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Subject: 20X Reviews #69 - Shadowrun Crossfire After 20 Plays rss

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Peter Barringer
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Check out a Geeklist containing all my other reviews here: 20X Reviews - A Geeklist

Time to 20 Plays: 8 Days (Yes, I have a problem)

How to Play: Shadowrun: Crossfire is far from an ordinary deck builder. Each player has a different specialty based on his role, and these role differences are meaningful in encouraging cooperation among players. Here's a two-player setup:



There are many different scenarios to play (three in the base game and more in expansions), and each one plays differently. The game almost always revolves around defeating “obstacles” by playing different types of cards:



When an obstacle is defeated, players gain currency used for buying cards from the Black Market:



On top of these obstacles, however, players are forced to contend with a new “crossfire event” each round; these almost always give players an additional hurdle and often change the team’s strategy for that round.

I've played it so much because:
1. The karma system is addictive. This game, in some respects, feels like an RPG. Winning or successfully aborting a mission gives players “karma,” which is used to purchase character upgrades. As your players become more powerful, you receive less karma for each mission unless you add in difficulty modifiers. Here's my main character, though please note that I failed to pay the proper karma penalty for unlocking additional upgrades:



2. Purchasing decisions are meaningful. You might only get the chance to buy four or five cards in a game, unlike in most deck builders. The tension between buying a decent card and saving up for an expensive card can be excruciating. Buying the perfect card at the perfect time is crucial to beating this difficult game.
3. The roles feel different. When you first start playing, the roles pretty much only dictate which colors of damage you can do at the start of a game. By the time players have purchased multiple player upgrades that play to their strengths, each character feels unique.
4. It’s meatier than its peers. I’m a big fan of heavier deck building games like this or Xenoshyft. Neither game is heavy, but they both offer more choices and depth than other games in the genre.
5. The game forces cooperation. You will not win this game unless you work together. I guarantee it. Each round, you must decide how to attack the obstacles in the most efficient and effective manner. If even one person gets staggered (stunned, basically), the whole game can collapse.

I'd play it more if:
1. The difficulty level were more appropriate. I’ve been playing with two players, and the basic mission is insanely hard at that player count, especially before you buy a few upgrades. I felt like my strategy, especially after five or six games, was solid; but something would always happen to knock me off course, and the game would spiral out of control with only a round or two left. Thankfully, someone pointed out that one of the basic scenarios, The Client, scales for each player count. This scenario is difficult but far more manageable with good strategy.
2. They found a better system for managing karma and upgrades. I guess I’m okay with the use of stickers for player upgrades since there are multiple copies of each; however, the dry erase markings for your character’s name and karma wipe off really easily in the box. I’ve started keeping track on my phone instead.

Rating:

Overall: Shadowrun: Crossfire isn’t for everyone. The rulebook is a mile long, and I’ve had to refer to it dozens of times, even after watching two rules videos and reading the entire rulebook cover to cover several times. I wish the rules were a bit less finicky, but part of the depth and strategic decision making in the game comes from having more complicated rules. I’m okay with investing more into learning the game because the payoff has been tremendous.

Anyone who reads my reviews with regularity knows that cooperative deck builders are some of my favorite games. I love Marvel Legendary, Xenoshyft (both of them), Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, and now this game. (Please offer any suggestions in the comments!) Shadowrun has a legacy aspect these other games lack. And while I don’t have enough upgrades to try the final Dragon mission in the base game yet, the first two scenarios have been excellent and challenging (the first one maybe a bit too much so). Additionally, I feel at least somewhat attached to my character because I named him and selected all his upgrades.
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Jason Walker
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You might want to recheck the rules for purchasing upgrades. You can't buy all 4 of those with only 32 karma. There's an extra cost for each slot you use.
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Peter Barringer
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TravelSized wrote:
You might want to recheck the rules for purchasing upgrades. You can't buy all 4 of those with only 32 karma. There's an extra cost for each slot you use.


I remember seeing that now that you mention it. I've been so focused on making sure I reduce the amount of karma I get according to the sliding scale that I've lost sight of the other rules. Thank you for the reminder! I'm still very new to this game despite having played it a number of times. I imagine there are other rules I'm missing.

EDIT: I added a note before the picture. Thanks again.
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Kurt R
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z10n x wrote:
TravelSized wrote:
You might want to recheck the rules for purchasing upgrades. You can't buy all 4 of those with only 32 karma. There's an extra cost for each slot you use.


I remember seeing that now that you mention it. I've been so focused on making sure I reduce the amount of karma I get according to the sliding scale that I've lost sight of the other rules. Thank you for the reminder! I'm still very new to this game despite having played it a number of times. I imagine there are other rules I'm missing.

EDIT: I added a note before the picture. Thanks again.

At the same time, you can house rule the karma system to be easier to achieve if you simply want to get to the higher level missions faster. That's what I do when I play solo. I cut down the extra costs by half but whatever, it's just a question of how fast do you want to progress.
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Peter Barringer
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enzo622 wrote:
z10n x wrote:
TravelSized wrote:
You might want to recheck the rules for purchasing upgrades. You can't buy all 4 of those with only 32 karma. There's an extra cost for each slot you use.


I remember seeing that now that you mention it. I've been so focused on making sure I reduce the amount of karma I get according to the sliding scale that I've lost sight of the other rules. Thank you for the reminder! I'm still very new to this game despite having played it a number of times. I imagine there are other rules I'm missing.

EDIT: I added a note before the picture. Thanks again.

At the same time, you can house rule the karma system to be easier to achieve if you simply want to get to the higher level missions faster. That's what I do when I play solo. I cut down the extra costs by half but whatever, it's just a question of how fast do you want to progress.


I'm glad you mentioned that, Kurt. I've thought about scaling down costs so I could try the Dragon mission. I'm really excited about it.

Do either of you have thoughts on the High Caliber Ops expansion? A friend sent me a copy for Christmas.
 
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Kurt R
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z10n x wrote:
enzo622 wrote:
z10n x wrote:
TravelSized wrote:
You might want to recheck the rules for purchasing upgrades. You can't buy all 4 of those with only 32 karma. There's an extra cost for each slot you use.


I remember seeing that now that you mention it. I've been so focused on making sure I reduce the amount of karma I get according to the sliding scale that I've lost sight of the other rules. Thank you for the reminder! I'm still very new to this game despite having played it a number of times. I imagine there are other rules I'm missing.

EDIT: I added a note before the picture. Thanks again.

At the same time, you can house rule the karma system to be easier to achieve if you simply want to get to the higher level missions faster. That's what I do when I play solo. I cut down the extra costs by half but whatever, it's just a question of how fast do you want to progress.


I'm glad you mentioned that, Kurt. I've thought about scaling down costs so I could try the Dragon mission. I'm really excited about it.

Do either of you have thoughts on the High Caliber Ops expansion? A friend sent me a copy for Christmas.

You're not playing with HCO? Heh, it's pretty much considered required as the cards there offer some better effects, especially the dual use ones. Integrate that ASAP.
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Peter Barringer
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enzo622 wrote:
z10n x wrote:
enzo622 wrote:
z10n x wrote:
TravelSized wrote:
You might want to recheck the rules for purchasing upgrades. You can't buy all 4 of those with only 32 karma. There's an extra cost for each slot you use.


I remember seeing that now that you mention it. I've been so focused on making sure I reduce the amount of karma I get according to the sliding scale that I've lost sight of the other rules. Thank you for the reminder! I'm still very new to this game despite having played it a number of times. I imagine there are other rules I'm missing.

EDIT: I added a note before the picture. Thanks again.

At the same time, you can house rule the karma system to be easier to achieve if you simply want to get to the higher level missions faster. That's what I do when I play solo. I cut down the extra costs by half but whatever, it's just a question of how fast do you want to progress.


I'm glad you mentioned that, Kurt. I've thought about scaling down costs so I could try the Dragon mission. I'm really excited about it.

Do either of you have thoughts on the High Caliber Ops expansion? A friend sent me a copy for Christmas.

You're not playing with HCO? Heh, it's pretty much considered required as the cards there offer some better effects, especially the dual use ones. Integrate that ASAP.


Sweet. Thank you!
 
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Jon Ryan
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Yeah, the HCO cards are really cool, but the new missions are great as well. Much better variety. Definitely open that new box ASAP!
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Peter Barringer
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jonjbeats wrote:
Yeah, the HCO cards are really cool, but the new missions are great as well. Much better variety. Definitely open that new box ASAP!


Will do! I feel like it will hit 20 plays (meaning I'll write a review) in the next month or two, if it's as essential as you're saying. Can't wait.
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David Taranto
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I believe Catalyst's site has some other missions too, that you can download! Some fanmade ones are in their forums as well that provide some intetesting twists on the setup, and PNP-ing them is as easy as printing out one piece of paper!
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Peter Barringer
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the_windcaster wrote:
I believe Catalyst's site has some other missions too, that you can download! Some fanmade ones are in their forums as well that provide some intetesting twists on the setup, and PNP-ing them is as easy as printing out one piece of paper!


That's awesome. Thank you for the tip!
 
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Evil Bob
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If you enjoy cooperative deckbuilders with a bit of meat (meaningful decisions) on them, might I suggest Aeon's End: War Eternal. I've recently started playing it and am loving the experience.
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Peter Barringer
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bbhalla wrote:
If you enjoy cooperative deckbuilders with a bit of meat (meaningful decisions) on them, might I suggest Aeon's End: War Eternal. I've recently started playing it and am loving the experience.


Looks right up my alley. Got it on my wishlist now!
 
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Manuel Gracia
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Thanks for the review! I wonder have you tried Shadowrift Second Edition?
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Peter Barringer
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fanofuna wrote:
Thanks for the review! I wonder have you tried Shadowrift Second Edition?


I haven't, but it looks right up my alley. Thank you for the recommendation!
 
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Fenmar
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It seems you like puzzles. Have you tried Ghost Stories? and what about Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game?
 
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Peter Barringer
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mfenici wrote:
It seems you like puzzles. Have you tried Ghost Stories? and what about Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game?


I've played Ghost Stories a few times and really liked it. Never heard of Space Hulk, though. I'll check it out!
 
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