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What's In a Scaper of the Week? #21 - Jexik

Posted February 2nd, 2009 at 10:40 PM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Updated February 3rd, 2009 at 01:15 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour

Really, does this guy need any introduction? Jexik is the young Scaper who's asserted himself as a major influence in the critical thinking of Heroscape and forever altered our community to think smarter and more efficient in how we play the game.

I don't believe there's even one toss-off post he's ever written. Each of his thousands (He's at 3,999 posts as I write this!) are insightful and well thought out. I wish I had a handful of posts of his caliber!

Anyway, Jexik is here and he's got a whole ton of insight about himself this time around

I hope you enjoy learning more about this immense resource of our gaming community.
Read on, true believers and feel free to ask Jexik your own questions. Just expect nice, long replies to your queries!

Our twenty-first 'Scaper of the Week is

Age: 23
Occupation? I knew you would ask this one. It's what everyone asks guys my age. What are you doing? I'm an ex-student finding my way. I graduated with my BA in Economics in June 2007.

Since then I've been working with my old school district. For several months, I tried substitute teaching, but didn't really like it. I went back to working in the after and before school program that I used to do during college. I'm not sure what my job description is, but I spend most of the time helping kids between the ages of 5 and 12 with their homework, organizing games of kickball, or beating them at Connect 4.

Right now, Iím working a morning and an afternoon shift, so I have a bunch of time in the middle of the day that Iíve spent writing articles, but that will change soon. Although I was a little burned out on school after getting my degree, I think I'll go back for my masters in either education or child psychology fairly soon.

Allegiance and why?
Jandar. It's nice to see the good guys win, but I generally play the figures that do what I want them to do. It just so happens that Jandar has a number of my favorites, especially my early ones. Jandar might not have many flashy or risky units, but they're honest and reliable.

Utgar is actually my second favorite general, mostly because he's got nearly half the units out there. Ullar is way on the bottom. I havenít liked Elves since I was twelve.

When did you get into HeroScape and why?
I got into Heroscape in July of 2007. On July 2nd, my friend gave it to me as an early birthday present on a lark. I thought the game looked ridiculous. I laughed at the basic plot. Archkyrie? Seriously?

But we played it anyway that evening, and I googled HS a day or two later and found this site.

Favorite aspect of HeroScape and why?
The engagement mechanics. Theyíre simple, elegant, and perfect.

I think without them the game would be much less interesting. When it comes to engagement, I like that you have the option of risking a passing swipe to do something else, and how it affects target selection. I like that it only hinders ranged attacks firing into the combat if figures are physically blocked from view. I like how the height of figures affects who they can engage. I like that figures can still adjust and move around without triggering a leaving engagement attack, but there are also special powers that affect those situations as well (Cowardís Reward, Cyberclaw, Disengage, Phantom Walk, etc).

The engagement rules are the real meat of the game to me, and a big reason I enjoyed the Heat of the Battle so much at GenCon. You play almost the entire game engaged to your foes.

Favorite Hero and why?
My dragon-crush on Nilfheim is pretty well documented. Raknarís vision was the first Heroscape expansion I bought, and I never regretted it. He has just the right split between offense and defense, threatening squaddies and heroes alike. He works great against the popular tourney units (Deathreavers, ranged squads, Major Q9) and against most armies that need to spread their order markers out too. He really gets bogged down by engagements though, and with his mid to low range, he canít really avoid it that well. Luckily, he has enough lives that he can often fly off to a better position.

In fact, I think he can be nearly as dominant as Q9, who I also think is a bit of a risky or luck-based (high-variance) figure. The only difference is that Nilfheim makes the game go faster. Heíll take a lot of people down with him in a blaze of glory. When Q9ís involved, the game just drags, while you wait for him to whiff or for him to get 7/9 skulls on his Queglix gun in a turn.

Favorite Unique Squad and why?
It's got to be the Airborne Elite. When I think of the words unique squad, nothing epitomizes that better than these guys. Until the Rechets came out, there was nothing like The Drop, and those grenades are just perfect. I'm always wondering when the next figure with lob might come out. Toss in their unparalleled range for a squad, and you've got a card that plays like no other.

Back when I played Migolís Tomb a lot, Iíd almost always draft Nilfheim and the Airborne Elite first.

Favorite Common Squad and why?
Deathreavers. Yeah, I'm that guy. Sure, they may lengthen games and annoy your opponent to no end, and they probably cost 20 too few points per squad, but they add another layer of strategic depth and complexity to any game which they're involved. Theyíre the best squad to pair with Nilfheim, so it makes sense for me to like them.

Best mistake in the game. If your opponent looks like this, youíre doing it right.

Favorite Special ability and why?
Jandar's Dispatch. It's one thing to give a generic Leadership (+movement) ability to a hero, it's quite another to make something as far reaching as this. While I dislike having to pick up and roll 12 dice every time, I like the many applications of this power.

You can use it to move extra figures zombie-style. You can use it to adjust the 4th Mass, keeping them in Wait Then Fire range. You can use it to get figures to start their own turns on road spaces. You can use it to move figures into water or onto glyphs, only to then move the bonded squad across the other side on the same order marker. You can use it when you would like to take a disengagement with a squad figure- sure you'll still lose them if they roll a skull, but you won't lose your attack. I like how an unpredictable boost to movement can catch the Krav with their pants down. Jandarís Dispatch makes the Knights of Weston pretty brutal. See me getting rocked?

It's little things like this that make the game interesting to me.

What do you enjoy most about Heroscapers.com?
Where do I start? I like that we expect people to use the English language properly. I like arguing with people about which units are better and why. I like that the Events section is always full of new tournaments and game days, even when official support seems to be lacking. I like the cool people Iíve met face to face after 500 mile drives through the flattest states in the union.

Most of all, I like the existence of the site itself, and all the work that truth, Grungebob and the others do behind the scenes to keep the community and the game running. Who knows where we'd be without them.

Favorite HeroScape moment:
I'm goint to cheat and pick two.

The first was when I drove about 200 miles out to Iowa City to visit my long time friend K-boom before the Tree Town Open in 2007. Spider_poison asked us to come over and hang out the night before the tourney, and the first order of business was to play a game of Heroscape between the best Heroscape player in the country and myself.

I was surprised when I met him, because I was half-expecting some overweight basement dweller. He was just an average Joe, wearing an Iowa Hawkeyes sweatshirt. He had a picture or two of his girlfriend around, and she was actually pretty. He ordered a pizza, and then we played a game.

And I schooled him! I was playing 6x Mass, and the Airborne Elite (the army I played in the tournament the next day: the AE didn't count towards the starting limit at that tourney, but they do officially now). After his 4x Stingers, 2x Rats, Kaemon, Isamu, and Raelin lost, he said, "You make me want to play Mass."

Good thing he didn't though. He stuck with his army and went 6-0, the best in a field of 60 players. He even beat K-boom playing my exact same army during the tourney. To this day, K-boom dreads playing him on a lava map.

My favorite moment in an actual tournament was my game against matrixrenegade in the Heat of the Battle this last summer. He had already beaten me in the main event, so I knew he was good, and a very fun and friendly guy as well. I was playing a hodgepodge of units: 4x Roman Legionnaires, Johnny Shotgun Sullivan, Ne-Gok-Sa, Me-Burq-Sa, Isamu, Otonashi, and 1x Dumutef Guard. Zack was playing Parmenio, Brunak, and 5x Sacred Band.

We were both 3-1 going into the final round, so we weren't playing for the trophy, although he had won HoB the previous year. The game was close the whole way, but it eventually came down to my Ne-Gok-Sa vs. his Parmenio and about 5 Sacred Band. NGS killed the squaddies one by one until it was just him and Parmy up on top of a hill. There was one more SB member on the other side of the map standing on a glyph.

Parmenio's attacks of 4v6 just were not enough to hurt NGS reliably, but neither were my 3v3's. It went on for at least 10 minutes. A crowd gathered, as lonewolf, scaper dude, spider poison, momo, and several others watched. The turn after Parmenio finally scored his first wound on NGS, I picked up my d20 one last time and tossed it on the table.


First mindshackle I had ever seen in a game, and at a tourney no less.

Another board game you enjoy and why? Settlers of Catan.

Itís one of the few games I can get my parents (in their 60s) and my sister, a 27 year old who thinks I should have outgrown games by now, to play. I play it with them and my hardened gamer friends alike. Itís a lot of fun. Plus Iím pretty good at it. And it uses hexagons, much like Ďscape. Iíll work on my brother, his wife, and their 6 year old son next. I think theyíll catch on quickly.

I also really like Monopoly. I believe that the people who think itís all luck or donít like it are pretty bad at it. I havenít lost a game of Monopoly in over a decade, and most of the games are under three hours long. I find it odd that people will turn their nose up at this game, but eagerly sit down to spend 6 hours crawling through a dungeon in Descent.

I like Descent too, but I just donít understand the Monopoly hate- itís like those 14 year old punk rock fans who cry when other people like their band and theyíre actually making money. Games are usually popular for a reason. I think the people you play board games with are just as important as the game youíre playing. If Monopoly, or any other game is really boring, get new friends. If a game is boring because you lose, learn to play it better.

Three true things and one lie about yourself:
I slept through the entire night when I first came home from the hospital as a baby.
I've never bought a Rise of the Valkyrie Master set in my life.
I really enjoy musicals. Wicked is my favorite.
As a junior in high school, I got 5's on four different AP tests.

Other interests?
During high school and college, I really enjoyed writing plays. Think a third David Mamet, a third Seinfeld, and a third Kevin Smith. I enjoy watching my plays get performed more than winning a Heroscape tournament.

I played an awful lot of video games when I was younger. In the SNES/SEGA days, I liked the Shining Force games, Lunar, Dark Wizard, Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy II and III, Ogre Battle, Chrono Trigger, and Killer Instinct. When I got a Playstation, I was all about Soul Blade, Armored Core, Oddworld, Front Mission III, Einšnder, Final Fantasy Tactics, Xenogears, Hot Shots Golf, and other stuff like that.

I played a ton of Halo in college. I got a bunch of otherwise studious people to waste Wednesday nights playing CTF on Blood Gulch on the dorm network. I also enjoy DDR. I know that it doesnít resemble dancing, but itís a lot of fun. Lately, I started playing Kongai, an online Ďcardí game, which is really just Pokťmon with an added mindreading/Rock-Paper-Scissors element to it.

In general, I also just like conversation, and listening to people. I think thatís why Iím good at writing dialogue.

Iíve got a good head for accumulating random facts. I go to a bar most Wednesdays for their trivia night. Our team is pretty good, but itís mostly due to this guy who is insanely good at Name That Tune. Every once in awhile, we get a question like, ďName 10 of the 14 elements whose chemical symbol is only one letter,Ē and then Iím all over it. (I only got 12. I forgot Vanadium and Ytterbium, but I remember that I forgot them). Thatís why Iím able to remember who played what in pretty much every Heroscape tourney. My long term memory is better than almost everyone Iíve ever met. Iím just not good at learning on my own through books.

So yeah, Iím a nerd.

Is there one type of trivia you really enjoy? Culture, history, entertainment, etc.
I guess Geography. The first computer game that I played a lot was the original Civilization back in 1992. I also looked at a globe pretty obsessively around that time, so names of cities and that sort of thing kind of stuck with me.

Which of your Heroscape articles are you most proud of or believe to be the most important?

I've written too many. I guess the most influential has to be 'What's in an Order Marker?' I was proud of the fact that the Strategy section of the forums was created a day or two after I made that post. All of the rest have been crappy sequels, although the one on efficiency is one of the better ones, I think.

Any rule, mechanic, ability, etc. you'd change in Heroscape? Generally, no. I prefer to play the game as its written, but if I had to... I'd probably just make a few more special abilities work in more situations, or just increase the defense of the figure that has them. Gorillinators, Major X17, Hatamoto Taro and the Templar Cavalry spring to mind.

What's with the jacket?
When my cousin got married in the summer of 1999, I wore an off-white sport coat at the ceremony and reception. Then I wore it to the homecoming dance my freshman year of high school. Later I wore it to more big events throughout high school, and it felt good.

So I bought more, of different colors and patterns. I wore that same jacket from the wedding to GenCon this last year.

When I would take my final exams in college, I'd often wear one of them into the exam room just for a boost of confidence and badassitude. From a practical standpoint, it's much easier to take off than a sweatshirt in the middle of a test (or a heroscape game).

White dice, red & blue, or valk dice?
I like the white dice the best. I like the way they roll- the density feels better than the Valkyrie dice, and I like that you don't need to swap between two sets like you do with the original red and blue dice. The one time I've actually won a tournament, I was playing Vanilla Ice (4x Stingers, 2x Deathreavers, Nilfheim, Isamu) using the vanilla dice.

What's the farthest you've driven to attend a tournament?
By car, I traveled about 600 miles total to get to the KC Hextreme New Year tourney. I shared the drive with a friend though. I was contemplating making my way down to the Texas Team tourney at the end of the month, but decided to go to an event in Madison instead on the same day.

Do you find opponents intimidated when matched up against you in tournaments?
No. I'm 5'9".

If anything, my reputation makes people play really well so they beat me.

What message do you have for the community?
I don't think the difference between casual and tournament play really exists. I have fun playing good armies with my friends, and I see plenty of people just playing what they feel like in tournaments. Heck, even I brought Knights of Weston to my last outing, and we all know that they suck.

Compared to some of the cheating numbskulls you might run into at an ďofficialĒ M:TG event, Iíd say that 95% of Heroscapers are pretty casual, even at tournaments. I play short 500 point games because I find it to be the most fun way to play the game. Try it out if you haven't yet, without any house rules. Except Heat of the Battle- that variant is freaking sweet.

If youíre thinking of running a tournament in your area and you want to shake things up, donít blacklist units, do Heat of the Battle. It doesnít say, ďDonít use these units because some guy on the internet says theyíre good, and I donít like them,Ē it changes which units are good.

Whatís Heat of the Battle you ask?

Use pre-made armies. You still need to have an army that could fit in some predetermined point and hex limit. (At GenCon last year, it was 450 points/ 24 hexes. The year before I think it was 400/26). Instead of placing in a normal starting zone, roll the d20 at the start of the game. The player with the highest roll places one of his army cardís worth of figure(s) wherever he wants, and then you alternate until both players are done.

Note: for a home game or smaller game day, I think that a drafted Heat of Battle would be even more interesting.

Any Heroscapers member you'd really like to play against?
The top of my list would have to be UranusPChicago. Very rarely do I say something in any of my articles that would be news to him, and he knew it long before I ever picked up my first order marker. Plus, he invented Heat of the Battle.

There are a bunch of other people I'd like to play against for different reasons, with Rˇchean, Grungebob, InfinityMax, Nadom, rdhight, Billtog, mantrainchoochoo and his brother among them. I'd also like to play against Gamebear. I feel like he plays more than he lets on...

Who do you pick for the next 'Scaper of the Week?
Spider poison.

[I know that Heroscape Elffy was looking forward to me linking a bunch of stuff, but just search for threads started by Jexik and youíll find a whole book].
Total Comments 26


Nadom's Avatar
Nilfheim and Deathreavers... a man after my own heart.
I'm going to guess that the lie is about liking musicals, but that's a well-varied list.
Posted February 2nd, 2009 at 11:17 PM by Nadom Nadom is offline
S1R_ART0R1US's Avatar
I was looking forward to this SotW, and must say that my expectations (Unlike Elffy's) were exceeded. I think " I slept through the entire night when I first came home from the hospital as a baby." is the lie.
Posted February 2nd, 2009 at 11:35 PM by S1R_ART0R1US S1R_ART0R1US is offline
whitestuff's Avatar
Great read. I'll definitely give Heat of the Battle a run at my next gaming night.

I think the lie is "I've never bought a Rise of the Valkyrie Master set in my life."
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 06:58 AM by whitestuff whitestuff is offline
NamibianScaper's Avatar
I think the lie is hidden up in the board game section. The long, awkward defense of Monopoly has to be a lie or a joke. "Sorry!" maybe. Monopoly, never.
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 08:04 AM by NamibianScaper NamibianScaper is offline
EternalThanos86's Avatar
Great interview. Thanks H_E_H and Jexik! I am very glad you "decided to go to an event in Madison instead on the same day." Hopefully, we won't disappoint and make you wish you had driven to Texas.

I think the lie is, "I really enjoy musicals. Wicked is my favorite." but only the part about Wicked.
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 08:05 AM by EternalThanos86 EternalThanos86 is offline
Cleon's Avatar
Excellent read. I'm looking forward to Heat Of Battle this August 09' if it's an event this year. Thanks for the interview HEH and Jexik!

Can't wait for Spider Poison next.
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 08:12 AM by Cleon Cleon is offline
Jexik's Avatar
Like Lonewolf, I think I'll wait until Friday to reveal the untruth.

Monopoly is definitely no joke. It's nice to have at least one game handy that you never need to explain to anyone. I think it's a fun game, and part of it might be because I almost always win. (I'll even go as far as to say that I think it has less luck in it than Heroscape and Settlers), unless for some reason you are playing with people who absolutely refuse to trade. I always seem to find a way to get what I need to win though. (Not in the dice, but in the trades). The people who get bored or claim that the dice cause their loss aren't reevaluating their position on the board every turn, or timing their upgrades properly.

ET86, I'm looking forward to it. Less than 2 hours is a much more reasonable drive, and playing Heroscape is always fun regardless.

Yeah, Cleon, if HoB is back, maybe I'll be able to exact my revenge.
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 11:22 AM by Jexik Jexik is offline
Rˇchean's Avatar
If HoB is an event? How could it not be? HoB will be at Gen Con.

Another great job, HEH and well played, Jexik!
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 11:27 AM by Rˇchean Rˇchean is offline
Updated February 3rd, 2009 at 11:42 AM by Rˇchean
Jexik's Avatar
Well, that's good news. It was my favorite event last year.
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 11:51 AM by Jexik Jexik is offline
Thats cause you got to play against me Jexik...(oh and the fact that you beat me probably helped too...but it was close)
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 12:17 PM by Onacara Onacara is offline
Jexik's Avatar
That shotgun blast that only killed my 1-life left Ne-Gok-Sa (and left the nearby drones unscathed and put 1 wound on WSG) was pretty hilarious.
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 12:33 PM by Jexik Jexik is offline
We needed video of that cause noone beleives me when I tell that story.
Posted February 3rd, 2009 at 01:20 PM by Onacara Onacara is offline
Heroscape Elffy's Avatar
Another great pick for SotW. Congrats, Jexik! I've had the unique privileged of talking to Jexik very (and I mean VERY) briefly at the last tournament I was at. The conversation was basically:
Elffy: Hey Jexik
Jexik: Wow, you actually pronounced my username right. Most people try to add another letter in there somewhere.
And then I got distracted by Spider_Poison showing up. I also watched him play Supergeek at the Austin tourney last March. He is a very strategic person. I would like to know what goes through MANY of these people's minds sometimes!
I think the lie is the one about sleeping through the night when you were a baby.

Spider_Poison's next. Another Midwesterner!
Posted February 5th, 2009 at 04:41 PM by Heroscape Elffy Heroscape Elffy is offline
dok's Avatar
Replace "Wednesday" with "Thursday", and I could have written that Trivia paragraph, basically word for word. That's effin' eerie. (OK, well, the question was actually naming elements that begin with C, but still. I got 9 of 11.)

One of my favorite "Jeopardy" categories of all time was when they gave a state, and you had to buzz in with the element whose symbol matched its postal code. Colorado=>"What is Cobalt", etc.

Big Catan fan here, too.
Posted February 5th, 2009 at 04:47 PM by dok dok is offline
Mr Migraine's Avatar
Elffy: Hey Jexik
Jexik: Wow, you actually pronounced my username right. Most people try to add another letter in there somewhere.
Wait, it's just "jeck-sick" or "jecks-ick," right?
Posted February 5th, 2009 at 09:52 PM by Mr Migraine Mr Migraine is offline
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