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Leverage Companion 02: Leverage Noir
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/01/2013 19:01:08
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Another $2.99 microsupplement, this one walks you back from modern day to the 20s-40s. Changing the time period does have a pretty big effect on your game, for two major reasons: 1) The omnipresent earbuds are no longer present, and 2) the Hacker needs a complete overhaul. New Talents include Hardboiled (you don't scare easily), Enforcer (your reputation now wins you as many fights as your fists do), Wireman (learning to manipulate the phone lines), Sandpapered Fingertips (your sense of touch is infallible), Working Stiff (your Grifter knows how to fit in with the "common" folk), The Name of the Game Isn't Chess - It's Poker (convincing someone you have a bigger advantage than you really do). A list of era specific distinctions are included, as well as a list of terminology. Some reference material is provided, as well as a couple of tips on either playing a Noir episode as a flashback in your ongoing game, or running a full series set in another time.

WHAT WORKS: A very helpful reworking of Talents, especially necessary for the Hacker. Many of the Talents twist the roles thematically, such as the Hitter becoming a much more violent and...final...crew member than what we normally see from Eliot.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Less useful overall than the first Companion. The GMing section might could have used some beefing up.

CONCLUSION: A good addition to the Companion line, in a very fitting alternate setting. Leverage certainly had some dark moments over the years, so this wouldn't be uncharted territory for the setting, though the darkness was rarely sustained. Highly recomended if you want a darker twist on your Leverage game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage Companion 02: Leverage Noir
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Leverage Companion 01: Too Many Chefs
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/01/2013 18:16:02
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: We thought the Leverage RPG line was finished...but Margaret Weis Productions comes firing back with a new set of microsupplements! Leverage, by its concept, is very niche protectiony, with PCs specializing in one of five roles. This supplement, in PDF for $2.99, addresses crews that have more than one of a given role...say two Hackers, two Hitters or two Grifters. Options are provided for the duplicated roles to combine their talents...as well as an option for one to swoop in in top of the other and steal their glory. A set of Talents are provided which are designed to build off of these situations, such as a Crew Member who lets themselves get taken captured to give their crewmate an opening. There's even one built around two Masterminds working together. The next session takes it to the extreme: A team consisting entirely one role, and how to diversify your crew of Grifters, Hitters or even
Masterminds. An optional rule provides extra drama, having the fallout be worse if someone screws up in their secondary role. Again, new Talents are provided that play into this. Sample crew concepts are provided, giving inspiration for All-Grifter, All-Hacker, All-Hitter, All-Thief and All-Mastermind crews.

WHAT WORKS: Leverage is a great idea if you have five players and they are all happy focusing on separate roles...if not, then you have Too Many Chefs. The options are great, with mechanical support to back up PCs otherwise stepping on each other's toes, rather than making the game more difficult.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Not a lot, here. These aren't situations that'll come up in every game, and this is a low cost extra that'll fill in those gaps for you if it happens.

CONCLUSION: Really good first Companion, starting the series off right. The most potentially frustrating aspect of Leverage is what to do if you have a "non-standard" group...good to see that MWP recognizes that and is here to help.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage Companion 01: Too Many Chefs
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War X-Men
by Raul S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/25/2012 03:45:59
This book is pretty good , and comes in to resolve a demand from the followers of the game , who wanted more mutants datafiles.
It offers also some ideias to run extra scenes and event , but it must be made clear to new players , that this is a supplement , and so, it can´t be bought alone , whitout the Marvel Heroic RPG Core book , and the Marvel Heroic RPG Civil War.
As to the book , i found some graphic errors , where some pictures don´t appear , and some errors in the text , but , hopefully , this can all be easily arranged with the releas of a Revised edition.
All and all , a good book , and a must have for all fans of the X Heroes....

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War X-Men
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War X-Men
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/24/2012 12:04:28
WHAT WORKS: Some great Milestones and Unlockables that are usable in just about any X-Men campaign is great, as are some X-Men getting the Datafile treatment for the first time. In fact, from a pure character selection standpoint, this is probably the most pleased I’ve been with the datafile collection.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: A lot of the problems with this book have more to do with the really bad place the X-Men books were in during Civil War than it does with the book itself. The gameable content feels lighter here than it does in any of the other books, but again: That was the X-Men during Civil War.

CONCLUSION: The weakest of the Civil War books, unless you just NEED the mutant datafiles (and the inclusion of X-Factor alone makes a strong argument for that), hampered by being tied to Civil War, which was a dark time creatively for the X-Men books. That said, the Unlockables and Milestones are pretty much all-purpose, and the section about playing Sentinel O*N*E pilots plays to one of Marvel Heroic’s greatest strengths in the Event set-up, which is flipping the perspective of the events on their ear by putting the players in different driver seats. That said, a set of Milestones and Unlockables for the O*N*E pilots would have taken that promise one step further and made the book that much better. I can’t call it a “must-buy” unless you’re a big X-Men fan running Marvel Heroic, because with Annihilation and Age of Apocalypse coming up, this is as close to an all-purpose X-Men book as you’re probably going to see for a while. Still, might be worth it for the oddity of seeing an X-Men product that basically ignores Storm and Wolverine (due to their activities during Civil War).

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/11/tommys-take-o-
n-civil-war-x-men.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War X-Men
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2012 22:35:01
Not only is this a solid supplement for adding more to your Civil War event, but material like the included Milestones work great for any Marvel mutant themed adventures you might want to run.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War X-Men
by Steve A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2012 00:01:47
Another quality product from Margaret Weis Productions! This book was highly anticipated by everyone in the MHRP community, and it was worth the wait. For those of you who may not be following the actual comics as closely as you did in the past, this book offers a good way to catch up on the latest developments of your favorite mutants, as well as introduce you to new characters. One thing to be clear on: you don't need to be running the Civil War event to make use of the book; it's full of datafiles (both Watcher and Player) and enough information to use in your own events.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Premium Edition)
by Andy K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/02/2012 12:15:38
MHR is a powerful, but limited tool. If you're a comic book fan and you know and love the stories, it is a great method for retelling them and spinning your own. What the Civil War Event Book is really lacking is guidance for the GM who doesn't know the stories by heart. Likewise, it is challenging to play the heroes with only the materials available. There's a brief history and roleplaying tips in the form of experience point bonuses which are great and really useful if you already know the characters and their stories. If you're coming at the game from a position of less knowledge the game really doesn't close the gap well enough.

If you're a big fan or you're willing to do the research (fun research!) I recommend this game product very highly. But it's not for everyone.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Premium Edition)
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/30/2012 07:25:55
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying's Event Supplement, titled Civil War - Fifty State Initiative, is a pretty good expansion of the Civil War event, allowing players to sort of round out the corners of their own version of the Marvel Universe.

OVERVIEW

This book hold two main sections: The Event Supplement and the Datafiles.

In the EVENT SUPPLEMENT, we get some idea of other elements of Marvel's Civil War that can be played out, including:

The Initiative

This tackles the drive to get a sanctioned super-hero team in every state, with details on
Camp Hammond: where newbie heroes go to train
two action scenes geared toward the Initiative
several sanctioned teams: The Great Lakes Champions, the Liberteens, Omega Flight, The Order, Psionex, The Rangers, and the Shadow Initiative.

While I'm okay with a lot of the content for rounding out knowledge of the event, the only elements that really grabbed me for play opportunities were the Action Scenes and the The Order. The former really sets up a good sort of mini-scenario, while The Order comes the closest to detailing -- much as the comic book did -- how a State-sanctioned team might be set up. And this is really what I was expecting from the book, perhaps unfairly: a way for the event to allow a group of player characters to become the de facto go-to government team for a state, and how it might be supported and monitored.

On the other hand, the book is better maximized (in my opinion) if the gaming group plays a rebel team and encounters one or more of these superteams in the course of their rebellion.

The Thunderbolts

As a change of pace mini-campaign, this has a pretty good setup. Villains get recruited into serving the government as sanctioned heroes (and with some nasty, some might say fatal, ways of being controlled by their handlers), and quickly learn that there are some villains already in charge.

It also plays well in an existing campaign as a set of tough opponents for a rebel superteam.

Heroes for Hire

If your players choose to play ball with the government, but retain some kind of autonomy, they can go the mercenary -- er, government contractor route of Heroes for Hire. Some nice datafiles and a rationale that puts the PCs in a sort of rivalry/conflict with superteams on both sides of the Civil War fence (essentially being tasked to actively hunt down and capture Anti-Registration supers.

DATAFILES

These are always welcome (and you get a fair number of them in the prior section already), and in this case the standouts are the core membership of NextWave, the Thunderbolts, and Heroes for Hire.

All in all, I think that it wasn't as stellar in my mind as the other Event book. It comes across as a supplement to a supplement, and not a superstar in its own right, if that makes any sense. However, it does have some interesting counter-campaign options for a change of pace or different point of view for this mega-event, and is still a must-have for the die-hard Marvel enthusiast.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
by chris m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/12/2012 12:56:46
This was a great example of a n Event! Worth every penny, either as an example for your own events or as a source for a civil war campaign.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
by Nenad R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/09/2012 04:12:08
This book gives an overview of the initiative teams, as well as the Thuderbolts and heroes for hire. I found the write ups of the teams a bit sparse, but they do give enough ideas to get started, although I am not sure how useful they would be for somebody who has not read the storyline.

But then again, you have to love a book that gives you the stats for both Howard the Duck and Squirell Girl

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Young Avengers / Runaways
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/07/2012 23:40:50
WHAT WORKS: They dumped in a number of datafiles I’d love to play in a game (Rick Jones, Living Mummy and Ultra Girl for three), and I like the excuse to add in a few more odds and ends villains to provide more options. Also, it’s nice to have the non-Penance Speedball as an option.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The awful New Warriors art. This book in general just feels way less “essential” (or way more “optional”) than the 50States Initiative, but that may be a pro, depending on how you look at it.

CONCLUSION: If you’re not sold on Marvel Heroic, this isn’t going to be the book that changes your mind. The datafiles really sell this book, as the extra material like the Milestones and Unlockables just don’t stand out as well with in this one as they did in Civil War and 50 States Initiative, so if you hate teen superheroes, you may not be thrilled with this. On the other hand, that selection of datafiles really is pretty cool, as a few more of my genuine favorites slipped in here.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/10/tommys-take-o-
n-civil-war-young.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Young Avengers / Runaways
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2012 12:36:47
Great storytelling rpg engine. Love it. Perfect for super hero action the Marvel way.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
by Robert S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/26/2012 03:38:57
This week in am reviewing Marvel Heroic Roleplaying from Margaret Weis Productions.

First things first – the game as a PDF, or at least a set of PDFs. The Marvel Heroic Roleplaying available from DriveThru RPG includes six items; the 234 page basic

• Marvel Heroic Basic Book,
• a cheat sheet for Watchers,
• a cheat sheet for players,
• a guide to character creation,
• a catalog of Marvel Heroes,
• and an example of play.

The basic Marvel Heroic book comes with a nice table of contents, an index and book marks. None of the other documents, aside from the 48-page catalog of heroes, are really long enough to include bookmarks. The catalog is problematic as it is a perfect repetition of a catalog that already exists in the main book, and it should have bookmarks to make it easier to navigate. It also does not include any of Marvel’s notable villains.

All the works are full color, well designed and include ample art from Marvel comics. The pages are a bit busy in terms of layout, but not badly so – though it can take a few seconds for the busier pages to fully load and present all their contents.

Moving on we get to the mechanics – as with other games from Margaret Weis Productions, such as Smallville, Firefly and Leverage, Marvel Heroic employs a variation of the Cortex System. Marvel Heroic does a good job in setting up a structural dynamic similar to the comic books it seeks to emulate. That is any comics, not just Marvel, something I will get back to soon. It is deeply story driven rather than a numbers game. This is a virtue and a handicap for the game.

Unfortunately, Marvel Heroic is not a good choice for people new to role-playing games. Narrative fiction does work under a system of rules, such as tension between opposed forces, rising action, character arc, climaxes and so forth. However, these rules are not as transparent or intuitive as the basic arithmetic that determines the mechanics of many, if not most, role-playing game systems.

The basic book is dense with terminology that can be difficult for new gamers or gamers used to a more mechanically straightforward affair. This includes terms like Affiliation, Stress and the Doom Pool.
The book introduces a double handful of potentially new terms and while there is a lexicon, it is in the back of the book rather than the front. As such, the plethora of new terms is a hurdle for first time gamers.

In the game, character are built out of various traits, including specialties, distinctions, powers and the like. Examples of these include elements such as being a trained human, an altered human, being best in a team, being best as part of a pair or being best when operating along, enhanced strength, enhanced durability and resistance to cold or heat. Further, characters include details such as personality traits, reputations, backstory, a catchphrase or title and some notable feature. Each of these, at least the important ones, receives a dice rating, be it a d4, d6, d8, d10 and d12. The d4 is special case, as it is nominally a liability but grants an advantage later.
To put it another way, think of any particular Marvel Heroic in terms of descriptive terminology, adjectives and adverbs rather than numbers to fill out things like strength, dexterity, constitution and so forth.

Players must keep handy a dice pool matching their characters and when it is required, they roll the appropriate dice. Appropriate dice are determined by a situation in story terms, not mechanically – Captain America’s trait as a natural leader comes into play in group situations with a team behind him, but would not be much of an issue in a singular combat with a robo-Nazi. There are ultimately too many variations and possibilities to get into in a single review, suffice to say to it is a system that is so dynamic it can be frustratingly flexible. Players employ the highest two dice and the next two highest dice for attempts to accomplish tasks or do something important. The doom pool is the name of the dice pool the game master employs for villains and difficult situation; it is the dice pool that opposes the player actions. The same basic rule about rolling the dice of the dice pool governs all situations where dice are rolled from fighting a killer Sentinel Robot to getting into a snark contest with Spider-Man.

That the game is so potentially flexible is not inherently a problem – depending on the group. Which is the crux of the issue – the rules come from a determination to reflect stories as they appear in comics and in this Marvel Heroic is successful. However, its dynamic quality makes it more vulnerable to disputes at a game table.

The rules of initiative in Pathfinder and 4E D&D are relatively rigid and a determined by an impartial roll of the dice while by comparison order of action in Marvel Heroic depends on fictional constraints. The game master chooses who goes first, based upon who is team leader or the fastest… and then the player of that character chooses who goes next. This might make narrative sense but it also depends upon the group getting on well.

Further, the rules specifically urge game masters to be quote “shamelessly transparent” unquote. This will be a real philosophical change of pace for many game masters.

These are issues that are not accidentally or incidentally a part of the structure of the game, but are basic design elements of the game. They are not flaws, but assets – simply assets that will not suit everyone or for work well for everyone, such as new gamers or contentious group. Among the few real flaws the book possesses is that it does not present any actual villains.

The game is admirably adaptable. A flaw of the Smallville game was excessive amounts of space in that book given over to a canceled TV show. Marvel Heroic fortunately discusses Marvel comic by presenting the major heroes and discussing the comics in large strokes – it does not devote pages to lengthy discussions of what happens in the comic. That space is reserved for the actual game. In any event, it should be with-in reach of a competent game master to use the system with characters from comics such as Dark Horse, IDW, Image, NBM and… what is the other one. Oh, right, and DC Comics.

In the end I give Marvel Heroic Roleplaying a 20 on a d20 with two important qualifiers, first this is not a game for people new to role-playing, even if they are also long time fans of comics, second, this is not a game for a contentious group, unless they also like games exploding in their face – it is best suited to a group which works well together and who are fans of comic books.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review! Just a clarification with the bonus PDF of characters: this is a printer-friendly version of the hero datafiles in the main book, which is why it's a repetition of those characters. It's bonus content for those who purchase the PDF and want to save ink.
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Young Avengers / Runaways
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2012 18:13:16
Great book. A lot of cool Datefiles. Nice Event. Worth the price of admission.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Young Avengers / Runaways
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
by Ian H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2012 12:20:53
First the good points, this is a well thought out and well writ tern game. If you get this it's because you are a marvel fan, but the character backgrounds are short but hold all the details you need to grasp the characters motives, history and personality.
This is a great system to run and play, had hours of fun running the game, the pregen senarios are fun and have a great feel, overall this is a great game
Now the bad point, just one there is an issue with the art, many of the pictures cover the text which is really irritating and poor presentation/editing.
I hope there is an update soon

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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