[Marvel Heroic RPG] Initial Play Impressions

For those who have been wondering about the silence on my Actual Play articles as of late, it’s because I’ve put my Mage Japan game on hold while my wedding draws ever closer. In it’s place I’ve been running a less intense game of Marvel Heroic RPG for Hikkikomori and Silver Countess. We had a few initial setbacks in the understanding of the game, but nothing too painful. I misunderstood how damage was applied, and for the first session combat took longer than it would in the HERO system.

Once we realized our mistake the game began to flow more smoothly. It’s a good game, but one that does have it’ fair share of interesting characteristics:

  • It’s best to remember that MHRPG is there to emulate the comic book medium, but not necessarily to simulate super-powers. A lot of the system uses simplified mechanics that handle resolving conflict, as opposed to a literal blow-by-blow accounting of who does what.  If you’re used to a superhero game that acts as a physics engine, you won’t find that here.
  • Even the toughest villains can be defeated with a little creativity. Unlike in other systems, MHRPG doesn’t really have a scale of power. Sure someone might have more dice than someone else, but with a sound understanding of the mechanics, even weaker characters can find ways to get around really strong villains.
  • Transition scenes need player input. You need a very proactive group of players who find getting into character to be the fun part of the game to enjoy MHRPG. Those who are looking for a tactical challenge will find themselves unsatisfied, and those who don’t like RP will have nothing to do in Transition scenes.

Overall, I still recommend MHRPG, but with the additional caveat that there has to be a full disclosure as to what this game runs like. Not everyone will like what the game does, but those that do, will find the game to be very rewarding in play.

One comment

  1. The trick I find with the MHRPG is that it is definitely a narrative focused game. Everything in the game is designed to handle things for a narrative. Player power plays can be clunky, but plays that add cool to the scene often work beautifully. For example, it can be hard – system wise – to brain wash a bunch of soldiers to take each other out, It is very easy to add to the chaos of a fight by having soldiers distracted and unsure who is their actual enemy.

    The GM has to be willing to run with things, and the players have to be willing to step up on things. But otherwise, I’m so far enjoying the game I am running.

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