Let’s assume that you’ve been persuaded to dip your toe in the water of miniature gaming, and being a superhero lover you want to go down that path. How easy is it? More importantly, how much will it COST?!
You have two mainstream options for superhero wargaming; Wizkids’ Heroclix and Knight Miniatures Batman (other games are available, but we’re keeping things simple for now). Broadly speaking, Heroclix is a bit more “pick up and play”, Batman more demanding. Let’s break them both down a bit:
Heroclix is a vast spiraling game of multiple superhero comic universes. With the rules available online, a “booster” pack of typically four random plastic models will set you back between £10-£15. There are pros and cons here: the models are prepainted, so look nice enough but not fabulous (it’s up to you whether that’s a pro or a con) and boosters, though they’re sold in ‘themes’ (eg D.C. Crisis), you never really know what you’re getting. Sure there is this place called eBay, apparently, which sells stuff, but it can rapidly get very costly to pick up the models you want. Gameplay-wise, Wizkids are somewhat notorious for what’s known as “power-creep”, where newer sets tend to be simply better than old stuff. So, yes, Heroclix can be good gateway drug, but has its frustrations.
As someone who has superglued their fingers together many times, I understand the fear that can go with starting with metal models. Fortunately, many of Knight’s miniatures are easy to assemble – my seven year old can do it (ah, child labour!) – though not all, admittedly. There’s also the issue of mold lines though to be fair these are generally pretty minimal; both of the above can mostly be dealt with by using a sharp craft knife. To most people, the two off putting factors are base cost and painting (which itself adds cost).
Cost first. A single metal character model will set you back around £10 – so around the same as 4 plastic heroclix figures. Henchmen (goons, mobsters, cops etc) come in packs of 2 for that price, while a full crew box of 4 models (Eg Joker and clowns) is in the region of £25/£35 – so your initial buy-in to the game is roughly double. You can download the rules for free, as well as all the character cards, and the excellent bat-builder.com allows you to build lists of viable crews. Then there’s paint on top of that.
So why go for metal? Well the models are far more detailed, and we do like our pretty toys – the facial expressions capture the characters well and poses are more dynamic. I would also argue that it allows you to add your own creative twist, but ultimately it’s a personal choice. As for the game itself, it’s more complex, but more satisfying for that (check out the next Geeking Out for a small game review).
One last thing. Though Knight make Marvel miniatures, there’s no rules for them… yet. Really, it’s only a matter of time.
So that’s a taster. Next time, I put my money where my mouth is, and I’ll give you a sense of how the game actually plays.
The Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
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