Thanks for checking in on the “Colossal Clarifications,” – don’t worry, it’s only a few small clarifications about how big figures work (big, meaning all multi-base figures, and not just Colossal figures). Multi-base characters have seen a lot of play lately, including on many teams at the 2018 HeroClix World Championships. As a result, we wanted to make sure we clarified how those figures move and how they work with expanding your starting area.
1. Moving Multi-Base Characters
Nothing notable has changed with multi-base movement for a while, but the 2017 HeroClix Core Rules made the language around that movement more concise, leading to some ambiguity or misinterpretation.
When you move a multi-base character, you choose one square of that character’s base, and then move that character as if it were a single base character, following all normal movement rules. Essentially, immediately before the character starts moving, the character “shrinks down” to a single base and then “pops up” to full size when movement ends. The intent has been that you can’t end movement such that any square of the base “moved” more squares than the chosen square of the base. This is to prevent multi-base characters from being able to “swing” the back of their base in front of them, thus getting a free square of movement each time they move. Note that you also must end movement such that the entire base (when it “pops up”) resides in squares it can legally occupy.
When we say to check how far the other squares of the base “moved,” they didn’t individually move in the HeroClix sense of the word. All we meant is that you need to make sure none of them traveled from “behind” the chosen part of the base to “ahead” of the chosen part of the base – no swings. Those other base squares didn’t also “move through” and occupy a random bunch of squares adjacent to the path of the chosen part of the base. As such, we’re going to clarify the movement rules for multi-base characters to remove any possible implication that other parts of the base are “moving” in the next Core Rulebook (final wording and publication timing TBD). Simply put, a larger figure with a movement of 6 should be moving the same 6 that a single base figure would.
Technically, this does allow multi-base characters to pass through single-square “hallways” if they can legal occupy squares on both ends. It may seem counter-intuitive, but there’s good reasons it does.
HeroClix movement is structured upon single-base characters. Maps are designed, powers are written, and terrain markers are all based around the scale of single-base characters. If a multi-base character couldn’t move through 1-square gaps, it would be easy to prevent them from moving at all by choosing certain maps and arranging to block off certain areas, essentially stranding them (barring something like Colossal Retaliation) on the far side of the map. While it might be a valid strategy if the rules worked that way, it would be decidedly unfun for players with multi-base characters. Also, it becomes complex (and time consuming) to figure out what movement is legal if you have all squares of the base move together all the time. By streamlining movement, we hope to let players focus on the tactics and strategies that make HeroClix great.
2. Expanding Starting Areas
Unlike the first issue, which is a clarification that will require updated language, this issue is an actual change to be reflected in the next HeroClix Comprehensive Rules.
Here’s the current wording to handle expanding starting areas:
In rare cases, a player’s starting force may not fit in their chosen starting area. If so, increase all starting areas by one row and one column, and continue this until each player’s starting force fits in their respective starting area. Starting areas can’t ever overlap. Effects that refer to a starting area only count the original starting area inside the purple boundary lines. Any game elements that can’t be placed into your starting area after it has been expanded it to its maximum outcome are considered KO’d.
You’ve probably noticed that “in rare cases,” isn’t as accurate as it used to be, before low-point costed, awesomely competitive multi-base characters were common in the metagame. While the above covers the basics, it leaves a lot open to interpretation. We wanted to make setup easier by removing as much ambiguity as possible.
The expansion of a starting area is only to be used when a player can’t fit their entire force within the purple boundary of the normal starting area. When placing game elements, the largest multi-base game elements must be placed first, and then the next largest, etc, until you are placing single-base figures.
A player must attempt to fit all game elements within that boundary, regardless of how they personally want to set up their force. Once you can no longer fit any more of a certain base size, you move on to the next smaller base size, etc. until the entire purple boundary area is filled as best as possible. If a player can fit all their starting game elements into their starting area in any possible configuration, they may not expand their starting area. If, after completely filling in the purple boundary area as fully as possible, a player still has game elements left to be placed, only then can they expand their starting area.
At this point the player will expand their starting area one “column”. A “column” in this sense is an area 1 square wide, and as deep as the purple boundary starting area is. On most maps, this typically is 2 squares deep. You continue adding columns, one at a time on a single side of the purple boundary staring area, until you can fit your starting force inside.
If you imagine your starting area at the bottom of the map, you add columns to the left (or right) of your starting area. These columns are always added along the same edge that the purple boundary starting area is on. Note that by using only columns you can’t place anything “closer” to your opponent’s starting area than the default.
If, after expanding to one edge of the map the player still can’t fit their remaining game elements, the player may choose to add columns on the other side of the purple boundary starting area. If, after expanding along that entire edge of the map in both directions the player still can’t fit their remaining game elements, then the player may then start expanding their entire (now much wider) starting area one row at a time until all their game elements fit.
- Starting areas may never overlap with another starting area. This is very rare in 2 player games, but may happen in multi-player games. If this would occur, then the starting area can no longer be expanded. Any game elements remaining that are unable to be placed are KO’d and scored.
- When placing game elements in the expanded starting area, the player does not get to rearrange any previously placed game elements (except as noted below).
- If the first player is the one that needed to expand their starting area, then the second player gets to use the same expanded starting area when placing their figures on the map. (If the first player expanded to their “right” then the second player’s starting area is expanded to the second player’s “right”.) If it was the second player that required expansion, after the second player places their game elements the first player may then reposition their own game elements in their now larger starting area.
- When placing game elements such as objects or markers during game setup, players use the expanded starting areas for rules/effects that refer to the starting area (such as special objects needing to be placed 5 squares away from a starting area). In rare cases, you may not be able to place things as far away from starting areas as required, in which case you place them as far away as possible. Once the game has begun, any reference to starting areas only applies to the purple boundary area (including during any “at the beginning of the game” triggers).
The goal for these changes is to allow players to play multi-base figures without allowing them to begin “closer” to opposing starting areas than other characters can be. Since previously we were too brief, we perhaps erred here on the side of being too descriptive, but this should clear up most questions about how to handle these scenarios. The intent of expanding the starting area is that a player gets to put all of their cool game elements onto the map, NOT that they get to start the game halfway across the map toward their opponent.
Multi-base characters add a lot to HeroClix, both in terms of interesting gameplay and spectacular sculpts, and we need to make sure they have solid rules to match. If there are questions about these rules (or any other rules), please ask them on the WizKids Rules Forum found here. By utilizing the rules forum instead of emails or other communication methods, it gives everyone a single place to look for official information.
We hope you had a great holiday season and until next time, keep on Clixin’!
-The WizKids Team