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  #6721  
Old November 18th, 2019, 09:57 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Duke, I thought he was a very strong designer when he was here. If you have minis that match up to his designs, and they look fun to you, I encourage you to try them out.

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  #6722  
Old November 19th, 2019, 09:10 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Thanks! Is there any tutorial about how to create your own cards and participate in c3v? I am terrible with programs like Photoshop...
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  #6723  
Old November 19th, 2019, 09:20 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeadam View Post
Thanks! Is there any tutorial about how to create your own cards and participate in c3v? I am terrible with programs like Photoshop...
Easiest way is the X2CC which is a card creator setup by one of the admins of the site. It's pretty great and anyone can use it. https://www.heroscapers.com/xorlof/x2cc/

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  #6724  
Old November 20th, 2019, 08:00 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Beakface Rogue by @wriggz and @Sir Heroscape

I already reviewed the Beakface Rogue once before, exactly as-is. I voted Yea for it then, and nothing has changed, except that it's not a package deal with the Beakface Archer. While it was designed to work with the Archer, in my testing I found that wasn't the best build for them, in fact the combination didn't work all that well. The Beakface Rogue is most at home in a Rogue army alongside Nottingham Brigands and other Rogue heroes, as long as they have a screen (which they generally want anyway).

The Rogues can benefit from Flocking of the Beakface Sneaks, but their roles overlap a bit too much. They can also work as a toss-in to other armies, but don't expect much out of them, as they require effort to get into strike position and excellent timing to bring the hurt on key targets.

So they don't have much use outside of Rogue builds, but that's ok. More Raptorian units could also help them in the future.

I vote Yea to induct the Beakface Rogue into the SoV.
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  #6725  
Old November 26th, 2019, 06:12 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Great Axes of Ironstone by @Leaf_It

Heavy metal dwarves.

Balance

Comparing the Great Axes to the Tarn Viking Warriors, the Great Axes have worse stats, including a significantly higher point cost. The low Move is often offset by Adrenaline Burst, which makes their movement faster than the Tarn and is more consistent than Berserker Charge. The big difference is in the value of Seasoned Veterans, which looks pretty good on paper, but difficult to quantify without testing.

Theme

The theme is solid all-around, a nice throwback to existing Heroscape Dwarves. The stats make them look like Axegrinders, with a broader-use boost to offense and defense that fits with the theme of the power name "Seasoned Veterans."

I got the miniatures, and yes, they are metal. While they look natural on the battlefield, the difference in materials is immediately obvious upon picking one up. So, in a sense, they don't fit in, but for me, at least, the look, not the feel, is the important part, and visually they fit in quite well, if a tad small.

Creativity

I like that they feel a lot like Axegrinders (minus bonding), but do things their own way. The concept of an elite group of battle-worn warriors comes through pretty well in how Seasoned Veterans plays. Adrenaline Burst doesn't particularly fit into that, but it's a broadly-useful movement power which is fine.

Playability

I noted above that the Great Axes are a lot like Axegrinders in overall design, and they play that way as well. Obviously they are lacking the always-valuable Bonding, but otherwise they have a similar feel on the battlefield. Which I liked; they felt quite Dwarf-y in a Heroscape sense.

Seasoned Veterans is the key power of the design, and where they get their point cost from. While it's easy to see how turning 2 skull or shields into 3 is good, it's hard to grasp how potent it is without playing them. It's actually very powerful, almost shockingly so. While you certainly can't count on it happening, it happens often enough to really make a dent in gameplay.

Actually, Seasoned Veterans is a borderline broken power. At three dice it feels pretty good. But as 'Scapers know, it's quite easy to boost attack and defense. Just getting a 4th dice from height gives them a terrifying boost in effectiveness, both offensively and defensively, significantly more so than we are used to because the chances of getting the second skull or shield goes up dramatically. That is the biggest boost, but of course even more dice is more gravy. Give these guys some Viking spirits and watch them tear through opponents.

Their other power, Adrenaline Burst, isn't so great. Yes, it's a potent movement boost that is easy to get. But that's the problem with it. Once the Ironstones get near the battle lines, they have 6 movement pretty much all the time. Even when they are initially getting into a fight the fact that they are a squad means that as long as the first one can engage something, the rest all move at boosted speed. Not that it matters much beyond that point; you often don't have to move much in a melee to fight. It's useful for the initial move in, and sometimes for getting height, but that's about it.

The power is supposed to (by the name) feel like the Dwarves get a burst of energy to rush in and fight alongside their friends, but it doesn't play like that. Instead it plays like a negative power, where they have Move 6 and the power gives them -2 movement when leaving the starting zone. In other words, they are annoyingly slow to get into a fight, and once they do they speed up, though it doesn't matter as much anymore. It's frustrating mechanically, which is the opposite of what the power is meant to be thematically.

Summary

This is a design that goes a step too far to be unique. Adrenaline Burst is an unnecessary power feels like they just have Move 6 most of the time, except when they first leave the starting zone they're annoyingly slow. The small tactical choice it gives (that you don't want to use them as a first-strike unit) is, again, just a negative. It does not convey its theme and doesn't have enough gameplay value to warrant being there.

Without that, if they had Move 5 (or a different power to help them move) are they good? I quite enjoy playing them, but I have reservations about Seasoned Veterans. Stat boosts are easy to come by, and they super-enhance these guys. It's very difficult to price them effectively because of that; do you price them for Viking Spirit builds, or just as they are? I like them at 80 points, but I would need to do more extensive testing with optimizing builds to make sure they don't dominate too much.

I vote Nay to induct the Great Axes of Ironstone into the SoV.
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  #6726  
Old November 29th, 2019, 12:07 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Catalan Mercenaries by @Scytale (nominated by @Cleon )

At 10 points per figure, the Catalan Mercenaries are one of the best Black Friday deals youíll find. But can you trust them to have your back when faced with dozens of moms looking for the perfect gift for their precious youngsters?

Balance

A 4-figure squad at 4/1/3/4 for 40 points is, frankly, nuts. Thatís a ton of power for 10 point figures, and youíre activating four of them each turn. This design makes no pretense at making these stats seem anything less than super duper strong, as the one power on the card is there for the exact purpose of reining them in by giving them a chance to completely leave the game. Unfortunately, this makes straight balance comparisons a little difficult. Itís already tough since none of the other 40 point 4-figure squads have the same function as the Mercenaries. Comparisons can be made with the Knights of Weston, a strong squad with the same stats. The Knights have bonding, extra move if theyíre being used with Gilbert, and theyíre 30 points more than the Mercenaries, so a straight comparison is still difficult, but non-bonding Knights for half the price but a potential to leave you in the dust midway through the game seems decent balance-wise. There will have to be a continued focus on balance in playability to really know where they land.

Theme

The Catalan are mercenaries you can hire for cheap that might run out once the going gets tough. Thematically, this works in a lot of interesting ways. Thereís the obvious theme of mooks providing some extra muscle on the front lines, taking and dishing hits, that may desert you when theyíre sick of being your pawns. There is also implied theme with army building; in a standard game, you canít completely fill out your army with Mercenaries due to start zone restrictions, so you have to pair them with some powerful, high point figures. This works great from a thematic angle, giving an image of these stronger figures being around to keep the mercenaries in line (which also enforces their Unruly personality). The Catalan can also make good fillers at only 40 points per squad, which gives them a great feel as figures you get when youíve got some extra resources to hire a bit more muscle. (Their theme/army building requirements also makes them prime for scenario/dungeon crawl gameplay, which is a huge positive in my book.)

On the whole, this squad works great thematically not only on your normal level of imagery and gameplay, but also on a meta level when youíre drafting and building your army. It goes to a whole different level and is one of my favorite executions of theme Iíve experienced.

Creativity

Powerful stat-ed figures with negative powers arenít entirely new to Heroscape. The Ogre Pulverizer and Pel, as a couple of examples, are great at providing extra muscle with some drawbacks an opponent can work around. The Catalan Mercenaries are perhaps the most ambitious, however, as they have incredible potential value but an incredible drawback. Cut and Run creates a different type of unit that becomes a big gamble to draft. Unruly is a new personality that reinforces this angle, and it fits well.

Stat-wise, this design feels very much like a Heroscape design. A 4-move human melee squad is straight out of classic and a great tribute to Knights of Weston, Roman Legionnaires, and those other guys who wish they were Romans.

I also have to commend how much these units promote good army building. They can fit into a wide variety of armies, but you still need to know what youíre doing when drafting those armies, as well as when playing. Itís not always obvious how many mercenaries to draft, and it also depends on what youíre bringing with them. Theyíre some of the most interactive units on an army building level Iíve worked with, which I love.

Playability

The Catalan Mercenaries change the way a game is played. They have a ton of value and power, but the nature of Cut and Run dictates how you play with or against them. In order to maximize their effectiveness, you need to slow roll the group towards your opponent as stringing them out results in early kills that get you closer to rolling for Cut and Run. The game changes, though, once half of your mercenaries are gone. When that happens, the mercenaries turn into sharks, running out and killing everything they can before they Cut and Run. This creates two different stages of gameplay when running a mercenary army in order to get the most value out of it, and itís fun as a player to be challenged to balance the slow roll with the impending need to rush out and get as much value as possible before your mercenaries disappear.

Playing against the mercenaries also dictates your pace of the game. Ranged figures can have a pretty easy time of picking off mercenaries and kiting until they lose out on a Cut and Run roll. Melee, on the other hand, has a harder time, and must find their own balance of defense and offense. Too defensive, and the mercenaries will win out on the value game, so you have to know when to rush out and make strikes that will whittle down the mercenary forces, since Cut and Run is your only hope of winning. The new kind of gameplay the mercenaries provide is a fun and interesting dynamic, for the most part.

Despite all of the good gameplay that the mercenaries promote, they are at their hearts a swingy unit. Sometimes after painstaking development they simply Cut and Run once half of them have been depleted, losing the game for their player. On the other hand, sometimes, despite playing against them incredibly well, Cut and Run doesnít happen for just long enough. Keeping your Catalan Mercenaries in the fight for an extra two or especially three rounds can just win the game for a player, even with excellent gameplay on behalf of the opponent.

This feeds into the biggest detriment of the Catalan Mercenaries. Cut and Run, as it stands, is a power that can (and often does) single-handedly decide the game, and itís a roll that only happens once per round. Succeeding on the roll gives you three more turns with their numbers and power, and that is huge in an otherwise close game. On top of that, because the mercenaries are so cheap-but-powerful, they dictate the game as long as theyíre present. If youíre playing against them, you canít beat them in a full fight, so you have to play into Cut and Run, depleting their numbers by half and then hoping for a bad roll. If it doesnít, you kite and run and turtle until it does (which is especially detrimental for melee armies in terms of position and momentum), because if you try to keep fighting them youíll lose. But again, you can only hope for that roll once a round.

This is where the Mercenaries really fell out of favor for me. Despite the interesting and interactive gameplay they promote at the beginning of the game, Cut and Run is just too much of a win condition for both sides. I really did not like that one roll dictated how a whole round was going to be played. I also didnít like that it was so easy to high roll with the mercenaries -- often two (and always three) successful Cut and Run rolls won the game for a mercenary player, no matter how hard the other player fought against them. And, unfortunately, I found that exact scenario to happen all too often. The all-or-nothing nature of Cut and Run put too much power into a d20 and not enough into the skill of a player.

There are things to be said about such swingy powers, since they do have a place in Heroscape. Airborne Elite, for example, can dictate a round (and even game) with a d20 roll, but they are intrinsically different by being Unique, not appearing until The Drop triggers, etc. Other figures like Deadeye, Ne-Gok-Sa, etc. can also swing a game with a good d20 roll. Iím happy to have that conversation if there is interest, but suffice it to say that Iíve found differences in the nature of Cut and Run, and this review is long enough already.

Summary

I have so much high praise for the Mercenaries. Theyíre new, unique, and reward good army building and gameplay. Theyíre interactive and dynamic both on thematic and meta levels, and the two-part gameplay is exciting to play with and against. I would love to see them gain entry into SoV canon. However, Iím not comfortable with their current level of power and nature of Cut and Run as the dominant win condition when playing with or against them. One d20 roll that happens once a round dictates the game way too much, and I donít feel that it is a healthy mechanic for Heroscape gameplay as it currently stands.

I vote Nay to induct Catalan Mercenaries into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
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  #6727  
Old December 6th, 2019, 04:41 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Dalmar Stonewall by @Leaf_It

I've always liked dwarves in fantasy, and I was thrilled with the release of the Axegrinders in Heroscape. Another Dwarf Hero? Sounds good to me.

Balance

Dalmar is sort of like Thorgrim in that he's a bonding hero that grants adjacent(ish) defense bonuses. An added point of Defense makes up for the Dwarf's lower Life, leaving a 20-point difference that can easily be accounted for with the lack of a Spirit power. In terms of power level I don't have any obvious concerns.

Theme

I like the overall thematic package, with one painful exception. Everything from personality to class to unit and power names and even the stats give the image of a stalwart protector. It's a straightforward theme that comes through well.

The exception is a sticking point, though. It didn't really bother me looking at the card, but playtesting made it stand out. I will discuss it in the Playability section.

Creativity

Protector of Ironstone is a new power, but a fairly straightforward one that lends itself to the overall goal of the design. I am fond of the name Stonewall which fits the design and feels Heroscape Dwarf-y. The choice of class and personality also work to reinforce the overall design.

Playability

Dalmar Stonewall is a pretty solid addition to an Axegrinder army. He doesn't have the attacking power of some other Dwarf Heroes, but he has solid defenses for the price. The real nice thing about using him is that opponents almost have to attack him first, despite his toughness, due to his Protector of Ironstone ability. That frees up some Axegrinders to continue their offensive on the front lines.

Using him outside of an Axegrinder build, however, is disappointing. A single melee attack of three is too weak to give the Protector order markers, which means his values is in Protector of Ironstone. That requires at least a turn of positioning, more if trying to support melee. Those are turns that could be spent elsewhere, such as gaining positioning and getting in attacks with the figures Dalmar is supposed to be protecting. This works ok if Dalmar is already on the front lines, but that usually means the Axegrinders got him there. Really, outside of Axegrinders the only semi-valueable use I found was as a defender for range units like Krav with Raelin backing them. That's mostly just annoying to deal with, and less efficient than Deathreavers anyway.

This is where theme started to break down for me. Mr. Stonewall has a very dwarf-sounding "Protector of Ironstone" power. It works great with Axegrinders, as it should, but is underwhelming at best otherwise. So why does it work with many, many units if it's not useful with them? While it's a good thing that it's at least theoretically useful for Great Axes and Shieldsmiths, as it's thematic that Dalmar is all about protecting other dwarves--the name "Protector of Ironstone" drives that home. But then why doesn't he care about other Dwarf Heroes? I became irritated that the Protector was slacking off when enemy figures were going after Darrak or Mogrimm.

The look, feel, and play of the unit is a stalwart protector of his fellow dwarves. He's great when he's doing that. But when he doesn't protect dwarves (heroes), or when he struggles to be helpful protecting non-dwarves, it feels like something is wrong.

Summary

It feels like this design is trying to be too much (helping many units) without success while also not doing what it felt like it should be doing (protecting dwarves). Everything else about the unit is solid, and I had no balance concerns. It is a good custom, to be sure, but with repeated plays the dissonance in theme and mechanics became increasingly apparent.

I vote Nay to induct Dalmar Stonewall into the SoV.
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  #6728  
Old December 10th, 2019, 11:50 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Rujin by @Sir Heroscape

Someone’s Rujin for a bruisin’. Can this swamp troll ambush Valhalla, or will he be found out while lurking in the shadows?

BALANCE
I generally didn’t find Rujin to be overpowered in my testing. The double healing on swamp terrain can be very potent, but without it he typically falls easily enough. His single attack also ensures that even if he lasts a long time, he won’t be killing everything on his own. It was normal to see him kill well under half his points, but most of his value comes from his healing and ability to distract the opponent.

There is still an important comparison to note here. The Feral Troll is very similar to Rujin, but with some small trade-offs. It gains some effectiveness against heroes in exchange for worse maneuverability, a lower base attack, no bonding, and no conditional terrain bonuses. Rujin only costs 10 points more, and outside of specifically engineered scenarios, I found that he was worth the extra points just about every single time. Even if Rujin in a vacuum isn’t overpowered, he does overshadow the Feral Troll a decent amount.

Also worth noting is that terrain-dependent HeroScape units are typically priced under the assumption that you won’t use them too much outside of their terrain. Units like the Obsidian Guards, Dzu-Teh, and Marro Drudges are essentially made for drafting on their specific maps (and they’re pretty bad everywhere else). Rujin really shines when he’s healing two wounds per turn, but he’s still decent even without swamp terrain. VC in general tends to avoid creating “bad” or very niche units, though, so I mostly gave him a pass there.

THEME
The theme here is simple but effective. Rujin’s a troll that hides in the swamp, and both his Ferocious personality and Savage class are good fits. If I had to nitpick, then I’d say that his Swamp Regenerate doesn’t really make as much sense as Cold Regenerate for an Ice Troll, but that never bothered me too much.

Although the many similarities to the Feral Troll were concerning, I like how they ensure that Rujin really does feel like a troll. The 1 defense and high life with constant healing makes both designs feel like they’re the same species, despite their differences.

CREATIVITY
On paper Rujin might just look like the Feral Troll in a swamp, but some important twists really showcase the creativity of this design. The Durgeth Ravagers are very momentum-based, relying on consistent kills to keep up the pressure with their Savage Cry. Their minimal defenses ensure that they don’t have much staying power once they start dropping.

Rujin is the complete opposite. He wants to sit in some swamp and can be very tough to take down in the right situations. Putting this as a bonding option for the Ravagers might seem weird initially, but it’s a fun addition to the faction that brings something new to their playstyle. Because Rujin also can’t heal unless he’s taking turns, he fits into their momentum-based playstyle really well despite being so different.

PLAYABILITY
As I stated above in Balance, Rujin pretty much outclasses the Feral Troll in normal play. A much bigger concern soon emerged from my tests, though, and it’s something that never went away: Rujin just isn’t fun to fight against.

On paper, healing 2 wounds in the swamp sounds fine. The Ice Troll Berserker can do it in snow and ice, after all. However, tundra terrain is usually much less common than swamp and generally has negative consequences. Furthermore, the Ice Troll only has a maximum life of 4, which greatly limits the potential frustration of trying to kill it in the wrong circumstances.

In contrast, swamp terrain is plentiful and lacks any penalties (in fact, the Durgeth Ravagers already benefit heavily from it), and Rujin can often safely sit in the swamp and heal if the opponent lacks range to force him to come to them. Lurking Assault directly encourages Rujin to do this by giving him more attack dice when the opponent finally comes close. There have been several times when I’ve seen a player in the endgame just run away with Rujin for as long as possible until he heals back up to full life, ready to go again with another Lurking Assault. Even if he doesn’t always win the endgame on his own, the level of healing on swamp maps has been a major pain to slog through and extremely prolongs the game.

Furthermore, most 2 attack squads struggle to kill Rujin in the first place. That issue really comes to a head in clean-up, when both armies have been thinned out a bit. If Rujin survives to this point, then neither side is in for a fun time.

SUMMARY
Rujin adds something new to the Durgeth Ravagers while still matching their overall themes really well. Unfortunately, he also overshadows a forgotten D&D unit, is a nightmare to play against in the endgame, and slows down the entire game with a healing rate that many figures just can’t match.

I vote NAY to induct Rujin into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
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  #6729  
Old December 10th, 2019, 12:45 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Rujin by @Sir Heroscape has received 2 Nay votes to induct (BiggaBullfrog and Astroking112) and is removed from the process.
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