The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Kid- and Adult-Gaming

As I mentioned a while ago, I gave my son Heroscape that I bought when it came out. After a few ‘basic’ games, we played a master game (with the full optional rules). I did that because the basic game, frankly, bores me, but also because we spent the time reading the special rules. Lots of special rules means lots of reading. (My son is seven). From a reading standpoint, great. And his interest in the game provides the motivation to study the cards.

And as a game; Pretty good. My son won, despite me not easing up. He was helped by the fact that I gave him a handicap (I had only 85% of his points) and that my paratroopers didn’t show up for nearly half the game (which effectively gave him a 2:1 advantage for several turns). Despite that, I likely would have won except that he made a 5% roll to steal a character. If my paratroopers arrived earlier, I may have eased up (forgetting to use their grenades for a few turns, or something). Overall Heroscape seems to be what I’d hoped for when I bought it. The elder daughter also plays a bit, and I may get an expansion for the holidays.

FITS also gets requested by the progeny.

From my various recent orders, Shadow Hunters stands out as the clear winner. I finally played with seven and eight, and those numbers worked well. Fast, lots of laughs, and usually tense throughout. I want to try Alex’s variant, although I’m happy to play without it. (Alex, Allie is not safe in 7-player. In our first game I had deduced both hunters by turn 2 as Allie and finished one off ASAP and was after the second one. The shadows had to pause to kill Charlie, who was threatening to win. Enough damage forced me to reveal, but then Daniel was killed and suddenly the shadows could win if they killed either me or the Hunter … on the last turn both George and I had 1 HP left, so it was a matter of which location got rolled. Poor Allie. Our next game also saw Allie out attacking viciously to force the game to a conclusion. She’s a stone cold killer, in the right situation)

My second game of Chaos in the Old World had myself and one other player fall way behind early. (The other player had an excuse, as everyone else had played before. Me? Some misreading of the board, some stupidity ….) I’m sure someone could have told me how to recover in turns 2-4, but by the last few turns it was hopeless. Player elimination wouldn’t work in CitOW, but those situations remind me that it’s preferable to being forced to play things out. Still, I’d play again. It may take a few more plays to get my board reading calibrated, but every game has 1-2 players fall behind and be mathematically eliminated by the end of turn 4 or 5 (out of 7). I’m sure our group could get to the point where that doesn’t happen, but then the game is balanced by “Take That!” And misreading the board leads to the inevitable kingmaking. This is why I eventually sold Age of Renaissance … but not until I’d played it 10+ times.


Written by taogaming

November 3, 2009 at 8:15 pm

5 Responses

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  1. The game board for Chaos is a problem. From the map that is impossible to read to the corruption tokens piling up in an uncountable mess to the dials where you can’t tell how far players are from victory, it’s just poorly designed. Games should not reward squinting.

    Fred Bush

    November 4, 2009 at 5:05 am

  2. My son (now 11) and I have played several large Heroscape battles, e.g., 1000 points each. Instead of the activation rules, we use a deck of cards to indicate which side gets to move a squad (we re-shuffle when an ace is drawn). I also bought some of the LEXAN mats from (they have all Heroscape stuff), which help make large setups easier.

    Joe J. Rushanan

    November 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

  3. I also bought Heroscape for my son (and myself ;-))when he was 7. We went straight for the advanced rules and took the same approach as yourself where I get less points for unit purchase than my son but then play full out during the game.
    It has worked very well and we change the point discount from time to time depending on who has been winning recently. My son takes losing fairly well unless tired and we have only had tears once after some very lucky rolls on my behalf. I sometimes stop him before one of us is about to make a crucial roll and ask him whether he is prepared for the result whichever way it goes – to which he usually nods and then accepts the result either with whoops of glee if it goes his way or with good grace if not.

    So far the expansions we have bought are:
    Orm’s revenge
    Forgotten Forest
    both of which I recommend.


    James Faulkner

    November 4, 2009 at 10:41 am

  4. On Shadow Hunters:

    Yes its possible for Allie to lose (and there is the 7 player kill 3 nuetrals case that occasionally comes up), but her win % is extremely high. Another note: If she is attacking one side to end it fast, that side can threaten to just try to kill her before they die if she doesnt stop. It can work.

    In most games Allie revealing will take all the pressure off her, and thats pretty unfair. She has the easiest win condition, so it makes sense to make her a fragile character.

    In playing it some more since posting that variant, I’ve had a few more thoughts:

    Emi seems too good with 14 hp, her power very good late in the game. My changes took her from the weakest to the strongest hunter.
    -2 HP from Franklin and George could be too much, so I’m changing hunter HPs to:
    George 13
    Emi 12
    Franklin 11

    Allie, Charles and Daniel seem correct as posted.

    Bob I am still unsure about. 4 items seems a bit too easy for a solo win, with the robbery power. But 5 is too hard, it can be hard to even get that many items to come out sometimes.

    So I think it is best to use the rules from the Bob replacement card in the Japanese expansion. (Which as far as I know isnt available in english).
    His power there is “If you kill someone, reveal your role to take all their items”, combined with needing only 4 items. This is a weaker power than robbery, but needing 4 is much easier than 5. I would still give him 13 hp. The way to deal with him should be to steal his items, not to try and kill him.

    I’m going to update the variant thread.


    November 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  5. Edit: Bob hp 12 (13 had gotten crowded).


    November 4, 2009 at 12:37 pm

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