Monday, December 16, 2013

Capes, Cowls And Villains Foul Breakdown Review - Barak Blackburn

Capes, Cowls And Villains Foul Breakdown Review - Barak Blackburn

$5.99 - http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/104477/Capes-Cowls-and-Villains-Foul

163 pages

Opens with a comic page or two.

Chapter 0

Introduction - Page 5

Genre, Nuts and Bolts.

First! - A resource based game with traits diminishing over time.  Declare action with a trait and link others to the Primary Trait for a higher value before rolling. You have to record when one is used, power, skill or whatever.  Bookkeeping alert.  Characters will likely have 5-12 traits.  Traits refresh between scenes.

Second! - Setback tokens, not hit points. They represent taking a girder to the chin and wincing in pain!?  Yes, you have detected that the designer's grasp of English is a bit shaky. They are fatigue, hit points!? and exhaustion and frustration.

Chapter 1

Character Design

Traits, Complications, Editorial Control, Factoids.

One way - write down all the traits they might have in a big list.  Then narrow.
No, not my ideal way to do things, really.  Obviously very open-ended and descriptive this game.

Editorial Control?  That's from the Energy Supply school of naming boredom.

Suggested Design Points 100 for street and beginners to 200 for Big Guns.

Three tiers of Ranks: Human 1-4, Superhuman 5-8, Cosmic 9-12. Page 12 has the Trait Cost table. 1 for Human, 2 for Superhuman, 4 for Cosmic.

Modifiers - bonuses like Hint and Auto-Defend, Incapacitate, Link and Power-Up.  Also Restrictions like Situational Setback.

Page 22 gives a cost table with some of these.

Page 23-25 Has a few Trait suggestions and Trait design hints.

Editorial Control - Page 27 - the use of the Hero Points in this game.  Includes a Random Table for stuff that can happen.

Complications - Page 32 - Archenemies, weaknesses, etc.

Factoids - Page 36 - Character Quirks

Sample Characater Design - Page 38 - Afterburn

Plus and Play Templates - Page 42 - for 100, 150 and 200 points characters.

HEROES & VILLAINS - Page 48 - Hero and Villain color coded examples.  Very good.

Americana,
Boy Frog, [Frog-Man could have a sidekick? :)]
Breaker,
Deathstalker, Doctor Moonlight, --- Deadeye, Death Star,
G33k Girl,
--- Lillith,
Monolith, Moon Girl, Muse, --- Mathemagician, Mime,
--- Professor Prestige,
Red Phoenix, --- Rat King,
Superball, --- Scarab, Slavedriver, Supermodel,
Terrapin Man, Tiger Lord,
Vector,

CHAPTER 2 - Page 72

The System

CC&VF In Action

d12 exclusively.  Apparently they don't get enough love. Roll d12 and add Trait and compared to opposed Trait Roll or difficulty.  Apparently no kickbacks from d12 manufacturers to these guys, either. Ties give players the advantage.

When you use a Trait, mark it off.  You get Detriment Dice and they get less effective.

Combat example - Page 75 and 76 has a Combat Synopsis

Scenes - Page 77 - Three types, Action, Extended, Contested.
Initiative - Page 80
Difficulties and Penalties - Page 83 - from fastball specials to multi-attacks.

CHAPTER 3 - Page 92

Villains

They get Editorial Control from the Narrator - 6 plus the number of players.

Traps, speeches, C-Listers.

CHAPTER 4 - Page 98

Options

Editorial, Fleeing, Team-Ups, Training, Injuries, LARPing.

Too Many Dice - Page 109 - As written, CC & VF is guilty of the Death Spiral Effect. Yes, we know that when Traits were defined as getting worse by use...so options to avoid this and bookkeeping is that they only ever get 1 Detriment Die worse.

Experience gaining ideas.

CHAPTER 5 - Page 114

Example of play

CHAPTER 6 - Page 140

Creating Issues

Adventure design and pacing and construction, with some samples.

APPENDIX - Page 152

Afterword

Another superhero game?

A longtime superhero rpg fan and GM decided that the others weren't working exactly how he wanted and were too absolute.

GLOSSARY - Page 153

CHARACTER CREATION CHEAT SHEET - Page 155
EDITORIAL CONTROL CHEAT SHEET - Page 156
MISCELLANEOUS CHEAT SHEET - Page 157 - Combat options
BLANK CHARACTER SHEET - Page 158-159 - second page is for Usage

INDEX - Page 160

Genre Suitability: Good guys win heroics of the lighter four-colour variety is the designer's intent. That would be my opinion, too. Doc Savage types or Silver Surfers should be ok as long as that is the aim.
Artwork: Colour, quite reasonable tending to the top heavy.

3 0ut of 10 Price (lower is cheaper per page)
6 out of 10 Length (lower is shorter)
5 out of 10 Complexity (lower is easier)
5 out of 10 Playability
7 out of 10 Artwork

5.5 out of 10 Overall

The layout is attractive, the writing isn't but is understandable.  Needs some editing.  Not sure what comics the author reads where heroes get continually less effective with all their abilities as they are used?  Sounds more boardgamey, that one.

The design your own approach is one some will like, but needs more space on character creation guidance and less on play examples given it is a bit different.  Creating a couple as these rules went step by step would have been helpful.  I am the complete opposite of a novice to this and I probably wouldn't have done one on first readthrough.  Some more templates, too.  Experienced genre fans or players will cope, but not a game for new players as a first go I suggest. Editorial control, factoids, detriment, not really superhero fun Hulk Smash flavour abounding in that lot.

Fans and experienced players of a more narrative ad-libbing style or those with an experienced GM guide may find this one useful.

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