JUDGE! 001: Build Sheets
Hello HeroClix players! First, a short introduction; my name is Gil Miller, and I'm a long-time HeroClix player, but more importantly, a long-time Judge and Tournament Organizer for not only HeroClix, but many other games over my 25+ year gaming history. Some of you may already know me from judging at the 2021 Clix Cup event, or being an admin of the HeroClix Rules Chat group on Facebook, or even as Lantern Jordan 2814 in the Rules Forum of another site. Hopefully my decade plus of answering questions and helping people understand the game online speaks for itself. And that's exactly what I hope to accomplish with this article series, helping both players and Judges understand the game a little better.
One of the "issues" HeroClix has is lack of standardization. It shows up in many areas (such as wordings on game effects), but for my purposes, I'll be focusing on a more standard approach to organizing and running events. Primarily, this is just to give the player base a better idea of what to expect if they want to play in different events run by Judges they're not familiar with. This is by no means intended to be me telling anyone how they should run their local events; I simply want to lay out some aspects that everyone, players and Judges, should be aware of. Different Judges/TO's are going to run things a little differently, and that's perfectly fine, but it's always helpful to have a good baseline that anybody can look at to get started.
As the start of what will hopefully be a long-running, if not slightly sporadic, series, I figured the best place to start is where we all, as players, need to start; the build sheet. Going back to my earlier point of things not being standardized in the game, build sheets are one of the bigger standouts. WizKids themselves has not released an official build sheet in quite a few years, and in the time since, many individuals and groups have come up with their own. Some differ more than others, some have various issues, some can't even agree on what to call the sheet itself (Force/Army/Build/etc.). For our purposes here, I'm going to be using the HeroClix Force Sheet provided on this very site, created by long-time Judge, friend of myself and the site, and all-around very good Canadian boy Jay Solomon.
So, let’s start at the top. Most of this is pretty straight forward. Your Name is obviously necessary. The Event Name is usually less so, especially at smaller/local events, but at something like Clix Cup, where we had 4 days in a row of events that had roughly 60 to 80 people each day, it is very helpful for the organizers to have this field clearly filled in. For example, owner of this very site and Head Judge at Clix Cup, Joe Pangrazio, did a lot of work after the event to organize and upload build sheets so people could get an idea of the variety of teams that showed up at the various events. Having this to refer to would make that kind of thing much easier in the future, I’m sure.
Next up is WIN ID. Again, at your locals, the Judge is probably familiar with your WIN ID. The WIN actually does a good job of keeping a list of anyone who’s ever played at a store, so Judges can easily search up and add people to their events quickly if they’ve already entered them before. But again, this can be important for larger events, and is helpful anytime you’re planning on playing at a new venue.
Now we move onto the stuff actually relevant for game play. Theme needs to have the keyword you are choosing if your team is, in fact, a Theme Team. Your Bonus needs to show the number of characters you have on your Starting Force with that keyword; written as either +X or just X, both are fine, so long as the number is clear. Keep in mind that during the roll-off to determine first player, your actual bonus that gets applied to the roll may differ. Remember, your bonus cannot exceed your opponent's bonus +3! TTPC is how many uses of Themed Team Probability Control you get each game. For standard 300 pt. Modern Age games, this is a maximum of 3, but this is something that can vary based on the Judge’s discretion, and while it is preferable that these things be clearly addressed in an event listing, make sure to ask the Judge running the event prior to start time.
Next we come to Maps. The important bit here is the Map Name. Again, it may not be super relevant to your local scene if you’re more laid back; for example, I don’t limit people on map choice at my home venue, but the default assumption should be that you will need to choose from only 3 maps. If you know/can find the set info for a map, that should be included as well, but that’s not always clearly shown on the maps themselves, and the official Modern Map List on the WIN is only going to show Modern maps, so that may not always help you. Past that, if a Judge insists that you have that filled in, they should be able to help you out in finding that information.
The rest of this field only needs to be filled in if one of your chosen maps has a Location bonus you intend on using, and is fairly self-explanatory.
Moving on to Objects, this is another field a lot of people miss filling out fully. If you are using any kind of Special Objects, obviously they go here, along with their set number and points. What a lot of people tend to forget is that Standard Objects must also be included here if you want to use them for your games. One thing that popped up quite a few times at Clix Cup while we Judges were verifying builds for a couple of the events was a completely empty Object field. Even if you plan on not using any objects at all, it is preferable that you at least cross these lines out; just a simple line through the field will suffice. This serves a couple purposes; one, it prevents the possibility of things being added later after a Judge or opponent signs off on the build, and two, it saves time during verification when the Judge knows that you’ve made the decision not to play objects at all, otherwise we’re going to have to take the time to ask for verbal verification on that.
Below these fields, you should have your point totals filled in, if applicable.
Now we come to what is typically the most important part of any build sheet; the Main Force. First, a quick mention of best practices when filling this out; it is always best to have one item per line and avoid multiples. Again, this mostly matters for build verification. Sometimes, it’s easy to add these things up and make sure it’s correct. Five Superman Robots at 10pts. Each? Simple. But not everything is going to be so quick and easy, so for the sake of clarity, and making things as easy as possible on the people who have to check your builds, be it Judges or opponents, please, each individual piece on your team needs to be written out on a separate line. Now, I’m sure most Judges would allow for some abbreviation, I know I would. So long as the points field is filled in properly, and you have a clear indication of the piece in the name field, it should be fine. On the off chance that your team has more elements than will fit on the sheet you’re using, ask your Judge. They may be fine with you using multiples on a single line, or want you to use the back of the sheet, or an extra sheet, their call.
Another issue that comes up during build verification is *how* things are listed. In general, it’s best to list multiples of the same game element one after the other; if you have, say, 5 copies of that 10pt. Superman Robot, it’s going to be easier for the people verifying your build to have those listed in a row than trying to jump back and forth and potentially losing track of which particular elements have been counted. This is something that only came up once during Clix Cup, and in discussing it with the player, they mentioned that they list things in a particular way to help them remember how to position things in the starting area during set up. While I didn’t press the issue at the time, technically this would fall under outside notes/assistance, which is not and should not be allowed. Again, probably not a big deal at the local level, but at bigger events, it’s best not to open yourself up to issues that could potentially get you game losses or even disqualified. Build sheets are strictly for recording information, not to be used as an aid during game play. Beyond that, though, the order you list things is personal preference. Some people list stuff by set order, some people list things starting with the highest point character, some people just list stuff randomly. Whatever works for you.
Once you have the Set, Collector’s Number, Name, and Points filled in for your Main Force, you need to make sure any assigned elements are noted in that last column. There has actually been a lot of very understandable confusion as to what exactly goes here. The simple answer is “anything included on your Main Force that specifies it must be assigned to a character during Force Construction”. The clearest example of this in the current Modern Format would be Galactus’ Herald Dial. What does not need to be included here are any game elements that come from outside the game. This is actually a much more prominent category, as most of (if not all) of the characters that can choose to begin the game Equipped with a particular object (such as Dr. Doom’s Time Platform or Wonder Woman’s Equipment) don’t actually need to be on your build sheet at all (unless a Judge says otherwise, naturally). If you’re ever not sure about where/if something goes, always be sure to ask your Judge!
Here we have the Sideline portion of the Build Sheet. Currently, in standard 300 pt. Modern Age games, there is a limit of 9 game elements on your Sideline, so our sheet in particular will have you covered there. However, just like I mentioned earlier with Theme Probs, this is something a Judge may change for different build totals or formats. However, I would advise any Judge considering this to exercise caution. At Clix Cup, we ran a 400 pt. Silver Age event, and upped the Sideline limit to 12 (sticking to the guideline of 3 SL slots per 100 pts of the build total). We had quite a few players feel like this forced them to add more things to their Sideline than they could feasibly use in a given game. With things like Trouble Alert/Makers, the chase Dooms, Jason Wyngarde, etc., running around, it’s probably best to keep things limited to 9 Sideline slots. While that seemingly restricts choice, in practice it really doesn’t all that much, and having to make those decisions is an important part of team building.
As for the Designated Effect, each element on your Sideline must have a reason to be there, and no other effects can make use of that element during the game. The name of the chosen effect goes here, be it Shifting Focus, the name of a power, whatever.
Sideline Points is not something that the game has right now, but it is something that may matter with future mechanics, so there’s a spot for it just in case.
Here we have what will be very important during most larger events; the Tournament Tracking section. This section is filled out improperly quite often, which can certainly cause issues if/when the Judges need to reference it.
First, you need to clearly print your opponent's name. When you sit down for a match with someone, the first thing you should do is introduce yourselves and verify you are both sitting across from the correct opponent. Again, probably not an issue at your local events, but we definitely had it happen once at Clix Cup, so always double check if you don’t already definitely know the person who will be your opponent for that round. You should write their name clearly on your own sheet. After the game, they need to sign off in the Opponent Verification field, showing that they agree with your build being legal and the standings in the final W/L and Points.
Next, you record whether you Won or Lost that game, and the total points you scored from your opponent or the build limit of the event, whichever is higher. Keep in mind we can no longer score a higher point total that the build allows (and also that a game ends if a player scores 100 pts over that build total). The W/L Record and Points Record should be used to show your cumulative progress throughout the event.
Our sheet here has space for 6 rounds; anything past that and it will be up to the Judge as to what to do. Some Judges may want a second sheet filled out, some may have you just use the back, whatever works for them.
Finally, at the very bottom of the sheet is where you will reiterate your point totals for your build. This is done in addition to having those numbers in the proper places throughout the sheet, simply for ease of use. It gives us a quick and easy look at your point totals.
Below that is a space for a Judge to sign off, if they’re verifying builds. At Clix Cup, we used colored TMNT stamps, because Joe insists on making this stuff fun. Beyond that is the line for your signature, stating that you have filled out the sheet honestly and to the best of your ability, etc..
One last note, and possibly the most important: your build sheet needs to be legible! I cannot stress this enough. To be perfectly honest, the burden to decipher your writing cannot be placed on Judges, your opponents, etc.. Those of us that have sloppy handwriting (myself included), know it. During the event, take your time to write carefully if that’s what you need to do. Prior to an event, you can always fill and print out a build sheet to bring with you. And always, ALWAYS double check your work. A small mistake on a build sheet might not be something a Judge can correct in the middle of an event, and if it’s egregious enough, is something that can lead to disqualifications.
Well, there we have it, a hopefully complete rundown of how to fill out a build sheet, along with some explanations as to why a Judge may ask you to do things a certain way. Even when using different build sheets, most of the advice still stands. The goal is to clearly record the information, so that if problems come up during an event, they can hopefully be rectified quickly and easily.
And remember, never be afraid to call a JUDGE!