Cardboard Children: Bad News

Hello youse,

I hope you all had a good Halloween board game night last week. We had a fine game of Last Night On Earth and an amazing game of Mall of Horror, the out-of-print masterpiece from Asmodee. I won’t talk about either game right now, because I want to do a video about them at some point. What did you all play? Connect 4, I bet. Right? Yeah, that’s scary enough for you guys, I bet.

I was all ready to tell you about some lovely new games, when something terrible hap-

No, just read on. I can’t tell you just like that – brutal, like a board game Leatherface, delivering the news like a hammer and pulling my steel door shut.

Today, I want to catch up on some board game news – I like the sound of my own voice so much that I’ve been ignoring the basics. So we’ll have a little look at what’s happening in the scene this week, and gather our thoughts for the big Christmas wish list period.


Yeah, so you’ll remember me talking about Arkham Horror a couple of weeks ago, and warning that it’s not necessarily the case that you would like it. Well, if you’re one of those people who know it and love it, then Fantasy Flight might be able to interest you in some miniatures for the game’s investigator characters.

There’s a miniature for every investigator available so far, and you can even buy the entire set of 48 in one go, if a couple of hundred dollars isn’t too high a price for you. Unfortunately, it seems you can only buy the minis from Fantasy Flight’s online store, so shipping costs will probably be an issue for anyone in the UK. As for the quality of the minis – you can never tell how good they are until you see them in your hand, much like penises. If I ever get a hold of any, I’ll let you know. The miniatures, I mean. You can go here – – to have a look at them. You’ve got a couple of hundred dollars, haven’t you? Of course you have. You’re a PC gamer. A rich kid. Course you have.


Yeah, I was sent a copy of Deathwatch to take a look at. When I get the time I’ll sit down and have a proper look at it. It’s a big RPG rulebook that lets you play as a Warhammer 40K Space Marine. See, you might be thinking that it can never work, playing as a Space Marine in a pen and paper RPG. Where’s the opportunity for roleplaying in these big “For the Emperor!” puppets? Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy, the other two W40K RPGs, are fine pieces of work. So there’s no reason to think that the same team can’t get Deathwatch right. Roleplaying an assault on a Space Hulk would be pretty sweet, no? There’s few better experience in gaming than rolling some bones to see if a Genestealer has killed you, no matter what gaming system you’re using. I’ll let you know how it looks, and how it plays, when I get the chance. But it’s out there now if you fancy throwing yourself into Warhammer 40K roleplay at the deep end.

Actually, I’ll take the opportunity here to heartily recommend Rogue Trader. Plenty of opportunity for good roleplay when you’re a crewmember on a Rogue Trader’s ship, ducking your way past the attention of the Imperium as you explore uncharted planets. It’s a brilliant system, and a brilliant core book, and it would have to be my suggested jump-on point for Warhammer 40K roleplay. Character creation is a treat, and should be experienced by everyone. And there’s rules for space battles, and for conducting mass warfare on planets. I love it, and wish I had time to play it more.

Yeah, anyway.

I’ve been easing you all in gently. Let’s get to the point.


That’s not a typo. That’s how we say “dead” in Scotland. “Deid”. Pronounced so it rhymes with “feed”, “read”, “bead” and “heid”, which is how we say “head”.

This is a big one, and a sore one, and a main reason why we’re doing a news update this week. Heroscape is a goner. We all knew it was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier to take. Wizards of the Coast sent this out to confirm it:

“After a thorough evaluation, we have made the decision to discontinue our Heroscape line in order to focus our efforts on our core brands. While this decision means that we will no longer be developing new content for the game, existing Heroscape products will still remain available from Wizards of the Coast and sold in the hobby game channel while supplies last.

The next and final Heroscape expansion, Moltenclaw’s Invasion, will be released on November 16, 2010. This final assortment, which is playable with the Heroscape D&D Master Set, will include the best and most iconic creatures from the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. Orcs, bugbears, dragons and frost giants will all come together to join the greatest battle of all time.”

That’s depressing, isn’t it?

You might not know much about Heroscape. But I bet you’ve all walked past it in a toy shop over the years, not suspecting that there was actually a great game inside. If you’re a regular visitor to that wonderland of a shop TK MAXX, you will probably have seen loads of Heroscape in there, going cheap, and now is your opportunity to really regret it. Go. Just sit there for a few minutes and remember the time you passed Marvel Heroscape and didn’t bother buying it because you thought it was for kids. Go. Just sit and think about it. You bought an ornamental Santa Claus and a tin of foreign biscuits instead, you fucking dolt.

Sit for a bit and think about it.

Heroscape is a miniatures battle game, with pre-painted miniatures and a batshit-mental theme that lets you send teams of Samurais and Robots and WWII Soldiers and Marvel Superheroes against each other, if you so wish. The maps you battle on are made out of huge plastic tiles, and you can construct these maps yourself by snapping the tiles together, like a physical prototype of the new Molyneux/Traveller’s Tales game “Lego Populous”. You can play it with your kids, using the basic rules, and play it with your friends using the advanced rules. Unless your name is Michael Jackson and your friends are also kids. (I’m hoping I’ll get a “Paedophile-Free Michael Jackson Line” tag for that one.) It’s a game that lets you roll about a thousand dice, and you need a hand about the size of a lobster-loving horse’s bib to roll them properly. For American readers, the size I’m talking about is about that of a small sideplate in an American restaurant.

I’m pretty pissed that Heroscape is gone. I was hoping someone at Wizards would realise how great the property is, and relaunch it in a big way, with proper promotion. The most recent releases were Dungeons and Dragons tie-ins, which made no sense to me. I would have gone with a Ben-10 tie-in, something like that, y’know, for kids. It could be argued that–

Right, fuck it. Wizards of The Coast has made a dickhead move here. It could be argued that Heroscape has the potential to be the most valuable property in tabletop gaming, with the right handling. Be in no doubt, Heroscape will be the game, in twenty years time, that the kids of today reminisce about the way we reminisce about Heroquest and Space Crusade. I’m trying to underplay the loss of Heroscape to be kind to you all, but let’s be clear – THIS IS A KICK IN THE BALLS. Heroscape is (I don’t want to say “was” yet) the game that could have been THE gateway for kids to get into the board game hobby. If you ask me, Wizards of the Coast had a responsibility to get Heroscape right for the sake of the industry. But no. No.

You want to know why this has happened? Because of Magic: The Gathering. Wizards of the Coast look at everything through that lens, through that Magic glass. Nothing made of plastic will ever be as profitable as selling a few bits of cardboard as a Booster Pack. Try explaining why 40 plastic miniatures in a box is a good idea to a room full of company shareholders. “Can’t we just sell more of that cardboard?” I love Magic, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the wasp buzzing around the sweet jar of jam that is board gaming.

It’s a big loss, so don’t let it pass without sparing a few thoughts for it today. Some Heroscape chatter in the comments would be nice too! Have you played it? What minis are your favourite? How were those foreign biscuits?

This is the part of the column where I look for some positive news to cheer us up. The happy, funny stories you see at the end of TV news broadcasts. The stories that make you smile.

There aren’t any.

Bye, Heroscape.

Ameritrashers will miss you.


  1. TCM says:

    I have the original base set for Heroscape — always meant to pick up some of the expansions, but I could never find anyone to play it with me.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      See #9 in last week’s edition, sir.

    • The Other Chris D says:

      @TCM Same here. I bought the original box set, messed aorund with it, read the rules, and never got anyone interested in trying it out. I gave up and forgot about it. So it is sitting in my attic unplayed. Hmmmm, maybe this is an excuse to look at it again and maybe pick up some of the stuff before it sells out.

    • TCM says:

      Currently trying to convince my (now less young) brother to have a go at it with me sometime.

  2. Bfox says:

    Haven’t had time for board games lately, but do tell:

    How are things going with Burnistoun?

  3. Froibo says:

    This is a shame, I really wanted to get into Heroscape as I have heard nothing but great things. Hopefully I will be able to find a master set before they spot printing them.

  4. pupsikaso says:

    Toy shops sell foreign biscuits? Wut?

    • JB says:

      TK MAXX isn’t a toy shop, it’s…..well, it’s not a toy shop.

    • Xercies says:

      Its a clothes shop mainly with some random bits and bobs they decided to chuck in as well…which always confused me when i went in there.

    • Bhazor says:

      I bought some emergency shoes in TKMAXX in Sheffield once. Cost £40 which is close to three times my usual budget but I bought because I was barefoot and my old shoes were making my feet bleed.

      Still have the TK shoes 18 months later so I guess that was an investment that paid off.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      TK’s brother TJ runs the store over here in the States. I heard they had a bitter falling out a few decades back. Quite sad. Something about making a pass at a wife, slugging a mother-in-law in the face, and ending with a dead pet in the microwave?

      In any case, I think TK ended up with all the surplus Hereoscape swag in the split. TJ never seems to have any. I DID see an expansion pack once there, but when I came back to the store an hour later to buy it, it was gone.

  5. Bas says:

    They were delicious, thanks.

  6. MrBismarck says:

    We played Last Night On Earth too. A game where the last hero dynamited the last spawn pit on the last turn after two Zeds couldn’t find him in the cornfield.

    The game has played out like a movie plot a few times, but that was probably the most movie-esque game ever.

  7. Super-blinky says:

    Where are the games companies chomping at the bit to buy the name?

    I’ve got two starter kits but I’ve never played them as I can’t find anyone to play with ‘those toys’ -.-

  8. Froibo says:

    Also on a side note and although you had a huge rant about Magic, a planeswalker expansion could have been neat.

  9. Mark says:

    I’ve obviously not been paying attention; when did Rab start writing for RPS? :D

    • Wahngrok says:

      He started in middle of september. Clicking on the Cardboard Children tag will of course show you all his posts.

  10. BooleanBob says:

    Oh man. I don’t care for board games one jot, but I’m beginning to wonder if one fix of Rab a week is anything like enough.

    • sassy says:

      I enjoy these articles but I don’t think he should write for rock paper shotgun. The problem isn’t lack of writing ability, his stuff just doesn’t have the same feel and tone as the other writers. The tone of this site is very important, probably much of the reason for its success. To have a permanent writer that doesn’t match the tone very well just seems like a mistake.

      Once again not badmouthing him, he is a fine writer. Just doesn’t match the site.

    • Robert Florence says:

      He means “lowering the tone”, I know.

    • Lambchops says:

      Naw, I like having a change of pace on a Saturday with the likes of Rab and Tim Stone offering something a tad different while the other guys are being lazy bastards having a day off.

    • pupsikaso says:

      What? I think his “tone” fits right in.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      It’s his Scottish accent, clearly. “Deid”? That’s definitely not a part of the Standard RPS Vocabularosity.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      I thought having a homogenized press, reviewing games in ways that all sound exactly the same, was kind of what this site exactly ISN’T about.

    • leeder_krenon says:

      what’s this ludicrous comment about the ‘tone’? a monotone perhaps? i thought the only requirement to write for RPS was to be any good. clearly this column is any good.

    • Zanza says:

      Honestly, I’m thankful for this. I’ve never played too many board games, so it’s interesting to see new things about it.

    • MrSafin says:

      Robert Florence’s style totally rocks.

    • MD says:

      I like his writing, except when he says “Hello youse”. That sends me into a deep and furious rage, and it takes me most of the rest of the article to calm down.

    • Will Tomas says:

      I’m a fan. His tone, if anything, is much more like Kieron’s than any of the 4 daily writers, and since Kieron’s now only popping up in comments threads I’m happy to have another writer with this sort of individual, intensly personal style along. Plus I know nothing about board games (aside from dabbling in Hero Quest and wider Games Workshop as a kid) and Consolevania was great.

    • MadMatty says:

      @ Sassy

      You must´ve gotten the wrong foot out of bed this morning.
      Ever heard of diversity?
      or just plain good for that matter….

      I AM having trouble finding boardgamey types these days (SORRY!), my PC gaming friends being spoilt rotten by internet gaming, and r resting peacefully on their rear ends throughout the day and nights.

      I am however interested by gaming in general, rules, design, flava and so on

    • jackflash says:

      Um … now that Kieron is gone, Rab is basically the most enjoyable part of the site, pal.

    • Jake says:

      Don’t you stop Rob! Best freaking board game articles I have ever read. I think he fits perfectly in with the other writers here!

      Oh and I will be shedding tears for Heroscape. But now’s the chance to pick them up on clearance too!

    • DrazharLn says:


      I think we need a show of love towards the other RPS writers, too. They’re all pretty darned good, and their feature articles are usually delightful.

      Kieron was good, very good, even, but this was never a site of one.

      I don’t want them to cry (or cry more, in the case of John), you see.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I love my weekly dose of leftfield shouty lunacy-as-art, thanks very much. I love being threatened, or cajoled, or – in this case – bitterly accused in the course of a column. It makes me listen, and laugh, and do the other things I don’t do enough.

      Rab’s weekend madness is the main influence in the weekly indie games blog I currently do. I think it’s noticeable.

  11. Lack_26 says:

    All this mention of 40k based role-playing and no mention of Inquisitor. I’ve had some brilliant games and utterly adore my characters and their hopelessness at doing everything. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. Even did a non-lethal (sneak-take downs and stun-batons) stealth-mission where my cast of hapless ex-rogue traders had to escape from a prison-hospital after being hospitalised and generally having the crap-beaten out of them by their arch-nemesises in the Adeptus Arbites.

    Then there was a blood-bath in a market place where Dimitri, a long-suffering Arbite, had finally been given promoted to handling automatic weaponry. It didn’t end well when he snapped and unleashed the entire clip into a crowd of civilians and the retinue of a feudal-world Baron on the planet to hire mercenaries at the space-port. Psych exam probably should have brought that up when they made him an Armed-Officer. He got away with it after his team covered for him and claimed someone else did it. He was dead so couldn’t argue that he hadn’t done it.

  12. Xercies says:

    This maybe a stupid question but is there any 40k roleplaying game where you play as someone in the imperium having to break the rules while follow them at the same time and its the internal struggle of getting to places without yourself being taken out by the imperium. Basically paranoia in the 40k universe?

    • Robert Florence says:

      That’s pretty much Rogue Trader. You have to work “for the Emperor” while maximising profits for yourself, by fair means or foul.

    • Cerebrium says:

      You could probably just refluff Paranoia for that. To answer your question though, no, I’ve certainly not heard of any system doing that.

    • malkav11 says:

      For that matter, I would think Dark Heresy could be easily kitted out like that. I mean, when you’re working for an Inquisitor, you’re technically working for the Imperium. But Inquisitors get weird notions in their brains; and even when they’re painting entirely within the lines that doesn’t mean everybody else in the Inquisition sees it that way.

    • BigJonno says:

      Both Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader are very much centred on the dodgy fringes of the Imperium. You do all the things good little Imperial citizens aren’t supposed to while justifying it as in the interests of the greater good. “Yes, Him-On-Earth would absolutely want us to sell all these lasguns to ork pirates! Honest.” (Actual example.)

      Dark Heresy, a game where you play the daemon/alien/heretic fighting agents of Inquisitor, actually has a whole section about making daemonic pacts. That should tell you everything you need to know.

  13. Cpt. Sqweky says:

    Mall of Horror is out of print? Woah, glad I bought it when I did, then.

  14. Vesperan says:

    Random general board game question for you, Robert, and others:

    Girl friend and I enjoy playing board games together (and others when we can get them), and I am looking at getting another. So far we have just a few – Carcassone (..and a gazilliion expansions for it), Catan, Catan Card Game, a couple of others.

    The problem is we (…she) isn’t great at adversarial style games. For example, I take out all the dastardly cards from Catan card game to avert arguments.

    So from your posts and other looking, I am considering something like Citadels or Pandemic.

    I was just wondering if anyone had any general advice: as above, ideally the game would be cooperative (or at worst not requiring us to fight each other) and works with 2 players.

    Oh, and Hero’s Question + Space Crusade still rank as awesome. Fairly certain they’re hiding in my parents attic somewhere.

    • RogB says:

      i’ve never understood the appeal of the -theme- of pandemic, but a:

      a) cheap
      b) simpler
      c) possibly more appealing to ladies and kids

      ..version of pandemic is called ‘Forbidden Island’. Its by the same designer and pretty much known as ‘pandemic lite’, but instead of virus outbreaks its a group of explorers trying to collect artefacts on a sinking island. co-op and 2 -4 players. (and as most co-ops, probably playable solo)

    • Robert Florence says:

      You want Dominion.

      It’s competitive, but there’s no direct “Fuck you” stuff. She’ll love it.

    • Gothnak says:

      Witch, Militia, Thief etc all seem pretty ‘fuck you’ to me!

      Then again, you could keep those cards out…

      Thunderstone is probably a bit friendlier and a bit deeper than Dominon…

      Unfortunately i haven’t found a single co-operative game i’ve enjoyed as yet, mainly due to the player with the most experience telling everyone else what to do :p

    • Bob Bobson says:

      I’d say go with Pandemic, I play it as a 2 player game often and it works as such. There’s tension and losing, both features of competative gaming, but you and she are in it together which sounds like it might appeal to her. Plus if you do both like it it scales to more than 2 player gaming very nicely, if you want to start gaming with your girlfriend and other friends at the same time.

    • Ergonomic Cat says:

      Dominion without the attack cards would be excellent.

      BUT YE GODS DON’T PLAY CITADELS!!!!!!!!!!!! That game makes *me* hate people, and I love adversarial games.

      Consider Race for the Galaxy, and Zoolaretto. R4G is only competitve in that you’re looking at a shared pile of pieces to build a ship – everything else is just reacting to the same rules. Zoolaretto is only slightly competitve, and people seem to enjoy it….

    • Vesperan says:

      Thanks for the advice guys.

      Am taking Citadels off the potential list, and have looked at the other suggestions. I too have been dubious about the theme of Pandemic, but it still a contender.

      Personally I think I would go with Dominions from the look of it, but its probably harking too much too my (..few) days of being a Magic the Gathering player.

      Race for the Galaxy also looked liked an option.

      Thinking about for Christmas so still plenty of time to dwell. Cheers!

    • Voidkraken says:

      @Vesperan – Since everyone else mentioned Pandemic already, I’ll tout my other favourite co-op boardgame, Red November. You get to play as drunken gnomes on a steadily more dangerous submarine, trying to stay alive just long enough for rescue to get to you while fighting off kraken, fire, flooding rooms, engine destruction, sinking too deep, and exploding missiles. Can be played 2 player (although the board itself is incorrectly marked and claims three), is lots of fun and usually deadly (playing it with friends, we’ve only managed to survive once in all the times we’ve played it). Red November might not be to everyone’s taste, but I’ve yet to see a game more dependant on co-operation to “win”, and it’s given us lots of laughs. Also comes in the same size box as Citadels, so very portable.

      You may also want to look at Dominion, a card based game with a fair few expansions – I’ll let your local games shop describe it since it never sounds as fun in description as it is to play (I wasn’t convinced at first, but was hooked after playing it only once). It too can played two player up to lotsa players, depending on what sets you have, but it works great with any of the “base” sets (there are three options) and two players, and it’s up to you how adversarial you want to get with it because you can choose which cards are available in any given game (which varies the gameplay a hell of a lot, as all the cards can be used to interact in different ways).

    • Blackberries says:

      When I was considering some new games a few months ago I too was a bit dubious about the theme of Pandemic – it just didn’t sound too thrilling to me. However I took a punt on it and I’m immensely glad I did. It’s utterly fabulous. I’d say go for it.

    • Little Tohya says:

      There’s the Space Hulk card game, Death Angel. It’s co-operative (The game plays the alien face eaters; players are heroic Space Marines trying to complete missions on ancient, infested space ships).

      It’s tense and pretty damn hard. Also, cheap.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Citadels is a great game, mind. The stock rules do have some problems with only two-players, though, and the adversarial elements become exacerbated when the number of players is reduced. I’ve been meaning to search for some variations to the rules which might make it work better with two.

      For larger groups, I’d definitely recommend it. You can pick up the basics in just a couple of rounds, and it’s all good fun from there (unless you are consistently on the receiving end of assassination and thievery…)

    • Wilson says:

      @Vesperan – I’ve found Pandemic to be interesting. I think it’s probably more interesting and challenging with less people, but there is quite a bit of luck involved. Sometimes you’ll get a good set-up and you’ll win fairly easily, but sometimes things turn out so that you get a really challenging game. As a cooperative game I think it’s pretty good (though I don’t have loads of experience with board games).

  15. Loveschach says:

    I’m crushed. I got Heroscape for christmas some years ago and hardly played, since absolutely no one I knew was up for it.

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    • PodX140 says:

      Jaw. Hit the floor.

      What has come to RPS???

      Also, a pretty good read, even if my appreciation of boardgames is pretty much limited to pandemic, Catan, and Caracassone. (Actually, any other good German board games like these two that I should know about?)

    • Heliosicle says:



  17. Zanza says:

    I’ve never played Heroscape, but I remember the commercials. Being younger than most of you (probably), I was the target age for this game. For some reason, I wasn’t too interested. It seemed cool, but that was it. If it was THAT good, I kind of regret not trying to get it.
    Well, I am trying to get my Christmas list sorted out, so…

  18. Zogtee says:

    Heroscape, eh? I must admit I’ve never heard of of it, so I wont really miss it.

  19. Bhazor says:

    Rab linking music reminds me that he was the guy who got me into Stephen Jones/Babybird/Baby Bird/Death of the Neighbourhood and I’m actually listening to “It’s Not Funny Anymore” on repeat as I type this. That was nice of him. Thanks Rab.

  20. amishmonster says:

    The latest episode of South Park had a scene with some Cthulu cultists in it, and their bookshelves were full of Arkham Horror boxes. I chortled.

  21. DarkNoghri says:

    Heroscape, Heroscape, it sounded so familiar….. Especially when I saw the picture up top. As I was reading the article, all I could think of was Heroclix and Mechwarrior.

    And then I googled Heroscape. Yup, I’ve played this with a friend a time or two. I remember it being quite fun, but my memories are a bit fuzzy at this point.

  22. MarkSide says:

    I got my 40-plastic-miniatures-in-a-box on Monday! Not Heroscape, but Castle Ravenloft – thanks solely to the recommendations of Mr. Florence, here a few weeks back. I’ve played it 6 times this week with various combinations of family members and their important others, and it’s really been a great new way to spend time together and winning through against terrible odds/get owned by vicious and vindictive Encounter Cards. It’s the first real cardboard game purchase of my adult life (and I’ve been one a while), so thanks very much!!

    2 Related questions:
    What kind of animal is a pen and paper RPG? (I really have no idea having only played their computerised counterparts.)
    Can you please tell us if Mansions of Madness is any good as soon as you know if Mansions of Madness is any good. (RPS have somehow collectively got me into Lovecraft too. What an expensive website!)

    • malkav11 says:

      I would say that the tabletop RPG is a panda. Or possibly a zebra.

    • Arathain says:

      Nah, clearly pen and paper RPGs are cats. They seem fluffy and interesting, they’re kind of fun and playful, and then they turn round and remove the skin from your hand for no discernible reason.

      Pen and paper RPGs are the original role playing games from which all computer RPGs are derived. D&D is kind of the original big one, but there are RPGs to suit all genres and tastes. One creates a character, usually recording stats or other details on a character sheet, and your character and some other characters created by your friends have adventures. Almost always, one person will act as Game Master or GM. They will create your adventure for you, act the part of the NPCs you meet, describe stuff, and also manage the rules and determine odds.

      PnP RPGs can range from dungeon crawlers to full on collaborative story telling, and anything in between, depending on the system, GM and players. The great thing about doing it with people, rather than computers, is that your character can do anything you can think of, rather than merely whatever the programmers bothered to put in. The mark of a good GM is that they’ll adapt the rules flexibly to whatever crazy things the players come up with this time. (Mark of a good player: the GM loses control long enough to say “you’re doing what?!” at least once a session).

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Mark of a good player: the GM loses control long enough to say “you’re doing what?!” at least once a session

      Good player or not, I know I sure liked playing characters that ended up turning on the party at some point.

    • MadMatty says:

      What Arathain said…. AND:

      Pickup “Call of Cthulhu” the pen and paper H.P. Lovecraft mythos RPG, its absolutely outstanding in every way- and the less the players know about Lovecraft beforehand, the more terrified they´ll be!

    • Jack says:

      A guy who only just got into DnD here. The two very basic things that seperate it from computer versions are:

      1. You play it with people, so there’s much more room for improvising, chatting, and actual honest-to-god roleplaying.

      2. You don’t play it with a machine, so you actually have to calculate all the numbers yourself. With dice, and character sheets, and writing things down.

      The second point put me off at first, but I didn’t find it a problem once I actually started playing- apparently 4th edition’s simplified or something, though.

  23. malkav11 says:

    Also: I loved the one game of Heroscape that I’ve played. The radically disparate groups of characters can make for some nicely mental miniatures battles (though the basic rules leave out special abilities, making it a straight statfest and thus hideously dull. I can’t imagine even small children liking that mode of play). Unfortunately, it also took something like two hours to set up. So we have never played it ever again.

    Between that and WOTC’s tendency to jettison anything interesting they have that isn’t a cash cow on the level of Magic or D&D, it’s no particular surprise to me that it’s failed. Perhaps this will lead to people being able to trawl up some cheap remaindered boxes of it, though. That would be something. Not unlike my successful near complete collection of the ill-fated pentagonal CCG Hecatomb after WOTC unceremoniously dispatched it, thus rendering booster boxes of 36 booster packs or so priced roughly the same as one booster pack of Magic these days.

  24. Darren says:

    I have always wanted to play this game. My wife (god bless her) is an avid gamer. We are in the middle of painting up the minis for Descent Journeys In The Dark. We play WoW, Fable and (looks left and right) Magic.

    I could never convince her to play Heroscape. She is the same with 40k and other miniature game types. I might have to just go out and pick up a the base set and a few expansions anyways while I still can. See if I can manage to get her in to it.

    I think they will bring this back on day. That or Fantasy Flight will see the massive hole in the market and do something that is VERY much the same. Just with a different name. That or they actually pick up the rights to it them selves.

    Here is to hoping.

  25. Darren says:

    I have always wanted to play this game. My wife (god bless her) is an avid gamer. We are in the middle of painting up the minis for Descent Journeys In The Dark. We play WoW, Fable and (looks left and right) Magic.

    I could never convince her to play Heroscape. She is the same with 40k and other miniature game types. I might have to just go out and pick up a the base set and a few expansions anyways while I still can. See if I can manage to get her in to it.

    I think they will bring this back on day. That or Fantasy Flight will see the massive hole in the market and do something that is VERY much the same. Just with a different name. That or they actually pick up the rights to it them selves.

    Here is to hoping..

  26. Jack says:

    I saw those little tiles and I knew what this was going to be about. But I didn’t know Heroscape was dead! I was just planning to pick it up for my holidays, as one of my first forays into board games. Just as I start getting into it it dies.

    Rest in peace, heroscape. :'(

  27. Spacegirl says:

    Heroscape is so awesome! basically a turn-based strategy combat game with robots and orcs and dragons and samurai and space soldiers and vikings and romans and ww2 soldiers and ALL SORTS OF AWESOME DUDES!! Simple rules with lots of flexibility for house rule applications and an awesome, easy to put together hex board.

  28. Spacewalk says:

    I saw a whole bunch of Heroscape in a store a few weeks back. I will have to go back and buy it all up just so I can own it if said store (it’s a brilliant place, it’s called the Games Shop because it sells games) hasn’t gone out of business and been replaced by either a mobile phone place or a trashy girly trinkets place LIKE WHAT ALWAYS HAPPENS IN SHOPPING CENTRES.

  29. Tim says:

    Disappointed with this article. It was basically all about Heroscape being canceled without offering much content. Saying WotC had “responsibilities” regarding the property demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of business and how the world works.

    Heroscape was a product that was very hard to get into. From the point of view of an outsider the theme seemed to suck. I’m sorry I’m not interested in random fantasy trope X battling random scifi trope Y. The Marvel set was a good idea but I don’t want to have the Hulk battling random stuff ether.

    It also was a very hard game to get into. A few months back I looked into it and decided it wasn’t worth it. Now Wizards could have done something about it but I just don’t think it was financially viable to do so.

    Lastly, I think WotC views MtG and D&D as games with a low barrier of entry to picking up new players. People are much more likely to try out one of those than to buy an expensive board game that advertises it was designed by someone with a funny name. As someone how has played Magic and D&D I now play lots of board games. While less direct of a line than something like Heroscape would have been they are fine gateways. If you want a good gateway how about Castle Ravenloft? I expect it will draw more people into board games than Heroscape ever did.

    Have loved the other columns so hopefully this was just a fluke.

    • RogB says:

      Agree on the theme, I don’t like the idea of random mismatched stuff like a goblin versus spiderman. But I suppose it’s up to the player, so if you want to go silly you can.

      It sounds like a generic fighting engine that would probably be more suited to a videogame . If you were to convert it, how would the ruleset compare against some of the better ‘tactics’ style games?

    • Saul says:

      Saying Robert “doesn’t understand” how business works demonstrates a fundamental understanding of how awesomeness works.

    • Saul says:



    • Mirdath says:

      There’s waxing nostalgic over the end of a favorite game, and then there’s scribbling out paragraphs upon paragraphs of hilariously overwrought prose about how humanity (read: the author) is entitled to it continuing, indeed, being wholly revived and pumped up to Take The World By Storm As Is Right And Proper. Guess which one this is: ‘KICK IN THE BALLS’? ‘Responsibility’ ‘for the sake of the industry’? Uhh… what?

    • TCM says:

      “I don’t like the idea of random mismatched stuff like a goblin versus spiderman.”

      There is something very, very funny about this.

    • RogB says:


      lol, forgot all about the Green Goblin (if thats what you mean) :D
      must have been some sort of subconcious association.. honest!

      /feels foolish

  30. Darren says:

    For those interested, the Dice Tower on their Youtube channel has a great 5 part product over view (review) of the game. Very detailed and outlines everything about the game. So if you have never played or heard of this game then go there and take a look. It should answer a lot of questions for you.


    • Martin Kingsley says:

      Darren: Part 1 of the review in question, for those who are interested:

  31. zipdrive says:

    Rab, I’m calling bullshit on your assessment of WotC – If they’d only look at things through the lens of MAgic, they wouldn’t have kept Heroscape all these years, not to mention killing off D&D, Axis and Allies and all their other games, as none of them are as profitable as MAgic, as far as I know.

  32. irongamer says:

    Wow, sad, but not surprising.

    I really enjoy Heroscape. It is a pretty big hit at the game nights I host. Heroscape draws in people that would never play miniature games. Heck, these people will even request it for a game night. It is hard to beat the crazy spiraling tower and bridging landscape you can build with the map tiles. *sigh*

    I have 3 base sets, 2 original and 1 updated. Also have almost all of the expansions. So at least we can still use it for game nights for a long time to come.

  33. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Wait, what? Games with.. miniatures? Pah!

  34. bill says:

    I still have my old Rogue Trader rulebook – back when it was the 40k tabletop rulebook.

    Looking back at it, it’s amazing how different it is from what 40k tabletop became. It’s not all about the miniatures. It’s much smaller scale. It’s, in some ways, closer to an RPG… yet not.

    Deathwatch (and the new books) all some awesome – though i’ll never actually play them.

  35. DigitalMonk says:

    If you can get your hands on any of the base sets — BUY THEM.

    Even if you don’t get much out of the game itself, these things let you snap together 3D hex-maps with built-in terrain. Battletech/Mechwarrior, anyone? That’s just my fave. But if you’ve got any kind of miniatures game that has hex rules, these things are great for it.

    And if you play miniatures with rulers and all that crap, try assigning the base distance to “one hex width” and making a few other adjustments, and see if your game doesn’t pick up a lot of speed when you can just glance at the field and have your range issues sorted out. You can’t finesse things as well, but if you want to run a faster game, it can make a big difference.

    I personally have 4 of the original master sets, two sets each of the castle, forest, ice, and lava expansions. I got a few of the minis themselves in the early days, but discovered that I like the terrain more than the game, so I focused on terrain after that. I stopped prior to the Marvel “urban wasteland” set and the D&D “caves with stalagmites” set, so I can’t comment.

    But get out there and get some. Maybe even from here:
    link to

  36. Reapy says:

    OH god damn, that SUCKS. I think I might have to go on that crazy ass heroscape spending spree RIGHT NOW before it gets too hard to find stuff.

    I came late to the heroscape party, just last year actually, and man I fell hard, 3 master sets and + marrow expansion set + god knows how many cherry picked unit packs, and I have all the terrain an mini’s to fight an epic war, but I didn’t get ALL the ones I wanted, damnit.

    One of the things I liked about this game that actually got me into it was the anti wizard/gamesworkshop approach to minis that it had. I like mini’s a lot, I even like painting them, sometimes, but really I suck at it. I jumped on the new space hulk release, and I hated that due to spending 100 dollars on it, I had like 3 days of surgery taking those things out of the moldings and gluing them together. I still managed to snap someone’s arm off too. When they are all assembled, they are still unpainted, and the painting of those tiny things is basically a living nightmare to me without the proper tools and paints, that all cost a lot of $$.

    Now take heroscape, its like 7 bucks a pop (hey about the cost of a league of legends champ) and you get a hero and a squad of guys, all painted, in good condition, and exactly the set of guys that you wanted.

    The terrain is unparalleled. its like the lego’s of hex gaming. I’ve even gone and ‘moded’ some of the terrain, built a tree on one out of wireframe, dropped some flocking on it, then made a polystyrene rock, and even a little rotted out bridge made from popsicle sticks to connect them.

    Well anyway now to frantically head over to and see what they say there, but mostly I’m going to hit up the unit list and make my bucket list of guys that I never got. But I guess at the end of the day, the most valuable thing from heroscape was the terrain, and when you’ve got that, it is pretty easy to use other mini’s as stand ins for units you don’t have, or even picking some of the numerous custom’s people have made over at heroscapers. The game def is not dead by a long shot but man what a shame to see it dropped.

  37. NarcoSleepy says:

    My son is going to be devastated. We had to put HeroScape up when we moved to Minnesota, since we’re now in an apartment and there is no room for it. I promised him we would bring it all back once we got a new house. Now I will have to hope he forgets or distract him with something else – or never buy another house :P

  38. adonf says:

    Any recommendations as to what constitutes a good starter kit for Heroscape ? From what I gathered there are 3 master sets set in the main world and one in the D&D world (Wait, D&D has a game world now ? It’s not just vanilla fantasy ???) and one in the Marvel super heroes world.

    The ‘main world’ master set 1 has plenty of stuff but I’m not sure if it’s still available, even before WOTC discontinued the game. Master sets 2 & 3 look rather empty in comparison but I may be completely wrong on that.

    The D&D master set seems like a good alternative and the Marvel set has no appeal to me.

    So, any suggestions ?

    Also everyone who’s remotely interested in this needs to watch Tom Vasel ‘s five Heroscape review videos on

    Also this article is two week old an no one’s going to see this post.