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  #4633  
Old February 5th, 2015, 11:16 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Here is the PDF version of Prince al'Kahora.
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  #4634  
Old February 5th, 2015, 11:18 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
I hope you can all forgive me if I am excited about this.
Congrats, caps!

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  #4635  
Old February 5th, 2015, 08:01 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
Here is the PDF version of Prince al'Kahora.
Not to be a nitpicker, but the text in the pdf downloads section says Jarek Guy rather than Prince al'Kahora. (and congrats Caps!)

"I am definitely a mad man with a box."

"They are too numerous to fight. What shall we do?" "Fight anyway."

"You can never defeat another if you know not how to defeat yourself."
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  #4636  
Old February 5th, 2015, 08:29 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Print it quick! It's going to be a collector's item!

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  #4637  
Old February 5th, 2015, 08:30 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Congrats caps! The book turned out nicely too!

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  #4638  
Old February 5th, 2015, 08:33 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper View Post
Print it quick! It's going to be a collector's item!
No, this is what I mean. In this link: Prince al'kahora, it says this:

"This is the pdf of Jarek Guy, sized for printing.

Thanks to doe138 for creating this version."

Not the card, sorry for confusion.

"I am definitely a mad man with a box."

"They are too numerous to fight. What shall we do?" "Fight anyway."

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  #4639  
Old February 5th, 2015, 08:35 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Oh. Well, that's boring. *yawn*

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  #4640  
Old February 6th, 2015, 10:57 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heroscaper Guy View Post
Not to be a nitpicker, but the text in the pdf downloads section says Jarek Guy rather than Prince al'Kahora. (and congrats Caps!)
Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed.
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  #4641  
Old February 6th, 2015, 11:03 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Speaking of the Prince, is Asterious due to appear anytime soon?
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  #4642  
Old February 6th, 2015, 12:24 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaSilver View Post
Speaking of the Prince, is Asterious due to appear anytime soon?
It's going through the final checks in the Art department.
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  #4643  
Old February 6th, 2015, 05:59 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Jaraptara by Kinseth

I remember how excited I was when Jotun was first previewed. Since then we've seen a few other Giants join the war for Valhalla. And I for one wouldn't mind seeing more.

Balance

A natural comparison is Shurrak, also a Huge Giant with the same stat line except cost. Jaraptara trades in Shurrak's sometimes useful Sweeping Sword and unreliable Knockback for a solid albeit slow ranged special attack and Reach. The giantess's single base is usually better than Shurrak's double base, but she lacks the sometimes-awesome othertimes-useless Lava Resistant. Multi-target special attacks are a big deal for heroes, but then so are ranged special attacks. Reach shouldn't be underestimated, nor should the ability to bond with a decent squad. 130pts looks to be on the low side compared to Shurrak's 160pts.

The Ogre Warhulk is another good comparison point; he has pretty similar stats and also bonds with a solid squad. The Warhulk does not have any special attacks but does have an (unreliable) multi-attack ability. He also has a negative ability, though it does not often come into play. Once again, Jaraptara comes out looking on top at 20pts less.

But ultimately it comes down to how she plays.

Theme

It's already been established that giants can appear quite different in Heroscape, so a smaller stone giant does not bother me. The designation Huge somewhat does bother me, though. Size is something that is definitely not defined by hard-and-fast rules in Heroscape; height is definitely a factor but not the only factor. This sculpt is only just barely eligible for the Huge designation, mostly because she's a touch taller than the Huge 7s. It's sad how tiny she looks next to a Feral Troll, but not all size designations in official scape make sense to me. In this case there's a reason for it: to be able to bond with Dreadguls but not with Death Chasers. I reluctantly accept.

As far as overall theme, a boulder-throwing stone giant is spot-on. I also like that a boulder takes more effort than other ranged attacks. I do have some thematic issues with it, however. Is it really so hard to find a nearby rock that she has to give up her whole attack? Maybe it takes effort to lift, but then why isn't it bothersome to carry? One would think even a relatively small boulder would be awkward to lug around. And why can't she find any rocks in the water? I also think that Range 7 is awfully far for a thrown weapon.

As far as Reach is concerned, I don't see anything on the sculpt that would suggest such a power, but then I feel the same way about the Fen Hydra. It's simply a fighting-style thing that some units can do, and I'm ok with that.

Creativity

The key design piece here is the "ammo" mechanic used for the boulder. It's simple and not fiddly and carries a lot of theme (despite my thematic issues). I don't want to see an overabundance of additional markers in the game, but the occasional addition is fine to me, even welcome.

Playability

Jaraptara is not a cheerleader-style bonding hero like Marcus, she's a combative type like the Ogre Pulverizer. You can see that in her impressive stats. She plays pretty well solo and even better with the Dreadguls. She has the speed to get into position, enough attack power to lay on the hurt, and enough Defense/Life to stand her ground.

I expected Boulder Toss to be the defining feature of the unit and Reach to be lesser-used (after all, once she's engaged it's no longer useful), but I was wrong. Giving up an attack to pick up a rock is really painful in the midst of battle; I often went whole games without picking up a second. It's not just the loss of the attack that made my decisions, it's also her speed, attack power, and Reach. After the first turn of positioning (usually with a Boulder Toss), it was usually easy to get in close enough to use her more powerful normal attack, often with height advantage thanks to Reach. And I wasn't really afraid to do so with her solid survivability.

That turned out to be my biggest issue with the unit. Her natural ability combined with the tactical freedom Reach gives made tossing the boulder, the exciting and unique part of the design, little more than a novelty. One bonus ranged attack is always good, and on occasion I found it helpful to recharge (especially when running away!), but for the most part I felt I would rather attack with 6 dice from height than give up my attack. Essentially, her natural abilities combined with Reach overshadowed 2/3rds of her powers. Had her speed, attack, or defense been lower, or had she not had Reach, taking turns to recharge the boulder would have been a more attractive option.

Cost-wise, she is on the low side. I don't think she makes Shurrak or the Orge Warhulk obsolete as they have different uses, but almost. She's not vastly better than the powerhouses at the 120pt sweet spot either though. I felt she was pushing the lower bounds of what I consider acceptable, mainly due to the fact that I'd usually take her over Shurrak or a Frost Giant.

Summary

The price is a bit iffy, but the main issue I had with Jaraptara is that the design feels like it undermines itself. The boulder mechanic is unique and interesting and promises a lot of good decision points, but in practice her natural stats combined with Reach leave it almost unused in normal games. A figure like this with Reach is interesting and more fun to play than I expected, and a figure with an "ammo" mechanic is interesting, but I don't feel like they meshed together well.

I vote to induct Jaraptara into the SoV.

Last edited by Scytale; January 20th, 2017 at 02:31 PM.
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  #4644  
Old February 13th, 2015, 11:43 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Red Ants of Aunstrom by Scytale

Balance
While the Red Ants of Aunstrom share a price price range with several familiar units in HeroScape, such as the Deathreavers, Blade Gruts, Marrden Nagrubs and Marro Drones, they strike closest to the last of that list so far as an apt comparison goes. Without bonding or a steady role as a screen for ranged units, the Ants are often forced to rely on themselves to keep the game going. This places much of the balance concern on their stats and special powers. Like the Marro Drones, they can get help from other units (Marcus Decimus Gallus rather than the Marro Hive, for example). But when all is said and done, their crowding of the start zone and reliance on swarm tactics means, just like the Drones, the Ants will be the backbone of any army they take part in. A number of trades with the Drones (the most notable being more reliable swarming for poorer attack & defense) brings them near enough in line that a balance of points seems well-struck.

Theme
The left-box stats of the Ants checked out well for me. Their Relentless personality mirrors their play-style of a constant need to keep up attacks while exercising movement all over the battlefield. The designation of Soldiers is odd only in the sense that HeroScape already has a set idea of what a soldier is (4th Mass, 10th Reg, Airborne Elite, the list goes on). Understanding that the Ants are soldiers of a different sort allowed me to see this choice of class as a feature rather than a bug. Horde Attack is perfect for an insect swarm, but Cutting Mandibles is something of a head-scratcher. Itís not too thematically strong for the Ants, but neither is it a strike against the Ants, so I call the special powers a wash. The base stats themselves fit nicely for giant ants. Iíve heard murmurs over the 6 Move when previous bugs in HeroScape have been faster, but it doesnít bother me (it might not be the case in reality, but spiders always seem to move faster than ants).

Creativity
While no truly oddball mechanics have been implemented in the Red Ants of Aunstrom, the combination of their special powers, base stats, and overall theme results in a unit with a truly unique style of play when compared to other swarm squads. Definitely a well-crafted Army Card.

Playability
Iíve found that pairing the Ants with a good Menacer (and Marcus Decimus Gallus for good measure) gets you a decent bang for your buck. If the Menacer can get to the front lines quickly and grab a good position, the enemy will usually focus on the bigger threat, allowing the Ants time to move figures up and establish board control. By the time the Menacer falls, the Ants will hopefully have gotten the foothold necessary for Horde Attack and Cutting Mandibles to earn their keep. Maintaining the initiative in the early rounds is key here.

However, if youíd rather play defensively, letting the enemy come to you negates the biggest problem of the Ants, that is, having enough Ants on hand at the front lines to keep Cutting Mandibles in play. This strategy can be highly matchup dependent. Krav Maga Agents and other ranged-dominant armies are death to a defensive ant strategy. That said, pairing the Krav Maga Agents up with the Ants can be a delightful combination, fishing for enemy figures with the agents, then moving in with the Ants.

In the grand scheme of things, the Ants are dependent on their opponent and the map to ensure victory, but if neither falls too far out of their favor, any game is salvageable for a great big swarm of Red Ants.

---

I consider the Red Ants of Aunstrom to be a well-balanced, thematically sound unit that adds a neat twist to the canon. They wonít greatly impact the meta-game, but theyíre no pushover. Bring on the Horde.

I vote to induct the Red Ants of Aunstrom into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
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