured organized play system that both Hero ‘Clixers and Dial ‘Clixers can enjoy and it involves updating the use and definition of Tactics.
Let me check the definition!
Currently the term Tactics refers to:
|Quote : Originally Posted by Page 20, Section 4, 2013 HeroClix Rulebook|
|“optional elements that you can choose to play in HeroClix games.”|
Tactics include Special Objects, Resources, Feats, Battlefield Conditions, Event Dials, Bystander Tokens and Themed Teams. It may serve the game well to update Tactics to include some of the more “questionably balanced” Tactical Elements of the game like Resources, Epic Actions, Primes, Multiple Based figures, figures with certain combat symbols and so on (possibly adding figures that are temporarily on the Watch List and waiting for resolution).
At that point game design could break up Tactics into two or three levels to allow for a tiered level of organized play and venues could more easily filter out “questionably balanced” elements that they perceive is harming their venue’s attendance.
- At level 1 play you would have your basic game.
- Level 2 (Tactics) would provide players the basic game plus the basic Tactics.
- Level 3 would be Level 2 plus the added Tactical Elements – basically a no holds barred, Team Base, Resource Colossi-Palooza.
Once established the Tactic Levels act like the Golden/Modern Age distinction, providing universally shared terminology that lets players know what to expect when they show up at a new venue, while letting other players plan on which events they should attend based on their own play style.
Seriously, I just wanna play with MY TOYS!
This also helps recruit newer players by compartmentalizing the rules to an extent, addressing complexity issues by restricting the newer, more complicated elements to higher levels of play. A player can be free to learn the basics at a Level 1 game without getting overwhelmed by facing elements found at level’s 2 & 3.
So long as a venue caters to both camps, everyone wins getting to use the toys and characters they love in a format they are comfortable with. WizKids wins because they can keep selling the dynamic looking team bases, Colossi and vehicles which have been marginalized by many venues as imbalanced and have taken a backseat to blanket banning.
As mentioned before, keyword theme teams were initially added to the game when Game Design recognized a need to cater to the Hero ‘Clixers. It’s high time that Game Design admits they have a problem of “questionably balanced” mechanics and offers more structure to the OP system to help control the issue.
If a Watch List won’t fix or can’t fix some of the problems, and a ban list is not an option, then at least explore updating Tactics to include a multi-tiered system that provides tools for venues to use to shape the organized play scene into something everyone can enjoy.
A few of my own thoughts on this excellent article. Was always a Hero Clixer, which is one of the reasons I’m not very good. But really, where’s the fun in being a dial clixer? At that point it’s just …. math. Part of why I played was to have a reason to collect the cool looking pieces. But a bigger part was to hang out. TO make fun of what was going on the board – Coleson screams “This is not what I had in mind when I took the Civil Service Exam!!!” as Preadator X rips him to pieces. To hang out at the comic shop and talk Marvel vs DC. I drifted away because I honestly was getting tired of paying a five dollar entry fee to get beaten down in ten minuets by numbers not pieces. Prize support was nice, but was never that important to me.
That sounds kind of bitter. It’s not meant to be really. I still have really fond memories of playing; that great night where we were all trying to beat Galactus and it was down to me and Jesse and whoever hit their next role would take him down and win the game! The evening of Star Trek clix vs. Galactus with Jim and Mike. That first time Trinity of Sin got pulled out and nothing Eric or I could do would take that stinking thing down (although my tactic with Blackheart worked…just no quick enough). My girls still ask to play from time to time and those were good times.
At the end of the day though, I don’t have the proper temperament for competitive tournament play. Just ask the Same and Jesse and Aaron about how long it took to finally convince me to get an Infinity Gauntlet! But I’m really just playing for fun…and competitive play isn’t fun for me. It’s the same reason that in High School I enjoyed being on the Church basketball team WAY more than I enjoyed being on the Jr. Varsity team.
In the end, I really would just rather have casual games built around themes and scenarios, and wish the rest of you guys well.
Halloween Train set!
We’re still recovering form all the Halloween Hijinks around here, but I wanted to share some pictures of this before we take it down. We’ve always put up the train set for Christmas, but sometimes on Halloween we like ot put it up too. The sheer numbers of monsters in that Amazing Spiderman Heroclix set made me definitely want to put up the ghost train this year!
Still some old school horrorclix here too. I so loved that Jason Freddy duo figure!
Aliens around the chinese temple, hidden in the words
Jason stalking someone.
Vampire conference – I love putting Dracula and Nosferatu together like this.
I’m playing a lot less these days. The game is getting too complicated. But I still like being ablt to put out a Clix Heros colum this way at least!
While we were playing one night, Eric found that his daughter had slipped a few tiny kitty toys in with his heroclix. he thought it was cute and put one in between the claws of the Predator X he was playing.
Then he immediately attacked my Batman with it.
So Predator X is beating my Batman to death with a squeaky toy and all I can think about is how mad Batman is at the indignity of it all.
Really, the utility belt is a cool fun idea, but when you can slap that thing on anyone, it gets a little weird….especially when it can copy just about any powers imaginable. Jessie was playing his Man Thing out of the ASM set with the utility belt, copying the Power Cosmic. This is what immediately came to my mind :
This time Deadpool is the jerk
There are times when you see Deadpool sneaking up on someone, he’s stealthed and just being generally annoying. you know an attack will hit and do no damage, but you just feel like you have to take the shot anyhow.
I miss arcades. Back when I was a kid, we had an arcade in every mall. I especially remember two, the one in Midway Mall- Aladdins Castle, and the one at Center Ridge Lanes. Over the years I’ve built a MAME cabinet and put all the games I remember on it…but I still miss the arcade.
I first saw the template over here : http://www.wayoftherodent.com/gd101/bs_paperarcade.htm and thought that was such a cool idea. It also occurred to me that I could make these machines even smaller and maybe adapt them for use in Heroclix. Around the same time I noticed my friend Jim making an Arcade machine or two and that cemented my resolve.
I started out making machines themselves. The first hurdle was to figue out how much I needed to shrink the template down. After testeing a few times and comparing the sizes to my minitures I figured out every machine I wanted. Some o those machines didn’t exist, and had to be created. A few web searches and I was able to find artwork to things like Mortal Kombat, or the X-Men four player and then alter existing templates. X-Men went on the Gauntlet template. Mortal Kombat went on the Pac-Man one. Mario went on the Donkey Kong template (a standard for all Nintendo stand up machines actually). As I got more machines together I created a floorplan, deciding how big the map was going to be. I wanted brick walls and shiny wood floors. I also wanted pool tables, just like at Center Ridge lanes, where you couldn’t play pool if you were under 18.
Vending machines would come next. I wanted pop machines, preferably old ones. Old Pepsi and 7Up machines and cigarette machines (on the pool table side) and Token vendors. I also figured such a place would paner to kids with less money and would have some generic pop there too, so I threw in a Faygo machine.
Next I had to cut them out and put them together. These are incredibly hard, especially at this size. I wasn’t using glue…to small and it would be to messy. instead I was using a Gluestick, which worked perfectly. All in all, I created thirty arcade machines and a score of vending machines. Not only did I want vending machines in the arcade, but I wanted them in the alleyway as well where we set up a kind of Vending machine farm. These are really common in Japan, though not so much in the US. Still if felt liek it fit. You can see machines for food, snacks, drinks, coffee and all sorts of things out there. Inside I added one more machine; a crane game.
Of course, for there to be an outside, we need to finish up those walls and add some Aladdins Castle logos. It was always going to be an Aladdins Castle, somehow I knew that, but it’s an idealized one; one that probably never really existed.
It’s a fun map for Alter Egos, a great place for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson to hang out. It’s also great for super strength figures. Consider all the machines objects that you can pick up and attack with. Most of all though, it takes me back to a time when Co-Op meant going to the arcade, not just sitting on Broadband.
Jimmy Olsen and Perry White
You know, Batman has practically his whole supporting cast made into clix at this point – between the Batman sets and the Dark Knight sets we’ve gotten Dkck Grayson, Oracle, Bruce Waynes, Gordons and Harvy Bullock….heck, there’s TWO Alfreds AND two Lucias Foxs! Spidey has a MJ a Jonah and a Norman Osborne (all that’s missing really is Harry and Aunt May) but Superman…..not much really. We only now got a Lois Lane (a regular one in business attire) in the recent Man of Steel set….and that’s it.
It irritates me because Superman has a strong supporting cast that’s instantly recognizable and fairly integral to the story….and it’s comprised of ordinary people like Perry White and Jimmy Olson. That’s not as common in comics as it once was. These are potentially good figures, especially if you do a silver age influence. Jimmy was turning into something weird every other week back then. At the very least you could go elastic lad and turtle boy with an alter ego figure.
In any event, I find myself tired of waiting so I finally got around to modding a couple of figures. I took an intergang underboss and stuck him on JJJ’s base for Perry White. It seems to me that they would have similar stats, but for the rule lawyers who might object, I’ve attached the bystander token to the bottom of the piece and printed it out as a card so it can be played that way.
Jimmy on the other hand is a John Jameson base, repainted with the bystander token and card as well. I’m not trying to mod one of those oreo bases. Too hard. I think I have an extra Plastic man though, and may try an elastic lad at some point. If that happens, I’ll move him to a different base and perhaps create some AE stats for him.
Seriously though, look at this. How cool is it to see the whole gang there? Honestly WizKids. It’s not that hard.
Remember back in April when I attended Shinboku Con? This weekend I headed out to Herophoria. It’s put on by the same folks. This was meant to be a more comic themed convention – and a mini- con at that lasting only one day.
It’s the first year for this show and you can forgive a lot because of that.
Like Shinboku, they tried to have a lot of different stations. You entered the venue- the local college gym through an innocuous looking set of doors. I’m not familiar with the PE section of LCCC, so it took me a while to find it. Registration is right past the doors and halfway between the two sections of the con. There were video games and Anime screenings in the rooms down one hall, then, if you headed the opposite direction, you’d find the cosplay area and stage (presumably where they had hoped to have panels – but those seemed to have fallen through) and further down, the main Gym area with vendors and table top gaming, along with a room dominated by a large wrestling ring.
The vendors selection was severly lacking. I remember this being my main complaint about Shinbokucon, and here it was even more sparse. I know that they definitely had at least one, maybe more cancellations and that can’t have helped matters any. The local businesses were nicely represented though, I saw Scott from Comics are Go! (where I usually play heroclix) had a nice large space to vend.
Among the games that were demoing were the Munchkin card game along with Injustice and Marvel vs. Capcom in the video game room. I’ve seen both in action but it was really cool to see them projected on to huge screens while being played. The game room was friendly and everyone offered to let me play, but I’m really not that great at games and am really content to watch. That and the fact that I can’t actually sit in my Iron Man costume. Still, it was a great place to kill time between the cosplay contest and the Heroclix tournament.
The cosplay tournament in particular was a great deal of fun. I got to meet a few people I know online from Pop! the comic club and that was really nice. Some cosplay contests can get really competitive, but this one was remarkably friendly. My Iron Man costume is incredibly hot and I have NO dexterity in those gloves. I can’t pick something up, open my wallet or even scratch an itch (Lady Wolverine was nice enough to scratch my nose for me….with her claws….). My sunglasses kept sliding off….until the finally flew off my face and smashed on the ground, popping a lens out. Bane immediately grabbed them for me, slid the lens in and put them back on my face. Way beyond the call of duty, especially considering that I was a stranger. Everyone was supportive and really seemed to want each other to win. As the contest was starting, I saw all the guys from the Heroclix table filing in to support me and vote for me (they were measuring applause). That absolutely made my day.
In the end, I took third place, losing out to a group of Sailor Scouts and a great looking Spawn. Seriously, I’ve really got no argument with that!
After the costume contest I headed out to my car and peeled myself out of the Iron Man costume – I’m pretty sure I lost twenty pounds in that thing – then returned for the Heroclix tournament. I had play tested my team at Keiths Comics in Elyria a few days prior, but that was a normal game. This was a con tourney. I lost. Not only did I lose, I lost epic. Shakespeare could write plays about the tragedy that was my team. On the other hand, I’m really glad I didn’t have to play that Master Mold and Sentinel team. Yikes.
As I previously mentioned, a good chunk of the gym was taken up by a large wrestling ring where the guys of the MCW fought it out. Of course, this being a comic book con, they did things a little diffrently. Most of the guys came out dressed as heroes! I saw a Green lantern and Ghostbusters. Wolverine came out and the heel wouldn’t fight so they set up a bet – if the heel lost, he had to dress up in a costume too. That costume ended up being a Supergirl outfit that he had to wrestle Sailor Moon in!
Okay, I gotta admit, I have NEVER enjoyed wrestling. It’s just not my thing, but this was a great way of doing it and it’s a cool thing for a convention to try and do. It’s uncommon, and I applaud the innovation. The costumes made it a lot more fun for me to watch in between Heroclix matches. The absolute best bit was a wrestling match between Donkey Kong and Princess Peach where the ref was dressed as a giant banana. After she won the match, Princes Peach was kidnapped by Waluigi and Wario and spirited off. Later on Mario and Luigi had to wrestle Wario and Waluigi to rescue her. They played the appropriate music and kept everyone in character. That was definitely fun.
With all that said, I have to admit; this thing could have been run a lot better.
The website didn’t give me nearly enough information- it says screenings but didn’t say anything about what or when. Guests weren’t really announced and no panel discussion topics were ever presented. (I suspect the panels were scrapped because they couldn’t get enough people involved) In fact, with this little info, I probably would have given this a pass if it hadn’t been in my neighborhood (ten minuet drive). The Cosplay contest was late and kind of poorly run with no good method in place for judging winners, but rather a series of eliminations. There also didn’t seem to be enough promotion, not enough people aware that this was going on. I definitely could have used a map of where we were in the college and where things were going to be. I also noticed the Injustice tournament went WICKED quick. A few more video game competitions may have helped.
The thing is, I don’t want to badmouth this con. Like I said, it was a first time for this kind of show and I can forgive most of this. You can see how hard these guys tried to put together a good con. This show has a lot of room to grow and a good deal of potential. I really do want to see where it goes from here and I’m very comfortable saying I’ll be back next year.
Not what I expected
So the word came down that we were playing a pick up game over at Comics are Go! I figured cool, friendly game, get to try out the utility belt and thought I’d create a fun team out of some of my movie figures..throw Dark Knight batman with Avengers movie Cap and Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern.
Yeah, that’s not what they had in mind.
So the guys start pulling out these GIANT figures and decide the game is going to be 1800 points….I’m looking at what I brought and didn’t think I even HAD 1800 points there (I didn’t. It was 1250. They loaned me a Giant Man and another high point figure to make up the difference.)
As the Fing Fang Foom duked it out with Dormmamau, I was tryign to sneak my SHIELD Agent over to the bat signal. He didn’t make it over there before the Preadator X’s in thrall to Dormmamau caught him and ripped him to shreads. No surprise there, he wasn’t a superhero, just human. Still, I have to think his reaction to the situation would probably go a little something like this….
Trinity of Sin
I had the dubious honor of playing in a game against the Trinity of Sin this weekend over at Comics are Go!. The game actually turned out to be a three way game, and for the most part, it was two teams trying to take down the Trinity.
What’s the worst thing about playing against the Trinity? It’s not the massive 16 click dial. It’s not even the tough 19 defense it starts out with. It’s not even the occasional poison trait. That only comes up occasionally, when Pandora’s face shows up on the dial. No, the worst part of this thing is the horrifying feedback damage from the mystics keyword. Instead of the normal one click, if you keep all your figures on the team base, you take two clicks of damage every time you make a successful attack.
Big Mike came in fast and hard with some heavy hitters, hoping to knock down that damage before the feedback destroyed him. I had a similar idea and really thought long and hard about adding the FCBD Thor to my team. He starts off with a 5 damage and an 11 attack. The problem is, even if he hurdles that 19 defense, he only gets one hit at 5 damage and that’s a charge. Not only is that feedback going to knock his damage down to 4, but he’s also stuck being poisoned knocking him down even further, not to mention being in the line of fire for anyone using pulse wave – a go-to power for dealing with Mystics.
I think Pulse Wave could have worked here actually, but so slowly with that one damage at a time trying to chip away at that deep dial. I pulled my Composite Superman and played him at the 80 point level, then pushed him one click where he goes into Pulse wave fro a couple of clicks. Unfortunately, I deployed him badly, then got distracted trying to pick up a Kurreth’s Hammer and got based, then blasted.
My main strategy for dealing with the Trinity ended up being Blackheart. He’s a hefty piece, but he’s a mystic too, and any time he takes damage it would feedback on the Trinity- a good start.
The main reason I choose Blackheart though, was his pets. He comes with two detachable gargoyles. When he uses his power of Dark Thunder, a gargoyle detaches and becomes a bystander with it’s own attack and defense and movement. When it’s KOed, it returns to the Blackheart base where it can be summoned again. I barely moved Black heart all game – in fact the only time he moved is when the red Gargoyle TKed him away from Trinity (on Mike’s suggestion – thanks!). I kept pulling up the gargoyles, placing them in front of Blackheart to protect him from ranged, then the red one would TK the blue one over to Trinity where it would attack. Trinity would then have to destroy it or take poison – taking one of Trinity’s actions. If there was no blue, the red one would make a ranged attack while Blackheart generated another blue one. My allies on the other side would perlex down that massive 19 defense to make it more manageable and I’d keep hitting, which would destroy the gargoyle but never give damage to Blackheart who would just pop another out. It chipped away at the Trinity dial while he was mopping up the other team.
It was fairly effective. We got the dial down to click 11, and I know I couldn’t have done that on my own. That’s why I said it was nice to play this as a three way game. It gave us both a chance. Still, that Trinity of Sin is a monster piece.
I did find one thing cute. Every time I’d detach the gargoyles, they don’t stand well on their own. They would topple over and I would just lay them on their side. When I’d TK the blue one over to Trinity, I’d lean it up by Phantom Stranger and say it was nuzzling him. If you can’t beat ’em, annoy them!
Okay, now that you’ve read that comic, head over to Violent Blue. We’ve got a new strip up today and meet us back here tomorrow!
Jokers hideout map
Ages ago when I was first creating Heroclix maps, on of the first ones I ever did was this half size Joker’s Hideout map that I got from The Absorbsacon’s site. I did a couple from there and really liked them.
Time passed, I was more busy with Violent Blue, not playing as much and I put the map away. Then, not too long ago I went down to grab it to setup a huge HC world, and it had vanished. I ended up rebuilding it, with some new touches.
First we start with the base. Layer two pieces of foam for height (we’ll need that height when we do the stairs)
Cut notches on one side which will be the front stairs. The back end is layered a bit to fit the second half of the base more tightly.
With the base created, we next need to glue the actual print out of the map on to the top of that foam surface.
Let the edges hang over a bit a cut two lines in those stairs. We’ll trim that back in a while. In the front, we fold the stairs a couple of times to give a staggered look.
The next step will be to glue the sides on the bottom and under the edges.
Pinch the corners so they overlap and support each other. These are made out of card stock and printed on both sides.
I also printed out a second set of stairs because once folded, we’ll need just a bit more length. That’s one long piece of paper glued under the unit. Finally, glue the whole thing on a base (can be cardboard, I used some thin foam).
I added some columns to hide the seams, and a few extras to complete the look. The columns are all mis-matched, which is perfectly appropriate for the Joker. More 3d elements than previously, and the walls are now brick, with purple painted brick inside. It’s set to look like they just moved in and painted the bare walls.
Ready to play!
Yes those ARE Weeping Angels behind Harley there…..(customs I made)
Happy Fathers yester-day
So father’s day was interesting. Amy asked the girls what they should get my father and they said “Lone Ranger stuff?” That was a fine answer. She then asked them what they should get me. They both chimed in “Heroclix!”
That’s cute. Not sure why they were thinking that, especially since I haven’t played in a month or so, but then again, I do play with them sometimes on the Gotham City map that’s set up in the Library. Nevertheless, I didn’t think they were going to follow through with that.
Did you know Five Below has Heroclix?
Nothing new of course. In fact I don’t think they sell anything that’s playable in a modern age tournament, but then again, a lot of the time I’m playing golden age (all sets) anyhow. They got me a box of Hypertime, and a box of Justice League. Lydia chose the Hypertime box because it had Catwoman on it and she expected her to be in the box.
I actually pulled some nice figures out of the Justice League box. There was a Batman and Robin duo figure I always wanted and a really powerful Emperor Joker…200 points, but way powerful. I think I may match him up with that Lex and Braniac figure I have some time.
Amy also got me a gift certificate for Comics Are Go! (and they have the best gift certificates ever….) and while they were there, the girls snagged bookmarks and the free All-Star Superman for me. It occurs to me that my girls have been in that shop more times than Amy has.
We took the girls to see Epic this weekend as well, and while I was there I noticed two previews for movies I want to see that I’ve been putting off. Superman and Star Trek are both coming to the palace. I’ll be heading there for both in 3d, 5.00 each.
Finally, if you were watching the parade in Avon Lake this weekend and you thought you saw me dressed as a zombie…you were right. I marched with the Lorain County Zombie Outbreak Response Team to promote their Zombie Walk in the fall – a charity event to raise food for the Second Harvest Food Bank.
I think I hurt my back with some of that shambling. You’d think I’d have finished that assignment for Angel Lite comics or gotten more work done on Violent Blue, being out of commission like that….
Don’t forget, Free Comic Book Day tomorrow! Head out and support you local Comic Book Shop! I’ve already got the girls costumes ready for them!
Then that afternoon I’ll be hading down to Amherst Cinemas for Iron Man 3! Remember, Amherst is a $3.00 theatre, leaving me enough to go see Godzilla at the Cedar Lee! (If I don’t head over to Comics are Go for Heroclix that is)
Galactus vs Star Trek
Comics are Go! decided to do something different this time around. Mike was wanting to play the Star Trek Tactics game, and he decided to pair it with Galactus.
Now, I’m a fan of Star Trek – or at least of good star trek (I feel it really got watered down towards the end of the century) built I haven’t been buying this game. I really hadn’t seen to many people playing it and honestly, I don’t need more Trek toys. I have a pretty full set of the Micro Machines ships and what few ship the Tactics set makes that Micro Machines didn’t are WAY expensive. Far more expensive than standard Heroclix. Too much for toys that I didn’t expect to play with and don’t have room to display.
Still, when this opportunity came up, it was too good to resist. Galactus in general is a really good idea for this kind of game and it really got my imagination going. So much so that I created this prolog for the game. (They would definitely carry this comic at Taylors shop in Violent Blue)
Mike ended up playing a Romulin team. Jim and I played Federation teams – I was borrowing pieces from Mike’s collection and tried not to duplicate anything that Jim was playing (except the cloaked Defiant. that was just too cool).
I did find a use for my old Micro machines toys. I used the little figures as counters. It ended up looking a little creepy though….like they were just people who had been sucked out of the ship, dead bodies floating is space.
Jim brought along his custom Borg cube as well. I’d seen this while it was still a work in progress, but cool to see it complete with the custom dial mounted and in place.
It’s didn’t get played, but it brings up the question – what would The Borg vs. Galactus look like? I speculated that he’d just slam his hand down on the cube and rip off a chunk with his fingers. Kind of like this.
A really fun scenario. I’m hoping to see more tactics played up at the shop. Definitely something I’d be up for if it turned into a monthly thing.
The Lone Ranger?
If you heard a high pitched squeeing noise last night, sorry. That was me as soon as I saw this news breaking.
They are actually going to make Lone ranger Heroclix.
For those of you skeptics that don’t see how this franchise could possibly have more than two figures though….let’s consider: really you could easily get a dozen figures out of this. Cavendish, Dan Reid (The Ranger’s nephew), A sheriff, Cavendish henchmen, Indian Brave, Indian Chief, throw in a couple of the dead rangers and a love interest. If you really needed more, they could go with the way they did the toy series in the 80s – wild west heroes like Wild Big Hickok and Wyatt Earp and stuff. If you head into the dynamite comics for characters, you have the Widow (Dan’s mother) along with the specific sheriff they’ve been working with, then throw in a comic/TV accurate version of each character. There really are some wide open possibilities. Even more if they did chases with the characters on horses.
I was never into westerns and never played cowboys and Indians. My father introduced me to the Loner Ranger and it was a gateway to westerns for me because the mask gave it a superhero vibe. Its still one of the best comics being published and I love the character because of his connection to the Green Hornet and the way it connects me to my father.
I think the Dynamite series was the first time anyone’s gotten the character right since that TV series, and when I’m playing these pieces, that’s the series I’ll be thinking of. I’m still holding out hope for the new movie though. Check out the trailer below, then head over to see today’s Violent Blue!
Wow. I didn’t realize I’d managed to collect so many alter ego figures! I always thought it was a cool game mechanic (although I can’t ever quite gt it to work right) but in the back of my mind, I always had these figures bound for my train set.
One of our Christmas traditions is always to have a train set up, sometimes around the tree, sometimes beside it. I don’t really have enough track to make it around the tree though, so we tend to run it in my library. My father always did a country or Victorian setting, but I always preferred an urban one. as time goes by I’ve developed more and more buildings and sets for it, most notably using the Crime Alley 3-d Heroclix map I created from a map created over at the Absosbsacon. Of course it has superheroes on it, it’s pretty much exactly the kind of train you would find in Taylors hop in Violent Blue.
This is my train this year. I recently found the globe to the Daily Planet again which makes me incredibly happy and discovered that he Air Hockey Table works better than the pool table for the display! Clix are hidden all over. See how many you recognize!
It was Merc team against my Brute squad. Now, to be fair, the dice were really rolling my way all night and I was making insane successes. Jessie was having the exact opposite kind of luck.
I don’t usually roll with Brutes – I prefer ranged attackers and would like to use some skill….except I really don’t have much skill as far as clix goes! Still I wanted to try out that Composite Superman and the Joe Fixit (grey Hulk) I got and it seemed like a good game to try it.
There was t his one moment when my Hulk Robot (one of those figures I got ENTIRELY because it looked cool – but it’s turned out to be a nice little piece after all) had Deadpool and Bob : Agent of Hydra based. Deadpool was maxed aout and about to get a big Hulk Smash with a light object. Bob rolled breakaway and ran for the hills. I kind of see the entire encounter going a little like this:
Okay, this was a while back, but the thing is…I lost the artwork.
It’s ironic, because the scenario this Clix Comic comes from is one I never got to play. I built this team, and even test played it at another venue, but the week I was supposed to do the actual game, it got cancelled.
I don’t remember much except it was during the Superman launch and it was going to be a really close quarters match, so I wanted close combat experts. I do recall though that this is where I really learned to love the Batgirl figure. I got her because I wanted a complete modern Batman family…who knew she would be such a good piece? She’s nearly impossible to hit from a distance and if you get into hand to hand she’s got close combat expert to drop tons of damage on you! Bronze Tiger’s not to shabby either though I need to mod his mask off so he look more like he did back in Suicide Squad.
I like to imagine that Batman was the leader of this group and the recruitment went a little like this (the “You??” at the end is because one of the rules was that we had to include one figure from a sealed booster) :
Barda vs. Witchblade
You may remember some of this dialogue from the Clix party post a few months back. But seriously, if Big Barda met Witchblade, isn’t this JUST how the two would hit it off?
Avengers at Warzone
Finally! I think it’s been a month since I got that Avengers starter set and I finally got to break them out last night at Warzone.
I’ve been looking forward to playing these. I really like seeing toy based on the movie costumes instead of the comic ones, it’s a nice alternative. I’ll probably be all over the Dark Knight ones that are out now too.
The thing I really liked about these though was that you could just grab the starter set and pretty much be done. Other than Nick Fury, all the characters I really wanted to get are represented here. You’ve pretty much got the whole team.
The game last night required me to have a scientist, a robot and a monster, so I added Hulk Robot and the Hulk figure from the last wave (Seriously? No monster keyword on the AVM Hulk?). I also threw in Spidey and MJ to hit the point total. I hate 1000 point games. While MJ met a spectacular demise (Doppelganger Spider-Man literaly ripped through her to get to the figure behind her!) Spidey himself actually was my last man standing. Those super-Senses really do wonders….and there’ll be a comic up about that showdown eventually.
I think Cap did the most damage, though that was less skill and more about being in the right place at the right time. I’d also really like to know why Thor doesn’t have indomitable or at least Willpower on the first couple of clicks. Seriously. He’s a god. Two actions in a row shouldn’t be pushing.
I like big free for all games. We had four players on one map and I’m a fan of that format. I kept my team mostly together and picked off who I could, but mostly hung back and let a lot of the action just go on around me. By the end it was obvious Aaron was going to get first place so I made sure he was the one who killed my last couple of figures instead of Sam – it got me second.
What was really cool was getting that Nick Fury in the prize draw. Like I said, he was pretty much the only other Avenger I really wanted and everyone was considerate enough not to grab him first. I also scored a SHIELD Agent. I know he’s not Colson, but you know what? As far as I’m concerned, he’s close enough.
Considering I walked in to that game intending to get flattened because I was using a bunch of figures I’d never played before it turned out to be a really nice night. Probably won’t make it back to Warzone untill next month, but I might hit Infinite Monkey in a week or two to try out my Avengers again.
You know what? I feel like watching the Avengers movie while I work on some Violent Blue. See you tomorrow.
Deadpool’s new power
You know, I don’t usually do these kinds of gags (that’s why this isn’t appearing over at Violent Blue) but it was a funny bit that happened one night as we were playing over at Warzone. I forget what all figures Jesse was playing, but he had his everpresent Deadpool, along with another piece that gave a free smoke cloud barrier each turn. His turn came and he started up the clouds around Deadpool. Someone (possibly Mark) made acomment about how he didn’t realize Deadpool had that power, and before he could point out that it was coming from another figure..well…..
I’ll admit to laughing.
So for a while there I was alternating my gaming between Warzone in Parma and Get’em Comics in Lorain. Get’em is closed now, but right before the last game nights there I decided it might be fun to whip up a 3D map of the shop for them.
I’ll bet the shop in Violent Blue looks a lot like this too….