Batman Heroclix introduces Prime dials

Posted: November 17, 2012 in DC, Games
Tags: ,

By Alex Headley


The Batman Heroclix set adds a lot of new things to game. Vehicles are the most prominent addition but the possibly more impactful addition is that of prime dials. Prime dials are rarer than normal dials and as a result the pieces are more powerful. The trade off is that only one prime character can be on your force for a game. Prime characters are denoted by a green ring on the dial. Here’s the thing, prime pieces are numbered differently, instead of having their own number in the set, and each prime is just a rarer version of the normal piece. For instance, Catwoman is number 007 in the main set. Her prime counterpart is 007b. Both are common pieces but the chance of getting the prime Selina Kyle is much lower. Selina is also a much improved figure over regular ol’ Catwoman, sporting better powers and values for fewer points. This is a great way to add more valuable ‘chase’ pieces for collectors. However it also leads to the slippery slope known as power creep. Prime figures will dramatically outclass older pieces (or even pieces in the same set) thus making the less powerful figure irrelevant. This is already the case with super rare and chase figures that are in each set, but those typically come with a high point cost to off set the power. They are also different characters or takes on popular characters. Game designers can get around this hurdle with intelligent game design and giving popular pieces varied point values. keyword and special powers to break up the game. That’s the case in the Batman set.

 

The aforementioned Catwoman and prime Selina Kyle are capable of different things. Kyle is the perfect thief, able to swipe special items and relics from opponents and staying in the shadows to keep safe. Catwoman played it stealthy too but is more of a team player with a fun support special power and picking up better defenses with a teammate nearby. The two are uncomfortably close in point values though, with Kyle clicking in at 69 and Catwoman coming in at 71. Kyle has significantly better combat numbers as well. There are prime figures at every rarity in this set. Catwoman/Selina Kyle at common, Sasha Bourdeax/Black Queen at uncommon, Hush/Bruce Wayne at rare and Batman/The Caped Crusader at super rare. The best part is that these are extra figures in the set. They don’t take up a slot that would otherwise be occupied by a new, possibly inclined character like Batwing or El Gaucho.

The batman set vehicles are no less complicated. Unfortunately, the cards for the vehicles include a lot of text and extra rules that makes playing them a bit of a chore. Still the fun of ramming your enemies with the Batmobile makes up for it in my book. The dials are very long and since the pieces are bigger can make great tie up pieces, and mobile blocking terrain to hide behind. They can fight too but take damage for doing so. Their ability to carry several figures across the battlefield at once is invaluable. Especially on teams without fliers, like Gotham City and Police themes. Plus, when they are destroyed, they become ultra heavy objects that super strength pieces can use in combat. Standouts include the Blue Beetle’s Bug for its hypersonic speed and ability to avoid or heal damage and the Batwing’s ability to drop its passengers in its flight path.

So, clixers, what do you think of prime dials? Are you happy with the Batman set? Will you be fielding the new vehicles? Let me know in the comments.

Bonus! Here are five of my favorite pieces from the set. Go check out their dials in the HCRealms units section. Here’s a link: http://www.hcrealms.com/index.php?page=units

Runner-Up

BM 207 The Joker

The counter top display Joker is my preferred clown in this set. Both Jokers in the set are good, but this one has indomitable, trait probability control on your turn and a fun trait that lets him get revenge on anyone dealing damage to a friendly Harley Quinn. Throwing a Harley around as bait is great fun when the Joker comes dashing in with a free close combat attack. Lots of keywords make him a versatile piece and I love to play theme teams.
5. BM 010 Blackbat
This is an obvious choice. Cassie Cain will be swing lots of competitive play. Charge in with an incapacitating quake to deal damage and knock back to multiple opponents then use a free smoke cloud to get back stealth. If that doesn’t work she is plenty capable if holding her own with combat reflexes and super senses, outwit, exploit weakness and close combat expert keep her useful. Batman Incorporated keyword cinches it.

4. BM 031 Alfred Pennyworth
This butler means business. Opening click perplex is nice but the second click onward is where Alfi shines. Super Support with a range of 4 and  perplex is a winning combo. Just like in the comics, Pennyworth keeps the Batman Family safe and healthy for cheap. And indomitable lets him keep it up and make sure he is in the best position to take care of your team. All that for just 42 points.

3. BM 019 & 005 Beast Boy
The morph mechanic returns! In DC75 Beast Boy could morph into several different animal forms. Batman adds two more options a dolphin and a pterodactyl. The pterodactyl is my favorite here because it can carry multiple pieces and still packs some offensive power with charge and exploit weakness. The dolphin has some fun water bonuses but water is too rare to really make use of it. The best part is that these animals are packing the teen titans keyword, meaning you can start with one on your force instead of the lackluster human form offered in DC75.

2. BM 032 R Big Barda
I’m a fan of the New Gods and especially Barda. Which is why I voted for her inclusion in the set in WizKids first big fan vote. I was very pleased that she won and even more pleased with her dial. She bring more to the table than the typical brick piece thanks to her Boom Tube trait. It allows her to incredibly mobile and position to where she can forge most damage. Her second trait gives her extra defense for each action token, encouraging pushing and constant offense. Very character accurate for the aggressive New God.

1. BM 048 SR Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze puts the often overlooked power Barrier to good use. Barrier shenanigans are fun and Freeze uses it well, making 9 range close combat incapacitate attacks against anyone adjacent to his barrier. His three targets are escape finally useful as he can target multiple character with his special engaged combat expert power and thanks to his trait gets a bonus to his attack for each character targeted. It’s a fun dial for one of my favorite batman villains.

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