Heroscape Rise of the Valkyrie is a fun minis game designed for two or more players that uses prepainted plastic units and plastic hex terrain. I was given this game last year to review and it took me a while to get this done because I really wanted to give the game a chance and be able to play it with multiple set ups, use a variety of figures, and get to go against a few different opponents. It is a fast paced game that does get more complex with the different add-ons of units. For the most parts though the games were done in well under two hours. There is a lot that has been produced for the game but it is pretty simple to focus on the pieces that one likes and the armies that support what he wants to be able to do.

The Heroscape game starts with assembling the map. This can be a bit of a pain in the ass. The book has good sample maps with full instructions on how to put them together with scenarios attached to them. I found this to be the easiest thing to do. Building oneís own maps is possible though can be a little time consuming especially if one does not have a clear picture of what they want. Because assembling and dissembling maps takes more time then I like I found that when I played Iíd set up one map and use it a few times. We would vary the armies if we wanted and possibly change the rules of the maps for variety. But once a map was built I wanted to get a good deal of use out of it.

Assembling oneís army is done on a point based system. This can be time consuming for beginners because they need to read the cards to know what the pieces do. I found it was easiest to assemble three mostly equal armies and then allow the new player to just pick one of them. I would give the armies a theme and that way the player could get a feel fast for what his group of units can do. Each group has a card that defines it. S0ome groups are squads so they have more than one member and individually are a little weaker then the solo units. Some units are unique so only one may be played with in a given game while others are not so one could theoretically have a complete army composed of the same units.

Each unit has a move, attack dice, defense dice, hit points, and special abilities. It is the special abilities that can complicate matters. I screwed up more than a few games as have people Iíve played with but not reading the card correctly. It is easy to make a mistake if one does not read and comprehend everything. The rules of the game are simple enough and do not take long to explain. The choosing of what units go when can be a little bit of s stumbling block but it really was not that bad.

The game seems to do well for kids eight and higher at least according to the box. I was not able to play with anyone that young as I just donít know any kids that age. I did play with some teenagers of parents I know and they liked it well enough. Most of my games were against opponents ranging in age from about 25-40. Almost all of them were experienced gamers of some kind and I think that helped. I tried to get my parents and siblings interested but as non gamers of any sort it just was not something they wanted to try.

The scenarios in the book are well made and a lot of fun. I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity the game can offer. I was afraid originally that games would start to feel the same. Itís not a game Iíd want to play daily but if I had a chance to do it weekly or biweekly I think it could be a lot of fun. On the internet I have seen some rather complex map set ups that have been done with more than just the basic set. Iíd like to try something like that one day.

Heroscape is one of those game I was not expecting to like as much as I do. Iíve already had dozens and dozens of battles with it each lasting over an hour. The basic set is enough for plenty of game play though the temptation to add on the expansions is very tempting.