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Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Heroscape: The Red-Headed Stepchild of Hasbro rss

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Jacob Hall
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Background
It was a miniatures game, it wasn't a miniatures game. It was a family board game, it wasn't a family board game. I remember seeing the first Heroscape advertisements on TV when I was younger it seemed to be targeted to younger kids. When I finally got the game though, I found out that it had tons of meat to it. For the next few years I blew about $1,500 on the game and expansions until one day, Hasbro announced they were no longer going to be making Heroscape. Heroscape had died.

Heroscape suffered from a few problems, it was a miniatures game, that was too simple for many miniatures players, and it was too "complicated" for the family market. Thus Heroscape was sort of the red-headed stepchild of Hasbro. Now that the game is dead though and no more expansions are being made for it, does it still live on? Can Heroscape truly be an undead game that keeps living even though it is dead?zombie


Here is a large and long game of Heroscape in action. This map probably contains over 4 or more mastersets...


Gameplay Overview
Heroscape is a unique game. The board is made up of interlocking hexagonal shaped pieces. These pieces are fitted together much like LEGOs into large and often beautiful maps. These maps can be player made or you can follow instructions in the back of the different rule books to find different scenarios. The players will sort through different army cards and build their armies based on a point total. Once the armies are chosen, they are placed into a starting zone and the battle starts.

The game happens in a predetermined number of rounds depending on the scenario or player choice. Each round has three turns. At the start of the round, players place order markers and roll for initiative. The player that wins initiative goes first. He'll reveal his first order marker and move and attack with the figures activated by the order marker. The players will take turns until the 3rd turn is up. Then you'll rinse and repeat. All the figures have special powers that will allow them to break the general rules of the game. It is important to read the wording of the cards because the difference of a few words can greatly change a power. (This is where many first mistakes are made in the game).

The rules of the game are very simple. If you want to learn the rules though, you'll have to look them up yourself because I don't want to repeat them all here. Rather I'll only mention that they are actually quite simple and rather intuitive rules.

Component Overview
The components of the game are amazingly good quality until you hit the D&D expansions (wave 11-13). The figures are sturdy and well made although there are figures here and there with some flimsy weapons, but with proper storage, there is no need to worry about them.

While in the component section of this review, let me state if you don't have this game already and plan on buying it, look up some ways of storing the game. This game is space intensive and if you want to store your figures in a easy to access and protective manner, a good way is to use fishing tackle boxes, or sowing boxes (they're the exact same thing, but for some reason the sowing versions are cheaper at my Wal-Mart...go figure).


Here is a picture of my own storage of Heroscape. For my $1,500 worth of figures, I've used seven sowing boxes and two larger and deeper tackle boxes.

Theme Overview
The theme for Heroscape is actually rather weak. The theme is that on a different world, Valkyrie generals have found magical wellsprings that allow them to summon warriors from different worlds. They usually only do this right before death befalls these warriors (valkyries carrying dead warriors off you know). These warriors fight for them in this new world. This is why you have ninjas fighting robots, fighting dinosaur riding orcs, aliens, and elves, trolls, and dragons. While the theme is weak, who the fetch cares?! We've got dragons burninating samurai & Minutemen. Do you want an army full of ninjas and zombies? Got that. What about some lava dude? Totally got them too (although now they're on the more expensive side).


Here is an example of some of the different units you'll see: Kyrie, samurai, zombies, ghosts and orcs!

Positives
One of the biggest positives of Heroscape is the ability to customize your games with extreme ease. Are you 30 and want to play with your young 4 year old son/daughter? Easy, build them a powerful army while you pick some cool yet underpowered figures and you've leveled the playing field. I did this constantly with my younger brother while I was in high school to help even the playing field and he enjoyed the game, had some good chances to win and won a fair amount as well. Do you want a quick game or a long one? These are all very easy things to do. Do you want a game that tells a story? Oh yeah. Do you want to do kind of a dungeon crawl? You can do that too! I mean this game really is very versatile.

Negatives
Cost...that really is the only downside besides the setup time. Setup time can be mitigated by efficient storage but the cost of Heroscape (if you want the full game) is rather expensive. Even the cost though isn't too bad if all you want is a masterset with a few expansions though. So even so, these two negatives aren't that big of a deal.

Conclusion
My conclusion...

Yeah, I give it that many stars out of 5. This game is by far my favorite game of all time and I suspect it will remain that for the rest of my life. This game may be dead, but it will live on in the hearts of many people for decades to come. This is why I say this game will become an undead game, one that is dead and probably won't ever live again, but won't ever die off completely.
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Todd Redden
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I'm always happy to see Heroscape brought back and introduced to those otherwise unfamiliar with it. There are a lot of games that are out of print yet we don't consider them to be dead, though this one is absolutely unlikely to ever get reprinted, so the description is a valid one I suppose. Still, judging by the user base over at www.heroscapers.com I would say those of us who invested in the game as it was released, and for whom the game has eternal play potential, it can be said the game could live on forever! It is the favorite of many gamers, and is one of my very top shelf favorites too. Anyone who has never tried it should give it a chance if it ever comes your way. The King is dead. Long live the King!
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Greg
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Nice review!

Love me some Heroscape!
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Heroscape is not quite "dead":






Over at Heroscapers, a large group of volunteers has been working hard to keep up a regular release schedule of carefully designed and playtested new units. So far we, the C3V, have released four full waves - four "packs" each - and one large figure expansion. All the minis are (or were, when we released the info about them) available; 'Scapers have only to download the expertly crafted pdfs to get the cards (Basic side, too!), print and play.

Here is our handiwork, for a total of (so far) 60 new units. One of our awesome fans put together a graphic index here, which you can also explore in French, if that's your thing.

I couldn't agree more with everything you wrote, I just took issue with the "dead" business.
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Kroz wrote:

My conclusion...

Yeah, I give it that many stars out of 5. This game is by far my favorite game of all time and I suspect it will remain that for the rest of my life.


I couldn't agree with you more. thumbsup This is the only game that I can honestly give a pure 10.

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Steve Shockley
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I only discovered Heroscape a couple of years ago, and had a sort of where-have-you-been-all-my-life epiphany. The game really is something special. I've since spent hundreds of dollars acquiring expansions, often paying top dollar on eBay - but it's all been worth it.
Heroscape lives on!
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Jacob Hall
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D S...if you had an issue with the "dead" thing you missed the whole point of the review. This game is dead as in Hasbro gave Heroscape concrete shoes and dumped it off the pier, yet since Heroscape seems to be a zombie game zombie it keeps living even though it's brain (Hasbro) is dead. The game is thus technically dead, but it won't die in our hearts. I can honestly say that 20 years down the road, it will still be my #1 game. It would take a miracle to dethrone this game and I feel that there are MANY people out there with the same feeling about this game.

I wish I could have given it more than a ten though, I would have given it like, an 84 or something like that.
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I initially dismissed Heroscape as a kiddies game and gave it a wide berth. Once I spotted the glowing reviews and awesome pictures on BGG, I thought I'd grab a master set and give it a go. Liked it immediately, but only I bought expansions for it in slow time as I thought Hasbro would keep it going forever. Sadly I was wrong. Before it died I managed to get hold of two master sets (but not the swamp one), the Marvel set, two forests and a tundra pack. Not a massive amount, but plenty to use to play with my daughter once she gets old enough. She's currently five, so not long until I can corrupt her little life with Heroscape and Heroquest. Muhahaha!



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Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski
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Seth Owen
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Teamski wrote:
Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski


Wow! Four of every squad! I was satisfied to get at least one of every squad so I'd have a complete set. Got a few multiples of some of the common squads but they weren't always easy to find. Stores tended not to restock so long as the wave's unique heroes were still on the shelf. Hasbro wasn't too smart on that score (uniques and commons shouldn't have been in the same waves, in my opinion)
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Jacob Hall
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Teamski wrote:
Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski


Battleship Galaxies had potential, but at least it still sits on the shelves. I wish there were expansions for it though.
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Heroscape may not be dead, but it's very difficult, and expensive, for someone new to jump into at this point.
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wargamer55 wrote:
Teamski wrote:
Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski


Wow! Four of every squad! I was satisfied to get at least one of every squad so I'd have a complete set. Got a few multiples of some of the common squads but they weren't always easy to find. Stores tended not to restock so long as the wave's unique heroes were still on the shelf. Hasbro wasn't too smart on that score (uniques and commons shouldn't have been in the same waves, in my opinion)


I dragged my wife to two different Walmarts and TRU on a weekly basis. It was a sickness. Later, I got them online.

-Ski
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wargamer55 wrote:
Teamski wrote:
Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski


Wow! Four of every squad! I was satisfied to get at least one of every squad so I'd have a complete set. Got a few multiples of some of the common squads but they weren't always easy to find. Stores tended not to restock so long as the wave's unique heroes were still on the shelf. Hasbro wasn't too smart on that score (uniques and commons shouldn't have been in the same waves, in my opinion)


Uniques were always packaged in one separate set among each of the waves, which all had 4 sets of 3 common and 1 unique set. I feel quite lucky and glad/satisfied to have 3 of each common figure. I remember always preordering from housemousegames.com so I had no trouble getting everything at the lowest cost around at the time. Pretty amazing, now that Acquilla's Alliance and Ticalla Jungle sets are going for such huge fortunes from all sources.

I only wish I could have the wherewithal to continue with the horde of user designed figures. I'm afraid once I start with that I won't be satisfied until I have THEM ALL!!!! and I would lose my shirt in the end. No, I'll be satisfied with all the standard stuff. There's plenty there to never run out of new combinations.
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tmredden wrote:


I only wish I could have the wherewithal to continue with the horde of user designed figures. I'm afraid once I start with that I won't be satisfied until I have THEM ALL!!!! and I would lose my shirt in the end. No, I'll be satisfied with all the standard stuff. There's plenty there to never run out of new combinations.


Luckily, I have no interest in user designed figures at all. Many are not balanced whatsoever so it was easy to pass up.

-Ski
 
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Teamski wrote:
Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski


I was another one that was blessed to get into the game early on. It took some tenacity but I managed to get 6 of every figure release and 12-20 of every terrain release. Our game group used to play weekly on epic maps. Now we set up an epic map once a year and play on it for a couple of months. Great game system and quality components. I credit HeroScape with really getting me into the hobby of boardgames in a big way.
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Dean Petters
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I got in about 2 years late. Wave 5 had just been released, and even at that time some waves were tough to get - especially 3 & 4. Only have two of those :-(

now the only thing i'm missing are the GenCon exclusives that were not re-released...
 
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Teamski wrote:
Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski


I was also disappointed when Battleship Galaxies went nowhere. When Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures came out it was evident that was everything BG was aiming for only so much better. No need for Battleship Galaxies any more. Anyway, that all belongs in another thread...
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Teamski wrote:
tmredden wrote:


I only wish I could have the wherewithal to continue with the horde of user designed figures. I'm afraid once I start with that I won't be satisfied until I have THEM ALL!!!! and I would lose my shirt in the end. No, I'll be satisfied with all the standard stuff. There's plenty there to never run out of new combinations.


Luckily, I have no interest in user designed figures at all. Many are not balanced whatsoever so it was easy to pass up.

-Ski


Heroscapers has a huge assortment of customs. Huge. I have little interest in most of them, which have not (as far as I can tell) been through any rigorous design or playtesting process. That is not the case with the C3V, linked above, which is quite rigorous, but I can't vouch for the others.
 
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We allow C3V in our local tournaments. They don't dominate at all, but instead allow often neglected units become more playable (one of the main design goals). Haduc makes the Elves competitive. Omegacron makes Omnicron Snipers and Repulsors viable. The Dreadguls let you bond with Jotun. Deathcommander Mark 3 makes you want to play Deathstalkers. Great stuff.

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As an example some other posters and I discussed Mok (see card above) in another thread. I explained to a booing crowd that I felt that the figure was way overpowered. When they carefully reread card, they reluctantly agreed. I don't like custom figures.

-Ski
 
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Well, I guess we're not big time until some critics denounce us as incompetent. I encourage our readers to draw their own conclusions, if they are so inclined. Sorry for the hijack.
 
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Bixby wrote:
Teamski wrote:
Luckily, I got into Heroscape pretty early, so I was able to get 4 of every squad made. It wasn't cheap and I had deal with my wife's evil eye. However, Heroscape was special and when I pulled it out, I had some incredible 8 player games! There will never be another game like it. Battleship Galaxies was JUST that close, but it died on the vine.

-Ski


I was another one that was blessed to get into the game early on. It took some tenacity but I managed to get 6 of every figure release and 12-20 of every terrain release. Our game group used to play weekly on epic maps. Now we set up an epic map once a year and play on it for a couple of months. Great game system and quality components. I credit HeroScape with really getting me into the hobby of boardgames in a big way.


I was rereading this thread and I remembered discovering one downfall of the acquisition that hit me when I was putting together a few boards and 500 point armies to bring down to ConnCON in Stamford CT this weekend. I was satisfied with 3 of each common and one of the unique hero figure packs of each wave as they rolled out. I've never played with the glyphs very much, and I decided why not? They may add a new dimension to the already multifaceted game. 2 of the maps I'm bringing called for glyphs so I'm bringing them along, and was sorting through the mass of glyphs I've collected and databased. Then, I realized that a few glyphs came in wave sets (Mallidon's Prophecy gave one glyph in each pack.) And, because I bought only one hero set from Mallidon's Prophecy, I also have only one Lucky Twenty-Sider Glyph (for example.) In fact there are four glyphs which I have only one of each. Oh well, just thought I would share that realization.
 
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Teamski wrote:
As an example some other posters and I discussed Mok (see card above) in another thread. I explained to a booing crowd that I felt that the figure was way overpowered. When they carefully reread card, they reluctantly agreed. I don't like custom figures.

-Ski


Unfortunately some figures of official heroscape are overpowered as all get up! When more than half of tournament armies include one figure, you know they're a bit overpowered. Then there are official figures that are such garbage that the only reason they get pulled out is to handicap yourself against bad players, or because they just look cool. Yeah I'm looking at you Dund.

There is no perfection, even among the official figures so to expect it from the C3V is overdoing it a bit much.
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tmredden wrote:


I was rereading this thread and I remembered discovering one downfall of the acquisition that hit me when I was putting together a few boards and 500 point armies to bring down to ConnCON in Stamford CT this weekend. I was satisfied with 3 of each common and one of the unique hero figure packs of each wave as they rolled out. I've never played with the glyphs very much, and I decided why not? They may add a new dimension to the already multifaceted game. 2 of the maps I'm bringing called for glyphs so I'm bringing them along, and was sorting through the mass of glyphs I've collected and databased. Then, I realized that a few glyphs came in wave sets (Mallidon's Prophecy gave one glyph in each pack.) And, because I bought only one hero set from Mallidon's Prophecy, I also have only one Lucky Twenty-Sider Glyph (for example.) In fact there are four glyphs which I have only one of each. Oh well, just thought I would share that realization.


I quit playing with glyphs a very long time ago. It ended when I lost to a guy who had the range +4 glyph with two squads of Omnicron Snipers on a paperclip bridge (this was before the bridge expansion came out). they had a range of 12 and rolled two dice for attack. Needless to say, I couldn't get anywhere close to him and it turned out to be a bloodbath brought on by a random glyph. Yep, it ended right there.

This is the map we used that day back in 2005:



-Ski
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