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     " I haven't been this impressed with a miniatures game in a whole long time. "

      Title: Marvel HeroClix Gaming System by Wizkids

      Format: Table Top Miniatures Game System

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: For a whole lot of years we gamers have been waiting for a miniatures battle game to wage war with our favorite super, we have it. Based on Wizkids' Combat Dial, you can now pit your favorite Marvel heroes and villains against each other. But is there enough room in this town for yet another comics based game? Let's find out.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Playability: There have been dozens upon dozens of super hero games over the years. Heck, even the Marvel characters have appeared in more than a few. The reality of those games, and the reason you don't really see them around any more, is that they have, traditionally, sucked. And not just sucked a little bit, they've sucked donkey. They've sucked in ridiculous, hard to fathom, and completely unacceptable ways.
          So, when these little figures landed in the office and, inevitably, on my desk- I was understandably suspicious. After all, I've played just about ever other Marvel game there was, including "Overpower", and so have first hand experience with how much a company can muck up this particular franchise.
          So you can imagine my surprise when HeroClix turned out to not only be a solid, but also a fun tabletop game! Based on the Combat Dial system of Mage Knight fame but simplified to make play faster and slightly less tactically oriented, HeroClix actually manages to use a short stat system to reasonably reproduce the super hero experience.
          Defined by the rotary dial built into each figures base, the Combat Dial shows all of the vital information for each miniature without the use of character sheets or thick rulebooks. Forget keeping track of your guys on a static character sheet, now your miniature does it all for you- plus it allows for the constant changing of stats and values in a manner that's never been seen before in a table top game. As the character takes damage, which is referred to as "Clicks", the dial is turned and thus shows a new set of stats until eventually listing a "KO". Whether it's the consistently fading effectiveness of an average thug or the slow enraging and powering up of The Incredible Hulk, taking damage now actively affects your characters and, thus, your strategy. Color-coding on the stats also allows for the listing of super powers and so is able to faithfully and simply give you all the listings you need.
          Still, all that innovation would mean nothing if the stats and system weren't solid, which fortunately they are. Though not always accurate to their comic book counterparts, the minis have good balanced gaming stats and are combined with a simple target roll 2D6 system and a team point total to produce a fast, effective, and most importantly, fun game.
          Quick to learn and easy to use, HeroClix is one of the best miniature systems I've gamed on. 4.5 out of 5

      Layout and Presentation: As in the other Combat Dial games, to keep track of stats for movement, melee fighting, ranged combat, defense, and damage (in other words, all of the essentials for your character) you simply glance at an "L" shaped window at the foot of the fig. Sheer genius in design, the Combat Dial allows you to play a virtually paperless game (the only resource you need to keep handy is the legend that tells you what the color coded super powers are)..And it's hard to beat "paperless" for layout as far as I'm concerned.
          Really, the only drawback to the concept is the reference sheet you are constantly consulting to find out what your super-powers are...And believe me, when I say constantly, I mean constantly. Every time you take a hit, every time you want to do something new tactically, even every time you just haven't looked at a fig in a while, you will be picking it up, checking the color, putting it back, checking the reference sheet, and then checking the fig again. And while all that can be a bit annoying and very time consuming, I can't think of a better way for them to have done it so you'll just have to smile and live with it (though, note to Wizkids, next time put the window behind instead of in front of the figures. We're behind them most of the time anyway).
          Beyond the minis the only other thing you have to be concerned with is the initially read rule book and the scenerio listings, and both of those are presented in an easy to read, heavily illustrated comic book format so they shouldn't stress you out too much. Not to mention the fact that once you've read it all through once or twice you'll never touch 'em again.
          So, all in all, despite any irritation from the ever present quick reference guide, it's really tough to find any fault with the game's presentation. It's tight, fast, and easy to use. Wish they could make mail ordering brides this easy. 4.5 out of 5

      Value vs. Cost: For 20 bucks a starter box gets you 8 random figures, rules and guides, a fold out map board, dice, and some fun effect and item tokens. Additional 4 figure boosters will run you another $7. In our experience you'll want 3 or 4 figs on a side, which means for a little less than $30 you and two buddies can get rolling. Or, if you really want some diversity in your playing, with $50 you can pick up enough minis to keep you happy and playing for a whole long time. And when you compare that to most of the miniatures games out there which charge you that much for a very limited playability starter set, your wallet will thank you for going HeroClix. And, despite the fact that each box is random, the 150-figure line is dispersed well enough that out of 36 figures we only got 2 duplicates. Not too shabby. 4.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, I haven't been this impressed with a miniatures game in a whole long time. Add to that the fact that it's based on some of my favorite comic book super heroes and you end up with one very happy monkey.

      The Good: An all in one paperless system with your favorite Marvel super heroes.

      The Bad: You spend a lot of time looking back and forth at the reference guide and it isn't always true to the comics.

      The Overall Ugly: Solid, simple, and fun- this one is highly recommended.

      What it's Worth: Market.

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