Maddie has been bugging me to play Heroscape for some time now. The problem with Heroscape is that it takes time to create the map board and as we always played on the dining room table we had to dismantle it at the end of a game. I wanted a more permanent solution so that we could create a board and then leave it in place so that we could play it a number of times.
Over the last few months I've slowly been cleaning out and tidying up our downstairs rumpus room (aka game room, rec room, play room) so we now had space to erect a table. I had a 5' x 3' table with detachable legs that had been stored in the garage for years that was just perfect for the job. The other advantage of having a table set up downstairs was that I would be able to set up and play some of my solo wargames that I've been wanting to play.
So my wife suggested that we invite over her girlfriend's son (who is also Maddie's classmate and friend) for a Sunday afternoon Heroscape battle. I've known Jackson since he was born and as he is currently Harry Potter-mad I suspected he might enjoy a game like Heroscape. Besides, Maddie wanted to team up with Jackson against her dad. So it was on; me versus two eight year olds.
First I needed a map. I headed over to the fan site Heroscapers.com and perused their Battlefields of Valhalla section. These are maps designed by fans that have been voted the best tournament maps. I selected Highways and Dieways, a map that required one Rise of the Valkyrie Master Set and two Road to the Forgotten Forest Expansion Sets.
There is a free Heroscape battlefield editor program called VirtualScape that allows you to create and view your maps in photo-realistic quality 3d images (as shown above). This is a really handy program as it allows you to see at a glance what your battlefield will look like. You can also nominate starting positions for the armies (as shown above in red and yellow spaces).
Maddie and I set up the battlefield while my younger daughter, 3.5 year old Georgia, played at making her own map with spare terrain pieces. Below is an overhead picture of the Highways and Dieways map we created. I chose not to use the two glyphs as this was a training game for Jackson.
When Jackson arrived after lunch I gave him a brief description of the game and then let them choose their armies. Jackson chose Kelda the Kyrie Warrior, Emirroon and the Izumi Samurai (total 220 points) and Maddie chose (Raelin the Kyrie Warrior, the Nakita Agents and Jorhdawn (total 300 points). I decided to choose an all-Marro force of Ne-Gok-Sa, Me-Burq-Sa, two squads of Grok Riders, one squad of Marro Drones and the Marro Warriors (total 500 points). So it would be Maddie and Jackson fielding a combined Jandar, Uller, Vydar and Einar army of 520 points versus myself fielding an Utgar army of 500 points. My two young opponents would have a slight army points advantage but more importantly they would have the advantage of a combined 6 orders per turn versus my 3 orders per turn.
It was a fun battle. I did give advice and talked through options and tactics with the kids but let them make the final choices on where they moved their figures and who they attacked. I didn't pull any punches with my game play though as I was playing for a win. That said, it was a very close game and the lead swung back and forth several times. There were shouts of excitement from the kids (and myself) when great dice rolls were made and there was even a bit of trash-talk (at an eight-year old level).
Maddie and Jackson went on to totally defeat the evil hordes of Utgar in a climactic final battle on my side of the board. Their victory did not come cheap however as Jackson only had a wounded Emirroon left and Maddie only had two of the Nakita Agents left standing.
This particular battlefield was designed for one versus one tournament play and I found it to be just the right size. The game took around 2.5 hours to play and we all enjoyed ourselves.