Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Throwing tanks at Nazi supermen: Godlike RPG

4 Comments

This is a sort of “request post” – I have been asked a short review of Godlike, the superhero game designed by Dennis Detwiller and Greg Stolze, currently published by Arc Dream Publishing. I like the game very much, and so it is no great sacrifice writing a review.
I still own and play the first edition of the handbook – the second is gorgeous, but I only have the PDF, and I prefer to have a hardcopy book at my table.

So, it’s the 1930s, clouds of war are gathering on the horizon, and as a surprise move, the Nazi have developed a superman – a guy with a swastika on the chest, that actually flies. He opens Berlin’s Olimpics with a fly-by, and everything changes.
Only it doesn’t.

The strong points of Godlike, to me, are two, and the first is the fact that this is a realistic, historical superhero game. Yes, as World War 2 explodes, all the nations in the arena start developing their own superteams, but the actual effects of the supers on the development of the conflict. This is not a “Nazis win” alternate reality. In the end it’s still the poor foot soldiers that are left to do the job – the supers can have a local effect, can tweak things a little, but the big-scale history of WW2 remains more or less the same.

But your players are playing at the small, local scale – and the so-called “Talents” make a lot of difference at the small scale. Flying Nazis, teleporting Maquis partisans, G.I.s that can actually lift a throw a tank.
That’s going to hurt.

The second thing I like a lot about Godlike is the system, known as One Roll Engine – that uses a simple dice pool and does a lot of interesting things with it.
Your test roll can come up Wide or Tall, dice can be Hard or Wiggle to fuel superpowers, and the player can actually choose how to combine his roll results for best effect.
It sounds complicated, but it is actually quite straightforward, and it’s fast, flexible, grainy enough and lots of fun. It plays well, and it fits the setting.
Powers are unique, the skills are well rounded, and the background material in terms of equipment lists and idea fodder are enormous.

And finally there is the presentation, that is absolutely superb – the books look like a million dollar, and are exactly what a WW2 RPG should look like.

So, in the end, I consider Godlike probably the best take on a superhero game available – it does away with a lot of the silliness of the guys in spandex, and hits hard and fast, and deep.
It’s incredibly satisfactory to play.

And now I want to play a game, and don’t have a team.
Happy?
The things I do for my readers…

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “Throwing tanks at Nazi supermen: Godlike RPG

  1. Prepare a Discord channel, choose a weekday (not on Tuesday) and see what we can do. 😀

    (Anyway, thanks for the review.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s expecially interesting when you consider how many superheroes were born during or right after WWII as propaganda engines.

    As for the One Roll Engine, it’s really a small gem of a system and truly one of the best medium-crunch engines on the market in my opinion. Stolze’s Reign (also based on the ORE) has been recently republished and just reading it makes me feel like running a game.

    Last but not least… that three-pronged swastika looks bizzarre. I wonder if it’s to circumvent censorship on some markets?

    Like

    • I think they used that design because in certain countries (Germany, for instance) the regular one could have caused problems.
      And I’ll have to check out Reign – thanks for the pointer.

      Like

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