Rules and Regs - Horde Tokens

Sunday, 5 January 2014 12:34:00 Europe/London

Hi my name is Vicente de los Santos and welcome to my latest article on the Heroclix rules. These articles are designed to help you better understand some of the new and complicated mechanics of the game and improve your game. I would also like to encourage a discussion of these mechanics and rules, so please feel free to ask any question you have in the comment section below.

In continuing efforts to innovate in Heroclix, long ago we saw the evolution  of Bystander Tokens into something more powerful, the Horde Tokens. These tokens appeared in the Lord of the Rings, but with the Fear Itself set, the superheroes have recovered the classic citizens, this time accompanied by robots, mutants, dwarves and dark elves.
Bystander tokens are simple Heroclix characters in two dimensions, representing non-powerful characters (Lois Lane, Alfred, Lockheed, a lawyer, street vendor,  etc.). Now the Horde Tokens come with new game mechanic, making them more interesting for our plays, so let's check an easy and fast review of the "two-dimension" heroes of Heroclix.

Horde Tokens 1
Horde Tokens
The difference between Horde and Bystander are the "stacking" ability of the Horde. We can stack horde tokens with the same name to gain benefits and turn them into a serious menace to our enemies. Each Horde Token has special powers that can be activated when they are stacked.

There are two options. We can get the powers when the maximum number of tokens stacked is full (represented with an M symbol and a number) or when we have any number of them stacked (represented with an S symbol and a number).
Hint: a Stack of tokens cannot be carried, under the ruling in the Player's Guide.

Token Wars
Check the next example. We have a team with a bunch of Horde Tokens (and Sin). You can see that there is single one and other stacked. You can start a game with Horde tokens as you like; everyone placed on its own or stacked with others with the same name. During the game we can alter theses stacks, adding  or removing tokens in the way we need.
Horde Tokens 2

These Horde Tokens move as one character when stacked and they count as a single character on special effects. They attack as well, but the interesting part is the way they receive damage. When a stack takes damage from an attack, regardless of the damage taken, we remove only one token from the stack...
Hint: Pulse wave does not ignore the rules, so a stack with four tokens count as a single character.
Horde Tokens 3

Let´s check the example, Captain America hits a Warbot stack (with four tokens). Captain's damage value is three, but only one token is removed. So... if our most powerful Hulk charges against a bunch of Nazi bots... only one will suffer the wrath of the gamma beast... This mechanic only works while the stack is damaged by attacks. When any other damage is dealt, we remove one Horde token for each click of damage (and this removed token is defeated).

Hint: Mastermind is not an attack. If we use Horde tokens to transfer damage from our main character, we have to remove one horde token for each damage transferred.
Horde Tokens 4

Check the example. Man-Thing and Carrion have surrounded a Warbot and they are on the right time to use Poison. Both have the power but the Stack possess Toughness, so Carrion does not damage with its poison. Man-thing with the special power make 3 damage (rolling a 6 on a die) so the stack loses 2 tokens (due to his reduction power).
What if Carrion was on his second click? With the special poison depending on the character point value?. In the same picture, we have four Warbot stacked and each one cost 15 points. So the stack point value is 60 points. The special power of Carrion does 1 additional damage to character with less than 100 points, so in this case he could damage the Warbot.

Stack or die... assembling tokens
A Horde token can create or join a Stack. Another Stack can merge into a previous one and if needed, Horde tokens can leave the stack to adventuring alone.
Horde Tokens 5

In the example, we have three Warbots and we want to make a stack of three. We move the first one, ending the action when enter in the same square of the third token. We put an action token on the stack and then we do the same action again with the other token. In this case, the stack has one action token, so it does not receive another because the stacking. When we create a stack, any game effects with an ongoing duration that are affecting any token or stack involved are now affecting the stack. Returning to the picture, if the first horde token has countered his defense power, the Stack will have countered it too.
Horde Tokens 6

When we have two stacks and we want to merge them into a bigger one, we can make the same action as a single horde token joining, but this action is limited by the maximum stack size. In the picture we are using Mud Golems, with a M=4 and both stacks have three hordes on it. We can make the move action and create a Stack of four tokens, but the two remaining are placed in the last square the merging stack moved.
Horde Tokens 7

In the other case, a Horde token (only one) in a stack may leave the group. We can make it if the stack has not been assigned an action token in the same turn. If we can do, we give the horde token a move action to leave the stack and move away.
Hint: When a Horde left a stack, any game effects on the stack no longer affect the token.

In the example, we have a bunch of Asgardian Warriors and Valkyrie, facing Kuurth. The special power of the stacks works with two or more horde tokens stacked (and an Asgardian near). We can unstack a Horde token (because the stack is clear of action tokens), move it next to the single warrior and stack it to gain the S power. Or maybe we can try to break away the single warrior to move into the main stack and gain the M power.
Horde Tokens 8

While leaving the stack, we have to place the Horde token in a legal square or we cannot make the action. In this example we can unstack an Asgardian into the two green squares, but no in the elevated terrain because is not an adjacent square. Ah... and we need to break away to move the Horde, because is facing Kuurth and two trolls.

Fellowship of the Token - Final words
Horde Tokens are an useful investment in the most competitive teams. For a cheap point value we get dudes who activates the book of skull, defend positions to avoid opposing attacks or whatever. The stack is a good "tank" to maintain busy the deadly enemy while we shoot him from distance or whatever other way to defeat it...and those who have special powers can balance the game in our favour very easily, if we find the correct combo.
I like tokens, is a good way to keep simple characters of the superhero universe. I have made some custom tokens; The Brood or a bunch of Hydra Soldiers... even for this article, I show you the Blue Rat Bystander token!
Horde Tokens 9

What do you think? is the time of the "paper heroes"?

Vicente started playing Heroclix in 2008, and his first figure was Magneto, House of M. Nowadays is a Heroclix Judge in Sevilla, Spain, and runs the website A Seises which includes many Heroclix articles in his native Spanish.


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Vicente de los Santos

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Ian King

posted on Saturday, 25 January 2014 14:42:38 Europe/London
Thanks Vicente. I've never used Horde Tokens in games but they do seem interesting. I'm not sure thematically how the stacking works though. Thor takes up a square of terrain to himself but his asguardian warriors can all cuddle up together 6 in a space! I'd rather think of them as 'wounds' than as individuals but then splitting off doesn't make sense. Oh well perhaps this mechanic is not for me!

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