Here are some unofficial Arena of the Planeswalkers scenarios for those of you who possess and prefer to use Heroscape terrain. These are not even remotely budget maps, but then again, what regarding Heroscape is anymore...
There are quite a few on my drive. I'll update this post as I convert the scenarios to PDF,
Click each name, and it will take you to each complete PDF file.
I dig custom dice like this, but have a lot of difficulty coming up with a reasonable cost for a small amount of dice. I am often stuck just hitting photoshop and making stickers to throw on indented dice, which is fine, but I enjoy the durability of engraved cubes.
I have a few other projects that I am using this service for, but I figured I would make some for my herscape game, since I only use Marvel Heroclix to play it.
There is a fair amount of fans doing custom character work for Heroscape using clix figs of all kinds, and I figured I would share my results as I am quite pleased with them and think I can help out not only the Heroscape community, but get a few other people into the Kickstarter as well since you won't have to do any work to order the dice if you like this style.
I decided to just make each die face different, while still keeping the faces relevant for the game thematically using the classic onomatopoeia explosion balloons and forcing the defensive verbs into like roles.
Instead of the sixth face being blank as is typical on Heroscape dice, I threw in the "wha... huh?!" moment in there to illustrate those "duh" moments the blank die face could represent. Helps the theme, and it also helps balance the dice rolling out by removing some weight.
If it looks too busy and hard to discern what die face is what, using the normal color coding will greatly help what each die face is at a glance. I chose to illustrate this using the bone colored die option, as it appears to resemble an aged comic book page.
A dozen dice will run you $20 which includes shipping, and expected delivery is February of 2015 if you submit your dice plans promptly after the KS ends. All you will need beyond that is a set of paint pens, as is detailed in the Kickstarter page linked above.
You can also use these files to print your own dice or what have you, as I am releasing this as a share alike and attributable creative commons license.
You can download any needed files for the above project from this LINK.
UPDATE: Andrew at Toystorian Enterprises liked them enough, that he sent me a couple sample pics to show how well they look once the designs are laser engraved onto the dice. Have a peek:
I was a bit concerned that the font may need to be adjusted in order to avoid the letters blending together like blobs. But after chatting further with him about it, he slapped some quich paint on a couple and I am no longer worried that adjustments will be neccessary. A very professional guy. Thanks Andrew.
Just make sure you either remove all irrelevant cards from the deck before the game (best option), or discard them and draw again when irrelevant cards are drawn.
Example of irrelevance is any magic card pertaining to treasure, like Heave Ho, Ward, etc. or cards like Rotate Sector.
Summon drake (cannot cast as a counter since there isn't treasure to protect, otherwise viable)
Summon Boggart (is technically viable, but is worthless without treasures)
This is proposal for a reformed 85 card magic deck which incorporates cards from the Malefic Curses and Bestial Forces expansions. The goal is to remove card redundancy found in the schools, ensuring some uniqueness in the magic deck composition using the expanded pool available, as well as giving a more concentrated experience for those who are either beginning or infrequent players of Wiz-War, while still being fun for vets to play.
It mimics the "big book of spells" special rule in a way, yet is more deliberate and calculated in how and with what it is constructed.
80-90 cards seems to be a sweet spot where the deck is large enough that you aren't guaranteed to see every card in every game unless it runs long and the deck is reshuffled, but small enough to where variety is ensured between the 2-4 player scale, eliminating the major shortcoming of the "big book of spells" special rule, who has a more negative impact as expansions are released and the average odds of good distribution are reduced.
To facilitate this goal, with the help of trial and error, was to consider the criteria of what comprises the fundamental hook that makes Wiz-War a subjectively attractive and compelling game experience on an intrinsic and even extrinsic level.
The expectation of a covenant formed between players for light-hearted, mutually assured schadenfreude.
Static and dynamic game state manipulation at a highly interactive and creative level. (Modifying the board during the game and having a chance to respond to modifications made. From the creation and destruction of obstacles on the board, to attacking and countering in order to attempt to thwart opponents goals.)
Granting meaningful agency on a primary level where actions are immediately resolved, that consequently allows for quicker gameplay and less player frustration at what the random card draw has granted them as choices for their actions. As opposed to secondary or tertiary level where the agency relies on specific conditions arising before the action can be instituted. (An "Add" spell which relies on multiple energy cards in hand before the choice to use it becomes relevant, for example.)
Unique variety offered when redundancy is drastically reduced. This is made possible with the 2 noted expansions with the increased card pool and the interesting designs with them.
With these criteria in mind, the following justifications of choices are submitted for your consideration:
The historical magic deck ratio was roughly:
Yet, as we see in the link above regarding ratios, its not as simple as that. We can't just throw all straight damage cards into the attack category, we have to add something less boring. Half of the attack deck wwas comprised of spells that were PITA (pain in the ass) and screwed with your opponents in interesting and fun ways. Same goes for each other category as well.
The one major departure in FFG's 8th edition that we must address is how energy has changed. You get a lot more energy through hybrid magic/energy cards now. But unless it is random energy, it never goes above 3 and averages at about 2.5 on the whole. Since you cannot combine 2 energy cards without the aid of a third to power a fourth or boost speed, and it sacrifices a likely needed potential game effect, I feel that trade-off is fair. The energy amount is still high, but still reasonable. This is the main reason why I only added 10 energy in 85 cards. Because 20+ other cards are hybrids.
So the ratios now look a bit like this 8th edition deck proposal:
Neutral 49% (this counts for neutral, neutral/counter, and items combined)
This may seem like a considerable boost to the counters category, but again, the ratios only tell half the story, inside we find more utility cards such as fools gold and ward, and others that thwart in interesting ways other than merely straight denial. Its still only 12 card, about only half of which have a direct denial approach. In line with how the deck classically worked.
This gave a good starting point in which to tweak the deck to test it out. Below is the culmination of those many games in the last several months, adding and removing cards as expansions are released.
That sums it up. Give it a shot. The worst that can happen is that your group didn't find it enjoyable, but at least you explored another avenue to approach having fun. And that is never a bad thing. Let me know how it works out for your group, good or bad.
The rest of this article is just me blathering on about why certain card choices were made and other suggestions to tweak it. If that doesn't spark your interest, then consider this article complete.
Still here? Welcome to trying to follow my stream of concious as I attempt to vomit out coherent and complete thoughts.
The choices from the schools are fairly lopsided, with conjuring school having the strongest showing with 15 cards taken from it, with chaos school a close second at 12 and elemental school at third with 11. These three schools make up nearly half the deck.
Conjuring is essential in my opinion, predominantly because of the obstacles and a few other key spells within it.
Chaos' strong showing is mainly due to effects that are interesting tweaks on classic ideas. Choas also offers a bit more randomness in their effects and energy generation. Randomness in this form is not a bad way to implement design space, as it helps replay value for certain effects with the lack of predictability. For many, this just translates to more fun. I would even go so far as to say that the chaos school is the essence of the game, distilled into 24 cards.
Cantrips aren't completely used, as spells like pick lock were just too situational to warrant a spot in an 85 card deck. Space is too precious when swiss army knife utility spells like universal solvent work more readily for general purposes.
Cards which rely on specific situations are a double edged sword. Their inclusion needs to be minimal, and their effects need to be good enough. You dont want spells in hand that you feel have no purpose. It makes for a longer, unsatisfying game when you are carrying a card that equals dead weight. Hence spells like pick lock are out. Master key, if you really must be able to open opponents doors, is the key choice for inclusion. (No pun intended)
Bluffing, which is a fairly important player generated component of an experienced meta game, is also enhanced with the omission of such situational cards. The chances are greater that an opponent will likely have a relevant card to play in response. So bluffing works a lot better.
Cards which effect more than one wizard or creature or object as it is cast also seem to enhance the experience. It makes the game a bit quicker as well, and makes the interaction deeper. There are at least a half dozen cards in the deck which were eventually included because of this quality.
The attack cards I had some difficulty with "balancing" out. I wanted to include more interesting damage effects, but you can't have a wizard battle without a fireball or a lightning bolt. The more "asshole" cards were what gave me fits. Thought steal, mind meld, brain burn, etc. are fun, but reducing card advantage is almost as painful as losing a turn for some people, especially new players.
Counters were even more difficult to decide what cards get used, as it is a very tight supply. So after the energy was reduced because of hybrids, everything was boosted a few percent and counters were given the largest boost. Only to include interesting counters through evasion and reduction, as straight denial in cancellation is not the most fun and should be rare. Yet absolutely should exist.
Anything that reduces how effective treasure running is in the game will always be welcome in the deck though, without prejudice.
Here are a few supplemental deck ideas we've been using to take the basic 85 card deck to 100, with the addition of 15 card thematic "packs" that change the gameplay drastically.. The fundamental feel of the foundation deck is still there, but results will be greatly skewed as the percentages are not adhered to. These are merely for the sake of adding or reinforcing a specific theme that a group may enjoy.
It works much like adding and removing schools to the deck, yet are more focused in how they are utilized. Redundancy occurring only when absolutely required. These examples should be a decent starting point to create your own thematic supplements.
Eye of horus
Stretch Just a fun diversion by adding 10 more items, including the 4 powerful relics, and ways to deal with them or better utilize them. Using them reminds me of a character in Robert Aspirin's Myth books, by the name of Massha. She was a mechanic wizard. That is, her sole magical power came from her baubles, as she had no inherent talent herself.
x2 spiritual infusion
x2 wrath of the ancestors
x2 spirit of the cat
x2 spirit of the raven
Summon totem spirit
Spirit of the serpent
Spirit of the bear
Spirit of the wolf
Spirit of the owl I'm not particularly a fan of the totem school, as it is very combinatorial and reliant on feeding off of itself in order to function. But there is no denying it is powerful and still fun to play with on occasion. Its better than letting someone take sole control of the school using the specializations optional rule. Down that road lies power gaming madness.
x4 planar call
Wrath of quetzalcoatl
Spectral grasp Gotta love the creatures. Very fun to play with and really changes the dynamic of the game. Like obstacles, but aggressive. Its a much better game with them included now. This is the default setting when we expand the deck.
x2 Create Wall
Hex of Pain
Hex of Amnesia
Hex of Teleportation
This deck supplement is as yet untried. Created under the presumption that if you like crap laying everywhere as obstacles and other effects that alter the board and allow you to treat the labyrinth as your personal toilet, then hopefully this may help quench that thirst. Sadly this will add redundancy to the deck, as there are very few unique obstacle creations in the game as it currently stands. But it's a good thematic opportunity to add Hexes. The fourth hex was omitted as it just stops wizards in their tracks, and felt to similar to wasting/losing a turn. I hope it is as fun as it looks on paper.
I remarked before about casting each Hirst Arts Wiz-War sector board out of a single 10.5"x10.5" tile of resin. But I'll go a bit more in depth regarding the work involved. I settled on mold #204 "large cracked floor tiles"
for the floor spaces. It seems to match the rest of the Hirst Arts
Wiz-War walls the best and looks properly “dungeon”. It will also give
the board, once all separate sectors were assembled, a more homogenous look, rather than the hodge podge that is
suggested on the Hirst Arts site.
The casting of the initial pieces from Hirst Arts Molds #88 & #204 in order to make my own molds for convenience, was a bit time consuming. Combined with some difficulty in casting parts in resin that weren't distorted by plating the mold with glass. If the pressure is even slightly excessive, then the wall
bases distort, making each piece not fit in the floor groove on the
Once I got enough undistorted parts to build the masters, then the next major hurdle was to assemble the board so that it was square and all spaces were even. This was a nightmare, and I dread to think about doing this for more than one board. By this point, I had 9 hours of time invested. I then filled all gaps and smoothed them out with rubber sculpting tools so that when pouring the molding rubber that there would be no gaps for it to pour into and ensure this was a single solid tile once cast. By this point, I had 25 hours invested.
I build all my mold forms out of legos. They are strong and modular and machined with a high amount of precision so that mold boxes are square. and I like to cast my molds with the molds inside of the forms. This reduces or outright prevents the distortion I experienced using the Hirst Arts molds.
I like to fill the mold boxes to the point that they will stick out above the mold just a tiny bit, say, 1/8th of an inch. Enough room for compression from plating allowing give, but not enough for distortion to take hold in a meaningful way.
The walls likewise were given a new
master mold so that 8 double post & 26 single post walls, single
piece doors, treasure chests, could be cast in one single casting
instead of 8 or so castings for each board with the Hirst arts mold. The white circle in the middle is a magic circle sculpted by Julie Guthrie to rep the home base square.
Here is a few examples of the board after being cast as a single tile in both Smooth-Cast 300 (white) and Smooth-Cast 325 (translucent). I wanted to fiddle with different resins to see which properties I like best.
I have decided that I will use Smooth-Cast 321, combined with Ure-Fil 3 resin filler and So-Strong black resin tint. This gives me an increased working time which is fairly critical. The filler creates a speckled stone appearance to the surface of the casting, and cuts cost a bit as a bonus. This resin choice is tan colored, so that after I add a bit of black tint and filler, the castings are a natural looking brown-hued speckled gray stone. If paint chips off accidentally, then the scuff likely wont be noticed. I'll remark more about the specifics of this in a later post.
That's essentially everything. By this point, I have 36 hours invested. (Molds made for doors, portals, walls/chests, magic circles, sector tile, and proofs cast to check for accuracy) Not too bad. All there is to do is simply paint the castings after minor cleanup of any excess resin, and it's playable. That painting though will likely take me about 100 hours since there are so many wall pieces to do.
Although, it's playable out of the mold since the resin essentially looks like stone. Add a black ink wash or rub dark shoe polish over the surfaces, a tiny bit of grey highlight if you feel adventurous, and you could have a very quick Wiz-War labyrinth to play with that looks more than decent.
Beyond the board itself, I wanted to replace any of the immovable object tokens with a three dimensional representation. It seems pointless to go through all this work on this project, merely to
have a ton of card board laying on it. So I decided that where
reasonable, they would get an upgrade. But only be the immovable objects, as there are not only too many carried objects to do this with, but their tokens rarely have an effect on the board, so their chits would suffice. The totems from the Bestial Forces expansion will have to either wait until I get good enough with 3d printing, or just stay as chits.
This includes things such as the
portals as well. This was easily solved by taking a door and shaving
off the hinges and handles so that the door is a flat surface that will allow a colored sticker to be affixed to each side to enhance the
sense that these are warp portals.
Here is a list of the items and ideas
for the immovable object tokens:
5 Created Walls (walls without posts)
2 Rosebushes (Green grill cleaner with
2 Thornbushes (Green grill cleaner)
1 Glue Pile (Green tinted caulking with
plastic horse leg sticking out)
1 Dustcloud (3D card stock printout)
1 Wall of Fire (sculpted fire mounted on a 1x3 wizwar strip)
These cards are intended as a portable reference of boards from classic Wiz-War as well as the FFG edition, and as a way to randomly generate each board prior to play quickly, without need to figure out how to manipulate the single and double post wallsfor those who use Hirst Arts Wiz-War boards.
These have been formatted to be printed by the Printer Studio
printing services. Just upload them and complete your purchase. Or you
can print them out yourself at home, though the bleed must be cut off.