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AotV Customs A place for Arena of the Valkyrie Customs


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Old April 9th, 2019, 11:24 AM
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The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

This is likely going to be a longer post, but it's touching on a subject that I think is very important to the community here, and it doesn't seem like it's been fully addressed yet.

As I'm sure that most Heroscapers are aware, WotC made a game that shares many of the same bones with HeroScape in Arena of the Planeswalkers. Throughout three separate releases, they created many miniatures on bases, with 12 prepainted Planeswalker sculpts and approximately 60 unpainted sculpts. Of these unpainted sculpts, there are many that can still work for HeroScape with some imagination, such as making the translucent blue squads either water elementals or illusions, clearly making the translucent red squads fire elementals, or making any of the plain black sculpts living shadows. All in all, there is a lot of potential here, despite the fact that most of the sculpts are unpainted.

By all accounts, this seems like a perfect opportunity for the Valhalla Customs community (including both C3V and SoV submitters) to make compatible HeroScape designs. However, outside of some brief Pre-SoV stints and the recent C3V announcement that the Pummelroot Elementals (one of the unpainted green squads) are a proxy for an upcoming unit, we've seen no indication of any plans for this set.

If there are no plans already to utilize the three boxes beyond this, then I believe that this is a major missed opportunity. This post is dedicated to why.

Just to keep everything clear, I'd like to state that I am not a member of C3V and am not privy to their private conversations. It is fully possible that they are already making plans that contradict everything that I am about to say, but I feel the need to bring up the matter nonetheless. At the very least, I hope that this will prompt more internal discussion over the matter.

Why should Arena of the Planeswalkers be used?
I think that this is a fairly clear question, but one worth addressing. One of the struggles for VC currently is the need to find suitable miniatures. There are many problems with this, from finding things that will be cheap and readily available for as long as possible to getting sculpts and realizing that the scale or size simply doesn't fit with HeroScape.

Here, we have over 70 miniatures that not only are the perfect scale, but come pre-based and are all included in the same box. This last part is especially important in my eyes, as a big inhibitor for people to get into C3V is the need to individually track down each sculpt that they like and then purchase them from wherever they can find. Here, we have an abundance of good miniatures that can easily be acquired.

In addition to this, the sets are all currently cheap. Because the game was recently quietly discontinued, it's not too unreasonable to pick up the entire collection for under $30, which makes now the ideal time to announce that they will all be used. It shouldn't be a major problem since many Heroscapers already own the game, but it would be best to commit to using the sets while everyone still has the chance to easily grab them.

However, even if we commit to using the three sets, there is a major question remaining:

What should be done with the sets?
This is probably the most controversial opinion that I'm going to express in this post, but I completely believe that the best course of action here is to make a VC Master Set out of the boxes.

While we could always go the normal piecemeal route of making multiple small expansions spread out over the course of a year, this is a complete collection spread out across just three boxes. It is quite possibly the easiest set of minis for any Heroscaper to get, and it is unlikely that someone will only get a handful of the miniatures without getting the rest.

These sets are quite frankly the most realistic option for any non-Heroscaper to get into the game. To anyone just starting a collection now, getting into HeroScape is a massive commitment that scares off many newer members of the community. Even if they would rather play HeroScape than Arena of the Planeswalkers, I know many people who simply cannot afford anything more than those three sets.

So why not use this to VC's advantage? Why not make this a realistic opportunity to get into C3V/SoV as well, thus making it much easier for the community to expand? Suddenly, anyone who buys Arena can at the very least try normal HeroScape, just by printing off some character cards. Friends who get introduced to the game can go online, order three simple boxes, and have their own compatible HeroScape collection ready for personal use. After they get more involved, they can keep an eye on upcoming VC designs and purchase any classic units that really stick out to them. As the price of HeroScape rises, we should be looking for additional ways to get people into the game wherever possible.

But why a Master Set?
Admittedly, this is largely a matter of presentation. Some might argue that the difference between a new wave and a big Master Set is minimal, so long as the units are eventually released, but I just can't agree there.

Valhalla Customs is currently standing at over 120 designs. We've seen waves 14-21, several large hero expansions, many SoV releases, and a new flagbearer all added at this point. Branding the Arena sets as a Master Set would not be for us, the people who already follow each C3V wave and SoV vote with interest.

It would be for everyone else. To someone who is not already acquainted with VC, it is becoming an increasingly daunting task to jump in. Where should they begin? Do they just look at the front page, with the most recent releases? Do they go back to the beginning with Wave 14? Maybe they should just click random units in the index until they find something that piques their interest? At this point, the sheer size of VC is becoming a prohibiting factor in its expansion.

Here in the Dallas community, for example, I have largely been the proponent of VC. At our local tournaments, I've pushed people to at least allow VC units, but a common thing that I've experienced is that my groups are the only ones who take them. I know several long-standing members of the community who simply aren't interested in VC, either because they don't have the time to read every card to find the ones that they like or because it simply isn't approachable anymore.

I think that this is a key area where we can learn from C3G. That project has an incredible number of designs at this point, and not too long ago I was interested in getting a better understanding of them. I briefly opened up the index and was promptly overwhelmed. Which Spider-Man should I be looking at? Where's Mysterio?

Luckily, I found out that they released an introduction set for people like me looking to get their toes wet. I immediately looked through The World's Finest, reading the scenarios and figures, had a good time, and got the sense of what they were about that I was looking for. If it wasn't for their Master Set, I likely would've only read about four cards from the project altogether, but by having a good introduction, I ended up delving much deeper into the archives.

We should be looking for a similar way to get people started, whether they're veterans or new players.

What makes the Arena sets so suited to a Master Set?
As I've elaborated on at length (sorry to everyone, I know that I can get a bit wordy at times ), these three sets are the closest thing to a cohesive HeroScape package that we are likely to see ever again. They aren't all included in the same box, but it's pretty darn close. These boxes are more approachable for newcomers than anything else that C3V/SoV can ever release.

On top of this, they don't just include figures. No, they actually include 100% compatible HeroScape terrain and components, however little. We can use great figure boxes from D&D, Pathfinder, or any other game, but no other set can lay claim to being completely ready to play normal HeroScape with some design work.

The cardboard mats are admittedly a little ugly in comparison to normal terrain, but they will completely suffice for anyone who cannot afford to get terrain yet, or at least not without trying the game first. The unpainted sandstone tiles are bland, but they come with quite possibly the first realistic new terrain opportunity since cancellation:


The possibilities for these three Cryptolith towers are quite literally endless. They could be a new Destructible Object, finally giving us something other than the Fortress Door or Breakable Wall Section to destroy. They could add +1 move to all figures beginning within 2 spaces of them. They could shield adjacent figures from ranged attacks.

For a game so heavily praised for its terrain, it feels downright odd to me for a community project dedicated to expanding the game in the original designers' vision to ignore such an important opportunity. Any other type of terrain is much less realistic since it would require more effort to set up, but these things are just as easy to set up as the glaciers or evergreen trees, and they are an excellent opportunity to provide some creativity for map design.

So we have many great miniatures, a small amount of terrain (plus mats to ensure that it is at least playable on its own), and the dice needed to play the game. We're basically looking at the perfect opportunity to make a Valhalla Customs Master Set, which would reinvigorate the community and provide an excellent jumping in point.

How could this Master Set look?
Now, these sets do have their shortcomings. The vast majority of miniatures are unpainted, which can feel less impressive, and the cardboard terrain is practically necessary for people who can't afford to get into the game. Since each set is also based on Magic: The Gathering, we also can't see the sheer variety of units that HeroScape is known for.

However, look at the existing Master Sets. We'll never see something like Rise of the Valkyrie again, with its huge amount of terrain and great variety of units, but can the Arena sets not be compared to Swarm of the Marro and Battle for the Underdark? It already has more usable sculpts than we saw with the last officially released Master Set, and there is enough potential to get creative with basically everything else.

We could have a futuristic invasion with Vydar summoning deployable SoulBorg towers from Alpha Prime to represent the futuristic side of HeroScape, the arrival of some illusionists and their various conjurations, several fire elementals and some pheonixes, new vampires, more elves, a werewolf, some necromancers, living shadows, porcelain rhinos, and more. That level of variety is already rivaling Swarm of the Marro, and I'm sure that the creative community could do great things with such an opportunity.

If everything from the set were to be unique like Rise of the Valkyrie, then we would also have far less availability concerns in the future, and this would remain an excellent way for people to get into the game. Alternatively, we could make some common squads while the game is so cheap, taking full advantage of the availability and price while we can.

Beyond the figure designs, we could work on developing a handful of scenarios to create a true Master Set feel. Even if a small group of creators just posted the scenarios to their own threads, it would be easy to set up and get into without only relying on the tournament style of play. We could even do something similar to The World's Finest, where a scenario mixing the Arena sets with each Master Set is created.

All this is really to say that the possibilities are endless. The community has proven time and time again how inventive and creative they are, and I fully believe that we're capable of designing a complete Master Set to introduce people to this game that we've played for so long.

Conclusion
Finally, am I right?

It is my belief that those three sets represent a massive opportunity not only for the HeroScape customs community, but for the game's community as a whole. Not only do they contain a large amount of suitable miniatures, but they are practically fully poised to being a complete set on their own that the player expands upon as they wish, just like the Master Sets that we saw before.

We've seen before how "larger" releases like Valkrill's Flagbearer can attract more people to take a look at C3V and SoV. We can keep releasing small expansions as long as we want, but creating something larger and less usual will get attention. More people will return if something so large and important to the community is released, and this set would be the perfect chance to keep them interested.

On top of all of this, creating a jumping-in point is becoming increasingly more important as the project's history grows. Luckily, the perfect one has literally fallen into our laps.

This opportunity cannot be understated. I hope that my rambling has prompted you to think about this if you have not already, and I deeply appreciate everyone who takes the time to read this post in its entirety.

EDIT:
After lots of discussion in this thread, @NecroBlade put up an excellent introduction post to the project here! If you're interested, check it out to see how we'll be proceeding with a community-driven Master Set!

Last edited by Astroking112; May 17th, 2019 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Removed AotV tag from the title since we now have a subforum.
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Old April 9th, 2019, 11:54 AM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
Eventually I'd like to see a C3V "master set" that uses AotP figures but also maps/scenarios with terrain from the sets using these rules.
Great minds think alike. ...
Great minds do think alike! See New Heroscape Terrain "Quick-Sand" - Collaborate rules for specific discussion on what to do with "sand" tiles from the AotP sets.

On poll Using Magic: AotP figures in Heroscape? the question "How do you feel about using Magic: AotP figures in Heroscape?" was answered overwhelmingly with:
Yes, but only if the Planeswalkers are rethemed as generic fantasy figures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NecroBlade View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
so long as they're well-designed/balanced units, I don't really care. There can always be some lore-reason to explain any monochromism present, such as the monsters being made of clay or something.
I trust C3V to be able to exactly that. The transparent blue figures are easily illusions or water elementals, likewise the transparent red figures are clearly made of fire. Monochromatic green treefolk wouldn't bother me at all, neither would animated porcelain rhino or kyrie statues, or plain purple alien things.

That gives us seven designs from Innistrad (six heroes and a squad), eleven from the base set (five heroes and six squads), and four from Zendikar (three heroes and a squad) without much effort. Fourteen heroes and eight squads is a pretty nice list of new Heroscape figures, and there's plenty more if C3V can get a little creative.

This means that instead of just reusing names and powers from AotP cards and just changing points, people want to reuse figures but with completely new units, and that many of the unpainted figures can be used as is. I have said before, AotP sets along with Battleball combined would make a great "Master Set"

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
I think if we finished what is in the pipeline, we then could created a whole wave using just Magic: AotP figures (which has mostly fantasy units) and Battleball (which is mostly futuristic) and it would be a complete set of Craig Van Ness and Stephen Baker designed figures. And my opinion is to make some common squads/heroes and some unique squads and heroes from each, as many people (including myself) already have sets of both games, and at or less than $1 per figure they are both cheaper than any pre-painted figure anywhere besides common Heroclix, not to mention it is way easier for most people to get than having to scour tons of sites to get single figures.

Am I the only one who wants to see a race of Cylons in Heroscape (or Cyborgs if you are not a BSG fan) as Battleball figs would be great for that - someone can create a story that says the Mariedians infiltrated Soulborgs or vice-versa, and yes use Isadora as a planet for some.
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Old April 9th, 2019, 12:14 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

I'm still reading through it, but I just want to stop and say this is an amazing post, you make a great case, and I'd be very excited to see VC take your idea and run with it (hopefully with your passionate involvement)!
@Dadscaper I hope you check this out.

C3G can be played with official Heroscape, but it's not recommended.


DISCLAIMER: C3G claims no ownership of the characters or artwork used for C3G customs. All rights for the characters belong to their respective publishers/creators. C3G cards are not intended for sale, and C3G does not authorize any party to profit from C3G cards.

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Old April 9th, 2019, 12:25 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

Great posts. I couldn't agree more. This is a ridiculously cheap source of Heroscape terrain (!!!) and repainted figures. I'm surprised it hasn't been adapted by C3V already.
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Old April 9th, 2019, 12:46 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

Thanks for the post, Astro.

We have already announced that we're using the Pummelroot Elementals as an alternate figure for one of our designs, but I'm sure this will spark some more discussion about using other figures, and perhaps terrain.

customs/maps/c3v/sov

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Old April 9th, 2019, 03:06 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
Great minds do think alike! See New Heroscape Terrain "Quick-Sand" - Collaborate rules for specific discussion on what to do with "sand" tiles from the AotP sets.
I find it really amusing that we both made posts expressing similar sentiments so closely together.

That's also a great chance to brainstorm any potential terrain rules. I think that just treating the land hexes as normal terrain in the vein of rock, grass, or sand would be fine, especially for people who can only get AotP sets, but it's still good to discuss it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
On poll Using Magic: AotP figures in Heroscape? the question "How do you feel about using Magic: AotP figures in Heroscape?" was answered overwhelmingly with:
Yes, but only if the Planeswalkers are rethemed as generic fantasy figures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NecroBlade View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
so long as they're well-designed/balanced units, I don't really care. There can always be some lore-reason to explain any monochromism present, such as the monsters being made of clay or something.
I trust C3V to be able to exactly that. The transparent blue figures are easily illusions or water elementals, likewise the transparent red figures are clearly made of fire. Monochromatic green treefolk wouldn't bother me at all, neither would animated porcelain rhino or kyrie statues, or plain purple alien things.

That gives us seven designs from Innistrad (six heroes and a squad), eleven from the base set (five heroes and six squads), and four from Zendikar (three heroes and a squad) without much effort. Fourteen heroes and eight squads is a pretty nice list of new Heroscape figures, and there's plenty more if C3V can get a little creative.

This means that instead of just reusing names and powers from AotP cards and just changing points, people want to reuse figures but with completely new units, and that many of the unpainted figures can be used as is. I have said before, AotP sets along with Battleball combined would make a great "Master Set"
I don't think we even need to add in Battleball figures, to be honest. They're definitely great options, but we have a perfect opportunity for a self-contained set with just AotP already. As @NecroBlade pointed out, we've got well over 20 opportunities for good designs here, which is more than most of the Master Sets near the end of the game's lifecycle already.

Battleball would definitely be great for further expansions, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmBatman View Post
I'm still reading through it, but I just want to stop and say this is an amazing post, you make a great case, and I'd be very excited to see VC take your idea and run with it (hopefully with your passionate involvement)!
@Dadscaper I hope you check this out.
Thanks for the support! I'd be more than willing to help out in any capacity needed to make this happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch-vile View Post
Great posts. I couldn't agree more. This is a ridiculously cheap source of Heroscape terrain (!!!) and repainted figures. I'm surprised it hasn't been adapted by C3V already.
Agreed. HeroScape terrain is a rarity, and we have some new perfectly compatible terrain on our hands with plenty of possibilities. It'd be a waste to squander this opportunity, in my eyes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superfrog View Post
Thanks for the post, Astro.

We have already announced that we're using the Pummelroot Elementals as an alternate figure for one of our designs, but I'm sure this will spark some more discussion about using other figures, and perhaps terrain.
That's good to hear. Like I said, I don't know what plans were made outside of the Pummelroot Elementals, but I think that this is a matter important enough to make the argument for it anyway. Sparking more discussion is exactly what I want to do.

My impression has been that it's easy to agree that the AotP sets should be used, but I wasn't so sure if there were any proponents for branding it as a new Master Set specifically. I feel like that would be a big part of the advantage of using these figures.
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Old April 9th, 2019, 03:12 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

I think that you make a really good case for treating the terrain just as normal terrain (this would be a gateway into the game). I think the place for specific terrain rules would then be in scenarios for the set.

C3G can be played with official Heroscape, but it's not recommended.


DISCLAIMER: C3G claims no ownership of the characters or artwork used for C3G customs. All rights for the characters belong to their respective publishers/creators. C3G cards are not intended for sale, and C3G does not authorize any party to profit from C3G cards.

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Old April 9th, 2019, 03:13 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

Considering folks are still just finding the C3V/SoV to match their needs for continued ‘Scape-age, as Master Set cobbled from 3 seperate boxes would make for a good entry point for newbies. Some synergy can be linked between the designs and other C3V designs to further give folks more to play with.

Great idea @Astroking112

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AotV - Colliding the minis of AotP with the world of HS.
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Old April 9th, 2019, 03:14 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

100% agree with you on this, and I would very happily work on this project! I think it’s way past time to use the AOTP units and I think a master set is great opportunity.

I will say I’d hope that we could use the Pummelroots for a unique unit, but that’s a small quibble.
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Old April 9th, 2019, 03:16 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

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I think that you make a really good case for treating the terrain just as normal terrain (this would be a gateway into the game). I think the place for specific terrain rules would then be in scenarios for the set.
Agreed. I think that an ideal situation would have at least one or two scenarios that do use the cardboard mats (and then others that mix AotP with the various terrain expansions/other Master Sets), so that the Arena sets can be used standalone as well. Those mats already have plenty of terrain like the "Weirded Out" spaces that can be used for more unique rules.
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Old April 10th, 2019, 02:17 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

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Originally Posted by IAmBatman View Post
I'm still reading through it, but I just want to stop and say this is an amazing post, you make a great case, and I'd be very excited to see VC take your idea and run with it (hopefully with your passionate involvement)!
@Dadscaper I hope you check this out.
I'll study it later. Overall, as I've already communicated privately to AK, I think this is a valuable addition to the conversation about what's next. I am grateful for it.

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Old April 10th, 2019, 03:06 PM
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Re: The Case for a Valhalla Customs Master Set

This is an amazing idea! There was a forum created in the AotP just for blending the two games together that I thought was curious but I never saw it through nor tried any blending myself. As an owner of plenty of Heroscape along with all the AotP expansion sets (Thank you for the final blessing Toys R Us RIP) I would love to see some more usefulness out of the set.

I originally bought it because it was so cheap and included more land tiles and the mats seemed useful for carrying maps around (I use cardboard with mats underneath then the Heroscape map on top). I honestly never used the cards nor the figures that came with the game and they basically sit in a shame box because I didn't find them as useful.

Some tournaments I have seen tried to mix AotP with Heroscape units and I recall a map building contest that used the AotP terrain. With all this said it seems we have just been beating around the bush trying to make the pieces useful where this idea can turn the whole thing into more stuff to use! I run a few tournaments myself and allow C3V/SoV just to get more players and more figures involved and as Astroking mentioned this would be a great way to get players into C3V/SoV including myself!

Hope this plan sees it's way through!

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