Admittedly, a lot of my work came from the inspiration of others. I appreciated all of the awesome work done by others over at the MOC pages and elsewhere on Facebook. Some of the locations I had made were original as well, but I am as proud of my maps that are “inspired” just as much as my original ideas, and of course the “inspired” ones have my own spin on it as well.
I mainly got into this because my family and I enjoy the game, and we want to add more than what the official sets have to offer (so far), since LEGO doesn’t treat their Game lines the same way as they do their regular toy themes. No harm no foul, LEGO is about creation and rolling your own stuff anyway. At least with Heroica, unlike the other games including the Ramses and Minotaurus stuff, with two games a piece now for those two and one game for all the others, Heroica has five games, so it is hardly worth complaining about the lack of sets, or the slow pace at which they release them.
As I documented in my MOC Tips post, between buying more of the official sets, parts on hand, other types of Lego sets, and Bricklink and eBay, finding parts to make new locations isn’t much of a problem, and if done right, won’t cost terribly more than than a new game anyway.
In any case, when it comes to making custom boards, I have learned a thing or two. First, LEGO is to be commended for not only getting the ball rolling and giving Heroica to us to play, but they actually put in more work than they needed to at their website, the comics, etc. to provide at least enough information to understand that world. The rest becomes up to the designer and/or players to fill in. Thankfully, they didn’t give too much away, like with the rules, that if you want your own stuff to stay within the loose “canon”, there is that option. With my heroes and villains, I merely added to what was there in the official literature, not totally scrap it for my own purposes.
Having said all that, when I set out to design a new area, I knew that LEGO had nine official locations on their Heroica world map, so I decided to have nine, plus make a “sea” board. It would seem that I have exhausted the types of settings possible with having a desert, mountains, sea, volcano, village, city, snow, port, etc., to say nothing of the official boards already having a bay, a castle, caverns, a forest, the catacombs/graveyard/destroyed farms of Ilrion, and the other locations on the official map that haven’t even been released yet like a village, port, huge wall with a busted gate, some settlements, etc.
So is there anything else to add then? Certainly. Heroica operates on a “mixed scale” of sorts, where for some reason, a castle is actually a larger board than a forest. In reality, this seems odd, but while playing the game, it does not only not seem odd, it doesn’t even feel odd. At least not to me. This in itself is liberating. It is why I can have a cemetery and the inside of one Mausoleum be larger than the cemetery itself, for instance.
The key to putting this altogether, especially when generating ideas, is story. Before I even spent one dime or made one MOC, I knew what I wanted to do, and how I wanted it to relate. The good thing about generating ideas and story is that it doesn’t cost anything, so when you have everything in place, you can save your pennies and get the most out of them by sticking to the story. Certainly instant inspiration may strike and take it somewhere else in the process of actually building, but that sort of thing only adds, not distracts, from the basic outline and direction you wanted to go.
For me, going forward from here, I have already beat LEGO in getting to nine locations on a map, which was a silly goal of mine anyway not worth anyone else making for themselves, so having been freed from that, and already being on the other side of it now with a larger game for my family to play, I can go about this easier. If you have that same “reckless” attitude and want something huge right now, please indulge, because it does feel good to have that huge map behind me, and I encourage everyone who loves Heroica to be inspired by anything and everything here they would like to incorporate into your own game.
Going forward, I do think I will be freer from the 8×8, 6×6, 2×6, and 2×2 plate scheme, not by much, but I am thinking of using more 6x(10,12,14?) and 8×8 plates overall in some ideas I do have. As for those new ideas and the types of locations, well, I am about to begin new territory of nine locations (and a +1, but not a sea this time). Before I state them, I will state that I am not at all apprehensive about using something I have done before if it serves the story. It will certainly have a port or bay of some sort, maybe a jungle rather than a forest (though those are similar), and maybe another desert or mountain or snow, again, if it serves the story. But I do hope to keep the reuse of terrain down to a minimum.
So far, for the next round, I am kicking around the whole “ruined port” idea some of been messing with on the MOC pages and elsewhere. I am also kicking around the idea, stemming from my sea idea, using smaller blue plates (unlike the big blue baseplate for the sea) like the normal maps for a river (with banks) with some white water rapids, and using 1×2 jumper plates as opposed to the modified 2×2 plates with the stud as well. This would be because I have to use smaller “boats” that the microfigs can stand on, but not be the same in design like the sea vessels. I also have some ideas about plains and farmlands, a settlement of sorts (but not like my village), a maze, gladiator arena, a very long bridge through some canyons that is falling apart, another castle, and some ruins that has a portal for which I can start exploring this “rift” idea from where the Goblin King and so forth came through. Then, I can work on other “worlds” on the other side of wherever these rifts go, and make exotic wasteland type locations on the other side of it.
There is lots still to do, and there is certainly no shortage of locations, so long as there is no shortage of story to tell.