Monday, November 22, 2010

HeroClix Apps for Android Devices (Updated 11/23/10)

No doubt about it, HeroClix is a rule laden game that can be complex when approached with little attention.  The payoff, however, is a great experience [re]creating comic based battles with a myriad of characters that would sometimes prove hard to see on the pages of an actual comic.

Where else can we get Batman and Judge Dredd to lay the smack down on those upstart kids from the Runaways while being helped by Incredible and the Comedian?  And think, pretty soon, Chun Li and M. Bison of Street Fighter fame can be fielded to help which ever side they want.

Well, lots of fans loving this game has driven the creation of great sets of resources for the game.  From the fantastic community for Clix fans HCRealms, to third party game enhancements from Gale Force 9 and Grid Reality, fan interest in the game makes other folks think of some great ways to improve the game-playing experience.

Today, I'd like to look at a few of the resources available on the Android Market that may help enhance your game.  If you like what you read, there is a scannable barcode that will take you right to that App in the Android Market when scanned

The first thing you will notice at the Android Market is that a search for "heroclix" turns up only a handful of Apps.  All but one are by fan/developer (and funny man) Adam Komar.  Adam has been a fairly active member of the HeroClix community at HCRealms.

The most prominent of these Apps that Adam has developed is the HeroClix Team Builder.  This app lets you search the entire inventory of HeroClix figures, Feats and Bystanders to build any team for any need.  The teams and database of figures, including stats for each click of the dial, store to your SD card.
Using this app you can plan ahead for your next game anywhere.  As a mobile interface with limited screen to use, it is not as convenient as the Unit Section on HCRealms, but as far as mobile planning, this is tops.  Plus you have the option of downloading the entire database to your SD card, so you don't even have to have a network connection to use the App, just plug in what you want to work with and go.  Oh yeah, it also calculates theme team bonuses.

I feel as if I am just glossing over this, because frankly, I cannot say enough good things about this App.  Every click, every FEAT, right there on your mobile device for you to peruse anytime you want.  WIN WIN WIN!

This is a pay app.  But for $2.00 you get a go-anywhere clix library that is constantly updated with the new sets and can search for just about any parameter you can think of. (For the record, this is the only App I have ever paid for and I don't regret it one bit!)

Another clix utility that Adam has built is the Crosshairs for HeroClix line of sight tool.  This tool giives you a 14 x 14 square grid that you can plot two end points on.  It draws a line between the two endpoints and you can examine the straight line between them.  this is a very simple tool.  While it lacks the ability to zoom, it gives you a clear view of the LOS.  From there you can refer to the map you are on and if you see that the line crosses any terrain on the map you can make the appropriate ruling.

But let's not over state what this tool is.  It is just a replacement for a straight edge, albiet a very precise one that is free of any accidental misplacement, it cannot tell you what the effects of terrain are.  For that you still have to refer to the rule book.

Adam's last game-play App is a simple 2d6 auto roller called Bonethrower for HeroClix.  Not much to say, it rolls 2d6 by tapping the screen.  No option to roll 1d6, so if you use it for a shape change, super senses, etc. roll you'll have to declare left or right before tapping.  Also the screen is pretty sensitive, a double tap rolls twice and the dice are a bit small given the size of most Android device screens.

A newer app is HeroClix Rules from Norwegian developer Kyrre Havik Eriksen.  This is impressive as well as simple.  All it is, is the PAC in a scrollable single power per screen presentation.  Very fast to find each power.

Just tap the Ability and the associated color and the text from the PAC is displayed.  Tap "More" and you get a list of all of the Team Abilities and other character Abilities in a similar display.  It currently is using the wording from the latest PAC and has ALL Team abilities from Infinity Challenge to Watchmen.  A big help  when it comes to describing the other game Abilities such as carry, Capture and Multi-Attack, verbatim from the rules book, but without all that pesky flipping pages.

This was a paid app but quickly went free, I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't have (or want to carry) the PAC to each game they go to.

Update: The Developer even plans to include ATAs in a near future update.  Making this an even better resource.

A note about using these apps in a game.  You should always tell your opponent (and the Judge) that you are planning on using them.  Just like with any other set of dice, if your opponent says "no", then switch to some real ones.  And if ever there is a discrepancy between what is displayed on the App and what is in the paper Rules Book (including the Player's Guide) then the paper wins!

One should also note that having HeroClix Team Builder open during a game can get you disqualified.  There is a no "cheat sheets" rule for organized play.  Having it open means you can see the entire dial of your opponent or your own team, that is a big time NO!  So remember what Uncle Ben says folks, "with great [App] Power, comers great [App] responsibility."

One last App to talk about is also from Adam Komar.  The HeroClix Dial Generator can make any dial you want into bbcode, suitable for sharing with your friends on HCRealms.  You can use it for your own creations, to report new figs or just to talk about figures when the bbcode is not yet unavailable.

It works great for what it does. but I'll tell you the same this I said when I left a review for it in the market, "Works well but be careful of hitting the back button when you have spent 15 minutes of dial making :)"

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