Tag Archives: miniatures

Glasses Off: 4 Useful Collectible Gaming Sites

If you play Magic: the Gathering, HeroClix, or any other type of tabletop game, the Internet has proven itself over and over again to be an awesome resource for gaming tips and news. Here are four of my favorites:

Any and all board games…it’s AMAZING how many games this site has sections for!

One of the best HeroClix resources out there, not only for game news and figure information, but for Clix player community as well.

I used to try to keep up with all the M:TG set lists out there…then I found out that MTGSalvation already covers it all, in a wiki format. That and much more behind the click!

Keep up with news and announcements for all sorts of miniatures games!

(bonus: Roll20.net–a virtual tabletop where gamers can meet and play!)

Gotham City Strategy Game

If you’ve ever played HeroClix or other miniatures games, you know that you’re playing against one or more opponents, winning points by defeating their pieces. But what if the miniatures game had less to do with actual combat and more to do with resource management, strategic placement of figures, and leveling up to become stronger?

That is the main challenge behind the Gotham City Strategy Game. Part tongue-in-cheek role-playing game, part miniatures game, this is a situation in which the players are major Batman villains, each struggling to reign over the 12 blocks of Gotham City–but not without some intervention from Batman!

Point of the Game

Be the first villain to hit Level 10 (to be the most powerful villain in Gotham City).

Playable Characters

  • The Joker
  • The Penguin
  • Two-Face
  • Killer Croc

Each of these characters is represented by a Heroclix-style plastic figure, called a “SwitchClix” piece because the figure can be removed and placed on a HeroClix dial. (Batman is also a part of this game, but he is not a playable character.)

Game Resources

As a Batman villain, you have various tools at your disposal to attempt your takeover of Gotham City. They are:

  • Threat: These tokens, labeled with a gun, are put down to take control of various blocks in Gotham City. The different villains begin the game with various numbers of Threat tokens available, and you can get more as you level up.
  • Money: These green tokens are mainly used to buy Henchmen, which help you gain and keep control of city blocks. How much money you start out with depends on your villain.
  • Information: These yellow tokens are mainly used for moving your figures (your Villain and his Henchmen) around the map. How much information you begin the game with depends on your villain.

Every Player Starts Out With:

  • Their villain’s plastic figure
  • 5 Villain Ability cards, which are chosen one by one as you level up
  • Their villain’s Player Screen, a stand-up piece of cardboard which has all your pertinent information on how to level up the character. As you play, you hide your money, information, and available Henchmen behind this screen.
  • The number of money and information tokens appropriate for his/her character.

Playing the Game, Turn by Turn

As one of Gotham’s villains, you must first establish your villainous presence in the city by taking over city blocks, and then maintaining and growing that presence to level up your villain. To level up, you must meet various goals within the game (for instance, one goal might be to have 5 information tokens, or to control 3 city blocks, etc.). The Criminal Plot cards, dealt out at random from a common deck until every player has 5 cards in hand, help you gain resources, attack other villains, and meet those goals.

To start the game, the player with the most speeding/parking tickets goes first; if there’s a tie, the person with the most recent ticket goes first. Then the game flow goes clockwise from there.

Every turn, you follow this procedure:

  1. Check to see if you can level up one (or more) levels–sometimes you can jump ahead 1 or 2 more if you’ve met all the conditions at the beginning of your turn!
  2. If you leveled up, check to see if you got any benefits from that level, such as being able to gain a Villain Ability.
  3. Play at least one Criminal Plot card from your hand (more about those below).
  4. Hire a Henchman if you have the money and inclination to do so.
  5. Spend an Information to move some or all of your figures anywhere on the map if you wish.
  6. Draw a new Criminal Plot card to replace the one you played this turn.

The Criminal Plot Deck

Criminal Plot cards look like this:

criminalplot_income criminalplot_batsignal

On the top half of the card, you’ll generally have a stipulation reading “The ruler of [a named city block] gets this block’s income,” like the one on the left above. When you play the card, whoever controls that city block gets that income, which could be Money (green icon) or Information (yellow icon). It works out great if the named block is one you control, so that you can gain the income from it, but if not, don’t worry about it too much. (On some Criminal Plot cards, like the one at right above, you’ll see a Bat-Signal icon on the top half of the card–instead of someone gaining Money or Info off the card based on controlling a city block, you have to draw a card from the Batman deck instead.)

On the bottom half of each Criminal Plot card, you’ll see a game effect described. If you want to activate that effect, make sure to pay the appropriate costs listed, and then you’ll receive the effect. If you end up with a Criminal Plot card you just can’t use or don’t want to use, you can simply discard it for either two Money tokens or two Information tokens. This counts as “playing” it.

Remember, Batman’s Watching!

I mentioned the Batman deck above–this is where the game introduces a neat little twist. Not only do you have to defend your villainous territory against other villains, but you also have to contend with Batman being a vigilante hero and messing up some of your grand plans!

When a Criminal Plot card involves a Batman card, you never know what will happen; you could end up knocked down a few pegs, or you could mess up another villain’s progress. Who knows, Batman might even end up “helping” everyone…it all depends on what Bruce Wayne feels like doing that day! (Note: Of all the villains, Two-Face is the only one who can manipulate the Batman deck–with one of his Villain Abilities, he can look at the top two cards of the deck and choose one to draw.)

Which Character Is More Your Style?

The Penguin The Joker Two-Face Killer Croc
“Crime boss” mindset–let others do your dirty work while you build up.

Has the easiest time gaining Money and Information, but starts out with the least amount of Threat tokens. If played right, Penguin wins every time; if played wrong, Penguin loses every time.

“Prankster” mindset–toy with Batman (or other players) as you wish.

Does okay gaining Money, Information, and Threat, but not as quickly as other characters. Joker is more about setting up and thinking ahead than big splashy game effects every single turn.

“Manipulator” mindset–undoing other players’ work while advancing your own agenda.

Can gain Info and Money almost as well as Penguin, but it’s more chance-based (fittingly). He is the only one who can manipulate the Batman deck and lower the numbers of other players’ Threat tokens in a zone.

“Harasser” mindset–throwing a monkey wrench into everyone else’s plans through combat.

Starts out with the most Threat tokens, but typically has a hard time building up Money and Info. He can move around more freely than any other character, so combat is easiest for him.

For More Information

BoardGameGeek.com Reference Page
Gotham City Strategy Game Category @ HeroClix.com
Preview of Gotham City Strategy Game @ WizKidsGames.com

An Idea for Safely Storing Miniatures

This week, I thought I’d share with you my system for storing miniatures figures; in this case, it’s my Clix collection, but conceivably you could store several types of miniatures in the system I’m going to show. It has completely changed the way I organize my miniatures, and definitely for the better!

This translucent plastic sectioned tray is part of the Really Useful Products line. It is 8 3/4 inches wide, 11 inches long, and 2 1/2 inches deep; each of its 16 sections measures 2 1/4 inches wide, 2 3/4 inches long, and 2 1/2 inches deep.

This is an example of how I use a tray to store Clix figures–this particular one holds all my team-support figures, and they are separated out according to type using the handy sections. For instance, all my Paramedics are in the top left section, while all of my combat-ready Probability Control figures are in the top right section, and so on. I find that the sections are big enough even to hold double-based figures, like the Green Lantern & Green Arrow piece stored at bottom right!

The whole thing is translucent, so you can easily tell which figures are stored within on all sides. VERY handy for quickly picking out which tray you want to look at!

The other great thing about this tray? Multiples of them stack really easily. This is my entire Clix collection, stored in 5 of these style trays on a shelf in my closet. They are sturdy enough to stand up to being stacked, without being so heavy that they threaten the shelf’s stability.

My Experience with This System

If you’re currently looking for a way to store minis at home, I would definitely recommend this kind of tray. Since I switched over to this system of storing my Clix, I find that I keep track of my collection easier, and find figures much more quickly. Plus, the figures don’t get damaged as easily, nor do they collect too much dust.

The only caveat is that this system of trays is not very portable on its own, because they are open trays with no lids or handles. However, you can purchase boxes which hold several trays securely at one time (see below). This system’s modular functionality is the real winning ticket for me–we gamers need systems that easily expand to fit our growing collections!

Where to Buy

The following links to the Really Useful Products online store should help you find trays and boxes that will work for your miniatures collections:

Storage Tray Details
Storage Box Details

My Favorite Clix, part 8: Checkmate Knight (White)

At only 29 points and 3 clicks of life, this little Clix figure may not seem very impressive at all. But ever since she was printed, I’ve found myself using her on many of my teams, and being very glad I did; she’s not just for ranged teams, but for any sort of team, as you’ll soon see!

Checkmate Knight (White), #007 out of Brave and the Bold. Image Credit: HCRealms.com.

The first thing that drew me to this figure was the low point cost in exchange for all that you get. 29 points, for a 9 attack, 2 damage, 8 range character? Not bad! These are not godlike stats, of course, but they’re fairly good, given the cheap point total. You don’t usually find these kinds of numbers under 30 points.

But combine the fair-quality stats with the powers she’s given, and you suddenly have a much more useful figure. Enhancement first click, and Outwit for two clicks more–it’s worth pushing her once if you absolutely need an Outwitter, and if you don’t, the Enhancement helps your other ranged pieces do more damage. Her Super Senses on defense do shield her from some harm, as well (though don’t rely solely on that; best to play her carefully, positioning her fairly far back since she’s got 8 range).

Sure, her defense values of 16 and 15 are a little low for tournaments these days, but these too can be worked around. You can play her as strictly an Enhancement piece, hidden in the middle of a group of shooters, and she’ll never see battle herself…or, you can position her beside a Defend piece that has a higher defense so that she gets a little extra protection. Either way, played right, she can help several of your other figures do more damage at range.

And, if you need her as an Outwitter, her 8 move will help her move more easily around the map for clear lines of sight (and she keeps 8 move for all her 3 clicks of life). That is very handy, I can tell you right now. Not only that, it’s fairly easy for a Medic to heal her, if you need to have her back on Enhancement. In fact, the only way this piece won’t work for your team is if you try to make her a first-string attacker; she’s much better off Enhancing or Outwitting from the mid- to back-field.

My Personal Recommendations

If you run a lot of ranged teams and need a little more damage output, or if you’re in need of a fairly cheap Outwit piece, Checkmate Knight White could be your best solution. With her low point cost, she’s fairly easy to fit into a team build, and her Enhancement/Outwit combo makes her versatile and useful for just about any team.

My Favorite Clix, part 7: LE Ghost Widow

Following in the vein of kick-butt support pieces I like, here’s one that can do double-duty as an attacker and a Medic. She’s been a favorite of mine and a staple in my collection since I first saw her played in a tournament…the LE Ghost Widow.

Limited Edition Ghost Widow, #004 out of City of Villains. Image credit: HCRealms.com

First off, her Flight and Phasing are an amazing pair of movement abilities for a piece with Support. Not only can she Phase away from enemy pieces, but her Flight makes her able to carry a wounded friendly character with her when she goes. Many is the time I’ve used Ghost Widow to carry a beaten-up close-combat piece away from the action for a few turns, to heal them up!

Second, those two clicks of Poison are more trouble than they seem. Phase her into the middle of a group of bad guys, and next turn they all take 1 Poison damage if they don’t have a defense modifier. 😀 LOTS of fun to Poison-bomb a group of Clix like this…well, if you’re the one playing Ghost Widow, at least. 😉

Third, if she doesn’t get smashed for 5 damage right off the bat, she’s very hard to kill. She has both Steal Energy AND Regeneration on fourth click, which is absolutely hilarious–either Steal Energy up to second click, or potentially Regen all the way back to top click. Choosing which to use all depends on what you need from her at that moment in the game; she’s versatile.

Fourth, her high 18 defense on first click and Super Senses on second and third click make her annoying to hit. And. if you do manage to damage her, you’ll be taking a Mystic damage, courtesy of Arachnos team ability. (Yep, she’s another Regenning Mystic like Vet Shade, except she’s got Support and Flight to go with it!)

Sure, her combat numbers aren’t the greatest, especially in these days of 10 attack, 17 defense, and 3 damage. But as a tertiary attacker (with a 6 range) and Phasing Medic, she’s wonderful. All of the above, and she’s only 54 points? That’s right!

My Personal Recommendations

If you want a Medic who can both fly your hurt people easily out of battle and take a few shots when she’s not healing, then you’ll want a Ghost Widow as part of your collection. She keeps herself and her team alive with Support, Regeneration, and Steal Energy, and she does a little damage here and there with her range, her Poison, and her Mystics team ability. Of all the different teams I’ve played her on, she’s usually been the last one standing, or the one who’s keeping my pieces in fighting shape while the other guy’s team is either KOed or limping around the board. All in all, she’s 54 points well-spent to support a team and do a little damage as well.

My Favorite Clix, part 6: Vet Shade

Generally, I tend to like Clix figures that are less subtle, more obvious to play; the “one-trick ponies” are staples of my collection, for instance. But there are a few in my collection which have become favorites for exactly the opposite reasons–they are subtle and more versatile. Vet Shade is one of them.

Veteran Shade, #063 out of Unleashed. Image credit: HCRealms.com

This little guy is a 73-point surprise. At first glance, he’s basically Batman-esque with Mystics team, with the combo of Stealth, Smoke Cloud, Willpower, and 6 range. Most players underestimate him for this; what real
damage can a 6-range, 9-attack, 2-damage figure do in this day and time?

Once he’s hit for 2, however, the first of many surprises shows up–Shade loses the Stealth in favor of Phasing, and gains Outwit, while retaining Smoke Cloud and Willpower. This enables him to move around the board easily, setting up new lines of Outwit possibly every two out of three turns, and generally evading capture. Even though his attack and defense are rather low during these clicks, that doesn’t matter so much–like Experienced Destiny, his skill lies outside of combat entirely by this point on his dial.

If he takes 1 more damage, he lands on another surprising click: a Phasing/Telekinesis/Outwit combo. This is absolutely hilarious. Outwit the defense modifier of an enemy character and fling an object at them, or fling a friendly character closer to them…any way you slice it, Shade on this click facilitates battle and makes it easier for a team to conquer.

And then, we get to the final clicks, where the last crazy combo of powers awaits…Phasing, Telekinesis, Outwit and Regeneration. If you need him to, he can potentially Regen his way back to top dial, or you can keep him as a Phasing TK piece for another 3 clicks. (He’s almost more versatile back-dial than front-dial, and he’s definitely more of a pain back-dial. :D)

All of this, and he is a Regen-able Mystic, which is painful to his opponents in and of itself. He can Phase or Stealth around, hurting enemy characters who dare to damage him, and then he can just run off to Regen or be healed by a Medic. (This Shade was once the last remaining member of my team in a 2-hour game…and I came back and won it, thanks to his Regen and Mystic team ability.) He works great as a tentpole-team solvent, and even better as a swarm-team solvent. Sure, his dial numbers are not as great, but for a figure from Unleashed, he’s not bad.

My Personal Recommendation

If you want to add a little finesse, tactics, and versatility to your team, and you’ve got 73 points to spare, consider adding a Vet Shade. Don’t add him thinking he’s going to be a secondary attacker, or even an attacker at all–add him as a stealthy Smoke-Clouder or a mobile Outwitter/TKer, or use him to whittle down heavy hitters with his Mystics team. One thing’s for sure, Vet Shade will make it very tricky for your opponent to win!

My Favorite Clix, part 5: Vet Cheetah and Vet Mockingbird

Today, I’m profiling two Clix pieces instead of one, because in most if not all of my games, I play this Cheetah and this Mockingbird together. As two powerful but differently-styled close-combat pieces, they complement each other quite well.

Vet Mockingbird

Veteran Mockingbird, #018 out of Sinister. Image credit: HCRealms.com

Keeping in mind that Vet Mockingbird was printed in the mid-2000s, when HeroClix numbers were all traditionally a little lower, she’s an amazing mobile close-combat piece, great for tying opponents’ figures down for a few turns while being able to Leap/Climb away at her leisure. Her 19 defense up close, courtesy of Combat Reflexes plus a natural 17, makes her infuriatingly hard to hit, and the 2 damage with Close Combat Expert can even break through Invulnerability and Impervious.

Her Flurry clicks mid-dial aren’t bad, either (though you won’t break Invulnerability without a Perplex). And her back-dial Leap/Climb helps you get her back to a Medic for a quick heal, which is more likely to happen given her 14 defense last click. Add to all this her free-move Team Ability (Avengers) and her 2 range with double targets, and you have a surprisingly versatile figure for only 34 points.

Vet Cheetah

Veteran Cheetah, #018 out of Icons. Image credit: HCRealms.com

Where Mockingbird has mobility and versatility, Cheetah has brute force attack and damage. Charging for 5 spaces and using an 11 attack to deal possibly 6 damage with Blades? It’s awesome, and it has happened in my games before. And if she gets hit for 2 damage off top click (which is entirely likely, given that she’s charging into the fray), she can Leap/Climb for 10 spaces, getting her well out of the fight and possibly even back to a Medic.

That Battle Fury on every click used to be only a hindrance, keeping her from being carried and making ranged attacks. Now it helps her avoid being Mind-Controlled as well as ignoring opponents’ Shapechange, which keeps her from being stuck beside an enemy piece, unable to attack. Though she has no team ability and a defense that steadily lowers, her mid-dial attack spike back up to 11 helps offset that. All of this for 55 points, which is rare!

Why I Play Them Together

Ever since I first started playing, pretty much, I’ve had Vet Cheetah and Vet Mockingbird in my collection, and I’ve generally played them together for most of the games. They cover each other’s flaws well; Mockingbird’s lower attack is covered by Cheetah’s higher attack, while Cheetah’s tendency to get locked in place early on is covered by Mockingbird’s generally higher mobility. If you have them attacking the same target on alternating turns, you quickly have a KOed target. And if one of them needs to get away from battle for a heal, the other one can usually take over combat for a little while, thanks to them both having Leap/Climb for much of their dials.

I have tried to play them separately, but I usually find my way back to using them together on the same team. They are both fairly cheap close-combat characters, making them easy to fit onto a team build (together they are only 89 points–a bargain considering all the functionality you get). And somehow, it just makes sense for the two of them to play together, despite not being in the same comics universe. 😀

My Personal Recommendation

If you need a cheap but powerful close-combat character with high attack and damage, you’ll want Vet Cheetah as part of your collection. With a longer dial and higher attack than most pieces of her point cost, she’ll survive longer and even take out higher-cost/higher-strength pieces while she’s surviving. (Trust me on this–I used Vet Cheetah to take out Vet Icons Supes once. It was FUNNY. :D)

However, if you need a cheap, highly mobile tie-up piece who deals surprising damage and is harder to catch than a buttered eel, Vet Mockingbird will serve you well. She doesn’t survive quite as long as Cheetah in intense battle, but then again, with that Leap/Climb, she doesn’t have to stay in battle if she doesn’t want to. 🙂

My Favorite Clix, part 4: Experienced Destiny

One of my favorite Clix pieces of all time is not one that deals a whole lot of damage. In fact, she’s got 0 damage and 0 attack, and only 6 move and 13 defense at her best. But I love Experienced Destiny for two reasons: Probability Control and Super Senses.

Experienced Destiny, #023 out of Xplosion (and also #029 out of Universe). Image Credit: HCRealms.com
Experienced Destiny is very much a “one-trick pony” kind of figure–in her case, the “one trick” is being a 23-point free-move Prob piece who’s more trouble to kill than she appears to be.

You wouldn’t think Super Senses and Prob would make Exp Destiny so difficult to defeat; I beg to differ. In many games, both casual and tournament, I’ve seen opponents waste so much time going after Destiny while my other pieces systematically tear their teams to shreds–and they simply can’t hit her very often. Either they hit and she Probs them into a miss, or they hit and she Super-Senses out of it. (And the rare times she does get hit, I usually get her back to a Medic for a quick heal. >:D )

True, she can only move 6 spaces, but those are 6 spaces you won’t have to pay an action for, courtesy of Brotherhood of Mutants’ team ability (free move). And true, she’s only got 13 defense, but she shouldn’t be on your front lines of battle anyway. If positioned well on the battlefield, this little figure can make your Clix life a lot easier–and make your opponent’s Clix life lots more difficult. 🙂

Not only is Exp Destiny pretty easy to fit into a team build, but her cheap point cost and simple abilities also enable her to be part of a “pit crew” strategy. (“Pit crew” pieces are purely team-support characters, usually cheap and featuring Support, Outwit, Perplex, or Prob.) Play Exp Destiny with a Paramedic, a Con Artist, and a Rookie Black Panther, and you’ve got one of the cheapest ways to include every major team-support power on your team.

Now, why do I recommend the Experienced over the Rookie, at 20 points? See the Rookie’s dial, below.

Rookie Destiny, #022 out of Xplosion (and #028 out of Universe). Image Credit: HCRealms.com

Simple: for 20 points, you get only 2 clicks of Super Senses and Prob, instead of 3 clicks with the Experienced. Saving the 3 points is a fine choice if your team build requires it, but if you’ve got room for 23 points, definitely upgrade–it’s worth it.

My Personal Recommendation

If you’d like to make the best use of Probability Control as a power, it’s best to use a figure that has Prob almost to the exclusion of anything else. Destiny is a prime example. She’s not meant to be an attacker, nor a defender–she’s meant to facilitate the rest of her team’s attacks, and frustrate the opponent’s attempts to attack. You won’t find a cheaper Prob option who keeps Prob for 75% of her dial length!

My Favorite Clix, part 3: LE Sue Storm

When my then-good friend (later boyfriend) showed me how to play HeroClix in September of 2007, he helped me build a team out of his collection to play my first game against him. I picked out the Limited Edition Sue Storm–I didn’t know much about her, but I already liked her 19 defense, which I could already see was rare among Clix figures of her point cost (49).

I already liked high defenses in the other games I played, so it didn’t take me long to gather some high-defense figures in Clix, and Sue was one of the first I got when I could. She was one of my first favorite Clix pieces because of that fantastic 19 defense, and she’s still quite playable today.

A Little Bit More about Sue

LE Sue Storm, #205 out of Fantastic Forces. Image Credit: HCRealms.com.

With Stealth, Barrier, and 19 defense first click, it’s a good bet Sue won’t be targeted or damaged easily, even with today’s higher attacks. And even if she does get hit, her defense drops slowly, point by point (until her last click when it drops two points). Pair this with her Flight ability, and she’s a solid taxi for grounded friendly characters, as well as a darn near immovable block if you need to keep enemy characters away from wounded friendlies.

Now, most people pooh-pooh the back half of her dial, and some don’t think much of her offensive abilities in general. But I wouldn’t be so quick to judge. Her 9 attack and 2 damage up-front can be good in a pinch if you need her as a second- or third-string attacker, and Outwit or Perplex can always make her shot easier. Don’t underestimate that Incapacitate and Energy Shield/Deflection on her back-dial, either–I’ve had LE Sue Storm be the last to survive of my team on next-to-last click, and still be making fine shots at my opponent’s banged-up team.

LE Sue Storm’s Heyday: The Wildcard ATA Teams

I admit it: back in the days before they outlawed wildcards being able to copy Alternate Team Abilities (ATAs) completely, I ran a pretty nasty little Wildcard Fantastic Four team with LE Sue Storm as its centerpiece. With the Fan Four ATA worded as it was then, wildcards could copy Sue’s 19 defense without ever having to be close to her. Thus, I had a team full of Shrinking Violets, Timber Wolves, Iron Fists, and Spider-Girls, all with a quite maddening 19 defense. (It was much funnier if the wildcards all had Super Senses. Either you missed ’em because you didn’t hit a 19, or you missed ’em because I rolled Super Senses. Mwahaha. LOL)

These days, that kind of team is no longer valid; you now generally play a Wildcard Fan Four ATA team like a Defend team, surrounding Sue with your wildcards so they can borrow her defense while they attack. You also have to pay 5 points from your team build cost for using the ATA on a “Wildcards & Sue” team. Still useful and successful, though not as mobile as the old one. (The old one was rather broken, I’ll admit. This one’s more fun for player and opponent both.) I actually like this new build pretty well, because surrounding Sue with little Wildcards who are both protected by Sue and guarding her is FUNNY.

My Personal Recommendation

If you love Stealth pieces, and love pieces with high defenses, then this Sue should be in your collection. For 49 points, you won’t find another 19-defense Flight piece that has this kind of team support (like Barrier and Incapacitate) built in. She’s a great addition to any long-game Clix player’s arsenal.