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Marvel's RPG Hit With Gamers By Brian Jacks
While Marvel Comics' first entry in the Young Adult prose fiction market has produced a crossover media hit in the best-selling MARY JANE novel, Marvel's other recent new publishing category launch has been a quieter, more grassroots success. Marvel has now announced that their Marvel Universe Roleplaying GAME Guide Hardcover ($19.99) - the publisher's first in-house foray into the RPG market - has gone into its third printing since its initial release in April 2003 and the RPG's first supplement, May's RPG Guide to the X-Men Hardcover ($19.99) has just been approved for a 2nd printing.
Although the game's success is due in part to its crossover appeal with Marvel Comics readers who enjoy the character profiles and adventure briefings, along with players of previous Marvel RPGs, even more surprising has been the positive reception by not only current hardcore gamers, but also the even harder-to-please GameMasters.
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"From all of the feedback we've gotten from the gaming community - emails, Internet discussion groups, and personal contacts - people of all types are loving the Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game," said Jeff Simons, who along with his partners at Q.E.D. Games, Inc. helped Marvel develop the game. "There is quite a loyal, growing fan base, some of whom are very surprising for longtime members of the community like us.
"Most surprising are the GamesMasters. Because the game puts a lot of storytelling power into their hands, they've become some of its biggest supporters. Even GMs who never thought they'd like a diceless game are having fun playing Marvel, and have become the game's most vocal cheerleaders and more importantly - recruiters, enticing other long-time gamers who also never thought they'd get hooked on a diceless game to give it a try.
"We're also especially pleased with the number of female players who are enjoying the game. Guys who played roleplaying games have always lamented that there aren't more girls playing, but we're hearing stories that this isn't the case with the Marvel RPG."
"Here at Marvel we really didn't know what to expect with the release of this game, as it was a brand new market and community we were inviting ourselves into," said the project's editor Mark Beazley. "Plus, by going against the grain and creating our own system rather than simply putting out a 'D20' game, we placed ourselves in an underdog position which simply made us all the more determined to put out the best product possible and prove our worth to the gaming community.
"We feel with Q.E.D.'s veteran guidance and our rookie enthusiasm we've found a chemistry that gamers really seem to be responding to, and we're looking forward to expanding and improving this game to not only make it a great Marvel gaming experience, but to make it one of the most satisfying experiences in the entire market."
Marvel plans to continue publishing supplements to attract new players and to keep the game fresh and exciting for current players. The GUIDE TO THE HULK & THE AVENGERS Hardcover, originally solicited as September release, will be held until November, to allow for more copies of the third printing of the main Game Guide (required to play the supplements) to find their way into player's hands. Future supplements are also in the planning stages, with a Spider-Man's Guide to New York City - focusing on Spidey's Universe and more emphasis on NYC-centric heroes and villains - set for a Spring 2004 release.
Fans and gamers seeking more information or current players can log onto the Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game's special website on Marvel.com at http://www.marvel.com/murpg/index.htm. There they can find a game FAQ, sample pages and examples of play and combat, along with an area to send feedback to and ask question of the game's editors and developers.