Posted on September 5, 2011 by spikexan
Available at RPGNow.com
Wicked Heroes is the latest in John Wick’s Little Games line. In this RPG, players take on the roles of damned super heroes rather than the typical spandex fare. While the game may claim to be “little” this setting could be fleshed out so much more. It could easily be as meaty as Houses of the Blooded.
I’m not going to focus on the artwork of a 16 page RPG, because, well, the art isn’t there. There is no reason it should be. I will take a second to talk about the covers though. I hate them. Solid. Black. Covers. Really? Yes, A printed copy of a book (little or not) needs a cover and these covers could be much friendlier. When the final project comes out, does it means each chapter will start with these blackened pages?
The story itself is interesting. The gist of it can be found on the items blurb at RPGNow.com, so I won’t expand it.
With such a small game, character creation is direct. You answer five questions, draw a few cards (standard poker deck), check a graph or two, and you’re set. Beautiful. You’ve got everything you need to game in a Wick Super Hero game. The graphs I mentioned are related to super powers (what card equals what power).
Some of the powers are much better draws than others. Not complaining. For every Wonder Woman there is an Ice or Fire. Some of the powers get confusing based on the demands of the game, but since the confusion comes from a spoilery kind of area, well, I’m not going to pose those concerns here.
With system, Wick has an approach to super heroes that seems more Heroes inspired, something he cites at the beginning of the book than comic book inspired. He writes that “Characters from superhero comics should never have to roll for their powers.” I personally found this the only thing in the writing I didn’t like. It’s a degree of taste. Should the Hulk roll to lift a car? Nah. Should the Hulk roll to life a card while Crusher Creel is leeching off his gamma radiation? Hell yeah. Automatically succeeding when you use a power just doesn’t work for me.
Besides, it only counts if nobody else is using a power too! See, if Creel is using his leech on the Green Goliath, then all bets are off! With a mix of motivations, powers (gifts), and Slammers (like the name), there is plenty of chance to be enjoyed.
I did have a bit of confusion about the example in the book. It mentions that all the players are using their gifts, yet there is no mention of their gifts in the example? Does just possessing a gift mean you get the benefit? That’s not cool.
The final three pages (The World of the Obsidian Mirror) is just odd enough to set off a wide variety of campaigns (you have over 200 years to work from). I personally like the “Masks and Capes” section. Darkness where you’d lest expect it. I found it strange that the final two pages move from a single column to a two-column format. It seems Wick wants to hold to 16 page count quite seriously. Maybe there is a game to that too.
All in all, my biggest concern for this game is that it’s just not living up to what it could be in size and scope. I like what is here. I just want more. My scores for Wicked Heroes are:
Artwork: One out of Five Dice (Cover Art kills the score)
Writing: Four out of Five Dice (Grabs ya)
Overall: Three out of Five Dice (Still haven’t seen one of the little games have more merit than The Flux).
Review by Todd Cash
Tags | john wick