Friday, January 02, 2009

Fate's Tower

In a previous post, Absorbascommando Steven Mitchell challenged me to make a Heroclix map of Dr. Fate's Tower, which I deemed impossible.

Naturally, I start worked on immediately.

As Fate fans will know, Dr. Fate's Tower has, in recent years, been portrayed as having architecture reminiscent of Escher's "Relativity". Now, the rules of Heroclix don't even take into account things like windows and doors that close, or make a distinction between crawling over rubble at noon and walking through a dark alley at midnight. So you can imagine, representing something as wacky as Fate's Tower is a tall order. One good thing, though; the Tower doesn't even have doors and windows.

Not only is the Tower's architecture wacky, but it changes (and the first person who says, "Just like Hogwarts!" is fired). Plus, like the Escher piece that inspired it, the architecture is relative; it's different for each person standing in different parts of the Tower.

Yeesh! That's impossible.

Here it is anyway.

Dr. Fate's Tower

There's lots of standard occult bric-a-brac for decor, but none of it in meaningful in gameplay. This one is all about the bizarre layout, folks. There basically two different section in the map: the "floor" and the "chambers".

A bottom level, indicated by the giant ankh in the floor is where the figures start. "Above" it (really, just ... "elsewhere") are the "chambers" and the stairs that connect them. There is no direct, permanent connection between the chambers and the floor. Figures on the floor treat the chambers as (undestroyable) blocking terrain, and simple ignore the staircases. So the floor is kind of like a maze (it's a series of passages with no defined rooms).

Conversely, the chambers are kind of like catacombs (a series of rooms connected by individual passages). The chambers and stairs are self-contained, with undestroyable walls.

Each chamber is marked with a number of glowing symbols that designate the room. The symbols themselves aren't significant, just how many of them are on the chamber floor. For example, the chamber in the upper left corner is a "2" room. Why does this matter?

Well as we used to say when I was a kid, "Here's the tricky part"...

Each player rolls a die at the start of each of his turns. Whatever number is rolled, the chambers marked with that number are suddenly considered part of the floor, with no walls surrounding them. At that point, your figures can just walk into the room from the floor (or vice versa).

Of course, your opponent is also doing the same thing each turn, so you can't count on your perspective remaining the same from turn to turn.

It's a very difficult environment to plan a fight in. With your and your opponent's perspectives on the board changing with each turn, you have to be extremely flexible and spread your team around to take advantage of opportunities that the changing board provides. It's not really a fair environment for either player... but at least it's equally UNfair.

One bright spot is that if you have a character on your team with Probability Control, they can use their power that turn on your "floor roll" if it doesn't turn out the way you wanted. That gives characters like, well, like Dr. Fate an advantage.

Characters with superspeed and long-range would probably do well, because they can quickly take advantage of the changing architecture of the map. No use suddenly being able to see an opponent if you can't reach them to make an attack. The flip side is that when such opportunities do not arise, those expensive abilities are completely wasted because the characters are trapped in most cramped quarters.

Does your team have what it takes to prevail in Dr. Fate's Tower? Do you?

1 comment:

Seth Johnson said...

I like it a lot!

Have you tried it with each player rolling two dice on their turn?