This humorous real-life post about bad dice rolls in HeroClix has been thoroughly updated. Now with 100% more advice for fellow Clix players with bad luck like mine! LOL!
Today’s reworked HeroClix post is completely rewritten, involving a new dollop of gaming advice and a happier tone. If you’re currently burned out on Clix tournaments (or any competitive game), you might just find your solution by reading about mine!
Tidied up this old favorite post of mine, about the Mystics team ability in HeroClix. Never heard of Mystics? Click, read, and enjoy a VERY different take on HeroClix strategy!
Collectible gaming–buying plastic figures and/or cards to play in games with others–is a fun pastime for quite a lot of people, myself included. But there are a few things about the hobby that I didn’t quite understand before I got into it:
You will end up with “extras” that you can’t sell for any money, period.
No matter how seldom you buy stuff for the game, no matter how much you try to sell instead of trade, you will ALWAYS end up with extra figures or cards that nobody seems to want, not even on eBay or gaming-specific trading/selling sites. There are two ways to deal with un-sellable extras: set aside a box in your closet for them and forget about them, or give them away to new players who need to build up their collections. (I’d personally recommend the second way, given that nice veteran players gave me a lot of extras when I first started playing Magic and HeroClix, and I’ve kept some of those cards and figures to this day.)
Storing your collection so that it won’t get damaged will become somewhat of an obsession in itself.
Take it from me: once you’ve spent actual money on your collection and/or acquire something you REALLY want, you’ll be invested in taking care of it. This often means buying special padded miniatures boxes to keep your figures from getting damaged, card sleeves and/or toploaders for valuable cards, etc. Not only that, you have to be concerned with keeping your collection away from sunlight (fades everything), water, dust, and excessive heat (the latter especially with plastic/rubber figures, which can and will begin to soften in hot cars). (As OCD as all this might sound, it’s worth it if you ever want to sell or trade these items later–Near-Mint and Mint condition items sell or trade best!)
You will never be “done” collecting unless you cut yourself off cold turkey.
Admittedly, this is how collectible games stay alive–always creating new stuff for us to collect. There’s always one more figure to complete a set, one more card we don’t have. But this can be quite a strain on the wallet…and on the arms and back as you struggle to move your collection! Once you start collecting, if you’re deeply involved in it, you won’t ever be quite done fleshing out your selection of figures and/or cards, unless you set goals of routinely upgrading and cleaning out your collection to only keep the stuff you play and enjoy. Which leads me to my last point…
Your collection can reach ridiculous sizes in a very short time.
Without regular pruning (and heck, sometimes even WITH regular pruning), your gaming collection can swell to fill a room corner, a closet, a room, or even your whole house (I’ve seen it happen!). Even if you’re trying not to buy new stuff, purely trading out old for new, your collection can take over your living spaces quite easily. (See: my “gaming shelf” in my closet, which is so shamefully overflowing that I’m not even taking a picture of it, LOL) If you want your collections to be enjoyable yet contained, you have to be really proactive about containing them!
What Do You Think?
Have I accurately described a collectible gamer’s life? Let me know in the comments!
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!
After catching sight of the 2014 Rules thread on HCRealms, I scanned through it, and I found something amazing.
Rule Book, p.20-21: The Relic Roll is no longer once per game per character.
COMMENCE THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS! 😀 The old version of the rule had kept me from playing the Relics, essentially, because I am notoriously horrible with single-die rolls (not sure why). Shapechange, Leadership, and especially Super Senses are once-in-a-blue-moon wins for me, so I merely glossed over the Relics, thinking, “Well, with my rolls, I’ll never get to pick up the darn things anyway!”
This, I think, could bring Relics as a type of Special Object back into more routine gameplay (read: Casual). Special Objects in general can inject elements of fun and thoughtful playing into a casual game–whacking somebody with a Stepladder or having to play carefully around a Shield Disruptor, for instance. I could see the same happening with Relics, as long as everybody agrees to keep it casual and fun. Now that there are multiple chances for a character to pick up a Relic, the object can affect the game for a longer time, and it could pass from hand to hand, like teammates passing a basketball back and forth.
What do you think about this ruling? Do you think it makes Relics more or less playable? (And while we’re at it, how about the other 2014 rulings changes in the linked article?) Leave your thoughts in the comments!
For Further Information
Search Relics on HCRealms‘ Units section by choosing “Special Objects” under “Rank” on the Advanced Search!
In 2013, the rules for my absolute favorite HeroClix power, Probability Control, changed. Just a subtle change, to the average Clix player’s eye…but for my personal playstyle and collection, it was disastrous. Here’s the official ruling from the 2013 Powers and Abilities card:
See that line saying “A character using this power must be within range (minimum range 6)?” That’s the change. Your Probability Control character must be within at least 6 squares of the character he/she is Probbing, or have a range greater than 6 so they can be farther back. (They also changed Perplex and Outwit to read the same, but my main beef is with Prob since it’s my favorite power.)
The Problem: This Hurts 0-Range Probbers
Unfortunately, there are lots of older, cheap “just-Prob” HeroClix figures with low or no range (Destiny, Black Cat, and even a Scarlet Witch or two are notable examples). For that matter, any figure with Prob and low/no range falls victim to this–they get granted a 6 range as a grace while using Prob, but they still have to be much closer to the action than you want ANY Prob piece to be.
See, Probability Control, at least for me, is a power best played from mid- to back-field, so that you can more easily protect the Prob piece from attack. Most of my Prob pieces, in particular are shorter-dialed and weaker; this new rule short-circuits my careful Prob playstyle, forcing me to bring my one-trick Prob ponies potentially into the fray.
In short, I’m having to rethink my whole playstyle, since Prob is so important to all my team builds and I’m used to playing Prob a certain way. It’s a challenge to my whole Clix mindset. Argh.
Devil’s Advocate: Why They Probably Did This
However, I can admit that I know at least one reason why they changed this rule–to stop exactly the kind of tactic I’ve been employing. Probbing from way far back on the map means that you can use a 20-point piece to effectively change the course of a 400- or 500-point game. VERY sneaky (and very funny, but that’s beside the point). I can understand how annoying that would be from an opponent’s perspective, not to be able to get to the supportive pieces to knock them out.
Moving Forward: How to Play Around This New Rule
So how do we players with no-range/weaker Prob pieces adapt? Well, after some thought (and some trial/error), here are some ways I’ve come up with?
- Pair a no-range/weaker Prob piece with a stronger piece, ideally with Flight/Carry ability, longer range, and/or Defend. The Flight will make the Prob piece more mobile; Defend will bring up the Prob piece’s defense; range will enable the stronger piece to fend off opposing pieces before they get too close.
- Position weaker Prob pieces on Hindering Terrain to give them a defense boost at range.
- Use several close-combat pieces as “tie-up” for opposing characters, so that they cannot get free and attack your Prob pieces.
- When possible, do not move your Prob piece any closer than 6 squares away from the general center of battle.
- Use Elevated Terrain to your advantage, especially when playing against a largely close-combat team; your no-range Prob piece sitting up high will enable that 6 Prob range to be used more effectively.
Usually, I have horrible dice rolls while playing HeroClix. Lady Luck, I think, would rather have a good ol’ fashioned hair-pulling scrap in the ladies’ restroom with me than be my friend. Say I need a 5 on my pair of 6-sided dice to succeed–I’ll usually roll a 4. I need anything but “snake eyes?” Guess what I roll.
Why Do the Dice Hate Me? Several Possible Reasons
I’m not sure why I am so prone to bad dice rolls. Sometimes I think it’s how hard I throw the dice, or how tentative I am about rolling them. I tend to go “bowling for Clix figures” if I roll them too hard, or send the dice rolling off the table and away. Thus, I often hold and roll them very, very carefully so that they land just right. Perhaps this extra care is not good for my luck.
Also, I’ve often wondered if it’s the actual temperature of the dice–if the dice are cold to the touch, I have found that they will somehow roll better for me. If I’ve sat there holding them in my hand for a while, they get “hot” and start rolling badly. This might have something to do with the nature and quality of the plastic used to make most of my dice, but I’m not sure. All I know is that I’ve rolled far more double-sixes and single-sixes at the beginning of a game of HeroClix than I do at the end!
How I Try to Fix My Bad Dice Rolls
Many Clix players have posted on a topic about influencing dice, trying to get around their own runs of bad luck playing Clix, so I’m not alone in this. The primary way I get around bad rolls is to build in a lot of Probability Control for my teams, so that if I have a bad roll or two, it doesn’t have to “stick.” My habitually bad dice rolls are the #1 reason I play Destiny, Jason Blood, Jinx, Saint Walker, etc.!
Secondly, I try to roll the dice against something solid, either a box on the table or actually dropping them into a box lid, so I don’t worry so much about damaging figures or dice rolling off the table. (I find it helps if you don’t roll directly across the HeroClix map–those nasty little “hills” and “valleys” made by the map folds get my dice every time, turning a 5 into a 1 in a heartbeat!)
Lastly, I switch dice often (testing out the “cold” versus “hot” dice theory), and about 60% of the time, it works. (It’s probably still a placebo effect, but it just FEELS good to put aside a pair of dice that seem to be malfunctioning!)
I’m not sure if any of these fixes really get around my bad luck or if I’m just staving off my Crit Misses for later (LOL)…only time (and more games) will tell! But for now, it eases my mind just a little so I can get back to playing a good game of Clix. 🙂
“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!
In HeroClix, most gamers typically gravitate towards high-damage, high-attack pieces, especially the ones that can move and attack in the same turn. Pieces with 11 or 12 attack, 3 or 4 damage, and either Charge, Running Shot, or Hypersonic Speed are the “Most Wanted Clix.”
I am not one of these gamers–in fact, the pieces I choose for my collection could be labeled “second-stringers” at best. If I have a 10 attack showing among my teams, it’s an unusual team for me. Most of my teams are made up of support pieces and a few solid but not overpowered pieces. It’s only when people begin to play against me that they realize those smaller pieces are actually serving another purpose besides attack: they are all Mystics. And they are FAR stronger than my opponents recognize, until it’s too late.
What Is The Mystics Team Ability?
The Mystics team ability (not to be confused with the “Mystical” keyword!) is indicated by any of the following team symbols on a HeroClix figure’s base:
Any of these three symbols, printed on the back of a character’s dial, mean that if an opponent attacks and successfully damages this figure, the attacking figure takes 1 unavoidable damage. It’s a “You hurt me, I hurt you” strategy–very reactive in playstyle, since it depends on the other person making a successful attack.
Mystics In Practice
This might seem counterproductive at first. Why would someone want their own figures to be damaged? Doesn’t that mean you’ll be beaten faster?
Not necessarily! 😀
Run Lots of Support with Mystics
Here’s the primary beauty of the strategy: more often, the people I play against are not running pieces that have Support (the ability to heal a friendly character). I, however, am running one or two pieces with Support (also known as “Medics”). If one of my Mystics pieces takes a wee bit too much damage and is in danger of being KOed, I simply get him or her back to a Medic while some of my other Mystics pieces take over. In a few turns, my hurt Mystic is back on top click, and the opponent’s pieces have likely taken more damage in the meantime, either from a Mystic hit or from actually being attacked.
Run Wildcards with Mystics, Too!
One way I love to run Mystics pieces is to run them with a bunch of Wildcards–a list of Wildcard team symbols follow:
The reason? Wildcards can copy the Mystics team ability. Suddenly, Young Superman is a Mystic–you deal him damage, you take a damage! Spider-Girl is a Mystic, too–you deal her damage, you take a damage! And so on.
So, if my whole team is full of Mystics such as these, and you don’t have a Support piece, you are in trouble. True, your pieces might deal more damage to mine at first, but I likely have more Wildcard Mystics ready to fill in for the one who’s running back to the Medic. Not only that, but the Wildcard pieces help round out the team with some higher damage and attack, as well as some strong abilities of their own, like Charge, Incapacitate, or my favorite, Super Senses. (I roll a 5 or 6–your attack misses my character. I roll a 1 through 4–my character takes damage, which means yours takes a damage, too. It’s a win-win!)
Important Pieces of Strategy
This team ability works best if you have a lot of small point-value characters rather than a few large point-value characters. Having a Mystic over a hundred points is great, but you’re not going to have a lot of room for support, other Mystics, or Wildcards. My favorite strategy is to actually choose two of the cheaper Mystics (Zatanna Zatara, Jason Blood, Nightshade, etc.) and build my team full of Wildcards and Support from there. That way, I have the Mystics team covered, but I also have room for attacking pieces that will likely take some damage along the way.
Try the Mystics team ability sometime if you’re looking for a different way to win. Sometimes, an opponent’s successful attack can work against them!