In 1984, TSR released what remains today the paragon of superhero RPGs: Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game. Jeff Grubb and Steve Winters designed the FASERIP system to be simple, fast, and evocative of the supers genre, and the set delivers.
The Marvel Super Heroes RPG did so well that TSR released the Advanced Set in 1986, adding more robust character generation, more classic Marvel superheroes, and more campaign options.
In 1991, TSR completely revamped the yellow core box, calling it Marvel Super Heroes Basic Set, Revised Edition.
Now, with both yellow sets in the shop, I decided to take some contrast shots, plus reference photos of the character cards and stand-ups. The sheets are often cut-up into pieces in used sets, so I thought some data here would be helpful to collectors and players.
Marvel Super Heroes Role-playing Game (MH-0) [BOX SET]
1984 … TSR 6850 … ISBN 0394537998 … CONTENTS: Battle Book. Campaign Book. Day of the Octopus adventure. 8 cardstock hero cut-outs. Poster map. 25 cardboard playing pieces.
Marvel Super Heroes Basic Set, Revised Edition [BOX SET]
1991 … TSR 6900 … ISBN 1560760877 … CONTENTS: Rule Book; Campaign Book; Two poster maps; 7 sheets of character cards (55 + 1 blank); 5 sheets of stand-up playing pieces (100).
The original set’s books are thinner and have more Marvel art. Note the Universal Table. This made for quick combat and skill challenges, with degrees of success. The table was so successful, TSR tried importing it into other games. (Ex: Gamma Word 3e and Conan RPGs)
Character Cards and Standups
The 1984 MSH set has 8 super hero cards, and a sheet of 25 punch out tokens (intended for a plastic base). The 1991 MSH Basic set definitely is more generous in this regard. I’ll have full reference photos of those sheets below.
The 1984 set has a double-sided play map. However, the 1991 set turns them into two single-side maps.
MISPRINT: In 2020 I saw a MSH Battle Book, but with Day of the Octopus stapled inside!
In the first years of Marvel Super Heroes (1984-6), TSR coded the core box sets as MH-0 and MA-0, which kick off their respective module and accessory book lines.
1991 MSH Basic Revised Ed Card sheets
Lots of Marvel comic heroes in the 1991 set:
Quasar, Wasp, Iron Man, Doctor Pym, She-Hulk, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Moon Knight, Nick Fury, Cloak, Captain Britain, Punisher, Black Widow, Dagger, Meggan, Phoenix II, Psylocke, Gambit, Banshee, Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, Jubilee, Forge, Captain Marvel, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Usagent, Human Torch I, Silver Surfer, Kid Nova, Namorita, Speedball, Firestar, Marvel Boy, Night Thrasher, Storm, Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Archangel, Wolverine, Professor X, Iceman, The Beast, Mister Fantastic, Human Torch II, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Thing, Invisible Woman, Sub-mariner, Doctor Strange.