Friday, January 21, 2011

Atomic City: The Animated Series

I'm reading through Icons, a new rules-light supers game that came out last year and I really like it. I briefly considered using it for my initial run with Atomic City instead of M&M. I've decided against that for now but it is very cool.

Tone-wise it really isn't much different than the silver age concept I had already, and the art is great. setting the mood perfectly. That's not really the problem.

Mechanics-wise it's not terribly complicated though it does have some interesting wrinkles.I'm just not sure it has enough crunch to keep me interested long term for a planned campaign - I like some crunch in my ongoing games. The designer makes a point of using it for pick-up games and I think that's where it's going to come in.

One of the interesting approaches in the game is that the DM never makes a roll - only the players roll dice. Hitting the bad guy? Player rolls to attack. Bad Guy attacking the player character? Player rolls to dodge. Not having played it I can't say for sure but I'm betting this has an interesting effect in play. It sort of changes the point of view to a more character-centric one rather than a neutral overview. Rather than "Batman swings at the Joker then the Joker swings at Batman, now Batman swings again" it's "Batman swings at the Joker, then dodges the return blow, then pummels him again!". I think it's a subtle difference but it could change the flavor during play and in telling the story afterwards. I'm not anxious for D&D to do this but in this kind of game, especially if you run it solo, it could be very genre-appropriate. Others could benefit from it too - I wonder if a Star Trek game run this way would feel just a tad bit cooler?

I'm probably going to let the Apprentices play with it a little bit and see what they think. It might turn into some kind of side campaign as "The Animated Series" but I'm not sure when I would have time to fit it in with any regularity - I'll have enough trouble doing that now with the campaigns I'm already running. Even if I don't though, it's near the front of the bag of tricks. Going back to pick-up games and one-offs, I think it could be a fun way to flesh out some other Atomic City stories without derailing the main campaign. I like the idea of a big city with multiple supers in it and multiple storylines happening simultaneously and now I see a way to do it.

For those interested there is a good review here

The main site is here though there isn't a ton about the game there. Read about the App pricing model - it's a great concept and I look forward to seeing how it does for them. It works great for me, but that may not be so great for the company.

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