Shadowrun: Anarchy

I first heard about Shadowrun: Anarchy a month before Gen Con 2016 when I joked about a rules-light Shadowrun on Twitter. I was shocked to discover there as such a thing nearly ready for publication. Shadowrun: Anarchy is a roleplaying game that is based on the system Catalyst Game Labs used in their Valiant Universe (Comic Book) and Cosmic Patrol roleplaying games. A 48-page “prototype” version was available for purchase at Gen Con and the full 218-page pdf went on sale just recently.

I’m debating running Shadowrun: Anarchy or The Sprawl next time I run a Shadowrun-like game. This post, I’m laying out my take on Shadowrun: Anarchy.

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The Next Shadowrun Game

I love Shadowrun.

See, there was an illustration of an elf hanging off a helicopter’s skids. The elf was shooting a submachine gun at someone. The guy looking at this illustration – Jordan Wiseman, if I recall correctly — said, “I want a game where I do that.” And Shadowrun was born.

That happened a few years after I discovered William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Max Headroom. This game was introduced to me when the in-game clock was 2056, and it hit me with the full force of a hurricane. This was the game I wanted to play. A future dystopia with a band of people working together to fight the system and get rich while trying. It’s twenty minutes into the future, but what a future it was: magic had returned.[1]

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  1. And it wasn’t that Vancian magic system that D&D and its clones ran. I hated the “you cast a spell and now you don’t know how to cast it again” systems. I never read those books Gary and his friends did. []

Choose Your Astronaut’s Own Adventure: Lifeline

Yesterday I wrote a bit about Mr Robot 1.51exfiltrait0n.apk, which is a fun, solidly-written game with some game-stopping programming issues. Today, it’s Lifeline, a game I saw tangentially mentioned in an article about Mr Robot.

Mechanically, Lifeline is similar to Mr Robot. You’re in contact with someone via a texting app. You have a limited number of responses (two instead of up to three). Because that person is doing things in the gameworld, their text conversations are spaced out: if it takes Taylor four hours to walk somewhere, he might contact you in four hours when he’s there.[1]

The setup for Lifeline is this: astronaut crashes on a moon, contacts you for help, you help him try to survive. I went in expecting The Martian. While the game starts off like that, it later turns into something like, oh… Leather Goddesses of Phobos.

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  1. Or in two hours if he’s bored and wants to tell you what he’s seen so far. []