Greetings HeroClix Masterminds!
As previously discussed, starting with the upcoming Marvel HeroClix: Spider-Man Beyond Amazing set we’ll be implementing a number of rules changes mostly focused on making terrain a more dynamic aspect of the game. In today’s article, we will communicate how this will affect map design going forward. In broad strokes, the changes to map design are:
- Less Symmetrical Maps
- Less Terrain Clutter
- A More Action-Focused Map Size
Big News, Small Maps
Starting with the biggest news, the size of the standard HeroClix map is changing, from the current 2’x3’ to 2’x2’ – the same size as a Battle Royale map. Before we go further, to be clear, existing 2’x3’ maps will remain legal in Modern for as long as their sets are legal. For a time, maps of both sizes will be legal to play, and the new rules we’re about to discuss for starting areas will not apply to the larger maps. Condensed maps will get games into the action faster and will allow for terrain markers to have a greater impact, since they’ll make up a larger fraction of the map’s area. To make room for terrain markers, we’re also slightly scaling back the amount of printed terrain on maps.
This may seem a shocking change, but there’s a number of tweaks we’re making on the design end to help the transition. Average speed and range values will update accordingly with this change, and the minimum range for any standard power or team ability that has one is being changed from 6 to 4.
For new figures with values above those averages, you may see their point values increased more than in previous sets to account for those higher numbers. Alpha strike strategies were a concern we had to keep in mind with this change, but between the speed and range reductions, larger maps remaining an option, and the changes to starting area rules, we found that alpha strikes did not become an overpowering strategy during playtesting. We will continue to monitor alpha strike strategies moving forward.
Where To Start?
Having a perfectly square map has enabled us to tweak starting areas; purple starting areas are being partially retired and will only be used for Battle Royale maps. For one-on-one games using a 2’x2’ map, players will not start in purple starting areas (if the map even has them). Rather, players will use an edge of the map as their starting area, and all characters on their force begin on that edge. For any effects that reference a starting area, squares along the chosen edges will count as a starting area. Combined with the push to make maps less symmetrical, being able to choose different orientations for the same map can lead to wildly different play experiences. We’re saving the real nitty-gritty of rules for next week’s articles, but we can summarize map choice and setup here:
- After rolling for First Player, whoever wins the roll chooses between being the First or Second Player.
- Second Player chooses the map.
- First Player chooses which edge they’ll use as their starting area and places their force and terrain markers; Second Player uses the opposite edge as their starting area, and places their force and terrain markers.
- Once setup is complete, First Player begins their first turn and the game begins!
While this change to the maps is very light on rules tweaks, it has some significantly positive changes for the game’s strategy. Both first and second player have a hand in map choice now, with second player choosing map, but first player getting to pick the orientation and having the first opportunity to modify it with terrain markers. Likewise, second player can respond with terrain of their own, to make sure the map is balanced between the players. With a smaller map size, players can get to the action faster, terrain choices matter more, and maps are more customizable.
We mentioned alpha strike strategies being a concern in testing. Less distance between the starting positions is a pretty substantial buff to those strategies; this was something we kept in mind as we tested on smaller maps. In practice, however, placing large sections of terrain during setup can make maps disadvantageous for alpha strikes. Additionally, many alpha strike teams rely on carrying large groups of characters or having the lines of fire necessary for multiple uses of Perplex or Telekinesis. By starting all characters single-file along the edge of the map, this becomes difficult to achieve and slows their initial strike down.
Don’t fret! There are several other rules tweaks we’ll discuss in upcoming articles that soften the more super-fast, super aggressive playstyles, to keep them competitive without being dominating. Ultimately, the more dynamic setup these rules promote allow more kinds of teams to flourish than ever before. The Design team approached the topic of maps with the serious goal of making HeroClix more interactive, fun, and dynamic. HeroClix by its nature is a competitive, tactical, and combat-oriented game. We want to elevate the excitement of gameplay and “get right to the good stuff!” We’re excited to see how this refreshes metagames and allows an even greater depth of strategies.
If you want to try playing on a 2’x2’ map but worry you don’t have one, we may have a surprise for you. The tile maps used in the DC Comics HeroClix: Batman Team-Up Miniatures Game were designed with this update in mind. By removing the middle tiles (rows I-P), they can be run as a 2’x2’ map! Both maps in that miniatures game will be modern legal in both their 2’x3’ and 2’x2’ forms, though for official events you will have to declare which arrangement you’re using on your build sheet.
That’s it for this update. As a reminder, next time we’ll be discussing the updates to PAC Powers, and after that changes to the Comprehensive Rules.
The HeroClix Design Team