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'Scaper of the Month - December 2017

Posted December 8th, 2017 at 11:01 AM by HS Codex

Scaper of the Month
Author: The Grim Reaper’s Friend

Going into this interview, all I knew about skyknight was that he had a slightly disturbing avatar. After talking to him though, I was deeply impressed with who he is, what he’s done, and the contributions he’s made to HeroScape. After reading his interview, I think you will be too.


Who are you really?
Rod Phelps.

How old are you?

What is your occupation?
Project manager for Sikorsky Aircraft, currently on the CH-53 marine helicopter.

What’s another board game/RPG you enjoy and why?
Love Descent, grew up loving Heroquest and such but Descent really took it to the next level. Not a big RPG guy, but this fits exactly what I was looking for.

What other interests do you have besides HeroScape?
Of course other board games, but also a long time rugby player—have been playing competitive ball for 24 years (not sure how much longer the joints can take it)—and fishing with my kids out on the ocean for big sport fish.


When and how did you get into HeroScape?
Bit of a long story, but the gist of it was, after the military, I moved back to my wife’s hometown. I was looking for something to do with my kids since they were who I mainly hung out with in those days. Saw Heroscape on the shelf, told the wife this was something I could do with the kids and an obsession was born.

Shortly after I found Heroscape.net because I wanted to learn more about the system and to make sure I was up to speed. I was dealing with a nasty case of survivor’s guilt after my run in the Army and wasn’t looking to make new friends (hence why I hung out with my kids more than anyone else). I lost a good amount of friends in a relatively short time and went into a bit of an emotional hole. The online forums helped me find the outside world again and to open back up as I met folks who I still consider great friends for now over a decade.

Do you have a favorite unit (classic or custom)?
Braxas helped me win some high level tourneys back in the day, always loved her. That said, though, the Omnicron Repulsors have more of my verbiage on them than any other character I helped work on, so a bit of pride there I suppose.

I noticed you had a thread devoted to your maps. What’s your favorite part about building HeroScape maps?
Those were the days; there were a half a dozen of us who were building those massive maps. Off the cuff I remember carvaggio, Bixby, and Teamski. We were always competing to one up each other and build the next best thing. The great part of it was in order to build those monsters you had to have a theme, once you had that then the blocks just fell into place.

Even better than that though was coming home and seeing my kids building their own maps, being all excited, and wanting me to play on their creations.

Describe your favorite HeroScape moment.
Ha, for those who don’t know, I was pretty much the ringleader of the “MarvelScape is not compatible” movement. When Marvel first released the community split right down the middle on Classic ’Scape vs IP License ’Scape. Think I even made a meme about My Little Pony ’Scape that was not received well by some.

ninthdoc, who was the true champion of all things Marvel back in those days, challenged me to a game of just pure MarvelScape. Winner had to admit that the other person was correct on their views of MarvelScape. I whooped him pretty good, ha.

But that was just one great moment at that time; we used to get an entire section of the Ram Restaurant in Indy at Gencon. We would sit and roll dice all night long while drinking beer, eating, and having a blast. Lots of those guys are busy these days with their own commitments now, but those nights in downtown Indy are some of my fondest memories. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of great people who were there for those nights. As I said above, many of those folks I still consider dear friends. Even hung out with Gary Gygax for a bit at one of those events.

Is there anything you would change about the game (unit, rule, mechanic, etc.)?
Always bothered me that Major Q9’s shoulders blocked his line of sight; I voted no on that.

What is your favorite aspect of HeroScape?
Its beauty is its simplicity. So much strategy with excellent streamlined rules: a true classic.


What do you enjoy most about Heroscapers.com?
As I said above, I made lifetime friends from this site. I have been to many of these folks’ homes, and many of them from all over the country have sat in my living room. I am truly amazed that the community still is thriving even after all of these years. I hope the new members find the kind of relationships that I did.

What does being a member of the Rules Team entail?
About 50% of the community disagreeing with you at any given time. Honestly though, we used to debate these things till we were blue in the face. You don’t always get your way, so a bit of humility and compromise is required.

Is there any member of Heroscapers.com you’d really like to play against?
I have always wanted to play against Bixby, he lives on the other side of the continent in the cold part. I hope someday to make it out that way and stop by for beers and games.

Lie Detector

Three truths and a lie
  • I once walked out of a smoking pile that was a helicopter crash with just a few bruises.
  • I am Michael Phelps’s (the swimmer) first cousin.
  • I helped rescue a British climbing team off the side of Denali (largest peak in North America) at 18,400 feet just before they would have likely died.
  • I was once involved in an international incident with the Russian Military.

Last Month’s Lie (Jim)
  • I have three TIE Fighters and the Millennium Falcon (from the X-Wing game), as well as two Stormtroopers, and Han Solo frozen in Carbonite (from the Star Wars Miniatures game) on my desk at work.
  • I have a life-sized Terminator T-800 Endoskeleton skull on my desk at work.
  • I have a full size reproduction of Frodo’s sword, Sting, from The Lord of the Rings on my desk at work.
  • I have an eight inch tall furry Bumble Snow Monster (Same as in my avatar) action figure on my desk at work.

Three Fun Favorites

Favorite Movie
Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Favorite Book
1776 or the Dark Tower series.

Favorite Song
“Radar Love,” Golden Earring or White Lion version.


What message do you have for the ’Scaper community?
Keep at it, I feel like sooner or later the game will come back as these things do. I don’t know if it will be Hasbro, I don’t know if it will be Craig at the helm, but I do believe sooner or later the system will be resurrected. At that time if anyone needs the Star Wars or the unreleased Marvel cards I still have them in my handy notebook. Be good to each other and remember, this is all for fun.

Whom do you pick for the next ’Scaper of the Month?
The man who used to be king of the top level strats ... lonewolf!
Total Comments 3


flameslayer93's Avatar
No way you're related to Michael Phelps.
Posted December 9th, 2017 at 12:57 AM by flameslayer93 flameslayer93 is offline
Kind of late, but I second @flameslayer93 .
Posted January 4th, 2018 at 11:03 AM by Grimnak Grimnak is offline
Taeblewalker's Avatar
Great interview!
Posted January 7th, 2018 at 10:35 AM by Taeblewalker Taeblewalker is offline
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