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Old June 30th, 2007, 03:24 AM
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HeroScape Color Theory

HeroScape Color Theory (aka. The 6th General Premise)
file this under the too-much-time-on-his-hands category

Introduction
From the beginning I liked the look of HeroScapeís graphic design and game components all being based around the 6-sided hexagon shape. From the diecut shape of the cards to the board tiles themselves, the hexagon plays heavily into the game. There is no denying the hex shape as a major design in both the HeroScape game mechanics and it's background story. From a war gaming perspective, this is not unexpected. After all, war games that used fixed movement allowances have used playing areas with hexagon grids laid over them for many years. Itís shape lends itself better to movement than a 4-sided square. So with the 6-sided theme of the game, I always wondered why the game only has 5 generals.

I wanted to visually illustrate that there should be, and could be, a 6th general. The idea of this post is to:
- show how the overall graphic design of the gameís components were chosen
- make a direct link between generals, units, and alliances
- illustrate the void needed to be filled by a 6th general
- offer a launch pad for fan fiction
- point out the existing discrepancies for future game designers

I do not believe the game designers had any extensive overall scheme when creating HeroScape other than creating cool characters and monsters and stitching a story line together. The following article will point out, even without a master plan, how closely we all share the same ideas and expect a certain order to things. Iíll explain that as we go...

Putting the Pieces in Place
HeroScape has 5 generals associated with a color combination to visually identify each general and their units.

HeroScape has itís good guys, itís bad guys, and those that fall in-between. Each general has been given a distinct personality and while there is very little information documented about each general, we instantly develop preconceived ideas about each one. Looking at the gameís figures we can tell immediately that Utgarís orcs and monsters are the gameís bad guys, on-the-other-hand Jandarís white clad angel-looking units are a safe bet to be the good guys. So what about the others? What side are they on?

To display the relationship between generals, I decided to use the games predominate shape, the hexagon. Using the characterís color scheme as a guide, I would lay the generals out at the points on the hex. But who would go where? Since I was using the gameís built in color guide, it made sense to use a traditional color wheel.

Color wheels have been around for ages and have taken on many forms. The traditional color wheel is based around 3 primary colors; Red, Blue, and Yellow. These colors were originally thought to be the only 3 colors used to make every other color the human I could perceive. Since 2 of the primary generalís colors are Red and Blue, this color wheel is the best place to start.



Each general is identified by two colors. Which of the colors do I go by? Each general has a dominate color; one color is ďstrongerĒ than the other in intensity. Four of the five generals also are directly linked to a particular stat on the gameís army cards. This has been discussed in detail in other threads, so I wonít get into that here. This link between generals and the stats best determine placement on the wheel. And, as youíll see, the color association works out well.
(see GaryLASQís thread Why Purple for Einar? for further discussion.)



We begin, by placing the two main characters, Jandar and Utgar, on the wheel. They are primary characterís in the game and their colors are linked to primary colors on the wheel. Their placement is easy, but what about Yellow? Ah...weíre missing a general. More on that in a bit.




Primary Colors
The position of the two major characters as primary colors is no surprise (even if the designers chose these colors simply because they "look nice").

The color Red is immediately associated with passion--whether it's in the romantic sense or the enraged form. Utgar, clearly established as the game's bad guy, Red takes on the form of blood and anger. Utgar has the largest unit base in the game, drawing warriors from Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Horrific monsters make up the bulk of Utgarís army. Oddly, given the evil nature of Utgar's army, it contains a lot of unit "bondingĒ (units that support each other).

Jandar, by contrast, is Blue. Blue evokes compassion. Blue is calming. Just by the color alone, you know that Jandar is a good guy. His armies are drafted from fantasy and pseudo-historical characters. They consist of powerful, angel-looking warriors to chivalrous knights. While his armies do bond with one another, his major units need to sacrifice themselves to become more powerful. This act of self-sacrifice clearly defines Jandarís army as valiant martyrs to their cause.

While these two main characters are clearly at odds against each other, they are not located opposite each other on the color wheel. They are offset by the color Yellow. This makes the story line and game dynamics more interesting. By offsetting the rivals from each other, the game designers are given more freedom to take liberties with story development and unit creation. Plus the addition of three other generals to fill secondary color slots makes for a clear cut gaming foundation.

Secondary Colors
Secondary colors are the colors made my mixing two primary colors together. In the case of our color wheel; Purple, Orange, and Green. HeroScape fills these color spots with secondary generals of matching colors.


These secondary generalís armies are comprised of a specific type of unit based on fantasy, history, or science fiction. This is a reverse on game design where the primary characters would traditionally have a dominate unit type, and the secondary characters would be comprised of units from multiple primary characters. Instead the primary generals are a mix of unit types taken from the secondary generals.

Nestled between Red and Blue is Purple. Purple has been given to the Einar general who's army is made up mostly of historical units. Einar is represented by purple and orange, both of which are secondary colors. Between the two, Purple is the more practical choice. The color Imperial Purple has historical significance dating back from the ancient Greeks and Romans through Medieval Europe. Whether this color by the game's designers was by choice or our natural, unconscious association to link this color to history is unknown to me, but interesting nonetheless.

Einarís army is balanced between Attack and Defense (traits linked to Jandar and Utgar) which placed him between the two. Einar units contain fantasy figures matching nicely between Utgar and Jandar, however the bulk of Einar's army is historical units linking the general closer to Jandar.

Unlike all the other generals, Einar's army lacks a dragon, but given the samurai-heavy theme, a Chinese (or Eastern) dragon would be the most obvious choice. Unlike Utgar's (Western) dragon, Mimring (represented by Fire), Chinese dragons represent Water. This opposite pushes Einar further away from Utgar toward Jandar. Furthermore, the Unique Hero, Valguard (Einar) bonds only with Jandar's Vikings. 'nuff said.

Fantasy stories are filled with forest-dwelling elves, wizards, and giants and HeroScape is no different. Ullar is Green and it's fantasy-laden army of elves and vipers hammer the point home. Ullar is also represented by Brown. Since brown appears as a tertiary color on the wheel, and too far removed, I am placing Ullar in the Green section of the wheel. Green is the direct opposite of Red and the theme is carried out in the game's story line as Vipers (Ullar) are mortal enemies of Marro (Utgar).

Green means life--again--direct opposite to Utgar's ideals. Green easily represents nature and the fast moving units drafted by Ullar support this idea. They are directly linked to the Move stat on their army cards. Green was an obvious choice of color for this general. No robots for Ullar and the cowboy Dead Eye Dan just seems out of place in this army.

Vydar flies under a Grey and a steely blue banner. Grey (or Gray, as you like) does not appear in the color wheel and steel blue is a variation of Blue. This variation is called a ďtintĒ and exist, like Grey, on itís own separate color chart. Steel or Silver are also ďmetallicĒ and not base colors. Vydar, following the pattern detailed above, should appear in the Orange spot across from Jandar. While this is not a design flaw by any means, it does show that the designers were going with a more aesthetic-feel to their generals appearance.

Okay, so the designers missed one. Vydar should be Orange. For sake of argument, let's drop Vydar's color-blind butt in the Orange position on the color wheel. With a Sci-Fi themed army, Vydar fits nicely next to Utgar with some overlap between units. This would make Vydar the direct enemy of Jandar. Off the top of my head, I can't make a connection between Jandar and Vydar, which is how it should be. However, Swarm of the Marro Master Set and the online comic have Sgt. Drake Alexander (Jandar) teaming up with Major Q10 (Vydar) to battle Utgar! While there will always be those temporary alliances between individuals, I would hate to see this link carried any futher in the game. (Just my opinion.)

As speculated by 'Scaper, Chimpy, there may be others reasons for Vydarís disassociation with the others as exhibited by his graph in which Vydar is an island onto himself. This could explain the future alliance with Jandar with Vydar being a rogue general.



So why Grey? My guess is that with Vydar being so technology-geared with robots and special agents that Grey just symbolizes computers and pure lack of emotion better than any other color. That lack of emotion would certainly push Vydar towards Utgar again. Grey is also the color of the Range stat on the army cards and given the amount of non-melee units drafted by Vydar, we can make an easy association between the two.

Perhaps there is room for an Orange general to fill the gap? While anything is possible, I highly doubt it. Apart from his color scheme, Vydar's placement on the wheel fits nicely.

Making the Connection

So we have three secondary generals defined by color and the units that make up their armies; Einar - Purple - Historical, Ullar - Green - Fantasy, and Vydar - Grey - Sci-Fi. So what makes up the primary generalsí army? Well, if we look at Jandarís legion, it is comprised of both Fantasy and Historical units. This would be expected considering heís flanked by Einar and Ullar. Utgar, meanwhile, has been misrepresented. His enormous army is combined from sci-fi and fantasy warriors.

Why is this wrong? Looking on the wheel, we can see that his army should, theoretically, be a mix of sci-fi (Vydar) and historical (Einar) units. By incorporating fantasy units into his army, he is pulling warriors from his direct opposition (Ullar.) So why was this done? Simplicity probably. Assuming the game designers were not following a ďmaster game planĒ such as our color wheel, giving the bad guys monsters was an easy decision. After all, monsters are cool and usually concidered "bad guys." Itís also easier to create units and cards for monsters than it is for ďrealisticĒ units. While there is certainly no shortage of "evil" historical personalities to create characters from, historical units would probably cause too much controversy in this game. Most historical ďvillainsĒ would probably not be well received as part of a kids game.

Personalities
Color evokes emotion and can even affect your personality. Since HeroScape units have personalities, I thought I'd develop this idea a little further. Looking through the Army Cards, I'm a little surprised by what I found. The current game employs 10 different personalities. Certain army card abilities gain bonuses based on supporting unitís personalities. Einar and Jandar units tend to favor this game mechanic.

Three of the five generals have a unique personality that appears only in their generalsí army. Since none of those generals appear opposite of each other on the wheel, I would not be surprised to see a general like Ullar come along with an ability to gain a bonus when attacking Utgarís units with the Terrifying personality (for example). Abilities like this actually create a story line on the army card!



Utgar is the leader in army cards. With 41 cards currently available (as of Wave 7), his army contains a wide range of personalities. Leading the pack with 11 Wild personality cards, his army is chaotic and unpredictable. Tricky comes in at second, while Terrifying and Relentless tie for third at 7 cards apiece. You won't find any Valiant warriors here. I was really expecting to see more Ferocious units in this army. Utgar contains 7 units with the Terrifying trait--the only general with this personality.

Jandar's army is commanded by the Valiant. Making up more than half his army, 12 of his 21 cards, Valiant personalities are no surprise to the Blue general especially with units like the 4th Massachusetts Line awarding an all Valiant army. Other personalities are a small smattering of individual cards; Tricky, Disciplined, Precise, etc. Jandar is the only general with Merciful (x2) units--both female kyrie.

Einar's army only allows for one personality type; Disciplined. A staggering 16 of his 21 army cards featuring this trait common to soldier units. Rebellious (x3) and Wild (x2) finish the entire army. Only 3 personality types across 21 cards! The history of Imperial Purple, the historical unit types, and the almost complete discipline army make this general the most well-defined in the game. The Greeks and Roman units have a strong synergy under the purple banner. Einar is the only general who's army contains the Rebellious personality. As a secondary character, Einar is equal to Jandar in army cards!

Ullar has an almost even-across-the-board personality based army. The Precise trait just edging out the rest and taking the top slot at 5 of the 17 cards. The Green army is known for it's speed, but it's precise and valiant warriors gives this army it's personality. When we think of the color green, we think of nature which is hard to translate into a personality, so itís no surprise to see such a even distribution of personalities in Ullar army. Ullar contains no unique personalities specific to his army.

Vydar is the smallest army in HeroScape as of today. He doesn't even have a color in the color wheel so what can you expect? A third the size of Utgarís army, it makes sense for Vydar to align himself with Utgar. His Grey army of only 14 cards based on future technology and Matrix-like tactics put the Tricky personality at the top of the list with 6 cards. Next to Einar, Vydar is personality deprived which would support the grey, cold, unemotional army he leads. Disciplined (x4), Precise (x2), and Wild (x2) complete the list. I would have expected Precise to be higher given the Soulborg-heavy army cards. Like Ullar, Vydar lacks a unique personality for his army.

Looking at the graph below we can see that Utgar, Jandar, and Einar have clear personalities which should be reinforced in their story lines. Utgar and Vydar share similar personalities further uniting the two.


If you add the game's current total army cards of Utgar and Vydar together, then add Jandar's and Einar's cards together, you get almost two balanced armies. This leaves Ullar waiting for the 6th general.

The 6th General
So if we can make the relationship between the generals and their interaction with one another, the link between army composition, and the connection to the stat cards, we can safely speculate the design of the 6th general. First, we know the 6th general would be a primary character appearing in the open spot on the color wheel. This would be beneficial because of the exciting story lines it would create (an antagonist to Utgar and Jandar) and would feature a new major power to content with in the HeroScape pantheon.



His or her army would be comprised of sci-fi (Vydar) and fantasy (Ullar) characters. While Utgar has already broken the chain with this same army composition, I wouldnít expect to see a history/sci-fi army at this point. Ullar would have a synergy with the new general to mirror the connection between Utgar/Vydar and Jandar/Einar.

The new generalís army would focus on Range and Speed making for a deadly combo to perfectly offset Einarís Attack/Defense horde. Can you say--guerrilla tactics--anyone? The general should receive his/her own army personality that would be unique to this general.

The tough part would be in designing a color scheme for the general. Yellow is just too friendly and would rely heavily on a secondary color to create a cool look. Most likely, the colors would break away from the wheel completely as in the case of Vydar. Of course, if the general turns out to be female, lighter colors schemes could be expected. I'm not talking pastels, but Yellow could be worked in at that point. (This may come across as sounding sexist, but I am making a color connection here--girl babies are still commonly dressed in pink and boys in blue.)

It has been suggested that the character, Thormun, from the current story line is the 6th general. While this is a possibility, the gameís designers have kept with the theme of ending generalís names with ď-arĒ and probably won't break from an established pattern.

So how could you add a whole new general to the game? Well, lets face it, apart from Utgar there isnít a lot of units needed to get a foot in the door. Remember, Vydar only as 14 army cards in the game. A new Master Set based around the new general would be the easiest route to take. It would also relieve the Utgar-heavy expansions that come out every wave.

Whatever the HeroScape design team has lined up for us in the future (whether it conforms to the structure illustrated above or not) I look forward to what awaits us.


07-20-07:
Talk around the boards lately (based on the HeroScape advertisment appearing in the Marvel Rulebook--which can be found in the Downloads section), is that the 6th General won't be a completely new character at all, but rather an exisiting character (presumably Taelord the Kyrie Warrior) making a name for themselves.

Could this be the banner of a new general?


Have we been staring at this new General on our dice the whole time and not even realized itís significance?

While Sgt. Alexander and Raelin are getting makeovers in the upcoming Swarm of the Marro Master Set, the idea of an existing figure fractioning off to start up a new army--rather than introducing a new character--seems to be a bigger technical challenge for the game designers.

While I like the idea from a story standpoint, would such a conversion be possible?

Also, since I don't expect to even actually "see" generals appearing in the game as figures (refer to the often discussed topic of you playing the role of the general) this would mean that the exisiting figure (Taelord) from here forward would be removed from the game.

And, let's face it, Taelordar just dosen't sound good.

I still believe that we will see units for a new general down the road, and I really hope that they are around to support Ullar, adding Range/Speed units to the game. (Again, this would be a perfect balance to Einar's Attack/Defense units.)

HeroScapers, myself including, relish in speculation and this latest teaser is just the thing we need leading up to GenCon!


Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this post. It helped a lot.

Last edited by teekay; August 2nd, 2008 at 02:30 AM.
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  #2  
Old June 30th, 2007, 04:43 AM
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Wow TK, nice analysis.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 05:10 AM
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If you look on the Cards each Stat is represented with a different Colour and it matches the Generals figure-types (Except Einar).
On the Card:

Attack - Red - Utgar
Defense - Blue - Jandar
Move - Green - Ullar
Range - Grey - Vydar
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Old June 30th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Wow teekay, very well thought through and explained. It opened up my eyes even more

You too Jandars_Hope, I never really thought about that, I'm sure I must have noticed it though :P

Anyway, awesome analysis teekay, thanks for taking the time. I'll keep all this in mind, it makes sense and you put it together very well. It also reminded me of the discussion of another general coming into the game. If that does happen we'll see how it fits in with this

Again, very nice.

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Old June 30th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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Hexagons know all!

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Old June 30th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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I actually think none of this was intended, all they did was choose colors for the cards, some figures match their card color. Hexagons are just plain awesome and would be different and cool if they connected. They tried it and got Heroscape maps. I really doubt they put all this thinking into it. Then there's the yellow... Colors

Jandar: white, blue

Utgar: red, black(some white)

Vydar: bluish gray, gray(some white)

Einar: purple, orange(some white)

Ullar: forestlike green, brown(some white)

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Old June 30th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jandars_Hope
If you look on the Cards each Stat is represented with a different Colour and it matches the Generals figure-types (Except Einar).
On the Card:

Attack - Red - Utgar
Defense - Blue - Jandar
Move - Green - Ullar
Range - Grey - Vydar
*Disclaimer- I am stealing much of what is said below from a thread GaryLASQ made a few months ago.

Here is a similar theory.
Jandar is blue because blue is defense. With units like Raelin and Thorgrim, he seems very defense oriented.
Utgar is red because red is attack. He is agressive. Taelord can boost attack, and many of his units (read- ALL the Marro heroes, Runa, Mimring, Chompy, etc.) have special attacks that are attack oriented.
Vydar is gray because gray is range. Nearly all of his (or her) units are ranged. I don't think I need to list them all.
Ullar is green because green is move. Most of his units are very fast, and have abilities to enhance their move. Namely Scout leadership, Frenzy, and Stealth leap.
Which brings us to
Einar. Purple is, as we all know, a mixture of red and blue. Which means attack and defense. All his samauri have counterstrike, which deals attack damage when they defend. Plus his armies have abilities which can boost the attack or defence of certain units. Shield wall, Disciplined army defense bonus, and soldier attack enhancement to name a few. He seems to be a balancing act between attack and defense. So...
Jandar= Defense
Utgar= Attack
Vydar= Range
Ullar= Move
Einar= Attack/ Defense

"Somewhere over the rainbow, there's another rainbow." ~Tobias Funke, Arrested Development
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Old June 30th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Nice post, teekay.

I always think of the Vydar color as "steel" rather than simple gray/grey.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Wow, thanks for the nice compliments everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jandars_Hope
If you look on the Cards each Stat is represented with a different Colour and it matches the Generals figure-types (Except Einar).
On the Card:

Attack - Red - Utgar
Defense - Blue - Jandar
Move - Green - Ullar
Range - Grey - Vydar
I can't believe I left out the direct link between the general's color and their attribute! Doh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Menchy
*Disclaimer- I am stealing much of what is said below from a thread GaryLASQ made a few months ago.

...EinarPurple is, as we all know, a mixture of red and blue. Which means attack and defense. All his samauri have counterstrike, which deals attack damage when they defend...He seems to be a balancing act between attack and defense. So...
Einar= Attack/Defense
Menchy, thanks for reaffirming Einar's place on the wheel. I'd like to go back and add those stats to my color wheel. In the meantime I'll take a look for GaryLASQ's post. (I hope I wasn't plagerizing. )

With two unclaimed stats left on the card; Life and Cost, is it possible that a final general would focus on one of those stats or go back, like Einar, to a dual ability link such as Range/Move? The latter would make more sense and remain consistant.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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Awesome stuff as usual teekay. Thanks for contributing it.

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Old June 30th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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It's a nice find, but I still really think it is all a quinsidence. Why would they purpously make all this connected other then it being interesting?

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Old June 30th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Awesome analysis! I never thought of it that way. I think the designers didn't make Utgar historical/sci-fi because, it wouldn't make sense. What would he summon? Red coats and cyborgs? Knights and aliens?

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