Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mayfairstivus: Celebrating The Mayfair DC Heroes Role Playing Game

I am thrilled to have Supergirl Comic Box Commentary participating in another blog crossover dreamed up by social media and comic book guru Frank Lee Delano. Frank  put together the DC Challenge crossover back in February of this year (which I loved) and maintains many fantastic blogs that I enjoy visiting (including the Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, JLA, Atom, and Bloodlines blogs linked below).

This time, Frank thought it would be great to celebrate Mayfairstivus, a holiday celebration of the Mayfair DC Heroes role playing game from the 1980s. And so a number of DC comic related blogs will be running DC heroes posts during this early holiday period. I was more than happy to jump on board because I love this game.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s I was in college and played this game. We started out with the first version of the game and then graduated to V2.0 when that was released. I played Wildfire from the Legion and had an absolute blast. Because of the makeup of the team, I downplayed Wildfire's energy blasts and made him more the muscle of the team.  The rest of the team included Guy Gardner and 2 player-created characters - an energy blaster and a telepath.

The second version of the game came out in 1989 and included some nifty character cards so you could keep stats handy. I'll be showing Superman and Lex Luthor.  The game needed to revamp some rules. For one, this was post-Byrne's Man of Steel. Since Superman was depowered, everyone's numbers needed to go down.

So Superman's strength which had been 50 in the first version was suddenly shrunk down to 25. Remember Byrne's Superman wasn't the planet-thrower of the pre-Crisis days. Since Superman is DC's strongest character, everyone else's strength and numbers needed to be diminished as well.

One thing I loved about the game was the concept of hero points. You could subtract some hero points from your total and add them to one of your attributes for one round. So, for example, I could subtract 10 from Superman's 200 hero points and make my strength 35 for one round. In this way, you could overcome greater powers with timely additions. The 'Game Master' would reward hero points after each session (sort of the experience points of this game).

This release was 2+ years into the Byrne continuity. So here we see the Lex has his bionic hand (remember the Kryptonite ring gave him cancer, requiring his hand to be amputated).

It love that Luthor is more intelligent than Superman. That's the way it was back then.

Playing these 'no powers' guys was always tricky when facing off against super-powered brutes. But there is more than just raw stats. He has some skills he brings to the table.

To pass the time, we would occasionally shuffle the cards, split the deck in half, and play a modified version of 'war'. It was always funny when it would be a Darkseid vs Robin matchup. But sometimes it would lead to some good comic discussions ... Blue Beetle vs Night Owl, etc.

Thanks again to Frank for putting this celebration together! It really was a walk down memory lane for me. I am going to have another Mayfairstivus soon ... including Supergirl's stats from Version 1.0! Stay tuned!

The blogs below are joining in the Mayfairstivus celebration and are fantastic! So please visit them as well.

The Anti-Didio League of America
The Aquaman Shrine
Comic Make Me Happy
The Continuity Blog

DC Bloodlines 
Diana Prince as The New Wonder Woman
Doom Patrol:My Greatest Adventure #80
Firestorm Fan

Flash: Speed Force
Girls Gone Geek
Green Lantern Corps: The Indigo Tribe

Hawkman:Being Carter Hall 
Justice League Detroit
Martian Manhunter vs. The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Once Upon A Geek
Power of the Atom
Subject: Suicide Squad [Task Force X]


Diabolu Frank said...

This may sound familiar...

You had to tone down Wildfire on a team with Guy Gardner? I haven't seen any Legionnaire stats, so yowza!

I'm really glad you discussed Pre-Crisis stats and hero points. I own nothing from the 1985 game, so that's completely alien territory. For hero points, I've been so fixated on discussing individual characters and their relative stats, essential game mechanics like that have gone largely untouched in my efforts. Kudos!

Did you ever play the Superman/Batman match-play module Deadly Fusion? I never have, but I can offer scans from my copy if you'd like.

Another all-around great post! Thank you for being awesome!

Martin Gray said...

I've never talen part in any role playing games, so I'm lost! But do have fun.

'I played Wildfire from the Legion and had an absolute blast.' Wa-Wahhh!

LissBirds said...

Anj, you make this game sound really fun. I wish I had been into comics back then and had the chance to play this.

I love how not only is Lex smarter than Superman, he's a lot smater than Superman!

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Anj - Great Mayfairstivus coverage!

Like everyone else, I love that you pointed out Lex is smarter than Superman. I much prefer the Kingpin/Daredevil relationship Lex and Superman had back in the Byrne era of Superman. It worked really well. And Lex should be totally smarter than the Man of Tomorrow!

You also make a good point about first edition (pre-Crisis) versus second edition (post-Crisis). I'd forgotten about that major change in the systems. I'm glad you pointed that out.

While I loved this game at first sight with the first edition box set, I really became an addict with the second edition. We created our own characters within the DC Universe and had a blast interacting with the "big dogs". Great game system and perfect for that era of comic collecting.

Again, nice Mayfairstivus coverage!

The Irredeemable Shag

Anj said...

You had to tone down Wildfire on a team with Guy Gardner? I haven't seen any Legionnaire stats, so yowza!

I toned down the energy aspect of his character, instead concentrating on his brute strength. He was still a hot-tempered, quick to act hero ... but more the muscle of the group.

Anj said...

'I played Wildfire from the Legion and had an absolute blast.' Wa-Wahhh!

Ugh! I didn't even realize there was an unintended pun in there.

Hee hee.

DT Butchino said...

I'd love to see your take on the new DC Adventures game by Green Ronin :)

Turmoil23 said...

I absolutly love this game, i started when 3rd edition just came out so we used some 2nd ed adventures and create our own. I currently close to complete my DC Heroes RPG collection, just missing 4-5 books.

Anonymous said...

I have 49 of 60 1989 dc heroes playing cards Batman robin superman lex luther etc email me if you're interested I have them on ebay or email me for pics