For some of the game terms in HeroClix, the primary change is how they’re communicated – the gameplay will mostly be the same. We’ve previously heard that simpler and more concise language for some of HeroClix’s concepts was desired by members of the community. This has been reinforced by many of the questions and comments over the past two weeks.

Free vs At No Cost

“At No Cost” existed for the sake of the rules, but was splitting hairs compared to “Free” within HeroClix. While it made sense for it to exist, the rules are more streamlined without it.

One use of “at no cost” was within powers (especially Standard Powers) to let you know you could take what would normally be an action, within an action, without an action token, without taking a free action. Reading the 2018 version of Charge is more straightforward:

  • Can’t be knocked back. POWER: Halve speed. Move, then CLOSE: at no cost.

“At no cost” helped people know that their close action (usually – an attack) was still part of the costed action without requiring you end up with 2 action tokens at the end of the power. At the same time, it wasn’t attacking as a FREE action, which might get wonky with special powers or traits, especially those that trigger from or prevent FREE actions.

There was another (equally wonky) use of “At no cost,” which was that you normally can’t use the same free action twice in a turn, but you could if one of them was “at no cost.” Consider the following special power with both the 2018 version of its wording and the 2021 version.

  • // Once per turn, [c] can use Outwit at no cost.
  • [c] can use Outwit a second time each turn.

Both function off the same underlying truths – an exception to the rules must exist for a character to use the same FREE action twice in a turn. A character can’t use multiple copies of a power. So if the character from the example also gained Outwit from an equipment, they’d still be able to use the 2nd Outwit but not a 3rd.

We won’t (and don’t) design lots of effects like that, and “at no cost” isn’t fundamental to us doing so in the future.

Existing Effects

Existing effects that utilize the “at no cost” wording will play exactly the same as they always have. Unfortunately, that means there will be a modern metagame where the same effect might have more than one wording.

Place vs Places

The word “place” has meant two totally different things in HeroClix. Worse, when effects want to make sure no friendly characters have been placed this turn, it only refers to one of those two. This is needlessly confusing.

When a character would be repositioned, we’re still going to use the word placed. It will still mean that a character has been transported on the map without taking a move action.

When a character would be added to the map, we’ll use the keyphrase “generate” moving forward. They might be added to the map because they were generated, or because they were swapped in for another character (like with Shifting Focus).

Questions We’ve Received

Q: What’s up with Water terrain? Will it still hinder movement? What’s up with the Dolphin symbol?

A: Water terrain will no longer be hindering for movement, at the same time water is an opportunity. We wanted to find a future for watery maps that made them more fun to play on, and not drastically slanted for certain team builds. Keeping water in the game focused on special effects let us do that. We’ll also be able to design special effects that generate water terrain with more freedom since it will enable the team of the aquatic heroes to do fun, thematic, and exciting things without slowing the game to a halt (in many instances). The other change was to the Swim keyphrase, which is represented by the dolphin symbol. Characters with Swim now have, “While occupying water terrain, this character can’t be targeted by opposing characters unless they are within 4 squares.” Special thanks to Tony, Mark, and others who e-mailed about this.

As always, we will be constantly evaluating the rules and rules changes. As time goes by, we may make more changes if things like water terrain aren’t living up to everyone’s hopes and expectations.

While this was one of our shorter 2021 Rules Articles, we hope it was helpful for our tournament players and rules aficionados. Until next time, keep on Clixin!

Thanks for keeping up to date with all of the rules changes! We’re receiving lots of feedback through and we’ll be sure to try and answer some of the most common questions we receive in the next article.

To see everything we’ve revealed so far for the 2021 rules update and Wonder Woman 80th Anniversary, check here.