Tabletop Review: Heroes and Villains of Mega-City One (Judge Dredd)

Heroes and Villains of Mega-City One (Judge Dredd)
Publisher: Mongoose
Cost: $12.99 ($7.99 PDF)
Page Count: 23
Release Date: 04/11/2014
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

All good comic book RPGs have their stat block collections. These are supplements contain characters from across their respective universes. The old TSR Marvel Super Heroes Game (FASERIP FOREVER!) had the Gamer’s Handbook to the Marvel Universe series. Mayfair Games’ DC Heroes RPG had Who’s Who in the DC Universe. Now Mongoose’s Judge Dread: The Roleplaying Game has its first collection in Heroes and Villains of Mega-City One.

Unfortunately, Heroes and Villains of Mega-City One is way too brief for the price tag attached to it, be it physical or PDF. The old ones from the 90s I mentioned above were hundreds of pages long for a relatively low cost. Here we’re getting less than two dozen pages for a lot higher page per price. Perhaps this is because 2000AD has a much higher licensing cost than other comic companies, but I doubt it. Perhaps it’s simply because Judge Dredd doesn’t have a lot of recurring characters and this was the best they can do, but as a long time reader, I know that simply isn’t true. What I do know is that Mongoose should have done a lot better with this first character pack in terms of content and price. This is a really disappointing piece.

In Heroes and Villains of Mega-City One, you’ll find nineteen characters. Each character gets half a page of art pulled straight from a comic, a very small stat block and between one and four paragraphs of text. Again compare that to most comic book RPGs where each character in this format, even a D-Lister, gets a full page of text and a fleshed out stat block with roleplaying hints, this piece feels really phoned in. It’s also worth noting that characters like Judge Giant get more text devoted to him than Judge Dredd himself! Hell, Dredd’s piece doesn’t even fill up a full page! This is a character that should have several pages alone devoted to him, but for some unexplainable reason, that simply isn’t to be. At least Judge Anderson and Chief Judge Hersey get a decent amount of text devoted to them compared to other entries in the collection, but even then, it is still not enough to fill an entire page.

It’s odd, because Heroes and Villains of Mega-City One simply doesn’t feel like it was meant to be released. The formatting is odd with huge areas of white space left on the bottom of each page. Margins are one thing, but we’re talking a full fourth of page is empty on each sheet of this supplement. Just empty white space. In fact, if anything, this supplement feels like a mock-up or sales pitch for a bigger, better and more fully fleshed out release. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the layout, order in which the characters presented and there is certainly no excuse for the tiny amount of content shown on these pages, especially with the price tag attached to this supplement. I honestly can’t fathom how this piece got past Mongoose’s editors or decision makers because even the most casual Judge Dredd fan could have whipped up a more detailed and better looking piece using InDesign in less than a day. This thing is simply an embarrassment to the previous releases for the Judge Dredd RPG, which are generally really well done. I guess every game has to have a black sheep in the family and Heroes and Villains of Mega-City One is certainly that for Judge Dredd: the Roleplaying Game. All I can say is don’t judge the entire game based on how terrible and overpriced this release is, as the core product is a LOT better.

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