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Hideouts and Hoodlums: Role Playing In The World Of Golden Age Super Heroes

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There are a number of super hero role playing that have graced the market ever since “Dungeons and Dragons” first appeared in the 1970s. One is exclusively geared to what is known as The Golden Age. This age of comics runs from approximately the first appearance of Superman in 1938 to the early 1950s, a time when the comic book was part of a growth industry and there were hundreds of caped and masked do-gooders awaiting eager youngsters with a dime on the newsstands. The Golden Age most centers on the war years and features superheroes battling threats to world peace and bad guys on the home front.

It was a fun era for comics when just about anything was possible. With the Internet and many reprints of scarce 1940s comics available to the public, there is plenty of source material available and tabletop gaming enthusiasts can take a swipe at gaming in this era with the Great Scott! Game, “Hideouts and Hoodlums.” The game takes its titles as a play on the game that spawned all role playing in that instead of pursuing dragons lurking in their dungeons in a high fantasy world, players can stalk hoodlums in their hideouts in the world of the 1940s.

The game will be very familiar to people who play D and D, which is good, because it can be a lateral move to get those gamers involved in this world.

What’s good about the game is that it is simple where it should be and complex where it should be. Where it’s simple is in terms of game mechanics and set up. One plays a hero. That hero can be an alien, android, or human, for instance. That character can be a powered hero, magic-user, or fighter (non-powered). That character can have an alignment of lawful, neutral, or chaotic. The characters have the usual recognizable attributes to D and D players. Setting up a basic character will not be a tedious, involved affair.

Where it’s complex is in terms of the research behind the game. The cost of items and their basic characteristics are set out in detail (and even footnoted as to their sources) for a world set in the 1940s. The world it is set in is familiar enough to people who watch 1940s movies and read 1940s comic books that the game master (“Editor”) can easily draw on a number of sources.

There are two basic books. One sets out character development, game play, and basic world building. The second book sets out the varied enemies from hoods to monsters that an Editor can set out for the characters to encounter.

The game includes links to sources like the Digital Comic Book Museum, where an Editor can read source material and get ideas for the game world.

There are also some supplemental materials that go into some source material, like comics reprints, that can be used to create the world.

To save costs, the game is available through the DrivethruRPG site as a digital download. Like any other game, any weaknesses, or real strengths would be revealed through actual game play. But, a page through the materials shows it to be understandable to anyone who knows anything about gaming.
There was a lot of care done in preparing the materials for easy and faithful set up for that particular world. So, the game would be easy to recommend for anyone who wants to try a role-playing game set in the world of 1940s superheroes.

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