Saturday, February 21, 2015

Beware of ice-holes

If you're anywhere on the East Coast then you've been experiencing a disturbingly cold week, with nasty precipitation to boot.  This means you are housebound and probably wondering, "Gosh, isn't there an appropriate Heroclix map I could use under these circumstances?"

Well, now there is: 


Golden Gilder fans, you are welcome.

Just like the 'Archipelago' map I posted last weekend, this map uses a hex grid rather than a square one, because it's more fitting with a natural, outdoor environment.  In this case that environment is a snowy ice fishing lake.

While you're reaching for your Heroclix figures of Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold, Killer Frost, the Icicle, et al., note the special features and terrain.  Around the lake itself is a wooded path for playing hide-and-seek with your foes.  The ice terrain itself has a special characteristic: any figure that receives 'knock-back' for any reason is knocked back and extra two squares (because slides farther on the ice, of course).  

On the lake are two ice houses (those are huts that people ice fish from, in case you don't know), which are blocking terrain.  There are also three spots with exposed ice holes, a special type of water terrain which are a unique danger.

Any figure that ends its opponent's turn on one receives an action token as if it were the subject of a successful incapacitation attack.  Basically, you fell in the hole and got all frozed. Naturally, you're not likely to move a figure to do this intentionally; more likely your opponent will try to do something on his turn to move your piece over an ice hole (like cause knock-back or use his fancy telekinesis powers to dunk you).  Brr!  That's when you call him an ice-hole.  For obvious reasons, flyers are immune to this effect.

Aquatic figures are also immune (they don't mind getting wet and cold). But they also get a special bonus!  If they start their turn on an ice hole they can 'teleport' to another unoccupied ice hole (which represents swimming under the ice). Tricky!  How big an advantage will this be? It depends on which figures are in play, doesn't it?  

Friday, February 20, 2015


Let's talk about ....

Superman's new power.

For those who don't know, in the recent "Ulysses" storyline, Geoff Johns had Superman accidentally discover a new power: SUPER-FLARE!

Although Jeremy Rizza would prefer: super-FLAIR.

"Puhlease!  Once I'm done with this place it'll be SUPERfabulous!
That bitch Bivolo will be green with envy!"

It's like an omni-directional unfocused version of heat vision that basically incinerates everything within an 1/8 of a mile.  In Heroclix terms, if Heat Vision is Ranged Combat Expert, then Super-Flare is Pulse Wave.

First off; sure, it's a little crazy.  But for that matter, so is most of what Superman does.  Heat vision?  Wait, light comes OUT of your eyes instead of.. INTO them? How does that even work?  Freeze breath? Wait, you inhale and then, um, draw the kinetic energy OUT OF it, to make it really cold?  What?  Telescopic vision, and micro--well, you get the idea.  Suffice it to say, "Superman can do the Captain Atom blow up thing, without blowing himself up" is probably more consistent with the rest of his powers than superventriloquism.  Sure, why not?

Actually that's more like 'super-weighing'. 

Second: do not let Batman name your powers.  He's not good at it.  Anyone else who saw Superman blow out all the solar energy stored in him in one all-engulfing shock wave would call it what it is: a super-nova.  We've got a word that describes that exact phenomenon that already has the word super in it.  Perhaps Batman thought "super-nova" wasn't a stupid enough name for it and picked something goofier on purpose.  Because making sure that Superman seems cool--let's just say it's probably not one of Batman's highest priorities.

Third; it's only for extreme circumstances because he can't control it. That's good. Because being at the center of a big explosion is one of the ONLY things Shazam has on Superman, and now he's lost that edge.  He's not going to be using it in the middle of Metropolis because that would result in untold loss of life and property damage, which Superman would never do. Except in a major motion picture.

"I am NOT soiling my S on these shoddy hovels!"

Fourth: it robs him of super-powers for 24 hours.  This is so patently absurd that... okay, I love that, actually.  It's completely ridiculous and totally Silver Age science.  Because in the Silver Age, the unit of time for ALL silver-science phenomena is 24 hours.  Aquaman can survive without water... until  exactly 24 hours have passed.  Green Lantern's ring can do anything at all ... until exactly 24 hours have passed, when it shuts down completely.  The effects of Red Kryptonite, though unpredictable, often expire after 24 hours.  Besides, it is such an unabashed set-up plot device!  Superman needs to protect his secret ID for the office physical? Superflare those pesky powers away! Oh but then.... there's an emergency! WHAT WILL HE DO?!

Well, what he's NOT going to is clean under the fridge, that's for sure.

Fifth; yeah, you may not care, but this means Superman needs a new Heroclix dial! One that has an extra power Pulse Wave at his end dial, that double-action pushes him onto a powerless click that has Regen.  Oh, yeah, that'll happen, no question.  And it will be kind of awesome.  

Now THOSE are super-flares.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Driq, is that you....?

I was GOING to write about Superman's new power today.  But everything has to stop when you see this in the news:

Somewhere, Black Hand is laughing his ass off.

During the last few weeks of his life, 50-year-old Puerto Rico resident Renato Garcia took a shine to wearing the costume of DC Comics character Green Lantern after finding it in a bag of donated clothes. Unfortunately, Garcia passed away on Monday because of what Huffington Post reported were “respiratory issues.” Given Garcia’s attachment to the costume, his family was inspired to dress him up as the superhero for his wake held in his sister’s San Juan apartment. Although Garcia didn’t leave any instructions for his funeral arrangements, his family is pretty confident that he wouldn’t mind being last seen in the costume to which he had grown so attached.
Although he presumably didn’t fight crime, Garcia was considered something of a superhero to his loved ones.
“He was always very helpful,” his sister, Milagros Garcia, told Puerto Rican newspaper, Primera Hora. “You beckoned and he was always there.”
According to New York Daily News, posing the deceased upright and in a manner that is representative of their interests is a tradition gaining popularity in Puerto Rico. In 2014, professional boxer Christopher Rivera was propped up in the corner of a boxing ring and dressed in his fighting gear after his murder. The practice isn’t entirely unheard of in the continental U.S. either. Just last year, New Orleans socialite Mickey Easterling specifically instructed her family to make sure she looked just as fabulous in death as in life by displaying her with a cigarette holder, champagne flute, and a brooch emblazoned with the word “bitch.”

No comment from me is necessary here.  But one question:
what superhero costume would YOU like your corpse to be dressed in and propped up in public?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Simple; clean; shallow.

My latest Heroclix map; treads some new ground.

Or, rather...the lack thereof.

It's called


Sometimes simple and clean is good.  At least that's what I used to tell people when they asked about my boyfriend.

Heroclix maps are actually square grids, but the rules are such that you can pretty much play the game on a hex grid map as well.  I've never made one that way before, but this subject matter seemed to call for it.  Square grids are fine for most man-made environments (such as rooms, buildings, and streets), but a natural environment is better captured by the organic feel of a hex grid.

I'm happy with how this one turned out, and if it plays well, I will look to make similar hex grid maps of natural environments (such as tundra, jungle, desert, or canyon).  Suggestions are welcome.

In addition to the grid, I've designed some special terrain.  The map is all water except for the yellow-bordered "island" terrain, which is treated as elevated terrain for purposes of line of fire.  That means it doesn't impede movement, but it does make it possible to 'hide" from characters on the water by 'climbing' to the center of the island (where in some spots there is also vegetative hindering terrain).  

In addition, the islands are surrounded by the white-washed hexes that represent 'shallow water' terrain.  Shallow water terrain may be treated as regular non-water terrain by non-aquatic characters.

That litotes may be a bit confusing, particularly if you're not a frequent player.  You see, usually when a character enters water terrain it has to stop; then its speed is halved for all subsequent movements within or from water terrain.  There are abilities that let you ignore this effect, such as being a flyer (they fly above the water) or an aquatic figure (they are built to move in the water).  But in this case, the "shallow" terrain itself allows you to ignore the effect.   

But, then why have it be water at all?  Because it's still water terrain, which is relevant to a lot of special powers possessed by aquatic figures like Aquaman and Mera.  Who, believe you me, will be spending some quality time on this map (probably rescuing Green Arrow, who has a propensity for getting stranded).

This map is (another) attempt to find a way to make it easier to play aquatic figures (which there are more cool examples of which each new Heroclix set)  with non-aquatic figures.  For a bird may love a fish, but where will they fight a heroclix battle together?  With this map, each type of figure has its own turf (or surf) and they share the 'middle ground of the shallow water.  

For conversational convenience, I named the islands, taking the names from, well... actual (but fairly obscure) islands, from a variety of cultures, places, and languages.  It sounds much better than "Cay del Lex" or "Otis Bay".