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     " It's hard to argue with a good, solid miniatures set... "

      Title: Marvel HeroClix: Infinity Challenge Miniatures by Wizkids

      Format: HeroClix Minis

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: HeroClix is the latest and greatest way to play with your favorite spandex clad warriors and the Infinity Challenge miniatures expansion is Marvel's first set for it. Sold in random starters and boosters, Infinity Challenge is the place Wizkids wants you to start your collection.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Sculpting and Paintability: Following a philosophy Wizkids started with Mage Knight, all of the Marvel HeroClix figures are molded from a rubbery plastic and come hand painted. That's both good and bad. On the plus side, if you're casual minis gamer like me you'll relish having figures that don't require you to lift a finger to make pretty and playable. On the down side, when you're talking about quality for the dedicated gamer you'll often be a little disappointed, especially with the paint jobs.
          Picking up a HeroClix miniature invariably produces one of two responses. If it's a major character, like Spider Man or Captain America, you'll likely be impressed and say something corny along the lines of "Wow! That's a cool figure." If it's a mid-line or background player though, like the Juggernaut or Blizzard, you'll probably be fairly indifferent about the sculpting and will make a point to paint them as soon as possible- as the manufacturer's paint job is little more than a bi-colored dip in the proverbial jar.
          Still, when you realize that they bother to come pre-painted at all and are very repaintable if you don't like the stock jobs (Wizkids even posts fan repaints on their website,) it's a win-win for everyone. You don't have to paint if you don't want to and can if you do. 4.5 out of 5

      Usefulness: Given that the each miniature comes complete with on board stats and powers (read our Marvel HeroClix System review for more information) it's a bit redundant to explain how each one might affect your game play. So what I decided to look at instead is the overall usefulness and appeal of the set's figs as a whole.
          Surprisingly, especially when compared to some of the other miniature games out there, I found the mix to be remarkably sound. Though there are definitely "key" figures that your forces should have depending on its focus, for the most part even the Joe-Blow thugs aren't a waste of time to have.
          The system uses an army point value per side that is always rounded off in even hundreds and so you end up playing a numbers game before the battle begins. Unlike most games though, the figures for Infinity Challenge are actually pretty balanced for their costs and so even though you'd be tempted to write off some of the "throw away" characters as a waste of space you'll find them essential in filling the small point holes left by your more powerful main characters. As a result, even though several of the figures we had for review initially appeared to be insignificant, of the 34 (out of a set total of 150) almost all of them have ended up seeing positive use in our games.
          Not too shabby when all's said and done, and not a philosophy that nearly enough games embrace for their breadth of figures. 4.5 out of 5

      Value vs. Cost: Round off the averages and figures will run you about 2 bucks a piece and, unfortunately, come in random booster and starter packs (so you'll end up blowing a bit of money on duplicates). While that's not the greatest deal in gaming history, it does provide a comfortably low ceiling for what you need to spend to get serious about playing the game (the general consensus around the office is that you should expect to drop $50 to play with this set). And when you realize that there aren't any hidden extras (like army books or accessory blisters) it's pretty badass when you compare Infinity Challenge to most of what's out there. Of course, if you decide to be a collector trying to fill out your set may run you a small fortune, but if you're that much of a geek it's not like you've got a girlfriend to spend your money on anyway. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       It's hard to argue with a good, solid miniatures set and that's exactly what you have here. Pretty, balanced, genuinely useful, and offering good value for the money, Infinity Challenge is a great choice if you're looking to pick up HeroClix.

      The Good: Well made, balanced, and affordable…it's everything a miniatures set should be.

      The Bad: Except that it comes in random packs...which is incredibly annoying.

      The Overall Ugly: A great set that works well.

      What it's Worth: Market.

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