Thursday 18 June 2015

Review - HeroClix - TabApp


HeroClix TabApp
Published by WizKids Games
For 2 players, aged 10 to adult

I don't like blind-packaged games.

I like buying a game, and knowing I've got everything I need to have a good time right there in the box. However, once upon a time, back when I was in my 20s, I decided to start collecting one of the popular blind-packaged miniatures games.

I really wanted a skirmish game, and I guess I thought it would be fun to invest in a game where building the collection was part of the hobby.

Drinking too much will do that to you.

After careful consideration, I narrowed my choices to Marvel HeroClix or The Lord of the Rings: Combat Hex Tradeable Miniatures Game. Both games offer themes I love, but ultimately my love for The Lord of the Rings was stronger than my love for Lycra costumes.

Turns out, it was a really good choice. Combat Hex is an excellent skirmish game, with great mechanisms that allow you to field forces of almost any size. It also has really good pre-painted miniatures that put to shame anything WizKids has to offer.

I ended up investing pretty heavily, even purchasing the large special figures such as the Balrog and two Fell Beasts.

Sadly, Combat Hex went out of production, which is a real shame, because I don't think it deserved to. Meanwhile, HeroClix continues to go strong.

And that's why I don't go to Vegas anymore.

I have never regretted my choice, and I would never give up my Combat Hex collection, but sometimes I think what might have happened if I had chosen the blue pill. Would I still be collecting HeroClix today?


Considering my recent experience with TabApp, maybe not.

HeroClix DC
Look at Wonder Woman checking out Superman. Batman isn't happy.

TabApp, which sounds a little bit like something a dinner lady might wear, is WizKids attempt to bridge the gap between the popular miniatures skirmish game and mobile gaming.

It's rubbish.

I'm not going to talk about it.


Okay, okay. The theory is, there are certain special HeroClix figures that you can sit on your iPad, and the TabApp game recognises the figures and zaps them into the game. A bit like Disney Infinity, but without the fun and creativity.

The original TabApp game was piss poor, and involved mashing your fingers against your tablet screen in an attempt to kill baddies. WizKids subsequently released TabApp Elite, which involves mashing your fingers against your tablet screen in an attempt to kill baddies.

They're both bad.

Anyway, I happened to be in a Poundland recently, and I discovered the store was selling off TabApp characters. Rather than being blind packaging, these characters were in fixed, thematic sets. There was a DC set featuring Superman, Batman (Adam West style), and Wonder Woman, a The Dark Knight Rises set featuring Batman, Cat Woman, and Bane, and an X-Men set featuring Wolverine, and two characters nobody cares about.

HeroClix X-Men
Wolverine and two Not-Wolverines.

I didn't really know anything about the app at the time, but figured nine HeroClix figures for £3 was probably worth a punt.

Now, we've already established the app is rubbish, but what about those figures?

Well, the good news is, they are completely compatible with HeroClix. They have the patented clicky bases, and they come with stat cards.

Unfortunately, there are problems.

For some reason, the TabApp characters are super-deformed. They are larger than usual HeroClix figures, they have massive heads, and they are on deeper Oreo-style bases. They are like miniature versions of those bobblehead toys you can get. Just without the bobbling.

Don't get me wrong; the figures look great. But if you are going to use these in conjunction with other HeroClix pieces, it is going to look a bit strange on the table-top.

These sets also cause issues for anyone new to the world of clicky bases (like me). WizKids did not include any rules, and there are no maps or tokens. Fortunately, I sourced HeroClix rules online, but it is worth clarifying: These are absolutely not starter sets for getting into the skirmish game. You just get miniatures.

Weird miniatures with bid heads.

And a shitty app.

HeroClix The Dark Knight Rises
Bane says playing the app would be extremely painful... For you.

Personally, I am pretty happy with my purchase. My daughter went nuts for the figures, and we play the basic HeroClix rules with them on a board from another game. She's only four, so isn't up to handling the advanced rules, but she is more than happy to push the figures around the map and roll dice. And that makes me happy.

However, I can't recommend these packs for anyone looking to get into the miniatures game, and I certainly can't recommend them to people who want a fun app to play.

There is a very real chance that the characters are excellent additions to an army for established players. I don't know anything about the game to be able to comment on the abilities each character brings to the table, but they are all varied, and they seem quite interesting. So, if you don't mind big bobbleheads joining your fighting force, these might be worth picking up if you can find them at a good price.

Just don't play the app.



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