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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
 

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Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Nathan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/12/2013 13:09:24
This Event Supplement works very well with the Civil War Event book if you are running a game that focuses on Pro-Registration. It most covers hints on focusing on specific groups of government sanctioned heroes like the Thunderbolts of the Heroes For Hire. The Hero Datafiles at the end of the book didn't really impress me, though. Most of them are minor/less popular characters in the Marvel Universe that most of the people I play with have no interest in playing as, but they are varied in their powers and provide lots of inspiration for Watcher characters.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/30/2012 07:25:55
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying's Event Supplement, titled Civil War - Fifty State Initiative, is a pretty good expansion of the Civil War event, allowing players to sort of round out the corners of their own version of the Marvel Universe.

OVERVIEW

This book hold two main sections: The Event Supplement and the Datafiles.

In the EVENT SUPPLEMENT, we get some idea of other elements of Marvel's Civil War that can be played out, including:

The Initiative

This tackles the drive to get a sanctioned super-hero team in every state, with details on
Camp Hammond: where newbie heroes go to train
two action scenes geared toward the Initiative
several sanctioned teams: The Great Lakes Champions, the Liberteens, Omega Flight, The Order, Psionex, The Rangers, and the Shadow Initiative.

While I'm okay with a lot of the content for rounding out knowledge of the event, the only elements that really grabbed me for play opportunities were the Action Scenes and the The Order. The former really sets up a good sort of mini-scenario, while The Order comes the closest to detailing -- much as the comic book did -- how a State-sanctioned team might be set up. And this is really what I was expecting from the book, perhaps unfairly: a way for the event to allow a group of player characters to become the de facto go-to government team for a state, and how it might be supported and monitored.

On the other hand, the book is better maximized (in my opinion) if the gaming group plays a rebel team and encounters one or more of these superteams in the course of their rebellion.

The Thunderbolts

As a change of pace mini-campaign, this has a pretty good setup. Villains get recruited into serving the government as sanctioned heroes (and with some nasty, some might say fatal, ways of being controlled by their handlers), and quickly learn that there are some villains already in charge.

It also plays well in an existing campaign as a set of tough opponents for a rebel superteam.

Heroes for Hire

If your players choose to play ball with the government, but retain some kind of autonomy, they can go the mercenary -- er, government contractor route of Heroes for Hire. Some nice datafiles and a rationale that puts the PCs in a sort of rivalry/conflict with superteams on both sides of the Civil War fence (essentially being tasked to actively hunt down and capture Anti-Registration supers.

DATAFILES

These are always welcome (and you get a fair number of them in the prior section already), and in this case the standouts are the core membership of NextWave, the Thunderbolts, and Heroes for Hire.

All in all, I think that it wasn't as stellar in my mind as the other Event book. It comes across as a supplement to a supplement, and not a superstar in its own right, if that makes any sense. However, it does have some interesting counter-campaign options for a change of pace or different point of view for this mega-event, and is still a must-have for the die-hard Marvel enthusiast.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Nenad R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/09/2012 04:12:08
This book gives an overview of the initiative teams, as well as the Thuderbolts and heroes for hire. I found the write ups of the teams a bit sparse, but they do give enough ideas to get started, although I am not sure how useful they would be for somebody who has not read the storyline.

But then again, you have to love a book that gives you the stats for both Howard the Duck and Squirell Girl

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/01/2012 13:22:05
This supplement gives you a Howard the Duck datafile. 'nuff said.

Okay, so maybe there’s more to say than that. This supplement to the Civil War event book really gives you two things, in very unequal measure. First, it gives you about half a dozen short action scenes set in the aftermath of the Civil War—two scenes for each of three teams, the Initiative (well, sort of a network of teams), the Thunderbolts, and the Heroes for Hire. Second, and mostly, it gives you datafiles for a whole bunch of second- and third-string heroes from the Marvel Universe … yes, including Howard the Duck.

It’s basically a roster book, so a glance at the table of contents should pretty much tell you whether you want the book or not. For me, Howard really was pretty much the highlight of the book, but whether that tells you more about me or about the book is for you to decide. Personally, I’m not very interested in most of the heroes included. The Great Lakes Champions, Liberteens, the Shadow Initiative, the folks training at Camp Hammond, and even the Rangers (I’m a Texas native, though living elsewhere now) don’t interest me very much. I have no desire to play them or run an adventure featuring them. The Thunderbolts might be a different story, though I’d personally use them as antagonists, not as the heroes. That pretty much leaves the Heroes for Hire.

The distribution of the datafiles throughout the book can be a little bit annoying, even confusing. Some datafiles, about half a page long with red backgrounds, are presented along with the action scenes and the team descriptions. Thus Baron Zemo’s datafile appears on p. FS55, in the section of the book dedicated to the Thunderbolts (pp. FS50–FS63). Here’s where you’ll also find Eel, Mongoose, Porcupine, American Eagle, Jack Flag, Sepulchre, and Steel Spider, in connection with two action scenes featuring the Thunderbolts. But to find datafiles for Bullseye, Moonstone, Radioactive Man, Songbird, Swordsman, and Venom, you look in the back of the book, where each has a two-page spread with a blue background. I’m not sure why Swordsman rates a two-page spread and Zemo only gets half a page, but I am sure that it’s a bit of a pain tracking where each datafile is found. Consistently grouping the characters with their teams or consistently listing everybody at the end in alphabetical order would have made the book more convenient to use.

When the PDF of this book was first released, the image resolution was terrible, but MWP updated the product with a better-looking version. That’s good responsiveness and customer service … but it doesn’t really make the book any more useful for me. The book accomplishes its goal well. It’s just not a goal that really lights a spark in my GMing heart; the book does not inspire me to want to use these characters. GMs, er, Watchers who have an interest in these characters will love it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Ashley M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2012 14:56:19
This book is about the government sponsored pro-registration teams that were formed after the SHRA was passed. The book's in three chunks, one about the Initiative (a team in every state), another about the Thunderbolts (poachers turned gamekeepers) and the last one about Heroes for Hire (bounty hunters). There's also a shed load of data files.

The Initiative section is half good, half mystifying. The first chunk is about Camp Hammond. This is the place where newly registered and inexperienced heroes go to get trained. Trained so they don't make the sort of mistakes Spidey did trying to save Gwen Stacey. They're also taught enough about ethics so you don't end up like Wolverine. There are a couple of action scenes covering aspects of training and their first serious mission. There are enough data files in the back of the book to gather together a young team, chuck them in and see what happens. So far so good. Now the mystery begins...

The rest of the Initiative section is an outline of some of the Initiative teams. We have the Rangers and the Great Lakes Avengers/Champions amongst others. Each team gets a quick - page long - description, a guide to playing them and a set of Watcher character data files. Er, Watcher data files? Why? What are they for? Why not player data files? Is it so the Watcher gets to play Squirrel Girl (not a bad thing to be honest, after I finish writing this review she's being transcribed to a player data file ASAP)? There doesn't seem to be any explanation of what this section is actually for. Maybe these is an explanation somewhere but I haven't found it in a couple of readings. I suppose one use would be to give anti-registration heroes something to complicate their lives. Anyway, I found the reasoning a bit lacking - your experience may vary though!

The second section is about the Thunderbolts. They're villains given the choice of helping round up anti-registration heroes or rotting in the hell-hole of Project 42. It gives a quick overview of who and what they are at the time of Civil War and mentions that they eventually end up under the control of one Norman Osbourne. There's a couple of good action scenes and the playable data files for enough undesirables (Venom and Bullseye fans rejoice!) to give you a really strong springboard to start a Thunderbolts campaign. The data files also include a few nice milestones which help you visualise the internal conflicts and motivations of the characters. All in all well chuffed by this section.

The third section is about Heroes for Hire - a bunch of mercenary heroes hired to round up anti-registration heroes. Unlike the Thunderbolts this lot are in it for the money, not because they want to avoid prison and/or reform. Again there are a couple of cool action scenes and data files for the key members of the team. These data files also have good milestones and as a Watcher you can develop a decent amount of conflict between team members AND internal conflict for the team member. For example would Black Cat shop Spidey or let him go? Which way does her emotional compass point at this time? And yes, this means that you've got official data files now for a Black Cat/Spidey combo in games outside the Civil War. What's not to like?

The final section are data files. Some I'd heard of, others I hadn't. With 8,000 characters in the Marvel universe I'm not surprised. Most of them look fun to play and have evocative distinctions and milestones. For me Moonstone sticks out as someone interesting (and not just her picture which is in the best bottle-fed tradition of Super Hero art). She's sufficiently conflicted as to make anyone who thinks super heroes are one dimensional a reason to think again.

My final comment is that the book is a bit short for the price. I know, small doesn't necessarily mean low quality or lack of utility. I don't begrudge having paid the cash as there's still a lot to use but the Initiative teams just feel like filler.

So I'll drop a point for the size, drop another for the second half of the initiative section me add one back for Black Cat, Moonstone and Squirrel Girl.

PS: There's been an update recently which has addressed the fuzzy art issues and the lack of printer friendly data files. Hurrah, those really narked me so I'm glad they've been fixed.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by cesar d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/24/2012 12:47:18
Great book, simple and easy to use. Best if you already the Civil War supplement.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/22/2012 21:15:23
WHAT WORKS: Baron f’n Zemo. Mechanical support for a Thunderbolts game. More datafiles are always a good thing.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The art is pretty pixilated, especially the cover. I assume this is to keep the file size down. Some notable omissions among the datafiles, like Beta Ray Bill and Norman Osborn (who became the leader of the T-Bolts during the time of the Fifty State Initiative). No Milestones or Unlockables for a “Heroes in Training/Camp Hammond” campaign.

CONCLUSION. I wanna run, or play, a Thunderbolts campaign, or anything as Zemo. Holy crap. The rest is good, too. But yeah, Zemo FTW. I have a feeling we’ll get a few Unlockables or Milestones in the X-Men book that’ll adapt to a “heroes in training” thing, but I could be wrong. I like it. Not as much as the Civil War book, and there are definitely areas where the book could have been beefed up, or perhaps done better with more focus (like some of the aforementioned Milestones and Unlockables), but still a great product, even if it’s not up to the standards of the first two releases.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/08/tommys-take-o-
n-civil-war-fifty-state.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Phil H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2012 03:24:48
The Fifty State Initiative supplement expands on the Civil War sourcebook, and offers new characters who were mostly at the fringes of that comic book event. While solid enough, this is essentially a roster book of (often) lesser known characters and doesn't really do much to get under the skin of the organisation of its title.

Hero datafiles include some of the Camp Hammond instructors and students as well as many members of Heroes for Hire, Nextwave, and the Thunderbolts. Meanwhile Watcher datafiles make up the majority of the rest of the book covering the Initiative teams of the Great Lakes Champions, Psionex, and the Order. Watcher datafiles for most of Omega Flight and the remainder of Heroes for Hire also make it in. There are a few scenes included for good measure, but not a great deal.

There are a few notable omissions here. Beta Ray Bill has been missed from Omega Flight's write up, and Orka is not included from Heroes for Hire. Also, MWP really need to do something about the pixellation on a lot of the art. Its been noticeable before but is particularly egregious here as the front cover looks fuzzy and the text on the back cover is very unclear. It detracts from the obvious professionalism of the rest of the product.

Overall, this is a decent book and worth the money I paid but doesn't really go beyond surface level on its subject so I'm rating it as distinctly average.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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