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Architects of the Realms of Valhalla Discussion and presentation of the maps approved by the ARV.

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Old November 11th, 2018, 11:18 PM
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The Scroll of Jandar's Summoning Circle

By Flash_19

Download, (Online Game)
Required sets:RotV, BftU, FotA


Map Bio -
Jandar’s footsteps on the eroding stone pathway threatened to break the serenity that permeated the sacred site.

He was here.

This place had been the focal point of his visions frequently over the previous days and weeks - though it was not all he had seen. He had seen the end of the world. He had watched in horror as the forces of Utgar marched across Valhalla - curling smoke, ash, and ruin in their wake. Being here in person only further impressed upon him the gravity of his situation.

It was time to change the fate of Valhalla.

Bits of stone crumbled under his feet as he climbed the decrepit stairs leading up the rocky hill. Tall columns etched with the swirling patterns typical of the sacred sites of the Archkyrie surrounded the circular hill. Most of the columns were still erect, but some had succumbed to age and element and now lay broken on the ground. He followed the pathway into the innermost ring of columns.

Jandar stretched the spear in his hand towards some overgrown vines sprawled across the ground in front of him. Using the butt of the spear, he pushed aside curling vines until he found what he was looking for. His knees pressed against the hard rock as he knelt down to brush dirt and leaves from the tops of the ancient relics.

His breath caught in his throat. There they were - the two panels - side-by-side, as he had seen. Each of the panels was etched with swirling rocks forming a circle around a single star at the center. His heart pounded as a silver-blue light slowly began to pool in the indentations on the panels. It was time.

He pressed both hands against the cold stone and gasped as he was hit with a wave of power. He could feel it pulsing inside him, surging through his blood. His surroundings faded into nothingness and his visions of destruction returned, coming with a greater intensity than normal. They were so vivid. He could almost taste the smoke, the ash and ruin of Utgar’s armies coursing through Valhalla.

In a flash, the scene changed. A battle raged on a far-off world. He could see the man, the soldier from previous visions, who would change the course of the war on Valhalla forever. Jandar didn’t understand why, but he needed this human. Amid the chaos and destruction of war, he saw the hope of salvation for his own world. As he watched, he understood - somehow - that this particular vision was different. This was real, and it was happening now. Jandar knew what he had to do, but hesitated, watching the battle unfold. Am I being selfish? Taking this man from his own world to defend mine? The sight of the soldier stumbling for cover broke Jandar’s moment of hesitancy. The soldier dived into a trench cut into the ground, enemy soldiers closed in, and Jandar began to pull on the soldier in his mind.

A blinding blue light erupted in front of him, jolting him from his vision and back to actuality.

He squinted against the light, finding the faint outline of a portal in the air above him. The power coursing through him drove him to move, pressed him towards the light. As if by instinct, he launched himself into the air and passed into the portal between worlds. For a moment, time stood still. It almost didn’t seem to exist here. All he could see was a shimmering tunnel of light connecting two doorways to separate worlds. The light wasn’t as bright in here and Jandar could see the soldier through an opening at the opposite end of the tunnel. He was still in the trench, bracing himself against a mound of dirt as enemies continued to advance. One of them pulled a small metal pin from a circular object in his hand and threw it towards the trench.

Jandar pulled on the soldier with everything he had.

The object hit the ground with a thud and exploded, sending out shards of metal with the concussive blast. The wave of energy slammed through the portal, pushing Jandar out of the entrance to the portal and back to Valhalla. Still, he kept pulling. Please don’t be too late. With eyes watering, he tried to watch as a darkened form passed through the portal of light and collapsed onto the ground below. With a deafening crack, the light vanished, and Jandar was left hovering in the air above the rocky hill.

The soldier lay breathing heavily. Dried blood and grime caked his dark green uniform. He groaned loudly and rolled onto his side as Jandar landed a few steps away. Slowly, he lifted his head, eyes focusing on Jandar’s outstretched wings.

“I’m dead, aren’t I?” The soldier said in between breaths. The tone of his voice seemed to welcome what he assumed would be the obvious response. He paused, considering for a moment. “For being dead, I sure hurt a lot.”

“No, human, you are not dead,” Jandar responded. He took a step forward as the man made efforts to stand. His legs didn’t seem to be working right. “Though you surely would have died, had I not intervened.”

“Forgive me if I don’t seem overly grateful.” He offered his hand towards Jandar, and Jandar lifted him to his feet, supporting him as his legs trembled. “The name’s Drake,” he said through clenched teeth.

“Well, Sergeant Drake, welcome to Valhalla.”


This was a tough one. After seven playtests, six of them being mostly lopsided, I am going to have to vote to Jandar’s Circle. I love the concept but . . . well, I can’t really put my finger on it. It was difficult to move double space figures between castle walls, ruins, and change in heights. If you can gain high ground on the either of the two heights with high defense figures then the game is over. Again, I love the concept. Perhaps some tweaks would help like making it easier to get out of the start zone? I would have voted the map as tournament worthy, but when nearly all of the battles were blowouts, then something is not quite right. Please revisit this map. The concept and general structure is very strong. My ARV colleagues may have different opinions, and I am OK with that.

Sir Heroscape
The original version of this map concerned me because of the easy choke points that one could seal off once they've taken the height in the middle, but this version does a great job of opening up the flow of the map to allow much better movement.

Initially playtesting this map, I started to feel that there was just too much bet on who took the hill first. It plays kind of like a King of the Hill scenario, and I kind of like that. On this map, every game, players tended to want to grab height first before anything else and I thought that was a fresh new playstyle outside of a "run for the glyphs as fast as possible". The Glyphs on this map are easily contenstable, kind of out of the way and all of that is okay with me, mainly because they are used as a bonus for whoever might have had to concede the height to their opponent. It's also nice that one of the glyphs is protected from the highest points on the map, which really does help an opponent who may be controlling it and also fighting an uphill battle for the high ground.

I will say that this map does tend to hurt 4 move figures...but many maps can because 4 move can be just so slow. That said, the large majority of figures are 5 move and I feel that 5 move figures handle this map well enough that it's not too cumbersome. I had many a game on this map, and I can't really say it ever felt imbalanced or off. We'll have to see what the other judges say, but I feel confident enough with this design to give it an to be inducted.

The first thing noticeable about this map is the tons of height in the middle. You know you're going to have to scramble to come out on top (see what I did there?), which can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it encourages aggressive play rather than finding an area to camp near your start zone. On the other, if one player gets established on height dislodging them can be a headache-inducing task. So, in order to test the overall tournament readiness of this map, we've got to look at how it keeps one army from steamrolling once they get a hold of the top of the hill.

First off, the LoS blocking columns and ruins are used well on the map. Figures can prepare to attack the high ground by utilizing the cover and getting in position to rush the top. The glyphs are also well-covered by blockers, meaning that even if one player has the top area, the other can still contest the glyphs. If the player on top moves to shoot the glyph areas, that usually opens them up to counterattack for the top.

The wide start zones also encourage wide use of the map. It's harder to steamroll a whole army up to the top through one route. Instead, often players feel encouraged to utilize the different paths. The road helps with this, particularly by boosting the lateral movement across the map. It can be used to rush height or intercept incoming troops. The size of the map, and subsequent movement required to make it to the top, also helps to prevent an army from steamrolling by making players invest a lot of actions into getting up there with enough figures to hold it. Rushing the high ground with only a figure figures doesn't give enough of a presence to hold it against a stronger attack, so a balance of speed and army presence needs to be maintained.

There are still plenty of things to nitpick about the map. A lot of terrain is required for it, and the map doesn't utilize all of the available features, noticeably the shadow spaces available with the Dungeon set. This is a thematic choice, but it does seem like a missed opportunity for further balance. It's also a very leveled map -- it always feels like an uphill fight as you climb terrain, which isn't my favorite map feature, though others are okay with it. I also felt that it would benefit greatly from fixed glyphs to help offset the high ground. Wannok, Dagmar, and Valda are great when they show up, but if you end up with a Lodin on the map, it's not going to help very much. Overall, though, I feel it's a strong enough map to make it onto tournament tables, despite my personal nitpicks.

I vote to induct Jandar's Summoning Circle into the ARV stuffy stuff.

It has been long time coming for my review on this map. I was getting ready to start writing and noticed that biggas review not only stated my thoughts on the map but went above and beyond. I wont reiterate all of the high and low points of the map to save some time and instead get to testing more maps. Bottom line is that I feel like this map is a great addition to the ARV maps and vote to induct it into the ARV tournament worthy maps.

Last edited by Sir Heroscape; October 30th, 2019 at 09:59 PM.
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