He floats by the fountain in the desolate park, waiting. His allies are gone, systematically taken out . . . it all happened so fast. First, the young man in the alien suit who called himself Spider-Man, followed by Aztek, the Ultimate Man. Thrown together by fate, they were not destined to fight together for long. No, now it is only Superman. Silently, he curses these strange new energy-based abilities. If he had his old, familiar powers, perhaps, he could have saved them . . . perhaps he would have stood a chance. Perhaps.
In the distance, the strangled sounds of a struggle abruptly coming to an end. So, that’s it then. That strange group of others has also been brought low. He had only glimpsed them briefly as he fled from the carnage (how he hated running). They were entering the fray, with no idea what they were in for, and now they, too, were fallen.
Now, it is only Superman . . . and them.
The silence is shattered without warning, and, suddenly, they are upon him. It all happens so fast . . . he can barely process what is going on, let alone fight back. He feels his life-force fading, and as his vision fades and oblivion approaches, he gazes upon the face of he who has done the impossible: defeated Superman. The last thing he sees as he sinks into the darkness is the gloating face of his destroyer:
That’s a scenario that played out for me in a recent game of Heroclix, and I thought I would share it with you because, seriously . . . do not mess with that monkey. He took out Superman, for crying out loud. That’s part of the fun of Heroclix.
For those of you who don’t know, Heroclix is a tactical miniature game for people who enjoy(ed) making their action figures fight to the death. The object of the game is to assemble a team of primarily DC and Marvel heroes and villains (though there are some figures from other sources, mostly video games), and then pit them against the team your opponent has created in a death-match style bout, with the last man standing as the victor. Each figure has a set of stats that change as the game progresses and they take damage. These stats indicate each figures speed, range, attack, defense, and damage. They are printed on a dial set into the base of each figure, which is turned as a character takes damage, revealing the stats on their next “click.” In addition, every figure has a point value assigned to it to represent its relative power in relation to other figures, and teams must be built with a maximum point value in mind in order to keep things balanced. For example, in a 300-point game, you could have three figures in the hundred-point range, or just play with one super powerful figure. It’s all up to you, and with thousands of figures to choose from, the possibilities are endless.
It’s not all about the points, though. Let’s say, as a purely hypothetical example, that you are playing the 105-point Superman Blue figure (this was the Man of Steel’s blue period, like Picasso, if he had erupted into electrical energy) against the lowly 62-point Detective Chimp, and that the freaking monkey made every single one of his Super Senses rolls, in addition to Outwitting your attack power every turn . . . but I digress. The point is, in addition to stats, each one of your Clix has special abilities and powers on their dial that bring a little something extra to the battlefield.
Then, on top of that, most attacks or special actions in the game are determined by six-sided die rolls. While this does introduce a sometimes frustrating level of randomness to Heroclix, it also injects a sense of unpredictability and tension into each battle. This helps the game avoid being bogged down by the somewhat plodding complexities of more involved tactical miniature games. After all, if I wanted to be measuring things with a ruler every fifteen seconds, I would build a cabinet.
The game is played on a 2-D grid map with different types of terrain: clear, hindering, elevated, blocking, water, and special. There are many different maps to select from, and choosing the proper battlefield for your team is part of the game’s strategy.
There is a bit of a learning curve to Heroclix, but you can choose to make it as simple or complicated as you’d like. You could start out playing on a simple map, using just the printed numerical values on your team’s dials. Once you had the basics down, you could introduce the powers and abilities; however, after a few games, it might be best to seek out some knowledgeable players (perhaps online or at your local comics and game store) who can help you with the finer points of the rules.
So, how do you get started? There are several ways to go about it. The easiest way is to pick up a Starter set, which typically include 6 figures, a rulebook, dice, tokens, a powers and abilities card, and a map—they typically go for around $25. You could also pick up a Fast Forces pack, which has 6 figures and a map for about $15. The rules and other resources can all be found for free on the Print and Play section of the Heroclix website. Alternatively, for about $10 you can pick up a five-figure randomized booster pack, or $3 will get you a single figure booster from a Gravity Feed. You can even track down specific figures on sites like eBay or other online retailers. For more resources and info, check out heroclix.com.
So, what are you waiting for? Pick up a pack, grab a friend, and make some superheroes fight each other for your amusement! You can even pretend that you are an all-powerful space being while you’re doing it. If you don’t enjoy the game, you still come out ahead, because your Clix will look great on your desk or your shelf at home! I should know; I’ve got about 300 now! I can’t stop! It’s a serious problem! No really, I need help! Where are you going?