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Heroscape and Beyond

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 08:45 PM by BoneSnap
One of the things that always caught my eye with Heroscape is the ease with which it can be added to. I can browse Heroscapers.com almost any day and find new ideas, new maps, new figures, or new strategies. I find it amazing that when Heroscape was officially discontinued, it’s community stepped up and decided not to get the memo. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m fairly sure that more customs have been created since the discontinuation of Heroscape than Hasbro and WotC ever officially made for the game. Heroscape still has a thriving community of talented and creative fans that aren’t about to quit.

That being said, however, all that creativity and talent is still crammed into a tightly defined mindset. Maps are designed using 2 or 3 sets and built for 500 point 1v1 matches. Figures and customs are still evaluated based on 500 point armies. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a 500 point game. I’ve played several tournaments at or around 500 points and enjoyed them very much. It really is great to get out and play with so many others, but I always get to a point where I place my 500 points on the board and wonder if that’s really it.

You see, from the beginning, our group never really played your average game. My very first time playing Heroscape with more than a RotV master set found us setting up a dinning room table sized board at noon. We then proceeded to rough each other up until we called the game at 9. We really weren’t all that good at it then, but we’d get there in time. We met at the same time the following week and did it again. We built a massive board and played our 1200 points of horribly disjointed armies for another 8 hours (the stupid boards do take a freaking hour to set up).

As we played more, we began to expand our collections, which in turn led to larger and more complicated boards. We very quickly graduated from our dinning room table and moved downstairs to the ping pong table. We started creating our custom characters and unleashing them on the board. After a long while, we found Heroscapers.com and began to read about what others were doing. 500 points? How do they play for more than 10 minutes? By this time, we could reasonably expect to whittle through a 4-way 1200 point match in 2-3 hours, including set-up. So we discovered the power of multiple common squads and started picking up on some of the good figure combinations and what not. It wasn’t too long before we started talking about attending our first tournament.

We finally selected one. It was going to be a 550 point, heroes only match. We spent the next 4 weeks picking our armies and pitting them against each other on all of the tournament boards, gradually tweaking and improving them until we were all happy with how strong they were and how much fun we had playing them. The morning of the tournament, we all packed up and got ready to go and prove just how good our armies were. From a competitive standpoint, it didn’t go so well. We had quite a bit of fun, but we got annihilated by a group of complete strangers that played those funny little 500 point games.

Well, naturally, that wasn’t going to do. Not only did we have a good time, but our competitive side was completely awake now. There was no way we were going to miss the next one. So, we kept our eyes open for the next opportunity to go redeem ourselves, all the while reading, practicing, and otherwise trying to not make idiots of ourselves the next time. As the next one came around, we got our heads together and made plans. This time, we were a lot more open about our strategies and ideas. We might not all do well, but we were going to make sure one of us made a good run at it.

We did this for a while. We’d go to the events when they were scheduled and each time we’d learn a little more and get a little better. Each time, however, it became a little less fun. We finally asked the question: were we getting too competitive? The answer, thankfully, was no. We had every bit as much fun losing a good match as we did winning one, so we were okay there. It finally struck us in the car on the way home from our last event. We missed our game. We missed running around with 1500 points that may or may not make any strategic sense. We missed our customs - the relentless bounty hunter, Boru, pursuing his prey across the battlefield, the powerful paladin, Theric, anchoring the defense with a ready heal and his powerful charge, and the devastating barbarian, Tyrannor, at the forefront of every major engagement. We missed our scenarios - holding Helm’s Deep until help arrived, exploring the tomb of a forgotten Lich, battling through the unstable elemental planes.

It wasn’t too long after we figured that out that it all became a moot point. Schedules changed and now we’re lucky to play more than once every few months. However, even though we don’t have time to play as often as we’d like, we now know exactly what to do when we do have time. The last time we played, we were treated to an incredible scenario. The planes of existence had become unstable, so, at any point, rifts could open up on the board, sucking chunks of your armies to another plane. It was truly an awesome game. We had 5 players with 1500 points trying to play across 5 different boards. Once things got mixed up enough, there wasn’t a turn that went by that armies weren’t shifting between boards. Trying to adjust to that unpredictable movement made it one of the most fun and interesting games of Heroscape I’ve ever played.

So, we decided to do what we do best. Since we have so much time in between games, we’ve decided to try to create unique scenarios to play. The inter-planar game was simple compared to others we’ve done. A while back, I created a good old dungeon crawl, where the other players had to use a small band of heroes to invade the lair of an ancient Lich. They had to outfight the inhabitants of the cave, think their way through traps and puzzles, then equip themselves with items they’d found through their journey to defeat the Lich. All in all, it was enormously fun to play and got put on our short list of ideas to try again.

So, we arrive at the real purpose behind my rambling. Over the last year and a half, I have worked on my next scenario. I’ve gone through several different ideas and have finally managed to start solidifying them into a workable story. Now, all I have to do is the hard work. This project is the most complicated thing I’ve ever worked on and is very easily too much for me to handle on my own, so, after much prodding, I’ve decided to post some of the stuff I’ve been working on for others to see. I’m pretty sure the plan is to get me to hurry it up, but even I have to admit, I’m curious to see what others think.

If you’re interested, I’ve set up a thread here.
Total Comments 8


ZBeeblebrox's Avatar
Interesting, but more details are needed to make a proper assessment.
Posted October 9th, 2012 at 09:27 PM by ZBeeblebrox ZBeeblebrox is offline
Arch-vile's Avatar
Interesting; when I play with my 'scape group we play all customs and free-for-all rules. It is a completely different game than the common 1v1 500-odd points where armies start on different sides.

Shaking it up is the best, imo. Play a game one way for too long and it gets stale.
Posted October 9th, 2012 at 10:27 PM by Arch-vile Arch-vile is online now
chas's Avatar
There is a strong tournament oriented group onsite, but there have always been others who have gone their own way. Our New York City Gang of Four is one of them. Tournaments were created simply as a means to show large bunches of us a good and quick time at a gathering.
Posted October 16th, 2012 at 09:42 AM by chas chas is offline
Hey guys,

Thanks for the feedback. I was somewhat doubtful that many people would even bother to read my rambling.

I didn't intend to make it sound as if the entire Heroscape community operated within that 500 point tournament mindset, but it's been one of the biggest things to jump out at me on this site. I've done some looking around and seen some of the creative, completely out-of-the-box things that people have done. Many of those things found their way into some of our games in one form or another.

Anyway, it's cool to see what you guys think. For those interested, I'll be updating the thread by Thursday, maybe Friday -- it'll start taking steps to clear up the lack of information, I hope.
Posted October 16th, 2012 at 04:23 PM by BoneSnap BoneSnap is offline
dok's Avatar
You guys did better at those tournaments than you seem to remember, Bonesnap. Mista only lost one game at that first event, and you won NHSD last year, remember?

I've got no problem with you guys loving 1500 point mega-games - versatility is one thing that makes this game great. I'm just saying that you guys aren't exactly bad at the 500-point variant, either.
Posted October 16th, 2012 at 06:40 PM by dok dok is offline
Aye, I do remember. The first couple events aside, I feel we've done alright, but the first 2, I'd say, were rough from a purely competitive standpoint.

As for Mista, ya… he does that. I will admit, he made a good showing that first time. None of the rest of us did as well as we had hoped. I, for one, tend to be overly critical of myself. Do you remember dropping my Zetacron on your first shot? I still wonder how things would've gone had I simply gone 1 space less.

I don't in any way mean to demean the 500 point games at all, nor is it my intent to make it seem as if we're no good. I really enjoy those kinds of games, but only sparingly. It frustrates me to no end that you can't play 10 squads of knights in 500 points -- you can't even fudge the math to make it work…

All in all, though, moving into that mindset simply made us realize how much we enjoyed being complete weirdos. It's great to play with you guys and I hope to do so again soon, but as rarely as we get to play anymore, we'd rather do something huge and unique.
Posted October 17th, 2012 at 02:33 AM by BoneSnap BoneSnap is offline
dok's Avatar
Yes, I remember dropping your Zetacron on the first shot. I also remember Mad_Celt decimating me, although he didn't have many other wins that day.

I know you didn't mean to say that ~500 point games are bad. I was just pointing out that you guys aren't bad at the 500 point variant.

I look forward to the next time you guys make it up to Denver!
Posted October 18th, 2012 at 08:22 PM by dok dok is offline
We won't have a chance to make it up until January at the latest. It's almost impossible to get a Saturday between now and the end of the holiday season.

Come January, possibly February, we'll look into getting back up.

Until then, I've got my hands full trying to put this scenario together. Now I remember why I was reluctant to get moving with this -- it truly is a daunting to see just how much work needs to go into this to really make it good.
Posted October 19th, 2012 at 03:02 AM by BoneSnap BoneSnap is offline
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