Alexander Kuprijanow
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I consider Shadowrun, a mixture of cyberpunk and fantasy, to be one of the coolest phantastic franchises out there. The classic action-adventure video games on Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo rock like hell and the time-honoured RPG continues as strong as ever – the 5th edition is due in 2013. It is not easy to get a big, playable chunk of cards on German eBay and my shadowrunning soul started celebrating, when I finally won a extensive collection (about 2000+ cards, with many rares and several promos).

Maybe it was a meddling from Lowfyr himself, but this run backfired quicker than anything I recall from recent gaming.

For a detailed look at the Shadowrun TCG and everything it stands for, I divided this review into two parts: my attempt to provide a more comprehensive overview of the game, as well as my personal opinion in which I take a detailed look at its' vexations. If you already know what Shadowrun TCG is all about, then skip to my statement at “11. The cut-up”.

1. Basic info on the game:

The Shadowrun Trading Card Game, designed by Mike Nielsen, Jim Nelson and Michael Mulvihill was published by FASA Corporation. It came out in fall of 1997, after the first massive wave of Magic clones started throwing in the towels. Shadowrun’s fresh approach to gaming and great art won two Origin awards in 1997 and the game received positive reception among critics and players alike. The game’s first and last expansion set was “Underworld”, as the game died in 1999. Despite being completed and ready for printing, the “Corp War” expansion and “Second Run” edition never saw the light of day.

I remember Shadowrun as one of the most expensive CCGs of the late 90s, one I always wanted to play but never could afford due to the steep price of starters and boosters and very, very many rares to hunt for – the base set contained 359 cards with 121 rares, 120 uncommons and 110 commons (along with some promo cards). For our test run, I put together three decks – an old Inquest rareless deck with heavy fighters and lots of weapons; the other two other pre-made decks came from a German SR TCG blog (http://shadowrun-tcg.blogspot.de/) containing several rares, some magic spells and matrix programs.

2. The world of Shadowrun:

First, some fluff background you need in order to better understand the game’s main thematic concepts. The Shadowrun universe, a savage mix of cyberpunk and high fantasy, is set in a dystopic future of desperate poverty, state of-the art technology and lots of supernatural crap. Magic has returned to earth with a vengeance, creating a conflictual meta-human society of humans, elves, dwarves, orcs and trolls. With governments vanishing into insignificance, everyday life in colossal metroplex regions is dictated by mega-corporations and their fascist police forces. Whenever a tough, highly illegal and dangerous job needs to be done, shadowrunners are brought to the scene. Cybernetically or magically enhanced experts in martial arts, firearms, explosives, computer hacking, drone piloting, spirit conjuring and elemental wizardry, these guns-for-hire can do anything as long as the right price is paid.

Now, on with the actual gameplay.

3. Primary gameplay procedures:

The main goal of the game is to gather a minimum amount of reputation points. Players use nuyen, the game’s currency, in order to hire shadowrunners, buy stuff and pay for other effects. After being armed to the teeth, runners are sent out to go on shadowruns. The latter are protected by challenges, which create obstacles for runner teams. Should the runners succeed to withstand the challenges and still be able to fulfill the shadowrun objective, they get the accruing reputation points. Often, the game asks you to roll a D6 and hope for the best.

4. Card types:


There are seven types of cards in Shadowrun. Runners are the main characters which are sent to shadowruns. Gear cards represent the beautiful toys Runners get to play with: from cybernetic body enhancements, body armor, assault drones and spirit allies to heavy gunnery, high-tech computers, matrix programs and getaway vehicles. Objectives tell runners what to do in order to receive reputation points. Challenges are “hazard” cards played on Objectives to prevent Runners from scoring reputation points too easy. Challenges can by pretty everything from gang wars to mine fields, monstrous critters, security cyborgs and sentry guns. Locations and Contacts represent permanent cards which support Runners on their quest for rep points. Finally, Specials (and ther sub-category, Stingers) are yer olde sorceries and instants, which create an immediate effect on the game.

5. Shadowrunners and their dirty work:

Runners have a Magic-like Threat Rating of Attack and Body which represent their capability to deal damage and withstand harm. They also have a couple of cool Skills, comparable to these in Decipher’s Star Trek CCG. There are 14 Skills in Shadowrun: Athletics, Conjure, Decking, Demolitions, Firearms, Gunnery, Leadership, Melee, Piloting, Social, Sorcery, Stealth, Streetwise, and Technical. Runners use these skills to sleaze a Challenge and move on to the next one. Once a group of runners fails to possess the necessary skills to sleaze a Challenge, alarm is triggered. From now on, runners will have to rely on their fighting skills to subdue the remaining Challenges and complete their Objective.

6. The small print:

Certain runners have special Gear cards: only riggers may use drones, only deckers may use matrix program cards, only conjurers can use spirits and only mages can use sorcery cards.
Many runners have additional traits, like anti-social – automatically trigger alarm on social Challenges; fame – produce additional nuyen; recon – look at an unrevealed Challenge, etc.
Runners have up to six points of essence they can spend for equipping themselves with cyberware, as too much technology in your body will destroy your soul.
When Runners get damaged, they suffer Fatigue, as their Threat Rating decreases by the amount of damage they received. Armor reduces damage, but is rendered useless by armor-piercing damage. Certain Gear cards go for such neat things like burst fire (roll a D6 for additional damage), indirect fire (Runners not participating in current shadowrun may aid their colleagues by adding their attack value to the team’s prowess) and silenced weapons (if only silenced weapons were used while fighting a Challenge, alarm is not triggered). Many effects come through a vast variety of keywords which enhance or restrict certain card synergies; for example, you cannot use vehicles on indoor missions or a closed matrix system must be accessed from within.

7. Basic turn structure:

1.) Objectives
Play or reveal new Objectives. Each player may only have one Objective in play at a time.
2.) Payday
Decide whether to gain 4 nuyen or to fill your hand up to seven cards. If you draw pile is empty, reshuffle your trash pile back into your draw pile.
3.) Refresh
Untap all runners and other tapped cards and draw one card from your deck. Tap a Runner to heal all damage left over from combat. You can heal Drones and Spirits by tapping them as well as the Runner (rigger/shaman) who controls them.
4.) Legwork
Perform as often as you like:
-play Challenges (every Objective may have up to three Challenges protecting it). Every player may place Challenges on an Objective, but a player also may never be endangered by his own Challenges. Since objectives are always played face-down, you can bluff your opponents by playing any card as a Challenge.
-deploy Runners, Contacts and Locations by paying their cost in nuyen
-play Gear on Runners by paying the Gear’s cost in nuyen
-swap Gear between Runners (tap both Runners)
-activate the effects of Contacts and Locations, pay for them if required
-play Specials
5.) Shadowrun
Send untapped Runners (up to six guys) to make their way to an Objective. Flip the Challenge face-up (discard bluffs) and compare its sleaze requirements to the Runner’s skills.
Either the team possesses enough skills to slip past a Challenge or alarm is triggered and combat occurs. The challenging player may distribute damage from the Challenge’s Attack value between all Runners’ Body ratings as he sees fit. Damage dealt to Runners remains on them until the Runner is healed. Damage equal to a Body rating results in immediate death of the participant. Should the shadowrunning team be unable to defeat the Challenge’s Body with their combined Attack value, the shadowrun is over and the Challenge remains to be beaten. If there are no Challenges left to “protect” an Objective, any player may send some of his untapped Runners to intercept the running team.
6.) End of turn
Discard down to 7 cards and declare that you turn is finished.


8. Presentation:


As for the visuals, FASA not only activated some of their Shadowrun cover pictures from published books, but also called in such renowned industry veterans as Ron Spencer, Paul Bonner, Paolo Parente, Mark Tedin, Jeff Laubenstein, Doug Chaffee, Mark Nelson, Janet Aulisio and Doug Andersen. Strong and coherent production design, big pictures on the cards and a clear, uncramped layout lead to the gist of the matter: Shadowrun is just beautiful to look at.

9. Rulebook:


Even though the rulebook has whopping 70 pages, it still covers all important topics, has a readable font (Shadowrun classic, baby!) and nice pics. For more comfort, there is a really useful Sequence-of-Play-card which contains the most important information on the game, including all Skill Icons and Special Traits.


10. Preliminary autopsy results:

All these aspects perfectly mimic the RPG world of Shadowrun. Everything that SR has to offer, is present in the game – tough-as-nails shadowrunners, magic, soul-draining cyberware, weird creatures, megacon conspiracies, shady deals, organized crime, dragons, futuristic weapons and vehicles. Even the sarcastic “I just don’t give a f*ck” and “If you do it, do it with style” atmosphere from the RPG is present – you get flavor text like “You’re too chicken to shoot me from behind” and “I’m invulnerAAARGHHH”. With hilarious cards like “Deja Vu”, “Change of Plans” and “Green Apples Quicksteps”, the game never takes itself too serious.

So far, SR sounds like one of the best CCGs out there – excellent setting, outstanding visuals, coolness in buckets, intriguing game mechanics. Just one question - how does the game actually play ? Is it just good or even great ?

_ _ _ _ _


11. The cut-up:

Suprisingly enough, SR is none of the above. After several sessions we decided that the game is a paradoxon of theoretically flavourful and moody game mechanics combined into disappointing gameplay. Having tinkered with game design for a couple of months, I see SR as a paragon example of game mechanics which sound incredibly cool on paper yet cannot stand a field-test.

Shadowrun’s main problems:

a.) Waiting for Mr.Right & Another One Bites the Dust

After the beginning, you spend much time building up your runner team, waiting for enough money to come together so you can bring out some Runners. Then, you go on a shadowrun. Expect your team to get seriously shredded. Next, you re-build your team after the better part has been killed. Then, you spend even more time waiting for Runners to show up. If you’re playing with lots of fat Runners (6-9 nuyen each), you’re condemned to twiddle your thumbs until you have enough money to deploy them (thing is, big guys are ripped apart just like their smaller cousins if they miss a dice throw or receive too much damage in combat). The downtime while you build up your Runner team, their entourage and accumulate resources is simply too long and feels solitaire. If you want to do something with your Runners (like healing them, their followers or swapping weapons back and forth), you have to tap them, meaning they won't be available for a run this turn - more waiting.

In one of our games, Oliver, my card game buddy, was the first one to start a run after his 9th turn, since we only had poorly drawn only one-two small Runners who weren’t strong enough to. Remember, that once you have filled up to 7 cards, you only draw one card per round. With a tiny team consisting of 1-3 Runners, you can forget venturing out on a run – not enough skills for sleazing, not enough Attack value to fight Challenges.

While waiting for Runners to show up, you can play Specials on your opponent’s team. Bear in mind that you spend your resources to stall his advance, while remaining unable to get yourself closer to winning. You need Runners in order to progress in the game and Runners quickly get decimated, in fact, too quickly. Since it the Challenging player decides how his Challenge deals damage to the Runner team, he can always go for the most vulnerable spot, a mage, a shaman or a rigger. If challenging a group of badass trolls and orcs, it is always possible to weaken the big guys so that the remaining Challenges will grind them away, even if we’re talking about your basic Manticore or Hunting Gargoyle (both 8/9). If your opponent comes knocking with a large group of heavy damage-dealers, let them run into a common Mine Field, which deals X armor-piercing damage to every Runner. Cheap, highly abusable cards like these can completely unhinge any game and seem poorly balanced.

It is great that Shadowrun does not have any resources similar to Magic: there are no lands or other resource generators you have to pray for in order to unfold your game. The most important cards in the game, however, are Runners, of whom you only have 15-20 in your deck of 60-70 cards - at the end, they're as important as lands are in Magic. Once all your Runners have been eliminated in combat (a matter of time), you will have to wait for them to show up again, so you can go on a shadowrun. Yes, you reshuffle your trash pile into your deck once you have run out of cards, but that only lengthens the playing time. Sooner or later you'll see your main guys torn apart – again and again. If you don’t draw any Runners, you’re doomed to more waiting.

This donwtime "setup" period occurs too often in the game and is not only monotonous and doughy, but simply too long. I wouldn't like it in ANY card game, but for the dynamic world of Shadowrun, this is highly inappropriate. I know that there is always a "preparation" phase like that in the RPG, but should an action card game emulate waiting in line so you can actually do something with your cards ?

b.) Sleazing past Challenges works in name only

In many gaming magazines from the 90s and online SR TCG game guides you get to read that a good team of Runners has a balance of skills. Unfortunately, no matter how well-skilled your Runners are, your opponent can always play a Challenge which will wipe the floor with your guys. It does not matter how many Runners you have on your team or how well-equipped, well-skilled or strong they are. What we got out of the three decks was the fact Runners got their asses handled by Challenges regardless of their Skills. Forget about sleazing Challenges, the requirements are way too random. In our game, there was only one time when a team was able to successfully sneak past a Challenge.

For example, there is that nifty Demolitions Skill. Out of 81 Runners in the base set, only four have Demolitions (Ajax, Cherry Bomb, Drake, Jack Hammer). Well, that’s not too bad, since there are only three Challenges out of 65 which mention Demolitions (Booby Trap, Mine Field or Time Delayed Bomb). What does it tell me ? First, there are few Challenges with Demolitions to master. Second, I might even not have a Demo guy ready at the time a Demolitions Challenge shows up. Third, even if I happen to have a Demo guy in play, he might get killed in the next best Challenge without having the chance to prove his worthiness with explosives. Solution: don't bother with Demolitions at all.

c.) The problem with pumpable Challenges

While playing, Oliver and me encountered the following issue: if one player is stuck with 7 cards in his hand he cannot play yet, he, understandingly, will start accumulating nuyen. If in this case, a pumpable Challenge shows up, the Challenging player can invest his resources into the Challenge so he can blow away virtually any kind of opposition. The pumpable Challenge might even remain in play, undefeated.

Oliver had the problem of not drawing any Runners with a full hand of seven useless cards. However, due to two famous rockers, he was able to net himself 6 nuyen during his credstick phases. This went on for several turns until I attempted a run with a team of powerful street samurais and some other guys thrown in for variety: Bam Bam (6/8, A1), Stomper (6/7, A1), Knuckles (7/7, A1), Uncle Joe (3/2) and Hawkwind (3/2) with each of them holding offensive weapons like Katanas or Ingram Valiants. My first Challenge: Lone Star Patrol, a common card (6/6; 1 nuyen: +1/+1 until end of turn). At this point, Oliver spent 19 nuyen and comfortably wiped out all my fat street samurais. Unwilling to continue the run with Uncle Joe and Hawkwind alone (there were two more Challenges to defeat and alarm was triggered), I pulled them out. When, on my next turn, I opted for another Objective with my remaining two Runners, my new Challenge turned out to be Mage Strike Force, an even more powerful, pumpable card (2 nuyen: +2/+2, Armor+1). Since nobody wanted to spend another half an hour building up on runners and nuyen AGAIN, we started a new session.

d.) Rock-Paper-Scissors... all defeated by rare cards

In SR:TCG, rare cards will always beat “lesser” ones. In our case, the two decks containing a fair amount of rare cards simply kicked the snot out of the all-commons/uncommons-deck.

Here is an illustration: in the base set, there are three decker-only cyberdecks: Sony CTY-360 (common, 2 nuyen, Decking+1); Fuchi Cyber-6 (uncommon, 3 nuyen, Decking+2); Fairlight Excalibur (rare; 4 nuyen, Decking+3, the first program on Decker is free). If you have the Excalibur, why bother with the cheap, sucky cards ? The same power allocation applies to all cards in the game, especially if they’re supposed to do what they’re told (i.e. work without dice rolls). Need more examples ? Partial Heavy Armor (4 nuyen, +2 Armor. Roll 1D6 after each use, trash on 5+) and Full Heavy Armor (6 nuyen, +2 Armor. Trash to avoid all damage taken in combat). Promo cards are even more broken, providing ridiculously strong effects like the zero-cost Maglock Passkey.

e.) The dice have been cast

The omnipresent dice throws deter a lot from any deck strategy, be it magic, rigging or fighting. Too many cards deliver an effect which says somehing like: “Throw a D6: You succeed on a 4-6.” Yes, at it’s heart, Shadowrun may be all about karma, but throwing a D6 almost every time you go for a card effect is way too much. An example: Bounty Hunter is a common Contact card which costs 3 nuyen to deploy. You pay X nuyen (X=Body of target Runner) and roll 1D6. 1, no effect. 2-5, Runner is killed.6, Hunter is killed. Way too many cards in the game – Objectives, Gear, Runners, Specials, Contacts, Locations – require dice throws to work, increasing the danger of a random slugfest. Cards like Luck’o the Irish (trash a Special card on a D6 roll of 4+) or Loaded Dice (modify an upcoming D6 roll by +1/-1) are an absolute must-have if you want to have at least some control over all that coinflipping. During one of our games, I played Bad Lunch, a cheap Special on Oliver’s main troll baddie (on a D6 roll of 1-3, targeted runner cannot go on a Shadowrun; discard on a roll of 4-6). Rolling low numbers until the end of the game made sure the poor fellow was never able to recover from it.

f.) A word about card efficiency/economy

For me, a reoccuring 50/50 chance that a game effect might actually fall into place as you would like it to, does not pay. What’s even worse, however, is that too many cards depend on other cards to make them worthwhile. If you don’t draw a shaman, a rigger or a decker for all the spirits, matrix programs and drones you’re holding in your hand, you’re screwed. If a rigger or a shaman gets clipped, all his pretty drone and spirit pets die along with him – a nice way of painting big red bullseyes on their heads, since the Challenging player decides how damage gets distributed. If you attempt to build a deck focusing on riggers, shamans or riggers, you’ll ultimately get whacked because these guys won’t last in a fight (see above) – and you will not be able to surpass many Challenges due to your limited rigging, conjuring or decking Skills.

Then there’s my favorite card group, the Skillsoft cards requiring Chipjacks. There are three Chipjacks in the game, a common, an uncommon and a rare one, which, unsurprisingly, turns out to be the best. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but out of 81 Runners in the base set, only Uncle Joe (!) has a built-in Chipjack. Then, there are nine Skillsofts in the game, four of which are rare. So, in order to give any non Uncle Joe-Runner a measly one extra Skill, you have to equip him with a Chipjack (cost: 1-3 nuyen) AND follow up with a Skillsoft (cost: 2-3 nuyen) AND all these cards get trashed immediately if the Runner bites the dust ? Where do I subscribe ?

At the end, you’re better off with regular firearms, which inflict a determined amount of damage by simply raising an Attack or Body value. Here, the circle is complete: fighting is the only realistic option to succeed in the game, so sleazing Challenges with Skills go by the board.

12. The verdict:

Here on the forum, it has already been said that you have to possess a ton of cards to be able to enjoy the game at its best. Sure, it’s no problem to create competitive decks if you have twelve copies of every rare in the game, but as I said before, getting a really big collection for this game can take a long time and cost a pretty penny. What I have read in other threads is that card collation in original boosters borders on raging madness, so you'll need a lot of them, too.

If you have been enjoying SR:TCG for years, I respect your love for the game with its growing pains and am sorry for not sharing your enthusiasm. As painful as it may sound for all SR gamers out there, the SR TCG is not a game I would like to play again. I would neither recommend it to SR fans keen on playing in their beloved universe, nor to average gamers who are looking for a cheap yet rewarding out-of-print CCG like On the Edge or older editions of Legend of the Five Rings.

Being slow, unspectacular and repetitive, the core game fails to create a worthy Shadowrun experience of coolness and action. Basically, the “first” part of the game is an empty, almost solitaire “waiting” phase in which you set up your stuff. The “second” part arrives when your Runners get mauled by random Obstacles and you have to start setting up all over again. The immense downtime for building up a solid Runner team ruins SR’s main course of either evading dangers by a hairbreadth or going for bullet-time combat with firearms, magic, martial arts and drones. Sleazing is so random, they might have as well left it out completely. Way too many rare, broken and useless cards as well as bucketloads of tedious, unpredictable dice-rolling put the boot to the poor gaming experience. Just like the dreaded first-person shooter game for PC and xBox, I consider it to be unworthy of the Shadowrun franchise.

I am open to questions, suggestions and aspects I have been missing so far, so do not hesitate to post them. I look forward to and am grateful for any kind of constructive criticism by players more experienced than me.

2nd EDIT: spelling, grammar, sentence order, nitpick.

A nitpicky final note : Why do I have to pay nuyen for magical spells ? All right, I get it, weapons cost money, contacts want to see money for their services and locations require an admission fee...but why do I have to pay for magical stuff that comes out of my spell-slinger dude ? I already paid money in order to hire him. It's not that I would pay for these guys' foci or something. For a game that differentiates between close-combat melee, light firearms, medium firearms, heavy gunnery, armor-piercing ammo and no use of vehicles in buildings, that's mingy and uncongruous.
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Ryan Bigelow
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Shadowrun: The Trading Card Game » Forums » Reviews
Re: Dissecting the Shadowrun TCG: A Great CCG...in Theory
Thanks for the review. I enjoy reading about those old CCGs. I did play this one back in the day (being an avid SR fan) and threw out the cards in frustration. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who couldn't enjoy it.
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DC .
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I believe I see one of the best review so far for a dead CCG.

Thanks Alexander, because of you, my total comprehension about this game has improved.

Can you give us more reviews regarding other dead ccg's?

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Alexander Kuprijanow
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Thanks for the positive reception, I am glad if I could improve your view on the game by posting my experience with it. I like older CCGs a lot and plan to expand my reviews on them in the near future (so far, I only have written a review for Overpower, but it isn't nearly as comprehensive. I have to admit that Overpower was a much lesser disappointment than the Shadowrun TCG. Maybe reading overall positive reviews on the web as well as getting familiar with the rules (which sounded very cool in theory) had set my hopes simply too high.

We must not forget that SR:TCG is a child of the 90s. Of course, it cannot mess with today's incredibly high standards of Warhammer:Invasion, Netrunner or Game of Thrones. By then, it surely had some innovative mechanics (steady income of resources, no "lands", no player life points to eradicate) and the initial printing was quickly sold out. Let's just say that it has not aged well, not at all. Then again, other CCGs like L5R or ICE's Middle-Earth did a much finer job on that - their game design has lost almost nothing of its original coolness.
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John Middleton
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There are four serious things wrong with the way you have been playing this game that probably have a huge effect on why you do not like it.

Caution - Wall of Text to follow.....

1.) During the End Phase you can trash as many cards from your hand as you want. Then during your next Credstick Phase you can skip getting any Nuyen and instead refill your hand all the way back up to 7 cards.

You may also draw an 8th card during the refresh phase and can have unlimited cards in your hand all the way to the End Phase, where you must discard back down to 7 or less.

This is on page 61 and 50 of the rulebook.

Since you reshuffle your Trashed cards when the deck runs out, this lets you quickly cycle through to get what Runners and Gear you need to deploy.


This also alleviates much of the team building and gearing issues that you mention since you can discard and redraw to get what you need. Several cards like the location card The Iron Lung let you draw extra cards as well.


A note about the Pumpable cards....

Since all players will be shuffling through their decks deploying teams, there should be little issue with a player sitting and accumulating nuyen to over pump a card, though some d*ck head may try it as a tactic. This just prevents them from gaining reputation and prolongs the game. If it becomes an issue simply houserule that the max nuyen that a card can be pumped is equal to its body value.

Also these cards can only be pumped by their owner - so no everyone pumping in multi-player and some cards have negative values that will kill them automatically if body is pumped to zero. Cards can only be pumped to zero, not further.

If a pumpable card takes damage in excess of its normal, unpumped body value then it is trashed at the end of the turn as well. This applies to both Runners who survive a Run but then die at the Safehouse when their stats reset to normal and they have excess wounds. Note...Challenges reset their damage and the excess goes away.

2.) The player that controls the Shadowrunner team chooses how to distribute all damage between their Runners, Spirits, and Drones, NOT THE CHALLENGE OWNER. They have to account for all damage received and cannot apply more damage to one thing then is required to kill it.

The Challenge owner only decides where damage goes if a specific card lets then do that, and they are not very common.

This is on page 66 of the rulebook.

The only normal time that an opponent can choose where damage goes is when they intercept a Shadowrun on an undefended (no opponent Challenges on it) Objective with their own Runner team and there are more than two Runners involved. Then the attacking team can pick which Runners fight each other and sort of assign damage. See the Combat Between Runners section of the rules pages 67-71.

There are a few instances of Runner vs Runner combat outside of Shadowruns that are usually 1 on 1, such as Deckers attacking each other with Black Hammer or Hog. These are straightforward.

But again UNLESS a card specifically lets an opponent assign damage then the player who CONTROLS THE TEAM making the runs always assigns it as they wish.

3.) A minor point but most Deckers never leave the Safehouse. Almost all of their programs can be run from there to aid a Shadowrun and they are generally safe. The only real reason to have them physically on a run is if the Objective is a Closed System that must be accessed onsite.

See page 35 Matrix for this.

Runners with Indirect Fire gear can also aids attacks from the Safehouse without being put at risk, this is very powerful.

Your example of sleazing is a bit exaggerated. Most sleaze requirements are Stealth, Firearms, Technical, or Athletics and these are also the most common skills on runner cards. There are a few more exotic skills like Demo, Leadership, and Streetwise that pop up on occasion but most balance teams should be able to sleaze more than half of the Challenges that they encounter. The other skills Conjure, Decking, Gunnery, Melee, Piloting, and Sorcery are more about equipping Gear and only show up occasionally.

There are a few Objectives like Cermak Blast that give you bonus Reputaion for Runners with Demo, so the example is not quite true.

As a side note, there are tons of cards, spells, and the Recon trait that let you examine both Challenge cards and your opponents deck. Using these during Legwork in very important in minimizing the randomness of what you encounter and allowing you to choose which Objectives to take on. Using these well allows you to customize your team and to know what skills you need to Sleaze a Challenge rather than just facing everything in a random fashion..



Please try the game again with the correct rules and then amend your review so others are not misled by your mistakes. Not trying to be rude just hoping you take another look.

Edits - added more stuff - ha!!!
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John Middleton
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As far as your endnote about paying for magic what is your issue?

That you have to pay to deploy a spell as Gear or that you have to turn then to use them?


Paying to deploy them is like paying for the training or research required to learn that spell. This is common in almost all games that use spells - you either find it in a book or scroll or you pay to research it. Since all gear is purchased in the game and not found while on a run, the only way to get a spell (or any Gear) is to buy it.

As far as turning to use it once it's deployed, that is just a game mechanic that prevents you from continuously using it, like spell slots in D&D.


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John Middleton
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Another post - I'm evil sorry...

Solo Rules ---

This game is awesome solo, where you build a team of runners and face objectives almost exactly like the LotR LCG from Fantasy Flight.

It's super simple - all rules apply as normal, you just shuffle about ten Objectives and 20-30 Challenges into their own seperate draw piles. Then place two objectives and a random challenge on each one. Each turn roll d6 for each objective- on a 1-2 place another challenge on the stack until there are 3 or four (your call for difficulty).

Play as normal to whatever reputation total you set at start.

Specials are used in your deck as normal - Stingers are not use at all.

Pumpable cards - roll a d6 (or 2d6) and use that for amount of Nuyen spent on Challenges.

You need to fine tune your deck to drop cards that are PVP in nature and some discretion is required to interpret some cards effects.

To set a time limit - simply Frag all Runners that are killed rather than trashing them, and when your deck is out of runners you have lost.
You can also Frag all their gear for an even tougher challenge.


Let me know what you think.
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Alexander Kuprijanow
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Hi John,

thank you very much for your thorough response.I am definitely willing to return to the game and see how it will play with the ability to flush down cards in order to draw new ones. It definitely would support a quicker setup and mitigate one of the main problems we have had so far. I was hoping for something like that from a more experienced player than me.

It might take some time, but I am looking forward to check all your points and attempt to respond to them according to my new experiences with the game.

Regarding my magic nitpick: I am aware of the fact that for an effect, you have to pay a price in the game's currency, be it mana (Magic), energy (WARS), money (Shadowrun) or gold (AGoT). No questions here.

Quote:
Paying to deploy them is like paying for the training or research required to learn that spell. This is common in almost all games that use spells - you either find it in a book or scroll or you pay to research it.


I just disliked the fact that I also have to pay for something you would expect to be "built-in" in a character. I just don't like the idea to pay for an innate creature ability seemingly not depending on gear or else. Why hiring him if I could get me a guy who already can pull off such things without requiring additional resources ?

It's like I would "hire" a dragon (whom we all would expect to be a firebreathing one), pay him for his services, but would also have to pay more money for firebreathing.
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John Middleton
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I can see that point of view.

But by that rational, why would you hire a Rigger with no drones, a Street Samurai with no guns or cyberwear, or a Decker without a deck and programs.

In the RPG you have to buy all gear and buy spells with points at character creation, so nothing is free there either.

Perhaps the easiest way to see it is that you are buying the Runner and his skill or ability to equip the Gear you want, rather than buying them for their gear.


Definitely try the game again. You will find that the damage assigned by the Runner's owner makes a big difference. Just remember that if a card say "target runner" then the person playing the card picks the target. If it says "trash or frag a runner" then the runner's owner picks a card.

Proper damage assignment really undermines the power of cards like the Manticore, which can only damage one target at a time regardless of their body.


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Alexander Kuprijanow
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Quote:
In the RPG you have to buy all gear and buy spells with points at character creation, so nothing is free there either.


That's exactly what I am saying. Nothing is free, not in a game which has to maintain an inner balance. I buy gear with money and spells with character points. What I definitely don't do is buying spells (NOT magic objects like artifacts, spell tomes or foci) with money, which does not make any sense and does not appear in the SR universe either. So, I don't like it happening in the game - a neglectable, nitpicky fluff thingy

Quote:
Definitely try the game again. You will find that the damage assigned by the Runner's owner makes a big difference.


I surely will, as being able to trash hand cards and draw new ones definitely increases the chance to draw fresh runners. The damage assignment aspect also increases the chance to survive more challenges.
So far, SR still has the chance to convince me of being at least a mediocre, but not entirely unplayable game, which I discovered last time.


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Troy Gleiter
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Two main reasons why spells have to be bought seperatly:

1. Customization:
If the spells would be "build-in" in mages, you would need much more cards to deal with all possible combinations regarding race, skills, attributes and spells.

2. Game mechanics:
It's the game mechanic to hire runner and to equip them with gear (that has to be bought). If a certain type of profession would have "built-in" gear in general, this would lead to an imbalance of game mechanics.


Another thing is, that I cannot understand your point that it feels wrong in a fluffy way to buy spells. In the rpg you also buy spells. Costs in the rpg-enviroment are:
- time and ability to invent a spell's formula
- time to learn the spell
- karma to learn the spell
- money to hire teacher or contacts
- ...

Again, the game enviroment has to simplify this. Imagine that you would have all this ressources and have to manage them. Way to complicated. Therefore, you have an overall ressource (money) that reflects all the others. Simplified!


The game is, with today's standards, not perfect (nor possibly good). But it can be fun... Give it a second chance, do not take it too seriously, adapt some rules if this brings back the fun. And afterall, have a beer or two while playing it

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John Middleton
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Freshman Troy wrote:

And afterall, have a beer or two while playing it





Best advice for any game.....
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Alexander Kuprijanow
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@Troy Gleiter:

Game design and fluff background are two different things. Of course, a game has to simplify a lot, with the game design remaining slick. Here, however I don't like the simplification process to the common denominator. SR mixes money, a financial resource, with a magic/innate power and classes them both as absolutely equal.They are not. It's like saying psi powers and a wealthy background were the same thing.



Just my 2 cents.

Thanks again for the great feedback to my original post. Blessed be all those interested in never dealing with dragons!


 
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Paul Bailey
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Apologies for the necro-post - I've just dusted off my Shadowrun TCG cards and was trying to remember why I hadn't touched them in a decade or more. This review reminded me of why.

But I also missed the trash+redraw options that John spoke of, and I also misread the "challenger distributes damage" rule. Both those problems (in a round-about kind-of-way) caused me to give up on the game back then, but now I am re-considering it since I saw this forum post.

I am very interested in how Alexander's retry of the game went, and if an update for this review has surfaced elsewhere I would be grateful to learn where to look.
 
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John Middleton
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This game is still one of the best multiplayer card games - tcg wise.


It plays very well if the rules are followed. There were several small things that were easy to overlook.



Remember the key to game is scouting obstacles before a run and keeping support like deckers and long ranged weapons in the safehouse.
 
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Yit Ng
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Out of curiosity, what would be the best way to construct a well balanced deck? Ratio of runners to gear and other cards?
 
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John Middleton
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About 15-20 runners usually.

I run gear heavy decks so 10 - 12 cards there.
 
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