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- The Comics Code -
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/07/2014 10:39:19
OK, there are superhero games all over the place - so why bother with yet another one?

One reason is that this is a rules-light game that lets you focus on the fun part of being a superhero. This lets it capture the FEEL of the genre without needing dense mechanics to ensure that it works correctly in true four-coloured style. But the real joy of it is that it - like the very best comic books - steps back from the nuts and bolts of operating your superpowers and lets you concentrate on the man or woman inside the fancy spandex getup, explore the way they interact with the world, with fellow superheroes and the villains they come into conflict with, and lets you pose the big moral questions: what should a superpowered being do with all that power and how do they fit into the regular world?

If you happen to be a superhero, you see, there are only two ways out: die (heroically, of course) or become a villain. You might not intend to be a bad lot, you might even not be a bad lot... but how does the public view you and your actions?

The Comics Code is designed to handle these kind of questions with as much ease as it handles an out-and-out super-powered brawl.

After the Introduction, which explains all this, we move on to Chapter 1: Birth of a Hero. This explains the relatively simple process of creating your character. The basic character sheet is well designed to support this. In essence, you need three superpowers - or three facets of the same power - which are used to attack, to defend and, well, for whatever else you might need to do with a superpower. Maybe you fly or have x-ray vision or some capability that's useful for solving crimes or getting cats out of trees... there are suggestions if you are struggling, but let your imagination go wild. The whole process of character creation is illustrated with logical examples.

There are some neat features like the 'special effect' - an off-the-wall, whacky or plain spectacular thing you can do if you roll a double on 2d6 when using a superpower - or the way in which power strengths are calculated. You've got three powers, right. Take the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Assign two of these numbers to each power, then multiply them. A vast range, great flexibility, and not too taxing for the arithmetically-challenged.

That's about the limit of the rules, most of the rest is done by thinking about how you want the character to operate and distilling that down to a few phrases.

Chapter 2: Playing the Game then shows you what you can do with the newly-minted superhero. Some of this is pretty basic and serves well to introduce newcomers into role-playing. Superhero games are a good way of doing this, after all - everyone has heard of them, even if they are not so much in to fantasy or science-fiction. There's a neat sub-plot concept which gives individual characters goals or things that need sorting out to go alongside the main storyline.

The core game mechanics are simple too. A single die roll against characteristics handles most task resolution with two dice being rolled when superpowers come into action.

Because the concepts of status and heroism are written into the rules, as well as the sub-plot concept, it can become a little mechanical but if handled with care these mechanical bits ought not to impede role-playing but enhance it by giving it a framework to hang upon.

There's some advice for GMs and a section on running battles as well, with plenty of examples and ideas for using minions, ganging up on people, desperate actions and so on... and the all-important rule that participants must describe actions and effects rather than merely roll dice! There's even a rule for cheating. Wait? That cannot be right... but it is. If a character is in a desperate state he can either flee combat or cheat. Cheating means he automatically wins, but it does of course have consequences. And you have to describe a plausible way in which you fled or cheated, of course.

Finally, there's a simple sample adventure with which to try this all out. Oh yes, and some other additonal rules and ideas that you can use if you want, but which are not necessary to make the game work. The adventure is well laid out and shows how to incorporate the way in which this game functions mechanically into whatever plotline you have in mind.

Overall, this is an excellent rules-light fun-heavy superhero game built for enjoyment over realism. Zap! Biff! Pow!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
- The Comics Code -
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Squadron UK Basic
by Paul F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2014 19:48:41
Very enjoyable character creation system that has some nice balancing features so you don't end up with the strongest characters being statistic monsters. Very close to a RPG that first got me into gaming years ago and which I have very fond memories of and which wasn't sold well to fill the super hero niche. Very friendly system that with a few expansion scenarios would fill out very nicely to fit the super hero genre. The nice thing about this though is that it works well with no super powers - the gimmicks and half power idea works well to generate games for parties where leaping tall buildings isn't the norm and Joe average could save the city if not the world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Squadron UK Basic
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Squadron UK - colour
by Mike J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2013 09:48:05
Squadron UK is easily one of the most playable Superhero rpgs I've played in years and years of gaming. While the initial character generation is random, the scope of superpowers available (and the way each can be 'gimmicked' to suit a style of play or character concept) means there's always something new and interesting to try out (and often the random element prompts a character concept you wouldn't previously have thought of).

The power level seems to be pitched squarely along the middle ranks of superhero comics characters; a level that provides plenty of action and abilities, while still leaving scope for vulnerabilities and villains that are bigger and badder than the player characters.

A really neat mechanics quirk is that super powered characters make all their rolls on d10s, while thugs and grunts use d6s. In a game where rolling high is a good thing, this is an elegant way to differentiate between the two power levels without introducing arbitrary power caps or similar (and, frankly, it helps in keeping the action moving at a cracking pace; something the game excels at).

This colour hardback is beautifully produced and offers excellent value for a complete system, especially one with a such scope and potential for long running campaigns. My only quibble (and it is just a quibble) is that I'd like to see a points allocation system for character design. Maybe that's something for a supplemental volume? Complete as this book is, I'd love to see the game grow.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Squadron UK - colour
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Squadron UK Basic
by Mark B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2012 23:12:13
Excellent!

The rule-set is concisely written, with full explanations but without lots of text. Particularly enthralled with the way that the basic powers are a fairly short list but can be so drastically modified through 4 different power levels (half through 3) and then further defined with custom backgrounds. And then there's all the little tricks and additions (like costumes that conform to the powers) to further define the superhero.

All in all, a simple product for what could become a very complex game, even with just these basic rules.

Just excellent!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Squadron UK Basic
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