Monday, April 29, 2013

ICONS - Steve Kenson

An interesting game. Which you would expect from an experienced designer and more so an experienced superhero designer. See the Mutants and Masterminds Wild Cards books for an example. This is what you get if you take TSR MSH Advanced game, trim it back a litle (or at least the 4CS public domain version) and add some parts of FATE. The game mechanic is 1d6-1d6 (or 2d6-7) rather than 4dF or (4d3-8) to get a wider range of outcomes. Changing the dice result range would be a interesting genre tweak for superhero games I think. The artwork is rather more cartoony than I like but would seem to be certainly fitting for a younger crowd, and the mechanics and writing is simple enough that it would work very nicely there, too. Random power creation is included with the various character archetypes, so that is fun. The FATE point and Karma pool for teams ideas are combined to be bit easier on the adding up front. The Leadership skill has a game function here. Power levels are capped at 10 for the super mega cosmic type - or lift mountain ranges. The strength of using a FUDGE type mechanic to replay the Universal Table is in ability opposition....a valid criticism of which is that the defense of both Daredevil and a thug as far as being punched by someone is the same. Which is great if you are a PC trying to hit someone and bad if the reverse. Give I like FASERIP and FUDGE and FATE a lot. So if any of those appeal, you will like this game, and could certainly hack a few bits into your preferred flavour. Suggests 'reskinning' the ability levels with your own favourite adjectives. Fantastic being a good and obvious one instead of Monstrous - especially given that is actually the Thing's strength level. Aspects for characters and teams completely fit superheroes with catchphrases, battle cries, mottos and more. So a natural. Compels also help to keep subplots and complications and disadvantages involved rather than forgotten about. It is certainly good enough that I'll have a look at some supplements. Also, Cactus Man. Who actually gets used in a podcast game online! There are print and digital versions. 4.5 out of 5

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