Venture City Revisited Preview

The stars seemed to align perfectly: I wanted to run a superhero-themed game of Fate Core, Evil Hat had Venture City, and then double-downed by offering an early look at their expanded version of the book via their current Kickstarter (if you’re a fan of Fate and hardcover books for the shelf, check it out). So of course I backed it – twenty bucks seemed a small price to get these rules a bit early on top of a kick-ass hardcover book later down the road.

I have now had a chance to look through the book and absorb the expanded rules. I’ve also used them in the Session Zero of my Wanted: Heroes game. I want to share my thoughts with you all, with the caveat that this is for the Backer’s version of the rules and that the final product may vary (hopefully only to make it even better).

Enough foreplay, here it is…the new superpowers section is AWESOME! The original Venture City already did a good job of modelling superpowers but was a bit basic -it added a few more mechanics, but the core of the advice could be found in Fate Core (page 279). The expanded Venture City kicked it up a notch with: a full list of ready to go powers, each with additional stunts (or Enhancements as they’re called) to boost them, and many more sample characters to build on.

With these additions, superpowers are built more as suites of abilities. This allows the game to more perfectly emulate the genre, while being a fun and engaging process. This additions of well-formed lists really boosts the ease of use, making creating characters with superpowers faster and even more enjoyable.

My only complaints with the additions in the superpower section are some lack of certain powers and power themes (another source of stunts that adds flavor to your superpower). No time-travelling aliens from planet Zambu? This can be worked around, as Fate Core is a robust tool-kit and Venture City gives you enough examples to build it yourself, but I did notice the absence of certain genre staples.

The book has been reorganized around the now very robust superpower mechanics. This organization creates a more appealing flow of information: starting with basic setting premise and materials, moving right into character and superpower creation, then moving along to more in-depth setting material (factions, places, and people), and ending off with a very welcome on adventure plot-hooks.

All of these additions and changes have made for a far more appealing Worlds-of-Adventure book. The setting material itself is still largely unchanged – its a solid near-future dystopia filled with greedy corporation – but that isn’t the main draw of the book. That spotlight goes to the superpower mechanics.

If you have ever wanted to play a supers game with Fate Core, this book is a must have. You can get the current version of Venture City easily through Drive Thru RPG, but if you’re a fan of Fate take a look at their ongoing Kickstarter. $20 bucks gets you a nice hardcover when it’s done and a peak behind the current.

I look forward to playing with the rules this Saturday, February 6th, and for when I can do a complete review of the finished product.


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