So I got asked by a commenter recently if I was still using the Heroscape tiles for combat with Labyrinth Lords and the answer is that yes, I am. They have been a tremendous asset for building outdoor battlescapes. I had inserted a small wilderness adventure to break up all the dungeon crawling that the party were doing and now they've been exploring so much of the wilderness the balance has swung the other way, so they have been a very valuable asset. Last night, we played another session and I took some more photos so you can see how useful they can be...
This is a battle at the edge of the Monrag Swamp, a dangerous place. It is against wild boars, but alas I do not have miniatures for these enemies yet and so had to use my giant rat ones - slightly odd but it kind of worked. The mat underneath is a Lexan water terrain map, ideal for the wet terrain type were simulating. The party lost two characters in this battle; they had no idea that wild boars were 3HD creatures and were not afraid of facing five of them. They deployed badly too and I exploited that weakness - a combination of me going for the front of their wagon (a model they have built themselves!) and the water terrain ending their movement meant they were unable to bring their toughest (fourth level characters) to the front to save their beseiged weaker party members in time.
This is a shot of a battle at the edge of a graveyard. The underlying mat does line up but we set up the battle in haste and its slightly off in the photo. The ruined walls also come from the Heroscape game. This battle went very well for the party; the 4th level cleric rebuked the undead causing most of the skeletons to cower in fear of his dark god. There was an amusing moment where one of the skeletons fumbled (and drawing a card from the critical fumble deck) we discovered he had become blinded; he must have somehow got mud into his empty eye sockets and spent the rest of the battle wandering around like a drunken idiot until its eventual demise.
This last image shows a much smaller battlefield and was a combat that occured because the party had got wind that there was something nasty in a nearby cave and so dug a pit trap then hid and waited for something to fall into it. Something did indeed - a ghoul and the pit trap killed it. So they were resetting their trap, when out of the cave two more ghouls shambled, taking them by surprise. The area on the right is the cave entrance. Notice how the Heroscape hexes stack on top of each other very well, allowing you to create high and low areas with ease. This was a major factor in why I picked the game up to try them out - increased height complicates the battlefield and allows for more tactics in battles. In short, I think it spices up the combats. The party did very well in this encounter; one character got paralysed but the ghouls were quickly cut to ribbons.
The hexes have proved very flexible and are popular within the group so we are going to continue to use these hexes in all outdoor and wilderness encounters . The extra tactical considerations are great for fighter types and also for weapon selection (e.g. weapons can have reach and some weapons can power swing).