The Grognard Gets Clicked…
November 26, 2007
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I went to the local comic shop this weekend for the “New Guy Night” HeroClix game. It could just be my location, but I thought the Freak/Geek level was pretty high. I got loaded up with a bag full of super hero clicky thingies in addition to the official complementary Hulk figure. The guy next to me gave me a nice Batman figure and the Judge gave out bags of eight figure teams to play the night’s session with. I had just about the exact same experience when I tried the Mechwarrior clicky game at a convention, so if you have the slightest interest in where the mainstream has gone for tactical board games, you can try them without paying a dime and get more than enough stuff to play just by going to one of these gaming groups that tend to meet in comic shops.
The judge made sure I had someone to play with– being the only “real” bonafide “new guy” he took charge of me himself. Some guy tried to buy his dice while we were playing and he had to pause to award swag every twenty minutes or so, but he did his best to at least give me a moderate amount of attention. Our first game we played without powers and I got used to the “basing” tactics and the ranges. I never did get the hang of the line of site rules, and I think that diagonal movement was treated the same as straight-line moves. In the second game we played with some of the powers– some pieces had damage resistance or stealth… and others could force a die re-roll once a turn. Without spending a few hours examining each piece and studying the rules, there’s no way to really understand the real capabilities of a piece. Sure, the main stats are right there for all to see, but there’s tons of color coded extra stuff that you have to know to get the full story. We didn’t really finish the second game, but I got the gist of things. The game is a little more abstract than the MechWarrior clicky game. The Battletech derived game forces you to coordinate infantry and vehicles with your Mechs to get the best effects– and “pilot” cards and equipment can further customize the behaviors of the BattleMechs. The Super Hero game seems a little bit more simplified, and has a large amount of off-the-wall variety in the pieces.
It is neat that there’s “rated” events every week. I got signed up with a WizKids membership and all of my games and results are tracked there. Rulebooks and other information is all available online. (All of these niceties would have been really great for a game like Car Wars. Too bad “autodueltimes” never took off for 5th edition.) On the other hand, having to buy two eleven dollar packs of figures to play in an “official” tournament type game sounds like a little bit much… and keeping track of the constant stream of gimmicks just seems tedious. I have to admit that the gaming models of the seventies and eighties have been soundly demolished by more modern approaches– and with good reason. Nevermind that WizKids is a hundred times more evil than Steve Jackson Games ever thought about being– these guys have a market, they cater to it, they’ve made it accessible, and they’re very organized. The Clix phenomenon combines the themes of dumbed down eighties tactical games with the marketing model of Magic the Gathering– and it is just plain unnerving to see the nerds line up to buy package after package of prepainted plastic “toy” miniatures. But that’s okay… the old school games got beat fair and square. The old school games didn’t hardly seem to put up a fight…. Even if you don’t like the new stuff, you’ve got to respect it. A little. Sort of.
Okay, never mind.