Mar 5, 2018
Curious about Masks: A New Generation? You should be, because it's a heckin' good game! For the most in-depth look, we recommend listening to our potluck episode of the podcast, but if you're looking for more of a super-speedy rundown, here it is!
Masks, like most Powered by the Apocalypse games, is fairly mechanics-light and is great for players who are most invested in the roleplaying and storytelling. If you're new to tabletop games, this is a great jumping-on point. You have a limited stable of stats and moves which are streamlined and easy to keep track of.
If you love superhero fiction, especially when it comes to teen heroes, you're going to adore Masks. In between the action and suspense, the system guides you to create some beautiful coming of age stories. Flavorfully it has shades of Teen Titans, Young Justice, Young Avengers, et cetera. But hey, even if superheroes aren't usually your jam, Masks still might have something that grabs you; some of our team members actually don't like comics very much, but they adore Masks because you can bring as much levity and humanity to it as you want.
Masks uses the classic PBTA mechanic of having failures be fun, which is a great plus to storytelling. In this case they have the concept of "potential", where the only way you can level up and grow as a hero is when you fail your rolls. Failures end up being just as narratively interesting as successes, not to mention how fun it is to have the bittersweet "mixed" successes.
Even with a stellar game like Masks, there's bound to be some elements that don't gel as well with everyone. One frustration is that while the potential system is fun, if luck has it that you're consistently rolling high then you won't level up as consistently as your teammates, and if you keep rolling low, you might find yourself with new swag that you don't feel like you've earned yet. Also some of the actions you'll want to take don't neatly line up with any of the predetermined moves, which means it's up to the GM to make up a custom move in the spur of the moment and figure out how that translates mechanically.
If you're interested in GMing Masks, know that you'll have to be extremely flexible and quick on the uptake, but the book is on your side and helpfully outlines all the resources you'll need. Because there's no defined turn order or rounds, PCs can essentially go whenever they want, and so it's on the GM to ensure that everyone's working together and everyone has a fair shot.
Character creation is explicitly itemized, but you get a surprising amount of creative license for just circling attribute options. Certain playbooks will restrict you to certain superpowers, but it's up to you to interpret what that entails. Creating a team also means figuring out your characters' relationships with each other and with the world before you've even started the game, which helps to kickstart camaraderie and motivations.
The podcast episode ends with us playing out the end-of-session roundup where everyone reflects on how their character has changed, and adjusts their stats accordingly, so give that a listen if you want to see how that works. And if you want a closer look at how we created our characters and their relationships, we have a new bonus episode on our Patreon outlining just that!
Let's just say it, we love Masks: A New Generation to little shiny pieces, and we resoundingly recommend it. If you'd like to see more of this story and these characters, let us know, because we'd love to play some more! To play Masks for yourself, get a hardcover copy, paperback copy, or a PDF from http://www.magpiegames.com/shop/., and enjoy!