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Simon W
03-12-2012, 02:32 PM
How did Icons steal Supers! thunder?

Icons is nice. But it isn't any better. Darrel's art is nicer than the Icons art. How come Icons got nominated for loads of awards and Supers! is unknown?

I'm not bitter :D - just interested.

Thoughts?

Dragonfly
03-12-2012, 05:28 PM
Hi Simon!

There are probably several reasons, but I think it largely boils down to star power.

Steve Kenson is a BIG DEAL in the superhero RPG community. His Mutants & Masterminds did several things:

1) It matched HERO System's (Champions) comprehensiveness, while beating it in terms of quickness of play.

2) It piggy-backed off the popularity of d20 while avoiding its worst features.

As a consequence, he created an industry standard and accumulated a great deal of well-deserved capital amongst fans of superhero RPGs. The M&M fan base is as loyal as the Champions/HERO System fan base (which is pretty loyal), but more current. Steve's active presence on the fan forums enhanced this loyalty and grew his own personal popularity. People grew to know and trust him, because he's always been an active and enthusiastic part of discussions that deal with his games, and because he's a pretty nice guy. When he announced that he'd be doing a rules lite game (and hinted in several interviews that he prefers rules lite games) people were immediately interested. This was instant hype, and he fueled the flames, which is very smart on his part.

Now, you have industry respect too, but it's mostly for Barbarians of Lemuria. Indeed, many people think that Supers! is BoL with superheroes. This misconception might keep some folks from trying it out, thinking that they already know how the system works and they can't imagine it working for superheroes. Some people buy it HOPING that it's BoL for superheroes, and then get disappointed when it isn't (which is too bad, because they are not really giving it a chance on its own merits).

Recently, I've been wondering if the name Supers! actually hurts the game's chances of getting noticed. I suspect that when I type Supers! in a subject line, some people think I'm talking about the genre rather than the game. I started musing on this during the recent "M&M vs. Marvel Heroic vs. Supers!" over on rpg.net. People seemed not to know that we were talking about three games, so I kept highlighting that fact. Some folks actually seemed to get interested after a few exchanges.

Finally, if you are going to compare it to ICONS, I think support is a huge factor as well. Folks who bought ICONS had instant access to several very-well-done adventures, a character generator, and a few other odds-and-ends. Support always helps.

As for the art - that's subjective. I agree with you. I like Darrel's art better. I'm NOT a big fan of the art in ICONS. That, however, is somewhat subjective. I think there are MANY superhero fans out there who prefer a more modern sensibility for their superhero games, and Supers! often comes off as being very retro - very Silver Age. Some folks just don't like that. BASH UE is interesting in these regards. It strikes an Animated Series sensibility, which actually straddles all sorts of sub-genres quite nicely (Golden, Silver, and Modern).

All that being said, I would love to see Supers! achieve greater visibility. The question, for me, isn't, "How did ICONS steal Supers! thunder?" It's, "How can Supers! steal some of ICONS' thunder, and achieve the respect it deserves?"

If you ask me, they are not equivalent systems. Supers! is far superior. Yes, that's subjective too. I guess the superhero RPG community should way in on that before a consensus is reached. The issue, I think, is that Supers! remains unknown, so people haven't weighed in on its considerable merits. I'm hoping the various upcoming projects will help it get noticed.

Sorry for the long message. Thoughts? Am I way off base here?

Best,

Dragonfly

burbleflurp
03-12-2012, 09:00 PM
Hi,
Just joined this site minutes ago to ask a specific question about Supers! (Oh and thanks for making it Simon) and then saw this thread. Rather than start a new topic I decided to post it here 'cos I feel its relevant. I purchased both Icons and Supers! to play one of them with my kids after watching them enjoy various superhero cartoon series, and felt that Supers! more closely matched the genre. To help me run an adventure, I tried finding an actual play podcast, but couldn't find one anywhere? Maybe my google skills aren't up to it - but typing in 'icons actual play' spits out far more results that 'supers! actual play' (er zero?).

I find these things useful to give me a feel for the system, and the only thing I've seen that comes close was in a nice U-tube video review (Sorry - can't remember more details, but was posted mid-late last year?).

Does such a beast exist - as I feel this would help newcomers to play the system (If I'm right about how the system should be played) and help intrigue other superhero rpgers.

Simon W
03-13-2012, 02:16 AM
No, I think you are both right. Icons had a huge buzz long before it came out, because of the names behind it. Supers! came out first (in pdf) and generated quite a lot of interest, but then Cubicle 7 delayed it coming out in print, so Icons beat it and then it completely overshadowed Supers!Many people looking for a rules-lite superheroic rpg would have ended up picking up Icons and not given Supers! a second look - even though, if they picked it up, they might actually prefer it. But they probably never need to pick it up now or even go looking for another one.The trouble is now there are so many people playing Icons it generates its own buzz - people are bound to post actual pl;ays and so forth because there are loads of players. I don't have the necessary tools to or tech skills to produce an actual play podcast. Perhaps I need to send a copy of Supers! to one of the podcast crews out there? Any thoughts on this?Yeah, the name Supers! seemed a good idea at the time but in retrospect it may have been a bad move, because it simply sounds like a generic name applying to anything superheroic.

urbwar
03-13-2012, 04:20 AM
While I agree with Dragonfly's comments, I really feel that C7 mucking up the release of the print version really killed Supers! momentum. There was some good buzz on the game before ICONS came out; had the print version came out on time, I think more people would know about it. Yes, ICONS had a lot of pre-buzz, and it has a lot of support. There are parts of it that I like, but never having played it, I can't say how well it actually works. Some swear by it, but others don't. The lack of an actual product allowed ICONS to really make its mark, especially given it came out before Steve's other opus, M&M 3rd edition. So Supers! fell between the cracks when those two hit game shelves.

I also think that Gareth is a good publicist for his own product. He's always discussing it, and has had various sales for ICONS products (and other Adamant lines) since ICONS came out. Between Gareth and Steve Kenson always being accessible to discussions, it helps keep the game in people's awareness. Supers! doesn't really have that to date. I always tried to pimp the game when I can (along with BASH UE & G Core, my other two current fave supers rpg). I remember once on rpg.net, Gareth made an insinuation that BASH was being mentioned in threads related to ICONS on purpose (ie that the publisher of BASH might be behind it). He shut up once he got a lot of flak over it, because no way would Chris do something like that. Add in that Adamant is a bit larger in scope than BBG is (they did get a license for Buckaroo Banzai, so I suspect they have more funding than you do), and well, they can do more to promote the game.

I also think the fact that Supers! isn't BoL's system for superheroes was something that threw some off. Being it's own system was a turn off for those who thought BoL was a good fit for supers gaming. I felt that way myself, but I bought Supers! to support BBG, and the game won me over.

As for good things: I think Grubman's pimping the game (and his video review) helped. I wish he hadn't soured on the net and took time off, as I'd love to see his supplement come out. Then you've got Dragonfly doing his adaptions on different forums, which I think has been helpful. Darren's releases are good too, though I think they get over looked as he doesn't pimp them much. When I get The Triad out, I plan on pimping it on every forum I can that isn't tied to a specific system (and for those I'll just pimp the version for that system, if there is one). I expect to not make my investment back in the release, but I don't care, because I'm supporting some games I really like. I know Dustland is going to pimp the hell out of his war book (and all ready has on other forums all ready when showcasing some art), and if Dragonfly does put out something (like he's told me he wants to down the road), you'll have someone else pushing that Supers! is getting support.

I think if you were to release more products for Supers!, it might help. Some adventures, maybe a villain pack or something, to show the game is supported. Too many times people think a game is "dead" because the publisher isn't releasing material for it, whether the game needs said material or not.

novaexpress
03-13-2012, 06:46 AM
I 100% agree with all was written above.
I discovered Icons because I bought Savage Worlds' Thrilling Tales on Adamant website.
I read it and liked it. However, I didn't like the random character creation, and the fact that the GM doesn't throw any dice, and the art.
And I discovered Supers! because I ordered The Laundry on the C7 website. I checked some reviews about the game, and the vid made by Grubman. Having already bought Icons and Bash UE more or less during the same period, I gave a chance as well to Supers and ordered the book.
But, if I hadn't seen it on C7 website, odds are low that I noticed the game.
I guess that if a publisher doesn't have the means of making advertisement for its game, he unfortunately has to be present on forums and others gaming mediums as often as he can.

Simon W
03-13-2012, 10:25 AM
I 100% agree with all was written above.
I discovered Icons because I bought Savage Worlds' Thrilling Tales on Adamant website.
I read it and liked it. However, I didn't like the random character creation, and the fact that the GM doesn't throw any dice, and the art.
And I discovered Supers! because I ordered The Laundry on the C7 website. I checked some reviews about the game, and the vid made by Grubman. Having already bought Icons and Bash UE more or less during the same period, I gave a chance as well to Supers and ordered the book.
But, if I hadn't seen it on C7 website, odds are low that I noticed the game.
I guess that if a publisher doesn't have the means of making advertisement for its game, he unfortunately has to be present on forums and others gaming mediums as often as he can.

I was kinda hoping Cubicle 7 would do more in this regard, but since they publish both Icons and now Bash I guess their loyalties are a bit divided. That's partly why I decided to take it from Cubicle 7 - but I know LULU isn't going to give Supers! much exposure, so I need to pursue other options. Any ideas?

urbwar
03-13-2012, 05:48 PM
Have you considered the new company Angus started, or Mongoose's Flaming Cobra imprint? Maybe try IPR again?

Dragonfly
03-13-2012, 06:01 PM
Have you considered the new company Angus started, or Mongoose's Flaming Cobra imprint? Maybe try IPR again?

These sound like good suggestions. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about the industry to add to this list.

Here is something: Have you considered a 2nd Edition? It wouldn't have to change much. Add a few new powers, expand the Supersville universe a bit, replace some of the duplicated art, refine the layout, maybe add a more expansive starting module, and otherwise add a few odds and ends. It might be worth it to take advantage of some of the playtesting that has gone on since the initial release to make the game a bit more streamlined and comprehensive, and use this as an excuse to attempt to make another big splash?

Maybe the best time to do this is after some of the upcoming supplements have come out. Give them a chance to make some sales, get some feedback on some of the new rules additions that some of us might float in our support products, and then maybe incorporate those that you like (or modifications of those that you like) into a second edition?

I don't know how wise or doable this is, but it strikes me as a way to hit the reset button and try again. I, for one, would be happy to be as helpful to such an endeavor as possible.

Best,

Dragonfly

burbleflurp
03-13-2012, 07:15 PM
I like the idea of a new edition (if for no other reasons that I feel Simon's games do develop post publication).
Other possible inclusions...
A number of typical super powers (that were not covered) have been posted on these boards. Or if that causes copyright problems maybe a description as to how to create new powers (to avoid imbalance).

Please please please add further descriptions for the GM.
Two examples of this spring to mind...
1) The combat example 'vs Villains' has no player dialogue. Now I'm not certain about this, but I thought that this was an important part of play (ie not just saying 'I'll attack Krush with a 'Jet of Flame'). This conclusion is based upon the shaded boxes in section 'How to resolve attacks' (This is one of the reasons I wanted an actual play podcast). Could the player dialogue be in normal text and GM description of rules application be in a box?
2) Its only after I'd read the example of the Supercrew vs Burning Skyscraper in the Supercrew rpg that I really understood how 'Disasters' should operate. (Hmmm, I think I'm noticing a trend in my posts - along the lines of more newbie GM help).

P.S. Thanks urbwar - it was the grubman post I was referring to. (If he can post a positive video review, maybe he can do an actual play podcast?)

Other possibilities for promotion - greater presence/continual posting on other rpg board(s)? eg Dragonfly has been brilliant at recently maintaining the '[Supers!] Stuff for Folk to Use!' thread over at rpg.net at, or near the top of the forum (so that you'll see it listed on the front page when you go back to view the forum). As an example, could this thread run on rpg.net rather than here? You're already talking to the converted here I assume....

urbwar
03-13-2012, 08:03 PM
Yeah, you should definitely start posting on other sites. I recently joined both the rpgsite and storygames, so you might want to look into those sites.

Dustland
03-13-2012, 08:03 PM
If you notice, many games will have an official "first contact" game or module to introduce the product. Sometimes they are released before the official game to give a taste for it and to set the tone, even introduce an official setting that will be supported with the game.

Supers! probably could use something along those lines to help give it some definition other than "yet another rules lite settingless system".

And 100% Burbleflurp (really? :)), you can't go wrong with examples!

Simon W
03-14-2012, 02:24 AM
I'm not a massive forum poster - I pop in here and Lords of Lemuria every day sometimes twice but don't tend to hang around long. I go to the RPGSite & RPGNet daily too but rarely have much to say, if truth be told (even if there is a thread talking about Supers!). Storygames tends to cater less to traditional types of game.

I had considered Chronicle City but I suspect the problems will be similar to those of Cubicle 7. I'll keep an eye on it though and maybe speak to Angus.

Yeah, a second edition might not be a bad idea. There's certainly some excellent posters here lately, with some great ideas. I'll think about that - it might create a whole new "buzz".

burbleflurp
03-14-2012, 03:30 AM
And 100% Burbleflurp (really? :)), you can't go wrong with examples!

Sorry, always seem to have trouble finding a forum name thats not used.

urbwar
03-14-2012, 08:50 AM
Storygames tends to cater less to traditional types of game.

Not entirely true. I see posts about D&D there, so while they do discuss less traditional games, they do discuss more traditional ones as well. I just saw a new thread regarding Heart & Souls (another supers rpg there), so I don't see why you shouldn't give it a shot



I had considered Chronicle City but I suspect the problems will be similar to those of Cubicle 7. I'll keep an eye on it though and maybe speak to Angus.

It's a newer company, with less product though (and no competing supers games at the moment), so it might be worth a shot. Still, I can understand your hesitation, since Angus was at C7 when all the bad stuff happened.



Yeah, a second edition might not be a bad idea. There's certainly some excellent posters here lately, with some great ideas. I'll think about that - it might create a whole new "buzz".

That would be cool. Also, I know you use Lulu for PoD, but you might want to consider Drivethru for PoD as well. From stories I've read, their PoD is just as good, and you might actually earn more per sale than via Lulu (someone did a breakdown I read, and Drivethru was the best, Createspace 2nd, and Lulu last for the % the author earned in sales). Plus being solely for rpg's, you are likely to get more potential sales, since gamers would look there more often than they might Lulu

novaexpress
03-14-2012, 03:25 PM
Another idea, but maybe it is a stupid one : Would it be worthwhile to make Supers! an OGL? So that third parties could create their own material for the games.
However, I don't know if you have to pay something for putting the WotC licence page at the end of the corebook. Though I don't think so.
Or maybe Supers is already a kind of OGL and I don't know yet about it?

Simon W
03-14-2012, 05:07 PM
It's a bit late to put an OGL in the current (C7) book. However, I could add it to the LULU one, or to a hypothetical second edition. I am pretty free n'easy with people wanting to do stuff with/for Supers! already.

ReaperWolf
03-15-2012, 04:01 PM
How come Icons got nominated for loads of awards and Supers! is unknown?

Honestly?

Because SUPERS! is undersupported and until recently had only one product.

ICONS is loosely attached to FATE so it has the attention of that community as well.

From many peoples' perceptions, SUPERS! is more beer & pretzels and so it's easily dismissed even though SUPERS! is a superior game in many ways, especially since it lacks random character creation.

SUPERS! desperately needs support or as we've discovered it will continue to go unnoticed.

This is the same problem occurs with BoL. It's an indie title.

>>ReaperWolf

honestiago
03-16-2012, 12:32 PM
If I were targeting a share of the Icons market, I'd go market Supers as the less expensive, high quality alternaive to Icons (which is sort of what it is). Its strength lies in the pick up and play capability plus the extreme flexibility of the rules. It's a simple system that plays fast. It does have that super heroic feel. I think the way to cut into the Icons audience is (1) to produce significantly cheaper product (which means I should slash 'Bad Sports' to 1.99 (what do you think, Rus?)), and (2) a 2nd edition that adds Fate-like elements (Karma or something like it) and (3) guidance/options for campaign play. I'd also expand the Supersville setting with supplements, bad guy groups npcs and so on. I think you do have plenty of talent right here in this site. It's just a matter of everyone working around their day jobs. I can write plenty for example, but I need editing support and art work (Rus is just one guy, and he has a ton of things going).

ReaperWolf
03-16-2012, 06:11 PM
(2) a 2nd edition that adds Fate-like elements (Karma or something like it)

I happily donate the following from my own campaign:

Drama Die
SUPERS! characters are not your run of the mill personas. Comic books are all about the impossible being achieved by skill, courage, and boatloads of luck. As it stands now, character actions are limited by their die pools, i.e. rolling 3D can only yield a roll of up to an 18 or lower depending upon the type of action and the power of a character, see page 42 of the SUPERS! rulebook.
To make the impossible possible the following rule may be implemented: the Drama Die.
This is a special die easily distinguished from the other dice by color, size, or pattern. So a pool of 5D will consist of 4 ordinary dice and 1 Drama Die.
When the Drama Die is rolled the numbers 1 and 6 have special significance but on a roll of 2-5 the die is counted normally.
On a roll of 1 the Drama Die may indicate Disaster Strikes! but only if the dice roll is a failure. Any sort of short-term setback, complication, or other dramatic botch, blunder, or fumble is possible resulting in the character sustaining 1 point of damage, being stunned for a round, or otherwise suffering a brief but noteworthy calamity. If the roll is a success there is no further effect although the Judge is free to narrate how the character suffers a close call.
On a roll of 6 the Drama Die explodes upwards yielding a number greater than 6. The die is rerolled and the new roll is added to 6 to determine the die roll. Successive rolls of 6 yield other rerolls until a number other than 6 is rolled.

KARMA DICE
All references to Competency Dice should be changed to Karma Dice for reasons too many to list here. Karma Dice comprise a character’s Karma Pool.
All SUPERS! Player characters begin with 1 Karma Die in their Karma Pool. This is refreshed automatically between adventures but can be earned through good roleplay, playing up a motivation or Flaw, or for any reason the Judge feels warrants an immediate in-game reward.
A character’s Karma Pool may be increased with Advancements just like any other Resistance, Aptitude, or Power.
Karma Dice may be included in any rolled action the character attempts and like Drama Dice, Karma Dice explode on a roll of 6 but never trigger Disaster Strikes! results.
Karma Dice must be spent before an action roll unless the Judge rules otherwise.
Karma Dice may also be spent to activate an Advantage without first having to activate a Disadvantage.
Karma Dice may also be spent for a hunch or clue to a current mystery and they may also be spent to purchase a one-time short-term lucky break when characters are desperate.
A player spending a Karma Die may also take temporary narrative control of a scene to add in a few desired elements to the story with the Judge’s permission of course.
Note! Karma Dice in excess of a character’s pool are lost between adventures.

Edge Dice
Bonus dice for good descriptions, tactical advantages, circumstantial modifiers, Judge whim, etc.
These can be awarded on a case for case basis if a player distinguishes him or herself in play and justifies an award.
Generally the number of Edge Dice applying to any given situation should not exceed 2D except under the most extraordinary of circumstances.
Edge Dice are one-time bonuses to a dice roll and cannot be saved or given away.
Unlike Karma Dice and the Drama Die, Edge Dice do not explode on a roll of 6 but they can allow a character to exceed the normal dice roll maximum stipulated on page 42 of the SUPERS! rulebook.

>>ReaperWolf

Dragonfly
03-16-2012, 07:49 PM
Sweet! I like all of these options, Reaper Wolf. Consider them stolen for my own games, even if they don't make it into a 2nd Edition. :)

BTW, I enthusiastically contribute my own humble talents, such as they are, to Simon, and the rest of you, in any way that might be helpful to crafting a 2nd edition (or to building a following around the existing edition). I'm a pretty good play-tester, I think, and have some experience as an editor. I'm also a decent writer, and I'm brimming with enthusiasm. :)

I do detect a danger here, and that is lack of coordination. If Supers! is going to be developed and promoted in an effective fashion, it needs to be done in concert. As the game creator, Simon should probably be making executive decisions about how new rules are going to be presented. If Simon is approving Dustland's values for material strength, for example, then those should probably be the official values. I don't think it serves the game well to have 3 different writers presenting 3 different ways of handling the same thing. That's confusing to the consumer.

If Simon wants this sort of feedback, I think it would be great for those of us with an obvious passion for the game to form a 2nd Edition Playtest Group that debates and discusses rules additions as a means of helping Simon make final decisions regarding what those new rules might look like.

I'm also not certain that an open forum is the best place to be discussing such things, should the project become official.

I hope I'm not getting ahead of myself, and I hope, Simon, that you don't take any of this as an imposition. I'm just excited by the possibilities and eager to help.

Best,

Dragonfly

honestiago
03-17-2012, 08:58 AM
That sounds reasonable. For myself, I'd like to produce more silver age stuff. That's the era I know from a reader's standpoint. I'd like to produce a "Complete guide to..." for each zone in Coastal City, as well, but all of this is time permitting, of course.

urbwar
03-18-2012, 05:30 AM
I'm going to be the voice of dissension here. I honestly don't feel Supers! should try, in any way, shape or form, to emulate or appeal to fans of ICONS. ICONS was created by the author of M&M as a rules lite alternative to it. It has a die hard fanbase made of people who didn't like M&M. Emulating it by adding stuff similar to what is in ICONS isn't going to attract people away from that game, and will only make people think Supers! is just trying to copy it.

That doesn't mean providing such additions as rules options would hurt. BASH UE has an entire chapter devoted to rules options people could use if they didn't like the base mechanic. It also doesn't invalidate material all ready out (and thus making no need to update current products to add in such new material)

What Supers! needs to do is attract people who don't like the crunch of M&M, but don't find BASH/G Core/ICONS appealing as rules light alternatives. That, imho, is Supers! market, and who should be targeted.

If a second/revised edition is going to be made, I think it would need a better layout, possibly more clarifications/examples, and possibly a few more powers added in. For instance, there isn't one to cover a Deflection/Reflection power. I'm going to work one up for The Triad, because the NPC hero who appears in one of the adventure seeds has this power. I'd also like to see more complications/boosts added in. Anything else should be purely optional though. Adding a whole bunch of new rules would be a turn off for me, and I know I'm not the only person who would feel that way. Options, yes. New rules, no thanks

Simon W
03-18-2012, 07:22 AM
Here's an interesting thread that sprung up on RPGNet (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?618941-Icons-vs-Supers!-Friendly-compare-and-contrast-Which-do-you-like-better-and-why)

Why not pop over and have your say...

---------- Post added at 06:22 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:19 AM ----------



If a second/revised edition is going to be made, I think it would need a better layout,

I like the layout. But I do agree on more examples and so on. I also agree it doesn't need more rules - just more options. Perhaps a new thread is called for...

Dustland
03-18-2012, 08:21 AM
Looks like it's time for a random character generator Simon :)

honestiago
03-18-2012, 08:56 PM
I don't agree with urb that porting some things that work from other systems is necessarily a bad thing. You can ape certain aspects without telegraphing them. Icons motivations are just like Supers ads-disads with regard to flavor. He's right about missing powers, however, and not repackaging to the point of losing the system's charm.