15 February 2005

Capes Play Thoughts, Sooner Than Expected

My regular HeroQuest game was down two players so we decided to give Capes a try, with just the demo version plus all the free download click & lock character bits.

It was fun. That's the basic review. We managed to create what was really a pretty terrible comic, one of those late 80s/early 90s stupid crossover universe destroying stories. But we all had a good laugh.

As is usual in a first game, we got a bunch of the rules wrong which might have made play a bit smoother if we had them right. The demo leaves a lot of stuff unclear, which is fair enough, and a read through the full rules this morning cleared up most of them. I'm still not sure when a scene should end, though. A scene is basically a bunch of action taking place at one time and/or place but there doesn't seem to be a particular place to stop one. We did it by mutual agreement. Whenever all the conflicts were resolved or if there were only one or two less interesting ones left we moved on.

A lot of the rules about power use, the debt you gain for it, and stakes were complicated the first time but I suspect they'll quickly become second nature and allow you to focus on the tactics to get the story told the way you want. In fact, one guy in our group was already doing this by the end of the session (he's always good at picking that sort of thing up).

The main thing was that the way conflicts and scene setup kept changing the story in unpredictable ways was great. We had some really funny subplot conflicts and neat action scenes coming out of who did what using what abilities.

The characters were great fun too. We all enjoyed putting them together with the click & lock parts, even though they weren't cut out and we had to copy it all down on paper.

My favourite part had to be when I had two characters, one a superhero and one a supervillain, who were fighting each other to the death... that was pretty funny, as I looked at the conflicts in play and realised the only one that either character could contribute usefully two was the 'Event: Cold Steel dies', so Quantum Boy attacked Cold Steel and Cold Steel attacked him right back. Quantum Boy won by teleporting the robot's brain out and then Ferocia knocked it into a lava pit. A good end for an evil robot villain, I think.

I'm really looking forward to my next play of the game. But maybe not looking forward to issue #2 of that particular story arc.

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