Sick days, clix trades, and other nonsense

Since my last more or less personal update, it seems like a few things have happened. First, SuperAdorable Kid spiked a high fever Sunday night, so SuperGirlfriend took her to the doctor's on Monday. They prescribed some antibiotics and stated that SuperAdorable Kid wasn't to go back to school until she had been fever free for 24 hours... which, at that point, meant she wasn't going back to school on Tuesday.

SuperGirlfriend is one of maybe three competent people on staff at her job, and therefore does a great deal of the work in her extremely busy office, and she just couldn't take another day off so quickly after having taken some vacation time recently for Nate's visit. I, having just been hired on permanently at my job, suddenly had floating holidays I could use up, so I gave my boss puppy dog eyes and ended up staying home to take care of SuperAdorable Kid on Tuesday.

Now, I've been sick, on and off, myself for the past couple of months; I've had a nagging hacking cough that cycles up and down in frequency and phlegm content, but that I just haven't been able to fully get rid of. Add to that two museum visits in the last couple of weeks that have severely drained my physical energy reserves (staying on my feet for hours at a time, at my excessive weight, after six months of a desk job, was just exhausting) and, well, I wasn't fully charged, to say the least. And, well, I honestly had no idea just how arduous a day of taking care of an alternately hyperkinetic/miserably feverish 6 year old could be.

How SuperGirlfriend has managed this for 16 years I do not know... one day of it with SuperAdorable Kid wiped me out. I had thought I could not possibly respect and admire SuperGirlfriend any more than I already do; I had thought that upper limit had been long since reached... but it was not so. My God, childcare is brutal.

Anyway, between the emotional stress of SuperAdorable Kid being sick (which causes you to worry terribly, when you're the only caregiver, that you're going to do something stupid or wrong and break the baby and then life will really suck) and the sheer physical enervation that results from trying to keep an unusually rambunctious six year old quiet and under control when her fever isn't spiking and she wants to hang from the ceiling like a bat and fight ninjas, I was wiped out.

Which wouldn't have been all that bad -- a good night's rest would probably have fixed me up -- but then whatever it is that's causing my nagging cough decided to get all opportunistic on me. Suddenly I was feeling really punk, and despite being exhausted, I didn't sleep at all well Tuesday night, and dragged myself into work feeling (and probably looking) like death warmed over.

I got through that ten hour day -- somehow -- don't ask me how. I felt utterly wiped out for most of it, and was continually fighting the urge to just call SuperGirlfriend and have her come pick me up, but I was very aware that I probably hadn't made a great impression on my first week of permanent work taking a floating holiday so quickly, so I did my best to hang in there. And I managed it, but by the time I got out of there, I just felt horrible. Went straight home, slugged down some Nyquil, and tumbled into bed, exhausted...

...and didn't sleep much at all.

SuperGirlfriend had taken my temperature when I got home and discovered I had a 101 degree fever. That certainly contributed to keeping me awake, but mostly I just couldn't get my mind to shut down... I was worried about how I'd do at work the next day if I didn't sleep, and of course, that made it much harder for me to get to sleep... the vicious cycle that has plagued me all my life, and guaranteed that I am never well rested the day I go in for job interviews or important tests, if they are scheduled early in the morning.

Then I started having bad diarrhea last night, which continued until this morning, which also didn't help me get any sleep. So I called in sick today. I still haven't had much sleep, but I managed to catch a few hours in the late morning and early afternoon when the rest of the fam was out at school and work. Without the stress of having to go in to work tomorrow, I should sleep okay tonight... I hope! And I similarly hope that if I take it easy this weekend, I can shake most of this off and go back to work Monday at some level of functionality.

Assuming, of course, they don't just call me tomorrow in disgust and tell me I'm fired, which would be depressing if not disastrous.

If you have to be sick -- and there are very few of my regular readers I'm aware of that I would wish this bug I have on -- SuperGirlfriend is definitely the co-dependent of choice to have around as your support mechanism. She's been there for me every minute, taking care of me, cooking for me (when I've had an appetite, which hasnt' been often), cleaning up after me, running to the store for medications and juice, insisting I not help with anything until I get better... she's all that and a bag of chips, trust me. I am always aware of this, and I always try to show her I appreciate it, and I try to give her the same kind of support back... but when I'm sick like this, I'm helpless and dependent and a real burden to her, adding to her stress levels instead of helping alleviate them. I hate that... but I'm very glad to have her in my life.

Okay, enough of that nonsense, let's talk about HeroClix for a little while.

I just did my first trade through the trade thread over at WizKids forums online. I'd posted a list of the extra stuff I'd be willing to trade from my Collateral Damage brick, and what I wanted for it. Only three items garnered any interest at all -- Kalibak, and my Experienced and Vet Superman figs.

I can't trade the Kalibak; he's a legitimate Silver Age character, a New God, and a Jack Kirby original. I'd trade any of my Kingdom Come figs first, and I don't want to trade them simply because they're so sought after I'd never be able to replace them again. (Besides, Red Robin is an excellent piece in his own right... a much better Dr. Midnite than the recent Dr. Midnite fig we've been given, in my opinion.)

However, the Collateral Damage Superman REV is the electrically powered Superman from around, I don't know, ten to fifteen years ago (jesus, has it been that long?) and I don't like that version of the character at all, so I was fine with the idea of trading those. One particular guy offered me what seemed like an excellent deal; 4 Armor Wars figs I'd been having trouble finding -- RE Quicksilver, V Thunderball, and the Unique House of M Spider-Man, whom I happen to think has one of the more interesting and effective dials of any Spider-Man variant.

The guy didn't know me and I had no trader rating at all, so he asked me to send my stuff off first. I did it, figuring if he screwed me, well, that's life in the big city, and I could always give him a lousy feedback report on the site. If you're going to trade clix through the mail, or buy stuff off E-bay, you have to have a little trust, or you're just not going to get any where at all.

Anyway, I got his stuff yesterday, so let's talk about that:

Rookie and Experienced Quicksilver -- I wanted these figs to replace my Infinity Challenge versions of the character in my Avengers and Brotherhood of Evil Mutants diplays (not respectively), and these are the versions that have those TAs. However, when I want to use Quicksilver in an Avengers team (I play Avengers squads a lot; I love the title) I'll continue to use the Vet version, with the X-Men TA. Why? Because he's the only one with even one click of a double digit attack value. WizKids' new game designer has been rigorous in his efforts at battling power creep, which has resulted in most figs ending up with attack values of 9 and defense values around 16 or 17. That will, I suppose, be fine, when some hypothetical Pie In The Sky NeverNeverLand has been reached where everyone is playing only figs from the sets this guy has designed. Until then, though, a single figure with an 18 defense can ruin your whole day when you're stuck with a maximum 9 attack value... which the Experienced Quicksilver unfortunately is.

As to the Rookie, with the Brotherhood TA, well, with a maximum attack value of 8 he's very nearly comatose, and I'd only put him on the board if I needed to give Ulik the Troll a handy bashing weapon.

Low attack values are a pet peeve of mine with HeroClix. Characters like Daredevil, Captain America, Bullseye, Batman, Hawkeye, Green Arrow, etc, etc, are highly skilled and extremely precise attackers. You simply never, ever see them miss in the comic books, even if they are attacking four people simultaneously by bouncing a weapon off the walls of the room sixteen times. Now, HeroClix is a competitive game and you shouldn't have that level of certainty in it, but an attack value of 9 for these characters is simply absurd. These guys should all start at at least 10, and I wouldn't find an 11 to be out of line at all for most of them.

For super-speedsters, who can be presumed to be capable of hitting pretty much anyone else who isn't a super-speedster anywhere at all, at will, an attack value of 8 or 9 is straight up deranged. It's game balance nonsense pure and simple. If Quicksilver wants to hit someone, that someone is getting clocked, unless they are a super speedster themselves, or they possess some superhuman power that will prevent it (like Super Senses, which allows a character who has been hit by an attack to nonetheless avoid the attack on d6 result of 5-6).

However, as I type this, it occurs to me that under my House Rules, where HyperSonic Speed allows multiple close combat attacks, I have nearly addressed this, to a statistical degree, anyway. After all, if you need a 10 on two six sided dice to hit an opponent, you have a much better chance of doing it if you have several opportunities per turn to do it. So, that's all right... for the four or five people who play by my House Rules. For everyone else out there though, good luck with your Rookie Armor Wars Quicksilver.

Moving on, I also picked up a Veteran Thunderball. For someone who is supposed to have the power of a mini-Thor, this guy seems like kind of a wimp out. At seven clicks of life and no Impervious at all, he hardly seems like the fellow who once casually shrugged off a direct impact from Danny Rand's iron fist that knocked him a hundred yards and dug a huge trench in the ground he landed in.

In fact, within the context of the game this is nonsensical; WK gave us an Iron Fist fig in FANTASTIC FORCES and under WK's rules, he can pummel Thunderball silly even without using the iron fist, which WK simulates with Exploit Weakness, because his damage value of 3 can get past Thunderball's wretched Invulnerability without further modification. This seems an objectively inarguable mistake; we saw Thunderball take Iron Fist's best shot without being even slightly harmed, yet in HeroClix, Iron Fist can give Thunderball a black eye any time he wants. Idiotic.

There's really no excuse for the lousy dial, either. The Wrecker, Thunderball's teammate, who has nearly equal power to Thunderball, has a ten click dial that starts with 2 clicks of Impervious. The rest of the Wrecking Crew have never been depicted as being any less tough than the Wrecker; Thunderball should have the same ten clicks and at least one click of Impervious.

Beyond that, well... the Exploit Weakness nearly makes up for his rotten 3 damage value, except that everyone out there routinely slaps Fortitudes on their tougher characters, so Exploit Weakness is pretty much just an expensive joke these days. The Perplex is a pleasant, if inexplicable, surprise... no one on the Wrecking Crew is particularly perplexing, they pretty much just smash stuff... but still, overall, the fig doesn't seem to be worth the 140 points it costs to field.

However, it's a beautiful sculpt, I'll give it that.

Then we come to the Unique Spider-Man from ARMOR WARS. While this is the House of M variant, and I honestly could not care less about House of M nonsense, still, simply on the dial itself, I consider this to be one of the most effective versions of Spider-Man in the game, if not straight up THE most effective. At 72 points he's a close combat romper stomper; an opening attack value of 11 with Incapacitate, a 17 Defense with Super Senses, a damage value of 2 that increases by 2 when Spidey lands a punch or a kick due to Close Combat Expert, and that invaluable power Leap-Climb to let him whip around the board the way Spider-Man really should.

With that low a point value on his dial, he's a natural for a few Feat Cards. He has enough Incapacitate in his 8 clicks of life to make Stunning Blow a no brainer, and a few clicks of Flurry make Armor Piercing look good, too. Midway down his dial he jumps up to an 18 Defense (outstanding by itself at anytime in WK history) with Combat Reflexes, which is useless under WK's current rules (it causes automatic knockback without damage to occur whenever a fig takes damage in close combat) but which is fabulous under my House Rules, where it adds 2 to a fig's Damage Value against close combat attacks (a change WK will reportedly be making in a few months, but petulantly refusing to pay me any royalties for). That first slot with the high defense also has a 10 Attack and Incapacitate, along with Leap Climb and an 8 movement, so you can move him around and keep him adjacent to your worst enemy and make the most out of his Close Combat mods.

All told, I think he rocks out loud, so I was very disappointed to find that the fig I received in trade for my Two Man Electric Band is unplayable, due to an off-printed dial insert that causes the bottom two numbers (damage and defense) to be illegible from the third active click onward. So, that's a bummer.

WK tells me I can just send the fig back and they'll replace it, but that's on the other side of more postage and other trip to the post office, I guess.

And that's all the news here in the Highlands. But check out SuperGirlfriend's latest entry; it's dynamite.

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