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5072Re: Learning from Marvel Heroic

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  • paul_jenkinson
    Apr 30, 2013
      I think the main thing for me to 'Learn from Marvel Heroic' is that if you're going to use quirky mechanics, at least make them easy to understand. I absolutely respect Cam Banks (author of Marvel Heroic) for his work on the game, and after sales support where he seemed to have Wolverines 'secondary mutation' (that of being able to be in several comic books at the same time and place - in Cams case forums) but even now, when I think i want to pick the game up and really, fully digest it, I trip and stumble over terms and what to do and when.

      I get the basics - roll a pile of dice, pick two, add them together and pick another for effect. Spend plot points.

      The Doom pool leaves me baffled, and the two and fro of plot points with stepping and doubling and complications, assets and all the other jargon would be easier to understand if the game were better written.

      Call me old school, set in my ways, whatever, but I picked up M&M ok, Hero System and various other supers games (Icons included) without batting an eyelid. This thing (Marvel Heroic) has me scratching my head.

      The PDFs are also way too art heavy. The border blocks on each page suck ink when home printing. If I were making a copy of the game to take to a game table I'd have to cut and paste the text into a separate file. On the flipside this made the Core (Basic) book amazing value for money. I think I paid about £8 for it, delivered, so it falls neatly into the 'this is a mistake, right?' with the price. No wonder they never made any money on it.

      At the end of the day its another brave, failed, attempt to do a different kind of game with the Marvel license. Saga, Diceless and now this. The market won't accept quirky when it can simply look to another of a multitude of supers games that are easy to play and learn. Consumers have never had it so good. Game designers and publishers, not so. The pond is shrinking (we're all getting older, kids generally want the speed and ease of sticking a disc in a console thus people leaving the hobby and not being replaced as fast as yester-year) and there are more fish wanting a bite of the bait (dollars). Recent Kickstarters show there IS still money to be made, but you have to aim it at the right people. That is, established, adult gamers with accessible cash. If you want to get the kids you need to make the game accessible (shop shelves) and back it up with marketing. TV, Comics, Magazines etc, but who has money for that these days?

      Having a license is absolutely no guarantee of success. You only have to look at the past failed Marvel games (and yes, I count Marvel Heroic now in that number) for proof. Star Wars has had its clunkers too, since the heady days of WEG D6. Middle Earth has been passed from pillar to post (is the current game 'the One Ring' or some such? Still in print?) and the other licenses are niche (less popular) within a niche (science fiction or fantasy, or supers etc) within a niche (RPGs) so even less likely to make the big bucks the IP owner wants. Take Lone Wolf - recently pulled from Mongoose. It hardly set the world alight as a D20 game before then. Cubicle 7 have it now (I believe) but it'll be a while before we see anything from them.

      One could argue that D&D is an IP alongside Star Wars and Marvel/DC, having had films, books, cartoons, toys etc out at one stage. There's certainly no guarantee that a new D&D game will sell in huge numbers these days. If Marvel wanted D&D numbers, and had gotten them, I think they'd still have been disappointed.

      So, after that text wall (sorry) I would hope that the next (?) Marvel game is more traditional, easy to learn and play, and supported by traditional module type adventures instead of Event books. Let's face it, most comic book fans are at least in some part burned out by the yearly events that Marvel and DC throw at us, all of which are ret-conned or forgotten about by 6 months later... MWP maybe slipped up there too. And the printing thing.

      It's been a bit of a mess really.

      --- In icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com, "jasonsunday" <jasonsunday@...> wrote:
      > I also like the fact that the Villains can grandstand to cause more trouble for the heroes via Doom Pool.
      > --- In icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com, "jasonsunday" <jasonsunday@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Bill made some very good points. I like the Initiative, Damage Types, Complications, and Distinction use in Marvel. I don't remember seeing it in Icons but I think the ability to push your powers (aka Power Attack from MnM) is very helpful too.
      > >
      > > --- In icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com, Bill Olander <plusonesword@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > 1. Initiative - Does ICONS even have an initiative system? Perhaps I've
      > > > missed it but my usual method is pick the player to my left and go around
      > > > in a circle. I've contemplated stealing both the MHR and Savage Worlds
      > > > initiative systems just to spice things up a little.
      > > >
      > > > 2. Damage Types - I understand that Stamina is a combination of
      > > > Strength(toughness) and Willpower. I did really like the multiple damage
      > > > types in MHR but as a nod to ICONS Fate origins I'd probably switch to FATE
      > > > damage tracks if I was going to split them up. More interesting to me were
      > > > MHR's complications such as the ability to web someone into oblivion with
      > > > say "Stuck in Webs d8" as a condition.
      > > >
      > > > You could probably do something similar with Aspects or FATE Consequences.
      > > > Potentially as an alternative to what happens when you go to Zero stamina
      > > > instead of losing strength.
      > > >
      > > > 3. Aspects - On the subject of Aspects, there were a couple of cool points
      > > > to MHR's Distinctions. First, there was only three of them so they were
      > > > easier to remember. Second, you were pretty much expected to have them come
      > > > up most of the time. And third, you had the option to take them as either a
      > > > benefit or a penalty. As a GM, the Determination point economy can slow to
      > > > a halt just because I forget to hand them out. I liked the way this placed
      > > > the power to grab Plot points into the hands of the players.
      > > >
      > > > 4. Milestones and XP - Quite honestly, I didn't particularly care for
      > > > Milestones as they were implemented. I felt they were awkward to make
      > > > interesting. What I did really like about them was how they worked as
      > > > Adventure related unlockables. Advancement in supers games is an awkward
      > > > proposition with characters tending to return to status quo. Having some
      > > > mechanic where the characters can earn a temporary advantage (Like when
      > > > Spider-man temporarily gained the power cosmic or during Blackest Night
      > > > when earths heros each got a color ring). By giving it out that way it
      > > > feels less like hand waving and more that it is something the players
      > > > accomplished.
      > > >
      > > > 5. Power Sets - I don't really know what to say in terms of implementation
      > > > but I like these. I like how they were formalized in 3rd Edition M&M. I
      > > > like how they were set up in MHR. I like being able to yank them off of an
      > > > NPC and be able to move them around. I liked how they looked like little
      > > > glowing balls of energy in the TV show Charmed. What?
      > > >
      > > > Ok, those are my thoughts.
      > > > -Bill
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 9:32 AM, stevekenson <stevekenson@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > > **
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > So, given the attention on Marvel Heroic in the wake of the MWP
      > > > > announcement: What things can ICONS learn, as a system, from the iteration
      > > > > of Cortex in Marvel Heroic? Are there innovations in Marvel you think would
      > > > > adapt well to ICONS?
      > > > > _____
      > > > > Steve Kenson
      > > > > stevekenson@
      > > > > www.stevekenson.com
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
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