Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RPGaDay - Day 19 - Favorite Supers RPG

Now the opposite problem from yesterday's post - I have most of the supers type RPG's published over the last 30+ years and I have run or played almost all of them at some point. There are so many of them now and in my opinion most of them have some quality that makes them interesting or worthy of some attention.

  • First Supers Game: Champions
  • Different and Cool: Marvel Super Heroes
  • Overlooked Gem of the 80's: DC Heroes
  • Cool but never as excited about it as some other people were: Villains and Vigilantes
  • If only we had known what was to come: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

That pretty much covers the 80's. The only other superhero game of note I can recall then was Superworld and I never met anyone who played it.

In the 90's I mainly stayed with Champions as Marvel petered out and DC never took off with my group. 

The with the turn of the millennium a new age of superhero games just exploded: Mutants and Masterminds, Silver Age Sentinels, BASH, Hero 5th edition, Necessary Evil, and even Heroes Unlimited's third wind. Later we got a new Marvel game, a new DC game, ICONS, Supers, and a bunch of others, at least partially related to the acceptance of PDFs as valid game books.

I've run a lot of these newer wave games over the last 5 years, and some of the older ones too. I can find something to like about almost all of them. In the 80's we pretty much had the "Big 3" of Champions, Marvel, and DC and that was fine but now it is just amazing. Much like the golden age of superhero movies we are seeing, we are in a golden age of superhero RPG's as well. 

So there are tons of them and they're mostly good. How about a favorite? Once again, it depends ...

  • If I'm just looking to run a one-off game with superheroes, especially with less-experienced players or with a tight time constraint I'm going with ICONS. Its easily learned, it plays fast, and we've always had a good time with it.
  • If I'm starting a campaign with an experienced, older crew I'd love to start them up with a full-on Champions campaign. Tremendous detail, the absolute most flexibility with characters, vehicles, bases, and really ... everything. It's a great system that I have been away from too long. 
  • Overall though, the best middle ground between simplicity, flexibility, and supporting a full campaign is Mutants and Masterminds. It's well-supported but not ridiculously so. There is some mechanical complexity but less than Hero system. It strikes a nice balance of crunch and speed of play that works really well for us and so it is the "main" game when it comes to supers for me.

No comments: