Hey, HeroClix players and collectors! Hope you enjoyed our look at the new Black Widow Movie set we posted a couple days ago. Today we’re back again to look a new item from WizKids, and this one is perfect for anyone interested in the game as well as longtime players: the Marvel HeroClix Fantastic Four Cosmic Clash Starter Set! There are several reasons why this new item is so exciting. First and foremost, it’s been a while since the Fantastic Four (and their main foes/allies) last appeared in HeroClix… like a bunch of years. By my reckoning the last Johnny Storm Human Torch was released in 2011! Secondly, this Cosmic Clash box is Marvel’s first Starter featuring the new format we saw with the Justice League Unlimited expansion; it’s got a cool new box layout and all the goodies you’d expect PLUS themed dice, not one but two maps, and more. Let’s check it out!
We can’t jump in without first talking about this beautiful box. As we noted with JLU, Starter sets for a while came in packaging that was essentially the same as the Fast Forces, a beefier clamshell configuration that limited how much material could be conveyed within it. This new format is a much bigger, substantial box featuring a small window on the front through which you can see some (but not all) of the included figures. On top of a cool blue background image is a huge splash of artwork of the foursome, and all of the logos and titles you’d expect in big, bold, and bright letters.
The sides of the box show off 3D renders of the Fantastic Four figures, while Doom and Surfer appear on the top. Finally, the back panel goes over contents, shows off some figures and a map, and hypes some of the fun special features.
Speaking of contents, let’s go over what’s in the box. Cosmic Clash includes six HeroClix figures and their character cards, HeroClix Core Rulebook (latest version), Powers and Abilities Card (latest version), three sheets containing terrain and object tokens, two sheets of bystander tokens (some double-sided), dice, eight Campaign Rules cards, and two double-sided maps. A silly personal note on the dice: I’m used to playing Warhammer 40k these days and checking all dice with unique faces to be on the 1 side or the 6. So, when I popped out these Fantastic Four dice I admired the logo on one, then noticed a standard 6 side on the other, which made me immediately assume the thematic symbol was on the 1 side. But of course, the FOUR logo is on the 4 side!
For many, if not most, HeroClix players, the figures here are going to be the main draw for the Cosmic Clash starter. Naturally the headliners are the Fantastic Four themselves: Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Thing, and Human Torch. They’re joined by longtime archenemy Dr. Doom and the cosmically-empowered Silver Surfer.
Each one of these figures has a brand new sculpt, and I don’t think I’m being overly generous when I say they all look very comic accurate and really nice. Reed has the whole stretchy thing going on, Johnny is full “flame on” as he rockets up on a trail of fire while blasting more with both hands, Ben has a masterfully textured rocky hide as he winds up for a massive punch, and Sue (probably my favorite) charges forward as she floats on a translucent shield and wields two more. Meanwhile, Victor perfectly replicates his iconic Latverian ruler armor as he unleashes a massive photon array blast, and Norrin is captured in a classic Surfer pose as he hurtles through the heavens; he even raises a hand to emit power cosmic energy in the form of “Kirby Krackle!” I don’t know if it’s been discussed before, but all six figures here come on “SwitchClix” bases meaning the figures are removable. Does this mean we’ll get other versions in the future that can switch with them, like unpainted Fantastic Four figures? Hopefully!
[Note: it wasn’t until I was nearly done with this review that I noticed my Mr. Fantastic had probably drooped forward a bit. Some light bending and a quick shot with a hair drier and he stood up much better!]
In most HeroClix starters the figures are what you might call streamlined, given point values that make it easy to build teams and not overburdened with lots of complex traits, special powers, and the like. Well, I’m happy to say that the Cosmic Clash figures have quite a bit going on, and they’re tough! Each of the FF members can be played at either 75 or 100 points, giving you some options for team building and a great 400 point force. Each one also has a unique trait, a special power, and a STOP click special power that only triggers if an ally from the comic book team is on the map. They also all have the Fantastic Four team ability which heals figures when one of their own is KO’d. On the other hand, both Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom are powerhouses! Each can be played at a whopping 300 points (with 11 clicks of life), or more budget-friendly 200 or 100. They’re loaded with traits and special powers, team abilities, and the like. Oh, and WizKids didn’t skimp on the keywords for these six figures; you’ll see fun stuff like Spider-Man Family, Annihilators, Guardians of the Galaxy, Cabal, Lady Liberators, and more.
One of the coolest new things about this starter is the Campaign Rules system. Eight cards take you on a narrative storyline starting with a Yancy Street scuffle between the Thing and some gangsters and ending in an epic confrontation between the full Fantastic Four vs. a Dr. Doom boosted by Silver Surfer’s powers and his Latverian minions! Each card is a different scenario that outlines the premise (story), which map to use from this set, the setup including team builds, special rules, and win conditions. Furthermore, if you’re playing the full campaign starting with Scenario A who wins will determine which scenario comes next in the storyline. It’s all great fun and ensures you’ll have a lot of replay value right out of the box.
As noted above, these new starters contain two double-sided maps giving you four battlefields! In Cosmic Clash you’ll find:
- Reed’s Lab (indoor) with multiple rooms (some with walls and some with glass), lots of hindering terrain from tech and furniture. Map Bonus: costed unless your entire team of 4+ figures has the Fantastic Four keyword, it provides a +1 to a specific stat for your figures in the numbered rooms. Note that Mr. Fantastic can choose which stat boost he gets (it’s his lab, after all)!
- Yancy Street (outdoor) with a long central open avenue, elevated rooftops, a walled off construction area, and plenty of light post hindering terrain. This map has numbered squares for the Skirmish format.
- Testing Grounds (outdoor). This map is nuts! There’s an elevated platform at the center surrounded by blocking terrain technology and hindering terrain foliage. It may take a minute for your eyes to adjust to everything that’s going on, but this map is super cool and should make for fun games.
- Doom’s Castle (outdoor). Everything you loved about the European Castle map is back and better than ever before because now it’s Doom-themed. An elevated parapet runs around three sides of the map while a massive blocking terrain statue of the dictator stands in the middle. Barrels and catapults provide hindering terrain while regularly-placed fortifications are blocking terrain. Map Bonus: costed unless all of your figures have the Latveria keyword, it lets you re-roll a Leadership use once per turn with a +1 if it’s Dr. Doom doing the rolling.
The Fantastic Four Cosmic Clash Starter Set is a perfect entry for new players looking to get into HeroClix with six fun figures, four great maps, all of the materials you need, and Campaign Rules to get you started with storylines to enrich your games. Of course, this set is going to be extremely popular with current players as well who will be lining up for new Fantastic Four figures! We’ve been waiting for a long time, and they’re well worth it. Sure, you may not need another copy of the rules or PAC, but the bystanders, maps, and dice are icing on the cake. And even longtime players can find the fun in the Campaign Scenarios, especially if your games tend toward the competitive and formal. Cosmic Clash has an MSRP of $35 and is scheduled to release today; make sure to call your local comic book/game store to see if they got their deliveries and how they’re handling safe sales in these trying times. If you don’t have a usual store, head over to the WizKids Info Network to find a participating venue near you. Stay safe, and have fun with your HeroClix!
Visit HeroClix.com for even more info as well as downloads of rules and maps, and stay tuned to Figures.com as we continue our reviews of new HeroClix!
Review and photos by Scott Rubin.
Review sample courtesy of WizKids Games.