Dale Yu: Review of Marvel HeroClix: Marvel Studios Disney Plus – What If…? – Miniatures Game 

Marvel HeroClix: Marvel Studios Disney Plus – What If…? – Miniatures Game 

  • Designer: uncredited
  • Publisher: Wizkids
  • Players: 2
  • Age: 14+
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by Wizkids

what if

According to their website –  HeroClix is the #1 Selling Collectible Miniatures Game in the World – with over 750,000,000+ figures and counting, HeroClix is the most purchased collectible miniatures game on the market.  The game has been around since about 2002, and there have been countless versions (hyperbole here, obviously they are countable) of the game, all using the same base ruleset.

If you aren’t familiar with the series, HeroClix is a tabletop combat game using 3-D collectible miniature figures of your favorite characters. By building a force from your collection of figures, you can take on the roles of your favorite characters and challenge your friends to epic battles. 

what if minis

HeroClix is played using collectible miniature figures standing on a base with a rotating combat dial. Together the figure, base, and combat dial create the character.  A character has five combat values:

  • The Speed Value– this is indicated by the boot for walking characters or the wing for flying characters. It tells us how many squares a character can move during a turn on the HeroClix map.
    • Characters that can fly can move through hindering terrain, over blocking terrain and onto elevated terrain without penalty.
  • The Attack Value– this is indicated by the fist symbol or the sharp shooter symbol. This shows how skilled characters are at combat attacks.
  • Range Value– this indicates whether your character can make a range combat attack or not.  Characters that only fight hand to hand, have a range of zero but if your character’s range is greater than zero, this shows the number of squares away that a character can make an attack.
  • The Defense Value– this is indicated by one of two shield symbols. This shows how well your character can protect itself from attacks.
  • The Damage Value– this indicates how much damage your opponent will take when hit.

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Each character’s base shows numbers and colors in the window; these are the combat values and powers of the character. By turning the dial, your character gains new powers and combat values!    A character card is specific to its HeroClix Character and tells you a bit more about the character and its powers and abilities. Each character has powers represented by the colored boxes on its dial. Each character can only use the powers currently showing on their dial and with each click of the dial, that character’s powers change.  In general, as your character takes damage, you click towards the higher click numbers; and when you heal, you move back towards the start position.

what if scenarios

A HeroClix game takes place on a map board; with defined starting areas. Before starting, choose a scenario to play (there are scenario cards included in the box).  The first player should place his or her characters in squares inside a starting area. The other player then places his or her characters in the starting area opposite the first player.  One player with be The Watcher’s team and the opponent will be Dr. Strange Supreme’s Team.  All characters start at their basic dial position (you’ll see a red #1 and a green starting line).  

what if board

Players alternate taking turns and giving actions to their characters. During your turn, you can give one action, either a Move or Combat action, to each of your characters in any order.

Move Action: move your character from one map square to another – A character can be moved up to the number of squares equal to its speed value. This can be done in any direction, even diagonally, or through occupied squares of characters from the same team.

Combat Action: attack an opposing character with a close combat or ranged combat attack – When your character makes an attack, you roll two dice and add the result to your attack value. Your opponent then compares the total to their defense value. If the attack result is equal to or greater than your opponents’ defense, then it’s a hit.  If you roll double 6s, you will deal a critical hit which is an extra click of damage.  If you roll double 1s, it is a critical miss, and the attacker takes one click of damage.  If a character has a KO showing on their dial after taking damage, they are removed from the board.

(There are plenty of special abilities that come up; they are explained on the character cards as well as summarized in the rules).

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Turns go back and forth until either one team has accomplished the special win condition on the scenario card, or more likely, one team has “KO”’d all of the opponent’s Heroclix.  (This is when a red KO is revealed on the dial as a result of a click.

 OK, so that’s a brief rundown of how to play.  But what do you get in this box?

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This miniatures game contains everything 2 people need to play HeroClix:

  • 10 Premium Quality Pre-Painted Miniatures each with TWO ways to play for beginner or advanced play
  • 20 Character Cards (one each for beginner and advanced versions)
  • 18 Object, Terrain, and Bystander tokens
  • 8 Campaign Scenario Cards
  • 6 Double-Sided Thick Map Tiles. No folds!
  • 2 Custom six-sided dice with an icon of The Watcher
  • 2 All-new Powers and Abilities Cards with Marvel Studios What If…? Imagery
  • A multi-session campaign for 2 players 
  • 1 Full-Color HeroClix Core Rulebook (2022 edition)

The characters are pre-painted, and they look pretty sweet.  Way better than any paint job that I would have been able to give them!

The sides are…  

The Watcher’s Team

  • The Watcher
  • Captain Carter
  • Party Thor
  • Killmonger
  • Hydra Stomper

Dr Strange Supreme’s Team

  • Dr Strange Supreme
  • T’Challa Star-Lord
  • Gamora, daughter of Thanos
  • Post-Apocalyptic Black Widow
  • Zombie Captain America

So, obviously this is good for beginners as it gives you everything you need to get started.  However, it is also something that veterans may want to pick up because you can mix and match Heroclix from different sets.  You can create your own army of superheroes (and whoever else you happen to have!) and go at it against your opponent!

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I have strayed away from Heroclix for quite some time now – probably at least 10 years.  Way back when, the collectible and competitive nature of the game was too much for me (as was Magic: The Gathering).  I did not have the time, attention span nor bankroll to keep up with all the new characters to remain competitive.  Also, at that time, I was moving away from 2p and combat based games to the kindler, gentler multiplayer Eurogames.

Getting this set was a nice refresher, and for me, this is probably the way that I want to experience Heroclix.  For me, the set is a closed thing – there are the only 10 miniatures I own, and I have a few different options on how to play.  I can play with the beginner or the advanced dials.  I can play a one-off scenario, or if I have more time, I can get into the more involved story mode.  And I’m happy to limit my play to just this.  I feel like the two sets are balanced, and for the times that I want to play – I can just pull it out and enjoy it.

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Games last maybe 30 minutes, and once I got back in the swing of things, the basic rules for Heroclix came right back.  There are a lot of special abilities, but they are fairly well explained by the cards and the rules, so no issues there.

I doubt that Heroclix will ever make it back into heavy rotation in my game life, but this is a nice set to have as an example of the genre.  The Marvel themed heroes also make it a big hit with my nephews, and this could be a nice game to show them there is more than roll and write in the gaming world.

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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