John Ward
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I am trying to work up a feel for this game. The basic and standard games are clearly battlefests, but the Adventure game seems interesting.

barryzimm wrote:
AND YET, the strategy, depth, and storytelling aspects are quite deep. I think it's a great game for non-gamers if they like comics, superheroes, or just something a little different.
I found my non-gamer wife had the reaction which I know means it's good for non-games...


Barry (or someone in the know), can you elucidate on the storytelling aspects and depth? Your initial review mentioned it was somewhat abstract and NOT as much storytelling, so I'm trying to find my depth with this one. I am looking at this game, and it seems closer to HeroClix than Marvel Heroes.

To be more clear, I have been somewhat disappointed by both games. IMHO-

Heroclix - This is a minimaxing superhero combat game with virtually no story, coolness factor of heroes, etc. The rules seem to limit heroes into cardboard cutouts instead of giving them room to breathe. Powers are available only during certain stages of wounding, which leads to weird events like trying to wound your own guy. The comics fans in my group like the figures but are a bit let down by the game itself.

Marvel Heroes - This is a simulative hero defending-the-city game. There are neat ideas for story interactions. They have different powers for individuals, nemeses, and groups that really reflect comics reality. There are too many systems going on at the same time to interest the comics geeks in my group, however. (It's a bit too complex.) -- And there's the "FF wins all" rumor in our group.

I've stashed some money to pick up Heroscape Marvel, which is much anticipated by my group. I buy some Heroclix figures on the secondard market to adapt over to Heroscape, and having "official" balanced figures is an easy sell to the comics fans.

If I picked this game up, I would like to have more STORYLINE and CHARACTER feel than the Heroscape combat (or Heroclix). I want to get a little more SUPERHERO out of the game. If someone could give a little better idea of how the storyline elements come into this game, I could better decide to pick this one up or pass.
 
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Jon Quinn
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leprejuan wrote:
I am trying to work up a feel for this game. The basic and standard games are clearly battlefests, but the Adventure game seems interesting.


Here is my take on it.

This is a very cool game, and worth every penny. I do not have, nor have I played, Marvel Heroes, but I have a ba-zillion Heroclix (all of the Marvel variety)and have played almost that many times as well.

The "Adventure Book" that comes with the game is more like individual scenarios than an ongoing adventure with a hero or two, or group, and developing that character or group, and the outcome of one scenario does not effect the next in any way. But the scenarios are all set in the same "universe" and have the same general background. So, it is not what you have described as wanting...

That is a shame, because I am afraid I am talking you out of getting for yourself a very, very cool Super Hero battle game with a great potential for developing exactly what you are asking for. It just has not been done as yet.

You mentioned being a part of a group and their dislikes about Heroclix and Marvel Heroes. Well, Capes and Cowls does not have the overwelming complexities that I have heard concerning MH, so that is a plus. I might suggest that your group work up an adventure where there is a developing, perhaps branching, story line with appropriate scenarios to play depending on prior successes and failures. I gotta tell you, that does sound very cool. Capes and Cowls would be an ideal system to work with in developing something like that.

To aid you, the book does give short background sketches of each hero (at the end of the Adventure Book) as well as some prechosen teams (page 23 of rulebook).

Note that it is a 2-4 player game.

Jon

 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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Player powers are always a concern as they affect all aspects of the game (hard not to with over 100 powers), and there are only one or two where you might want to hit your own character (and it would be thematic to do so, sort of like whacking Bruce Banner with a stick to get the Hulk in one case; another battery-themed guy would spray acid on all adjacent figures if hit).

Scenarios give the game story. Sometimes hero combinations suggest story as well. I've fought against an angel/devil combo and an all-girls team (and it wasn't the Girls' Night Out scenario); I've created a team that was effectively the four elements. These teams were all the result of player choices given a random draw of characters. Character backgrounds really do suggest scenario ideas in many cases and you can see it in the prepackaged scenarios.
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mlvanbie wrote:
I've created a team that was effectively the four elements.


Blaze, The Mole, Dagon, and... who was wind?
 
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FlyingArrow wrote:
Blaze, The Mole, Dagon, and... who was wind?


Actually, the team name was ``The Four-Coloured Heroes'', giving a bit of a pun (I used all four game square elements). If you want to do someone for wind, just pick a flying character.
 
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Ronald Estes
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I'd say that Capes & Cowls is first and foremost a battle game, but one in which the theming, characterizations, and mechanics all work together in such a way that storytelling is a strong and natural result. In fact, it's pretty much impossible for me to play the game without feeling immersed in the action of a story, and the other guys in my group (all of them big hams) miss no opportunity to role-play their way through the dramatic events of the battle.

The adventures in the Adventure Book are essentially battle scenarios, but ones that are introduced by colorfully written descriptions that do a great job of establishing the reason and setting of the conflict. The adventures, as Jon said, are indeed of the stand-alone type, but they seem to me to suggest a definite if loose storyline from the first to the last.

The character sketches, also contained in the Adventure Book, are, in my opinion, priceless storytelling aids. Unlike the dryly presented biographies of characters in most games I've played, these are written in a style that oozes with flavor and theme. More like miniature origin tales than run-of-the-mill bios, they not only convey the essence of the characters they describe, but also often hint at the Wyrd City world as a whole.

A final plus in the story and theme category is the names of the super powers. Fanciful and character specific, they add a lot of flavor both to the characters themselves and to the turn-by-turn actions of a game. When the Star Knight, for instance, hoists his trusty STAR SHIELD in an attempt to save himself from Baron Necro's dreaded KISS OF DEATH, the dramatic tension can be extremely high indeed.
 
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Barry Zimmerman
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I'd say this game is much more in line with Heroscape than Heroclix or what I've read of Marvel Heroes. Actually, now that I think about it, it really is a close relative to Heroscape (which I also like).
In the same way that you can design scenarios that tie together in the combat oriented Heroscape you can develop ongoing stories in Capes and Cowls. But it is primarily a combat game.
I actually think this will be my hero game of choice over Marvel Heroscape. The hero theme looks too slapped on to the pre-designed terrain. Marvel Heroscape doesn't look or feel "comic booky" to me. It looks like Heroscape with Heroclix figures.
As I've said before the abstract part of Capes and Cowls makes it very adaptable both in theme, story, and rpg possibilities. We've already created our own DC version with about 50 characters. It's obviously not as well balanced, and therefore as fun, as they game as it's meant to be. But, it does show the adaptability of the system. We tried converting Heroclix characters to Heroscape (as have many) and it never felt as right as Capes and Cowls does.
 
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leprejuan wrote:
If I picked this game up, I would like to have more STORYLINE and CHARACTER feel than the Heroscape combat (or Heroclix). I want to get a little more SUPERHERO out of the game.


I, too, would say that Capes & Cowls is primarily a combat game (and an excellent one at that), but its narrative feel and focus on character are definitely far stronger than that of Heroscape or Heroclix. It's also far less random and much more tactically challenging than either of those games.

 
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John W
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barryzimm wrote:
I'd say this game is much more in line with Heroscape than Heroclix or what I've read of Marvel Heroes. Actually, now that I think about it, it really is a close relative to Heroscape (which I also like).

I actually think this will be my hero game of choice over Marvel Heroscape. The hero theme looks too slapped on to the pre-designed terrain. Marvel Heroscape doesn't look or feel "comic booky" to me. It looks like Heroscape with Heroclix figures.

We tried converting Heroclix characters to Heroscape (as have many) and it never felt as right as Capes and Cowls does.
This makes a lot of sense, and jives with Robin's efforts in customizing Heroscape.
Early on, he made Heroscape comics customs. His customs were decidedly unbalanced, but they were VERY thematic. It was obvious that he had difficulty condensing the powers of the characters into Heroscape mechanics (a common complaint about Heroscape among customizers is that many official units are pretty limited and unthematic).

He seemed to be straining against the limitations of Heroscape, and made (or was making) Capes and Cowls. By making his own combat system/game, his skill in making thematic abilities that strain the system should be a plus, since the system should be able to accomodate them. And since I haven't heard many comments that there are unbalanced characters/abilities with Capes & Cowls, it sounds like he may have been successful.

Certainly more successful at capturing a four-color fantasy comic-book feel, than Marvel Heroscape will. There is virtually zero chance (based on every previous Heroscape release and the published Iron Man stats) that the Heroscape designers will flex the system and make thematic emulations of comic book characters. As you say, it won't "feel" comic-booky to most people, because they are simply varying dice numbers that differentiate characters - to properly simulate comic book heroes, you need lots of thematic abilities, each one stretching the limits of the system and most character's powers simply will not fit on one side of a Heroscape card. Heroscape is designed for 10-year olds, and is handcuffed by that design limitation.

It's really too bad that the game board for Capes & Cowls looks so hideous and unappealing. If this flexible system could have miniatures and plastic terrain, I'm sure it would really make for thematic, satisfying comic-book battles.
 
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According to what I've read, Capes & Cowls was in development long before Heroscape came into being. And the former is much, much different from the latter, both systematically and thematically.

Also, I think the game board and stand-up figures are absolutely fabulous -- a perfect blend of functionality, compactness, and spot-on comic-book feel.

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John Ward
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reapersaurus wrote:
Early on, he made Heroscape comics customs. His customs were decidedly unbalanced, but they were VERY thematic. It was obvious that he had difficulty condensing the powers of the characters into Heroscape mechanics (a common complaint about Heroscape among customizers is that many official units are pretty limited and unthematic).

He seemed to be straining against the limitations of Heroscape, and made (or was making) Capes and Cowls. By making his own combat system/game, his skill in making thematic abilities that strain the system should be a plus, since the system should be able to accomodate them.


I remembered his customs quite clearly, which made me worry a little. While not as unbalanced as the Deadshot I tried out around the same time, they were clearly set in a parallel universe unrelated to the Heroscape he was trying to blend them with. You don't throw Iron Man up against pulp archetypes and have a good interaction. No doubt the reason the Marvel Heroscape isn't recommended to go with standard Heroscape is that they don't live on the same scale.

I looked at his early C&C stuff back then, but it wasn't very far along.

she-wolf wrote:
According to what I've read, Capes & Cowls was in development long before Heroscape came into being. And the former is much, much different from the latter, both systematically and thematically.


I'm not sure to what you're responding here. I am positive that C&C was in development when Heroscape came out because I went to his site there. I think they are related in that both are supposed to be fun, fairly light dustups of pop-culture heroes.

reaper wrote:
It's really too bad that the game board for Capes & Cowls looks so hideous and unappealing. If this flexible system could have miniatures and plastic terrain, I'm sure it would really make for thematic, satisfying comic-book battles.

she-wolf wrote:

Also, I think the game board and stand-up figures are absolutely fabulous -- a perfect blend of functionality, compactness, and spot-on comic-book feel.

Well, this is interesting! Going by the images at his site and on the geek, I'm with Reaper. It's even less interesting than the Heroes Unlimited one.

Reaper - would it be possible to adapt Heroscape tiles to flavors of Capes and Cowls boards, or are there too many different kinds? I'm awfully tempted to try playing it with Heroscape hexes and the Heroclix I bought for Heroscape proxies.

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Ronald Estes
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She-Wolf wrote:
According to what I've read, Capes & Cowls was in development long before Heroscape came into being.

Not only in development, evidently, but actually in full-blown existence:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capes_&_Cowls

leprejuan wrote:
would it be possible to adapt Heroscape tiles to flavors of Capes and Cowls boards, or are there too many different kinds? I'm awfully tempted to try playing it with Heroscape hexes and the Heroclix I bought for Heroscape proxies.

Square peg, round hole. The Capes & Cowls board, as I see it, is pretty much essential to the way the game works--the foundation of the whole system, really. While the grid could be transfered to another surface, the game, as is, simply wouldn't work on hexes. If you get a chance to play it, you'll see what I mean.

That said, if you're interested primarily in plastic and toy factor, you should probably stick with Heroscape, or maybe try out the forthcoming DC Battleleague. Capes & Cowls, as great as it is, probably isn't the game you're looking for.
 
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She-Wolf wrote:
Also, I think the game board and stand-up figures are absolutely fabulous -- a perfect blend of functionality, compactness, and spot-on comic-book feel.


uhhh......
 
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John,

Thanks for helping to illustrate my sincerely held opinion, though the insertion of such a large image does come across as more than a little obnoxious.

Speaking of which, are you the same reapersaurus who was banned from heroscapers.com for chronic obnoxiousness and general bad behavior? If so, I politely and publicly request that you spare me your unwanted attention.
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Nathan Baumbach
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LOL

I understand what she means by "on spot" for comic books. This entire game is based on silver age comic flavor, and the entire package has that 1960-1980 theme to it. It's campy and cheap, with older art styles.

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Jon Quinn
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Mandrake wrote:
That said, if you're interested primarily in plastic and toy factor, you should probably stick with Heroscape, or maybe try out the forthcoming DC Battleleague. Capes & Cowls, as great as it is, probably isn't the game you're looking for.


I did a quick search for "DC Battleleague" and came up with nothing. Where may I find info on it?

Thanks, and and may Elastra give you a pat on the back from the next room.

Jon

Nevermind... i found it at the Mattel site.

 
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Barry Zimmerman
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We've now made at least 50 DC character cards and scaled thick paper figures and the game works FANTASTIC with them. We even came up with a little point scale and are having great big DC battles. Although a Superman is much stronger than a Two-Face it actually isn't balancing too badly. We even stuck with the "3 powers each" limit. They don't mix or play as well as the origonal heroes, which is still the best way to play the game, but playing with familiar heroes is a fun little variation.
I am amazed at the vast amount of power variations this system allows for. It allows for a capture of the "flavor" of superpowers much better than anything else out there. It blows away heroscape and heroclix!
 
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She-Wolf wrote:
Also, I think the game board and stand-up figures are absolutely fabulous -- a perfect blend of functionality, compactness, and spot-on comic-book feel.


Mandrake wrote:
The Capes & Cowls board, as I see it, is pretty much essential to the way the game works--the foundation of the whole system, really. While the grid could be transfered to another surface, the game, as is, simply wouldn't work on hexes. If you get a chance to play it, you'll see what I mean.


emceekhan wrote:
I understand what she means by "on spot" for comic books. This entire game is based on silver age comic flavor, and the entire package has that 1960-1980 theme to it. It's campy and cheap, with older art styles.


barryzimm wrote:
I am amazed at the vast amount of power variations this system allows for. It allows for a capture of the "flavor" of superpowers much better than anything else out there. It blows away heroscape and heroclix!


Agreed, on all counts.
 
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