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Tabletop Game / Heroscape

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The Battle for All Time Has Begun.

"Armies marched, fought, claimed victory or conceded defeat, all for the wellsprings..."
—Quote from the first page of Thormun's Journal

Heroscape is a tabletop strategy game first published by Milton Bradley in 2004 (though it was transferred to Wizards of the Coast — also a of Hasbro subsidiary — in 2008). The game is played on a three-dimensional battlefield made of interlocking plastic tiles, with each player commanding an army of figurines. Usually, the goal is to completely destroy the other player's army, but there are other variants. There is an unoffical-offical website with a very active community.

Now, there is a backstory concerning all the greatest warriors in the universe going to Valhalla to fight in an epic war to decide the fate of the cosmos. Frankly, though, none of that is terribly interesting and you'd be hard-pressed to find a fan who actually cares. What it comes down to is this: gladiators, wolf men, dragons, elves, vikings, valkyries, samurai, ninjas, zombies, robots, Ninja Pirate Zombie Robots, (no pirates though, sadly), orcs, knights, Bee People, jotuns, trolls, ghosts, cowboys, Marvel-brand superheroes, and Dungeons & Dragons characters are all duking it out on one battlefield.

As of November 3rd, 2010, Wizards of the Coast announced that it was cancelling production of Heroscape. In 2015, Hasbro released Magic: The Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers, a Spiritual Successor of sorts that plays similarly but changes some of the rules and mechanics.

Heroscape provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Bomb: Deathstalker 7000, compared to its 8000 and 9000 compatriots, carries no guns and has only average attack and defense characteristics. It's much faster, though, and carries a special Suicide Attack rule that allows it to blow itself up and deal massive damage to anything standing too close.
  • Amazon Brigade: There are a number of all-female squads among the various armies, such as the Warriors of Ashra and the Nakita Agents.
  • An Ice Person: The Greater Ice Elemental, the Ice Troll Berserker, the Frost Giant of Morh, Nilfheim, the White Wyrmling, the Dzu-Teh, Nerak the Glacian Swog Rider, and Evar Scarcarver
  • Arm Cannon: Majors Q9 and Q10, Zetacron, the Zettian Guards, Deathwalkers 8000 and 9000, and the Blastatrons.
    • The Marro Drudge may also count, although their guns aren't permanently attached to their hands. (They are attached to tubes which come out of their hips.)
  • Army of The Ages: Definitely a possibility, with various human armies ranging from Roman Legionnaires, foot soldiers from both sides of The American Revolution, Samurai and ninja straight from Shogun-era Japan, World War II paratroopers, and Matrix style agents from the distant future.
  • Artificial Limbs: Sergeant Drake Alexander didn't have one originally, but he later got one in an expansion pack.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Master Win Chiu Woo and the Shaolin Monks.
  • The Beastmaster:
    • Sonlen fights with his pet dragon.
    • Iskra Esenwein also has the Rechets of Bogdan, a small squad of gargoyles that follow her and her alone.
  • Demonic Possession: The Shades of Bleakwoode are capable of this; they have a special rule where they can posses an enemy model if they are close enough, destroying themselves but transferring control of that model to the Shade's character for the rest of the game..
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Earth Elemental and the Granite Guardians
  • Dodge the Bullet: Stealth Dodge (unique to the Matrix inspired Krav Maga Agents) allows the user to instantly block a ranged attack with only one successful defense die.
  • Excuse Plot: There is a general plot about the more noble Valkyrie uniting against the evil Utgar, but there's no penalties for taking armies from multiple factions and players are encouraged to think up their own narratives.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Dragons, elves, wolfmen, zombies, vampires- if it's in a fantasy setting, it probably shows up here.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: The outfits of many of the female characters are fairly tight, be it a Spy Catsuit or fantasy armor.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Venoc Vipers move fast, don't have to stop over water, and have a chance to attack multiple times... but have absolutely no defense.
  • Game Mod: Due to the game being long abandoned by its parent company, the community has long since taken up the slack and created a lot of fan expansions for the game over the years. Commonly this includes new stage set pieces and the like, such as crystal spires or new terrain, but new units aren't unheard of. Etsy, in particular, has a large collection of new homebrewed physical additions to the game.
  • Grappling Gun: Sgt. Drake Alexander carries one in both versions of his model. In the original, it's a rifle-sized gun that allows him to immediately scale heights up to 25 hexes tall (but only when standing right next to them), while his second version is an arm-mounted version that can go up to 45 hexes and has a range of 4 hexes.
  • Guns Akimbo: A number of models that have guns carry two of them.
    • Red Skull, one of the Krav Maga Agents, Guilty McCreech, and the Marro Drudge all have a pair of pistols.
    • Johnny "Shotgun" Sullivan dual-wields a pistol and a shotgun.
  • Hive Mind: The Marro are Bee People who work and fight with a collective conscious, with their more powerful heroes providing the direction to nearly mindless drones.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Grimnak and Tornak ride a T. Rex and a velociraptor respectively.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: All ranged units can hit you if they can see any part of their target and if said target is within range. Yes, that means that they can all consistently shoot the tip of your finger off while you are far away and surrounded by jungle.
  • It's Raining Men: The Airborne Elite are World War II paratroopers that possess a unique mechanic of starting off the board for the first turn. Their controlling player then rolls a d20 until getting an 11+, at which point the Elite are placed anywhere on the board that isn't on top of another model.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: To the point where Valkyrie generals hand the leaders of their human soldiers katanas just to make sure they can still keep up with all the wizards and dragons they're up against.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Sir Denrick, Sir Gilbert, the Knights of Weston, and Sir Dupuis and the Templar Cavalry. They are all described as noble, chivalrous warriors, possess the "Valiant" personality trait, and are part of the army of Jandar.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Introduced in an expansion. Convection, Schmonvection is averted, as standing on volcanic tiles has a chance of injuring a model, and stepping into lava proper is instant death no matter how many hit points a unit may have. Only the Obsidian Guards are immune, being lava golems.
  • Luke Nounverber: Rhogar Dragonspine, Darrak Ambershard, Migol Ironwill, Mogrimm Forgehammer, Erevan Sunshadow, Sharwin Wildborn, Brandis Skyhunter, and Evar Scarcarver (Notice how all of these are from the Dungeons and Dragons crossover.)
  • Made of Iron: Unique Heroes often have high stats and several hit points, making them far more difficult to kill than the usual rank-and-file
  • Magma Man: The Obsidian Guards are golems made of lava, and the only characters that can safely travel lava and volcanic sections without getting hurt.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: In addition to the Marvel expansion, one expansion is Dungeons & Dragons themed.
  • Ninja: Every faction has at least one (Einar, being a faction centered around Army of The Ages, has both a hero and unique Ninja squad). They are nimble and can deal decent damage, but they're fragile (many of them, even unique heroes, being [One Hitpoint Wonders) and best to avoid protracted combats with tougher opponents.
  • One-Hit Kill: Runa, Sudema, Deadeye Dan, Grimnak (particularly notable in that his is the only one that's guaranteed to kill), Atlaga the Kyrie Warrior, Braxas, the Rechets of Bogdan, and Wo-Sa-Ga all have this as an ability. The Wyvern and the Drow Chainfighter can accomplish this too by using their powers to drop enemies into lava.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: All squad and common hero figures (and a few Unique heroes like the Deathwalkers, Isamu, and Otonashi) have only one hit point, compared to most Unique Heroes who can have multiple hitpoints and much better stats.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Each faction has a dragon; they're generally Western-style dragons with a Breath Weapon and flight, though they are intelligent and most of them (save the first one introduced, Mimring) are described in their backgrounds as benevolent kings and queens of different regions on their home world.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Elves from Feylund make up the core of Ullar's army. Most possess potent ranged attacks (either from bows or magic), are described as being long lived, and they have a close connection with the natural world in their realm.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: The orcs that appear in the first few sets are ''blue''. They're largely Type 1, being savage and warlike, and some of their higher ranking warriors ride atop dinosaurs or saber-toothed cats.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Esenwein family are a family of vampires from the world of Feylund. They can fly, heal themselves as they inflict damage on their enemies, and the family patriarch is a Necromancer who has raised armies of skeletons and zombies back on his homeworld.
  • Palette Swap: Agent Skahen, the Elite Onyx Vipers, Samuel Brown, Master Win Chiu Woo, Nerak the Glacian Swog Rider, Sir Hawthorne, the Quasatch Hunters, and the Granite Guardians are all repaints of previous figures.
    • All of the Dungeonsand Dragons figures (except Eltahale, Evar Scarcarver, Siege and the Master of the Hunt) are repaints of figures from the D&D miniatures game.
  • Playing with Fire: The Fire Elemental, the Obsidian Guards, Shurrak, Jorhdawn, Chardris, Erevan Sunshadow, Rhogar Dragonspine, Zelrig, the Red Wyrmling, Mimring, and Moltenclaw
  • Samurai: Exclusive to Einar's faction. There are four different Samurai Squads (three unique and one common), all of whom possess the Counterstrike ability, making them dangerous both offensively and defensively.
  • Super Hero: Marvel superheroes are included in one expansion, with some classics like Iron Man, Hulk, Dr. Doom, Spider Man, and Venom getting brought into the mix.
  • Sword and Gun: Agent Carr and the second version of Sgt. Drake Alexander both carry pistols alongside their BFS and katana respectively. It's a weaker attack than the sword, but handy in a pinch to get some damage in before closing to melee.
  • The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Samurai vs Vikings vs Vampires vs Cowboys vs Paratroopers vs Robots vs Superheroes vs Zombies vs Aliens vs Wizards ect ect.
  • Winged Humanoid: The native residents of Valhalla, the Kyrie, all have wings. The good ones have fluffy, angelic wings, while the evil ones have black bat wings.
  • Wolf Man: Some of the evil residents of Feylund and one of the many members of Utgar's army. They gain additional attack powers the more identical squads they have, though they make up for it with low defense.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Possible with the Zombies of Morindan- when they kill a model, they have a rule that allows them to place a previously destroyed zombie in place of the recently slain enemy. Zombies also move in groups, allowing for two or more squads to shuffle forward without having to spend additional movement for each squad.