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Villains and Vigilantes $10.00 $7.50
Average Rating:4.4 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
18 7
5 3
2 2
0 1
1 0
Villains and Vigilantes
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Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/06/2013 07:29:45
V&V was written by Jack Herman and Jeff Dee. Jeff Dee got his start on D&D doing some of the classic module art and book art for the 1st edition game. So the game has some obvious D&D roots.
V&V was unique at the time (and still somewhat) in that in the game you play yourself. You work out with the other players what your strength, endurance, intelligence and the rest are and then you roll randomly on a table of super powers. It's a very interesting and fun concept that we completely ignored. Back in the day we liked playing a "multi-verse" so our V&V characters were our D&D characters in a supers universe. The stats were the mostly the same and both games had levels. Plus it gave us excuses to have strengths of 50 or more (human max is 18). I remember it being a very good time.

As typical of many old school games there are lots of random rolls, charts and a fair amount of math involved. I went back recently to make a character and was thrilled to see that Monkey House Games had an Excel character sheet. The math isn't hard really, but Excel is still faster. Though such things have been around for a long time even with the older edition.

Powers are list by type. So Power Blast is just a blast of some sort of power. It could be Superman's heat vision, Iron Man's repulsors, or even Zatanna's magical blast. What is interesting is the combat matrix of powers vs. defenses and how they interact. Again, the D&D DNA is here since it reminds me of the Psionic Powers Attacks vs Defenses in 1st Ed AD&D.

There is a V&V campaign world as well. It is loosely defined in the core books, but much greater detail is given in the supplements. It is also one of the few Supers games I can recall where the characters were working for the government at some level.

There are a couple of great sections on Being a Superhero and Gamemastering that work great with any supers RPG.

IF you like old school RPGs and want to get into a supers game that feels like those, then this is a great choice. The price is low and there are plenty of places on the web that support either version of the game with materials, character write-ups and community.

What sets this apart from the earlier 2nd edition is newer are and generally cleaned up text. Monkey House also has a number of support documents on their website for free.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Sean D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2012 04:48:51
Loved this game when I played it back in the early 80's. So I was quite happy to be able to play it again (this time as a GM) using the pdf version. Unfortunately it turns out the reason I loved the game back then is my character was broken. There is a reason we switched to Champions back in the day.

The non-system aspects to the rulebook are fine. I happen to like Jeff Dee's art a great deal. The rulebook does a good job of capturing the spirit of fun that can be found in comic books, despite mechanics that have not aged well. Fans of old-school games may still find value in the text. Others would be better off looking to more modern games for their superhero fix.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/18/2012 09:41:21
Okay, the truth is that I really don’t have any intention of running or playing Villains & Vigilantes any time in the near future (as of June 2012 when I wrote this review). But V&V is woven deeply into my gamer DNA, since it was the second RPG I ever learned, after D&D. My interest in this new edition of V&V, then, is primarily rooted in nostalgia and oriented toward learning/borrowing from V&V elements that will help me with the supers RPGs I currently run and play.

On the nostalgia side, it sure is fun to revisit V&V’s random-generation and level-based approach to superhero gaming, though in some ways the fun is bittersweet, since level-based superhero gaming seems so misguided in 2012. What a delight, though, to see all-new artwork by Jeff Dee, much of it depicting old favorite heroes and villains from the original V&V!

With regard to kitbashing V&V for things to use in other supers games, the random adventure outline generator on pp. 36–37 stands out, as does the discussion of the legal system and what happens after a villain is captured, pp. 39–45. V&V even has something I haven’t noticed in any other supers RPG core rulebook: a paragraph of rules for player characters to benefit monetarily from merchandizing. You might want to incorporate V&V’s conceit of having the players play themselves, with the addition of superpowers, into other games that use random power generation—but then again, my cousins, siblings, friends, and I always ignored this rule when we played V&V back in the day and made up fictional identities anyway.

Nowadays, if I were steering a new player toward a superhero game, I would probably steer them toward Icons or Mutants & Masterminds, not toward Villains & Vigilantes. Even in its new form, V&V is, for me, like some of my favorite music from the ’80s: fun to revisit once in a while, but not part of my normal daily routine. But I’m glad to see V&V resuscitated, for all of its fans from the ’80s who want to play it regularly or just once in a while. My four-star rating is really three stars for content plus one for all the great memories.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2010 14:02:03
Villains and Vigilantes is a (somewhat) dated, and yet relatively strong game system for playing super-heroic characters like you would find in an American comic book. It’s one of the premiere role-playing games of the 1980s -- no question about it, meaning that nostalgia and fondness for similarity could be the primary driving forces to its current success. If you are looking for the latest and greatest innovation in role-playing, then Villains and Vigilantes will not surprise you (though it does hold it’s own for innovation in it’s own right -- the game is still unique, even with its d20 influence imbedded in the rules).

If you are looking for a fantastic super-hero game to play, then V&V is a swell game indeed!

Characters are created using your own identity and specialized formulas, and the game is played with various random tables and rules for mundane items and traits. All in all, it’s a creative mixture of information that you can use to create your own random game world.

(Personally, I like the random factor over other point-based systems, because it’s much easier to choose one or two things, and then, add randomness for flavor later -- rather than pulling a concept from thin air. The one thing that some game designers seem to miss is this: most people are not creative -- but almost everyone likes to play a game. Randomness is the key to getting others to try new things, and V&V fills that niche rather nicely.)

Does all this mean that Villains and Vigilantes is for the silly, veteran game player -- not hardly! It only means that Villains and Vigilantes is a unique game with some interesting traits that will appeal to the number cruncher and the die-hard comic book fan.

I am rating it a 3 / 5, because honestly, it is not an entirely simple game to play (there will be a lot of tedious number-crunching and variable dice rolling involved), but it is a FUN game to play -- and that’s the primary purpose for playing any game. I don’t like to rate things a 3, because I think it is a cop-out normally, but it is a fair rating in this instance for all the factors involved.

Overall, you will not be disappointed to play Villains and Vigilantes, and the price is just right. (I would love to have a hard copy of this game -- maybe one is in the works?)

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Marc G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2010 12:17:12
I forgot just how much I liked this game until recently. V&V is certainly a nice break from point-based character generation. Random power generation and open interpretation of such powers means that GMs may need to be a bit creative in keeping everyone involved, but hey, when you're emulating a genre that has Thor and Tigra fighting side by side, that's just a fact of life. The game plays very fast and the Power (essentially fatigue) rules do a good job of preventing rampant abuse of combat abilities.

In content it is very similar to the 1982 version, but with a completely new layout. It has a couple of new rules (swords/shields and wrestling) along with great new art from co-creator Jeff Dee (although the art should be BIGGER!)

There is an implicit 'world" associated with V&V (mostly through the characters named in the book), but it doesn't encroach on the rules, so it is easy to take it or leave it.

Everything old is new again!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/03/2010 13:39:10
I missed this the first time around back in the 80s. I'm so glad to a second chance. Beautiful presentation, nice rules, random charts galore. This is supers at it's best, all wrapped into 60 pages.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/02/2010 19:53:07
If you are looking for an old school game, this an an excellent one to start with. It's nice to have it back in updated form. I found V&V a good read, and I always enjoyed the artwork, but I never really found it to be much of a playable game. Still, I had to have this PDF.

Back in the (very) early 80's, several of us had gotten tired of playing nothing but “that Fantasy RPG.” My roommate was big into comic books, and found a copy of V&V, so we thought we would try it out with our gaming group. First, we did a little play-testing, to make sure we understood the rules and such. We quickly realized that it needed a bit of a rewrite to be a good playable system. My memory is a bit fuzzy now, but I know our greatest dislike, by far, was character generation.

First, the character is based on the player. Your stat's are the characters stats. In general, most people think they are better than they really are, compared to others impressions. This can lead to conflict and opinions better kept to oneself. This is an unnecessary complication when you simply want to escape the real world and have some fun. Next, you use random rolls for your characters powers. Anyone who is a fan of comic superheroes knows that most characters have a set of cohesive powers based on a theme or shtick. Random rolls result in characters that have random powers, which are hard to pull together in any kind of theme, and sometimes end conflict with each other, or are downright silly. Same goes for Skills and Weaknesses, though kudos for including Weaknesses ... something especially good in a superhero game.

Bottom line, if you like playing a character based on you, after throwing a bunch of dice, hoping to get lucky with them, then playing the random conglomerate you come up with, this game is for you. That’s not sarcasm … I know people who like the throwing the dice and playing what they get. If you prefer to escape the real world and play a character that makes sense (tongue in cheek, as this IS a superhero game), then V&V is a pretty weak game system.

As for the rest of the rules, they left little impression on me, other than being no better or worse than other games at the time. Before we could rewrite it to our satisfaction and bring in the whole gaming group, one of the guys found a copy of Champions, and that's the game we fell in love with, and played superheroes with for many years.

Still, I always enjoyed FGU’s V&V material, and collected almost all of the adventures (missing one) ... most of which can be found in PDF form here, under Fantasy Games Unlimited. They are very much worth checking out even if you prefer a different rules system.

In conclusion, this PDF is something I had to have, but because of my memories of the various books themselves, not the game system. :-) If you are into old school games, this is one you will want. So, thanks Monkey House!!

BTW: You CAN copy text from the PDF. You just can’t alter the PDF or extract pages.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/02/2010 09:45:13
Congrats to Monkey House for getting the rights to redistribute Villains & Vigilantes, and a re-edited version with new Jeff Dee art to boot! This and Marvel Super-Heroes are my two favorite supers RPGs, V&V being the first and most fun.

Good things: Great new artwork from Jeff Dee, and a new edit of the rules. Overall a very nice book.

Bad things: No bookmarks and copy/edit is turned off. The latter keeps me from giving this 5 stars. Why would you do this? I can't stand putting restrictions like this on something I've purchased.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
You'll be happy to know that copy/past has been re-enabled. Feel free to update your review ;-) -Jeff Dee Monkey House Games
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Dennis S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/29/2010 20:29:26
Ordered the 1982 edition from an ad in the old COMICS SCENE magazine, and have never looked back! What a great game. Jack Herman and Jeff Dee are back! Great system, great fun!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Allen S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/28/2010 11:36:34
As I read the new version of Villains and Vigilantes (with my copy of the previous version close at hand) what struck me the most is how well this system holds up in today's gaming world. Yes, it's old-school...but in some ways, it fits right in with a lot of games today. This is a classic and I am proud to own the new version and hope to introduce the young'uns around my neck of the woods to some real superhero fun in the days to come. I'm so glad V&V is back where it belongs!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Ronald W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/28/2010 11:02:07
Dee & Herman ride again! This is a true classic old school RPG. The new cover art is V&V all the way. The random power generation brings back great memories. V&V got alot of playing time then and will get even more now. I wish all the best to the Monkey House crew.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Doug T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/27/2010 22:42:52
It's so great to see V&V back in the hands of its creators! This 2.1 version looks outstanding, and the new illustrations are fantastic! I'm really glad that Jack and Jeff didn't just wholesale change a whole bunch of stuff (I see that bombs are changed, though - nice that Aunt May can no longer survive a nuclear bomb exploding in her face!). We'll be testing out the few changes in our regular face-to-face group, and look forward to seeing everything else that comes out. It's amazing that V&V is back!!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by James M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/27/2010 17:54:56
Love the new artwork and revamped layout. Nice to put some names with the illustrations as well. The new rule additions look pretty cool and I will be testing them out in game as soon as possible with my regular group.

Most of all I love that V&V is back in the hands of it's creators!!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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