Sunday, October 02, 2011
I have created a new custom Heroclix Map (above) to celebrate "The New Aquaman" in the rebooted DCU (and his wonderful new Heroclix figure, the most powerful one yet at 156 points, which represents his militaristic version from the Flashpoint crossover, but which, thankfully, looks and acts perfectly "normal" for Aquaman).
This is Amnesty Bay, where Aquaman grew up with his human father (as depicted in Aquaman #1). Geoff Johns has wisely returned Aquaman to his roots as the product of land and sea and the protector of their interface; as the animated Brave and the Bold might say: "HUZZAH!"
The Amnesty Bay Heroclix map features a lighthouse overlooking a shallow beach. Rocky outcroppings and jutting docks create hindering terrain within the water. This is sure to upset Heroclix rules-purists, but to me it's pretty obvious how those squares should work. Aquatic figures treat them as water terrain that has the same effect on them as hindering terrain has on land; land figures treat those squares as regular hindering terrain that they can "stand on" to keep themselves "out of the water".
The beach wraps around the cliff and is almost all clear terrain (except for one square with a lifeguard tower and one with water-side encampments).
The elevated cliff terrain is dominated by the lighthouse itself. The very top of the lighthouse is blocking terrain, by the catwalk surrounding it is second level elevation, accessible by the little staircase leading "into" the lighthouse tower. I conceive the cupola of the lighthouse as a space any figure on the platform can "walk into" and go down and out the stairs. So a figure on any point of the platform can go "down and out" the stairs; conversely, a figure entering the lighthouse by the stairs can "emerge" at any point on the platform. I like fun stuff like that that drives the purists crazy :-).
Oh, and I figure moving from the stairs to platform 'costs' of total of five squares of movement (easy to remember if you use the four square of blocking as a mnemonic device).
The other principle feature on the elevated cliff is the Keeper's Cottage, of course, all clean and beachy-like. Off to one side is a small white gazebo overlooking the ocean, and on the other side, a pool, cabana tent for changing, and a family picnic area. I'm sure most Keeper's Cottages don't have swimming pools, but, hey... this is Aquaman's house, after all. Besides, there's a tactical reason: just as the water terrain has some "land terrain" within it as a staging area for land-based characters, so too the land terrain has some water terrain as a redoubt for aquatic characters.
There are just two points of access via staircase from the cliff to the beach, at the viewing decks on the opposite ends of the map, so some characters with Leap/Climb or Flight will be a huge help here. Add in the scattered spots of hindering terrain, and this map provides plenty of positioning puzzles for any team (except, of course, for Superman Ally teams, which will probably clean your clock anyhow).
I haven't marked some things that I feel are obvious (such as the "levels" of elevation), nor the starting areas. I imagine playing this map with either of two configurations: Land vs. Sea (with one team starting in the Cottage and one at opposite edge in the water) or Amphibious (with a mixed team starting at each of the far ends of the map, staging either on land, at sea, or both).
I wanted this map to be tactically interesting, fair to both aquatic and non-aquatic figures, and, frankly, really pretty. You may notice a preponderance of orange and green on the map; odd coincidence, that!
I hope you enjoy the Amnesty Bay map. I plan on ordering my copy from PosterBrain soon!