Heroscape is an expandable turn-based miniature wargaming system originally manufactured by Milton Bradley Company, but is now manufactured by Wizards of the Coast, both subsidiaries of Hasbro, Inc.. The game is played using pre-painted miniature figures on a board made from interlocking hexagonal tiles that allow for construction of a large variety of 3D playing boards. The game is often noted and lauded by fans for the relatively high production quality of the game materials, in particular the pre-painted miniature figures as well as its interchangeable and infinitely variable landscape system.
At its essence, Heroscape is an epic battle between and among characters from multiple cultures, periods, and genres, taking place on a three-dimensional gaming surface of various elevations and terrain types. Although the game manual contains ideas for scenarios, many players combine multiple sets of terrain tiles to create large playing surfaces, and manufacture their own house rules and custom scenarios. The heroes are inspired heavily by popular science fiction and fantasy, as well as the Old West, the Roman Empire, ancient Greece, feudal Japan, the Scottish highlands, the Nordic sagas, American history, medieval Europe, and classic mythology, among others. A single team may consist of heroes from many genres, with dragons, elves, robots, kyries, dinosaurs and wizards fighting alongside (and against) soldiers, vikings, knights, samurai, cowboys, agents, Marvel characters, Romans and more.
Building the ScenarioEdit
Heroscape requires players to construct the three-dimensional playing surface for the game. Scenarios that come in the game, in master set and some large expansions, include detailed instructions for board setups, but many players enjoy designing their own. There are also separate expansions such as Volcarren Wasteland containing lava and lava rock surface tiles along with obsidian guards, Thaelenk Tundra containing ice, snow and glacier surface tiles plus the dzu-teh (yeti-like creatures armed with stone clubs) miniature, and Road to the Forgotten Forest containing roads, bridge and tree surface tiles and a dumutef guard. Ticalla Jungle based on jungle and tree surface tiles with fylorg spiders was supposed to be available in early 2008, but was delayed during the transition of making Heroscape a Wizards of the Coast product instead of a Hasbro product. It was instead released on June 13, 2008. A Desert based expansion, with desert tiles and repainted glaciers, was rumored to be released but it was canceled due to the fans rejecting the idea.
Two new master sets were released in 2007. One called The Swarm of the Marro was released on August 2007, and the Marvelscape Master Set called The Conflict Begins which was released on July 2007 and contains five heroes and five villains from the Marvel Comics universe. The Marvel edition is fully compatible with the regular Heroscape figures.
Each player selects one or more "units," where a unit may be a unique and distinct hero, or an entire squad of generic figures. "Army cards" that explain the various attributes and special abilities are packaged with each unit. There are five types of units in the game: Unique Hero, Common Hero, Uncommon Hero, Unique Squad and Common Squad. Hero cards are associated with a single figure and squad cards are associated with a set of two or more figures. A given player may only have one of a unique unit, be it hero or squad, in his army, but there is no limit on how many copies of a common unit may be selected.
All basic game scenarios and some advanced game scenarios specify the units for each player. Most advanced game scenarios allow players to choose units based on the points values printed on the army card. Depending on the scenario, players may be required to place their team in a specific location, or they may randomly select where each player begins.
Structure of a roundEdit
The flow of play in Heroscape is broken up into rounds and turns. The terms are often used interchangeably in board games, but there is a key distinction in Heroscape with each round including 3 turns for each player.
At the beginning of the round, each player must place order markers on his/her armies. Order markers determine which armies will be used during that round and what order they will be utilized. These markers indicate the turn in which each unit will be activated, but the numbers are hidden from the table. A fourth "dummy" marker may also be placed to add some ambiguity as to which units one will be activating. The same unit may be activated multiple times in a single round by placing multiple order markers on it.
After order markers have been placed, each player rolls a twenty-sided initiative die. The highest roller takes the first turn and play passes to the left.
The player with the highest initiative roll begins his first turn by revealing which unit contains his first order marker. A turn usually consists of moving and then attacking. For squads, each figure in the squad is moved before any may attack. The number of hexes that each figure may move is listed on its card. Typical movement amounts range from 4 to 8 and normally moving one hex costs one point movement. Certain types of terrain are dangerous (e.g. lava), impassable (e.g. glaciers), slow you down (e.g. snow) or speed you up (e.g. roads). Moving up, but not down, in elevation also costs additional movement points. Some figures' special abilities, such as flying, may also affect movement.
After movement has been completed, each surviving figure in the unit may attack any figure within its range and line of sight. Melee units are those with a range of one, and ranged units typically have a range of four or more.
The number of dice rolled for offense is listed on the army card, but may be improved by various bonuses, including terrain bonuses, elevation bonuses, or special abilities. The attack dice contain skulls on three surfaces (in 1st edition) giving a 50% chance at scoring a hit for each die. The defender likewise calculates how many defense dice he may roll, based on his unit's natural defense value and any other bonuses (terrain, elevation, special abilities, etc). The defense dice contain only two shields, giving a statistical advantage to the attacker. In the second edition the defense and attack dice are combined into one, with three chances for attack, two chances for defense, and one chance for a blank roll.
If the defender rolls a number of shields equal to or higher than the number of skulls rolled by the attacker, nothing happens. If the number is lower, the defender receives a number of wound markers equal to the difference. Once a unit receives a number of wound markers equal to its total life points, it is destroyed and removed from the playing surface immediately. Heroes usually have multiple life points; squads always have one life point per figure in the squad. In the basic rules version of the game the wound marker system is not used, and each unit simply has one life point; hero units usually have exaggerated defense to compensate.
Various abilities by specific units may modify these rules to some degree (e.g., the samurai may counterattack and inflict damage while defending), but this move/attack/defense flow is typical of a turn.
Once the player has finished all of his attacks, play passes to the left, and that player then reveals his first order marker and takes his turn. Play continues in this manner until the final player has completed his first turn, and then play resumes with the first player, who reveals his second order marker and takes a turn with that unit. This process is repeated for the third order marker, and then the round is completed. Sometimes a player will lose a turn if the unit he had placed an order marker on was destroyed on a previous player's turn.
The conditions for victory vary with some scenarios involving quest-like goals and others simply being the last player with any surviving units. Time limits, round limits, and points for first to or holding certain locations are all common. In tournament settings, there is often a "Fractional Scoring" system used when time expires. The player with the most points at the end of the time limits wins.
Chapters that PlayEdit
- Hasbro's Official Heroscape website
- Wikia's Heroscape Wiki
- Official FanSite
- UnOfficial Terrain Building