Super Hero Miniature Gaming

Let’s face it – everyone loves super heroes.  If you don’t believe me, check out the movie listings.  But maybe you’re ready for a bit more control over your tight-wearing, bad guy beating, action?  We figured as much, so here’s a recap of three super hero miniature games that are guaranteed to scratch your spandex-induced itch.

  • SuperSystem is the oldest of the miniature games listed here, but doesn’t suffer in the least from its age.  The rules are very straightforward, based on a D6 mechanic where players are attempting to add/subtract successes (rolls over a target number) in order to inflict/avoid damage.  An action pool system is used to allow for more dynamic action, allowing characters to perform multiple actions in a turn based on their attributes and abilities.  The game really shines in its massive list of powers that are generally well thought out and are heavily inspired by the classic super hero RPG, Champions.  The game is available in print and as a PDF, and while it does have its own storyline (which is a bit hokey for my taste), its a simple matter to create conversions of your favorite heroes (the community has a number of conversions already available).  There is a line of miniatures available from their partner (SuperFigs), and while based on the default SuperSystem universe, they’re generic enough to be used in custom settings.
  • Pulp City is the newest of the super hero miniature games, debuting this year.  The rules for this game aren’t quite as simple as those for SuperSystem and seem to have more in common with the newest version of Confrontation or AT-43 from Rackham (particularly the way in which the game relies heavily on character cards and icons), though it uses a simple D6 mechanic for action resolution.  The game really differentiates itself in terms of allowing players to really flesh out their characters, adding disadvantages and skills in addition to customizing attributes and powers, coming very close to providing the level of detail you might expect to find in a full RPG.  Like SuperSystem, Pulp City has its own storyline (again too hokey for my taste – what is it with super hero miniatures and intelligent apes???), but the rules are so flexible that they adapt well to other settings.  The rules are available for download and Pulp City does sell a line of supporting miniatures.
  • While not a traditional miniature game, no list of super hero miniature games would be complete without the venerable Heroclix.  Easily WizKids‘ most popular “clicky” game, Heroclix uses a system that has all the powers and attributes for a character printed on a rotating dial that changes the available powers as a character heals and takes damage, with action resolution using a simple D6 system.  Heroclix has had a bit of a renaissance in the past year, seeing a major overhaul of the game’s rules and the iconic dial, as well as introducing character cards that really allow for game to showcase the history and flavor of the comics.  Characters from DC, Marvel and several smaller comic book companies are available and new sets are released in a collectible booster box format on a regular basis (the DC set, Crisis, is the most recent).  In addition, WizKids has been aggressively releasing starter sets based on many of the big movie releases this summer, including Hellboy and Batman.  One big differentiator for this game is the active tournament scene, meaning you aren’t likely to have a hard time finding opponents.
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