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saturnflight
03/23/2011, 22:03
<img src="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/80851/HCRealms.com/201103/mapreview-sciencecells.jpg" class="imageleft" width="200px" />The impact a map can have on a game is often overlooked. A good strategy incorporates a tactically-sound map choice. But when it comes to locale, sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. We're here to help you make smart decisions when it comes to Heroclix real estate.

Official Title: Oan Sciencells
Commonly Known As: Green Lantern Cells, Oa, the Emerald City
Map on Reverse: None
Dimensions: 24" x 36" (16x24 squares)
Set: Blackest Night
Status: Active

saturnflight
03/23/2011, 22:04
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/80851/HCRealms.com/201103/sciencecells.jpg
Image courtesy of Norb (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showpost.php?p=4729519&postcount=72).
Official Title: Oan Sciencells
Commonly Known As: Green Lantern Cells, Oa, the Emerald City
Map on Reverse: None
Dimensions: 24" x 36" (16x24 squares)
Set: Blackest Night
Status: Active
Availability: The Blackest Night starter set is still commonly found at many game stores, and is the most recent starter set to be released.

saturnflight
03/23/2011, 22:04
Once you've made Gotham City, the Batcave, Metropolis, and the Justice League Headquarters, choices for recognizable comic book locations become a little more obscure. And honestly, that's what many of us are hoping for. So when the Blackest Night set was slated to include a Green Lantern-themed map, speculation was rampant and excitement ran high.

Many of you known where the story goes from here. The Blackest Night Sciencells are infamous among players for a number of reasons. But are all the naysayers too quick to judge? Read on as we dig into the nitty gritty of this celadon site.

The visual aspects of this map are the first thing to catch your eye. Namely, that it's green. And not just passively green, like the grass on a park map. This is intense emerald in a variety of shades. You'd naturally assume this would create coding problems with hindering terrain; surprisingly, the hindering is not the biggest clarity issue.

Setting up is normal; the standard layout for starting areas is held to. But when objects are placed, the first of two special terrain rules kicks in:
Squares inside the orange boundary designate Armory Squares. When placing objects at the beginning of the game, each player must place two objects on squares within an orange boundary line.
These are the Orange boxes in B12-C13 and N12-O13. A relatively minor requirement, it does provide for a guaranteed location of at least two objects near the center of the map. This can be handy for Super Strength figures who need to re-equip, or for characters like Arcade that use objects uniquely.

The other Orange squares (or more accurately Orange circles) are Observation squares, and allow you to dedicate a figure to the cause of granting your team anti-stealth vision.
Orange circles designate Monitor Room squares. Whenever a friendly character occupies a Monitor Room square, all friendly characters can ignore the effect of hindering terrain and other characters on line of fire. A character occupying a Monitor Room square can't be given ranged combat actions or make ranged combat attacks.
On occasion, you may find this handy; but for the most part, this map doesn't lend itself toward Stealth tactics due to intrusively-placed walls.

Speaking of walls, this map isolates the starting areas from the battle via long horizontal walls. Crossing from the starting area into the battle area isn't easy, due to the only opening in the wall being cluttered with hindering terrain. Once inside, there is little room to maneuver and many places to get tied down. This map will make you regret leaving fliers off your swarm team.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/80851/HCRealms.com/201103/sciencecells3.jpg
Three reasons why no one gets in to see the wizard! 1. Hindering, 2. Adjacency, 3. Barrier

And then there are the cells. 16 in total, they occupy 4 sections in the starting portions of the map, providing unsafe emergency shelter for your routed team. If you find yourself in the cells, you're either on the ropes or using a terrain-ignoring, fast-moving hit-and-run piece.

As you can see, there's a LOT happening in this map, making for a narrow assortment of successful figures to use here. If you're thinking of using this map, the following should be predominant on your team:

-Characters who ignore terrain. Flight, Ultimates, Leap/Climb, Phasing, the more terrain they ignore the better. This map is exceptionally awesome for some of today's most hated characters: Cosmic Spider-Man, Nightcrawler, Susan Richards, and the new Juggernaut and Cable/Deadpool.

-Barrier, especially if it's free. John Stewart, Arkillo, and to a lesser degree any Barrier figure, can completely cut off access to areas of the map. What's more irritating than having to chase a flying speedster around walls and through hindering? Having to break through barriers first.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/80851/HCRealms.com/201103/sciencecells2.jpg
Jade tells Susan to try defying gravity.

-Telekinesis, especially if it's free. If you can't carry your figures across the hindering, toss them across. 8 squares will put you across the other side of the hindering and in the battle zone. Kyle Raynor, Magneto, Baby Gee...

-Move and attack (with big reach). Speed will trump range here, but most important is to pair this with terrain avoidance. Of these, Hypersonic is king, as it will allow the option of retreat to one of the many nearby havens. Perhaps you're beginning to see a pattern?

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/80851/HCRealms.com/201103/sciencecells1.jpg
You're gonna be pop-yuu-lar!

saturnflight
03/23/2011, 22:04
Are you ready to visit the Emerald City?

Theme: 5/5
They really went out on a limb here for a theme, and I've got to give credit for that. The excessive green is enough to make Elphaba feel normal, but the unnecessary complexity the special squares add are of questionable value, and don't significantly add to the theme. Regardless, I'm giving full points here.
Clarity: 1/5
There are portions of this map where individual squares are not even labeled! Mistakes in labeling, partially obstructed doorways, and a dark color scheme make this perhaps the most difficult map to make sense of since terrain labels were introduced. Like Kermit said, it's not easy being green.
Tactical Impact: 3/5
Even though it's a bad impact, this map does have an impact on your tactics. Namely, if you weren't running the original tourney champ tactic of Speedy Centerpiece Alpha Strike, you weren't going to be able to play your tactic at all. I'm taking off points because no alternate tactics are really suggested by this map; it simply undermines.
Balance: 1/5
Superman wins, but Batman holds out a little while first. That's to say, flight plus mobility will always win out here, leaving any swarm or setup teams behind. Stealth and Outwit can last a little longer, but it's just slowing the inevitable due to lack of opportunities to attack.
Terrain Diversity: 2/5
Appropriately, the only terrain here is hindering. And walls. Green green green.

Overall: 2.4/5
This map is an emerald error, a jade joke, and all around green garbage. The starter it comes in is fantastic, so you'll likely end up with this map, and that's a shame; this is not the map new players should be learning the game on. You may find an easy win here, but please keep tournaments accessible to new players and steer clear of this one. It's not fun, even with the advantage, due to constant discussion about what this terrain means and where you can move. A home-game map only.

Thanks for reading, and come back next week when we examine a brand new Giant-Size X-map! Until next time, enjoy the scenery!

VikingRS
03/24/2011, 08:30
Nice Wicked references. Rep!

Also, at the DC75th sealed I got my butt handed to me by a team with Osiris. My opponent (who I believe is around 12) specifically picked this map so he could use my objects against me. Grats to him but that sucked for me. ;)

Wombatboy
03/24/2011, 08:35
So many problems with this map.

There are inappropriate elements. The battle damage makes it look like these cells are grimy and have been like this for some time, even though in the comics we always see the cells pristine and immaculate. Give us a clean map and we'll make our own debris in the course of a game, thanks! The bloodstains look like they belong on a Horrorclix map. For a cosmic science fiction setting the weapons in the armory look suspiciously like they came from 20th century Earth.

The map looks like it was unfinished. Like the review said, there are gridlines missing, walls are unclear and the doors are confusing. If you draw the cell walls in to make it clear where they are you get swastikas all over your map... great if you team up Hydra goons with your Green Lanterns for some sort of Space Nazi team, but otherwise it could be viewed to be in poor taste.

Okay, got that out of my system. I've been harboring resentment towards this map since it came out. Great review, Saturnflight!

saturnflight
03/24/2011, 09:03
You folks see images, right? My phone doesn't, and I want to make sure it's my phone and not an actual image link fail.

jackstar7
03/24/2011, 09:47
Images are there. Nice work, as usual!

DaeRave
03/24/2011, 10:13
Hey we finally agree on a map review!

It was certainly an ambitious project, I'll give it that.
Especially when you consider the actual Oan prison is a vertical tower with floating cell things, its not something that lends itself well to a Heroclix map.
So I give points for trying, and there are some neat gimmicks in the map.

But me personally, I would have made a different locale on Oa that lent itself to Clix a little better.

Guy Gardners 'Warriors' bar maybe. Give it a little JSA Museum flair.

Zatara55
03/24/2011, 10:42
Have they ever clarified where this map. I'm still not sure where the walls are supposed to be, do the adjacent cells connect to each other, things like that.

NeoShazam
03/24/2011, 10:47
I'm guessing its a representation after Superboy Prime or some other villain broke out.

Labeling was garbage and the sharpshooter/trick shot bonus isn't much on a map that is more close combat oriented.

tylerdrake
03/24/2011, 10:52
My son and I used this for our St Patty Day brawl. We used a Horrorclix leprechaun as a "football" with one point for each round of possession.
We tied in the end. He, being 8 years old, insisted on using 514 points of DC so I added Bob to compensate on the Marvel team.
Green team 1: (519 points) Ms Marvel non-skull 168, Moondragon 134, Iron Fist 70, Rampaging Hulk 128, Bob the Hydra Tech 19
Green team 2: (514 points) Kyle Rayner 182, cookie monster Manhunter 202, Ambush Bug 50, Green Arrow 80.

It was pretty fun. Strangely, Ambush Bug and Hulk were the Best Figures of the game trading the "football" back and forth. We used a random placement of all models for a game "already in progress". Kyle and Carol just slugged it out in a corner...

mattsolo
03/24/2011, 10:56
GSM Juggs is a fan of this map. He is the only one.

tylerdrake
03/24/2011, 11:10
So...for our purposes (a green map) it was great.

There was a bunch-up in the middle which was good, line of fire was pretty open on the ends. Some of the shadows were confusing but overall the map works. We prefer Hawkworld though due to the "second life" siegeperilous aspect.

RavenProject
03/24/2011, 11:25
I've actually had tremendous success in the Sciencells with a team that couldn't be more wrong for it: League of Assassins.

With the abundance of blocking terrain available, the League of Assassins ATA works wonders on this map. You can run a Batman Enemy conga-line around the corner, keeping your big attack value safe while minions borrow it. Ninja Man-Bats provide the mobility you'll need.

I was delightfully surprised how well it worked. And promptly forbidden from ever doing it again.

-J

gatharion
03/24/2011, 11:49
Here's my main problem with this map-

I love that it's very thematic, BUT it's a terrible map for the related theme!

The Green Lanterns want open space to take advantage of all their Running Shot and long ranges so their own science cells are a terrible map for them.

If I'm running GLs I won't pick this map as it's bad for them, if I'm running JSA or Batman allies I won't pick this map as it's not thematic for them.

It's thematic for GL baddies, but most of them are range-heavy as well.

Maybe I'll use it for a Red Lantern team.

saturnflight
03/24/2011, 12:32
I've actually had tremendous success in the Sciencells with a team that couldn't be more wrong for it: League of Assassins.

With the abundance of blocking terrain available, the League of Assassins ATA works wonders on this map. You can run a Batman Enemy conga-line around the corner, keeping your big attack value safe while minions borrow it. Ninja Man-Bats provide the mobility you'll need.

I was delightfully surprised how well it worked. And promptly forbidden from ever doing it again.

-J

I am shocked and in awe of this. Great team/map synergy! That's an angle I didn't notice looking at this map! This is a perfect example of how a map can make a team work much better than it has a right to.

saturnflight
03/24/2011, 12:33
From experience, I can recommend this map for Larfleeze.

szude
03/24/2011, 14:02
HO

LE

CRAP

I never before notice that those were actually meant to be walls blocking off the starting areas from the middle. We've been playing wrong this whole time (granted, only used that map maybe 5 times.) Ugh, how crappy that is.

catherine
03/24/2011, 17:14
Love this map and it is probably my favorite so far. :grin: Granted, I am 'new' to the game and this was my first map. But I do enjoy the terrain, tight quarters, and the effect on movement and tactics. I prefer such flavor of indoor maps. The Prison map previewed a couple weeks ago looks amazing, and I often use my store's copy of JSA Museum as well. Anyways, glad to see this map. Unfortunate that it is not so well-received in general.

MattPetersen
03/24/2011, 19:48
I'm guessing its a representation after Superboy Prime or some other villain broke out.

Labeling was garbage and the sharpshooter/trick shot bonus isn't much on a map that is more close combat oriented.

There was a prison break out during the War of Light/Blackest Night. A HUGE riot occurred in the Science Cells.
I think this is supposed to represent around that moment.

I like this map (once I fixed the problems with some permanent markers).
I play GL themes on it versus the Sinestro Corps and the other Lantern groups.
It actually feels like a riot BECAUSE of the tight quarters (which is what I bet the makers of the map were trying to achieve).

krusticlese
03/24/2011, 21:13
The most *hilarious* part of this map and it's mistakes? Even the errata in the players guide that tells you which lines should be present, which lines should be walls, etc IS INCORRECT!

I know this because about a month ago I used the PG as a guide to correct the map with all of the walls before I got it laminated, and at least one of the areas are completely mis-identified in the PG.

Wombatboy
03/25/2011, 00:20
Have they ever clarified where this map. I'm still not sure where the walls are supposed to be, do the adjacent cells connect to each other, things like that.

Yes, the players guide lists errata for the map, including where the walls and gridlines are supposed to be. The cells do not connect to each other, no.

You can download the latest players guides at http://heroclix.com/blog/2011/03/18/normal-distribution-players-guide-update/

The most *hilarious* part of this map and it's mistakes? Even the errata in the players guide that tells you which lines should be present, which lines should be walls, etc IS INCORRECT!

I know this because about a month ago I used the PG as a guide to correct the map with all of the walls before I got it laminated, and at least one of the areas are completely mis-identified in the PG.

Could you specify which one? The latest players guide does have an errata for areas G16- I17 (it had previously identified them as H16-J17).

Darkjawa103
03/25/2011, 09:17
Another great map review. I look forward to reading each new one. I only wish I could have good praise for THIS map. I played on it once, and will NOT do so ever again. I love what was attempted, but somehow didn't work out in the execution. I mean do those open doors block LoS? Some of the boundary lines are hard to tell what color they are. I wouldn't mind if they tried to do a remamke of this map with some improvements for the Green Lantern Fast Forces pack, but I will not play this one again.

fastcat99
03/25/2011, 12:46
You know, I've looked at this and looked at the player's guide, but I guess the answer is just not sticking in my brain........

Are those big squares near the starting area the science cells and (the real question is) are they supposed to be open rooms that you can enter/exit?

Kamakura
03/25/2011, 16:03
Good review, I agree totally. This map would have been better suited for an action pack. Even seasoned players can't distinguish some of the terrain at a glance and that's a very bad sign.

rooster47272
03/25/2011, 18:53
Worst map ever.

Adam Fennimore
03/26/2011, 18:14
me and my freinds would always play on that map until someone pointed out at a tournament that by the broken glass on each side there was a wall! So in other words, the only way past the wall is thru the broken glass or hindering. i know, u can break down the wall or do countless other things and now we hardly use it. So as a conclusion, look for those anoying walls!

Adam Fennimore
03/26/2011, 18:22
this map is very good, for example use magneto with stealthy pawns and use magnetos telekenisis with objects to throw them against oponents.their are so many combonations for this. u can take advantage with :m-wing-trans:, :m-boot-trans:, :m-wing:, charge and so on. just like any other map it can be bent into ur favor. may i sujest looking at the "crash site" map.

flakbait
03/26/2011, 23:08
We tend to avoid this map at our venue, just because it's so muddy. But the times I've played on it the games have always been really one-sided - one of us just happens to have a team that plays well on it, the other doesn't, and it just turns into a massacre.

I would give it a lower theme score, myself. It doesn't look anything like the science cell area as I recall it from the comics.

tyroclix
03/26/2011, 23:59
You can definitely tell why they went outside the company to draw up their maps.

Yeesh - what a snafu this thing was.

I'm not entirely sold on NECA's map ideas. My first reactions are, "Cool" and then once the gimmick passes I'm left feeling a little cold. Science Cells, Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, Hawkworld, Airport, Krakoa, Madripoor - none are maps with lots of options.

Science Cells are mediocre. Dead on about how it messes up moblity for non-fliers. The forced object placement is kinda lame, too. A premium on positioning, though.

Good review.

silversurfr77
03/27/2011, 08:33
Great review Saturnflight......Rep to you sir. I'm not a big fan of this map. I remember it WAS one of the first maps I played on, this was before I knew where to find clarifications via the PG. Holy Moly what a nightmare this was.
Again, great review.

rowdyoctopus
03/27/2011, 09:54
So many problems with this map.

There are inappropriate elements. The battle damage makes it look like these cells are grimy and have been like this for some time, even though in the comics we always see the cells pristine and immaculate. Give us a clean map and we'll make our own debris in the course of a game, thanks! The bloodstains look like they belong on a Horrorclix map. For a cosmic science fiction setting the weapons in the armory look suspiciously like they came from 20th century Earth.

The map looks like it was unfinished. Like the review said, there are gridlines missing, walls are unclear and the doors are confusing. If you draw the cell walls in to make it clear where they are you get swastikas all over your map... great if you team up Hydra goons with your Green Lanterns for some sort of Space Nazi team, but otherwise it could be viewed to be in poor taste.

Okay, got that out of my system. I've been harboring resentment towards this map since it came out. Great review, Saturnflight!

This is wrong. 1 square of every science cell doorway is also a wall, meaning if you want to think of it as a swastika, then it is a swastika with hooks...

Wombatboy
03/28/2011, 20:44
This is wrong. 1 square of every science cell doorway is also a wall, meaning if you want to think of it as a swastika, then it is a swastika with hooks...

Huh, I think you are right. I had been operating under the misinterpretation that the phrase "Any angled door is considered open, clear terrain" in the players guide errata for the map meant that BOTH squares of the door were clear with no walls, but it then goes on to specify only one square of each door that has no wall.

Still think it would be a good map for a Hydra/GL Space Nazi team though. :)

Cruftworld
03/28/2011, 22:58
God, Space Nazis are the worst. Just when you think you've caught them all, one pops up in Space Paraguay or Space Argentina.

MantisWarrior
03/29/2011, 11:48
Yay. I do like reading me a weekly map review. And it's actually one i own this time! However not one i've ever played on as even with my limited collection there are better maps available. I will have to disagree with Gatharion though. I think this map is OK for green lanterns as their team ability can really make the difference when trying to escape those starting areas. Did this used to be called a GL tank back in the day? I don't know. I wasn't there that day.

gatharion
03/29/2011, 12:45
Yay. I do like reading me a weekly map review. And it's actually one i own this time! However not one i've ever played on as even with my limited collection there are better maps available. I will have to disagree with Gatharion though. I think this map is OK for green lanterns as their team ability can really make the difference when trying to escape those starting areas. Did this used to be called a GL tank back in the day? I don't know. I wasn't there that day.

Uh. yeah...GL tank teams aren't exactly GL theme teams.

worldsfinest
03/29/2011, 23:55
good review, except i would have appreciated more explanation on the sciencell doors because i still am not sure about what the LOF is with the open doors.

MantisWarrior
03/30/2011, 10:26
Uh. yeah...GL tank teams aren't exactly GL theme teams.

True. But I meant the team ability could help in whatever team you created as a way of taxi-ing multiple models past the hindering. Sorry I misread your post, an all GL team (although they all have flight) doesn't really benefit from this map so in that respect I agree.

rowdyoctopus
03/30/2011, 14:21
good review, except i would have appreciated more explanation on the sciencell doors because i still am not sure about what the LOF is with the open doors.

If you are looking at the artwork on the map the square on each side where the door is opened the widest has no wall. Every other square does have a wall. Looks like this:

.___..
...|..|
|..|..|
|..|..|
|..|..

Not to scale, but the best I could do.