The Sprawl

I’m thinking about playing Shadowrun again, but as I mentioned in the first post in the series, I really don’t care for the actual Shadowrun game system. Doing anything in Shadowrun seems to take two steps too many. But I love the setting. I love rolling handfuls of dice. I just wish the game system would stop getting in the way of telling a good story.

A few years ago, Apocalypse World came out and it just blew me away. The game moved quickly: combat scenes were satisfying yet fast-paced. It didn’t seem like we were waiting around for our turn when something exciting would happen. Action sequences in Apocalypse World felt more like watching a movie than sitting around a table, playing a game.

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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. ((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.))

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