Sunday, May 13, 2012

Champions Vs. Champions - Who Would Win?

Sorry for the recent delay in my continued recapping of our Champions game but I have been busy with a number of side projects both real world and gaming related. It irks me even more to have slowed down again, even for just a bit, as we have already played the session that follows the one I am still describing.

I promise to catch up and soon but first I could use a bit of assistance from those stalwart heroes who fight for truth and justice wherever villainy rears its ugly head. I am talking of course about those players and GMs who run Supers games. Specifically, Champions.

I have a conundrum. My questions are...
If you have played or read through 6th Edition and at least one prior edition, which edition of Champions is your favorite? Why?

Would you recommend 6th at all and if so why?

I have been considering checking out 6th and giving it a good run, possibly converting our current characters over to it or using it for my next Supers campaign. Worth the effort? Forget it and stick to 4th/5th?

I could really use your help. The world is counting on you...well...a world is counting on you...

Barking Alien


  1. I'm no help here. I'm contemplating kicking off a 4th edition Champions game, but am wondering if I should go with something more 'modern.' So, yeah, I'm in the same boat.

    - Ark

  2. Fourth is where our group stopped. We played and enjoyed that. When they switch to Fifth, almost no one picked it up- especially once they started to see previous material redone. It ended up pretty much phasing out Hero as a system among our groups. We gravitated to easier and faster games. When supers have been run in the last ten years, that's been done with M&M. I know people still have their 4e books, and know that system so if I had to play Hero around here, we'd stick with that. The system works, and I haven't heard anything that makes me think 5 or 6 addresses some of the basic issues of complexity or speed of play.

  3. I have only run 5th and 6th, and I feel that 6th is the better choice. I am converting the Dark Champions material to 6th and am also converting my GURPS fantasy world to 6th.

    Honestly it feels like the hero team took their time ironing out a lot of the sharp edges of 5th, and made a logical framework. There are far less "hold overs just because" from previous editions. The powers flow together with the same ease that I found in 5th, but the assembly just feels smoother in 6th. I hesitate to use the word streamlined (because of the size of the books) but I know that my players grasp the basic rules very quickly.

    Hope this helps a bit, if you have any more questions please feel free to email me. I love discussing super games and Hero.


  4. Hey BA...

    I have run Champions games in each of the last four editions (3rd through 6th). My name even appears in the list of playtesters for Fourth. Go me. =P

    I don't have time to expand much on this now (will hopefully do so later in the day), but here's a quick rundown from my perspective...

    3rd - Don't bother. Good but it all gets cleaned up in 4th.

    4th - Incredibly solid mix of playability and ease of explanation (this was the last edition not written by a lawyer). Very solid, but the major lopholes that were present in previous editions are still there. They're just pointed out better now.

    5th - Much like 4th in a lot of ways, with a ton of the loopholes closed due to heavy-use of lawyer-speak. Characters are more powerful due to an additional 100 points at the start.

    6th - A ton of changes, some minor, some mind-blowing happen here. Smartly, those changes are detailed in pgs 20-21 of the character creation book. Figured Characteristics are gone. The stats themselves are still there, they just now start at a base and are bought up with points like everything else. Elemental Control is gone. A number of powers/power advantages/power disadvantages are either removed, renamed, or folded into another ability. Armor Piercing is now ridiculously cheap (+1/4). Lawyer-speak increases a great deal (the Transform power takes 4.5 pages to fully describe).

    The other major differences I found between the editions was "the feel" when it came to starting characters.

    3rd/4th - 100 points + 150 Disadavantages. The characters feel solid with a bit of meat hanging on them for the plot grill.

    5th - 200 points + 150 Disadvantages. Even with some of the loophole closings, I felt "really powerful" with many of my character concepts being done before I reached the 350 plateau. Same amount of plot grist for the mill ass before, but someone it seems lees imposing.

    6th - 325 points + 75 Complications. Even though you begin with 150 more points, with all of the changes that have been done, a 400-point 6thEd starting character feels less powerful than a 250-point starting character from 4thEd. Add to that the halving of the required disadvantage/complication points, and many characters begin to look a LOT alike from a "human frailty" standpoint.

    I can go into more detail if you want, but I need to get back to work... =P

    -- GopherDave

  5. This is some incredible feedback guys! Thank you so much. I have to give a special thanks to GopherDave for adding in his opinions of the feel of each addition. Very helpful!

    Anything else you care to add would be greatly appreciated and no rush.

  6. If we're talking about various editions of Champions what about Fuzion?! HAHAHA-OK, calming down now.

    I agree with much of what is said above, especially in that the discussion is mainly 4th edition vs. 5th or 6th.

    I read thru a lot of the design talk in the forums as 6th was being put together and it just "broke" things for me. The loss of figured characteristics and some of the other mechanical changes makes some sense but it breaks the compatibility with older editions in a big way. Unlike 3rd-4th-5th which are gradual refinements of an existing system, 6th is a pretty big mechanical change. If you've collected a pile of books over the years that's a pretty big downside. Plus it now takes two good-sized books to cover what 4th and even 5th covered in one and I'm not sure that it really needs to.

    5th is basically a tuned-up 4th with a lot of updates of the same supplements and less art IMO. There is some good stuff here (Champions Battlegrounds is very handy when running a campaign, for example) but the above-mentioned lawyer-speak starts to look like the rules for tournament-heavy games like Star Fleet Battles rather than an RPG. It's not a terrible flaw but it's there and continues in 6th.

    4th is the one so many people remember, probably had the most support of any single edition, and works pretty well. If you're bringing new players in or trying to acquire books it also has the lowest cost of entry if you're willing to pick books up on the used/ebay market.

    I know you're playing 4th already and I would ask "is there a problem with 4th that you need to solve?" or is it just the "new game itch?" Nothing wrong with that itch but 4th to 6th is not a minor switch.

    If I run any kind of Champions in the near future it's going to be 4th with 5th as a reference for any mechanical problems that we encounter. For me, 6th was the "OK I'm out" edition and it drove me to examine M&M 2E more closely since I was looking at a fairly big break anyway.

    Anyway, let us know how this goes.

  7. It's definitely not the 'new game itch' thing. I do get that but usually only on days with a 'y' in the name >.< Usually I find a way to satisfy that though, so it's not really what is happening here. Also, if I have to consider a new edition a 'new game' its probably not for me. And THAT IS part of the reason for my inquiry...

    See, I don't mind new editions of games I enjoy. However, if the new edition is essentially a new game altogether, well then frankly, I don't need it. I like the game I have. If you can improve on what I like, please, by all means do so. If you make it into something else, save your time 'cause I'm likely to save my money.

    One of the things I wanted to figure out was, is this a new edition (Champions 6th) or is it a new game? It sounds to me like is the former but comes really close to turning into the latter.

    Another major reason for my interest is simply, "If I am currently playing 4th and liking it, am I missing out on some key improvements in the new edition?" M&M 2E was very cool. M&M 3E is much cooler.

    A final reason (for this comment post but not the last of my reasons for asking) is that my players are actually having difficulty finding a 4th Edition rulebook in good shape. I am meticulous about how I keep my books (old school comic book collector mentality here) and my copy is practically falling apart.

    I will address the other reasons for edition investigation soon but for now keep those comments and opinions coming. I'm just eatin' up over here.

  8. Well, adding late, but I have to agree that I like the BBB the best (4th). Fred (5th) and 6th, are way too bloated. I agree with the term "lawyer-speak." I think part of the problem with 5/6 is that the writers are trying to be "realistic" and teh game suffers from that.

    Bob Bledsaw, back in the early days of gaming, named his company the Judges Guild. Why? Because running a game is an artform, not a science. that's why it wasn't referee or master for him. A judge has to look at the law as written and make a decision. Refs just say, "Rules are rules," and shrug.