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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
 

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Average Rating:4.7 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
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)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 14:03:24
It's got the same high quality as the core game, and a lot of usable hero data files. However, the Civil War storyline, with which I wasn't familiar before, didn't appeal to me very much. On the bright side, the book presents a chance to run things differently from how they were in the comics.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Scott R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2012 21:56:58
If you are looking to play in the scenario presented, it's an excellent module. Beyond that, if you were hoping for a lot of new rules, you'll likely be disappointed. The "new rules" are mostly tweaks on the existing ones, and there's a few for "troupe play" that are no especially useful.

There are a bunch of villain datafiles, but only a few are "big bads", and about a third of the hero files are rehash from the corebook.

For those looking to play the Civil War, it's a great supplement; if not, it's a pass, in my opinion.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/01/2012 22:46:58
WHAT WORKS: Well...there's a crap ton of new datafiles, including Dr. Doom (held up alongside Magneto as an inexcusable omission from the rulebook). There's a LOT of leeway and options given for playing out Civil War with your own twists. New optional rules like Troupe Play and handling multiple support characters is great. Oh, there's a table of contents, an index, bookmarks and EVERYTHING IS CLICKABLE. Except links to the Operations Manual, but I would bet those are included in the Premium Version.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: No Baron Zemo. No Winter Soldier. What? I can't complain about MY favorites not being included? The art is really pixelated a lot of the time, but I am assuming that's a digital only artifact and hopefully they'll fix that for the print versions. If you absolutely hated Civil War, I don't think this is going to convince you otherwise. For a pre-written adventure (essentially), it'll get steadily harder to run straight out of the book as the twists and turns mount (though that certainly has it's own pluses, as it's not really a railroad at all).

CONCLUSION: An incredibly promising start to the Event Book formula, as there's a huge amount of options included to customize it yourself. The pixelated art doesn't bother me in the digital book, but I would be annoyed to have it present in a print book. Just a huge amount of information, including new datafiles, and while having many of them mixed around the book could annoy some, if you're working from the PDF this thing is so user friendly to navigate that it's not a big deal. Heck, maybe someone wants to play one of the characters not included as a full datafile (with Milestones) here (like Ant Man or Patriot)...just slap on a pair of Civil War milestones that make sense and run with it. If you didn't care for Marvel Heroic, I don't think this is going to sway you...but if you're a fan of it, there's a lot to like from this product.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/07/tommys-take-o-
n-civil-war-event-book.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Christopher L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2012 00:12:48
Civil War (Essentials)
A Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game Supplement
by Margaret Weis Productions

Civil War is the first supplement for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. It details the events and characters involved in the crossover event that occurred across a number of comic lines within the Marvel Universe. The Essentials version covers only the Civil War, and does not have the rules presented in the MHRG rulebook.

Disclosure: I was given a review copy of the game by Margaret Weis Productions.

Civil War is a campaign, supplement, covering the entire Civil War story arc, and is expected to run for months or more. The book for the most part is a game master resource and is not for player use. The first section discusses the event itself, and breaks it down into three acts. Each act covers a section of the Civil War, from the leadup to the Superhuman Registration act, to the enforcement of the act itself, to the aftermath itself. This is a major campaign, and the aftermath of the Civil War can lead to major changes if you are using it as part of a more personal campaign. The status quo of the setting can be shifted significantly.

New rules are introduced to the game. Advanced Troupe Play is used to provide players with the ability to have an arsenal of characters under their control. Rather than having XP given to each character, each player gathers Experience Points, which can be used on any characters he controls. This allows the player the freedom to switch characters between events or sessions, without having any character hindered because of it. This is also useful if you want to explore both sides of the Civil War - some heroes can be on the side of the registration act, while others may be against it, and players can use characters on either side of the act over the course of the campaign.

More depth is provided on Scene Distinctions and Complications. The game master can set a number of Distinctions on a scene, allowing them to be used either by the heroes or their enemies. These act as normal Distinctions, and the game master is allowed to add new ones to a scene by spending a d8 or better from the Doom Pool, increasing the ante in the scene to hinder the characters. In addition, the game master is reminded that villains can use effect dice to do things other than target heroes. These dice can create Complications, forcing a hero to make tough decisions during a scene. Characters can act to reduce the Complications or remove a Distinction from a scene. Suggestions are also made on how to make such things interactive, allowing heroes and NPCs to spend PP to gain new tricks.

Next, the chapter discusses what happens when heroes battle one another. This can get very personal, and the rules discuss how the game master should arbitrate such conflicts. There are suggestions on defeating opponents without inflicting stress or trauma, allowing the player characters to battle one another witching having to cripple potential allies and friends.

NPCs and 'Specialty Characters' are discussed next. In the Civil War, there are a number of forces at play, and the game suggests that players should be allowed to play specialty NPCs who are allied with their characters. If you have a PC who is a member of SHIELD, then it can be expected that the player can also handle the SHIELD Agents that are working under him. These can be used as normal NPCs, or can act as a persistent Asset (providing a die bonus to the character they are supporting).

Personal Opinion: These rules are helpful, but not essential, to running the Civil War. Some of these are just reminders of rules which may be easily overlooked from the main rules, while others are just solid ideas for making the game run more smoothly.

--

The next Chapter discusses how some mechanics interact with the Civil War. The first thing discussed is the Super Human Registration Act, and why someone would be on one side of the Act or another. It discusses what is at stake, and how things may play out if the Act passes or fails. It is not a given that the Act would pass or fail, the option is placed in the hands of the game master and the players, depending on what kind of story you want to tell.

This chapter has a number of milestones - 12 are prevented right at the opening, detailing different aspects of the Civil War, and provides options for the players, to help them invest their characters in the campaign. A few of these milestones are presented as either pro- or con- SHRA, but there are a number of milestones which can be used by either side.

Next, the supplement discusses the factions that are involved in the Civil War. Atlantis, SHIELD, Hydra, A.I.M., Wakanda, and the Illuminati are all detailed, with NPCs, milestones, and unlockables that the players can invest in to gain an advantage with one faction or another. On top of these factions, there are other forces in play - the media. Characters can ally with the media (the Daily Bugle and the Alternative are provided as examples), and can gain allies, unlockables, and milestones related to the media to help further their cause.

Locations are provided, with Distinctions associated with them. These are useful for helping to flesh out a scene, and provide the heroes and their opponents with opportunities within the scene. A number of key locations are listed, as well as alternate suggestions that can be used in the game for those who are unfamiliar with New York and Washington DC.

Personal Opinion: There is a lot of crunch here, providing the game master with the many forces that are at play during the Civil War. The write-ups look good, and providing the players with unlockables and milestones gives the players an investment in the campaign. A very solid chapter.

--

The next three chapters detail the campaign. They discuss important scenes and how these scenes are broken down, along with important hooks for these scenes. Important NPCs and enemies are presented, and options are given for alternatives in how the scenes can play out or how you can tailor the scene for specific characters or events.

Personal Opinion: The way that the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game plays out is different than many other roleplaying games. The breakdown between action scenes and transition scenes flows differently than many other games. Action scenes are where a lot of the conflicts and dice rolls are used, while transition scenes act as links where characters can roleplay and players can catch their breath. While these breakdowns may seem artificial, the point is to give the players the feel of a comic book, where every scene has a point, helping to further the story, rather than providing a more natural flow. I can't judge whether this is good or bad, just that it is significantly different. As a new game master to MHRG, I need to find my own rhythm, and I have not had the experience to run in this fashion.

--

The next chapter deals with NPCs, covering those who would be encountered by the players over the course of the event. Many of these may be allies or enemies - it really depends on the characters and what side they are on. These NPCs are minor characters, but can be used as PCs to provide greater challenge, or could be possibly unlocked as allies for the players during the course of the campaign.

The following chapter deals with the core heroes, the big players in the game. Two are unlockable -- Namor the Sub Mariner and the Black Panther. These two characters are rulers of nations in their own right, and thus are unavailable as PCs 'out of the box'. Everyone else, however, are potential PCs, and are designed in that fashion. Of course, players don't need to play these individuals, they can make their own characters if they wish, but there are an enormous number of characters fleshed out for player use.

Personal Opinion: I kind of wish the Hulk had been listed here, but he wasn't around in the Civil War (having been launched into space...). Still, there are a number of characters, including some I've never heard of before. Combine this with the heroes and villains presented in the actual Civil War chapters (such as Doctor Doom), and you find yourself with more than enough characters to handle the Event and more to come later.

--

Final Opinion: This is a solid sourcebook. Not only is it a campaign, it is also a hero guide. One thing I have to say about this is that writing up supplement books in this fashion is a good idea. The NPCs and heroes presented are listed as they were in the Event, and if another Event is done, the NPCs and heroes can be presented with altered traits to match the Event as well, showing how characters shift and evolve over time. This also means that, while you may have redundant character sheets, you also do not need to worry about any specific character being 'dated' by changes in canon continuity. Pick the version you are most comfortable with, and enjoy yourselves. The sourcebook overall impresses me, and I think it has been laid out in a logical fashion. I recommend this book as an excellent example of how to set up a long-term campaign using the Heroic Roleplaying System, and provides enough PCs and NPCs for the game master to use in other Events or in their own campaigns.

Base: 10
Layout: 8/10 Good use of space, well organized, good text size.
Art: 8/10 Recycled from comics, but good choice of artwork.
Coolness: 9/10 Cool concept, excellent ideas.
Readability: 8/10 Easy to read, well organized, flows nicely.

Base: 10
Content: 9/10 Almost completely a GM's book, but filled with useful information and tips, NPCs, suggestions, and aids to make for an excellent campaign.
Text: 9/10 Good font size, easy to follow, useful charts and margin notes.
Fun: 9/10 A very good adventure, and an excellent introduction to Marvel.
Workmanship: 9/10 It is quite obvious that thought was put into this game, with an eye on the players.
System: 9/10 A very solid system, able to handle quite a lot.

Total: 89%

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:12:57
Which side will your players choose in the clash between heroes for and against the Superhuman Registration Act? Whether your group wants to join Iron Man in enforcing the law, or to join Captain America in standing up for individual freedom, you’ll find plenty of depth in the Civil War Event Book for compelling gameplay. The book even provides a new option called “troupe play” to enable players to run multiple characters, perhaps even on opposite sides of a conflict—and no other recent comics event has been more ideal for promoting player vs. player combat.

The event book lays out the events of the superhero civil war in three acts: “Road to Civil War” (the SHRA passes at the end of this event), “Registration,” and “Rocket’s Red Glare.” Each act includes multiple action and transition scenes, with great role-playing and combat/action opportunities for heroes on both sides of the SHRA debate. The presence of other opportunistic factions like AIM, Hydra, Atlantis, and Wakanda complicate matters, of course.

Thirty-two superhero datafiles appear in the “Hero Datafiles” section of the book. Comparing the versions of heroes that appear both here and in the basic game gives a great sense of how the MHR game can treat “snapshots” of heroes at different points in their careers. Shorter datafiles for various allies and enemies—which, in this event, are terms at least partially relative to which side of the SHRA you’re on—appear throughout the book at opportune moments. Fortunately, there’s a complete index to the datafiles at the end of the event book, so you can easily find the various supervillains and supporting cast wherever they appear.

You can buy the Civil War Event Book in “essentials” and “premium” flavors. The only difference is that the premium edition includes the Operations Manual, for those who don’t already own the basic game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 18:42:13
There are two versions of this event, so be careful which one you pick up.

-- If you already have the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Book, then pick up the Essentials Edition. It contains only the additional rules for the Event and the Event material itself.
-- If you don't have the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Book, then pick up the Premium Edition. It contains the Rules Event-specific rules Event material itself.


NEW RULES

The most interesting rules for this event for me are: Resolving Hero vs. Hero conflicts and Troupe Play.

Hero vs. Hero: interesting because the Civil War event does pit heroes against one another (and villains too), and while some of the rules can be chalked up to extrapolations of the framework already established, it's nice to see it stated outright -- particularly for touchy issues like having one player inflict a crippling complication on another player's character.

Troupe Play: interesting because it allows players to play more than one Hero in the course of this epic event -- important if a character is imprisoned or sidelined by injury. It also posits the option of pooling XP (wherein a player earns XP for the event instead of that player's Heroes), so that key elements of the scenes, storylines, and heroes might be unlocked regardless of the status of any one Hero.


THE EVENT PROPER

The book gives a good overview of the Civil War conflict, as well as detail on the factions involved, the key players, and locations and battlefronts that the conflict unfolds on.

In three Acts, the Civil War event is detailed with the recommended sequence of scenes and information on the recommended action and transition scenes for each. There is enough information to run each scene, though I do find myself wanting to pick up the comic books (given the immense amount of backhistory for a lot of the characters) to determine possible reactions of each one in a given scene. There is also space or leeway given to really spin the Event down different paths other than the ones in the official Marvel Universe timeline -- and I'll avoid spoilers here for those who never bothered to pick up all the comics in this mega-crossover event. There's a lovely bibliography in the back if you're interested.


HERO DATAFILES

32 hero datafiles in the Civil War sourcebook, with an Index that indicates where all the datafiles for the movers and shakers in the Event can be found in either the Basic Book or the Event Sourcebook -- with some of them (like Clint Barton) reflecting the various character changes and roles they played in the entire war.

Excellent material for this widescreen, multi-location, multi-front event.


SUMMARY

Overall, the book really does make me want to get a group together to play out different factions simultaneously to put our own stamp on the Marvel Universe -- perhaps with our own characters or with key players in the event acting the way we feel they should have acted. And that's big praise from someone who really dismissed the entire event when it unfolded in comics as flawed (at best). This tome makes it engaging enough for me to want to be in the event proper and make things turn out differently, hopefully better.

(this review also appears on my blog -- armchairgamer.blogspot.com)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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