“Game fatigue” is not a new phenomenon, but I’ve found that it occurs more often in collectible games like HeroClix. As the game evolves with new expansions, new figures, etc., the old standby figures get pushed aside or simply outclassed by the new hot stuff.
HeroClix is definitely no exception to that rule, and it’s one reason I virtually quit playing Clix tournaments for a while. But I’m starting to get back into it…and for more of that story, read on!
Before: No Groove Left
As a largely Casual Clix player, I just wanted to PLAY the game–to play my favorite pieces, which I could combine into many game-winning teams. My teams, made up of little figures with lots of support powers, might not win in 50-minute rounds, but give me about an hour and a half and I could outlast most any opponent. I had more fun when my games with an opponent were a back-and-forth tug-of-war, never knowing until the last few turns who would come out on top–thus, I favored longer games and lots of backup.
Unfortunately, my slower, defensive swarm style didn’t translate well into tournament play. I kept getting beaten by kids running huge, overpowered figures broken out in special powers, or people running almost unbeatable “gimmick” teams. And to add insult to injury, it seemed that tournament/competitive play was all that my new gaming shop friends wanted to do. But they could afford all the new pieces, and I couldn’t…and honestly, I didn’t WANT to resort to buying and playing overpowered figures just to “survive.” Tournaments were simply NOT what I wanted to be involved in, but it seemed to be the only game in town (pun intended).
So I kept trying to play in the tournaments, just to try to keep my hand in the game and to connect with friends, but I only ended up getting angrier and angrier over my losses. I felt outmatched, and soon the game was little more than a frustration engine.
The Breaking Point
Something had to give. I was taking it all too seriously, and I couldn’t seem to stop being angry about the game long enough to have fun. After all, I couldn’t exactly hang out with my friends when I felt ready to throw my hard-earned Clix pieces across the room. So, I finally quit the tournaments, and almost completely quit playing HeroClix casually as well. I got away from it, put aside my pieces I’d worked so hard to collect for myself, and just came to the gaming shop to use the Internet for a couple of months.
I was a lot happier in the short-term (probably a good move for my blood pressure), but after a few months, I was ready to try again. I wasn’t about to step foot back into the tournaments, but I did know what kind of game I wanted–a casual game, the type I had first learned to love back when my boyfriend taught me how to play. (In all the hubbub of quitting HeroClix, I had also temporarily lost that link with him, too, which hurt more than I realized!)
A New Game, a New Outlook
So, one day, I just asked my boyfriend if we could have a true casual game–not a crazy overpowered game full of new figures and special powers, but just a good ol’ classic HeroClix game. He agreed–he wanted to see me have fun, too, and we were both hopeful that I could start afresh.
That first casual game led to a second, and then a third a few days later. He never pushed me about it, but suggested it as something we could possibly do rather than something I absolutely HAD to do. I was starting to enjoy it again, even though I knew he was building less powerful teams to match mine. It was not ideal, but it was better than being shut away from the game entirely.
I began to share possible strategies with him again, and we even began to talk about the metagame, discussing how I could possibly make my old favorites playable amid newer figures. It wasn’t just that I wanted to save money by not buying a ton of new figures; I also wanted to be able to beat the “hot new figures” with my favorite old standards, showing other players that you don’t always have to play overpowered stuff to win.
And, once I started playing some Casual games at the shop again, the craziest thing happened…suddenly, some people became interested in the Casual Clix scene again. They wanted to know more about using support powers, or using figures with no special powers. And best of all, they wanted to play me in one-on-one games outside the tournaments, or even group games. Little by little, the change I had so wanted to see was finally happening–and it had started with me!
Success, a Little at a Time
So this, finally, is how I got my HeroClix groove back:
- Combining older figures with newer to update teams without having to buy all new pieces
- Playing strictly casual games rather than trying to win in tournaments
- Being open to playing casual games rather than just using the Internet at the shop
- Being willing to learn about new figures and not just relying on old ones
This new approach to Clix is much less competitive, and thus less likely to aggravate my competitive tendencies. It’s also better for building community between all my gaming friends–now, we’re no longer just playing tournaments, but we’re also just enjoying the pieces we have and building teams out of the ones we love to play the most. It might not be as “hardcore,” but then again, I’ve seen what a “hardcore” mentality does to players like me. I much prefer this new outlook on Clix.
If you’re suffering from “tournament fatigue,” or even “Clix fatigue,” then how about trying something completely different–how about a casual game? Don’t laugh…you might just find yourself getting your HeroClix groove back, too!