Superhero Games

I’ve recently started reading comic books again. At first I was just getting some all ages books for my son, who because of his geeky father, could name all of the members of the Justice League by age two. So from my enjoyment of reading the books with Ben, my friend John turning me on to the iFanboy website and podcast, and just visiting my local comic book store, Heroes Comics, I am starting to pick up a few titles to read each month.

I love the superhero genre, but I’ve always been disappointed that there has never been a good superhero game. I’m talking board games, not role playing games. I think the superhero RPG is well represented. I just never get to play any RPGs, or I suppose I should say I never choose to make the time to play an RPG. Someday, I may talk a bit about superhero RPGs, and when I do I will interview my friend, Mark Johnson, who may not realize that I own dozens of GURPS sourcebooks from the second and third editions. Anyway, I wish there was a good superhero board game out there.

I have played the Marvel Heroes game produced by Fantasy Flight, and it was not so great. I felt like there was a good game in there, but the game play seemed fragmented, and the good ideas got muddled up with some of the not so great ideas. It’s currently out of print, but if I find a copy somewhere, I will probably buy it and try to Frankenstein it into a better game. The components are very good, and the game was well produced, as are almost all Fantasy Flight games. It just missed the sweet spot. Good effort.

I posted a couple of weeks ago how I was finally able to get a cheap copy of the Marvel Heroscape set. This is also out of print, but I did enjoy playing this one with my son. The only problem with this is that now I need more Heroscape terrain, and that could lead to a serious Heroscape addiction like my poor buddy, Mark Jackson, who needs to be in a Heroscape twelve step program. Mark has written an excellent introduction to Heroscape and if you are interested in learning more, I would check it out. The only real problem with Heroscape in terms of being a superhero game is the lack of available characters and the absence of any type of plot or story, which I think is essential in a superhero game. I will try and investigate this a bit because I imagine there is a fan site somewhere that has tried to bridge this gap, using homebrew rules and additional figures.

If I need any additional figures, I can certainly find them in my garage, because I have a ton of HeroClix, which was a great idea, but had a difficult execution. With HeroClix, you have hundreds of heroes from which to choose, and you can make huge teams and have great battles. The big problems are again a lack of plot or story and the fact that the powers and abilities are color coded and written in tiny tiny font on the Clix base. My middle aged eyes just cannot read it; however, I just recently picked up a booster box of a new set and I think they may have solved this problem by including a card with each hero that explains the progression of clicks. I like this game. I may see if they have created some resources for updating old figures.

I should at least mention the Vs. System CCG, which is a great two player card game. I enjoy playing it, but it is strictly a fighting game. My friend John has made a superhero fighting game that’s better than anything out on the market, in my opinion, but I want a superhero game that has more to it than beating up your opponent. There should be some kind of storyline or plot.

I may just have to create one.

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