nerd radio

Get ready for the new daily show

FTN remembers Overpower – A long lost classic?

October 27th, 2012 by Irwin Fletcher 2 Comments


Hands up if you remember Overpower? Yes? No? Well, let me tell you about it…

It didn’t do very well in Europe, but in the mid 90s Fleer entertainment created a Collectable Card Game based on the Marvel world. I loved it, and it did have a loyal fan base, but just not a big enough one. With the universal love for all things Marvel at the moment, is it time to have another look at this cracking little game.

Seriously, they should re-release the game; it would make a big impact now.

Overpower was a collectable card battle game revolving around a team of four heroes or villains, trying to eliminate each other through a series of attack rounds. The original game had six starter decks with expansions through booster packs, and special rarer cards being included with some Marvel Comics.

You could make your team from any of the huge amount of heroes and villains available, but the knack was getting a balanced deck of power cards that worked well with a balanced team of heroes. Each hero had a set of statistics in their Power Grid covering Energy, Strength and Fighting abilities. These were used to determine which power cards the hero could use to make an attack on an opposing team member. It really was as simple as that to start with.

There were special attack and defence abilities that heroes and villains possessed, as well as equipment and location cards that could boost an attack or a character’s defence, with rounds of play moving very quickly to increase the excitement and speed of play. You eliminate opposing heroes by inflicting 20 points of cumulative damage on them, when all four of your team is down, you lose.

A full game can include betting on missions cards, which essentially tell a story, and the nice aspect of this ante system is that it does not change the style or overall objective of the game. Everyone’s favourite heroes and villains are included, and you can make a team from any combination of each, the trick is getting a team that works well and compliments each other.

The game mechanic includes a simple method of eliminating duplicate cards drawn each game turn, so no player can load their decks with only huge high power attacks as all duplicates must be discarded before the turn commences.

The game was originally launched in 1995, and produced until 1997. It had a couple of expansion sets called Mission Control and Powersurge, but its main change was when DC Overpower was introduced in 1996. As you can imagine it included DC heroes and villains, but it also introduced the forth statistic in the power grid, Intellect.

This was deemed necessary due to a lot of villains actually having low level or no discernable super powers so relied on their genius to roll out their evil plans. But, adding this fourth part of the grid showed a lack of pre-planning during its development stages, also inherent hero abilities crept in on hero cards and this again shifted the balance of the game slightly.

Mainstream Overpower then needed a reprint in late ’96 to include the Intellect stat to all the marvel heroes and villains, and a few new ones; this is where the game really collapsed in Europe. It became too hard to keep up with over such a short space of time (even worse than MTG at its height and that is saying something) but the expansions kept coming, including a Justice League set and an official X-Men set, which was strange because all the X-Men were included in the original and the reprinted sets.

But I digress; the game in its simplicity was superb. The actual original concept was great and easy to manage with the expansions. The producers just lost control. I still have a nice little collection that we have dusted off and enjoy playing at our local club, and this is where the game shines, in its standard form. The back ground is timeless; nearly everyone loves the heroes and villains it is based on, so this could be resurrected with little complications. The original sets are very few and far between, so finding players may seem tough, but we are out there! Just keep looking!

Do any of our followers remember this game? Anyone actually play it? Let us know if you do… if you fancy a game and if you are local to me, get in touch.

A great game, slightly marred by the support it didn’t really receive.

A respectable three out of five nerds!


Let us know your thoughts below, @NerdFollowing on Twitter or on Facebook

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.