CAPERS RPG: A Super-Powered Game of Gangsters in the Roaring Twenties
Fellow Atlantan Craig Campbell, creator of Murders & Acquisitions (read my previous interview with him!), is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for his new game, CAPERS RPG: A Super-Powered Game of Gangsters in the Roaring Twenties. The Kickstarter for M&A was a great success, so check out this one as well – it has already funded, and now they’re setting up and knocking down stretch goals!
This isn’t your typical superheroes game – Craig calls it a supers game, not a superHEROES game, because your group decides between playing the gangsters or the cops of the Prohibition. In the past few years, we’ve seen Hollywood figure out that superheroes can be a flavoring rather than a genre, giving us heist movies with supers (Ant Man), spy thrillers (Winter Soldier), and so on. (Okay, not to get off topic, but my fingers are still crossed for a She-Hulk legal drama.) CAPERS is gangster movies, with superpowers – I’m here for it.
They’ve made the creative decision to present a less sexist, more racially diverse than our impressions of the Roaring Twenties might show us. I think this is a great way to go; on one hand, it means the game isn’t bound up in a different set of injustices than it wants to talk about, and on the other, history has a lot more forgotten or eradicated stories than the popular imagination now recalls. I’m looking forward to seeing all that they’ve done to twist the history into something thrilling and fun!
It offers a new card-based resolution mechanic that revolves around risk-taking and pushing your luck. From the Kickstarter page:
When playing CAPERS, each player (and the GM) uses their own deck of standard, poker-style playing cards (52 suit cards plus 2 jokers) to determine if a character succeeds at difficult tasks.
The pip value of the card you flip (2, 3, and so on, up to ace high) determines success versus failure. The card’s suit determines the DEGREE of success or failure, starting at clubs (the worst) and going alphabetically upward to spades (the best). You’ll be able to flip multiple cards based on your character’s capability. You might flip the king of clubs, certainly a success with a king, but just barely a success with clubs.
Do you settle for barely successful or flip another card, hoping for a better result? Each flip is a gamble, risking failure.
The Kickstarter has two remaining backer levels – one for getting one copy of all of the content in PDFs and at-cost POD printing for the book, and the other for four copies and an online session of the game with the designer and three of your friends. The POD costs described in the KS page look very reasonable, so this whole project looks like a great value to me.
(For clarity, I am not affiliated with this project. I just think it looks cool, and want to support the Atlanta game design scene.)