Monday, December 10, 2012

Tommy's Take on Justice Wheels #1, #2 and #3.


Justice Wheels #1: Black Scarab

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The first in the Justice Wheels series for ICONS by Fainting Goat Games, it includes a character (Black Scarab) and his car (F.A.L.C.O.N.). With art provided by Scott Harshbarger, both the car and the character looks fantastic. Black Scarab is essentially a much cooler looking Moon Knight, with a villain variant that has him going all Azrael and thinking the only way to save the world is to burn it down. Fine line between justice and vengeance. Perhaps most importantly, it provides crunchier vehicle rules, as well as chase rules, or teams buying the Vehicle power as a group. There's even a handy chart to compare movement powers (fliers getting a bonus to escape burrowers, for instance). Finally, the PDF includes a printable cutout for both Black Scarab and his car.

WHAT WORKS: If you want more vehicle rules, this is fantastic. Black Scarab is a cool Moon Knight twist, and the villain variant is interesting enough that I would put him to use in a supers game, easily. Great art.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: At 50 cents, there's not much to complain about. The ultra crunchy rules are not a great fit for ICONS, but that's not surprising as it's not an ultra crunchy game.

CONCLUSION: My understanding is that the Vehicle rules here are supposed to show up in...Team-Up, I believe. The art is great, the character is interesting...really, the biggest complaint is that you'll need to buy it with something else in order to avoid the small order surcharge from One Book Shelf.

Justice Wheels #2: The Auguste Anarch

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The August Anarche is the second Justice Wheels release, featuring a character and their vehicle, and comes across a lot like The Joker if he were built like Kingpin. He has enemies in both the police and mafia, because he's trying to make his mark in the underworld, and he has a sweet, sweet roadster. The hero variant recasts him as a modern day Robin Hood, making his stat block continue to work completely unaltered. The vehicle rules from volume #1 are reprinted in #2, so you don't need #1 in order to use #2. You also get a printable stand up of the August Anarche and his roadster.

WHAT WORKS: The hero/villain twist works out well once more, and August Anarche being inspired by the Joker but having a few tweaks isn't bad. It is nice that the rules are included here as well, in case you want to jump in here instead of volume 1.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Half the product is reprinted material (the veihicle and chase rules), but one could argue that's as much a pro as a con.

CONCLUSION: If you just want the rules, get The Black Scarab...it's $1 cheaper. Otherwise, it's a really good, low cost pick-up. Scott Harshbarger again provides the art, and it looks great, though I prefer Black Scarab's art over Auguste Anarch, if I had to pick just one.

Justice Wheels #3: Bluejay

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: You know the deal by now...a character and their vehicle. This becomes the first release to feature an aerial vehicle instead of a car, as we get Bluejay and his Golden Eagle airship. Adrian Smith provides the art this time, and it's very good, though lacking a bit of punch that Scott Harshbarger's first two releases had. Bluejay is the weakest concept thus far, being a boy genius who won the lottery and decided to build an airship to fight crime. He has villain version where he steals the material for his airship and decides to take revenge on everyone that doubted his intellect. An adventure hook for the villain version is provided, as well as the Vehicle rules and cut outs of the character and vehicle.

WHAT WORKS: The links inside this document are clickable, whereas they weren't in the past, and the layout looks a bit better. It is a welcome sight to see a non-car vehicle utilized in the Justice Wheels set.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Neither the hero nor the villain version of Bluejay clicks as well as the Black Scarab or the August Anarche did.

CONCLUSION: Better technical improvement to the PDF compared to the first two, even if the creative end falls a bit shorter this time. The vehicle proves to be the most interesting part of this release, showing off the range of the Vehicle rules. Now we just need a Wizardry (Gadgets)-like allowance for multiple vehicles, ala Batman.