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Review: Fifty State Initiative Event Supplement

50stateThe war is over and the Registration side won. The ‘Fifty State Initiative’ supplement explores the interesting period after the Civil War when each state had its own super team.

This supplement does have a few short events the main emphasis is on providing datafiles on many different superheroes and teams. The wide selection includes several fan favourites that are sure to please.

The Camp Hammond setting and event seems tailor made for new players. It is, after all, a place where new heroes are trained. This is a good excuse to show players the ropes and get them used to the system.

It would make a great testing ground for custom made characters, although datafiles are provided for several notable characters from the Initiative comic series. The training exercises are an opportunity for players to get a feel for their characters capabilities before tackling the real challenge, an attacking HYDRA terror carrier!

One of the things I like about this mini-event is that it recognises that some characters won’t have suitable powers for the challenge, specifically the ability to fly or use ranged attacks.

The solution is to provide equipment to the character to make up for this short coming. This is a clever way to make sure that all player characters can contribute to a scene and give them something for them to spend their XP, unlocking the ability to use the equipment in future scenes.

A big surprise was that the Great Lake Avengers, one of the biggest jokes in the Marvel Universe, get their own datafiles. Only the eternally doomed incarnations of the Grasshopper are missing.

At last players can take on the role of the breakout star Squirrel Girl. A particular highlight is her ‘I win!’ SFX that allows her to defeat any opponent, allowing for those off-panel victories over Dr Doom and Galactus.

The Order is also covered, both providing datafiles for the members but also some background information and suggestions for their use. Those looking for further details about the group might wish to look here: The Order.

The Norman Osborn era Thunderbolts not only get full datafiles but unlockables, milestones and a mini-event covering the Thunderbolts capturing non-registered heroes. This is a great opportunity for players take the roles of super villains.

The Thunderbolts would be good opponents for any non-registered heroes during this time period. All the members are recognisable characters and can be very effective when they’re working together.

Heroes For Hire similarly get the same mix of datafiles, unlockables, milestones and mini-event centred around the capture of non-registration heroes. In addition there  is a short discussion of using mercenary heroes.

There is a lot of potential here for using Heroes For Hire as the basis for an Event or as opposition. Since the team isn’t made entirely of criminals they work in greater shades of grey than the Thunderbolts.

Although Nextwave aren’t given any background information their individual members are all to be found in the datafile section. I can only presume this is due to the uncertain canonity of that series.

None the less their inclusion is a welcome inclusion with their datafiles capturing the humour inherent in the characters. For example Machine Man gets the ‘My Robot Brain Needs Beer’ distinction and ‘Fleshy Ones’ milestone for threatening organic creatures.

The focus on heroes gives means this book is primarily a source of characters for players to use. Games masters are going to need to look elsewhere for villains, aside for those mentioned.

With this is in mind those who are fans of ‘Thunderbolts’, ‘The Order’, ‘Heroes For Hire’ and ‘Next Wave’, along with the assortment of other characters will get a lot of use from the datafiles.

The whole book is written with a good understanding of the characters and a fine sense of humour (I particularly enjoyed the Doctor Who in-joke on Elsa Bloodstone datafile). This is another release for the Marvel Heroic System I heartily recommend.

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