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Scaper of the Month - August 2019

Posted August 18th, 2019 at 09:26 AM by HS Codex
Updated August 18th, 2019 at 11:26 AM by HS Codex

Scaper of the Month
scorpiusx
Author: quozl

This ’Scaper has been selected for interviews before, but that was a while ago. Apparently his favorite TV show was Pretty Little Liars at the time? Let’s learn what scorpiusx is like now!


PROFILE

Who are you really?
Blake Bagby, a guy from Paducah, Kentucky. Thinking about this question of who I truly am spirals me further and further down into existential crisis, so let’s just say that I’m a renegade and a romantic, because it will totally make me sound try-hard-edgy for this interview.

How old are you?
I will turn 26 in a few days from the time of me writing this.

Ah, well happy early birthday then!

Thanks!!!

(laughs awkwardly at himself because he actually typed this small bit into the interview instead of quozl actually saying it. God I wish I had friends.)

What is your occupation?
I work at a Kohl’s as the shoe department supervisor. I also recently tried getting into scalp trading on the stock market so I hope that my good fortune remains in that arena to provide me a nice source of supplementary income. I am sure in a few years I will be living either in a nice house or under a bridge with no potential in between. (laughs nervously)

What are other games you enjoy and why?
I am actually a huge board gamer with a bit of a ridiculous collection, despite not always having a steady game group to get everything to the table that I would like to. Lighter favorites include Skull, Spyfall, and Patchwork, while my favorite heavier fare includes stuff like War of the Ring, Agricola, Terra Mystica, and Game of Thrones. Honestly, though, I have about 140 games in my collection, so if I listed everything I loved I would be here a while.

What other interests do you have?
I am a huge cinephile: I love films of all sorts. Whether it is a modern day horror movie or a black-and-white French film from the 50s, I love soaking in the entire art form and learning what I can about it. TV and anime also fall under this blanket.

We’ve been over my board game obsession, but I also enjoy the outdoors and hiking/camping, as well as traveling when I can (but then again who doesn’t love to travel, I suppose?). My closest friend lives over in California so she and I often get to go off on adventures to see different parts of that vast state; it really makes you feel alive.

HEROSCAPE

When and how did you get into Heroscape?
I remember when it first came out, I was eleven years old I believe. To a kid it just looked like the coolest thing in the world: all of this awesome terrain and these cool characters that came in this massive box. I begged for it and ended up getting it for Christmas that year, and would constantly check online for updates on the new units that would come out (maybe this was on an offshoot of the original Hasbro site?), and would always ask for the expansion packs when they would hit the Walmart shelves.

That said, I didn’t have any close friends at that age that would come over to my house and play it or anything, so I would just very rarely get a game in with my dad here and there. Most of my time involved with ’Scape consisted of me building cool-looking maps and envisioning scenarios to play out, like trying to recreate a map of the Helm’s Deep siege from Lord of the Rings. Not very much time at all spent playing. In fact, I don’t think I have played a game of ’Scape in almost a decade, and yet here I am still on this site today with over 12,000 posts logged—more on that later.

Favorite unit (official/custom):
I am a huge fan of the Curse of Ne-Gok-Sa game, so therefore I am going to have to go with Ne-Gok-Sa. He is a cool unit in his own right, but the character inspired a forum game that has been a hugely formative experience in my life. That beats out a cool design or fun powers any day.

Describe your favorite HeroScape moment.
I was at an Order of the Arrow (Boy Scout honor society) event when I was ... 15? 16? Anyway I had brought all of my ’Scape stuff to this laid back “Fall Fellowship” that was basically just a relaxed hang out for OA members from all across the region to come camp and have fun. So late one night I set up this huge map and get like four of my friends to play with me, none of whom I think lived in the same town as me. Everybody built their own armies, and since I had basically no duplicates for common squads, we had to proxy a lot of units (e.g. these Tarn Vikings are actually Venoc Vipers!).

We then stayed up until dawn in this five player free-for-all with everyone going at it and having a blast. I ended up winning by building some cheesy army of Q9, Deathreavers, and Raelin and camping out on my starting island while I watched everyone kill each other off. Eventually everyone got wise to what was happening and ganged up on me, but by then it was too late. Everyone ended up having a great time that endless night. Just a magical moment, really, and I don’t think have played a game of ’Scape since.

Is there anything you would change about the game (unit, rule, mechanic, etc.)?
This is going to be a controversial answer, but the cost of collecting it. And I don’t mean right now with it being out of print, which obviously makes the prices inflated. I mean that as a kid I longed to have armies containing four squads of orcs or knights, but there was no way for me to convince my folks to buy three or four sets of each expansion as a kid. I was blessed that they spent as much as they did on this strange hobby of mine as it was with me getting just one of each expansion pack.

As an adult now with a board game collecting problem, I understand all too well the cost of gaming and why different products cost what they do. I recognize now that the quality of painted miniatures that Heroscape had on display were well worth the price tag, so I recognize that I am probably being totally unfair. I guess that younger me is jaded by the idea of wishing that he had all these cool toys to play with, where friends could come over and build a whole army of Vipers or Marro, but couldn’t because the cost of even one of these armies in multiples was astronomical.

This is really the case for any collectible game though, and why I tend to stay away from TCG’s like Magic: the Gathering today because of the money hole that they can become. The difference, though, was that, as a kid, it was easier to convince your folks to pay four bucks for a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards that gave you a comparably sizeable possibility space, than it was to shell out ten bucks for a couple of common squads that you already owned a set of, let alone a third or a fourth. Heroscape is a fantastic family game that obviously a lot of adults enjoy, but it loses its rewards as a deep gaming system for the younger audience that it clearly marketed itself towards unless they had parents that had both an understanding of why having multiples of each common squad was important, and a wallet thick enough to make that happen.

How would I change that? I’m not sure if there is a way of changing it for the better, honestly. This is probably just me rambling about an unfixable problem. I do wonder what would have happened if instead of, say, them packaging two different squads together in a set, they would have packaged two of the same squad together and doubled the number of small expansions? So instead of getting a squad of Blade Gruts and a squad of Arrow Gruts, you would have one set with two squads of Blade Gruts, and a separate set with two squads of Arrow Gruts. It is less flashy to get multiple of the same unit in a single pack, but it is way easier to field a competitive army with two sets of Blade Gruts than one. And as much as I love having unique sculpts for each squad member, I wonder if production cost would have trimmed down any by making the sculpts uniform for each squad? It would lose some of its visual flair to be sure, but I wonder if it would make up for it any with accessibility? I don’t know, this has been a long rant as is and probably not even the kind of answer that you’re looking for, so I will stop myself here I suppose.

What is your favorite aspect of HeroScape?
A combination of its relatively simple rule set along with its infinite variety. Different maps, different army builds, different ways to play the game, different player counts, etc. Its core components are very easy to grasp and can lend themselves into any number of possible gameplayer variants that don’t require a lot of laborious scenario overhead. That, plus it really does look quite stunning once it’s all set up.

COMMUNITY

Other groups: what got you started?
So my primary involvement in these forums revolves solely around the “Curse of Ne-Gok-Sa” subforum. It’s hidden now in the “Contests and Forum Games” section, so unless you have gone through your user control panel and group memberships to give yourself access you won’t be able to even see it now. Back when I first started over twelve years ago though, it was this hit new thing sweeping the boards and dozens of people were playing at a single time. I actually remember reading through a game of it before I had even joined ’Scapers, and being absolutely enamored with the idea and flavor of what I was reading through: this game that blended social deduction/deception with the world of Heroscape. It wasn’t until I had been on the boards for a few months that I realized that, holy ****, this was something I could actually join in on and play alongside all these other people. As stupid as it sounds, for someone young with not many close friends and a still somewhat tenuous grasp on how the Internet worked—let alone this whole concept of “forums”—this opportunity to interact and play this epic game with other people that shared my interests was a revelatory experience. I didn’t just have to stand back and spectate; I was allowed to join this amazing club.

Of course, as a 13 year old getting his feet wet against a bunch of intelligent players, many of them adults, I fared absolutely (hysterically) badly. Imagine a kid trying to play poker with a bunch of adults, while also trying to help collaborate a creative story with them, and you can imagine how embarrassing this was. But I knew that, even if it was a game that I wasn’t good at the time, it was a game that I loved, and one that that a lot of other cool people playing it that I could talk with, and so I kept on playing it for the next twelve years (and counting). I may not have had a great social life in middle school and early high school, but I did have this great subset of the community to completely lose myself in.

Can you tell us the story behind your title?
Haha, well mine is kind of three titles rolled into one, and all are CoN related. So breaking them down:
  • “CoN Recruiting Officer”: With CoN being a hidden subforum, it can be incredibly difficult for new players to stumble their way into a game. I wish so badly that it wasn’t a hidden subforum, but with games and the spectator thread potentially accruing multiple pages in a single day, many non-CoN players were getting frustrated by the “New Posts” section getting clogged up by us. As a result, the flood of new blood coming in to this wonderful part of the forum slowed down to a crawl. Most of the new players that we get find out about it via word of mouth, so I will sometimes let various members of the forum know that this game is something that totally exists, and is worth checking out. I’ve introduced CoN to a bunch of people by this method, including some former ’Scapers of the Month like Tornado, The Grim Reaper’s Friend, and TheAverageFan, and that’s how I got that title. Just extending invitation after invitation so that people know that we exist.
  • “Top Masq Sleuth”: CoN does this really cool thing annually called the “Masquerade,” where people are given temporary proxy accounts of whatever character they are playing as to hide their true identity. So for example, instead of Dysole posting in a game of CoN where everyone knows she is roleplaying as Parmenio, she would be posting from an account called <>Parmenio<>, and no one would know if <>Parmenio<> is truly Dysole or Tornado or MegaSilver or whoever until the end of the game. We do a guessing game at the end where people guess which users wore which “mask,” and I was the top guesser a couple of different years.
  • “Teller of Fantastic Tales”: I have story-told a couple of CoNs semi-recently that were received pretty well. For those uninitiated, the “Storyteller” in a CoN is essentially the DM: they provide the setting for the players to interact in as well as keep the game itself moving. Traditionally CoN was situated in the framework of a cavern that had been caved in, which contained a tainted wellspring at its center for voted out characters to drink from, but in recent years storytellers have gotten more creative with their settings. Nowadays, stories are set anywhere from mysterious islands to ornate clock towers. Anyway, my last couple of games as the Storyteller I had a tendency of going maybe a bit over the top in terms of effort, including writing over 73,000 words of story for the month-long game called “The Orphanage,” a story that I had spent over two years trying to perfect in my head (and for some of you who may be wondering: yes, this word count is definitely an outlier). People seemed to like my stories well enough to petition for this title, so hey, here we are.

Can you tell us how you’ve gotten to where you are now in the community?
Haha, honestly I’m just surprised I haven’t gotten banned yet, though it’s certainly not from a lack of trying. So I suppose ... the kindness of others? I don’t know, I am just a guy with a deep passion for CoN, a game that I have played for half of my life now. Any standing or reputation I have cultivated all stems from that. I’m not really someone to look up to: just another guy here to have fun and talk a bit of smack on the Internet, and hey, they haven’t kicked me out for it just yet.

What do you enjoy most about Heroscapers.com?
Does anyone ever say anything but “the people” here? Good lord what a cliché. Unfortunately for the sake of originality, it is also the correct answer. So let me elaborate:

I haven’t played a game of Heroscape in about a decade. I never go to events, and I never spend time any more discussing maps or army builds or really anything ’Scape related. That is from a different time in my life. I have never even met any of these users in real life; never close enough to touch them on the shoulder.

But I have many of them as friends on Facebook. Many of them I talk to nearly every day. When I was an annoying teenager with this strange hobby that no one I knew was into, this place gave me a safe space to rant and go crazy with people that would actually listen. When I wanted to join in on this big group game called “CoN” that I was so psyched about, I was greeted with open arms and was never snarled at even when I wasn’t all that good at it. Whenever I would go through rough periods in my life, like a romantic breakup or a bout of self-loathing, there were people in the community that I could talk with, people that I knew cared deeply about who I was and how I felt.

I may never play another game of Heroscape again, but my life will be forever changed and immeasurably improved by the people of this site, and that is why this is really the only forum I frequent to this day.

Is there any member of Heroscapers.com you’d really like to play against?
Not specifically for Heroscape, but I would love to play with anyone interested in a game of CoN that hasn’t tried it yet. It’s what I stick around for (well, that and the community of course).

LIE DETECTOR
Three Truths And A Lie

(I know that a lot of my closest CoN buddies will be able to sniff this out pretty easily, so hopefully they keep their mouths shut because I want to see the guesses of those going in reasonably blind.)
  1. I have won multiple restaurant challenges, wherein you have to eat a very large quantity of food in a small time frame in order to get a free meal and/or a souvenir T-shirt. On one occasion I ate four and a half pounds of fish and chips in 41 minutes, and on another I ate over four pounds of pre-broth-soaked pho in fifty minutes (which probably swelled up to about six pounds or more).
  2. I was once asked out on a date by a Walt Disney World employee who was currently on duty while I was vacationing—a request that I ended up accepting. We shared a kiss after a couple of hours of sitting on a bench and talking about our lives in Downtown Disney late at night, and remain in contact as friends to this day.
  3. When I was about eleven years old, I managed to slash the cornea of my right eye after having a sword fight in my yard with the neighbor using a couple of wooden sticks. I had trouble opening either eye for a prolonged period of time due to the twitching pain, and had to wear an eye patch for a week or two as a result.
  4. I once won a karaoke competition on a cruise to Catalina Island with my aforementioned best friend. I sang “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, and was awarded a bottle of wine along with a ceremonial lei. My voice actually cracked during the performance, but the judge said that my interpretive dance moves had “great, entertaining stage presence.”

Last month’s lie:
  • I once was hospitalized for bronchitis in Ecuador for a single night.
  • I once fell 12 feet off a wall on my head onto gravel and wound up with just one cut, less than an inch long.
  • I once accidentally bought a horse on vacation in college.
  • I once had to be fed headfirst through the screened window of my parents’ van when they keys were locked inside.


THREE FUN FAVORITES

Favorite Movie Genre and Movie:
Movies are a passion of mine, so why don’t I just leave a rough top ten list here:
  • Lord the Rings trilogy
  • Lost in Translation
  • The Godfather (Part I and II)
  • Before Sunrise trilogy
  • Shoah
  • Casablanca
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Fanny and Alexander
  • The Sweet Hereafter
  • Nashville

Favorite Book Genre and Book:
I actually don’t read nearly as much as I should, and haven’t read a full novel in years. I absorb film so much as an art form that I often overlook other great mediums. I do love the Harry Potter books, and I want to drop a quick word in for Flowers for Algernon.

Favorite Song Genre and Song:
I’ll just leave another top ten here:
  • “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley
  • “One” – U2
  • “Waltz #2” – Elliott Smith
  • “Mother” – Tori Amos
  • “Realiti (Demo)” – Grimes
  • “Glory Box” – Portishead
  • “Covered in Rain” – John Mayer
  • “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac
  • “Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
  • “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Grimes

CLOSING

What message do you have for the ’Scaper community?
Hopefully I’ve pimped out CoN enough here so that readers might be interested in giving it a shot if they haven’t already. For everyone else, just make sure to love yourselves and enjoy your lives the best you can for right now, and don’t get caught up in the petty things. I guess that sounds like a reasonable and life-affirming thing to say, so eff it, let’s go with that.

Whom do you pick for the next ’Scaper of the Month?
Having given thought into fellow CoN players/site members that I know quite closely and who haven’t yet gotten ’Scaper of the Month, I feel like ma boi Warlord Alpha would give one hell of an entertaining interview, though you might want to leave your kids at home for that one.
Total Comments 3

Comments

Old
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
Well I haven't the slightest clue what the lie is, so I'm going with #3. The others all seem to have way too many details.

You inviting me to CoN was one of the best things which has happened to me on this site, and I'm thoroughly grateful for it. You might have once been where I am now in the game, but don't sell yourself short: you are a master storyteller, and a master strategist to boot.

And just to echo the closing message: if anyone is remotely interested in CoN, check it out. Go give yourself access in the group memberships tab, and read through a game, or ask one of the resident masters about it (of which I consider scorpiusx to be one). We're doing sign ups right now and coming up a bit short in players; there's no better time to hop in.

~TGRF.
Posted August 18th, 2019 at 11:51 AM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
Old
Tornado's Avatar
Great interview. I have really enjoyed the CoN. Looking forward to the day when I can go off of more than my hunches.
Posted August 19th, 2019 at 04:17 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
Old
flameslayer93's Avatar
I’m gonna say #1 is the lie. Those food challenges are legit!

Also, great interview Scorpius!
Posted August 21st, 2019 at 11:22 AM by flameslayer93 flameslayer93 is offline
 
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