HeroClix tournaments, at least in my neck of the woods, are a fairly big affair. Everyone brings their strongest figures (usually out of the very newest sets), and most people spend their team-building time (and most of the week before the tournament) trying to figure out how to break the format for maximum wins in 50-minute rounds. In other words, there’s a list of reasons why I’ve quit playing the tournaments; I’m a casual player, I don’t have the money for updated figures, and I hate trying to play within a time limit.
But what if tournaments weren’t always cutthroat like this? What if there were a few tournament days thrown in there where the competition is still there, but the challenge is a little different? Read on to find out what I mean!
Idea #1: Draft-ish Tournament Out of Somebody’s Extras
Most Clix players have a huge box of extra figures lying around, figures they normally wouldn’t play with much, figures they’d be willing to trade. What if there was a tournament where the judge brought a huge box of extras and everyone built their teams on the spot, strictly out of that box?
- Could be either a free or pay-to-play tournament (see last rule)
- Extras box should be edited carefully to take out obvious “power pieces,” instead focusing on lesser-known pieces
- Roll a dice to select the order of figure selection; each player then chooses one figure at a time until they each feel they have enough figures
- Players get an hour to fine-tune their teams once the extras box is brought out
- At the end of the tournament, players can either offer to buy any figures they really liked (if the tournament was free), or can take any of the figures they liked (if the tournament was pay-to-play).
- Stops players from being able to search out killer combos online and acquire the figures before the tournament
- Forces players to get creative as they search through unfamiliar figures to build a team
- Introduces players to figures they might never have seen before, let alone played
- Gives new or casual players a chance to try new figures and to even acquire them later if they like them
- More experienced players can spot the better figures right away and scoop them up before newer players can get a chance
- How do you define “power pieces?” Some figures are really awesome even though they don’t look like much (Checkmate Knight White and Experienced Destiny, anyone?).
Idea #2: Build a Team–for Someone Else!
This is a pretty simple idea; for this tournament, pure chance decides who’s going to play the team you built, and what team you’re going to end up playing with!
- No players are told beforehand about the “switching teams” rule, just so people don’t build terrible teams for each other
- Players are simply told to build a basic team that they feel represents their personal HeroClix style
- All players roll two d6s at the same time; players whose dice rolls match switch teams with each other. (In the event that 3 or more people match on dice rolls, reroll between them to decide who matches up with who)
- Once all players have been matched up and their teams switched with each other, allot 30 minutes for players to exchange team strategy ideas (basically “how does this team win,” “what do these pieces do for the strategy,” etc.”)
- Play a normal tournament format with the switched teams; prizes should ideally be split between player and creator, because they are both responsible for any wins/losses. (See “Cons” below)
- Builds community and cooperation as pairs of players walk each other through their strategies
- Gives players a double challenge: play someone else’s figures AND someone else’s strategy!
- Exposes all players, especially newer players, to how other people construct their teams–this can help new players understand what Clix strategy is all about and how they can find their own style.
- Gives each player a chance to appreciate how another player thinks
- Requires mature players (i.e., people who won’t break each other’s figures out of spite, try to steal said figures, purposefully make the other player’s team lose, etc.)
- Splitting prizes between player and creator could create tension; you may have to award prizes differently (prizes go just to team player, just to team creator, etc.). If the issue comes up, put it to a vote, and then be consistent.
- Depending on the players, there might be a few high-dollar Clix pieces on the table; again, players must be mature enough to take care of another person’s Clix figures.
Idea #3: Tournament Loser(s) Pick the Next Tournament’s Challenge
This isn’t a tournament challenge per se, but rather a way to reward all players for playing.
- At the end of the tournament, either the lowest-scoring person or the lowest-scoring 4 players are asked what kind of tournament they would like to play next
- Ideas are written down on slips of paper, which are folded and put into a hat or box; judge picks out an idea at random
- The chosen idea may be improved upon/edited as needed, and then implemented for the next week’s tourney; ideas which were not chosen may be saved for later tournaments
- Gives people who didn’t perform well in this tournament a chance to suggest a tournament idea they would be better at playing
- Depending on the venue, this may be the only prize for losing players; it could make the experience better overall
- Encourages creativity
- Is another form of prize, similar to “Fellowship” prizes
- Could possibly create a “drive to lose” in the other players, just to have power over the next tourney’s format
- Losing player(s) could choose a terrible tournament format out of spite (this is why the judge should have power to improve or edit the chosen tournament idea)
As the above ideas show, tournaments can be challenging enough and still encourage creativity to win. Think about how you could implement these ideas at your venue!