Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Armchair Review: MHRP Civil War - Fifty State Initiative

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.


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.


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, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War - Fifty State Initiative 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.


  1. My biggest problems with MHRP were (1) the way they sequenced rules in the book made it hard to follow, at least for me, and (2) the only "adventures" they offer or give as examples are basically telling me to play a Marvel character and reenact a comic book from 5-10 years ago, neither of which is my cup of tea. Frankly I was disappointed both in the game and the bizarre decision to offer reenactment of recent comics stories as adventures.

  2. The sequencing of the rules was fine for me -- although in retrospect, I'd have shifted certain components from one chapter to another.

    Also, I think that the examples could have been clearer.

    As for the 're-enacting', I don't know. I looked at it as a chance to insert your characters into a well-known storyline and see how things might turn out differently. Civil War was a headache for me, because I REALLY disagreed with a number of things in that particular cross-over storyline.

    But -- if I understand you correctly -- I agree that there could have been more material to help new players & GMs (1) build their own characters; and (2) create their own scenarios.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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