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Old December 19th, 2010, 03:31 AM
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The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

I'm not entirely sure this doesn't belong in the Maps & Scenarios forum, but I figure it's enough of a shift from the normal rules to go here. I've been working on an alternative way to play Heroscape, which needs much more work and polishing before it's really ready, but I'm anxious to get it out there for people to look at, so here it goes.

The Long Road Home:
A scenario and variant play structure for two players.


The premise of this play structure is that one player is connected to an army holding a castle. However, this castle is a long distance away from his small band of heroes. These heroes have been out on the front lines for a long time, and are finally given orders to return home. Unfortunately for them, the road is not at all friendly, nor is it tame. The other player is in control of the myriad monsters, creatures, highwaymen, and robbers lying in wait for the first player's returning champions.

Building the map
In its most basic form, an LRH map must have a long, narrow stretch of terrain with road tiles running its complete length. This means that it requires, minimum, 1 of any Master Set (though RotV is recommended), and 1 copy of either RttFF or FotA. Ideally, this will instead be several Master Sets and plenty of road tiles to go around, plus a plethora of other terrain expansions to make a more interesting journey. A good minimum to count on is 1 RotV and 1 FotA, since the Fortress expansion gives you something to build the goal castle out of.

A castle or other obvious goal should be situated at one end of the map, and a similarly-sized area should be at the other end. In between, the more terrain variations you can fit, the better. Add a mountain, a volcano, a river, a swamp, a jungle, towers, ruins, a frozen waste, a forest, add whatever you have parts for. Toss it all in there, and try to make it flow logically from one terrain type to the next (for example move from plains to forest to hill to mountain to volcano if you want all of them in there, just so long as it makes sense visually). And through the whole thing, keep a road running up the middle. The road can be broken or covered in some parts, for instance if a lava flow has demolished some, but it should pick up on the other side just as before.

Another way to keep the map sensible is to make whatever terrain type is most "remote" be at the starting end of the road, for instance putting a huge snowy mountain at one end and the castle at the other. That way, it looks as though the heroes are on their way home from a distant, harsh land rather than trekking through a random patch of ice on the way.

Glyphs may be used, and if they are, they should be scattered along the length of the map.

Finally, the map does not need to be arranged in a straight line. It can be U-shaped, spiral-shaped, or even just an arbitrary squiggly line if you want. Just make sure that the edge does not connect back to itself, since this would drastically alter game balance.

Drafting armies
The player controlling the heroic band (hereafter, Player 1) drafts their entire army first. This army is drafted entirely and exclusively from Unique Hero army cards of Small, Medium, or Large size; the point value can be adjusted as necessary depending on the size of the map. Not having playtested this yet, I think a good maximum number is 150-250 points per Master Set in use.

Following this, the other player (hereafter, Player 2) drafts from all Unique Squads, Common Squads, and Common Heroes. The combined point value of these cards should total no more than 5 times Player 1's army's total point value.

Starting zones and restricted movement
Player 1 must place all of his or her figures in the larger area at one end of the map. Player 2 must place all his or her figures on any space along the outer edge of the map, except those within Player 1's start and goal zones.

Player 2's figures may never enter or pass through any space within the castle (or goal space, if no FotA sets are available). If Glyphs are used, Player 2's figures may never enter a space occupied by a Glyph; however, Player 1's figures may.

Goals
Player 1's goal is to move at least one-fifth (rounded up) of his Heroes into the castle (or goal zone).

Player 2's goal is to destroy all of Player 1's figures before they reach their goal.

Special rules
Player 1's army cards each are treated as though they have two times the Life number given on the card. For example, if Player 1's army contains Finn The Viking Champion, that card's Life value would be 8 for the purposes of this scenario.

Additionally, any special abilities on any army card that cause the card or its figures to be controlled by any other player under any circumstances are ignored. For example, Sir Hawthorne's Stab In The Back ability is treated as though it does not exist.


Alternate rules
Three-player variant: To play a Long Road Home map with three players, Player 3 drafts an army of up to three times Player 1's army total from all remaining army cards between Player 1 and Player 2's drafts, then Player 2 drafts an army of up to 8 times that of Player 1. Player 3 places his or her units inside the castle or goal spaces and must then defend it. Players 1 and 3 are in a permanent alliance, and both players win if Player 1 reaches his or her victory condition. Player 2 may enter the castle or goal zone. Player 3 may still win, even if his or her entire army is destroyed, if Player 1 reaches the goal zone.

Lone Champion: In this variant, Player 1 drafts only one Unique Hero. This figure is treated as having five times the Life value stated on its army card. For example, if Finn The Viking Champion is chosen, his Life is 20 for the purposes of this scenario. Player 1 immediately loses if this figure is destroyed, and immediately wins if it enters the goal zone.

Powerless Lone Champion: In this variant, Player 1 drafts only one Unique Hero. Place a Negation Counter on this figure's army card; the figure's special abilities are all Negated throughout this scenario. This figure is treated as having ten times the Life value stated on its army card. For example, if Finn The Viking Champion is chosen, his Life is 40 for the purposes of this scenario. Player 1 immediately loses if this figure is destroyed, and immediately wins if it enters the goal zone.


Final notes
This is definitely not finished yet! Please do not expect perfection from it, as I have not yet actually built an LRH-compatible map. I'm planning to try that out tomorrow afternoon, but I may not get a chance. Once it's done, though, I'll be sure to post some pictures and examples of gameplay so that you can all see how my testing works out. I know it may seem similar to the "heroic band VS the evil monsters" play style that D&D in general (and Battle for the Underdark specifically) favors, but I hope that it can find a distinctive, and better, flavor of play than that. Hopefully this can be adopted community-wide as a fun new way of looking at Heroscape games, but I'd happily settle for just a few people getting enjoyment from my ideas.

Getting tired of just smashing two armies together and hoping you win? You should really play a game or two with the Long Road Home ruleset!
Also, here's my map thread, just because.

Last edited by Q-Lok; December 20th, 2010 at 12:29 PM.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 11:26 AM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

Sounds pretty fun! + whatever rep I can give you!
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Old December 19th, 2010, 01:07 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

The fundamental idea of a small force fighting its way to refuge and rescue is time-honored. I'd be inclined to place a rescue force within the Castle, that is released if any of the small force's units enter the Castle. There would be a time limit. Other than that, the numbers and percentages of small force units that must get to the Castle, and the sizes and compositions of the small force, the blocking force, and the rescue force are totally variable, from 300/600/1200 points with no restrictions, to keeping the point totals, but restricting the small force to human or elven heroes and borrowing the Captain rules from Pirates! for the small force. (If Captain is killed, +1 to offense/defense of all small force members; if Captain is taken under control, by Mindshackler, Werewolf Lord or Mindflayer, small force automatically surrenders/loses.)



Next Generation

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Old December 19th, 2010, 01:25 PM
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Thumbs up Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

This sounds very interesting!

I'll definitely have to try this.
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  #5  
Old December 20th, 2010, 03:07 AM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

Satan's soiled codpiece, that was a lot of work! I took most of the afternoon and evening on it, but about an hour ago I finally finished that monster of a map. *passes out*

And hot dang, I got attention from big names! Thanks a ton, kolakoski and Fen_Hydra! And you too, elitebeatk! I certainly haven't forgotten you!

Anyway. Since I had demonstrating the theme in mind, I went way, way overboard with this beast and used almost every single Heroscape part I own. The only things left over were walls, tons of battlements, and a few ladders, plus two ruins that I don't have an RotV set to go with. In all, it used a total of 5 RotV, 1 SotM, 3 RttFF, 3 FotA, 1 TJ, plus some ungodly-huge number of wave tiles including 32 double-hex snow tiles from figure expansions (I have yet to count the rest of my wave tiles, so don't ask). It's the best I could do to demonstrate the theme of a really, really long road from a distant locale to a castle, and for that at least I think I did a pretty decent job.

I haven't put glyphs down yet, and still hasn't been tested out, but hopefully that part will come on Tuesday afternoon. I fully expect this game to take upwards of three or four hours, just because it's so bloody enormous that it will take that long for a handful of figures to get across it.

The entire sum total of notes and pre-planning that I did on paper is as follows (typed directly from what I wrote down this morning):
start>taiga>snowmelt>bridge>beach>snowmelt>plains>swamp>jungle>outcrop s>hills>watchtowers>hills>desert>oasis>ruins>lake>islands>causeway>beach>fores t>mountain>castle>goal

That set of notes, obviously changed to reflect what I actually could build, resulted in this absolute monstrosity:



The intention is to get from the snowy bit on one end to the castly mountainy bit on the other end, if that wasn't obvious.

The taiga (not sure I like the trees all lined up like that; I'll probably change it before playtesting):


The beach and plains area (added unexpected ruins and trees because it was really boring before; also the beach has no snowmelt area because I ran out of snow and decided to conserve water for later):


The swamp and jungle:


The rock outcrops (I'm really liking how this section came out):


The hills and watchtowers:


The desert, ruins, and oasis (the order of which got juggled around a bit):


The oasis again and a gatehouse that I added for flavor (the gates will not be locked for the scenario, though the Player 2 Cannot Enter Castles rule still applies; I figure the small army deserves a break in the middle someplace):


The gatehouse again and the first two bridges, plus two islands and both of the lake's shores:


The lake, one island, all three bridges, the forest, the mountain, and the castle, AND the waterfall that I realized I could add after a little a ton of finagling:


The last bridge, the forest, the mountain, and a view of the castle's door:


The back of the castle:



So yeah... that's the enormous, room-devouring prototype LRH map -- the first ever deliberately-LRH-compatible map, in fact. I'll also be posting a (probably very truncated) battle report and summary of the test game as soon as I can. Hope you all enjoy!

Getting tired of just smashing two armies together and hoping you win? You should really play a game or two with the Long Road Home ruleset!
Also, here's my map thread, just because.

Last edited by Q-Lok; December 20th, 2010 at 12:29 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 12:21 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

This sounds like it would be great fun with the Heroes of 'Scape mod. I'd like to put a link to this scenario onto the HoS thread if you don't mind.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

Goodness, that would be fantastic! I don't really see this as having that flavor, but I can see why it would work well with that ruleset. So by all means, drop a link; get some attention out there. ^_^

Getting tired of just smashing two armies together and hoping you win? You should really play a game or two with the Long Road Home ruleset!
Also, here's my map thread, just because.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-Lok View Post
Goodness, that would be fantastic! I don't really see this as having that flavor, but I can see why it would work well with that ruleset. So by all means, drop a link; get some attention out there. ^_^
What do you mean not "having that flavor?" A small band of Heroes fighting their way through an army of minions, monsters, and robbers... sounds exactly like the kind of mode for Heroes of 'Scape
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Old December 20th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiyu View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-Lok View Post
Goodness, that would be fantastic! I don't really see this as having that flavor, but I can see why it would work well with that ruleset. So by all means, drop a link; get some attention out there. ^_^
What do you mean not "having that flavor?" A small band of Heroes fighting their way through an army of minions, monsters, and robbers... sounds exactly like the kind of mode for Heroes of 'Scape
No, I know, but rules-wise, I'm very attached to the idea of Heroscape not being an RPG. That's admittedly personal prejudice speaking because I'm still very steamed-up over the D&D waves and BftU (at least the way I see it) trying to turn Heroscape into a more RPG-like game that it really just isn't. If I can model an RPG-style game without introducing traditional RPG elements, then that's what I would like to do.

Still, like I say, I can definitely see the potential for my ruleset working well with HoS, and if others want to play it that way, then I am all for it.

Getting tired of just smashing two armies together and hoping you win? You should really play a game or two with the Long Road Home ruleset!
Also, here's my map thread, just because.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 01:48 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

1. I actually think of Heroes of Scape as something against D&D. I'm a bit RPG obsessive at times, but have never been into D&D. By using something I already own, (Heroscape) I am not feeding the evil behemoth that is WOTC.

2. I'm thinking of using this in a metroid-esque escape sequence. Every one or two rounds, the last part of the map falls into lava.
SELF DESTRUCT SEQUENCE ACTIVATED!!!
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:59 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

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Originally Posted by elitebeatk View Post
1. I actually think of Heroes of Scape as something against D&D.
He is quite correct! I hate D&D and WotC as much as the next guy, that's why the Heroes of 'Scape project was created, to bring the RPG back into the hands of Heroscape and into the world of Valhalla! My motto through the whole thing was "To create a level-up system, while maintaining the overall 'feel' of Heroscape." I feel I accomplished that, and many have told me this was true as their first thoughts about Heroes of 'Scape.

And I hate to burst you anit-D&D'Scape bubble, but this has a lot in common with the BftU: Ancient Sanctum and River of Blood campaigns
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Old December 20th, 2010, 11:55 PM
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Re: The Long Road Home -- variant rules and play style

No, I really do understand the similarities, and in all fairness it is somewhat hypocritical of me to design the scenario rules the way I have given how I feel about the merging of D&D and HS.

[edit: Oh, and also, I don't see WotC as evil or anything, just incredibly bone-headed when it comes to treatment of their various franchises (see also: Heroscape and D&D 4th).]

And I hadn't really read the HoS rules in any detail (I think the last time I skimmed them was around a week ago), so I stand corrected on that as well. My apologies for arguing with you over nothing.

Elitebeatk, I don't think my prototype map would work too well with that idea, but given a different map, I think it would be awesome. I can just see it: suddenly, LAVA.

Getting tired of just smashing two armies together and hoping you win? You should really play a game or two with the Long Road Home ruleset!
Also, here's my map thread, just because.
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