That's right, people. I'ma start talkin' about Heroclix.
What is this "Heroclix," you ask? Well, it's been around for about a decade, and you should have seen booster packs hanging behind the counter at your local comic shop, so if you don't know, you need to pay more attention. Some have called it a simplified version of Warhammer, others have called it "chess with superheroes." Me, I call it a must-have money-suck, an extremely addictive game of infinite variations all based around our beloved comic book industry. You collect a bunch of figures with game stats on a clicking dial that changes as they take damage, build teams out of them and fight your friends, and it leads to awesome moments like Red Ghost and the Super-Apes taking out Earth-2 Superman if you play it right.
Anyway, 2012 is the 10th anniversary of the game, and it's come a long way since the first ever set, Infinity Challenge. There have been dozens of expansion sets since then. For the 5th anniversary, Galactus entered the game for the first time as a colossal figure and it's only fitting that he's coming back again for this one in a set called Galactic Guardians, due out this March. The first images from that cosmic-themed set just came out, thanks to this here poster.
This shows you just how wonderfully obscure this game can get, featuring the original line-up of the Guardians of the Galaxy from the 1960s, as well as newer stuff like Lord Ravenous of the Annihilation Wave and Lord Mar-Vell of the Cancerverse featured in the War of Kings event. There will even be a separate Fast Forces pack featuring the Annihilators, currently featured in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's miniseries Annihilators: Earthfall.
There have been Marvel sets, DC sets, Street Fighter sets, Halo sets and even a Lord of the Rings set due out next week, December 14, alongside a truckload of new gamma-powered Marvel figs in a set simply called Hulk. The sheer amount of characters available to play this game ensures that it will never play the same way twice. You can play as Squirrel Girl, for pete's sake, and make Monkey Joe attack Judge Dredd. How can you not want to play this game?
Usually, Wizkids Games (a subsidiary of NECA) alternates Marvel sets with DC sets as best they can, but the lead time to produce these sets is so long that it proved to be a problem with DC's secretive New 52 launch. There will be new DC stuff next summer, but the door was open for a massive Marvel explosion, and thus we're getting three big sets from them in a row. Hulk next week, Galactic Guardians in March, and then a Mighty Avengers set in June, all supporting a big overarching tournament for the Infinity Gauntlet – meaning lots of highly sought after prizes, including a badass Thanos and lots more obscure cosmic characters like the In-Betweener.
You've even got several different ways of buying the figures. You can get figures one at a time in single-packed blind boxes, you can get them in five-pack blind boosters (oh, collectible games, how frustrating you can be this way), you can get ten of those boosters in a sealed "brick," or you can get two bricks in a full case. Then there are the "Fast Forces" packs, wherein you can see exactly what you're buying. Figures also vary in rarity as well, so you could get lucky and get one of the Super Rares or "chase" figures in your booster as well, which tend to sell for a pretty penny on the old electronic bay.
Then, there are the Super Boosters. They first showed up in the Giant-Sized X-Men set that came out last summer, giving us big figures like Onslaught, Frost Giants and Sentinels, and they'll return in Galactic Guardians, bringing us the new Galactus, the Dread Dormammu, the Mole Man monster, Master Mold and, for the first time, Uatu The Watcher. How the hell is a big-headed bald baby-thing who just hangs out and watches things happen factor into an actual game? We'll have to wait and see. For the GG set, a "brick" will consist of 8 boosters and 1 Super Booster. Bang for your buck.
So, if you're in the market for a new hobby, look around your area for a comic shop or game store hosting games, or just find some like-minded pals, buy a Starter Set with some battle maps and the rulebooks and what-not and teach yourselves how to play at home. It's good and nerdy fun!