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Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game $9.99
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Steven L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2014 13:57:48

This is a rules-lite RPG based on the Valiant Universe series of comicbooks. As such it really has two main ingredients – the game rules themselves and the setting information. The setting/sourcebook aspect of this book is where it really shines. Pages and pages are dedicated to characters, histories, organisations and other details that provide a rich environment for superhero roleplaying. I was largely unaware of the Valiant Universe before buying this book but will probably investigate further on the strength of what I have found here. The problems start with the rules themselves, which take up only a small portion of the total page count. I have read and/or played a number of rules-lite superhero RPGs over the years, including Capes, Cowls & Villains Foul, BASH, Prowlers & Paragons and several others. Each has it's own strengths and weaknesses but all of them, in my opinion, do a better job of providing a complete and satisfying rules set than this game does. It is not so much rules-lite as rules-vague or even rules-incomplete. Most superhero RPGs will have rules or guidelines regarding things like equipment, mooks, gadgeteering, bases and vehicles. This game gives little or nothing on any of these subjects. The book makes several mentions of what the rules do not cover or cannot simulate. It even admits to not being able to properly define the difference in power level from a reasonably average NPC to a powerful PC! When the rules aren't vague or completely missing, they are sometimes broken. The Luck stat is not well thought out and completely ignores the huge statistical advantage in having a low Luck score. It is possible, through character advancement, to spend points on a power and have it end up weaker than before! Rather than fix this in playtesting or give proper advice on the situation, players are advised to make up whatever rule they like. This is the game's stock response to the huge number of questions it fails to answer. As a tie-in product that is likely to attract newcomers to the hobby, I understand the reasoning behind going for a rules-lite system. This, however, is not the way to do it. Players are encouraged to take it in turns GMing each scene but are provided with an ill-defined way to determine the outcome of those scenes that is wide open to interpretation. For an inexperienced group of players this is an argument waiting to happen. The setting material here is very good and deserved a much better game engine than this. A poor effort.

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Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game
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