Crossfire: What’s Going to Work? Teamwork!

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What’s going to work? Teamwork!

In Shadowrun: Crossfire, just as in the RPG, you are a team of runners working together to accomplish a mission. This direction meant that one of our major goals for the adventure deck-building game was to make it a cooperative team game. We built in several mechanics that create opportunities for players to help each other and to work together. I’m going to walk you through some of those now.

The most central co-op mechanic is baked into the core mechanic of overcoming the bad guys, and it’s a new mechanic that we invented for this game. Each obstacle to success that you face has a damage track. This track consists of two to eight steps. On your turn you use your cards to clear these steps, one by one. The foe is not defeated until the last step is cleared, but even between turns the obstacle will remain damaged to the step where you left them. In the early game, no one player can defeat a foe alone, but each player can make progress, and two or three of you can take down a foe together. Some of the steps require specific types of cards (Skill, Spell, Weapon, or Hacking), so players often need to plan and work together to defeat the foes efficiently. Just to make sure, we gave players starting decks containing different proportions of these four card types. Your team will be depending on you to come through with the type you have the most of when the team gets stuck on a foe with a damage step of that type.

When you do defeat a foe, you gain nuyen that you can use to buy things. The player dealing the killing blow, however, doesn’t get all the money—that would lead to very uncooperative situations. Instead the nuyen is distributed around the team. That way, everyone is happy when you defeat a foe, and everyone cooperates to defeat each foe.

We also wanted a way for a player to play cards on another player’s turn. The game would be a confusing mess if you could play any card on another player’s turn, so we created a mechanic to handle it called Assist. It appears on some of the cards you can buy and add to your deck during the game. Assist allows you play the card during another player’s turn, often for a slightly different effect than you could play it for during your own turn. You feel really great helping your teammate handle a foe they couldn’t deal with using only the cards in their hand. Plus there is a subtle power advantage for using Assist—it lets you play some of the total cards the team is holding earlier, which lets the team defeat obstacles earlier, which gets the team more nuyen earlier, and that makes the team more powerful earlier in the run.

All this and more add up to a cooperative experience that’s more than sharing a common goal. It’s sharing a common method of reaching your goal, and having everyone engaged during every turn.

—Gregory Marques, Lead Designer

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