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Wargames 2: Superspies and Commandos of the Cold War $5.00 $1.99
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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Wargames 2: Superspies and Commandos of the Cold War
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Wargames 2: Superspies and Commandos of the Cold War
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/06/2013 13:18:09
Vigilance Press has been dedicated to bringing cross-system materials out in a way that few other companies have. This requires an understanding of many different game systems, and more importantly, a core concept that remains consistent, so that each game or supplement can express that core concept in the "language" of their own game. Wargames 2, reviewed here in its Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition format, is a good example of how that can be done successfully.

Wargames 2 posits a superheroic world that has been plunged into the Cold War, and focuses primarily on the 1980s. The Cold War is interesting in comic book worlds. During the actual 1960s and 70s, comics were going through the Silver Age, a time frame we associate with innocence and wonder. However, when we look back on the Cold War period in the post-Soviet-collapse world we live in, we see a great deal of moral ambiguity and even tragedy. Wargames 2 tries to walk this line closely. Although there are goofy world-spanning conspiracies like the SPECTRE-a-like PHANTOM, there are also darker groups like the Fourth Reich and more "realistic" situations portrayed, like providing counterintelligence. In general, though, it tries to make espionage seem more effective in a comic book world, looking to exceptionally well-trained and well-outfitted superheroes for its inspiration rather than mutants or gods, and looking at heroism like a job or something you enlist for rather than a calling.

The overwhelming majority of the book is worldbuilding, describing the bases, personnel, key leaders and agendas of national agencies and independent organizations operating during this alternate 1980s. It's very thorough and keeps to that line between goofy and serious as closely as it can.

The stats of the characters are well-thought-out, though there are a few oddball things that require you to have the Ultimate Power sourcebook to really figure out. (These are minor and easily altered, though, and at this late date who hasn't picked up Ultimate Power in one sale or another?)

If there is something I could suggest to improve this book, it's that there's not a clear direction for me on how I should run this game differently from my normal Mutants & Masterminds game, which assumes a much broader variety of characters that are brought together by the "superhero team" concept rather than the "1980s espionage" concept. What techniques still work and which ones need to be changed?

In general, Wargames 2 is a solid attempt to look at the Cold War time frame through a superheroic lens and bring some excitement to a superheroic field that's (nowadays) well supported in the comics but much more rarely so in comic book RPGs.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wargames 2: Superspies and Commandos of the Cold War
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Simon B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/13/2010 15:03:21
This is the second product in the WARGAMES line, but the third in the "Cold War Series". As with the other products, it looks at the period of time known as the Cold War. A period of time of escalating tensions in the world....especially between America and Russia. The first product was Defcon 1 and this was my first exposure to the era. I really enjoyed it and was eager to pick up the next product, Wargames I. I grabbed a copy and was very happy. When Wargames II came out I avidly snatched up a copy and poured over it.

Now my review.....

First and formost this is a setting book and so adds to the world setting more than providing a set of ready-made characters, although they are some in there too.

This module details, to use a phrase, the Superspies and Commandoes of the Cold War....Similar to agencies such as S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel Universe. As such, the power levels dealt with are around PL 8-9 and not the four-color PL 10 that some might be more accustomed to.

The first thing that I have to say struck me was the color.... lots of color!! I really liked that every picture in the book is in color.

The book is laid out in a way that each of the major countries has their own super-spy agency looked at thoroughly. There is no need to flip around looking for fragments of info between different chapters. This is a HUGE plus in my eyes. The first group looked at is U.S.H.E.R. (America), followed by Shturmovik (Russia / Soviet Union) and then The Stonehenge Agency (Great Britain) . Each group is written up with emblem/insignias and sample operatives (normal humans). There are even sample vehicles, battle suits and secret bases, which are fully mapped out.

No Cold War Era piece would be complete without the evil organizations bent on world domination and those that are sworn to stop them. The role of the evil spy network is played by P.H.A.N.T.O.M. A secret spy agency with its roots in WW II. Opposing P.H.A.N.T.O.M. is F.W.H. a United Nations group sworn to stop P.H.A.N.T.O.M.

Rounding out the collection of groups is the FOURTH REICH...The next incarnation of the Nazi party and the RED PROTECTORATE, which serves as the governing agency of 'Supers' in the Soviet Union. Also included is a Soviet Heli-carrier!! (I WANT ONE!!)

Overall, I really enjoyed reading through the product and I found a lot of really cool stuff that can be used to flesh out a game and to bring depth to your gaming world. Even if you do not play in the Cold War Era, I think that the ablility to reference agencies and people's names is a great help in adding that little touch of 'realism' that makes a game more fun. In the back of the book, there are also "Adventure Hooks" that can help the GM set things up and help explain how the characters are involved. These can really help out if, as a GM, you are having some writer's block and cannot think of an intro to that evening's game. Trust me... it sucks!!


I highly recommend this product, especially if you liked the other previous products.

Again.... to wrap up.

PRO's
*****************
Nice Layout
Rich colors and all color pics
Detailed agencies for each of the major Cold War players
Independant agencies (Good and Bad)

CON's
****************
None come to mind....
OH yeah.... these guys aren't running a game near me!!! ;-)

Hope this helps you make up your mind to buy this product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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