The map uses a lot of narrow alleys to kind of restrict lines of fire, which makes it an excellent map for short and mid range battles, and makes positioning extremely important. Sony PlayStation 4 PS4. Sony PlayStation 3 PS3. Resurrected Fusion Starter Deck. Find More Posts by Jruffing.
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If the big G was a hometown boy instead of a Japanese tourist, then fine, pick an American city, go on a rampage. Totally understandable. HeroClix maps! The more the battlefield looks like something out of a comic book, the more I can lose myself and get into the game. So, after a handful of bouts on traditional HeroClix maps, I went about creating my own. Urban jungle, forests, deserts, castles…build an enormous battlefield like the 42 x 24 movement grid above , all the way down to a 6 x 6 grid if you wanna play in a phone booth.
Each tile is five sheets of foam core thick, which—in addition to helping make it more resistant to wear and tear—prevents the foam core from curling when coats of glue and paint are applied. Except it never worked. Next I grabbed a notepad and sketched out what type of tiles I wanted city streets, plain desert, grass with stream running through it, etc. I assigned each of those designs a number and, using a pencil, marked a stack of five blank foam core squares with a corresponding number.
NOTE: Any tiered layers of a tile—sunken areas for water, a city street, etc. One way to avoid that would have been to create a frame-like structure out of wood or plastic—like a deep picture frame—that you could place a stack of tiles in.
It would have to be a snug fit, something that would prevent the individual sheets from shifting. Let that dry, then a light coat of speckle spray paint for texture.
Again, let that dry thoroughly. Too much moisture will play havoc with the foam core, so—while at times frustrating—take it slow. A base coat of spray paint based on whatever the final tile will be; green for grass, black for streets, etc.
One more quick thing about these suckers. To offer as many map varieties as possible, each tile is double-sided. That helps cut down on storage space AND offers the unintended bonus of making the search for any one specific tile a roller coaster of frustration. The universe hates me and I hate it. Lets change the setup and zoom in… Uh-oh, looks like the Hulk ate shellfish again. The customizable nature of the map allows any terrain type to be laid out in a variety of ways. A desert map can be a flat, mostly empty wasteland two pics up or you can set up a battlefield with full of obstacles like trees, mountains and assorted debris above.
The result is…a bit boring. These tiles would benefit from having lighter and darker shades of brown blended in. Some variety is offered in surface depressions right tile above. Before gluing the layers of foam core together, I cut a section from the top sheet to mimic a natural dip in the terrain, making it less uniform, not so man-made.
To help sell that natural look, I used an x-acto to angle the edges of that depression to create a short slope leading into sunken area. A right-angle drop would look too man-made, the slope helps the dip look more organic. If you double-click the above image and squint, you might catch a glimpse of them on the tile on the right. There could be something to the idea, tho… just the index card shapes would have to be more pronounced, maybe use index cards five or six layers thick.
The movement grid design was added last and came courtesy a Sharpie. Brown for the sand, blue for water, green for the grass, etc. One of my goals with this map was to make it so any tiles could work when placed next to one-another. That said, the abrupt color change of a desert tile laid next to a forest tile looked wonky. An easy solution was to make a handful of tiles that transitioned in color from sandy brown to grassy green… …see? Desert tiles on the left, grassy tiles on the right and the transition tiles in-between.
As in nature, a lush forest setting can always be found roughly fifteen feet from a desert wasteland. The hard science of super heroes trumps reality yet again!
To help with the transition theme of these tiles, the grass on these half-and-half map squares are a lighter shade of green than the all-grass tiles.
Two house rules come into play with desert maps. First, figures with the fish speed icon receive a -1 to offense and defense while on an all-desert movement square. Second, ice barriers cannot be placed on all desert movement squares. Dibs on holding down Arnim Zola and touching his eyes. Which are on his chest. Which is his face. So, dead trees. The upright tree to the left of the Hulk is intact. As the game progresses, the map is transformed from a scenic locale into a war zone.
Speaking of which, where are the Damage Control HeroClix? The upright tree is considered blocking terrain. One of our house rules is that when an upright tree is successfully hit, the attacker chooses what direction it falls. This attack uses the offense of the figure that felled the tree at -1, and any figure in the path of the tree gets a free agility roll to avoid the damage. When destroyed, the tree becomes a log.
These are three sections long and considered heavy objects. The Abomination—using Charge—can swat a figure up to three sections away by using the tree as a monster baseball bat. As for making the trees… The trees can be picked up from any number of hobby stores. These were part of a kit that required you to glue the foliage on yourself, so—by not doing that—I got some thirsty looking desert trees. My only problem with them?
They kept falling over whenever a player bumped the table, even after I glued them to a foam core base the trees, not the players. Use a glue gun to fill the hole with hot glue, covering the washer and the plastic tree base. While the hot glue is drying, stir the surface slightly with a modeling tool to get a rough, more natural look instead of a smooth finish.
Using an x-acto, cut the edges of the foam square at an angle so the tree base resembles a rounded mound. Let dry, then add small drops of Krazy Glue for the tissue to absorb, essentially turning it into a polymer. Be sure to wear a breathing mask in a ventilated room when you work with any serious amount of Krazy Glue… Krazy Glue allergies can manifest instantly and be terribly unpleasant. In hindsight, I should have made the logs much thicker, like three, four times fatter than what I went with.
I went for a thickness that resembled that of the standing trees, but that was a mistake. Small bits modeling moss hot glued here and there helped hide the kickstands. I surfed hobby shops until I found tombstones at near-HeroClix scale, trouble is they were never intended to be free-standing objects.
They were meant to be glued directly to a game board, something I wanted to avoid in what was supposed to a highly-customizable map. A tombstone was attached to each with Krazy Glue, a final touch of neutral acrylics to downplay the base and no more wobbly graveyard.
Unless of course some dick runs them over with a motorcycle. Thanks, Ghost Rider. You know what…? Your movie sucked. My two cents: they should be the Skrulls of the DCU, the bad penny alien menace that makes life miserable for the spandex crowd. They blew up Australia once! The edges of the top layers of foam core at every level where all cut at an angle for a more natural look—the hard vertical edge looked too man-made.
Lemme zoom in and point out an example of hot glue texturing… …oh, hey, thanks Skrull Infiltrator. You Skrulls get a bad rap.
When dry, patches of modeling moss were attached with hot glue. One final touch was an added to help ease of gameplay… …alright, enough with the sucking up, Skrull Infiltrator. Anyway, the final touch is something I try and do with all my map mods: make it user-friendly. I printed out small labels—a quarter inch long, half that wide—and attached them to each of the varying heights of the mountain to indicate height.
See, when used on dry land, the tunnel in the center of the mountain provides a shortcut for figures to run through and surprise opponents on the other side.
But—as displayed above—the tunnel was sized to match the width of the stream, allowing the mountain to be used as a natural bridge over the water. Well, except for the genocidal mutant flame bird trying to murder her teammates. Such a downer. After a light coat of speckle spray paint for texture, I used three different shades of green spray paint for the grass.
First up was an uneven spotting of dark green, followed by an uneven though more thorough coat of a grass green. A final, sparse hit here and there of light green and we have a good, blended finish. Like the desert tiles, some grass tiles have depressions—uneven surface terrain—to help break up the look, make it feel less like a flat map and something more natural.
The water sections of the tiles line up when tiles are placed side-by-side. Trick is, from my experience those maps are cooler in theory than application. The first HeroClix map I built had some extensive water tiles, and those were rarely used. Water terrain is one layer of foam core lower than standard terrain. To help with the natural look, the edge of the grass leading into the water was cut at an angled slope—an abrupt vertical cut looks man-made.
When dry, a thorough base coat of blue was followed by a light,uneven dry brushing of light blue.
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