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'Scaper of the Month - March 2019

Posted March 10th, 2019 at 07:34 PM by HS Codex

’Scaper of the Month
Lazy Orang
Author: quozl

Lazy Orang is a C3G sidekick and prolific Codex contributor. Read on to learn more about this … capybara?


PROFILE

Who are you really?
I am an anthropomorphic capybara (my user name is just a decoy). Members of my family often become exasperated with me, but once they remember my capybaric nature, everything falls into place, and makes sense to them again. I may have manifested from an alternate, rodent-infested dimension in a gentle attempt to slow the frenetic pace of modern life through the sheer power of my inertia, but I cannot be quite sure.

My human name is Rowan Drake.

How old are you?
Over 2,300 years old, though my current incarnation has only reached the meagre age of 20.

What is your occupation?
Freelance assassinations, though I’m not supposed to tell anyone that ... oh, wait ....

What’s another board game/RPG you enjoy and why?
Hmm ... tough one. While I do love board games (there’s something incredibly comforting about them that sends me right back to my childhood) there aren’t really any I play consistently. Ones I’ve enjoyed recently or have fond memories of and would be happy to play again, however, include: Shadows Over Camelot, Castle Ravenloft, Pirate’s Cove, Arena of the Planeswalkers (though admittedly that’s 75% Heroscape and something I’m planning to fold into ’Scape), Mystery of the Abbey, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, Dragonology, Pirateology, Break the Safe, Lost Patrol (though that one’s about as easy as balancing a blue whale on a cocktail stick ...), and Space Hulk.

As far as RPGs go, I don’t play any pen and paper ones, but I do love a good CRPG. I presently have games of The Banner Saga (shockingly underrated game, that one), Planescape Torment, Baldur’s Gate, and Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura on the go, all of which are brilliant games, especially those first two, and they all tell wonderful stories and suck you into amazing worlds.

What other interests do you have besides HeroScape?
Oh, gosh! Lots of things, really. I’m interested in politics, history, wildlife, mythology, folklore and personal spirituality; I enjoy reading and writing, food and cooking, playing games (both solid and virtual), miniature painting (though admittedly I use those figures for Heroscape, but I enjoy it anyway, so semi-separate?), spending time with my family, and I hope to pursue archery as a hobby before long (I’ve done “Have a Go” archery at various local medieval Christmas fairs in recent years, but haven’t managed to get to a club yet).

The biggest thing (short of spending time with my family, though that’s borderline when it comes to counting as an interest or not), however, is perhaps this: as I said, I enjoy reading, I enjoy playing computer games, I enjoy watching films and TV series, and those are all things I enjoy in different ways and for different reasons, but the core reason is, perhaps, much the same for all of them. I enjoy stories—I love fiction, it carries me away, fires up my imagination and makes me happy. I’m not picky when it comes to a particular medium; I enjoy them all for different reasons (with the notable exception of comics, which, despite being a member of C3G for several years now, I still don’t read, which probably counts as being at least mildly heretical). Seeing characters come alive and stories play out on the battlefield can even count as one of the reasons I love Heroscape. There’s not much I enjoy more than a good story.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
Breathing and minding my own business.

HEROSCAPE

When and how did you get into Heroscape?
It was the Christmas of 2007: my Mum was looking for a game to get me, and this caught her eye. She checked it by my brother—he reckoned it was “worth a shot”—and so she gave me a copy of Rise of the Valkyrie. It immediately captured my imagination and we ended up getting Swarm of the Marro within only a few months, and since then we’ve never really got bored with it.

What got you started with C3G?
Playing with C3G was a sort of desperation move, in all honesty. It was early 2011—the game’s “darkest hour”—’Scape had been discontinued, my birthday was coming up and C3V was nowhere near putting any new units out yet. It looked as though any new ’Scape for my birthday wasn’t happening. Then, I stumbled across Grishnakh’s “Poor (and Lazy) Man’s Way to Rebase Heroclix Figures” on a Week@Heroscapers post, which led me to C3G. I’d been vaguely aware of C3G before, but, having no interest in superheroes at that time (I loved Spider-Man as a kid, but as far as I was concerned I’d “outgrown it”—yes, I was a prat), never really looked into it. I did so then, and it looked increasingly interesting. I ran it past my family, and, with a little help from my brother when it came to printing things, my Mum got me Green Goblin and Jonah Hex for Ostara as a sort of test run before following it up with the World’s Finest master set for my birthday.

To get a sense of the characters I was now playing with, I ended up giving superhero movies and cartoons a shot, including getting back into the Spider-Man cartoon I watched when I was younger and getting into what would become the MCU ... so effectively, C3G introduced me to an entire genre, and one I greatly enjoy.

When it came to actually getting involved with C3G itself, that’s less clear cut. I spent years beforehand trawling the forums but never having an account ... I didn’t have an Internet presence at all back then. My family ended up having a question about Puppet Master, so my brother got an account in order to enquire about it. This opened the door to our family involving ourselves with the public design nominations, nominating and voting jointly through him. It was then decided that, since I was the one who was most interested, it would make sense if I had my own account, so I got one—initially, it was primarily for the purpose of engaging with those votes and nominations, but I quickly got drawn into commenting. I made an annoyance of myself for several years until someone somewhere for some reason decided I’d make a good Ally, and the rest is history.

What is your favorite unit (official or custom)?
My favourite official units around the time the game discontinued were probably Heirloom and the Warforged Soldiers. Oddly, I had no thematic predisposition towards warforged, but I loved that Heirloom was a fun little fantasy hero who could survive concerted firepower and stand up to squads, and the Warforged Soldiers’ combination of Tactical Switch and Warforged Resolve just makes them an incredibly fun, solid and tactical melee squad. There are a number of other units that do come very close though, and these days, my favourite official unit is probably Cyprien Esenwein: he’s just scary and awesome.

My favourite C3V unit is probably the Skeletons of Annelintia ... that reanimation mechanic is genius, C3V at its most creative. C3G ... that’s more difficult. Between the sheer number of characters and how brilliantly done, fun and creative a lot of them are, narrowing it down to a single favourite is kind of maddening. If I had to pick only one, though, it’s probably C3G’s Spider-Man: the definitive incarnation of my second favourite superhero, one who I’ve loved since I was a kid, and an exceedingly fun figure to play.

Describe your favorite HeroScape moment.
That’s a tough call—there have been so many great moments over the years—but it’s probably a Superscape game I played back in 2012, fought on a modern city map using some Fat Dragon Games buildings I’d got for my birthday. It was a three player free-for-all; I had a synergy-less hero team with some S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, She-Hulk, Black Cat, Giant-Man and my Mum’s custom Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson designs; my Mum had a Mutant team with Xavier, Magneto, Storm, Jubilee, Blob and Banshee; while my brother (in the centre) had a team of Black Adam, Hasbro’s Thanos, Hasbro’s Spidey, Tim Drake Robin and Punisher.

I always find three-player battles with the rest of my family to be some of the most enjoyable games, and this was no exception, with a great looking battlefield, back-and-forth gameplay and self-serving bits of “advice” to one another. Usually my brother ends up winning, but my Mum actually claimed this one with only Xavier and Jubilee still alive.

Perhaps what makes it stick in my head the most, though, is that I’d been intrigued by the selection of armies picked and, being me, decided to come up with a backstory for why this battle took place—though admittedly a primitive one (the setup was like jamming a square peg into a round hole at times). I decided to start writing it down, and this simple backstory turned into a story that spanned beyond the events of the game, and then it became a world ... a personal story I’ve been tapping away at for years now, following the Heroscape multiverse as a whole, all spinning out from that one battle—it gives the game a greater sense of setting to me, which was sort of missing before, plus it allows me to stretch my creative muscles.

Also, in an absolutely jammy display of luck, my Sherlock Holmes was able to kill my brother’s Thanos in a rooftop duel near endgame, so ... memorable.

Is there anything you would change about the game (unit, rule, mechanic, etc.)?
A handful of things—I’ll steer away from obvious ones like underpowered units for this (which, honestly, are oddly nice to have to make fun of—I’d like to see them boosted, but I wouldn’t have wanted their initial forms to have never existed).

First off, I’d have loved to see a partial cover system—I just remember it striking me one time I was playing a game and an Arrow Grut’s hand was poking out of a ruin that it seemed ridiculous that he was still just as easy to shoot down as if his whole body could be seen. I can see why you wouldn’t want to mess with the game’s inherent simplicity, but I reckon it could work as an optional rule set, similar to C3G’s knockback rules, and add a tad more strategic depth and realism.

Secondly, I have issues with the Roman Legionnaires. I’ve been interested in ancient military history since I was a kid, and one of the most iconic aspects of a legionnaire’s equipment was always the pilum—a special sort of javelin he’d throw before charging, which was designed to break on impact to keep the enemy from throwing it back. It’s so iconic that two of the Roman Legionnaire figures can actually be seen holding one—one in the midst of throwing it—and yet ... there’s no power to represent it? The Romans are a fine unit mechanically, but that’s a distracting absence that’s always really bothered me.

Finally, and perhaps most notably, I feel like the official game didn’t do cavalry justice. As I said, I have an interest in ancient (and medieval) warfare, and cavalry, while not always dominant, was consistently prominent, employed by most civilisations, useful for speed, scouting, flanking manoeuvers, chasing down stragglers and skirmishers and (in later periods, mostly) headlong, earth-shattering charges. Heroscape cavalry is exceptionally rare, unreasonably expensive, somewhat clunky to manoeuver (being double-spaced hurts a lot) and largely ineffective. I feel like a better implementation of cavalry, being more useful, more manoeuverable (putting them on large single bases works better, in my opinion), cheaper and more common, would have made the game thematically richer and helped to combat the dominance of ranged squads somewhat—give them something that can close the distance quickly to be wary of (which, incidentally, is how a lot of historical RTS games seem to keep range in check in a historically accurate way as well).

What is your favorite aspect of HeroScape?
Its sheer potential thematic breadth. I’m one of those people who took the whole “Battle of All Time” thing to heart. Classic ’Scape allowed for limitless potential by putting sci-fi, fantasy, horror and historical units all together in one melting pot (though sadly not really much folklore or mythology—that’s another thing I feel it was missing), and C3G has continued that glorious trend (in an admittedly more focussed way) by putting all sorts of comic book characters together in one game, of a myriad of types—Marvel to DC (and beyond), street-level to cosmic, well known to obscure, and I love the fact that they’ve started to bring in more things from further afield such as horror movie villains, Mortal Kombat, etc.

What perhaps fascinates me the most, though, and keeps my interest maintained, is that even that isn’t the end—I create customs with my family on an exceedingly regular basis, and we’re able to bring in whatever we want, from characters from various areas of fiction, such as books, films and T.V. (Lord of the Rings, Babylon 5, Sherlock Holmes and more) to other games, such as Warhammer 40k (which I don’t play but enjoy the setting of) and more, world mythology, our own original ideas ... there really is no limit but your own imagination and what you can find or create figures for. As long as you can see the character fighting or facilitating combat in some way, it can almost certainly fit.

This is a game where you can already see medieval knights against alien Marro or robots, and you can already see the X-Men go up against a congregation of horror movie slashers, where Spider-Man can team up with the Ninja Turtles to foil the machinations of Kingpin or the Shredder ... and, with a little imagination and the will to create, you can have the Avengers fend off an incursion of the Forces of Chaos, see the Fellowship of the Ring face off against the minions of Dracula, or watch as Thanos challenges the Gods of Mount Olympus or the Nile, plus any combination of the above, and much, much more. There is literally only one fictional setting I’ve wanted to implement but felt wouldn’t work in Heroscape ... and that should tell you how expansive this game can be. With every new character, Heroscape, to me, draws closer to being “The Battle of All Time” it claims to be, and I love it.

What would you like Heroscape to be like in 10 years?
Hmm ... tough one. On a personal level, I’d like to continue adding more to it personally, always expanding on the “Battle of All Time” ... as well as organising my collection better so that I can actually play a game more often without it being a bloody military operation! (Though admittedly that’s a goal I plan to achieve long before then ...) I’d also hope to see Heroscapers still active and vibrant, at least as much as it is today, especially the custom forums ... I know it’s likely a pipe dream—some drop off is inevitable—but I’ve already been surprised by newcomers in the C3G forums, nearly a decade since the official game’s demise.

I’d hope to see C3G still cracking on, and to be helping it with geering up towards its 20th anniversary just as it’s now entering its 10th, and to see it creating more and more interesting characters from more and more unexpected sources; though admittedly we still don’t seem to have scraped the bottom of the Marvel and DC barrel yet!

I’d love to see 3D printing become more widespread and affordable—being able to create custom 3D printed figures would be such a boon to custom creation, both personal and project based.

Finally, though I know this really is a long shot, there’s a part of me that would like to see an official revival of the game, even if it’s only short-lived. Though I feel in some ways discontinuation was one of the best things that happened to it—for me at least—in that it sparked creativity to new heights in a community unwilling to watch it die, it would be nice to see a few more official waves, if only for old time’s sake. I can’t deny I’d feel a certain nostalgic glee tearing into one last official blister pack, remembering the early years of playing the official game with my family, even as I would complain and curse in my attempts not to rip the cards stored in those horribly designed cardboard backs—I’m honestly shocked I never tore one!

COMMUNITY

What was your favorite experience in C3G?
It was probably working on Ant-Man (Scott Lang). My first Lead Design was one hell of a proud moment, and he was an incredibly fun character to work on. Running Master Splinter also counts ... in retrospect. He's a character I've loved since I was a kid, it’s a design I’m really happy with and I’m delighted I was able to be part of bringing him into the game ... but I can’t say he was an easy design to actually run: getting him right felt like trying to juggle cobras. The magic release was also a blast to work on (though I think I was probably more enamoured with the spell concept than anyone else was ...) and testing the Mortal Kombat characters coming through the pipeline has also been a tonne of fun. The design I’ve just finished working on might be the biggest highlight, though, but I can’t tell you who that is yet—it’s just finished running the gauntlet!

You’ve been part of the Codex for some time. Can you tell us how you got started there?
Well, I get the impression I was recruited into the Codex team because Tornado had been charged with headhunting—he’d previously complimented my writing style in my C3G playtest reports and, if I recall correctly, he asked if I’d be interested doing an article for the Codex. I agreed to do one article as a guest writer—a strategy article for the LexCorp Security, as ever since I’d seen their rating in C3G’s power rankings I’d thought they were criminally underrated (no pun intended). Apparently people were happy with it, as I soon found myself being asked to fill in for Ronin on occasion before being considered a fully-fledged part of the C3G Strategy Department (which is now one person once again, after Ronin’s departure from it).

Can you tell us the story behind your title?
“Not Citrus”? Pretty sure it’s because people have often mistaken my user name for Lazy Orange instead of Orang (short for orangutan—I love orangs). You’d think the avatar would be enough of a clue, but apparently ...

Can you tell us how you’ve gotten to where you are now in the community?
Creative inertia?

What do you enjoy most about Heroscapers.com?
The creativity. I love being able to help expand the game that I love and to watch others do the same, whether it’s as part of the pseudo-official team over at C3G, entering custom creation contests or hanging around the Classic Custom forums. The game belongs to the fans now—I’m glad to see that, largely, we seem to be making the most of that fact!

Is there any member of Heroscapers.com you’d really like to play against?
That would be dok, but only in the final of a tournament and only if I win! This may sound shallow, but I have a 2 – 5 win to loss record in Superscape tournaments and the one time I played dok before, I ordered Captain America and Bucky to perform pest control on my own insects so that he couldn’t shift order markers to my fire ants, then failed to inflict a single wound on any of his heroes before being massacred—I have to reclaim my honour here!

LIE DETECTOR
Three Truths And A Lie
  • The only time I’ve needed to go to the hospital since infancy was when I gesticulated too wildly during lunch time and accidentally stuck a fork in my eye.
  • I like wearing colourful, hippie clothes—long dresses, shawls, hats etc. My brother once referred to my appearance as being like an explosion in a paint factory.
  • We once had to get the fire brigade out because I’d left a paper bag of cakes in the gas oven (there was no room in the fridge), forgot about it, turned the oven on and the whole lot immolated.
  • I once had to be prevented from leaving a shop as I’d somehow managed to start dragging a woman out with me by her hair after it had caught on my jewelry, and I hadn’t noticed. She was very nice about it.

LAST MONTH’S LIE (Arkham)
  • I have a dog named Zatanna.
  • I saw Avengers: Infinity War 4 times in theaters in 1 week. (Lie: it was The Dark Knight.)
  • I am married.
  • I've gone skydiving from 10,000 ft.


SIX FUN FAVOURITES

Favourite Movie Genre and Movie
Tough one. Generally speaking, I don’t know if I really have a favourite genre, per se—in general terms, if a piece of fiction has memorable and enjoyable characters, there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy it. Certain aspects help—I’m particularly fond of speculative fiction, and interesting and exciting conflict and a healthy dose of humour are also plusses—but I don’t really have one genre I love above all others. If I looked at my favourite films and extrapolated from there, it would be easy to say that my favourite genre would be superhero films ... but that’s really because Marvel does such an amazing and consistent job of churning out films that tick all of the boxes I’ve mentioned, not because I have a particular fondness for superhero stories over other types. The Lord of the Rings trilogy also ticks those boxes, and it too is right up there for me.

Honestly, my favourite film is probably Infinity War, with Return of the King and Civil War close on its heels, and several Marvel films and the rest of the Lord of the Rings only a step or two behind. As for films that don’t necessarily tick all of the boxes above, but which I still count among my favourites, I have to make shout outs to Alistair Sim’s Scrooge (the best adaptation of Dickens’s classic, in my opinion, and an absolute comfort), Shawshank Redemption (a true cinematic masterpiece) and the Rocky Horror Picture Show (normally I’m not comfortable with something so, shall we say, overt, but it’s hard not to be swept away by its sheer level of campy ridiculousness).

Favourite Book Genre and Book
Again, I’m finding it impossible to state a favourite genre! Well, short of “novel”—I’m not a massive reader of non-fiction. I’m even struggling to mark out a favourite book—I love reading, though I admit I tend not to read as often as I should or would like to, but even so, I’ve read enough that picking ones that stand out above the others is immensely difficult. The front runners right now would have to be His Dark Materials, the Warrior Cats series (don’t judge me), a significant number of Dickens’s novels, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and George Orwell’s classics of 1984 and Animal Farm. I’ve also recently read A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood for a book club I’ve recently started going to, and enjoyed it immensely. It’s an eclectic list!

Favourite Song Genre and Song
Again, I have no one genre that appeals more than any others! I like a handful of really good artists in a number of genres—metal (Disturbed, System of a Down, Seether, Device and Serj Tankian), vintage rock (Fleetwood Mac, 10cc, Queen, David Bowie, Jethro Tull), pagan/folk (Spiral Dance, Kelliana, Steeleye Span, Loreena McKennitt), humour/parody (“Weird Al” Yankovic) and quite a solid amount of music of the 60s (I have a compilation album of various hits from that era which I love as well as having recently discovered a particular fondness for Joni Mitchell). Again, eclectic—it really depends on the mood I’m in! As for favourite songs, again, I have no one favourite, but I do have several I can consider favourites—”Out of Line” by Device, “Reason to Fight” by Disturbed, “Word Crimes” by “Weird Al,” “Solstice Evergreen” by Spiral Dance, “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac, “Hotel California” by the Eagles (that's a recent one!), “All Souls Night” by Loreena McKennitt, and “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell. What can I say—I have a multi-faceted personality.

Favourite TV genre and show
Once again, I gravitate towards no particular favourite genre! (I think we may be identifying why Heroscape appeals to me so much ...) I like mystery, comedy, cartoons, various things. I can state my favourites in several categories, though—cartoon: Gargoyles; drama: Babylon 5; sitcom: Frasier; comedy (other): the U.S. Whose Line is It Anyway? (the British host was a black hole for any semblance of joy); overall: Babylon 5. (Also, there are more honourable mentions than can be reasonably listed.)

Favourite food
If we’re referring to meals, it has to be pizza ... very specifically the ones my Mum makes (seriously, I’m not being biased when I say I’ve never tasted pizzas that delicious elsewhere). Not that there aren’t a lot of honourable mentions from various cuisines (Italian, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Chinese ...), but this is a rare case where I can pick an out and out favourite from among the throng of things I delight in. If we’re talking about types of food ... it’s chocolate and cheese, easily. Nothing compares with the joy of good quality chocolate or cheese. Probably cheese, if I had to pick. I’ll also give soy sauce a nod for how exceptionally useful it is in cooking—it’s the vegetarian’s cheat code for adding depth and an umami quality to a sauce.

Favorite website besides Heroscapers
YouTube has to be right up there, simply because of the sheer variety of stuff you can find there; videos on pretty much anything. (I hadn’t realised I was so incapable of just picking one thing—what’s wrong with me!) eBay is also exceptionally useful, and it’s where I do 90% of my shopping for ’Scape, other things and ... well ... ’Scape. I’ve also begun to take a certain delight from looking through Not Always Right and Cake Wrecks recently—absolutely hilarious, both of them, while also occasionally mildly disturbing.

Favourite games besides Heroscape
Well, I’ve basically gone over my favourite board games and CRPGs above, so I won’t reiterate those. Aside from them, I’ve been very much a fan of real time strategy games ever since I first played Age of Mythology at five (though I’m still not that good at most of them), most notably Age of Mythology, Age of Kings, Dawn of War I and II (I pretend the third doesn’t exist), Command and Conquer 3 and a couple of the older Total War games. Moving away from RTS games, I also love playing Worms with my brother as a bit of silly, lighthearted fun, and we’ve recently discovered Stick Fight which I’m starting to enjoy for similar reasons.

In the end, though, in order to tell you my absolute favourite game after Heroscape, I have to go back to the CRPGs I mentioned earlier—I consider The Banner Saga to be an absolute masterpiece, and a fantasy trilogy that can stand right next to The Lord of the Rings (yes, really!). Planescape Torment is such a close contender, though, that it borders on being joint first.

CLOSING

What message do you have for the ’Scaper community?
“War only ever begets more war” ... so, if you want the game to live on, keep playing!

Whom do you pick for the next ’Scaper of the Month?
Well, I hate to be obvious, but IAmBatman—it would be interesting to learn more about C3G’s founder.
Total Comments 8

Comments

Old
Scapemage's Avatar
Holy. I never would have thought orang meant orangutan.
Posted March 11th, 2019 at 10:05 AM by Scapemage Scapemage is offline
Old
MrNobody's Avatar
Rowan Drake is a BA name. Sounds like a pirate. Am I just missing a reference to something?

I’m also a huge Bowie fan.
Posted March 11th, 2019 at 10:38 AM by MrNobody MrNobody is offline
Old
Lazy Orang's Avatar
Nope, not missing anything, chap - Rowan Drake is genuinely my real name. I'm glad you think it's badass, though.
Posted March 11th, 2019 at 11:27 AM by Lazy Orang Lazy Orang is offline
Old
superfrog's Avatar
I caught on to the Orange thing a few months ago, and promptly felt really really dumb.

Cool interview!

Maybe one of these days somebody outside the C3G will get picked...
Posted March 11th, 2019 at 12:08 PM by superfrog superfrog is online now
Old
Spidey'tilIDie's Avatar
Great read, really in depth answers that I feel helped me get to know Lazy Orang on a deeper level.
Posted March 11th, 2019 at 12:30 PM by Spidey'tilIDie Spidey'tilIDie is offline
Old
Yodaking's Avatar
I'm with you 100% on the Calvary in Scape issue. They should have been the natural counter to range heavy armies and pod breakers.
Posted March 11th, 2019 at 12:31 PM by Yodaking Yodaking is online now
Old
IAmBatman's Avatar
Good stuff! Going with the firebrigade as the lie.

Flattered to be your choice for next up! Hopefully I don’t disappoint!
Posted March 11th, 2019 at 01:15 PM by IAmBatman IAmBatman is online now
Old
Tornado's Avatar
Great interview.
Posted March 18th, 2019 at 11:13 AM by Tornado Tornado is online now
 
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