The upcoming DC Comics HeroClix: Batman Team-Up set marks the triumphant return of the Lantern Corps as a major force in the game. In truth, we’ve been laying the groundwork for this resurgence for some time, starting with the inclusion of a number Lantern characters and their associated power ring Constructs in the DC Comics: HeroClix: Wonder Woman 80th Anniversary set.
Having established a new and interesting ruleset for Constructs, we thought it would be exciting to create new versions of the Lantern Rings which allow Lantern Corps characters to generate these Constructs during the game. Once we settled on a version we were happy with, we seeded Batman Team-Up with these rings and a host of new Constructs to ensure that the mechanic will be widely available.
As development on Batman Team-Up proceeded, the renewed focus on iconic equipment linked to specific characters prompted us to re-evaluate and improve the core equipment rules in HeroClix.
We have linked equipment and characters in previous sets (like Marvel HeroClix: Black Panther & Marvel HeroClix: X of Swords) by allowing characters to be equipped with equipment at the start of the game, but this was accomplished by including a dedicated trait on those specific characters. This requires targeting specific characters that we want to interact with certain equipment, and it is not backwards compatible or easily forward compatible. Over the course of playtesting and discussion, we identified that what was really holding us back from doing what we really wanted were the core equipment rules themselves. With that in mind, we went “under the hood” to make some big changes to equipment with the following goals:
- Make equipment easier to link to thematic characters without bogging down their individual character cards with a dedicated traits.
- Make equipment easier to equip.
Not wanting to saddle characters with “equipment traits” was one important goal, but we also wanted to eliminate the thematic weirdness and gameplay awkwardness of what we call the “equipment dance.” Equipment is a sub-set of special objects… which are themselves a sub-set of objects… which means that equipment follows the objects rules and is placed on the map during game set-up. Players then have to spend the first portion of the game positioning their characters to pick up and equip that equipment—a.k.a. the “equipment dance.” While this process functions perfectly well within the HeroClix ruleset, it really doesn’t make much logical or thematic sense. In the comics, characters don’t say “Time out everyone… the ring I brought to this fight is out in the middle of the street. I need to go pick it up and put it on.” No! Characters have their equipment at the ready for whenever there is a super-powered throw down.
With the new equipment rules, players will no longer have to do the “equipment dance” and will now be able to start the game with their equipment… equipped. As a bonus, this also means your equipment can no longer be “sniped” away from you by the opposing team before you can equip it.
The linked PDF has the revised text of the Comprehensive Rules entries for 25.1 Special Objects and 25.2 Equipment. Beginning with DC Comics HeroClix: Batman Team-Up, equipment will now operate as follows:
- Equipment is added to a player’s force and assigned to characters during force construction so those assigned characters will start the game with that equipment equipped.
- Equipment has qualifying names and/or keywords that will allow that equipment to be added to a player’s force for 0 points or a discounted point cost.
The above are the most exciting updates to how equipment function, but the following rule changes are also noteworthy:
- Characters that become non-standard (ex: by changing Size) can continue to use the EFFECTs of any equipment they have equipped.
- Characters that have changed forces (ex: via Mind Control) can continue to use the EFFECTs of any equipment they have equipped (if they can be applied).
Adding to Force and Assigning
Equipment is added to your force during force construction— this part has not changed. What is changing is that equipment will be assigned to characters during force construction as well. The concept of “assigning” is not new in HeroClix (it has been previously used for Resources and ATAs), but it is new for equipment. This step was added so as to require players to commit to the characters that will be equipped during force construction. This allows opposing players to know in advance what characters are equipped with what equipment and prevents players from adding equipment at a point discount for having a character with a qualifying name/keyword and then assigning the equipment to a different (non-qualified) character.
Equipping at Start of Game
Characters that have been assigned equipment during force construction will start the game with that equipment equipped. Noting that the EFFECTs of any equipment will not be accessible by the assigned character until the start of game.
Equipment and Object Limit
Equipment added to your force during force construction does NOT count toward your object limit (object placed during game set-up). NOTE: Equipment, as a sub-set of special objects, are all UNIQUE.
Equipment will have a listing of qualified character names and/or keywords. This will allow players to add that equipment to their force at 0 points or a discounted point cost. To us, this is an exciting new direction for equipment because it allows us to link equipment to specific characters (by name) or groups of characters (by keyword) without having to write out this effect on those character’s cards. For example, we can now create equipment like the Utility Belt that can be added to any character with the Batman Family keyword, whereas it would not have been feasible under the previous ruleset to add a trait allowing the equipping of a Utility Belt to every figure in the set with a Batman Family keyword.
Equipment and Standard Characters
There are some functional changes in how equipment interacts with non-standard characters (ex: Tiny, Giant & Colossal Size characters). The previous restriction of “You can only equip a standard character.” is being removed. Instead, this restriction is now on assigning equipment to characters:
When assigning equipment, only standard characters may be assigned. (25.2b)
Additionally, the two following passages are being removed from the Equipment rules:
If an equipped character becomes a non-standard character while they’re equipped, they stay equipped, but they can’t use the equipment’s EFFECT ability.
An equipped character that joins a force that isn’t its starting force (like with Mind Control) can’t use the equipment’s EFFECT ability while it’s part of that force. (previous 25.2f from 5/15/21 version of the Comprehensive Rules)
Thank you for reading. We are very excited about these changes to the equipment rules and the design opportunities this opens for equipment in the future, and we hope you are, as well.
Until next time!
The HeroClix Design Team