Chess – With Super Heroes
January 2, 2012

Someone once asked me to explain HeroClix.  After some practice, I have come up with this.

“Its like Chess with Super-Heroes, except that if you want to play with 4 knights and no bishops, that is not only OK, it is encouraged and expected.”  At this point, I should add that you can also use characters from popular video games (Halo) and movies (Lord of the Rings).

Just like in Chess, each piece has its own unique abilities.  It comes down to 6 values.  Movement.  Attack.  Defense.  Damage.  Range.  Cost.

Movement.  How many squares across the map the piece can move in one turn.  The map is 24 x 36 squares, with a typical movement of 8.

Attack.  When attacking, roll 2 six sided dice.  Add the result to this number and compare it to the opposing pieces Defense.  If equal or higher, you successfully hit.  An average attack value is 9.

Defense.  When defending, this is the number the attacker must equal or defeat with his Attack plus the result of rolling 2 six sided dice.  An average defense value is 16.

Damage.  If the Attack is successful, this is how much damage the piece does.  The defending piece is turned that many clicks.  An average damage value is 2.

Range.  This is how many squares away a piece can be and you can attack it.  If the piece you wish to attack is farther away, you must move closer before you can attack.  Close combat pieces like Hulk have a range of zero.  They must be right next to the piece they are attacking.  Superman using his heat vision can attack pieces farther away.  An average range is 6.

Cost.  Each piece has a cost based on what it can do.  A queen would cost more than a rook, while a rook would cost more than a pawn.  If you assign each piece a point value based on its usefulness and give a point total for each side, then pieces become swappable.  If a rook is worth 5 points, a knight 3 points and a pawn 1 point, you could remove 2 pawns and a knight and put an extra rook on your side of the field.  In HeroClix, players agree in advance for a ‘point total’ for their armies.  300 points is a common army size.  You can play any combination of characters as long as the point cost is the agreed upon total or less.

One more thing.  There is no “check”.  No piece is sacred and must be protected.  The goal is to remove as many points of the opposing army before the time limit is up.

Those are the basics.  Some math.  Some counting.  Some dice rolling.  Some dial clicking.   With the above, I’ve successfully taught the basics to my son, my daughter, my wife, and several nephews.  Next time, I’ll go into powers, which attempt to recreate the super feats our favorite heroes – and villains – do so well.

Happy New Year and Happy Gaming!

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • BANE says:

    Yeah but the comic book purist in me cannot play with someone having an army of Mad Hatters or the like. I have to have it comic book mente make sense to play. Having Spiderman team up with ZZaxx makes NO sense to me…Etc.

    • Van Statten says:

      I agree Bane. Someone Clix army needs to make sense or have a theme. Once I read that you could have 8 Spider-Mans or Batmans on your team I gave up and simply collected to use them in my superheroes table top RPGs.

      • Erik superfriend says:

        Batman Brave and Bold did have an episode where Batman collected Batmen from other universes to help him, so there is some precedent. Most players I know do not play copies of the same character, but some do. Its just part of the game.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      Actually, the ability to make the team up of any combination is part of the charm. If you want Spiderman and Zaxxx on your team of Avengers, this is your chance to do that. In Spiderman’s case, he was the star of Marvel Team Up for a while. Remember that Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver all started out as villains before becoming Avengers. Alex Ross created a story where Plastic Man and Capt Marvel were long time members of the JLA. Why not build a team with your favorite characters?

  • demoncat says:

    glad i am not the only one who thought heroclix was like chess only no having to capture the king plus one has to click if the piece is damage though one could stack their sets by having as much powerful heroes or bad guys as possible including power ful ones like hulk if one wanted to.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      The point total for the armies tends to keep the “many powerful” pieces in balance. If you play Hulk or Superman, you don’t have many points left to include other characters.

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  • Glenn Moss Glenn says:

    Very informative piece. Helped me understand the game much better than anything else I’ve ever read.

    My only question is the cost of the character/figure. How is that determined? I assume Superman or Hulk would “cost” more than a Hydra goon, but how is the cost set? It it on the base of the figure?

    • Veil1 says:

      Yeah, the cost of the figure is on there.. On the spiderman figure that Superfriend used as reference, it is the 110 on the top.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      Yes, the cost is based upon the stats, powers, and number of clicks of life. Higher stats, more powers, and longer life cost more points. Pieces are geared toward being balanced in 300 point games. The two most recent sets out are actually based around Superman and the Hulk. Superman is 300 points while Hulk is 165. There is a Thug from the very first set that is 6 points (Even 6 point pieces have their uses in game play).

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