Group Hug may sound like an odd name for a show about a game of comic book characters fighting one another, but HeroClix is all about having fun with your friends and getting to play with your favorite heroes and villains. Each week we recreate famous comic battles and team ups (or make up our own), bring out iconic characters, and talk about comic books as we play the game sometimes called “chess but with superpowers.” We even mix it up with new players who are still learning alongside some pretty exciting guests. It’s a super geeky, funny good time that anyone can watch and enjoy, though you’ll get a lot more out of it if you understand the basics of the game we’re playing.
HeroClix, by WizKids Games, is a collectible miniatures game featuring highly detailed figures of characters from DC and Marvel Comics plus a slew of other licenses including Star Trek, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Street Fighter, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Gears of War, Iron Maiden, and more. Each figure has a “clix” base that is packed with info like the character’s name, its point cost in the game, and any special abilities. Through a window cutout you can see the figure’s current stats (movement, attack, defense, and damage), and those change as the character takes damage and you turn—or click, get it?—the dial on the underside. Stats and powers change as this happens with most figures getting weaker as they take damage; though some like the Hulk and Bizarro get more powerful as they’re damaged!
To play HeroClix you need a friend, some figures, a map, two six-sided dice, and something to use as action tokens. These are placed beside or beneath figures to indicate that they’ve done something, and players frequently use poker chips or beads. Once you’ve agreed on a point total for your game (300 is standard but any increment of 100 will work) you build a team by adding up the point costs on the figures you want to play. As long as your team is equal to or under the point limit you’re good to go!
Each player rolls 2d6 with the high roll indicating the first player. That person chooses which map to use, while the second player picks in which starting area on the map to deploy. Put your team into the purple-outlined starting zone and you’re ready to begin. Players take turns activating their figures, assigning them a variety of actions that include moving across the board and attacking opposing characters. Movement is based on squares, with figures moving in any direction up to the number showing next to the movement symbol on their dial. Combat is fast and furious; the attacker rolls 2d6 and adds the result to the figure’s attack value. If it meets or exceeds the target’s defense it hits; deal a number of clicks to the target’s base equal to the number showing for the attacker’s damage! Eventually you’ll turn the dial and see KO in the window; sadly, that means your figure has been knocked out and is removed from the game.
Pretty straightforward, right? Well, that’s just the beginning! There’s a big level of strategy involved with action tokens. On your next turn you can reset the character and clear its tokens, or give it a second action (and token) but that will push it—letting it do something but causing it one click of damage. To push or not to push is often the question. Meanwhile, HeroClix figures are really defined by their powers, represented by a set of differently colored blocks appearing on their dials and letting them do cool stuff like running forward and shooting in one action, shruggin off huge amounts of damage, hiding in plain sight, re-arranging the battlefield, or even shutting off the powers of enemies. You’ll quickly realize that your favorite characters play just like you’d expect with powers that mimic what they do in the comics, making it fun and thematic! For example, Batman and Black Widow are stealthy, Spider-Man is hard to pin down, Wonder Woman is a powerhouse, and Wolverine heals from damage like crazy.
Still with us? That all may sound like a lot (and there’s still plenty more like colossal figures, team bases, vehicles, duos, and more), but once you start playing HeroClix it’s really easy to internalize the basics. The fun part is getting to know what all of the different powers do, and on Group Hug you can see them in action and follow along at home.
And while we think you’ll like watching our show we’d love for you to have fun playing HeroClix with your friends. You can pick up some boosters of the latest sets or a Fast Forces pack of figures that play well together at most stores where comic books are sold.
Learn more about HeroClix, download rules, and find venues near you where you can play at HeroClix.com, and tune in to Group Hug on Geek and Sundry’s Twitch channel LIVE every Friday from 4-7pm Pacific.
Photo Credit: Scott Rubin