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

Subject: Playing HS with three 9-year-old boys rss

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Rob
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My son, Truman, invited over two friends from his 3rd grade class for a Saturday afternoon. Drew had played HS before, but was a little fuzzy on the rules. Jake had never played before. Both were excited to learn about it.

They arrived right before lunch, and they immediately ran out into the back yard. We have a temporary pool, so we also have those Styrofoam tubes thingies that you can float on (yeah right – maybe if you’re 50 pounds or less – otherwise, good luck). They grabbed those tubes and brandished them like swords, running wildly, screaming and swinging at each other. All in all, a good start to the day.

For lunch, my wife grabbed Chik-fil-a nuggets for everybody – an excellent choice – and a welcome break from McDonalds and Burger King. Overall, Chik-fil-a has the best kids meal add-ins – usually very educational and interactive – this time it was Veggie Tales DVDs. After lunch, we retreated to the dining room, which has the only table big enough to hold a HS battlefield (not sure what we’ll do if/when we get any tile expansions).

I asked my son and Drew to set up a battlefield while I quickly explained the rules to Jake. Since we only have the master set (plus the Minion/Drone figures) I asked them to put together a wide battle field, with plenty of room to move around. They used some of the extra hexes to build up a few small hills. I grabbed a couple of the army cards, and showed Jake what all the numbers mean, and showed him that almost all the units had a special power or attack. I then demonstrated a couple of them, like DW 9000’s explosion, and the Tarn warriors Berserker moves. I also showed him how the attack/defense dice work. I didn’t want to get into too much more – he’ll pick up strategy as he goes. Since the board wasn’t quite finished, I gave Jake all of the army cards so he could browse through them.

We also talked about whether or not we should use the glyphs. We decided not to, and in hindsight I think it was a good decision, because two of them were just learning the game, and it would have added more things to keep track of.

I suggested that we play three teams - Truman and Drew by themselves, and me with Jake. They were cool with that. We rolled for drafting order, and this is where it got confusing. We had never played with three teams before, so I had never looked at the 3-team drafting rules. After reading it through one time, I thought I had it down. I don’t have the rules in front of me now, but I think they went –

Player 1 – 1 card
Player 2 – 1 card
Player 3 – 2 cards
Player 1 – 2 cards
Player 2 – 1 card
Player 3 – 2 cards

Don’t even know if that’s correct. I ended up re-reading it three or four times, but someone ended up drawing too many cards, and then the others had the rest of the cards to choose from. It was a bit of a mess, but they were good sports about it. We drafted 400 point armies, and surprisingly, nobody took Grimnak or Mimring – they usually look pretty cool to a 9-year old. I gave Jake some suggestions, but let him make the final choices. To the best of my recollection, this is how it played out:

Truman – Marro Warriors and Drones, Ne-Gok-Sa (his personal favorite), Syvarris, Airborne Elite

Drew – DW 9000, Minions of Utgar, Zettian Guards, Finn

Jake – Agent Carr, Tarn Vikings, Izumi Samurai, Drake, Raelin

Afterwards, I realized that Jake had only chosen one ranged unit, but his sheer numbers may compensate. As the game progressed, I tried to keep things moving by pointing out whose turn it was, and helped Jake make choices on his orders, and discussed some strategy with him – the Samurai could take out DW, Carr or Drake could take on Ne-Gok-Sa or Syvarris.

On the second round, Jake turned to me and said, “This is so cool! I’m gonna get HeroScape for myself!” I was beaming with a gamer’s pride.

The main reason Truman likes Ne-Gok-Sa is the Mind Shackle, of course. And he has been incredibly lucky at it. In the games we’ve played, he’s rolled five times for Mind Shackle, and rolled a 20 twice! It happened again – he attacked Agent Carr in the second round, and rolled a 20 again!!! Jake was pretty bummed, and I felt bad, because he was following my advice in advancing Carr. But he was a good sport about it. We had to adjust our strategy, but it was good to see how powerful some of these abilities can be – and how random.

I helped Drew a few times with rules clarification – he thought that he had to roll the red dice to move, but I reminded him where he could find that. He also forgot that he could move through his own units and didn’t move as far as he could have. They picked up pretty quickly on overall strategy – take the high ground, focus firepower, use your special powers and attacks to best advantage. Whenever it came up, I also mentioned some of the rules that don’t always come into play – such as attacking an adjacent figure instead of a ranged one.

Fortunately, Truman was focusing most of his resources on taking out DW, which gave Jake a breather. Jake moved Raelin, Drake and the Vikings to take on the Marro Warriors and Drones. Every time Raelin attacked, the other boys would say “He’s attacking with a GIRL!!!” But Jake had the last laugh. Raelin ended up taking out two of the Marro Warriors, and two of the Drones.

The numbers finally caught up to Truman with Ne-Gok-Sa. He tried to Mind Shackle DW five straight rounds, and never rolled a 20 again. But DW and Ne-Gok-Sa kept targeting each other and missing - it was a stalemate.

The fathers of Jake and Drew both came over around 4, and they had to go home – we didn’t finish. But we all had a great time. The next day, Jake called us and asked where we bought HS. We directed him to Hasbro.com, since there’s not a TRU nearby (might be at Target, though) - and we don’t have a Friendly Neighborhood Gaming Store. I think we’ll see them on the battlefields of Valhalla again very soon!
 
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John W
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
We had never played with three teams before, so I had never looked at the 3-team drafting rules. After reading it through one time, I thought I had it down. I don’t have the rules in front of me now, but I think they went –

Player 1 – 1 card
Player 2 – 1 card
Player 3 – 2 cards
Player 1 – 2 cards
Player 2 – 1 card
Player 3 – 2 cards


Every time Raelin attacked, the other boys would say “He’s attacking with a GIRL!!!” But Jake had the last laugh. Raelin ended up taking out two of the Marro Warriors, and two of the Drones.
Fun report.
I thought the Girl comment was funny (and a tad disturbing, since on heroscapehq.com we've talked about why there are so few female figures in HS, and this may be one of those reasons).

As for the draft order, it should go:
Player 1 – 1 card
Player 2 – 1 card
Player 3 – 2 cards
Player 2 – 1 card
Player 1 – 1 card

And that's a round. Start another round, starting with Player 1 (so it's effectively Player 1 with 2 pulls in a row) and continue until everyone has drafted 400 points worth (or as close as they can get to 400).
 
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Rob
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Thanks for the draft order clarification. That makes sense, and is pretty fair.
 
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