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Subject: A preview (part 4) rss

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Roberto Di Meglio
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Now, it's clobbering time!
Designing the combat system for our Marvel Heroes boardgame was one of our 'challenges'. This is a multi-player game, and it was not acceptable to have each combat to be too long. Also, too much detail on the combat would have detracted from the need of creating a larger story than a head-to-head bashing.

At the same time, super-heroes are different, with different super-powers, levels of strength, special abilities, and combat is an important element in many comics, so we had to get enough detail and strategy to give the right feeling and fun factor.

In the desingn, we also wanted to avoid a common pitfall of other super-hero games from the past, where the different power level of the abilities of a super-hero made the choice of a certain strategy too obvious.
Again, two systems were scratched before deciding on the final one.

Each hero or villain has from 1 to 3 different attack forms (called 'Powers').
Each power is rated with an Attack, Defense, and Wit value, which incorporate both the specifics of the power used and the characteristics of the hero, in a numerical rating of 1 to 5 (which can be extended up to 8 by additional abilities and powers).
For example, Wolverine's Adamantium skeleton is represented by the fact that the Defense value in all of his powers is higher than average; however the "Adamantium Claws" power has a high Attack rating and comparatively lower Defense rating, while his "Heightened Reflexes" power has the highest Wit rating.
The rating represents how many special dice are rolled (each dice has "Hit" and "Boost" icons as we will see later).
There is no 'best' power: the best choice will depend on how many KOs you still have, how strong is your opponent, what other friends and foes are involved in the combat...

At the start of each combat sequence, each opponent secretly chooses one of the available powers. The choices are then revealed and the sequence goes through three steps:
- character with Initiative (normally the Hero)rolls for attack and the opponent rolls for defense
- character without Initiative rolls for attack and the opponent rolls for defense;
- both characters try to Outwit each other, using the Wit rating of their chosen power.

The roll is resolved by counting the number of "Hit" icons on the dice, with an edge for the attacker as a tie gives victory to the attacker. If you win your attack roll, you score a KO against your opponent. Gives to a character enough KOs, and the combat is over, with the villain being discarded or the hero being out of combat and essentially out of the game until the next turn.

If after the exchange of blows both characters are still standing, if one character outwits the other he will not only score a KO, but also take Initiative for the next round. So, a weaker character with enough smarts can manage to deal with a stronger opponent by a wise use of his defensive/wits capabilities, representing out-maneuvering the opponent and using his strength against him.

If the combat is not over after one sequence, a new one is started, and if more than one Hero is in the district, the Hero player may get a different Hero involved (during any single sequence, combat is one-to-one).

So, the basics are reasonably straightforward: choose powers, roll, count icons, compare, score KOs. Most fights last from one to three rounds, so you will not be spending your life waiting for the outcome of a combat who does not involve your character, yet the players fighting will need to use their power and to know their opponent's powers and possibilities well to gain victory.

Of course, there will be a number of elements which can influence the basic structure of combat: each Hero, and most Villains, has one Combat Power which can be activated by discarding a card from hand, and can provide some offensive or defensive bonus. For example, Wolverine can recover one of his KOs by choosing the "Regeneration Factor" power in the sequence and activating his "Regeneration" special ability.

On top of this, the powers of the Villains cards played as Backups can be activated by the Villain player, while the Hero player may involve the special abilities of allies and Heroes supporting.

In addition to this, Heroes with a friend in support (and Villains supported by a Mastermind) will be able to 'boost' their rolls: when a boost icon appears on a die, that die can be re-rolled and the new icons rolled added to the previous results.

Making a good use of all the abilities, strenghts and weaknesses of your characters is quite challenging; at the same time there is a sufficient randomness to get the combat to flow fast and fun. Many times, the outcome of a combat will be what you would expect it to be: Thor can whack most enemies with a single whirl of the hammer, Wolverine can endure most blows until he strikes a final cut with his claws... At the same time, you will sometime get unexpected and fun changes of tide, like the memorable match where Red Skull managed to defeat both Hulk and Iron Man at the same time!

That's it for now!

Next time, we will see something more of the scenarios that can be played in the game and, as Marvel is starting to approve the final graphics, I also look forward to post some preview in the "Image" section as well.





 
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Casey Rogers
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Oh that was good...I think I need a cigarette now.

Thanks for the latest preview, I think the combat sounds really fun. I like choosing actions in secret and trying to outguess other players. I think it sounds like it will really capture the spirit of comic book battles.
 
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John Ward
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cybernex wrote:
If after the exchange of blows both characters are still standing, if one character outwits the other he will not only score a KO, but also take Initiative for the next round. So, a weaker character with enough smarts can manage to deal with a stronger opponent by a wise use of his defensive/wits capabilities, representing out-maneuvering the opponent and using his strength against him.


metalface13 wrote:
I like choosing actions in secret and trying to outguess other players. I think it sounds like it will really capture the spirit of comic book battles.


Oooh! This sounds so good! And unlike the clicky games or VS., there's no reason to team up weird out-of-genre games like Doctor Doom and Wolverine attacking Mystique and the Invisible Woman. I love the way this sounds like a comic story. I bet Spider-Man has a decent outwit score.

I have this pre-ordered at my local store and I just can't wait for it to arrive!
 
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Michael Denman
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It's not really fair to be comparing this game directly with Heroclix or VS. To my mind, I see them like this :

Heroclix : Excellent tactical superhero combat game

VS : Excellent CCG with superhero theme blended in

Marvel Heroes : Excellent superhero BOARDGAME.

Marvel Heroes' battle system doesn't compete with Heroclix... and it's not supposed to. The fighting is part of a bigger picture with the boardgame.

I said in another thread that I probably wouldn't buy this game simply because I'd have trouble getting anyone to play it, but the more I read, the more I'm interested and I'm almost to the point of putting the game on the table and just yelling "HULK SMASH!" until I get my way and the other gamers play my game.
 
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Alexandre Leblanc
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Quote:
as Marvel is starting to approve the final graphics, I also look forward to post some preview in the "Image" section as well.


I can't wait to see what the game really looks like!!! wow
 
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Mike Silbey
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Thanks for the preview.
 
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David Fox
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This game is going to rock! I cannot wait to read some more previews on this!
 
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Tim K
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I am so looking forward to this game. It seems like it will finally erase all the bad memories of previous attempts at comic book table top games. I really like how the game will follow a general story line. It will give the game a true comic book feel, something that is truely lacking from Heroclix which has little or no comic book flavor. Roberto has done an outstanding job keeping us all updated. My fanboy comic friends at work have already asked a number of times (after seeing it in Wizard) as to when I'm going to bring it to take a longer lunch hour to play it. I can hardly wait until September / October.

TK.
 
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Roberto Di Meglio
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Well, I'm flattered blush
I hope that you will like the gameplay as much as the previews!
 
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Leo Hoffman
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This games sounds great. It's time to move the boxes of Heroclix figures to the garage. Finally, a thematic super hero game.
 
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