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The Year of Shadowrun

shadowrunIn my last post, I posited that 2013 is the Year of the New Edition.  I made special mention of Shadowrun’s forthcoming fifth edition, which has me all aflutter. Shadowrun, as I’ve discussed, is a game that is near and dear to my heart –and I’m clearly not alone.  Despite creeping up on its 25th anniversary, the Shadowrun property is experiencing a renaissance that few games ever approach.  Look below the fold to find out why some are calling 2013 “The Year of Shadowrun.”

In the official announcement of the “Year of Shadowrun,” SIX Shadowrun-focused games were announced (or reconfirmed) for 2013/2014.  In addition to the aforementioned 5th edition of the tabletop RPG, Shadowrun Returns—the isometric RPG successfully crowd-funded by Harebrained Schemes—will launch late in the year.  But that’s far from all the love developers will be showing the Sixth World this year…

Fire Opal Media, best known for their fantasy heartbreaker, The 13th Age, will be launching a Shadowrun: Crossfire, a deck-building game that combines, “RPG elements with cooperative gameplay.”  I am optimistic about this one, as I’ve rediscovered a love of card games of the non-collectible variety.  If Fire Opal can bring decent mechanics to the table and successfully evoke the feel of Shadowrun, then this is a sure winner.

Next up is Sprawl Gangers, by Kickstarter wunderkinds CoolMiniOrNot.  Unlike David, I’m not a big mini gamer.  That said, practically anything would be better than the last ill-fated attempt at a Shadowrun miniatures game…  Another thing Sprawl Gangers has going for it is the total Necromunda vibe (one of the few mini games I had a thing for).  I mean, just reading this description gets me excited:

Players will take on the task of building gangs (Ancients, Halloweeners, First Nation, and so on) following specific point values of a scenario, and modifying the various miniatures based upon what new resources (weapons/gear/magic/tech) a player gained through previous games. Gangs won’t simply fight for the sake of fighting, but will actively building their turfs and resources. Among other things, this will allow for the hiring of the exact right shadowrunner when they need that ace in the hole. All this adds up to the experience of watching your gang grow and expand through exciting play across a swath of games.

Level up my gang?  New weapons, magic and other resources that carry over across games?  Yes please!

Catalyst Game Labs, the publisher of the tabletop game, is rounding out the selection of games with the addition of a Euro-style board game to the Shadowrun panoply.  Called “Hostile Takeover,” players assume the role of mega-corps vying for control of Seattle (I call dibs on Saeder-Krupp…).  Euro-games are big around here, but I’m on the fence about this one.  Catalyst hasn’t done a game like this that to my knowledge, and pulling off a decent designer board game is no mean feat.  I remain optimistic, but I’ll definitely keep an open mind about this one (and I’ll probably wait for the reviews to come in as well…).

The last game referenced in the Year of Shadowrun announcement is Shadowrun Online, a cross-platform MMO by Cliffhanger productions.

So many words in that sentence bum me out.

Of course, Shadowrun Online had a Kickstarter back in August, drumming up over $500k for the game, so they’re off to a reasonable start.  But I’m not a fan of low budget MMO’s that leverage properties I love.  Cliffhanger has a history of successful browser games (a format I am not particularly enamored with, but hey…), but there are lots of promises for SR Online—like being available on five different platforms, for instance.  I will always be skeptical of small studios promising a quality MMO experience, and this case is no difference.   With Shadowrun Returns already on the docket, and promising an experience that is much more realistic to deliver on, it’s gonna be tough for Cliffhanger to get more money out of me. That said, I love a good surprise…

That’s it!  Six games sprinkled throughout 2013 and into 2014, each one promising a different experience, or a difference facet of the Shadowrun universe.  I find it hard to argue against the motion:  this IS the Year of Shadowrun!

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This entry was posted by Chris Avery.

4 thoughts on “The Year of Shadowrun

  1. Pingback: Fiction of the Sixth World | Caffeineforge

  2. Thanks for the rundown, Chris. It should prove to be an interesting year indeed. While I love Shadowrun (and especially the novels), I too am a bit leary of low budget MMO’s. Hopefully they’ll get it right, or present it in a way that enables them to make nice improvements to it later with additional funding following the release.

    I am most interested in seeing how Fire Opal turns out (I love card games too) and having designed quite a few board games myself, I wholeheartedly agree that pulling off a really good one is “no mean feat.” Hopefully they aren’t just trying to ride on the coat tails of Shadowrun’s success and are putting a solid effort and plenty of playtesting into their board game! Cheers!

  3. Pingback: Once More Into the Shadows: Shadowrun 5th Edition Review (Part 1) | Caffeineforge

  4. Pingback: Guest Review: Shadowrun Returns | Caffeineforge

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