Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
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The Background

I have become a late convert to Heroscape. Having walked past it on the shelves of various stores in Scotland, I saw an article on BGG stating it was for sale in Argos UK for the unbelievable price of £7.99, so naturally I succumbed and bought two.

I have two young sons aged six and ten and I am a kick in the backside off my sixtieth birthday. The three of us enjoy playing BattleLore, Memoir '44, Battle Cry and Descent. The kids certainly love the role playing aspects of Descent and have taken it to heart. Since playing Heroscape, Descent has not touched the table.

The Contents

Four standard packs comprising:

a) Heroes of Bleakwood
b) Snipers and Vipers
c) Grut Orcs
d) The Ninth Roman Legion

a) An eclectic bunch of rogues and heroes featuring:

Marcus Decimus Gallus, a Roman Centurion who looks the part with his wolfskin cloak and transverse mounted plume. Fights fot Einar. He reminds me a bit of Lucius Vorenus from the HBO/BBC mini-series ROME. Forget the kids, this one is mine. No ranged attack but can allow all his soldiers to move an additional space and any adjacent to him get an additional defence die. This is the stuff of movies.

The Venoc Warlord is a slimy looking green reptile who fights for Ullar and only really comes into his own when used in conjunction with the Venoc Vipers. Can walk on water and gives movement bonuses to scouts and a +1 to a frenzy die roll.

Kelda the Kyrie Warrior fights for Jandar and looks a bit grim with her royal blue cat suit and grey skin. I am sure she needs the grey skin for a very good reason but I am tempted to repaint it in a pale flesh colour. Maybe she just hasn't removed her face pack. Has the flying ability and can heal.

Taelord the Kyrie Warrior is a big fierce looking mother reminiscient of the illustrious Governator Arnold in his Conan days. This model has muscles in places that I don't even have places. He can fly and gives an attack bonus to all models within four spaces. Was requisitioned by my six-year-old straight away. Fights for Utgar.

Tornak is an orc mounted on a velociraptor. I can only hope he knows how to hang onto the thing. He gives an extra attack and defence die to adjacent figures and has the disengagement bonus applicable to all orcs. Bit disappointed here that all those sharp teeth on the raptor are not given the recognition they are due.

b) Snipers and Vipers bring two diametrically opposite sets of troops to the game:

The Omicron Snipers in question are Soulborgs from the bright side of Jandar. Brilliant white with royal blue accessories, they would grace any catwalk let alone a battlefield and look like rejected extras from the first Star Wars trilogy. Only one shot but a deadly one, so get them up on a hill and put the foot down on an attacking glyph and they may even get that part in the next Star Wars trilogy.

The Venoc Vipers are a smaller version of the Venoc Warlord and naturally fight for Ullar gaining the scouting and frenzy benefits from their boss. They also walk on water. HEALTH WARNING: THEY HAVE A DEFENSE OF 0, ZERO, ZIP, SWEET FANNY ADAMS.

c) Grut Orcs comprising Archers and Swordsmen:

The Arrow Gruts fight for Utgar and look like normal storybook orcs but are blue. Must come from a colder clime. According to their special powers they bond with beasts but, as there may be children reading this, I fear going into detail. Only have an attack of one die but are cheap at 40pts.

The Blade Gruts are their sword weilding blue brethern and make up the rest of the cannon fodder. Cheap and cheerful if such an adjective can be used to describe orcs.

d) The Ninth Roman Legion consisting of Archers and Legionnaires:

Why oh why are these magnificient swordsmen called Roman Legionnaires; they are Italian, not French and fight for Einar, not cheese and biscuits. They do not surrender easily either. These are the Pulios to Lucius Vorenus and should be called Legionaries. Adopted by me with the kids not allowed to touch them under pain of ostracisation (they are too scared by the sound of that word to even look it up in a dictionary). Great wee men ready to serve their fearless leader.

The Roman Archers are the ranged back up that the Legionaries need. Very poor defence but have a great salvo attack using all three to fire at the same target at once.

The Road to Perdition

I have purchased four sets of Romans to give me a 520pt legion consisting of 29 figures and two sets of vipers and snipers so the wee ones can hunt in packs. Despite the drain on the plastic I can field some impressive looking units as seen below.

Naming and Shaming


A Viper Conclave - Slimey Toad and Friends


Pulio Titus and Lucius Vorenus - better known as Maximus Phallus


You're only called the Ninth coz we ate the other eight!


Maximus Phallus et Legio IX cross the Rubicon: Iacta alea est.

Again, I rate this expansion a ten. That is my subjective judgement based solely on the great time I have playing it with my boys. It is not for everyone. You may notice that I paint the sides of my bases in the colours of the appropriate Valkyrie general. I also play serious wargames and Heroscape is a delightfully different kettle of fish.

Regards,

Jim O'Neill
Est. 1949
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J B
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Re: Heroscape Wave 1 - Mallidon's Prophecy for kids of all
Fun review!

If you like this set and the Rise of the Valkyrie Master, I recommend the Greeks and Vipers pack from Collection 4: Zanafor's Discovery. It has three tougher Vipers that bond with the Warlord, plus a squad of four Greek soldiers that bond with Einar Warlords and gain a defense bonus if your enitre army is of a "Disciplined" personality. They have a leader, Parmenio, who is contained in Collection 4's hero pack. He can change the personality of any army card, allowing you to use it in your army to help the Greeks, plus he can allow his Greek buddies to avoid wounds if they are near him. It's a fun combo, and is interesting to run against the Romans or alongside them. The other figures in Parmenio's hero pack are worth getting too.

Also in the "Ancient World" theme are the Gladiators from Collection 5. In the states the Gladiator pack is clogging up shelves, so I don't know how avialable it is over there. Three Gladiator heroes are packaged with female Nakita Agents for Vydar. The agents ahve a real Charlie's Angels or Emma Peel sort of vibe, and have some nice special abilities. They can throw down smoke powder to avoid ranged attacks (and protect adjacent friends). They can take a free hit at anyone who comes close (kung-fu style) and they can move their Gorillinator friends before they take a turn. Gorillinators are found in Collection 3.
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Steve R Bullock
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Palm Coast
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I continue to enjoy your comments on Heroscape! Bravo!

The first expansion set is still my favorite, and I too have several packs of Romans as well as Orcs. Looks exciting on the battlefield with four packs of Romans going toe to toe against four packs of Orcs!

Now if only I could find a Maximus Dikus figure...
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John O'Haver
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Louisville
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Sixty and sons aged six and ten?


Picked up my 4th pack of Romans and my 5th pack of Orcs last week. Wasn't there a reference in The Life of Brian to a character named Maximus Buttocks? He or she would be a very distinctive sculpt.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
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VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
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scribidinus wrote:
Sixty and sons aged six and ten?


Picked up my 4th pack of Romans and my 5th pack of Orcs last week. Wasn't there a reference in The Life of Brian to a character named Maximus Buttocks? He or she would be a very distinctive sculpt.


Scribidinus,

I am a really slow learner and have not quite mastered the intricacies of birth control. Second time around for me and my wife of thirteen years, Norma, is exactly twenty years younger than I. Have a look at my profile for all the gory details.

Life of Brian has "Biggus Dickus" and that indeed would be an interesting sculpt.

Regards,

Jim O'Neill
Est. 1949
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John W
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Jim, I like reading your HS material, because it gets across well the sense of enjoyment to all ages the game can provide.

That said, I was disappointed with the lack of game-specific review for this wave.
You describe the overall look and personal thoughts very well, but you gave practically zero in-game analysis about the different units.

A HS wave is basically just painted figures on a hex unless the abilities, them, st importantly COST is factored in. You covered the theme that Mallidon's Prophecy brings to the table very well, but little about the abilities and almost nothing about the costs of the figures and how they play.

IMO, any review of Wave 1 could be bettered with the following details/analysis:

* The significant (some might say overwhelming/broken) effect that the bonding has in gameplay. The orcs are so integrated with the Master Set because of their Beast and Orc Champion bonding, that they actually WERE slated to be in the MS until late in development (designer morsel of info there). They are the only unit that is referenced by a MS unit (Grimnak). He grants the Grut Orcs a +1/+1, which is huge. And they bond with him, meaning he gets a free turn before every Grut Orc turn.
There's more analysis about the Orc Archers and their Beast bonding (with Krug or Mimring), and then the Romans' Warlord bonding (works good with Marcus, OR amazingly enough with Me-Burq-Sa or even Ne-Gok-Sa!) but I'm running out of steam/time.

* Tornak's comparison to Grimnak. With Tornak being only 20 points cheaper, he rarely sees play when only 1 Orc Champion is used, because Grimnak's Chomp is SUCH a powerful weapon. This suggests Tornak is overpriced.

* The Omnicron Snipers' Deadly Shot ability must be explained - how each skull is worth double, so effectively they get (odd-probability) double attack dice. Therefore, any attack bonus they get (as you mentioned, the height and attack glyph) effects them double. This makes them very difficult to cost/draft, because they are usually not worth the points (especially how easy they die) but in the rare situation (Taelord, castle-wall super-height and attack glyph) they are completely broken they dominate so much.

* Speaking of Taelord, how do you write a Wave 1 review without discussing the absurdity of Taelord's 180 point cost, and his game effect?
Don't you know of his legendary status as the butt of many jokes about "Taelord is overpriced"?

* Gotta mention how the (IMO only viable) use for the Vipers is en masse. Their 0 defense makes them virtually useless if you only have a couple sets, but if you have over 4 sets, then with high #'s their Frenzy ability can buffer their low defense and is still probably the most aggresive first-strike force for lowest cost in the game.
Further potential discussion: the effect Frenzy can have, and mention the Aubrien Archers (Frenzy) and the Armoc Vipers (as JCB noted).

* Discussion about army construction with Wave 1 is helpful.
Mass numbers of Vipers, orcs, or romans is important. 1 or 2 squads probably won't cut it. Consider making a Grut Orc/Grimnak army, OR a Arrow Grut/Krug army not both (i.e. they tend to work better seperately than together in <500 point army builds)
Synergies are helpful (Airborne Elite, 4th Mass).

Sprinkle some of that unit/metagame analysis into your well-detailed casual-player and longtime-wargamer-turned-playing-with-kids dad and you've got a great Wave 1 review!
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
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John,

All your points are valid and well taken. I took the trouble of reading all the existing reviews of Wave 1 and these covered the mechanics of the game, the pros and cons of the various units in gameplay, their costs and, on the whole, did a far better job of that than I could ever do.

Quote:
Jim, I like reading your HS material, because it gets across well the sense of enjoyment to all ages the game can provide.


However, you hit the nail on the head there and that was what I was trying to express in my own inimitable humorous way.

I enjoy Heroscape and it is sharing this enjoyment that prompts me to write reviews. If I can infect someone else, then I feel I have accomplished my purpose.

Having said all that, I do appreciate the time and trouble you took in your reply. I think you could write, and probably have, a mean review yourself.

With kindest regards as always,

Jim O'Neill
Est. 1949
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John W
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oneilljgf wrote:
I think you could write, and probably have, a mean review yourself.
ROFL!
You could say you hit the nail on the head there, Jim. laugh
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Re: Heroscape Wave 1 - Mallidon's Prophecy for kids of all
I loved the review...ignore Reaper, he's just picky. It's your review, write it how you want.


Love ya Reap!
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
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VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
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Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
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jcb231 wrote:
...ignore Reaper, he's just picky...


Love ya Reap!


I do

Love ya both!

Regards,

Jim O'Neill
Est. 1949
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