November 03, 2015

Design Insight- Size Categories

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Design-insight
Dear HeroClix Players,

Over the past year, we have been exploring ways in which we can improve the game of HeroClix.  A few areas for improvement we have identified are (in broad strokes):

  • Streamline the game rules
  • Increase consistency in rules/power wording so it is clearer/more intuitive for players to understand intent of game effects
  • Better integrate/define/introduce game effects so it is clearer/more intuitive as to how they interact with other game effects
  • Better communicate changes to rules including clarifications/errata to general rules and clarifications/errata to powers/abilities on individual figures

The overall purpose of these efforts is to make the game of HeroClix a more enjoyable experience for current players and to make HeroClix more accessible for new players.

As we work towards completing a new rulebook and PAC, we’d like to introduce some rules revisions that are relevant to the release of the new Colossal figures in the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman set.

A character’s size is determined by the damage combat symbol it possesses.  There are four possible sizes a character may be.  A Tiny-sized character has the Tiny symbol, a Standard-sized character has the Damagesymbol, a Giant-sized character has the Giant symbol, and finally a Colossal-sized character has the Colossalsymbol.

The purpose of this article is not only to inform players of changes to the rules relating to Size of HeroClix characters and the game effects granted by a character's Size, but also to provide some insight (hence the series name “Design Insight”) into the reasons why we are making these changes.

Before jumping into a comparison of old vs new, let’s take a look at the Size categories and the abilities that they grant—as this remains largely unchanged (with one noted exception marked as NEW).

SIZE CATEGORIES AND ABILITIES GRANTED

Tiny Tiny-sized characters gain:

  • Tiny Size Ability

Damage Standard-sized characters gain

  • No additional combat abilities

Giant Giant-sized characters gain:

  • Great Size Ability
  • Giant Reach Ability

Colossal Colossal-sized characters gain:

  • Great Size Ability
  • NEW-- Giant Reach Ability
  • Colossal Stamina Ability

Now let’s go over each individual combat ability and see the game effects granted by these abilities (as currently written):

 

SIZE-RELATED ABILITIES AND GAME EFFECTS GRANTED (CURRENT)

Tiny Size Ability:

  • Bonus defense— +1 vs. Range
  • Carry— allowing larger characters to carry Tiny characters

Great Size Ability:

  • Breakaway— Ignoring Plasticity
  • Improved Movement— Hindering, Elevated, Outdoor Blocking, Adjacency
  • Knock Back
  • Close Combat Attack at Range
  • Line of Fire

Colossal Stamina Ability:

  • Break Away
  • Improved Targeting—Out of Adjacency
  • Continuous Actions

When designing the new Colossal figures featured in the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman set, we took a close look at the rules relating to Size.  In our review, we determined that one of the issues with the Size-related rules— and perhaps why there tends to be a good deal of confusion surrounding Size-related rules— is that many of the granted abilities had multiple different game effects rolled into those abilities that represented vastly different game concepts.  As such, we felt that the Size-related rules tended not to be very intuitive— for example: if I was to reference the Colossal Stamina ability and ask what it does, many veteran players would likely come up with an answer that it (functionally) allows characters to take an action even if they already have two tokens-- and this would be true.  However, what many players, even veteran players, might forget is that the Colossal ability (as written) also included game effects relating to break away as well as their ability to make ranged attacks out of adjacency— certainly two important game effects for Colossal figures, but perhaps not ones that most players would associate with the concept of “Stamina.”

As such, we decided to consolidate the Size-related abilities into groupings of like game concepts that we feel are more intuitive—mostly because the name of the ability is evocative of its major effect without additional and unrelated effects that are not communicated in/associated with the ability name.

So, let’s go over each individual combat ability and see the game effects granted by these abilities under the new, revised Size rules:

SIZE-RELATED ABILITIES AND GAME EFFECTS GRANTED (REVISED)

Tiny Size Ability:

  • Bonus defense— +1 vs. Range

Great Size Ability:

  • Improved Movement— Hindering, Elevated, Outdoor Blocking, Adjacency
  • Improved Targeting—Out of Adjacency

Colossal Stamina Ability:

  • Continuous Actions

Giant Reach Ability:

  • Close Combat Attack at Range

The following game effects have been pulled out from individual abilities and now are inherent to a character’s Size category:

  • Line of Fire
  • Knock Back
  • Break Away
  • Carry

We have created this “Size Chart” to act as a player aid explaining the game effects inherent to a character’s Size and the abilities granted by their Size category.

 

HeroClix Size Chart PDF

HeroClix Size Chart

 

SIZE-INHERENT GAME EFFECTS

Lines of Fire – Lines of fire drawn to or from a character are not blocked by characters smaller than themselves.

Break Away – When breaking away from only smaller characters, you increase your break away result by 1.  If all the characters you’re breaking away from are two or more sizes smaller, you automatically break away.  Note that if even one character you’re attempting to break away from is the same size or larger, you wouldn’t get any of the bonuses.

Knock Back – Characters can’t be knocked back by a character smaller than themselves. In order to knock back a character, it must be the same size as you or larger.

Carry – Characters can’t carry characters larger than themselves (this remains unchanged). All characters now have the innate ability to use the Carry ability to carry one character smaller than themselves.  So, for example, a Colossal character can carry a Giant character but a Giant character can’t carry a Colossal character.

INDIVIDUAL SIZE-RELATED ABILITIES

TINY SIZE

CURRENT: Modify this character’s defense value by +1 against ranged combat attacks. A friendly character that is larger and adjacent can use the Carry ability to carry up to one Tiny character regardless of its other combat symbols, does not reduce its speed value for doing so and can continue to use the Carry ability if it can normally. This ability can’t be countered.

REVISED: This character modifies its defense value by +1 against ranged combat attacks. This ability can’t be countered.

NOTES/RATIONALE: Since carrying one smaller character is now an innate ability for all characters, the references to Carry has been removed from Tiny Size.

GREAT SIZE

CURRENT This character ignores opposing character’s Plasticity, can use Improved movement: box red, box green, box brown outdoor, pass through and can’t be knocked back. When this character makes a close combat attack, it may target characters on higher elevations. This character may draw lines of fire (and have lines of fire drawn to it) as if the character occupied the elevation equal to or greater than the elevation it occupies, using the elevation level with the least restrictive line of fire. This ability can’t be countered.

REVISED This character can use Improved movement:box red, box green, box brown outdoor, pass throughand improved Targeting: pass through.  Lines of fire drawn to or from this character are not blocked by elevated terrain or outdoor blocking terrain, and are not hindered unless the target occupies hindering terrain. This character may occupy multiple elevations. This ability can’t be countered or ignored.

NOTES/RATIONALE: What we’ve done here is focus Great Size to game effects that represent a large character on the battlefield—

Terrain: Great Size characters retain their ability to move through most terrain.  If the Great Size character happens to be a multi-base character, its base can occupy multiple different levels of elevation.

Lines of Fire: We have removed the clause of allowing Great Size characters to have lines of fire drawn to and from them from any elevation. Now, lines of fire drawn to or from them are not blocked by elevated terrain or outdoor blocking terrain.  No more hiding behind a building or outdoor blocking terrain to avoid getting targeted by them.  Of course, if they can see you, you can see them. Also, when drawing lines of fire to or from a Great Size character, those lines of fire aren’t hindered unless the target of the line of fire (either the character the Great Size character is targeting or the Great Size character itself) is occupying hindering terrain.  Note that multi-base rules still apply, so if a multi-base figure only partly occupies hindering terrain, if you target a square it occupies that isn’t in hindering terrain it won’t be a hindered line of fire.

Ranged Attacks Out of Adjacency: In the current iteration of the Size-related abilities, the ability to make ranged attacks out of adjacency was part of Colossal Stamina (see Colossal Stamina below).  We figured that regardless if a character is wielding a weapon 20’ feet up in the air or 100’ up in the air, it is probably just as difficult to prevent them from using that weapon effectively— so, we decided that the Improved Targeting: Out of Adjacency made more sense as part of the Great Size ability.  What this does mean is that Giant characters now gain the ability to make ranged attacks to adjacent and non-adjacent characters even while adjacent to an opposing character when this was previously only allowed for Colossal characters.

The following two abilities are granted to Giant and Colossal sized characters as part of their Size, but it is important to note that these abilities can be granted to other non-Giant/Colossal characters to represent superhuman endurance and being able to hit people at a distance.

COLOSSAL STAMINA

CURRENT: This character automatically breaks away and can useimproved Targeting: pass through. When this character has two action tokens, it can be given a non-free action. If you do, after actions resolve deal it 1 unavoidable damage and do not clear action tokens from it at the end of the turn. This ability can’t be countered.

REVISED: When this character has two action tokens, it can be given a non-free action. If you do, after actions resolve deal it 1 unavoidable damage and do not clear action tokens from it at the end of the turn. This ability can’t be countered.

NOTES/RATIONALE: Originally, Colossal Stamina contained wording on automatically breaking away and Improved Targeting abilities.  The Improved Targeting effect has been moved to the Great Size ability and the break away effect is now part of the rules that are inherent to the different Size categories.  Colossal Stamina now focuses specifically on allowing characters to be given a non-free action when it has two action tokens— this is particularly important when we look to provide this ability to other non-Giant/Colossal characters and do not want to also grant them the ability to automatically break away and shoot out of adjacency (which may or may not make sense for the particular character).

GIANT REACH

CURRENT: This character adds 1 to its d6 roll when breaking away. This character can use the Carry ability. When this character is given an action that includes a close combat attack, all squares within a range of 2 and line of fire are considered adjacent. This ability can’t be countered.

REVISED:

GIANT REACH: X – When this character makes a close combat attack, characters occupying a square that is within X squares and line of fire may be targeted as if they were adjacent. This ability can’t be countered.

NOTES/RATIONALE: To focus this ability on the singular concept of being able to make close combat attacks at a distance, the break away effects and the granted Carry ability have been removed from Giant Reach and are now part of the rules that are inherent to the different Size categories.

The most notable change here is that Giant Reach is now available to Colossal figures and it is a variable effect— whenever a character is granted the Giant Reach ability, the X will be replaced by a number and that number will be the number of squares away the character can count for the effect.  By default, Giants have Giant Reach: 2 and Colossal characters have Giant Reach: 3. If a character is to have a different “reach”, a game effect will tell you what the new number is.

Let’s look at a specific example when this change to Giant Reach affects one of the new Colossal figures in the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman set.  SMWW #G003 Brimstone has the Colossal Retaliation power:

Colossal Retaliation: Flaming Sword Give Brimstone a free action if no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn and choose an opposing character that attacked Brimstone or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Brimstone such that he can make a close combat attack targeting the chosen character along a direct line, then do so with an area of effect that includes all characters along that direct line of fire to the target. Roll a d6, and each hit character is dealt damage equal to the result instead of normal damage.

Since Colossal figures did not have the Giant Reach ability with previous Size-related rules, Brimstone would have only been able attack to an opposing character in an adjacent square.  Now, with Colossals having Giant Reach: 3, Brimstone may be placed such that he is 3 squares from his target and his massive Flaming Sword strike will be able to hit all characters between him and his target.

And one last change that is needed to tie this all up (get it?) is a change to the standard power Plasticity:

CURRENT: This character adds 2 to its d6 roll when breaking away. Opposing characters can’t automatically break away from this character and subtract 2 from their d6 roll when breaking away from this character. Opposing characters entering a square adjacent to this character must end their movement, even if they would not have to do so normally.

REVISED: This character adds 2 to its d6 roll when breaking away. Opposing characters subtract 2 from their d6 roll when breaking away from this character.  Opposing characters of the same size or smaller can’t automatically break away from this character and must end their movement when entering a square adjacent to this character, even if they would not have to do so normally.

NOTES/RATIONALE:  This change simply comes down to trying to adopt some real-world logic to our game of superheroes— while allowing larger size characters to automatically break away from characters two size categories smaller, this would not have worked when compared to the wording of Plasticity that did not allow opposing characters to automatically break away.  It simply would not make much sense for a character the size of an ant to be able to tie-up a character the size of a building.  So, with the revised wording to Plasticity, the automatic break away is preserved for characters two sizes larger and characters one size larger are given a better chance at breaking away—so a Standard character with Plasticity would effectively subtract -2 from another adjacent opposing Tiny or Standard character’s breakaway, -1 from another adjacent opposing Giant character’s breakaway (-2 fromPlasticity; +1 from size bonus) and Colossal character will automatically break away.

Thank you all for joining us for some Design Insight on some early release rules.  There’s still lots more to come.  These rules changes are effective immediately and we’ll have the errata’d ability wordings posted in the Errata & Clarifications section of our WizKids Rules Forum.  We hope you enjoy using these new rules with the new Colossal figures recently released with the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman set.

Until next time!

 

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