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Fixing HeroClix

Critical Miss: Print and Play
The Le (12/10/2009)
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Critical Miss: Print and PlayPrint and Play is the first major change to the HeroClix rule system, and it has some far reaching implications. The concept is simple – if you really want to use a Feat, Battlefield Condition (BFC), or Bystander Token on your force, you can now simply print it out and use it. Sounds great, right? Not so fast…

The whole idea of Feats and BFCs was to add a new and exciting element into the game, while still keeping with the “collectible” aspect. This turned out to be a brilliant decision that got players excited and added a new type of item to trade and collect.

Players are always left with a dozen extra cards at their disposal with each new set; some would sell them on eBay while others would trade them for other cards and figures. Even better, many cards were very popular as prizes at tournaments -- most noteably Warbound, Protected, Runaways, and Eleha'al Vine. This is how a collectible game should work, and is a perfect example for the industry to follow.

There is distinctive intrinsic value in these cards. The "value" doesn’t come in the form of cold hard cash (as some would argue); the value comes from the HeroClix eco-system itself.

HeroClix is first and foremost a collectible game. As such, it requires hard rules for the game to function, and one rule is possibly the most important of all: Play with official figures and cards you acquired. As you can see, it’s also the simplest rule. You can’t bring a poker chip and pretend it's Thor. You can’t print out a Sentinel dial you found on the internet and use your cell phone to represent it on the map. And more importantly, you can’t print a Feat or BFC that you don’t own. These types of proxies may be allowed in the casual or home setting, but you simply don't do this at the tournament level.

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Your Comments:
PnP is a small equalizer. Heroclix is a game: skill and strategy should be larger factors than who can spend more money on toys.

Posted by: Grinning Grendel on 4/20/2012 1:02:09 PM
The Le is absolutely correct. Feat cards are COLLECTABLE. That means you should BUY them. How fair is it if I spend $10 on ICWO, and some one else prints ICWO, Fortitude, and Protected right off the Internet! If you want the power of Protected, you should get it OFFICIALLY. Nuff' said.

Oh, and Print n' Play does NOT = Equal rights. It equals CHEATING, Ste.

Posted by: Owlman166 on 10/13/2010 12:14:47 PM
To Matt, i agree whole heartedly!
i see it as kinda a clix equal rights movement. why should someone have an outside advantage coz they own a out of print piece of 5 year old cardboard? i've been playing long enough to amass quite a few feats and some very sort after ones at that but would never dream of denying thier use to a new player just because they are unwilling to spend thier hard earned cash on cardboard for a miniture based game

Sure people can mod cards, but if they are going to go through the effort of modding cards they are probably going to be modding dials too, anything and everything is cheatable, i prefer to give people the benifit of the doubt though.

In closing, print and play = equal rights

Posted by: Ste on 6/26/2010 12:40:15 AM
I know this is an old article, but I wanted to comment anyway. I just started playing before the HoT set came out and really enjoy the game. I don't think that I would enjoy it as much if I couldn't use the feat cards that have been made. You have to think about all of the new players this ruling is supposed to encourage. I don't have the money to go on ebay and buy $25-$50 pieces of cardboard.

Posted by: Matt on 3/22/2010 5:42:27 PM
If collectors want complete sets let wizkids/neca make smaller sets for them. I remember Wizard world dallas where some of the tournament prizes were factory sets that were sealed. Let them play for those like everyone else. Or let the stores be able to buy these so collectors can have their silly cake and eat it too. Believe me collectors are not in it to play. They care about making $ from ebay auctions. So F*** 'em.

I remember several NEW Guy Night events where half the people that showed up demanded their figure before the event even started and then left. Now our venues adopted a new house rule. If you don't stay and play for the entire event you don't get the piece/card board. If you were winning and had the points to win the event but you had to leave early, you forfeit. Plain and simple. Those collectors don't show up anymore.

Posted by: Ponch on 2/12/2010 11:01:00 PM
Well at my venue we always check each others build and cards to ensure they are all legal. Between all of my friends and I we have a legit copy of every piece of card board ever put out. Our judge was in the Marines and he will not hesitate to kick you out of the store for cheating. Believe me that we have booted out former judges that one day just showed up at our two venues with theme teams that had unrestricted clix in a restricted tourament that tried to use their clix knowledge to beat up our newbies by hitting them hard and fast to end the games quick to get past our judge. It was sad that these folks went to such lengths to win the LE figure or card board.

You always check each others build and if you are not sure ask the judge. Me personally, I like the print and play. So many folks got out of playing clix because of financial reasons and I think it helps out alot if you can play with printed card board. After clix went on hiatus for a year we were still able to bring in new players and keep old ones that had lost their jobs by allowing printed card board. We always traded amongst each other so that you wouldn't have to play printed card board. I personally don't care so much about LE figs. Just as long as the fig is worth it I might get it. If it is to complete the set and it's garbage I'm not getting it.

We do have fun clix days when we make our own cards or repaint old figs and design new dials. Again these are just for casual play and not tournament play. In our tournaments if we don't have the card board we borrow it from someone who does for the tournament, no subs for tournaments because we want our new players to adhere to the rules for tournament play. For casual play print and play works for us but the print out is still verified so that it is legit. In casual play at our venues, any older version of the cards adhere to the new rules for the newer cards and play as the new card. I remember being at several New Guy Night events

Posted by: Ponch on 2/12/2010 10:49:09 PM
feat cards have broken the game IMO, and I'm sure we all know just which feat cards are the real gamebreakers. I think they were a step in the wrong direction since the game has become more about which feats you have rather than making a great team.

I think the special white box powers were a step in the right direction and work better than feats anyway

Posted by: anon on 1/18/2010 1:59:00 PM
PNP- fine. Our local doesnt allow it anyways so no bigE.
Sure i paid money for warbound but it makes it more competitive for all players.
home play spices up a lot because of this.

$12 boosters- not good. Doesnt allow for younger players who have to pump mom or dad for cash, which no one has as much anymore.

Posted by: sleepingGiant on 1/9/2010 3:03:20 PM
I have found that casual players do not use feats. Having them printable is not going to help them. The collectors i have talked to feel like they are being cheated. The resellers (in honesty i must say i own a gaming store) are feeling like we are getting squeezed out of our job. Why should someone that really really really wants that new LE feat or bfc take the time and effort to come down to my, or anyone elses, brick and mortar store to play in a tournament to try to get these cards? Im really not happy that the price tag on the boosters is $12 now, its really outpricing itself out of ALOT of new customers, and by taking out the cards from the boosters, they devalued the whole pruchase. its like adding another dollar to the price tag. Wanna know who is really being helped out by this print an play idea? The legal "cheaters". the people that do ANYTHING possible to manipulate the rules to get cheap wins. These are probably the same people that use exploits while playing halo online. So whenever i run any kind of event, wizkids gets to make ME look like the badguy when i tell the rules exploiters that; no, they are not bringing all these copies into games that i run. Even though these half-cheaters are not my favorite people, they are still CUSTOMERS. REAL WORLD CUSTOMERS. I think is easy to forget that heroclix will not exist if the brick and mortar stores stop carrying the product. A vast majority of players started because they saw it in a store or had a friend turn them on to it. Both of which is in the REAL WORLD. Not the internet, not ebay. This whole print and play thing has been very devisive from the very beginning. Honestly i think this all started because for whatever reason the cards COULDNT be included in boosters for some reason, and someone at wizkids thought what the heck, why not do it this way. Personally i see this move as totally half assed and needs to be fixed ASAP. Future policy being set because something got screwed u

Posted by: eavg148 on 1/7/2010 7:09:03 PM
hey does this mean we could make new cards for the game as along has it not too over the top.made a list of feats and what their power do for the (csa)

Posted by: ikari on 1/5/2010 10:03:06 AM
Your entire post could be summed up with "Print and Play removes one collective aspect of the game and I feel it cheapens it as a whole".

I couldn't disagree more. I play many wargames, and "feat" exist there as well. Except they were always ascessible for certain characters and builds.

I think you are mistaking Heroclix with a cardgame and not with a miniature collective game. Ask anyone why they collect heroclix, they will say "Because of the minis!" not "Because of the cards" because get this: The feat cards, BFFCs and even Bystander Tokens are there to compliment the tactical flexibility from the miniature themselves.

They never had ANY collector value to anyone, it was just a way to customize and make certain characters and builds stronger. People who opted to collect feats did so out of their own intentions. This is a miniature collective with a tactical miniature wargaming attacked.

Feats with Print and Play now in place shows that NECA understands what the game is about more than anything. It's about the minis. The feats are there to compliment that.

With that said, why is bad to give everbody the tools for custimizing and even power up their favorite characters? No more I will have to expend 10 bucks into a worthless piece of cardbox that will only empower my favorite super hero character.

I am happy about print and play because it helps to make the play level the same for players. Now, it's not about the cardbox you brought out of ebay, it's about your super heroes vs. the other guy super heroes, with strategy in mind. The game aspect only won, and I expect the naysayers to change their opinion until next year when they realize how more interesting the competitive play will be.

Posted by: Oda Nobunaga on 12/30/2009 2:21:04 PM
I agree with your disapproval of the Print-and-Play ruling, TheLe. My basis for not liking it is quite similar to yours, but not precisely. There were/are several game-changing feats I have never acquired (e.g. Eleha'al Vine), but I am no more inclined to exploit that now, as I'd feel as though I were cheapening the game.

Posted by: MikeInMKE on 12/25/2009 6:49:51 PM
well i find it has it ups and downs but if use right it could work
i have a crime syndicate team very rare but no feats cards or by stander tokens and the csa five only five members so i need them

Posted by: ikari on 12/24/2009 2:46:06 PM
I applaud the Print and Play decision. My group had already adopted it as a house rule (we recently amended it to require at least a proxy copy of the card physically present). It's not the cards, it's how you use them in play that's important!

Posted by: Wombatboy on 12/23/2009 8:35:12 PM
Good article, The Le. I understand your perspective, but I disagree.

Collectibility: It's always been about the character/figure for me. I got tired of trying to buy Feats and other card elements long ago, around AVENGERS. I've been printing and playing since then.

I agree with what others have said about this making it easier for new players to get ahold of card elements.

With the weak US dollar and the weak global economy on whole, if this is what it takes to keep WizKids pumping out sets, then I'm all for it continuing this way.

Posted by: glen_smith on 12/14/2009 7:02:08 AM
Bystanders CAN be printed. The Rules Arbitrator on 12/06 said this:
Figure - need it.
Character card - print it if you want to.
Feats - print 'em.
BFCs - print 'em.
Event Dial - need it.
Event dial instruction card - print 'em.
3D Objects - need 'em.
Special objects that are not 3D - print 'em.
3D Objects that aren't special - need 'em.
Cardboard element for a 3D object - print 'em.
Bystanders - print 'em.

Posted by: The Le on 12/13/2009 10:01:56 PM
Print and play not include Bystander

Posted by: Grimm on 12/13/2009 8:50:18 PM
On print and play I agree with your article somewhat but wish to remind everyone that only 10% of your build total may be feats so really print and play should work to balance out the tournament scene by making it affordable for everyone and even the old out of print power cards are accessible to all

Posted by: Lynn Heidebrecht on 12/13/2009 6:06:04 PM
I noticed the modified text on Repulsor shield, I just didn't mention it as the article seemed more focused on the collectibility aspect. A great many people, especially judges would catch that type of thing in play so I don't think it would really become a problem.

Posted by: thetigerking83 on 12/11/2009 11:14:49 AM
Print and Play is a good idea.........done badly. The winners are the new players to the game. The losers, EVERYBODY ELSE. The reason is simple, if i can print out the most powerfull feat cards, why wouldnt i? its going to cheapen the strategy that we will all see at the tourny level. ive already seen it. 8 players, 7 warbound teams, at least 1 protected on every team. the game is going to suffer. if this is not fixed heroclix will NOT be back for long.

Posted by: DraxTheDestroyer on 12/11/2009 10:40:27 AM
Concerning the altered Repulsor Shield -- I'd just responded to that in the HCR thread.

While not immediately noticed, it certainly was once I wondered why you were making a big deal of that particular card, but I didn't decide to rise to the bait and be side-tracked by fears of counterfeits. At first I just saw it was Repulsor Shield, and as I'm very familiar with the mechanics of the card I didn't bother at first to re-read the text. Had anyone tried to pull it on me in a game, though, claiming protection from Incapacitate, I'd have the judge over there immediately.

If people want to attempt to cheat, they're going to do it. Does Print 'n' Play make that easier to attempt? Yes. Am I worried about it? No. If I were, then I'd insist that such cards be removed from the whole of the official game until such time as Wizkids produces versions with a holographic imprint or somesuch... and I wouldn't seriously consider any such thing.

Print 'n' Play remains a decided win IMHO.

Posted by: Miraclo on 12/11/2009 10:27:17 AM
I understand your points, but I can't agree. The cards I've collected have the same value to me they have always had: the ability to print copies at home doesn't effect that. The cards as a collectable element have never been particularly well-received, either: in fact, the sentiment expressed on the old official site was heavily against them as a collectible element over the past year or two before the closure.

Posted by: necrodog on 12/10/2009 9:42:13 PM
The Le, I understand your points completely having had the same experience of hunting down key feats, bfcs and special objects and shelling out serious moolah or fighting extremely hard in a tourney for those sought after LE cards. It frustrated me to no end that I had no Protected card of my own pulled from Armor Wars and there were games that victory was snatched by that one card. I'd had to fight tooth and claw to win the LE protected from Mutations, and it was immensely satisfying when I did get it.

Having said that, I had seen that cards can make or break a sinificant number of games, sometimes to the point that they become "magic bullets". And this, I think, leaves those who "have not" in an unfair position where they shouldn't be. heroclix should not be a game of elitists. It's hard enough that kids won't get Chase figures in their lifetime but denying them strategic options brought by these pieces of cardboard? No, thank you, I'd rather everyone have access to them (it also circumvents lame excuses of not having access to just the "right card" for the win). With the playing field so levelled, it makes it accessible that much more for casual gamers to give the game a try (and isn't that one of our goals?). There are enough games out there who pander to the rich... Heroclix should not be one of them.

In addition, this frees up resources to focus on the figures themselves. Sure, we can say the printing of cards and inclusion in the products has minimal cost, but that's still some cents off the bill. And in these times, a little goes a long way. If neca/wizkids puts what little they save into improving the sculpts instead, all the better.

The game itself is unaffected, I believe. It still boils down to what the core of the system is: The figures, the player's skill and the favor of the dice gods. Print and Play does nothing to "de-value" these elements but rather places them to the fore.

So again, I understand where you're coming from, but

Posted by: Borgy on 12/10/2009 7:31:48 PM
Actually, if ANYTHING cheapened the value of the game, it was chase figures. Because it flooded the collectors, trade forums, and secondary market with extras of everything else. Effectively taking the value of the cases themselves, and shuffling a great portion of that into the chase figures, cheapening everything else. (Not that I mind, gets me everything else cheaper because everyone's got dupes after trying to get chases) Problem is, if they'd do away with chases, it would take a while for the value of everything else to be viewed in the same way again.

I'm sorry that you don't like the whole PnP system, but I'm all for it, especially since it would ALLOW for MUCH more variety in the printed elements for the game, and make it much more accessible.

I don't feel that cards should have been a collectible aspect from the beginning. It makes it so that only those with the money to buy them or skill to win them can be competitive. What I LOVE about clix to begin with is that you don't have to be rich to play or build a good team, I can build a team with 50 cent figures and beat someone using expensive ones. (Excluding chase supermen) This prevents the tournements from turning into the same thing as magic or yugioh where people have to buy $50 dollar cards for their deck just to play competitively.

Posted by: thetigerking83 on 12/10/2009 5:09:07 PM
Ive been playing heroclix sense it was 1st release with Infinity Challenge. With Print and Play, it kind of makes all my old figures and cards worth nothing now. I think casual play PNP is fine but not tournament play. I feel you should have the card that came in the packs or won it at a tournament.
I think the PNP rule is a bad idea and should be discontined

Posted by: rexhavok on 12/10/2009 4:11:10 PM
I agree with your comments. More reason for me the pull out as I have become disillusioned with game when they pretty much turned their backs on the players/collectors or whatever they want to call use.

Posted by: Tony on 12/10/2009 4:01:48 PM
Lets distinguish between the "Player", the "Collector" and the "Reseller". The ones that will be affected ever so slightly is the "Reseller". The "Collector" will still go out and get the card. The "Player" wins with "Print and Play". A "Player" may not have the money to buy a ton of HeroClix. With "Print and Play" they can outfit any figures they have to better compete against RICHER Players/Collectors. This will bring in more casual "Players" to the tournament scene and will only benefit HeroClix's continued growth. The "Reseller" will still make money off the loads of figures they possess.

Posted by: First Lensman on 12/10/2009 3:33:35 PM
Just because a game is sold as being collectable doesn't mean that all players of the game want their pieces to be valuable. Also it doesn't mean that all components of the game need have value. The core collectable aspect of Heroclix is the figures not the cards. The cards only have value based on their playability where as a lot of times Heroclix figures will also have value based on character and rarity.

Posted by: Not Important on 12/10/2009 2:35:56 PM
For once I actually agree with you on something. I don't personally like the print and play idea. I would like to have the feats included in the boosters as they have been for a long time.

I'd jump all over a pack of reprinted cards (and the cards from HoT printed as well).

Posted by: Deadpool55 on 12/10/2009 2:29:16 PM
Excellent article, well thought out and argued nicely.
To any naysayers, saying that PnP is a good idea, or acceptable. Why bother having cards as prizes and then allowing people to print the same cards. It would be like them just allowing you to print a Galactus dial and use a brick as the piece.
Tournament prizes should mean something, feats and BFC no longer mean anything.

Posted by: astanix on 12/10/2009 2:21:06 PM
P&P isn't as big of an issue as many are carrying on about. The game is about the Clix, the characters and the flavor created by comic-book themed combat. Having one aspect that you can have just as easily as anyone else is fine. Plus, with a 10% cap on FEATs how much of a problem are we really going to have? At my venue I would lend any FEAT out to anyone who asked LONG before there was a P&P policy.

Not a big deal at all.

Posted by: Lofcutus on 12/10/2009 2:02:35 PM
You did a good job of stating your argument, but I cannot, er.. buy into it.

The core of my disagreement can be gotten to by responding to a specific statement in your piece:

"The fact is that we like the intrinsic value of our figures and cards."

No, I don't. I cannot speak for anyone else, but this is not a fact for me. I pay what I do for each new set because I understand that the company is in this to make money, and by buying at the case level or so I have a good chance of getting a reasonably large chunk of the set. There is no thrill of the chase in this for me, and I regard those who openly swoon over chase pieces, making declarations of how they'll "have" to chase them or spend $70 or more on one to have more disposable income than sense. (First impulse was to simply refer to them as "morons.")

I am only in this game because of the intrinsic comics connection. This is an extension of my interest in comics, and just as is the case with comics I have avoided dwelling on the market value/collectibility aspects. I have never spent more than maybe a rare $15 on a back issue of a comic, and similarly I avoid paying inflated market values for clix.

In Clix, these items are of interest and important to me because of the characters and options they represent, not in the least having anything to do with their rarity and consequent value. I have bought at the case level and above (including all of those pre-Avengers years when a case was generallyt 196 clix) and mostly eschewed the tournament scene throughout because I recognized early on that playing to win and playing to simulate battles between these characters are usually very different things. The prize-driven system repelled me despite my wanting many to most of those LEs... but this is getting off track.

I have pumped thousands of dollars (more than I care to calculate) into this game since 2002, and Print 'n' Play does not leave me feeling in the least bit cheated. I want options

Posted by: Miraclo on 12/10/2009 1:57:29 PM
I wonder if we'll see a system down the road similar to Magic or Warmachine where foil versions of cards will be given as prizes.

Posted by: spike1138 on 12/10/2009 1:32:06 PM
Personally, I would be OK with the total elimination of Feats, with the exception of ATAs. The Special Powers and Traits can easily replace feats. Having BFCs as PnP isn't a big deal and Bystander tokens should be replaced with actual figures. Having action packs of generics and 'minor' characters would be great. In fact, I would be OK with replacing the BtB figure with a discounted Generic/bystander figure action pack.

Posted by: malger on 12/10/2009 12:27:29 PM