Hello again! Yeah, here I am again, filling the Matrix with fresh information about the upcoming Shadowrun: Hostile Takeover. Last time we looked at the employees that the players will be bringing on board to fulfill their grandiose machinations; in this installment of my designer’s blog we are going to look at exactly what those employees—specifically the shadowrunners—will be doing to achieve dominance of Seattle.
Other than specialized victory conditions unique to each megacorporation, which we will look at in closer detail soon enough, Hostile Takeover is won through the accumulation of Influence. Influence comes in many forms; money, power, control… all the things that any good megacorp needs to wrap its fingers around the throat of a city. The very heart of the game revolves around the acquisition, expenditure and accumulation of the Influence resource. This is primarily done through the completion of two very different types of assets for a megacorp, Missions and Schemes.
During each game turn, players will have their chance to add Missions to their megacorp’s queue for later completion. Whether drawn at random from the Mission Deck or chosen specifically from previously discarded Missions on the Message Boards (a cool place to toss discarded Missions for others to potentially take up), megacorps send their shadowrunner teams to go and complete a variety of tasks. Missions are broken down into three different categories of tasks; Conflict, Matrix and High Society. Each Mission can be completed in two different ways based on what type of Mission it is. Conflict Missions use combat skills and brute force to accomplish, Matrix Missions use hacking and technomancy, and High Society Missions are undertaken with words, drinks and general schmoozing. Things don’t always go as planned for shadowrunners, so each Mission has an alternative method on how to fulfil them. Sometimes your ‘runners don’t have enough bullets and might have to just talk their way out of an early grave, after all.
Succeeding at Missions earn the megacorps Influence, adjusts public opinion, and can have several other cool effects. Whether your teams are setting fires in the Barrens, putting on Rocker parties at the Lucas, or running guns for the NAN, Missions accomplish this in your megacorp’s name.
Megacorps can play nice and just look out for themselves, but that rarely pans out in the world of Shadowrun. When a player wants to knock his opponents down a peg, they send their shadowrunner teams out on Schemes. These types of cards come in two forms; Active and Counter Intel. Both are drawn at random from the Scheme Deck, but they do drastically different things. Active Schemes are effectively like Missions, except they target an opposing megacorp directly. Assassinations of corporate assets, underhanded smear campaigns, or downright direct theft of resources can be found within Schemes, and more. Counter Intel is a completely different matter. They are Scheme cards that held back to use as interrupting reactions to specific game instances. When things look bleak in a Conflict Mission, call in an Ork Ganger Ambush for help. Want to screw over the Aztechnology player? Throw a huge PR party making them look like knights in shining armor. Tired of your opponent gaining Influence from the Alabaster Maiden each turn? Burn it down. That is the sort of things Schemes will do for you.
Speaking of Aztechnology, there is a lot more to tell you about Hostile Takeover that will have to wait until next time. Next time we will look at the Megacorporations themselves, and their unique ways of playing the game against one another. Until then…
Good gaming to you all,
Bryan C.P. Steele