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saturnflight
12/23/2010, 09:19
http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1412&pictureid=13949

With a new release last week, many people have now had the chance to play their first few games on the new maps included in the DC75 prize kit. But with limited exposure to it, it can be hard to catch all the nuances of the tactical advantages offered by this map. Lending insight into the Airport map is the graphic designer of Wizkids' recent maps and co-owner of GridReality, ibeatdrew.

saturnflight
12/23/2010, 09:19
http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1412&pictureid=13950

saturnflight
12/23/2010, 09:23
In the olden days of clix, maps stayed pretty close to formulaic themes and a few generic locales: parks, warehouses, office complexes, street intersections. With the shift to 'a new map with each new set' also came a philosophy shift: since they were making so many maps, they needed to be very distinct from each other.

The Airport is the latest in that string of unique locales, seeming to come more from recent news and less from comic book plots. Thankfully there's no TSA screening area on this map; who wants to wait 3 turns to enter the map? This map focused on the terminal instead, where if you look closely you'll find Tom Hanks sleeping on a row of chairs. There's a million inappropriate jokes to go with this map, but I'll just get a few out of my system quick and let you develop the rest...
-Play the Time Bomb event dial.
-Use a team of Batman Alpha cops, then keep everyone from moving with Plasticity.
-Use the Superman Allies (or Ultimates) to X-ray every female figure on the opponent's team.
-Use the Human Bomb (why hasn't anyone changed his name yet?!)
And now I'll apologize to anyone who works as airport security; you guys get the worst of public opinion and changing job requirements.
http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1412&pictureid=13952
Just one more.

I asked ibeatdrew what he likes about designing a generic locale, as opposed to comic-inspired maps:
(Generic maps) are fun. I can do whatever I want within the theme of the location, basically... I am still restricted to a design where the terrain is already predetermined, but I don't feel I am held to any kind of preset standard. These maps make me feel a bit more relaxed and don't stress me as much.

I also asked him about creating the art on the map.
I use Photoshop for my maps, so no art is supplied by the program. I apply a ton of filters and Hue/Saturation changes, Drop Shadows and Gradients and other things to get a lot of the effects in my maps. Most of my maps end up being about 1.2-1.7 gigabits in size when finished with tons and tons of layers.
I do use some art from a "Cartographer's Depot", so to say, which supplies "open source and closed source graphics"... basically, it's "clip art" for map making; you have to make sure you are using something that is "available for commercial use".
I would say I have to make about 65-75% of the graphics myself on some maps. I do take a lot of reference photos and incorporate them into my maps.

The first thing people take note of on a map is an orange section of Special Terrain. I asked ibeatdrew about how special terrain rules are created, but he stated that he had nothing to do with that part of mapmaking. On this map, that terrain is set off to one side, making it easy to completely avoid if it doesn't seem to fit your strategy. Let's take a look at the wording:

Orange squares are moving walkways. At the beginning of each turn, each character completely occupying a moving walkway square that cannot use the Flight ability must move as if they had a Speed value of 1 and automatically breaks away. This move starts with the character closest to the thick orange line and must be in the direction of that thick orange line.

The moving sidewalks will keep your figures moving while they're free to rest, attack, or whatever suits them. How do you use that to your best advantage? For one, a ranged character with no move and attack can set up 2 squares out of range and let the walkway move them in, keeping them further from the opposition prior to their attack. Another relies on your opponent's placement, but if you can Charge into adjacency and let the moving sidewalk carry you out of adjacency for another Charge, you can keep your opponent from close combat retaliation. A flying taxi can set their cargo on a sidewalk and let them drift away from them; by the time that passenger can take an action, they'll have made up the -2 speed their taxi suffered, and you're no longer adjacent if there's reason to be wary of that.

http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1412&pictureid=13951
Bane breaks the Bat, and while he clears the moving sidewalk will carry him to another.

While special terrain is often the most interesting part of a map, it's certainly not the most significant tactical element of the Airport. This battlefield is littered with Hindering Terrain, but lacks Blocking to interrupt the Y (numbered) axes. That makes this a great map for long range figures, and even better if those long ranges ignore terrain (see, that Superman Allies suggestion wasn't completely a joke). The flow of battle here is definitely head-on, Civil War-style.

If the heat of the open range becomes too much for you, each side is provided with a first class lounge (or rather, access to the tarmac). These outdoor sections have plenty of protection, and the only opening is well behind the battlelines, making it ideal for retreating to for a quick healing.

http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1412&pictureid=13954
Larfleeze keeps out of the fight.


So who wants to fly the friendly skies?

-Stealth characters are at home on 80% of maps, as hindering terrain is probably the most common terrain type. However, this map offers no cover for anyone else, giving Stealth much more of an advantage over other characters than usual. With nowhere to run, being able to hide is everything.

-Barrier is the only other source of Line of Fire disruption your team is likely to find. With such an open field of battle, using long range to attack from a great distance will be a popular tactic. The longer the range, the harder a Barrier is to get around. Also keep in mind that a properly placed Barrier can interrupt the moving walkways for two turns, which you might find useful occasionally.

-Running Shot figures can use the walkway for a fadeaway shot: run in, shoot with maximum range, then let the walkway carry you back out of retaliatory range.

-Phasing sees a lot more use on maps with more walls, but to avoid the firefight in the terminal you need to pass through the airplane out on the tarmac. A phasing combatant (especially one with the Carry ability) can effectively launch a sneak attack through the M-P columns.

saturnflight
12/23/2010, 09:23
All that considered, how does the Airport rate?
Theme: 4/5
The airport setting is unique among maps, and has humorous real-life subtext that inspires team builds. Hal Jordan's late for takeoff. Bullseye sets off the metal detector time after time. Dr. Doom arrives from Latveria, speaking in all caps (rep to anyone who gets that reference). That said, it's hard to think of any significant events in comics that ever took place in an airport, leaving its connection to a comic book game a little dubious.
Clarity: 5/5
The only potential stumbling block for the clear interpretation of this map was in the Special Terrain's 'move toward the thick orange line', but thankfully the moving sidewalks supplement this with clear orange arrows. You should have no trouble finding your way around this terminal.
Tactical Impact: 2/5
An open field will always have an impact on how a team is played, but it's debatable whether that should be considered the 'default' tactics or not. The moving sidewalks add a few fun tricks, but using them or not shouldn't change your game outcome significantly.
Balance: 3/5
While both players start in roughly the same boat, there is a slight advantage to being the player with the column-C moving sidewalk headed the direction of your choosing, and an even bigger advantage to whichever player came with Stealth.
Terrain Diversity: 2/5
Indoor, outdoor, hindering, a bit of blocking, and some moving sidewalks. Of these, the Outdoor terrain and accompanying Blocking terrain are unlikely to contribute significantly, while the Special terrain can easily be ignored. That leaves you and your opponent in the center of the map avoiding the rows of chairs acting as Hindering.

Overall: 3.2/5
Technically fantastic but tactically flat, the Airport map is a novelty theme that makes for a nice basic map when you don't need the map to contribute to your team. Playing here should never ruin your game, but it won't give you a home field advantage either.

That covers our look at the Airport map! Thanks go out to ibeatdrew for graciously agreeing to answer a few questions regarding mapmaking, and hopefully he'll return again to discuss some of his other creations. A final question for ibeatdrew: what are a few of your favorite maps? (That you didn't make, that is!)
The Original Map, the Mall (from Infinity Challenge). I played this one so much that it is falling apart. I would love to remake this one with updated graphics. (A remake of) the Mall side was actually the first map I ever made, but it was really bad.
The Legion Starter Map. The Lab. The Bank. The Prison (only sometimes, though). The Hellboy "Waterside" Map.
We'll see if we can't cover a few of those soon.

For future articles, I'm always looking for scans of Heroclix maps, so if anyone out there has them, please PM me and I'll let you know how to send them my way.

Until next week, enjoy the scenery!

jackstar7
12/23/2010, 10:13
Great analysis. I can say that adding players and doubling up the maps leads to some extra fun.

supremepontiff
12/23/2010, 10:21
during our release event, i played this map all 3 rounds... the team of donna troy, isis and osiris cleaned up... definately a GREAT map for a tk/charge/HSS based team... it even fools the steath team into thinking they have an advantage early, but the map closes up fast on them.

-RmL

saturnflight
12/23/2010, 10:57
during our release event, i played this map all 3 rounds... the team of donna troy, isis and osiris cleaned up... definately a GREAT map for a tk/charge/HSS based team... it even fools the steath team into thinking they have an advantage early, but the map closes up fast on them.

-RmL

I'd actually call that an unusual finding. Charge/HSS should be better off with hallways and walls; aside from that initial TK, I fail to find any way this map contributed to your success.

Darmonoth
12/23/2010, 11:19
I'd actually call that an unusual finding. Charge/HSS should be better off with hallways and walls; aside from that initial TK, I fail to find any way this map contributed to your success.

On this map during sealed 300 pts a team of Osiris, Green Lantern (allen scott) and johnny quick ran circles around my Scar & Detective chip. Osiris had the uncanny ability to dash in, lay the smack down, and dip around a corner out of sight. if it wasn't for a lucky (for me) critical miss by Osiris while
swinging at Scar for a final final kill i would have lost that round for sure.

larthosgrr8
12/23/2010, 11:22
ibeatdrew's maps are fantastic. detective chimp has a field day on this map. with proper positioning you bring a stealthed character into the light. i really like the special rules on the map as well. with all the grounded hhs, you'll have no problem getting around to where you need to be. i have had fun playing on this map so far. if you like this map, i suggest you buy his grid reality maps. they're so fun to play on give you a break from the normal 'wizkids' maps!

ThatGuyoverthere
12/23/2010, 11:25
Not realy comic booky, but you and your opponent could both play solider teams and now you have a table top version of Modern Warfare II's airport map.

Hero For Hire
12/23/2010, 11:46
Dr. Doom arrives from Latveria, speaking in all caps (rep to anyone who gets that reference).


You mean that awesome Straczynski written Spidey/Cap team up? I loved that story!

Still waiting to get mi hands on the Map to re-enact it!

spider_ham
12/23/2010, 12:09
This was a fun map to play on in sealed, although both my opponents and I forgot to move our characters that occupied the moving walkway. :)

SLVRSR4
12/23/2010, 12:44
I personally like it because of the Easter Eggs on the map. The magazine covers on the table's and chairs of the map feature players from ibeatdrew's former venue, while the number on the ground next to the Plane is actuallly the birthday of ibeatdrew's daughter. On the luggage carrier towards the end of the map, there is a number on the front of the carrier that is THEAVENGERTHOR's daughter's birthday (My niece).

piddle paddle
12/23/2010, 13:14
I'd actually call that an unusual finding. Charge/HSS should be better off with hallways and walls; aside from that initial TK, I fail to find any way this map contributed to your success.


Explain how you find this a fail to his success?

In your world im guessing running shot and a 10 range means everything. .

Ive watched and observed quite a few successful attempts at the HSS/TK combos on this map and let me tell you its the dominant tactic for this map IMO

MaxFortune
12/23/2010, 13:14
I personally like it because of the Easter Eggs on the map. The magazine covers on the table's and chairs of the map feature players from ibeatdrew's former venue,

I'm one of the players there and even we don't know who everybody is. Two of the photos are clearly identifiable, while the others aren't (even with magnification; we were checking one of the maps out last Saturday). So, hey, ibd, if you see this, please send me a PM and tell me who's in the pics (or just post it to our board).

tyroclix
12/23/2010, 13:20
This map has a clever idea but feels like the JL and Avengers SPs in so far it feels afraid of it's own orange terrain.

This would have been great if the Junkyard map had the same Terrain.

Sadly, the great idea is relegated to the far edge, behind a row of hindering Terrain which means to use it you have to commit to getting there. No mid-battle surprises here.

Good review touches on all the pros and cons on the map. A few columns would have upped the choices but as is, it's a very wide open, pro TK and long range map. Stealth and outwit thrive and prob control will be free and clear. Similar play as the Graveyard and Coliseum.

Badger
12/23/2010, 13:45
I love the possibilities with this map --- fast becoming a favorite of mine.

Have yet to lose with Bat based teams
my most succsessful being:
Bats Grayson
"Red Robin" ( the 66 point Drake) with Flashbang and Stunning Blow)
Robin Damien
199 points


*) Let the moving walks bring Grayson and a Robin in while Grayson uses his special power (without ever taking an action to get in range)
*) The characters are always in stealth b/c of the smoke
*) Put Grayson in front b/c of his flying ability he can decide whether or not to let the walkway move the pair each turn.
*) with all that stealth even when they leave the walkway they will be fighting at close combat with CCRs the whole time and not be shootable
*) The fight is nearly all on their terms allowing them to tackle 300 point teams and still win consistently !!
The map basically performs as the 4rth man on the team.


To take it up add OOtS Batman and perhaps Alfred .

OoTS Bats shines on this map esp. with 2 other Smoke cloud happy others

saturnflight
12/23/2010, 13:52
Explain how you find this a fail to his success?

In your world im guessing running shot and a 10 range means everything. .

Ive watched and observed quite a few successful attempts at the HSS/TK combos on this map and let me tell you its the dominant tactic for this map IMO

I didn't see how this map aided his tactic; that's what I meant when I said "I fail to see how the map aided in your success".

I don't think Running Shot and Long Range is the be-all-end-all of tactics. HOWEVER, a map that has a gigantic open area as its dominant feature, broken up by little more than Hindering terrain, is going to be a map that favors those types of figures. If I were using a 10 range 10 speed Running Shot figure, this is exactly the sort of map I'd want to choose. On the other hand, if I were using a HSS brick, I'd want lots of small rooms and corners to dart behind; if I were a charging brick, I'd want some corners near the center of the battle, where I could mount my Charge from. TK wants a long straightaway from the starting area, but when launching a brick with it, you'd ideally have more close quarters in the center.

There's no reason that a TK/HSS/Charge team can't be successful here. But I will say the map isn't doing it any favors. If anything, the map is neutral to that team's dominance.

mystery_machine_2068
12/23/2010, 14:10
I just got this map in the mail and I can't wait to play on it. It looks like it could be fun and it reminds me of the Green Arrow animated short.
I want to run a scenario similar to the short's plot. Have a bystander token represent the little girl, one team would try to protect her and one team try to assassinate her.

tyroclix
12/23/2010, 15:07
Explain how you find this a fail to his success?

In your world im guessing running shot and a 10 range means everything. .

Ive watched and observed quite a few successful attempts at the HSS/TK combos on this map and let me tell you its the dominant tactic for this map IMO

What he means is if you took those same teams and put them on a different map he doesn't think the result would be any different.

Was that player screwed if he didn't play on that map? Conventional wisdom says "no".

supremepontiff
12/23/2010, 16:10
I didn't see how this map aided his tactic; that's what I meant when I said "I fail to see how the map aided in your success".

I don't think Running Shot and Long Range is the be-all-end-all of tactics. HOWEVER, a map that has a gigantic open area as its dominant feature, broken up by little more than Hindering terrain, is going to be a map that favors those types of figures. If I were using a 10 range 10 speed Running Shot figure, this is exactly the sort of map I'd want to choose. On the other hand, if I were using a HSS brick, I'd want lots of small rooms and corners to dart behind; if I were a charging brick, I'd want some corners near the center of the battle, where I could mount my Charge from. TK wants a long straightaway from the starting area, but when launching a brick with it, you'd ideally have more close quarters in the center.

There's no reason that a TK/HSS/Charge team can't be successful here. But I will say the map isn't doing it any favors. If anything, the map is neutral to that team's dominance.

it was VERY dominant in my victories.. the ability to tk out and dip around corners that don't allow for a follow up RS/PB hit was invaluable.. half the time the fight would end just outside my starting area, or on one of the tarmac areas where someone would chase osiris into. initinally i thought my lack of a range would be the downfall of the draft for me, (it was 400, my full team was isis,osiris,nightmaster,a gorilla and donna troy) but sucking the battle into the few tight corners and positioning to charge around them won me my second round against what i thought was a MUCH better team (atrocotis,crimson avenger, barry allen and johnny quick) but again, the addition of tk to a team on this map is invaluable.


-RmL

saturnflight
12/23/2010, 16:23
it was VERY dominant in my victories.. the ability to tk out and dip around corners that don't allow for a follow up RS/PB hit was invaluable.. half the time the fight would end just outside my starting area, or on one of the tarmac areas where someone would chase osiris into. initinally i thought my lack of a range would be the downfall of the draft for me, (it was 400, my full team was isis,osiris,nightmaster,a gorilla and donna troy) but sucking the battle into the few tight corners and positioning to charge around them won me my second round against what i thought was a MUCH better team (atrocotis,crimson avenger, barry allen and johnny quick) but again, the addition of tk to a team on this map is invaluable.


-RmL

And would you say the Airport did better for your team than the Lab would have? Or the Junkyard? The Bank? I'm just pointing out that your strategy sounds like it would work well on any map, and that a complimentary map (such as the Days of Future Past wrecked mansion) would probably make it absolutely brutal, whereas the Airport simply doesn't hinder it at all.

saturnflight
12/23/2010, 16:31
For future articles, I'm always looking for scans of Heroclix maps, so if anyone out there has them, please PM me and I'll let you know how to send them my way.

ibeatdrew
12/23/2010, 17:01
It's great reading everyone's comments on the maps. The maps are a lot of fun to make.

MopedKid86
12/23/2010, 19:59
I enjoyed a decent victory on this map during Sealed, and I can attest that HSS works reasonably well here. Not like the Prison, but well. The Hindering terrain and little exits give them places to run, even if it's just for a hindering bonus.

My opponent made good use of his Stealth (Green Arrow) by hiding his HSS (Osiris) behind him after using his TK (Isis) to throw him out there. I emerged victorious, but it's likely due to my positioning of Detective Chimp for the Outwits and my White Hal's repeated successes with Impervious and Shape Change.

Adding to the discussion, I don't feel that the map lends itself to HSS as well as has been said, and Stealth would be the most dominant tactic here. HSS and the like are about a 3/5 in effectiveness here.

scourge101
12/23/2010, 23:34
The best part was using that singke wall for cover using speedsters in block M12. Nice middle ground to draw players from the opposite side.

Darmonoth
12/24/2010, 00:27
And would you say the Airport did better for your team than the Lab would have? Or the Junkyard? The Bank? I'm just pointing out that your strategy sounds like it would work well on any map, and that a complimentary map (such as the Days of Future Past wrecked mansion) would probably make it absolutely brutal, whereas the Airport simply doesn't hinder it at all.

i love your article, but what the many of us are trying to say is that wall the HHS teams are using is useful the entire map. not just in blobs, or having to run around rooms, its a full length wall, begging to be used. and yes, these teams do fair better on this map then on "conventional maps"

@ibeatdrew- wtf dude, your maps are awesome, professional, and hawkworld was half the excitement of my sealed event! i think you deserve a gigantic BOOYAA for both sides of this awesomeness

saturnflight
12/24/2010, 00:59
i love your article, but what the many of us are trying to say is that wall the HHS teams are using is useful the entire map. not just in blobs, or having to run around rooms, its a full length wall, begging to be used. and yes, these teams do fair better on this map then on "conventional maps"

@ibeatdrew- wtf dude, your maps are awesome, professional, and hawkworld was half the excitement of my sealed event! i think you deserve a gigantic BOOYAA for both sides of this awesomeness

I'm not quite seeing it (as it's one blasted wall away from an ambush and you have to double back a long ways and to one of three particular spots), but firsthand experience claiming this is a HSS team's dream map is better than my never-played-on-it analysis. I'm giving this one to you. Thanks for the debate!

mermaidmurder
12/24/2010, 01:40
how much does this map cost

When12Dawns
12/24/2010, 02:37
I just got this map in the mail and I can't wait to play on it. It looks like it could be fun and it reminds me of the Green Arrow animated short.
I want to run a scenario similar to the short's plot. Have a bystander token represent the little girl, one team would try to protect her and one team try to assassinate her.

These where my thoughts too! it's just like the short animation. you could even reenact the duel.

Who?
12/24/2010, 04:42
In my sealed I played Indigo 1 Guy Gardner Donna Troy(Teen titans) Sargon and Beast boy prime form. (I pulled the cheetah form but never used it.)

The moving terrain did nothing for my team but at one point one of my opponents ran his Bart Allen outside but I chased him down with guy and another opponent saved his Alan Scott by phasing him outside with another figure in tow which ended up having us tie in points. Phasing is definitely useful on this map for trap setting and a quick getaway.

saturnflight
12/24/2010, 12:10
If you have a local venue that supports tournament play, this map should cost you nothing. It comes in generous quantity in the prize support box.

If you need to buy one off the secondary market, don't pay more than $7 for it.

I haven't seen it in person, but my understanding is that this is actually a 2-sided map with Hawkworld on the other side, so if you do end up purchasing you're getting real value out of it.

ibeatdrew
12/24/2010, 14:29
@ibeatdrew- wtf dude, your maps are awesome, professional, and hawkworld was half the excitement of my sealed event! i think you deserve a gigantic BOOYAA for both sides of this awesomeness

Thanks a lot! I appreciate the support. I try my best to take the layouts I am given and turn them into locations that you guys like to play on and can recognize. Hope that makes sense! I really enjoy making the maps.

American Dragon
12/24/2010, 16:46
Now I can relive Tim Hawkin's Airport Comment: "I love automatic runways. They can take you to the wrong gate quicker. I always wanted to run on one of those things. Somebody would be like 'Whoa! Is That The Flash?'"
Thanks for another awesome map, ibeatdrew!

AmDrag

y2schwabe
12/24/2010, 22:02
A big thumbs up to both Drew and SaturnFlight.

This has been a most fun map to play on. I work as a baggage handler at an airport, and it has made it even more fun. I even plan on picking up a 2nd copy and modding it to look exactly like a real-life gate area in the Milwaukee area. lol It already look very close.

And that is a good anylisis. I agree with all the points made in my views of matches on this map. (As well as some stratigies I can use :P )

sae
12/25/2010, 11:42
I've thought about putting the map under the scanner and making a Roborallyesqe map where all the figures are moving all the time. In addition to finding the time, I was wondering if I should put some lasers to go off at the end of every round while I'm at it!

saturnflight
12/25/2010, 20:59
This has been a most fun map to play on. I work as a baggage handler at an airport, and it has made it even more fun. I even plan on picking up a 2nd copy and modding it to look exactly like a real-life gate area in the Milwaukee area. lol It already look very close.

I live in WI, and fly from Milwaukee frequently! I wonder if we've met!

goldpony
12/25/2010, 23:03
The walkways work well with HSS characrters, especially considering the hindering terrain bonus. Great map and i can't wait to try a neat combo on the hawkworld map!

y2schwabe
12/26/2010, 12:35
I live in WI, and fly from Milwaukee frequently! I wonder if we've met!

Fly Frontier? If you fly out after Noon, we might have passed each other. :)