Design Insight – The Return of the Team Up!

We’re X-Cited that Team Up cards are making their debut in Marvel HeroClix! There are TONS of great X-Men stories, and Marvel’s mightiest mutants flow in and out of different teams. In some ways the special cards in the X-Men Regenesis OP series were the predecessors to Team Up cards. We wanted to give fans a peek behind the scenes to understand the design benefits and challenges involved with Team Up cards, how they impact House of X and why we wanted to do them again. This may be a review for some fans since we gave a peek at why we did Team Up Cards here, or you could read that first and come back to this to see how our thinking has progressed.

Adding Surprise, Delight, and Value

If you’ve seen a handful of Team Up Cards, when you open one in your booster it’s likely to be one you haven’t seen before. It puts the player into the creative driver’s seat in a fresh way.

The collectible value can’t be ignored – Team Up Cards in general are easy enough to acquire, but any given Team Up Card may be challenging to track down. We don’t anticipate most players will want a full roster of all the Team Up Cards in a set, but many players will enjoy trying to trade for their favorites. In particular, we suspect that beginners will be able to trade these to more experienced players for figures that might help them build their HeroClix collection, including staples for their teams.

Recontextualizing is another source of value. By that, we mean that players will be forced to rethink figures they’ve seen before (likely ones in their collection). By providing Team Up cards that name popular characters like Namor, Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine, we hope that players will get a fun and interesting opportunity to reconsider those characters. Instead of trying to find the best piece for a certain role (support, ranged attacker, etc) players will search for a well-balanced core group of characters and fill out the remainder of their team as appropriate. However, if Storm is listed on your Team Up card, she probably makes it onto your team before a character that fills a similar role. Without the Team Up card, she might not. Speaking of Storm, she’s just one of the X-Men that Psylocke worked with on the X-Men Outback team. Storm also is known to have had a romance with Forge, so check out his Team Up card below that features Storm as well.

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Opportunity Costs Instead of Point Costs

The key value proposition of Team Up Cards is that if you constrain your team building, you’ll get benefits that other players won’t have access to, even when you have the same figure. In the past we’ve put abilities onto characters that might only work when they’re on a Themed Team. We think Team Up cards are better for a few reasons.

  • When the ability can be very valuable we might need to include it in the point cost, making the figure less desirable when you’re unable to capitalize on the special power or trait.
  • If the ability is complicated or wordy, it makes the figure look more challenging to use for beginners even when it might be simple when you’re not using that ability.
  • If the constraint of the ability is extreme, it doesn’t belong on a low rarity figure. It would be a bad experience for a player to open a common figure that has an ability they can’t utilize because they haven’t collected many figures yet. By the time those players have collected a higher rarity item they’re more likely to already own most if not all of the figures required to utilize it.
  • If the rarity of the figure is high, players expect us to make the figure easy to put on any team since it was already challenging to collect.

Team Up Cards living independently of the primary character card solves all these issues. It also lets us modulate force construction with a tool besides point values. It lets us add a ton of variety.

Consider Marvel Girl upgrading all of X-Force when paired with 2+ members of the team is good, but so is limiting opposing characters when she’s paired with 2+ members of X-Men Red. You’ll be able to build substantially different teams around some of your favorite characters and their dials.

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The Newest Round of Team Ups Are Crunchier

The last time we did Team Up cards, it was for 120 cards. This time, it will be for about half as many. Even at 60 Team Up cards, that’s nearly an entire set’s worth of new character cards! You may be wondering why so many, or why fewer?

Why so many: The high volume of Team Up Cards encourages unexpected teams, and hopefully increased metagame diversity. So far, we’ve seen some teams that have a substantially different feel for the person playing them than other teams in the meta – that’s a huge victory for the HeroClix community!

Why fewer: This round of Team Up Cards is more ambitious than the first round. The effects are more nuanced, less like one another, and in plenty of cases more powerful. At the same time, many are more restrictive. Some may be less powerful for the figure you’re using, but combo with a figure that already exists; some of these combos are more obvious than others.

We’ve Maintained What Inspired Team Up Cards

Beyond what we’ve discussed above, keeping sealed exciting, great storytelling, and positive impacts to local Clix communities were things we loved and are confident will remain true in this second round of Team Up Cards. Our fingers are crossed that as we hear from players and retailers about Team Up Cards there will be benefits we hadn’t thought of yet!

For all of the latest coverage on House of X keep up with us on social media and check the product page for any news you may have missed. You can pre-order Marvel HeroClix: X-Men House of X through your friendly local game store or directly from us.