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Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
by Monica G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/20/2019 13:30:49

Note: We got an early copy of the physical Sixth World Begginer Box, which we've based our review on after a few play-throughs. Note that not all of what we discuss is present in the digital starter kit:

The Shadowrun Sixth World Beginner Box is a boxed set that introduces players to the rules for Shadowrun 6th edition. It's a great introductory set that has all the material you need to get a game started quickly. This includes a 24-page rulebook, a 24 page scenario, four character portfolios, a map of Seatle in the year 2080, scenario maps, a deck of equipment cards (which also includes spells and some NPC stats for the DM), and a set of 12 beautiful custom Shadowrun dice. You'll need a lot of dice, because Shadowrun has always been about three things: futuristic technology, magic, and rolling handfuls of dice--and 6th edition is no different.

A brief word on the world of Shadowrun--the game is set in an alternate future where magic of ancient legend has returned to the world in the early 2000s. The return of magic also brought creatures such as dwarves and elves, and even monsters such as dragons and ghouls into existence. This future is set in and around 2080, in a time when high-tech lasers and cybernetic implants are rather common. This future is a distopian one, with different national boundaries than we know today, and corporations controlling many aspects of daily life. You and your fellow players are shadowrunners--hired mercenaries that end up doing the dirty work for the corporations, often in the form of espionage, kidnapping, computer hacking, robbery, etc. Among the character options are deckers (hackers), a riggers (mechanics), mages, and street samurai (the muscle).

Now, for the quickstart rules. This is a nice 24-page set of simplified rules that give us a taste of what is to come in 6th edition. The quickstart rules don't include much in the way of character creation, but focus more on gameplay. If you're a veteran of the game, you may remember that Shadowrun's basic mechanics have been centered on forming a dice pool and rolling a bunch of dice. This version of Shadowrun, like recent iterations has us building a pool from an ability + skill and rolling a number of dice equal to the total. For example, if your character is attempting to hack into a computer, you would add your character's logic (representing her natural intelligence) and your electronics skill (her knowledge of electronics). You would then take that result and roll that number of dice to determine the effect. Each result of a 5 or 6 is a success, and contributes to the effectiveness of her attempt to hack the computer. Sixth edition places increased importance on the concept of 'edge', a stat that has been used in previous editions to represent the charcter's luck. Characters enter battle with edge points and more can be gained based on circumstance, such as having the high ground on a battlefield. This edition has expanded rules on gaining and using edge, allowing you to spend edge points in different amounts (1-5) to gain increasing bonuses on actions. Lower-end edge effects allow for things like buy a single re-roll or add to the outcome of 1 die. Higher-end edge expenditures let you do things like roll an additional die for each 6 you roll on your initial test, or increase your enemy's chances of having a critical failure. These are just some examples, but this edition really brings edge to the forefront as a major mechanic. At the heart of the game, you're still rolling a ton of dice and anticipating the outcome. Edge now makes that process more exciting, and players seem to enjoy thinking tactically to gain edge in combat. Veteran players will notice other changes to magic, combat, etc. that largely lean toward simplification. As well, there are some editing errors, particularly in the card set that can lead to confusion. It's likely that the core rulebook will clear up the confusion due to editing, and also possible that we'll see expansion on the rules that often aren't present in a starter kit like this.

The adventure book contains a simple scenario called 'Battle Royale', in which the runners find themselves in the middle of a gang war. Without spoiling too much, they'll have to find a way to rescue a high value target from the gangsters and get out safely to collect their reward. Players can choose from 4 character options: Frostburn--ork combat mage, Rude--troll street samurai, Yu-- Elf covert ops specialist, and Zipfile--Dwarf decker. Each character comes with an 8-page folio that contains an overview of the rules, some background and role-playing tips, and some charts for quick reference during the game. This makes it really easy to get started. The box includes a set of cards that have the stats for the equipment and spells that each character has, which also makes for easier reference. The scenario is about 24 pages with a lot of helpful tips for first-time game masters. There's even a map to help players and GM visualize the scene.

Overall, the Shadowrun Sixth World Beginner Box really has everything that you need to get started. First time players can get a game prepared in probably a couple of hours or less. The box retails for about $25, and it's an amazing value considering that a dozen custom Shadowrun dice will probably cost you at least $20. Not to mention the cost of the card set and adventure book. As a veteran Shadowrun player, this has me excited to play and run the game again. Though this boxed set doesn't present the full rules, it gives us a taste, and I like what I'm seeing so far. This preview of the game shows a lot of promise and it I can't wait to pick up the core rulebook when it's available in a few months.

See our full review at GeeksAGogo.com



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
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Shadowrun, Sixth World: Dossier: Emu (Human Rigger)
by Rion S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/17/2019 00:30:23

Overall, as the first glimpse of 6E proper, I have some issues. On the sheet itself, it has a number of items it doesn't explain. If you were totally new, you wouldn't know what half the gear is from the dossier. There's also a lot of stats it doesn't explain, and items that don't say what they even are. The gear bloat from SR5 seems to be here with a bunch of the same mods to gear, but with no explanation what they do or even what the item is you are reading. She has an Armor Jacket, but this doesn't seem to have any stats. Apparently these are explained on a card.

It seems complete as a character goes, but I can also see a lot of strange choices, like an absurd amount of debt to be paid off. It's nice that they included a conversion chart for meters per combat turn to kph to miles, but weird that it stops at 70. There's a weird (P#) annotation on some tables, which I guess must be referring to the place in the QSR document to find a better explanation?

There's also some goofiness of 6E showing up here. The action economy charges you a Minor action to drop an object? And a Major to pick an object up or put it down? Pretty unconventional for any game to not make it a free action to drop something. Edge is baked into every single quality, with Gearhead seeming to imply you can't spend Edge on a non-combat task unless you have a Quality that allows it. 50000 ways to get or deny permission to spend Edge doesn't seem like an enhancement to the game, really. In fact, it feels like they are moving Edge into the same slot that Limits occupied before, trading one type of clunk for another. I miss the days of just having a stat, a skill and some basic modifiers. While this is substantially more approachable than 5E was, it feels like I will constantly be overlooking some way to have earned or spent Edge, which makes the game feel cumbersome and underwhelming. I wouldn't have reservations about playing this version, however. I feel like I can intuit what to do as a long time player of prior editions.

The character sheet itself is not great in terms of layout or presentation, with some very tiny type in some places, and a poor font choice that causes characters to run together (same from 5E) so you can't read it very well, and everything is abbreviated, hindering new players in finding things on the page. Since the gear cards are what explains everything (I guess) there's things on here you won't be able to use or parse without the eventual Core Rule Book (I assume), since the character has 20+ gear items, but only is supposed to take 3 gear cards. The sheet itself did not get laid out with consderation for being viewed as a PDF with the sheet cut in half awkwardly, and not aligning to have both halves of the sheet able to lay out side by side in a PDF viewer.

Lastly, this is not a printer friendly document. It would kill your ink budget to try. You'll want to upload it to your phone if you plan to try to use it in a game. But with the sample run placed in between the tables and the character sheet, you will be doing a lot of scrolling to get between the character sheet part and the rules tables.

It really doesn't feel like a lot of thought or consideration went into this product. Reviews on the digital version of the QSG suggests it would be best to skip the QSR version as a purchase. I don't hate the edition from this product, but this product does not do what it's trying to do very well at all.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World: Dossier: Emu (Human Rigger)
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Shadowrun: No Future (A Cyberpunk Sourcebook)
by Christopher L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2019 13:13:06

The reason I give this bad, is not because of the mini-systems it has in it or anything of that nature or even the content. I give it a bad rating because it reuses art from other source materials. I give it the rating, because it references SR5 in a SR6 mechanic. It is not a properly edited book. No excuse for reusing art either.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: No Future (A Cyberpunk Sourcebook)
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Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
by Marcelino S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2019 00:06:15

awesome love the colors love the game! Its broken into bite size pieces that make learning easy. Can't wait for the whole book!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
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Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
by Dean S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2019 23:22:04

I have to concur with many of the other purchasers, this product is just plain bad and feels like a half-assed attempt to cash in on the new edition. Within moments of looking through the set, any fan of Shadowrun will immediately begin to notice the (often glaring) errors and the truly terrible characters. The only thing that this set accomplishes is to make already existing Shadowrun fans hesitate in transitioning over from the last edition.

The numerous errors and convoluted/contradictory rules provided here do little to entice players to try the new system and the adventure provided within (that should be sparking interest/excitement especially with new players) is lacklustre at best and attempts the barest nod of nostalgia to previous introductory scenarios (Food Fight).

Very Disappointed CGL. Battletech is knocking it out of the park but it seems there is no joy for Shadowrun fans - instead it feels like a grubby cash grab to get in on the Cyberpunk 2077 hype.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2019 18:44:47

As has been mentioned by other reviewers... this is a really poor effort from Catalyst. As someone who loves Battletech and Shadowrun, I'm amazed by how the two games have diverged. BT is in good hands and is producing some of its best content in a long time - from content to editing, etc. Shadowrun is a mess though. This product and what I've seen of 6th edition - after the problems of 5e - I'm done with this game until someone other than Jason Hardy is in charge of it. Please listen to the fans on this one CGL. Your team holds two beloved franchises and you are doing well by one of them (BT) while digging a deeper and deeper hole for Shadowrun.

This is a lousy product. Little meaningful content, lots of errors, poor editing, and not really a good intro to the system when your core book is out in a month (ish).

I regret this ten dollars.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
by Marcus S. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2019 03:53:51

DO NOT BUY THIS! This is not worth your money! If you compare it to the Quick Start Rules for previous editions, there isn't much more meat on the bone - and the Quick Start Rules for 5e and 4e were FREE! The only two things this has going for it are the reference cards (which are full of errors and are missing the backside) and the Seattle Poster Map (a superiour version of which is included within the 5e Seattle Boxed Set). And that Catalyst Game Labs has the AUDACITY to even PRETEND that this product is worth 24.99 $ and was marked down to 9.99 $ is downright REPULSIVE! I've noticed at least another error on one of the character sheets and I'm suspecting that even more will show up upon closer inspection.

TL;DR: This product in it's digital version isn't worth it's asking price and should be free. It is poorly edited, full of errors and is looking far better than it actually is. Avoid buying it at all costs.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
by Dan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2019 14:36:29

I too want my money back. The designers, editors, proofreaders, and everyone else who worked on this project should be ashamed of themselves for having put out such a shoddy product. The booklets, cards, and map are loaded with typos, mistakes, and misinformation. This box is nothing more than slap in the face to the Shadowrun community.

Catalyst, fire your staff and sell the Shadowrun IP to a company that will do the license justice.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box
by Patrick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2019 08:27:10

I want my money back.

Not judging on the system itself, but on the non existing proof reading, editing and organization that has happened here.

  • Files in the zip-file not organized. Would have been an effort of 2 minutes to put numbers in front of each file name. (Pro-Tip: Use number 1 for a "Read this first" file such as the "Instruction sheet")
  • Reference cards (at least for spells) have complete nonsense written on them which makes them useless
    • All single target spells marked as "Direct combat spells", all AOE spells as "Indirect combat spells"
    • Complete inaccurate and senseless gibberish written on the reference cards for spells, e.g. flamestrike "Roll Sorcery + Magic and add net hits to target’s Defense Rating and to Body for Damage Resistance tests."

You have this particular card even reprinted in the rulebook where an example of using the rules for indirect spell totally disregards this nonsense written on the card.

Have not even checked for further faults in the documents, as I'm totally disgusted by the lack of effort for any proofreading.

CGL shows total disrespect to fans and customers for (again) putting half-finished waste on the market



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: House Arano: The Aurigan Coalition
by Jonathan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2019 00:55:35

As a fan of all things 3025 (or really the Succession Wars) over the latter Battletech timeline eras, I was excited at the prospect of this product. I've played the Harebrained Schemes game, modded it, and enjoyed what it added to the canon.

The format is a throwback to the original 3025 House books, and mimics the internal styling, content, and organization. It also adds features that weren't in the original books, such as an in-depth profile of the House Unit, Rampart Company, and Random Assignment Tables (RATs) for 'mechs, vehicles, and aerospace assets. It even combines features from the old scenario books, such as what is in The Fox's Teeth, which is an excellent addition. The art is good, as are the maps, but in most cases they are simply a reprint of in-game HBS art. It can be a bit confusing too, as some of the Mechwarrior art is recycled to be prominent civilian figures in the profiles. But it is a definite upgrade over the somewhat painful art in the 1980s-era products. Some of the Mechwarrior profiles are those of some HBS in-game ronin characters, which was another nice touch, as most who would read the product are most likely familiar with the characters from the HBS game.

Where the product is lacking is in length. At 77 pages it is more than a bit light. For comparison, House Davion The Federated Suns book is the longest at 204 pages, and House Liao The Capellan Confederation is the shortest at 160 pages, which is still more than twice the length of House Arano. Profiles of the other house and mercenary units appearing in the deployment table are missing, and the arts & economic sections are downright anemic (of the three businesses, two are on Mechdur. What about the rest of the Reach?). The history section is short, but then I wouldn't expect it to be as robust as the major houses, and it DOES contain a nice summary of the Reach's history in an attempt to meld it into the canon timeline and explain its insignificance to the last 30 years of canon. It even has a spoiler-free summary of the HBS game, as well as amusing, in-universe assessments and conspiracies over the events of The Restoration. The section on the Aurigan Houses is four pages, but is really only two given that art takes up 2/3 of two pages. The atlas section is useful, and fleshes out planets that are all-too-familiar from all the missions in the HBS game.

Finally, It was with a sense of relief that I discovered that Catalyst avoided all the gender and pronoun controversy of the HBS game with this product. I was skeptical at first, given whom was chosen to accomplish all the writing. Fortunately, they chose a neutral path in their advocacy, which makes for a more enjoyable (and less politically charged) gaming experience. No worries about starting unneccesary arguments with your gaming group!

All in all, I highly recommend this product. While I want more from it, it is an excellent attempt to replicate the legacy House material. I truly hope Catalyst re-prints the original 3025-era works, and perhaps update/RetCon some of the material (and art!) to match the effort they put into House Arano The Aurigan Reach. This makes a fine addition to my Succcession Wars sourcebooks, and I look forward to using it with my gaming group.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: House Arano: The Aurigan Coalition
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Shadowrun: Better Than Bad (Deep Shadows)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/23/2019 19:07:12

Shadowrun: Better than Bad is a sourcebook for Shadowrun and provides support for characters “hooding” or helping the little guy. As that is a campaign style that has not seen much support for this edition, I was pleased to see this book as it is a style I like to see. If you are interest in that style of pay, or Azania which also gets explored in this product, it is a worthwhile purchase but probably not a priority.

Shadowrun: Better than Bad, is a Deep Shadows Sourcebook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, this particular book covers the idea that Shadowrunners can actually do good in the Sixth World and not just be corporate stooges along with a visit to Azania (formerly South Africa).

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then moves into A Light in the Darkness, talking about “Hooding” doing good for the community and striking against the powerful, named after Robin Hood (of course). Various of the organizations that oppose the corps are covered ranging from self-help groups to full on terrorist organizations, something for everyone and a bit more. It also includes a pitch to fight the power, rock on Opti (aka Old Crow, active NeoAnarchist and host of the NeoAnarchist podcast).

Another fiction section leads into It’s All About Power, which are a bunch on in world pitches for hooding jobs across the globe from Atlanta to Mumbai, these serve as nice adventure seeds as well as giving information about what is happening across the Sixth World. A useful section is “Turning a Profit without Charging Money” which talks about the rewards for doing good beside money. It then turns to looking at some of the organizations and networks, such as the Draco Foundation and the New Underground Railroad, who are trying to do good work. A discussion of getting hired for this kind of job, for whom the contact is generically referred to as “Ms Smith” (as opposed to the corporate Mr Johnson) and how working with such non-professional tends to go very differently from the usual run along with some example run ideas and a set of random tables for generating more (though one of the tables is missing a result line).

Next we move onto the location-based section of the product, welcome to Azania (formerly South Africa) and specifically the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vaal Metroplex. If one wants to run some adventures in Azania, this will give you the information to do so including places to visit, what the Megacorps are up to (short but let you know what area is controlled by each, making it easy to link them to run), the political situation (more fodder for runs), and notes on likely opposition from the security forces and criminal elements. There are some new para-animals including dangerous paratypes of rabbits! The way SINs work are slightly different here with the addition of color codes and that is detailed along with the problems having the wrong codes can cause.

Jacaranda Citizens presents fifteen NPCs, mostly who operate at Hooders in the PWV sprawl, many of whom could be employers or allies, with one or two targets or enemies. I would have liked to have seen more adventure hooks and fewer stats (about five pages are consumed with stat blocks). The section ends with two new qualities, one positive and one negative, and a new mentor spirit that has the worst mechanical downside of any mentor spirit, a real, what were they thinking moment, as it has the potential to trigger “you cannot play this character is this adventure.” Bad design choice.

Being Less Bad looks at the nuts and bolts of being a hooder, from an in game perspective, and gives a lot of general adventure ideas in the process. Solid section and a good read.

Building a Hooder is where all the new toys are, the “grey tech” items which provide protection from magic (but are not recommended for magically active characters) and includes a drug (“blight”) that really messes up magically active beings. There are two new spells, two new adept powers, eleven (more) new qualities: seven positive, two masteries, and two negative. New Life Path modules for characters from the Azanian Confederation are provided. It concludes with some new rules with more uses for karma and street cred.

The book ends with tables to generate Hooding runs which are useful for inspiration as well but sadly, no index.

Overall, a useful book though I remain not entirely sold on the sourcebook/location book combo. I am all for encouraging less violent and more help the people style of play, part of any cyberpunk setting should be the focus on the do it yourself, build a community aspect of punk part of the name. So, I entirely approve of seeing that focused on here.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Better Than Bad (Deep Shadows)
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Shadowrun: The Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia
by Timothy M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/23/2019 01:11:17

I'm a long time shadowrun fan. I own almost everything published in English, just missing a few things from 2nd edition era. And I think is probably the least useful thing I've ever bought. I am not sure what it is supposed to be for? If you are familiar with all the shadowrun lore, its mostly going to be annoying because of the "unreliable narrator" angle giving half truths or straight up propaganda. And if you don't know SR lore and were hoping to get a leg up, this isn't going to help you because its almost completely detail free.

I mean, they drop two new Great Dragons into the world. And sure, I've long thought that there were too many European Great Dragons and not enough others. But if you introduce a Great Dragon and all you can find to say is "She lives in India and likes nagas and buddhists", what exactly is the point?

The whole book is just full of fluffy, detail free blurbs on various things. Some of which are just oddly wrong. Like the Astral Space Protection Society article saying they are bankrolled by Hestaby, which that's histroy and Wuxing bankrolls them now. Which is referred to in another article on another topic.

Its sometimes amusing, but its definitely not informative.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia
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Shadowrun: The Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia
by Robert H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/20/2019 17:34:05

This supplement has no sensible reason to exist while a wikia exists for Shadowrun.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: No Future (A Cyberpunk Sourcebook)
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2019 10:03:44

I haven't bought a SR product for over a year. I just haven't been impressed with the quality since Lockdown. I had high hopes here though. After all, this is the update for Shadowbeat. How bad could it be?

Pretty bad. Terrible in fact. I have tried and failed to read it 4 times and failed each time. There is nothing here to capture the imagination and advance the setting. I get the distinct impression that Catalyst is just going through the motions. The book is aptly named though should they not surrender the license or improve their products because No Future is what will happen to the Shadowrun game at this rate.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: No Future (A Cyberpunk Sourcebook)
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Shadowrun: The Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2019 07:23:35

When I saw this was coming out, I thought it would be ver much like the Sixth World Almanac. It's not even close. The entries are all written in widely different tones and styles. No doubt because of the neo-anarchist source but it makes for a disjointed read. There's a surprising lack of hooks too. You really need to have a familiarity with previous editions to make use of this book. There is a silver cloud here: this was bad enough that I have decided not to purchase any more 6th edition products unless they get better reviews.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia
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