|It even came with a GM screen!|
As a side note, I almost bought the 80’s version of DC Heroes the other day at Half Price Books, but decided not to. However, if I find it at Gary Con, I will probably grab it, just because.
So, in browsing through the V&V book last night, my initial impression is that it looks fun. Lots of options, great art, a really good section on creating campaigns and adventures. Initially, it looked promising, and I thought I might run a one-shot for some friends some time.
Then I started reading the actual mechanics.
I should make it clear that I have never played the game, and never really read the rules. That being said, I think I have enough general RPG knowledge to judge whether a game is good or not. So, it is with that qualifier that I feel confident in saying that V&V is not a very good game (this is subject to change once I get a full grasp of the rules).
Mainly, it’s the overly-complex combat rules. To me, the purpose of the rules is mainly combat and conflict. Outside of that, RPG’s are just improv theater, and no rules mechanics can cover that. Others may disagree, and I have heard that argument used against such games as 3E and d20, but that’s my view, so that’s how I judge games.
In V&V I think combat is done by rolling a d20, and applying various modifiers, based on the attack power of your attack, the opponent’s defense, and the difference (if any) between the characters’ levels. I say I think that’s how it works, because I have yet to find it clearly stated so. There are a lot of tables, and just about every aspect of the game is randomized. Now, MSH did this too, but it was presented as more of an option, than a rule.
Which brings me to another weakness: layout and presentation. First off, I have to admit that I was put off a bit by the premise that the game is designed for the players to play themselves with super powers. That’s a fun concept for a specific game, or even a campaign, but it seems pretty limiting for the general concept behind an entire RPG. However, getting past that, I have found that the rules are kind of haphazardly presented. With long descriptions about some things, and vague glossing over of others.
Again, I have to reiterate that I could be completely wrong, as I have not had the chance to fully read the rules.
As for the good, I really like the way it allows you to generate adventures and campaigns using tables and concepts. It’s set up so you can do it all randomly, which can be fun, but I could see just cherry-picking from the lists to come up with a cohesive plot and story.
And as I have said before, I really like the look and feel in the artwork. I wasn’t always a fan of Jeff Dee’s art, but it has grown on me lately, and now I love it. There’s plenty in this game, and it all looks great. The book itself is very slim, but I’m sure that was to cut down on printing costs, as the font is really small. To my knowledge, this was pretty standard practice for the times.
In short I would say that the purchase was well worth the price. The game is far from perfect, and I can see why there are whole communities of players who have reams of house-rules. But I can also see why it has such a loyal following. Once I get a better grasp of the rules, I might still drum up a short “beer & pretzels” session with a couple of friends, and see how it all goes.