New England Overpower (The NEO System)

In the late 1990s and early 2000s we in New England decided that we wanted to play Overpower with ALL the cards that were in print.  We also decided that we didn't want to design and print hundreds of new cards to make the old characters playable.  So grew the New England Overpower (NEO) movement.  I was the lead designer.  The rest of Team New England Overpower were the developers and playtesters.  More importantly, they helped edit things that I didn't have the sight to edit easily.

The rules were never 100% codified for the use of outside groups.  So, they aren't as polished and easy to reference as a professional product.  They are also a bit of a kludge, because some of the rules require you to memorize things which would not be necessary to memorize if you could add a simple icon or two to the cards.  You can download the NEO rules manuals and reference sheets below, at the bottom of this page.

I haven't played Overpower in years, but I dug these up because some people seemed interested.  These aren't the complete rules, but are some of the major ones that we used.  NEO is deeply entrenched in gamespeak that's not native to Overpower, so start with the glossary first.  Next, look over the deckbuilding guide.  Then check out the rules revisions.

NOTE: These rules will crumble if you add a lot of homebrew cards into the mix.  They were designed to render all characters playable with few new cards added into decks.  If you add lots of homebrew cards you will horribly skew the balance.

A lot of this will be daunting at first and will require you to change the way you normally play Overpower.  Many of the deck building rules, in particular, will seem impossible to manage without staring at a reference sheet or using your computer's spreadsheet or word processing software to help you build decks.  Many of those rules, however, are designed to be memorizable.  There are patterns of logic that are used.  In the end, you'll intuit some rules rather than memorizing them.

NEO went through many iterations for some rules and cards.  Since I haven't played in a while, I am not positive that these are the most recent, most balanced versions.

Don't be scared of the volume of the materials.  Most of these rules are, however, usable in chunks or modules.  You can take what you like, leave what you don't, or add a little bit in at a time.  At a minimum I suggest using:

1) Cost Capping (see "All_Characters_Specials in the Deckbuilding Reference folder)
2) Replacement Rules (start with the basic replacement rules, moving to the advanced rules gradually)
3) Use the Restricted Cards List
4) Introduce level 0 Power Cards (see the New In Deck Cards List)
5) Use the Omni-Activator and Battlesite Negate Proxy Rules
6) Add the KO beats Venture rule (you lose if your last guy is KO'd, regardless of score)
7) Try some of the new homebases

The beginner's homebases are:

A) "Any Hero" Job Placement Agency (replaces Team Overpower)
B) Alternate Universe (replaces Marvel Universe, Omniverse, etc.)
C) Bottled City of Kandor (note that it does NOT have to obey the Restricted Cards list)
D) Manhattan Underground (replaces Marvel Manhattan)
E) Pace Car Manufacturing Factory
F) Roller Skating Rink
G) S.H.I.E.L.D. Training Grounds
H) Secret Wars World
I) Streets of Central City (note that it does NOT have to obey the Restricted Cards list)
J) Streets of New York City
K) Weapons Manufacturing Facility

These alone will make a lot of characters playable and are minimally invasive on the rules.  They'll also give MAX 7 and MAX 6 teams the power to block large attacks and compete with MAX 8 teams.

If you are a beginner to NEO try to avoid using the Strategy cards.  They are intentionally sophisticated and theme entire decks. 

Next, try the alternate battlesite construction rules.  Don't worry about memorizing the costs of OPD cards.  If you look in the Battlesite Building References you will find cheat sheets to help you pick OPD cards for your Battlesites.  Remember those Negate Proxy rules.

If you think you understand them clearly, add the new turn order rules.  These really change the game without appreciably altering the way you interpret card text.

After that, the next stage is to adopt the new rules modifications, again without using the strategy cards.  Then start using the strategy cards, but limit everyone to a maximum of 1 to start with.  Only raise the strategy card limit to 3 when you really are comfortable with the NEO rules or your head will implode from the increase of strategy and in-game complexity; players will have too much to keep track of and lots of options available.

Once you have an understanding of the strategies you can try building some of the classic comic book all-star teams like the X-Men using a fixed roster homebase.  You'll find that these homebases actually work pretty well compared to custom teams provided that you leverage all the NEO rules, Strategy Cards included.

No, it's not new cards.  Yes, it's a little kludgy.  It is, however, the most fun that many of us in New England ever had playing the game of Overpower.  Feel free to download the NEO attachments below.

Lee Valentine
Boston, MA
Email me with questions or comments.

Lee Valentine,
Jan 7, 2011, 11:42 AM