Last week my local Fred Meyer was having a buy one, get one 1/2 off sale on all its board games. Unfortunately, I already had all the versions of clue and risk that I really needed. One box, hidden way down there on the bottom shelf, next to Don't Break the Ice caught my eye though. HeroScope? Hmmm...I thought, hadn't I seen that in the BGG 100 or something? I better further investigate. Upon a quick search here (and realizing the name was actually HeroScape) and reading a few reviews, I decided to take the plunge.
Once I'd gotten the game home and began unpacking I realized why it had been so hefty....it's loaded with stuff! I tried to set up the first scenario on our default playing surface, the kitchen table. Er, no way. I was a little worried, as there was zero likely-hood I was going to set it up on the floor because, unlike myself, my wife does not have a 12 year old boys mentality when it comes to playing board games. After much consternation, I determined that the computer desk, once cleared of all that useless computing stuff, would be the perfect surface for a Milton Bradley game I purchased for $30.
Now, how to convince my wife to play... This was clearly a fantasy wargame (well, maybe not clearly a wargame but anyhow) and while my wife is not necessarily against either of those.....look it's kinda like that commercial for a fast food chain where two people are sitting in a car and one guy goes on about how his crazy, insane beverage makes him 'awesome' and he turns to his wife and asks her what her peach iced tea makes her? And she replies, "an adult." Yeah, it's kinda like that.
Luckily, the other half of my "buy one.." deal had been the fortress expansion. One thing my wife cannot resist is putting things together. She just loves building things, fences, raised beds for our gardens, a better way to organize computer wires...she's got that kind of mind. The way I initially got her to play BattleCry was her noticing that the flags hadn't been put on the units. So she took to the Fortress expansion and it's 144 pieces with zeal. HeroScape was in.
For our first game I decided to go with the first master game scenario in the rulebook, "Clashing Fronts." After looking through the book, I knew the Basic game was just a little too..well, basic and I knew we could start with the master game but I didn't think my wife would exactly be ready to start out drafting her army. I probably underestimated her here, but, in any case, I "drafted" armies for both of us using the Basic game scenario as a guide. For simplicity I also eliminated the glymphs.
I set up the armies as follows:
Krav Maga Agents (100)
Tarn Viking Warriors (50)
Thorgrim the Champion (80)
Finn the Viking Champion (80)
Deathwalker 9000 (140)
Zettian Guards (70)
Izumi Samurai (60)
Marro warriors (50)
After a reasonably quick explanation of the rules, we got underway. She won initiative (as she would 90% of the time) and sent her Viking Warriors and Krav Magna Agents north to the ruins, I countered with Marro warriors and Ne-Gok-Sa, with the samurai backing them up. You know, just in case...
The vikings engaged the Marro and proceeded to slaughter them.
Although we weren't keeping track of rounds (another semi-cheat from the rulebook to keep it simple), by "round" three Ne-Gok-Sa (who I had read a review that recommended him, and would eventually become instrumental in the outcome of this game but at this point I was like .... wha??) was on the run and I called in my samarai.
The Marros were all dead, their respawning ability sadly unused. The samurai were able to move in and push back the Krav Magna and through a couple of lucky rolls by me were eliminated. The vikings continued to pursue the cowardly (er, elusive) Ne-Gok-Sa.
Around this point Emily and I realized there was a whole other half of the board. Her Viking Champions began to move up to higher ground while Syvarris marched right up the board, firing ineffective ranged attacks at the Deathwalker and his Zettian gaurds (all of whom I had selected b/c I loved the show Exo-Squad as a kid).
The samurai (who turned out to be much more impressive than I had been expecting) sent Thor to Valhalla, whose spirit would help his brother put an end to my samurai.
Still, good show, Izumi Samurai. Good show.
The archer and the Exo Squads were now engaged. It was a drawn out battle as the Deathwalker/Zettian have a ton of defense, but very little offense. Also, it felt like Syvarris had 14 lives (double-checking now, I see that it is only 4). A Zettian fell. But on the next turn revenge was had.
To the north a bit, the vikings had Ne-Gok-Sa cornered, whose repeated 1-in-20 rolls to take control of their minds were met with nervous derision by Emily. In the end, Ne-Gok-Sa showed a little backbone (if he has one, I really don't know...) and killed off the vikings with the help of the last Zettian guard. The Deathwalker had ascended to the top of the .... well, plain I guess is how you'd describe it .. to meet Finn. They came together at the impasse.
"With the spirit of my fallen brother and the pride...." Finn started.
"Meeechhch..NNN>..uchh..BOOM!!!" the Deathwalker was eliminated from play.
For those of you who have actually read and followed along this far... Emily had Finn the Champion remaining. I had a single Zettian gaurd and the dastardly Ne-Gok-Sa left.
Finn advanced across the plain and engaged the final Zeittan.
He made a sound similar to the Deathwalker when he died.
Ne-Gok-Sa climbed the plain (hill?) as Finn was descending. At this point Finn had 3 wounds to Ne-Gok-Sa's two but as they came together, Finn had initiative (and his brother's spirit and a height advantage). His attack was ferocious and put two more hits on Ne-Gok-Sa.
I rolled for my mind control ("This is how you'll win the game," Emily said while rolling her eyes..), but a 16 came up on the die.
I put all three dice in my hand and shook them furiously. Emily dropped her 4 defensive dice.
Three skulls to one shield.
Ne-Gok-Sa was the last one standing.
-- If we'd been playing rounds the game would have ended probably around the time Syvarris was taking on Deathwalker and the Zettian guards. The entire end game would have been eliminated.
--I really liked the Deathwalker and the guards. After the game I figured out it would only take 6 attacking die to neutralize the 9 defensive die...but for awhile he seemed invincible. (There was also a psychological advantage, I believe, in having to ask Emily to hand over some more dice before I could roll as the Deathwalker).
--Of all the games, THIS game in particular could use a dice tower (preferably 2).
--I'm probably going to blow a lot of money on this.
Wow, what a fun game!
EDIT: Grammar and clarity
- Last edited Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:29 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jun 19, 2007 7:06 pm
Pew pew pew!!!
I'm a member of the Game Artisans of Canada
Careful. This game will take your wallet when you aren't looking.
The game terrain wise really starts to shine after the forth basic set and 2 or 3 of the fortress and bridge expansions. Of course you'll need some lava and snow tiles...
Not to mention the new base set coming out with swamp tiles....
...slowly getting... pulled in....
I've never played Heroscape. It looks kind of fun, but I'm not really into the money sink, nor the presumeable time sink.
... must resist...
Sure sounds cool, though.
...money burning hole in pocket.....
Come to think of it, I am supposed to take my son to the toy store tomorrow.
...it's for the kids, honey....
He's only 4, but if you add his twin brother, that makes 8, right? Surely an 8-year-old could play this game.
...they're four-and-a-half, so that makes 9....
Plus, I can always point out that there's this guy on BGG whose wife enjoyed putting it together. That'll sell, I bet.
Thanks for your kind replies to my post. I don't necessarily think this is a money sink and, as many have pointed out before, it's not like a collectible game where you don't have any idea what you are getting each time so you just keep throwing money at it. Admittedly, though, that Frozen Tundra expansion looks pretty cool...
For someone with young boys, I would highly recommend it. I have my own son on the way (due date: 10/26/07) and I'm sure he will be attracted to it just for the cool "toys." (Of course, I understand he'll have to be a certain age and well supervised to prevent any accidental consumption of Syvarris, but still).
In any case, it's a fun game that can even be enjoyed by adults (how many kid's games can claim that?).
Go for it.
What's a money sink is that many of the boosters contain "common" squads. Not common as in collectable rarity - with Heroscape, you know what you're buying with every pack, and nothing should be hard to get hold of - but common as in you can field 2 or 3 or 4 copies at once. Buying 3 of every common is what gets really expensive.
On the other hand, fielding 12 Roman Legionaries and 9 Roman archers does look pretty good (you could almost be persuaded that Heroscape is a "sensible" game, if you stick to stuff like the Romans and the Samurai).
You're right, though - there's plenty in there for adults with a sense of fun to enjoy.
As for minimum ages, my daughter is 4, and she enjoys heroscape more than any of the Haba games bought for her. Played using the simple rules, it's quite manageable for the 6-8 age group, or younger children if they've already been introduced to games and counting.
She's rubbish at the tactics, though