Monthly Archives: January 2013

Soliciting for Shadowrun Miniatures Game Playtesters

Shadowrun 5 Sprawl Gangers Logo

As announced, Catalyst Game Labs has begun development on a Shadowrun miniatures game, Sprawl Gangers, to be produced and published in conjunction with Cool Mini Or Not.

Ross Watson and Randall N. Bills are hard at work developing the game play and campaign play rules right now. However, despite a large and healthy playtest pool to draw from, Catalyst Game Labs is looking to expand that pool for the development of Sprawl Gangers.

“While we publish two other miniatures games in BattleTech and Leviathans, this is different,” said Randall N. Bills, Managing Developer of Catalyst Game Labs. “Sprawl Gangers will have much more of ‘competitive action’ vibe of other table top miniatures games with thriving communities and tournaments. We’re hoping there are players with a passion for those styles of games that can bring their expertise to bear in making Sprawl Gangers the coolest it can be.”

If you’re interested in helping us reach that goal, you have the chance to sign up as a new playtester. To help ensure you’re very aware of what you’ll be getting yourself into, the following outlines the major requirements for prospective playtesters:

  • Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs) will need to be signed by everyone involved in playtesting and submitted via email to Catalyst Game Labs.
  • Regardless of the size of a playing group, a single person will be the spokesman for the group; contact between Catalyst and your player group must all funnel through the spokesman.
  • The spokesman will be required to stay on top of: accepting reports from his players and compiling them and turning them in on a regular basis; keeping appropriate lists of playtesters involved for credits; keeping track of signed NDAs; available for communication and questions from their playtesters; available for regular communications with Catalyst Game Labs.
  • You’ll be required to submit a play testing report every two weeks (more often is, of course, desirable)
  • Catalyst Game Labs believes strongly in the motto “never complain unless you’ve a suggestion.” We’ll expect our playtesters to not simply tell us they don’t like something, but explain thoroughly why they don’t like it and then offer suggested fixes.

We’ll be looking to start playtesting in February.

After reviewing the above, if you (and your group) are still interested in becoming a playtester for Sprawl Gangers, then email us a 250 word or less bio of you and your group and why you feel you’re perfect for playtesting this game.

Email your proposal to:

Look forward to adding new blood to the team!

Ross Watson
Randall N. Bills

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

Shadowrun: Crossfire Overview

Shadowrun 5 Crossfire Logo

Danger lurks behind every card in the Shadowrun: Crossfire adventure deck-building game. You and up to three friends can take on the darkest allies and most powerful corporations of the 2070s as you make a run through the shadows. You’ll improve your character as you play by buying Hacking, Spell, Weapon, and Skill cards from the Black Market to add to your deck. Each turn you’ll use some of these cards to overcome a variety of obstacles to your mission and threats to your lives. You will also have to contend with the dreaded Crossfire deck. Every round a new Crossfire event will throw you a curveball, you know, just to keep things interesting. You might have a Reversal of Fortune, encounter an Astral Surge, juggle a Grenade! or have to deal with the enemy’s Hardened Defenses. Each time you play you can choose from one of three missions contained in the box, each more difficult than the last. You can cut your teeth on Caught in the Crossfire, gain experience running an Extraction, and finally you might have to Deal with a Dragon. But don’t worry, it’ll be easy . . . Trust me!

It won’t be easy. We designed Shadowrun: Crossfire as a cooperative game, to create a quick and fun way to experience the Shadowrun universe. Just like the Shadowrun RPG, our game world is deadly and difficult. You shouldn’t expect to win more than half the time when you get together with your friends to play. Since runs go bad so often, we added an Abort mechanic. You’ll have a chance to at least get out alive once you’ve failed your mission. Why would that matter? Well, we’ve also made Shadowrun: Crossfire into an evolving game. Your character will gain a little Karma even on an aborted run, and much more if you complete the run successfully. What can you do with that Karma? We’ll explain that soon enough. Keep an eye out for more updates from the Shadowrun: Crossfire team

—Gregory Marques, Lead Designer

Posted in Crossfire, Uncategorized | 4 Responses

Shadowrun, Fifth Edition—The Next Step

Shadowrun 5 Logo with Text

When the Shadowrun development team gathered in the secret headquarters of Catalyst Game Labs (okay, in a pleasant living room near Seattle) to discuss Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, one of the first questions why had to answer was: Why? That was a simple one: Because we wanted to. But then the questions got more complicated.

Such as this: What are the guiding principles of the new edition? That one was stickier, which is why it was a good thing that there was a fridge full of sodas nearby. Here’s what we came up with.

  • We like Shadowrun, Fourth Edition. In our minds, Fourth Edition did a lot of things right. The rules were more streamlined and easier to use than ever. Having Attribute + Skill as the basis for dice pools is good. Fixed target numbers are good. And many other things are good. We wanted to be sure the strengths of Fourth Edition remained in place.
  • Everything has a price. As we talked about Shadowrun, it became increasingly clear that this is a central issue facing shadowrunners. Everything they do is a trade-off of some sort. They trade the safety and security of a corporate job for the freedom of an independent life. They put their lives on the line in exchange for the chance to make a big score. They trade a piece of their soul for bleeding-edge gear to make them better, stronger, faster. All these choices bring them benefits in the end, but all of them have a price. That should be reflected in the rules. Runners should be able to get benefits they need—if they are willing to pay what those benefits cost. Nothing should be free.
  • Players are the heroes. The success of a player character should be based on who they are and what they can do—the Attributes at their core and the Skills they’ve worked hard to improve. That’s where their dice should come from as much as possible. And when we’re designing plots and adventures, the focus should be on shadowrunners doing awesome things, not being players in someone else’s story.
  • Amp up the cyberpunk. We love the cyberpunk Shadowrun started with, but we also realize that a lot has changed since the days when cyberpunk first took root. While it’s true that some of the genre tropes are dated, there are pieces of it that still resonate. Like a distrust of authority. The battle of individuals against dehumanizing institutions. Technology as both a tool and a threat. And a dystopian world where it’s a struggle to survive with at least a piece of your soul intact. We want the rules and the setting to reflect this atmosphere.
  • Make it awesome. Shadowrunning should be dangerous, it should be difficult, but it should also provide players the chance to do impossible and amazing things. There should be dice rolls that make everyone at the table whoop with surprise, excitement, or possibly dismay. These rolls should form the basis for stories told years later. If you want to try something dangerous but just crazy enough to work, the rules should help you find a way to make that happen.

Those are the goals. How did we implement them? That’s what we’ll be discussing in future blog posts. How well did we do? You’ll be the judge of that!


A note on the different Shadowrun games coming down the pike

The initial declaration of the Year of Shadowrun included announcements of a card game (Shadowrun: Crossfire), a minis game (Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangers), and a board game (Shadowrun: Hostile Takeover). That, quite naturally, led to some questions. How were all the games going to relate to each other? Did the fact that we were doing a miniature game mean Fifth Edition was going to be more minis focused?

We can’t answer all the relevant questions here (partly because we haven’t been able to read them all yet), but we can offer a few re-assurances. First, all of the developers of the games are committed to making the games feel like Shadowrun. It’s not just a matter of putting the right pictures on some random game—the rules of each game should pick up elements of Shadowrun rules and atmosphere so that they all feel they belong together. Second, despite this relationship, the properties stand alone. The card game is it’s own thing, and the cards will not be part of the role-playing game. The minis game is also separate, and Fifth Edition does not have an increased focus on minis.

And third, we want to share more info with you. There’s already been one development blog posted about the card game, and there will be development blogs about all of the upcoming games so you can get a look under the hood and read what we’re thinking. We hope this will get you as excited about these games as we are!

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Crossfire: Bringing deck-building to the Shadowrun Universe

Shadowrun 5 Crossfire Logo

2013: The Year of Shadowrun—there’s a lot to look forward to!

I’m the Design Producer for Shadowrun: Crossfire and it’s my pleasure to tell you about this exciting “first ever” for Shadowrun.

Shadowrun: Crossfire is a deck-building game in the style of Dominon or Thunderstone, but it’s also a whole lot more. Shadowrun: Crossfire combines the creative elements of the Shadowrun universe with the feel of adventuring in Shadowrun. You’ll go on runs with your team, engaging in scenarios where your team’s Hacker will be busy manipulating parts of the Matrix, while the Elf Street Samurai is keeping gangers at bay and the Troll Mage is providing support from (and possibly against) the Sixth World.

I’d like to briefly introduce the Fire Opal Media team that went on the run to create Shadowrun: Crossfire. You’ll be hearing from them directly on the details of Shadowrun: Crossfire in follow-up blog entries:

Gregory Marques: Gregory is a game designer best known for his work on expansions to Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures and Heralds of Chaos.

Mike Elliott: Mike is a world-renowned game designer with credits on over 30 expansions to Magic: The Gathering, the Pokemon TCG, Duel Masters & Battle Spirits, and the deckbuilding games Thunderstone and Thunderstone Advanced.

James “Jim” Lin: Jim is best known as one of the initial designers that created Magic: The Gathering with Richard Garfield. He also was a designer on numerous expansions to Magic: The Gathering and the Pokemon TCG.

Rob Heinsoo: Rob was the lead designer on 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, and most recently, he has been leading the design team on the 13th Age RPG. Rob’s other designs of note include Three-Dragon Ante and Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre.

Rob Watkins: Rob’s major credits include work on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 & 4th Edition, Star Wars Miniatures and the Neopets Trading Card Game.

Conan Chamberlain: Conan has credits on over 50 digital titles at companies such as Disney, EA, and Sierra Vivendi, among others.

Sean McCarthy: Sean is Shadowrun: Crossfire‘s Intern. He came to Fire Opal after working at Google, and his exceptional game design and analytical skills merited his introduction on a title of this level.

I hope you enjoy playing Shadowrun: Crossfire as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Jay Schneider
Design Producer
Shadowrun: Crossfire, The Adventure Deck-Building Game

Posted in Crossfire, Products | 4 Responses