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: Qward Map on Reverse: Okaara Dimensions: 24" x 36" (16x24 squares) Set: DC HeroClix- War of Light Fast Forces Status: Active
One thing you can count on from cosmic-level comics is interesting locales. When a spacebound hero gets a Fast Forces set, I gear up for a fascinating map. And while the Green Lantern sets have historically dodged these alien landscapes (Blackest Night had the Sciencells and half of the movie set was Oa, but the other half was Ferris Air, and Brightest Day was a Monument and a Crater), the War of Light Fast Forces dove right in with maps for the Yellow and Orange Lanterns.
Continuing on a theme of multiple elevations, Qward goes from 1 to 4 in a series of levels that look like a colossal-sized staircase. For the standard-sized figures on your team, the staircases don't make elevation changes easy; placement is erratic, and elevation 2 even comes to a dead end before reaching the center of the map. The high ground has a major line of sight advantage, as its placement- jutting out along the map's center- gives perspective over all the other elevations. Even a 6-speed Running Shot should be enough to shift to wherever cover fire is needed.
Hindering terrain is scattered around, placed well enough to come into play but not so well as to ever be truly convenient. Blocking is also on the map, featured prominently in the main 'icon' of the map: the Yellow Lantern Power Battery.
Ultimately, however, this map is about elevations. It can be played as a close quarters map, as you can keep lines of fire short by keeping levels between you and your target. At the same time, you can make this a King of the Hill map with an intimidating figure positioned on the central outcropping.
Don't play on this map without Flight, or a whole lot of Improved Movement. Come to think of it, this map might start showing up more often following the release of Batman. Without a way to cross elevation, there's no shifting forces and minimal maneuverability.
Qward seems to be a harsh, try planet with some yellow lighting effects. That's about what the map brings too. Still, aside from it being an alien planet, that's like making a map of the Dune Sea by putting a crashed escape pod in one corner and R2 footprints across the middle. Perfectly accurate, perfectly fitting, but still a little generic. Clarity: 4/5
Another map to test your elevation knowledge, Qward uses positions where 4 can see 3, 2, and 1 at the same time, but other positions where 4 can't see anything but 3. It's not too hard, but it does require comfort in those new rules. Tactical Impact: 3/5
Having to commit your forces to pathways is an interesting tactical element. It allows for fights on different levels that are all very isolated from each other. And there's a definite money spot that everyone would like to control. Your tactics will be effected by this map. Balance: 1/5
Flight has a BRUTAL advantage here. You could spend all day trying to catch a Hypersonic flier as they hopped across the high outcropping and settled on the dead-end 2 elevation. At least the hindering is under control. Terrain Diversity: 2/5
Elevation is the primary feature, with a good dose of hindering and a thematic blocking area. Pick a random square on the map, and you're probably within 3 squares of only 1 non-clear square.
This map is visually impressive, and despite the lack of diversity it feels very unique. I'm drawn to use it even when it's bad for my team. But ultimately, this map is mean, and it should be viewed through the same lens as maps like the Prison, the Junkyard, and Shadowland. A smart inclusion in your tournament portfolio.
That's it for this week! Until next time, enjoy the scenery!
Only thing that would make it better is if it wasn't a mirror map.
Put 2 of them together, blah blah blah....maybe make it a 3x3 in the first place ?
I like this as a mirror map, though. You can cluster the Sinestro guys around the power battery and send other Lantern figures after them, like they're trying to destroy the battery and the Sinestros are protecting their power source. It would make a fun scenario, I think.
I sometimes miss 3x3 maps. I don't miss finding a place to get them laminated at though.
I know from the perspective of Grid Reality it is very hard to find an economical printer who can do 3x3 maps without having to charge the consumer an outrageous amount of money to cover the cost. This could be one reason WK went away from the 3x3 maps, just for cost purposes.
Another reason could be is that unless a large team is being played a lot of space on a 3x3 map goes unused. Most teams run up the middle and the sides/corners get ignored unless they offer a tactical advantage. Wk has always been rumored for always wanting to speed the game up with power creep and more move & attack powers, double power actions and so on, so making the battlefield smaller only adds to this theory. Although the battlefield shrunk years ago...could have been the first more in speeding the game up.
I would love to do some 3x3 maps...and I have created some in the past just for the "fun of it". Again the alternative is to make "mirror" maps that can connect, or just make a series of maps that connect to one another to make a larger map.
This doesn't solve the problem but does at least offer an alternative.