First Play - Marvel Heroic Role Playing Game

Aidan (my son) and I played a more mechanical run through of the Marvel Heroic Role Playing Game (MHRPG) by Margeret Weis Productions LTD. My goal was to work through the kinks of running the game with a sympathetic audience.

I chose to use the Event from the core book. I wasn’t up for scanning the pre-made characters and printing from them, so Aidan had a choice from Thor [PDF] or the Hulk [PDF] datafiles – Hawkeye [PDF] and Captain America [PDF] were also available, but for some reason I didn’t download it.

Aidan chose Thor; The Hulk was perhaps a bit too complicated for our initial run. Thor has a bit more options available to him.

As expected, Thor is quite the capable physical combatant. Electro was an easy challenge. Whereas Carnage was almost the end for the mighty Asgardian.

We ran through three conflicts, and two transition scenes. It was quite a bit of fun, but there is an awful lot to take in. I didn’t have my printed player guides, but we muddled through it.

There are a lot of nuanced things to take in – assets, resources, complications, and stresses; they appear somewhat disjoint, but upon inspection there is an inner consistency.

Since this was more of a mechanical run through, I kept my initial descriptions to a minimum, but we both quickly found that embellishment is required if you are going to construct the best dice pool possible. After all, the God of Thunder giving chase in the night sky is going to use that Distinction…which means the storm clouds begin gathering.

We had a blast as Thor brought three super villains back to the Raft. I really appreciated that the game scaled reasonably well with one player. I felt as though I could’ve thrown a few minor characters against Thor without overwhelming him. This is a testimony to the self balancing nature of opportunities and the doom pool.

I wasn’t quite comfortable with the rules, so I struggled to teach them game. But Aidan, a veteran of many games, took to it rather quickly. After the first exchange, he had his strategies and actions ready. We later discovered that he had misread one of his powers – Second Wind – and the Doom Pool should’ve been a bit more dangerous.

I’m looking forward to playing this at GenCon, though I don’t think I’m quite ready to run it for other people just yet. I would definitely recommend taking a look at this game. This is a game that I expect to win an Ennie and an Origins award next year.