What is Heroclix?Heroclix is a collectable miniatures game from the company Wizkids who had previously done quite well out of their Mage Knight game which used an almost identical dial system. Heroclix is for superheroes and villains from the Marvel, DC and 'indie' comics. The best known pieces from the indie sets are 2000ad's Judge Dredd which has a variety of judges as well as the dark judges. There's also a hellboy set that crosses over with the Horrorclix game. Mostly though Heroclix is Marvel and DC and yes, you can play mixed teams or comic vs comic or whatever you want really. Most people prefer to create "real" teams based on classic comic book matchups but short of putting a hero with his arch-enemy on the same team you can combine pieces in any way you want.
How does it work?Quite simply each figure has a dial on its base which indicates its speed, attack power, defense and damage. To hit you need to roll two dice and add the attackers power and compare it to the defense value of the target. If you have rolled high enough you inflict damage equal to the characters damage value. Then there are colours on the dial, which indicate super powers. This method of clicking down towards defeat means a hero or villain can have numerous powers that are activated. Spiderman for example might start off able to leap around and fire his webs to tangle up villains and then slowly click around to a burst of super strength or a last ditch super powerful attack.
As damage = turns of the dial it allows characters to become weaker as they get battered, or in the case of The Hulk and a couple of other angry types they get meaner the more you hurt them! Generally though most pieces start off with their best abilities and slowly lose potency as they take damage, often with a last ditch super attack at the end of their dial to represent those comic book moments where the hero beats down their foe against all odds. Playing a game of Heroclix is satisfyingly like watching a comic book play out in 3d in front of you and there's no denying the dial system is a genuine innovation.
GameplayBuilding a team is easy, each figure has a points cost so you just build a team worth 100, 200, 300 or more points and pit them against an equal enemy force. One thing Wizkids have done really well is making the powers easy to remember. A reference card spells out what each power does very simply so there's not much room for confusion but every concievable power is covered from the Jokers skill at outwitting Batman to Mr Fantastic's ability to stretch his body and avoid being hit.
Rarity and Playing piecesThere are a huge number of Heroclix pieces and virtually every hero and villain you'll have read about is already available in some form.Note that some sets are "retired" which is a shocking scam really, simply telling customers the item they purchased is now worthless but hey, we have a new one you can buy. Ignore this, only the hardcore tournament folks need worry about that.
Pieces are divided into rarity, there are common, uncommon, rare, super rare, limited editions and convention exclusives. The level of rarity really dictates what a piece is worth to a gamer but be aware that the value of these pieces starts off very high and then drops off fairly quickly as the most insatiable fans get what they want and the rest of us put half-hearted two quid bids on the rest till eventually we get it. There are some pieces that are never going to be cheap but if you're prepared to wait a while you'll get a much better deal.
Also be aware these pieces used to come in 3 levels of power - rookie, experienced and veteran. This meant you could throw a cheap rookie Batman into your Justice League team for example or build it around a veteran. Although this had benefits in terms of combining teams it also meant you'd end up with even more duplicated pieces. This has now been ditched but I'm mentioning it because at first this might be confusing to a new player. Newer pieces often come with a card, a retrograde step for a game based on memorable simple rules but on the other hand these cards do allow for some genuinely unique powers and are quite nice to have along with your piece. For example Batman has an out of the shadows power allowing him to emerge from any nearby hiding terrain. These cards are generally well thought out and open up some interesting new options. Not everyone likes them and I was dead against them at first but I've come to like them.
Collecting HeroclixOk here's the thing with CMG games, they like to sell you stuff in sealed boxes. Inside could be the pieces you were after, but probably not. This is fine if you know a dozen guys all looking to trade their unwanted stuff but to be honest it's a swizz really, designed to make you buy things you don't want. Luckily with eBay you can bypass that nonsense and it actually works out cheaper, though if you have a taste for complete sets or want every super-rare piece in the game then booster pack buying is the way you'll have to go. For us less dedicated fans who just want the standard pieces and a couple of nice rares eBay is a much more sensible option. Check out people shedding their collections, these are often extremely cheap as people already playing don't want 100 duplicates and 10 pieces they need.
If you are new to the game I would suggest going for one of these big collections, you can pick up 50 or so for around £10 with no problems and then fill in the gaps in your collection with single figures. Keep an eye on the shop listings, they are often a lot cheaper and a lot more willing to cut you a good postage deal than individual sellers though this obviously varies. Always check what kind of shipping deal people offer, I've been stung a couple of times by people selling figures at £1 each with £2 postage who claim to offer postage discounts but in reality only knock 10p of the postage. Shops are more sensible and realise it's better to have you as a plastic-addicted customer coming back time and again than ripping you off once.
Starter SetsThere are several starter sets, you will want one of these for the rules reference card (though you can get and print it online you'll refer to it so often it's fairly essential to have). The starters are:
Universe: Spiderman, Wolverine, Wasp, Sabertooth, Elektra and Hobgoblin + rules and map.Icons: Batman, Robin, Hawkgirl, Joker, Harley Quinn, Man Bat + rules and map.
XMen Danger Room: Cyclops, Jean Gre, Beast, Angel, Colossus and Storm + rules and map.
Legion of Superheroes: Phantom Girl, Timber Wolf, Young Superman, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Ultra
Boy, Shrinking Violet and Saturn Girl plus map and newly updated rules.
The Days of Future Past set also comes with rules, a huge sentinel, Col Logan and Hound.
Is Heroclix any good?Although there's a younger audience for the game plenty of adults are into this one too. The pre-painted miniatures are made to a good standard and generally improving as the sets go on and the rules are simple but still challenging enough to make you think. There are numerous maps available and a huge variety of pieces. I have to warn you though that it's very hard to just buy a few, especially when they are so cheap on eBay.
Chances are if you play it once and enjoy it you'll quickly find you have an insatiable desire to collect every hero and villain ever to grace a comic book! One last thing, rest assured the powers are easy to learn so after a few games you'll know which colour indicates super strength, which one is leap/climb and you'll be able to ditch that reference card..until you get some new pieces with unusual powers. I like any game where you can pretty much ditch the rulebook and play from memory so if you're looking for something of similar complexity but with some deeper strategy and zero painting effort Heroclix could well be the game for you!
Thanks for reading my guide, if you found it useful please vote for it below - if not please let me know why not and I'll do what I can to improve it.
Heroclix is copyright Wizkids Inc.