Here’s the first of hopefully more posts where I try to dig into Hero Academy tactics a bit. It started with a position I was thinking about in a League game recently–I tried to recreate it so I could take screenshots and I think I made an example that illustrates the point well. Warning in advance that seasoned players might find little holes the analysis or identify the superior lines of play easily, but this example should be close enough to make the concept clear.
For those not familiar with Hero Academy, it’s a turn-based strategy game that came out for iOS earlier this year (and is now also available for Windows on Steam). It’s a game of grid-based combat between fantasy-themed units. I want to discuss here what I think is at the root of how well this game works. All of the key design elements flow from a unified coherent goal: a project tailored from the ground up to play to the strengths of an asynchronous mobile touch strategy game.
In preparation for Hero Academy coming out on PC, I’m collecting and filling out the mechanics guides I used to post on the forum. If you’re 100% brand new to HA, you don’t need to read this first, just use the in-game tutorial and play a few turns to get a sense of what’s going on. But as you start playing, you’ll encounter units/mechanics/races that you haven’t seen before, and sometimes you just want to check what they do without having to use trial and error in the middle of a game. Even experienced players sometimes need to remember how some unit’s special attack works if a critical turn depends on it. The in-game tooltips are useful, but I wanted to provide something more detailed and comprehensive, and in one easy-to-reference location.
- 5 AP per turn (3 AP on first turn of the game in competitive play).
- 1 AP can be used to: deploy a unit to deploy square, move a unit, attack a unit/crystal (NB: not limited to once per turn), heal or revive a unit, use a unit special ability, equip a unit with an upgrade, use a one-time item, or throw a tile from your hand back into the bag to draw a random one.
- A unit that reaches 0 HP is knocked out, but can be revived by an ally. It vanishes from the board permanently if any player moves a unit onto it (“stomps” it) or destroys it with certain spells (see below), or if its owner takes a full turn without reviving it.
- A player loses upon having all of his crystals destroyed, or by having all of the units in his deck stomped or knocked out (the game will end even if he has an item left that can revive a KO’d unit).
- Tiles are drawn in random order throughout the game, except that your starting hand always has at least 3 units.