Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's Not Pretty, It's Not Perfect, But It's Not Flat

It's finally playable!

I finished up the map by painting the lines on the hills. This job was done by just eyeballing it. In the future I will not make that mistake again.
I then finished up the main structure by drawing the lines on with a black marker. I opted not to put any other coloured lines on the playing field for two major reasons. First was that everything is pretty clearly marked. The water's real easy to figure out, as is the elevated terrain. The hindering terrain also stands out as easily as the blocking terrain. The only thing that is not clearly marked is the starting positions.
Due to one small calculation mistake I made when placing the bridge I ended up stretching out two rows of blocks reducing the tops from 9x9 to 9x8. It really doesn't alter games play that much, aside from the fact that it takes less to move across the structure from back to front than it does if you are walking across the ground. The next time I know I'm going to paint the structure I will make sure to either fix the bridge, or not worry about the grid line matching up when I re-draw them. Live and learn.
I also discovered that if you use as much water effects glues as I did you better lay it out in the sun if you want it to dry anytime in the near future. After 24 hours it was still basically white. Two hours in the sun and it was almost clear.
The first official game played on the board was, my son, Ryan using two Anti-Monitors at 1000pts each and Galactus at the full 1800pts versus Andie and I, with each of us using teams at 1900pts. I'm sure there's some people going "That's a lot of points to control." But, the teams were all made up of probs and heavy hitters, with high point values, so it cut down drastically on actions that could be performed.
Thankfully my son hasn't figured out how to run the three colossal figures to cause maximum damage, which means Andie and I didn't get our asses handed to us. It was also the first time that we played a game and Galactus could not hit the support character. Andie was using Adam Warlock and I had The Atom (Blackest Night-best support character I've ever seen), we placed them under the bridge and none of Ryan's characters could touch them.
There was also a moment that you only wish you would see in the comics. The Joker standing on the bridge in front of Galactus in his "Take your best shot" pose.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Adding the Details continued

Once I finished building and playing the Test Bunny map, it was time to go back to work on the main map.

I finished stringing the map and then went to work on filling in the water and shoreline.
Using an entire bottle of water effects glue, something I have never used before, I filled in 64 squares of water space. Which is less than half of the 136 that were originally planned for the map. At $16 a bottle I wasn't spending that much just to make cool looking water. Instead I just added grass into the unfilled water section, making it disappear. So, now the water only spans half the board instead of the whole board, and ends in a nice bed of rocks.
After adding the rocks, I filled up the remaining left over water space with more grass.
I also painted the main structure in stone effects spray paint to give it a more realistic look. it is the same type of paint I used to paint the small. Sadly the paint doesn't go very far, so it is still going to need more paint. I figure that I will end up painting the structure many times over the future years.
However, by this point I was starting to get antsy and just wanted to play on it, so I opted to leave out the road work and sidewalk off the third level. The side walk is pre-made model railroad sidewalk, so it can be used for almost anything, with ease. I'm thinking I may use it for bridges on future structures.
I then quickly put the grass on the hills. I wasn't worried about the fine details. I was more concerned about just playing on it. It was coming together very nicely.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Test Bunny

Then I went "SHIT!" I didn't plan on making a second map, but I needed something to use as a test bunny.

After I started laying down lines on the main map, using yarn, I decided I better figure out what I was actually going to do. I wasn't sure if I wanted to paint the lines or just use the yarn. The original yarn lines I laid down were meant as guide lines for later painted lines, but the yarn was actually really easy to work with. So, I opted to make a second smaller board to test out which I liked better.

The paint is good and very effective, but yarn is so much faster and easier to work with. It took me a little time to measure out, place and then glue down the yarn. I was able to play the 14 x 32 square map less than an hour after it was stringed. Also it's size means it can easily be added to the 24 x 32 square map.

The first game played on the test bunny board was 1200 points, JLA vs X-Men. I also built some simple walls, to be played as blocking terrain. One of the walls also is a fully functioning raised platform if you stand it up on it's ends.
My son was sent out on a quest for sticks and twigs that could be made into trees. Because of the way they were quickly made they had to be played as blocking terrain, and heavy objects.
The only downside to all the walls, both the structure and the simple ones, is the inability to destroy them like you normally would with blocking terrain on a standard map. Future walls will be designed to allow for destruction.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rules for Game Play on the Original 3D Heroclix Map (Aug 29, 2010)

Note: These are the most up to date rules as of August 29, 2010.

When in doubt standard rules of elevation still apply. However, there are now exceptions to certain rules, based on levels of elevation. All map rules are designed to enhance the game play experience.

Don't argue, role a single D6, 1-3 it doesn't work, 4-6 it does.


Amendments To Rules Of Elevation
If there is only one level of elevation between adjacent characters, they may engage in close combat attack and defense. If characters are separated by more than two levels of elevation, standard rules apply. This is to represent fighting on the stairs, or hills.

Starting Area
There are no clearly marked starting areas, due to how versitile the map is. A team could start anywhere. However, once starting areas are fairly decided, thery are built in a cube fashion, 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, based on the number of characters on a team.

Roof Top Guard Walls
The roof tops and connecting bridge are surrounded by guard walls. These walls impair line of sight by two squares when determining line of sight.Which means standard size characters can not attack straight down or to the second square from the wall. Giants are only blocked if they are in a square adjacent to the wall. Colossal size characters are not blocked at all.

Roof Top to Roof Top Combat
Combat across the roof top bridge is played normally. However, attacking from roof top to roof top is slightly different. A standard size character, can attack any other standard size character from up to three squares away from the guard wall. The character being attacked can also be up to three squares away from the wall at the same time. Giant size characters recieve one extra square on both sides. These rules do not apply to colossal size characters.

Hindering Terrain

These are swatches of grass that clearly have a border. The only border presently being used on the map looks like foliage.

Shadowed Terrain
These are areas that are closed off and are covered by a large ceiling. The Main Bridge is a prime example of this. Shadowed terrain offers all the advantages/disadvantages of hindering terrain, but without the movement restrictions. One square in from the top of the ceiling is not shadowed.

Main Bridge
Giant size characters that are taller than the main bridge can move under it, but can not stop under it. Which means that giant characters must have a movement of 7 or greater to pass under the bridge. There is the option of going over the bridge if the character is tall enough to reach the top. However, the wall at the back of the bridge blocks this option, from the one direction, with my tallest giant, Surtur.

Rule of 45
This applies to flight for the purpose of moving up and leap climb for the purpose of moving down. If a flying character is within a 45-90 degree angle of the top edge of a higher point of elevation their movement count changes. If a character using Leap/Climb is jumping off an elevated edge they can land on the ground anywhere in between 90-54 degrees. Which means if a character is at 5 squares high they can use leap climb to jump down and up to 5 squares out, before they must be considered on the ground.

Speed Combat Abilities
All characters with the foot speed symbol move the same as usual.
Characters with the wing speed symbol, that have running shot or hypersonic speed, may make actual ariel attacks, eliminating hindering elements like the guard walls around the top of the rooves, and then drop to the ground afterward. All line of sight rules, before and after the attack still apply. When a flying character flies upward, if they are within the Rule of 45 they may move at a rate of two to one instead. So, if they are flying up six elevations it only counts as three for movement purposes.
Characters with the dolphin speed symbol are not hindered by downward flowing water either.

Leap/Climb Movement going up a wall must be counted by the levels of elevation a character is rising. Counting begins when the character is adjacent to the wall. When a character is leaping off an edge Rule of 45 takes effect, and movement only counts for the number of squares the character moves away from the edge while in the air. It takes less effort to jump off a wall than to climb up it.
Phasing/Teleport Verticle movement must be counted up and down.
Charge You can charge up hills and stairs.

Attack Combat Abilities
Characters with the fist or duo attack symbols are played as normal.
Characters with the Sharpshooter symbol ignore all rules regarding guard walls. All other sharpshooter rules still apply.

Pulse Wave Use as normal, but the attack only applies to the level it's being used on. If it is used on the stairs or hills it moves at the angle of the hills and stairs.
Quake This can only be used on the level that the character is standing on. If it is used on the hills or stairs it only effects the hills or stairs.
Telekinesis Play as normal, but count levels of elevation for movement purposes as needed.

Defense Combat Abilities
All defense powers and abilities are played as normal.

Damage Combat Abilities
Giant and Colossal symbol character's line of sight is strictly based on the size of the character.
Some colossal characters such as Galactus and Fin Fang Foom can see all ranges of elevation at the same time, simply because they are that big. However, they can not see under the bridges at lower elevations, for the exact same reason. Also if they are standing adjacent to any bridge they can not see under it, but they may still use attacks like quake to attack those they can't see under the bridge.
Colossal charaters like Anti-Monitor can attack heights equal to their own. For example Anti-Monitor can clearly reach and see the main bridge even when he is standing on the main board, but standard rules of elevation take effect after that.
All Giant characters can reach two levels of elevation no matter how they are sculpted, some may be able to reach higher depending on the size. This applies to line of sight and movement. Giants may also use the carry ability to lift other characters to levels of elevation they can reach.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Adding the Details

Phase two meant going to work on the basic details, to make the board playable.

The ground was the first place to start, since I needed something to put the structure on. The original plan was to run water into the map, hence the bridges, and have it go into a park area. I wasn't sure how it was going to work in the park area. Andria and I discussed having it end in a pond, or running through to the otherside. I finally opted to go with a 4 square wide, straight water way that spanned the four foot length.
I then cut two large strips of astroturf to fill in the grass on both sides. It was quick, easy and painless. Probably the easiest part of the entire map. I also cut the rough pieces for the hill at the same time, just so I could get an idea of how it might look. During this I also put up the stairs and the edging around the top of the structure.
After the glue on the grass dried (basic white glue), I quickly marked in the lines for the shore and water, painted in the water and then sat around watching the paint dry. This was all followed by starting to work on the maps grid lines.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Building the Rough Shell and Duct Taping it

I knew that this idea needed to be done in phases.

The project is broken up into three phases. The first phase was building the rough foundation for the elevated structure. Measurements for height were done in the same size squares as a normal board. The idea was to create an elevation that had been equal to standard movement. So, since each standard square is 1.5", each level of elevation is also done in the same size.
The structure is designed to have three main levels of play. The ground that the structure sits on, a level that was originally supposed to be a "road way" with a couple of store fronts, and then the rooves of those stores. However, there are actually 6 separate sqaures of elevation.
There is a hill on each side of the structure, with there being two separate points of elevation on each. Then there is the "road way" at the next point, followed by stairs that reach each roof top, which is also totally playable.
The "road way" is 4.5" from the ground, or three squares, and also has a bridge. The bridge allows for a very unique addition to standard game play. There are some giant size figures such as Sutur from Hammer of Thor, or pretty much every Colossal size figure that won't fit under the bridge, so you can't play them under the bridge. Also in the cases of colossal size figures (Galactus and Anti-monitor were the test figures) they can't see under the bridge and therefore can't attack characters underneath, unless using ground based attacks such as Quake. Also under the bridge is considered hindering terrain.
The stairs and the hills also add new levels of enjoyment, as you can make attacks on these at different adjacent elevations. There will be more on the special rules for playing on this map to come.
The two main structures were built at two different heights. After all, what's the point of building a three dimensional map if you don't have everything at various levels? One reaches the maximum height of 9", or six squares. The other is 7.5", or 5 squares. Linking the two levels is a second bridge that is two squares wide. Galactus can't fit under the back bridge either, however the Anti-Monitor can.
When I originally designed the map, there was supposed to be store fronts, roof top resturants and a roadway with sidewalk. These plans have changed, but that's due to the way things have worked out so far. However, it doesn't change the gameplay one way or the other, so it doesn't really matter.

Finishing phase one meant duct taping all the seams and corners. It really made a difference in bringing the concept to life for me. It made it all look more real.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How It All Got Started

This is the only picture that contains pretty much everything I used, or I'm still using to work on the map.

This is the story of the first Heroclix 3D map. At least it's the first one that I know about.

I started talking about building a three dimensional Heroclix map back in the early part of this year (2010). It was a lot of talk, and some great ideas ran through my head. Ideas about bridges, multi-level structures, simulated grass, and a lot of obstructed views from every angle. Well, this idea started spreading around through my talking about it. The next thing I know it starts becoming a bit of a legend. My friend Grayson told me about a conversation with his friend Shawn, who own's Rogue's Gallery, the best comic shop in Windsor, Ontario. It seemed that he was pumped about this guy that was talking about building a 3D Heroclix map, and he couldn't wait to see it when it's done. That is if it ever got built.
That was the spark, the deciding moment when I said, "Screw it, I'm going to build this thing."
I went home and told Andria the story that I had heard from Grayson. We decided that since I was about to have a week off work, due to minor surgery, I might as well use the time to work on the map. So I don't go mad with boredom.
I was now off on a quest to find all the materials I was going to need to make this map. I had multiple wood boards in my basement already, to use as the main surface. I grabbed one that was 3x4 feet, figured out that it would make a map that had 24x32 squares (A standard square is 1.5"), which means it's bigger than any official clix map that I know of.
My original plans were to hit up Windsor Hobbies and buy model train set supplies to do all the details on the map, but once I actually got there and priced stuff I decided to make some changes. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The first thing I did after finding the wood board was go out looking for materials to build the structure. I knew how I wanted it to look, I even drew a design for it using graph paper, so I had actual plans to work from. I also knew that I wanted to build the structure out of styrofoam insulation board. I hate the idea for enviromental purposes, but it is the most durable, light weight, easy to cut material that I know about.
I went out looking for construction sites, where I might be able to find and scoop up some large scraps to use. I had no clue what I was doing and didn't want to spend too much money on something I could easily fuck up. However, there isn't a whole lot of construction going on in this dead end city.
That was a bit upsetting. But on the way home from the bike ride Andria and I were taking, to hopefully find materials, we came across Rona, and they were still open at 7:55pm on a Sunday night. It was a sign. The two of us quickly, trying not to run because the store closes at 8pm, went down to where the foam board was and grabbed a monsterous 4x8 foot sheet. I only use the term monsterous, because walking home with it and my bike was a bit of a nightmare. Big light weight boards are easily blown around by the slightest breeze. What is normally a ten minute walk, quickly doubled.
I also bought 24 feet of that fake grass you often see on back poarches, I refer to it as cheap astroturf. Although I later discovered, while measuring to cut, that the size cut was closer to 36 feet. Woohoo!! This was bought on a later day, but also at Rona. Also in the week long process of buying all the materials Andria and I decided on what to pick up at the hobby shop as well. We went with fall-coloured foliage, light grey ballast stone, water effects glue, model railroad sidewalk, and model hairpin fencing.
All in all, before I did anything more than build the rough shell of this map, I was around $100 in the hole. But, I can say that it has been worth every penny.

Note: I do make changes to the odd change to each article published, from time to time.