I read this entire product in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had purchased DEFCON1 when it first came out and fell in love with the setting of "Cold War Supers". This product follows right along the same path and did not let me down. I think that it is an excellent follow-up/supplement for the setting.
For ease of writing, and hopefully reading, I will break my review down into sections...
* Role-playing Supers in the Cold War
This is a great introduction to the setting of the "Cold War Supers". As is mentioned in the product's introduction, the era of the Cold War is woefully neglected for the most-part. DEFCON1 opened the door to the era-setting and now WARGAMES continues to flesh it out. This section gives the reader a good primer for the setting as well as helping you (the reader) get into the mindset needed. As a child of the 80's I, I remember the thinking of the time. The Russians were the bad guys and that was it, 'Nuff said. The era was filled with tensions as each side vowed to crush the other side.. Sometimes quite literally. This supplement helps to set the stage for the tension-filled era.
For younger readers, this is almost a must since, if you were born after the Berlin Wall fell.. (circa 1989) then this can help you get a grasp of what people were thinking. This section is very well written (as is the entire product). This section also provides insight into how each country handled the different types of heroes... From Battle suits to Magic users and Psychics.
* Meta-Human Timeline of the 20th century
This is my favourite section of the product!! The writers did a brilliant job of weaving the fictional world of the supers into the real-world history of the period. The time-line starts in 1937 and moves to 1991. As I said previously... being a child of the 80's a lot of the history was something I lived through. Reading the timeline was like walking down memory lane.... While holding a super’s hand. Real world events are grafted to, and sometimes tweaked. The way that the two facets are woven together provides a tight, clean history that seems VERY plausible.
* Super-Powered Threats of the Cold War
This section is as well done as the rest of the product. It provides a great rogues gallery for your heroes to match wits with. I like the way that the characters are designed to be patriots and not just madmen. It is important to remember that these individuals were fighting (for the most part) for their homeland. They were not homicidal madmen bent on world destruction… they were patriots fighting for their way of life.
My favourite of the villains is GENERAL VENOM. Like I said... I'm from the 80's.... You'll see!!!
Throughout this section there are a lot of Adventure Hooks that allow a GM to quickly and seamlessly integrate the characters and also provide ideas as how to do it or what sort of adventure they would be in. This is a personal favourite feature, as it helps me as a GM to get into the villain’s head... so to speak.
Also included in this section, that I really like, are the different groups that were operating during the Cold War. We tend to think of the Cold War as America -vs- Russia, but there were other countries and groups fighting. There is a section on Middle Eastern groups and such... Very well done!!! Each group is over-viewed and a character concept is included to help out the GM.
* Over-all thoughts
Throughout this product there are a lot of really nice art pieces that really show off the talents of the contributing artists. Mixed in with the art are also a large number of “real world” pictures, mostly in the History section. Again this goes a long way in blending the fictional and real worlds together. If you are familiar with Defcon 1 , then you will remember the propaganda pictures that were throughout the product. There are a couple of new art pieces that continue in that theme.
I have to say that I HIGHLY recommend this product. 5 out of 5 stars. The writing is clean and very well done and the art supports the text. I like the format and layout of the product and the over-all usefulness of the product is great!! Even if you are not a GM, this product can serve as a “history” book that can help you see what the Cold War was like for the supers.