Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The War of 2017: Eloy Lasanta and AMP: Year Three

Eloy Lasnata launched the Kickstarter for AMP: Year Three last week, making the smart choice of dropping that on my birthday. I talked with Lasanta a couple of months ago about superhero gaming in general and his work on AMP. He touched on his vision for this world and how these games support that. You can see the video below. It's worth watching if you like supers gaming and want to hear how a designer approaches it.

Why mention this? Because AMP brings several things to the table.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a supers game with a developing plot and tightly connected mechanics. The last ones I recall are Aberrant and UndergroundThe former had great potential, but was hard to suss out given the large number of supplements. It went gloriously over the top. The latter didn’t hold together, despite the strong atmosphere. Things went darkly over the top. I’m also reminded of Progentitor, an amazing campaign-focused, world-building supers game.

AMP offers a middle-weight complexity system. If you’re looking for something heavier than a Story Game, but lighter than point-crunchy supers, it works. I’d put it in the same basket as Rotted Capes, and it falls somewhere between ICONS Assembled and M&M 3e. Lasanta’s doing a good job of evolving the powers system, responding to the fans and building alongside his overall concept. Powers have frameworks, and he’s added to those as well as developed new ones (like Gadgets for AMP: Year Two).

AMP offers supers as sci-fi. A few other complete settings do this: Godllike, Psi*Run, eCollapse, Mutant City Blues. That’s an approach I like. I always dug the X-Men more when they leaned that direction. So I’m a fan of Morrison’s run on New X-Men. It balances classic superheroics with social evolution & the force of history. Lasanta’s world building reminds me of the best of the non-Big Two created universes: Image, Milestone, Valiant, and Invincible.

Lasanta’s delivered several Kickstarters already, and it’s good to see smaller companies use the platform to support new content. If you like superhero games, AMP's worth checking out. On the one hand it has a solid core engine for those who like to tinker. On the other it has cool setting with concepts worth lifting. 

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