Category Archives: Sprawl Gangers

Sprawl Gangers (& Miniatures!) Update

Shadowrun 5 Sprawl Gangers Logo

Been a number of months since the last update on Sprawl Gangers. Since it has been a while, gonna be a big update here…so brace yourself…

Why the long delay…production issues. We haven’t been able to produce the miniatures and without that, the game simply has been in a holding pattern.

We are excellent at making books. We are just starting to reach a points where we do card games and boardgames. But miniatures, particularly high quality miniatures, have kicked us in the teeth for years. For those that have following our BattleTech problems (which have finally been fixed!) and especially our Leviathans troubles (which are still unresolved), you know this has dogged us for a while.

Despite this, caught up in the enthusiasm of trying to do a plethora of crazy cool stuff for Shadowrun, we moved forward with Sprawl Gangers thinking we had a solution for miniatures. Not only did that burn out, but we’ve since gone through several other aborted attempts to find the appropriate combination of cost vs. quality.

That being said, we do appear to have finally met a team that may just be the ones we’ve been searching for for years. I was waiting to reach a few milestones with this company before I started talking about this. And since we’ve reached those milestones, well, I can start talking.

First, the team we’re working with is Jeff Gracia and Jed Wahl at Green Brier Games. If you’ve not heard of them before, feel free to check ’em out.

Second, as I’ve previously mentioned, we love being audacious and challenging ourself with aggressive schedules and really cool, big games. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. After spinning our wheels for far too long on Sprawl Gangers, part of this process has been to scale way back on what we want to do “right now”, and instead take the entire process in steady but bite-sized chunks.

What exactly does that mean? We are hard at work on an “experiment” of just a few miniatures to ensure that neither side is taxed too far and there’s not too much of a commitment to get anyone into trouble should things go sideways (its Shadowrun after all). The miniatures ultimately will be released as a “roleplaying game aid” boxed set (no, no dates or anything yet this early in the process).

However, one part of the experiment is to produce a single Sprawl Ganger miniature and move it through the entire process to a rapid prototype.

We just received rapid prototypes of two miniatures, which I immediately shipped off to Peter Wort, one of our fantastic artists, who’ll clean up the burs on the miniature and base coat it so we can really see what it will look like.

While I don’t have photos of that rapid prototype just yet, I can share the details that moved us from concept sketches into a miniature on my table (and when I get the miniature back, have no fear I’ll share photos right away!).

So first of all, the Sprawl Ganger. Here’s the fantastic concept sketches for a Halloweener that I’ve been sitting on for over a year…


And here’s the 70% render:


And then the near final renders came in:




Almost leapt out of my chair with a shout. So amazing…and funny thing is, I think her hair might be the best part…so much motion captured in that hair. Brings the model to life in a fantastic way.

But remember, this isn’t just about Sprawl Gangers at this stage. It’s about those small bite-sized chunks, so it’s about creating a pack of 5 “RPG Game Aid” miniatures. We’ve been creating a cast of characters that will visually bridge between Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, Shadowrun: Beginner Box Set, Shadowrun Runner’s Toolkit: Alphaware, Shadowrun: Crossfire and even into Shadowrun: Hostile Takeover and Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangers. So it was logical to start with those images as the basis for our first pack of miniatures.

First out of the gate is our Dwarf rigger, Hardpoint. Here’s the reference art from both the Beginner Box Set and Runner’s Toolkit: Alphaware:


Brent then turned that into an appropriate orthographic that Jed could use to start his render process:


Jed took that and turned over an initial render:


Obviously the first attempt to create “smoke” for the drone wasn’t working well, so some good brainstorming resulted in this near final render:




Obviously we are incredibly excited about reaching this place and so far working with Jeff and Jed at Green Brier Games has been fantastic. Can’t wait to see what the final rapid-prototypes look like once they’re cleaned up and show them off (fingers crossed we’ll have them at Origins for those attending…and I’ll share photos as soon as I have them).

“So, those are really awesome looking, and RPG game aid miniatures is a cool idea, but what does this mean for Sprawl Gangers?” It means that we can potentially have an end in sight for production. However, this does not mean we’ll suddenly see Sprawl Gangers by Gen Con. Remember, this is about taking it slow and then appropriately spinning up to the type of production that Sprawl Gangers will require. This will ensure that the game gets the quality miniatures it deserves, while also helping to ensure that once we announce that “this is the date”, we’ll be able to hit it and support it.

Thanks to everyone that have continued to wait patiently for this update. It’s perhaps further out than you’d like, but we are still completely committed to getting this game out and ensuring that not only will it be well worth the wait but that we’ll be able to fully support the game.



Also posted in Uncategorized | 17 Responses

Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary 7

Shadowrun 5 Sprawl Gangers Logo
You might be wondering why there’s not been a Sprawl Gangers update in a while…well, I’ve not had my head in it for the last two months. Convention season always swallows up swaths of time, then there’s the work on the Shadowrun Introductory Box Set and Shadowrun: Crossfire, as well as other work, that simply has been swallowing up most of my time.

Add to that that Playtest Cycle 3 was wrapping up, and well…didn’t have my head in the rules/presentation side very much.

Now, that doesn’t mean that work on the production side has not been progressing. I’ve been in numerous meetings with various people that we hope will help us solve the miniatures production issues and give us high-quality miniatures within a time frame that is appropriate. In fact, I’ve got another such meeting this week.

In the meantime, I’ve finally got enough bandwidth to be allocating some time each day to starting to review all the playtest reports from Cycle 3, compiling them, making notes on which issues are brought up by multiple groups and which, despite vociferous arguments, are just an issue with a single group, which issues I immediately see a solution to and which I’m currently at a loss for how to handle…and so on, and so forth. Pretty standard process, but it can swallow a lot of time, especially as I wear a lot of hats (as much of you are well aware).

In the meantime, thought I’d try something a little different. I really enjoy pulling back the curtain, so to speak, and showing off how the whole process works. And at this stage, the easiest way to do that is to share a playtest report. I’ve scrubbed out the names of the individuals involved, but really beyond that, this is a straight report from players: Sprawl Gangers Playtest Report 3-1.

Now imagine about 15 to 20 of these (some much shorter, some much longer; though in the first playtest cycle we got back almost double that number), and hopefully you’ll start to get a sense of the work involved in digesting it all and bringing it into a sense of order that is helpful when making calls on what needs to change and what doesn’t need to change.

Randall N. Bills

Also posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary 6

Shadowrun 5 Sprawl Gangers Logo

Wow…it’s been awhile since a Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary. An apology for that. The launch of the Year of Shadowrun has proven…well…significantly more time intensive than we gave it credit for, so I’ve not been able to keep up on these as I would’ve liked.

With the so far wildly successful launch of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and with “most” of the insanity of Gen Con just about behind us, I’ve got a little bit of breather in here to provide an update (and hopefully send out a new playtest cycle) before the next insanity of actually working Gen Con begins.

In my previous diary, I mentioned starting to get into the specifics of what a model will be able to do during a game.

Well, since I’ve already done the work in laying out what occurs in a turn in the rules, thought I’d just crib directly from the Playing The Game section to give you a thorough slice of a turn:

The following rules cover exactly how play unfolds on the gaming table.

When playing Sprawl Gangers, follow the same basic format each turn to move and attack with your models. Players should not consider the list below a hard-and-fast set of rules for how to play the game, but instead a way to lay the framework, from which to build a fuller understanding of how the game works by incorporating specific rules from the rest of the rulebook.

The rough order of game play is as follows:

  • Before play begins, players select their gang models they’ll play with, along with their corresponding cards (these track model abilities throughout the game).
  • Next players determine which Mission they’ll be playing and build the terrain on their game table. Then, based upon the specifics of the Mission, they place their models. The game is now ready to begin.
  • Players roll Initiative at the start of every turn.
  • The player that won the Initiative Actives a single model. In any order the player chooses (provided the model can), the model takes 1 Move Action, 1 Attack Test and 1 Non-Attack Test.
    • Move Action: If moving, the player chooses how many inches the model will move, measures on the playing area, and then moves the model accordingly to the new location.
    • Attack Test: If making an Attack Test, the player determines range to the target by measuring between the two models, determines what cover may be in between the model and then uses that information to determine how many dice to roll. The target model then makes a Defense Test. Comparing the dice rolled from both Tests will ultimately determine if damage is applied to the target model, or not.
    • Non-Attack Test: If making a Non-Attack Test, the player determines the difficulty of the action to find a Threshold value, then determines how many dice to roll based upon the action. If the number of Hits on the dice equals or exceeds the Threshold value, the action is a success; if not, the action doesn’t succeed.
  • The player that won the Initiative Activates the next model, each time, in any order, choosing whether to take a move Action, make an Attack Test or Non-Attack Test. And so on until all the player’s models have moved.
  • The player that lost the Initiative now Actives his first model, following all of the exact same actions noted above.
  • Once both players have Activated all models, they enter the Upkeep Phase of the turn, determining if any gangers run away, applying any on going effects, as well as determining if any objectives were achieved.
  • Once the Upkeep Phase is over, the turn is done and both players roll Initiative again to start a new turn.
  • This basic procedure repeats until one side or the other wins, based upon the objectives of the Mission.
  • >>>>>

    Now if you’ve played really any miniatures games, most of that seems really straight forward. And if you haven’t but love the idea from trying Shadowrun in a miniatures style of game, the game will cover the details of what you might not be grogging.

    Regardless of your frame of reference, though, in my next blog post I’ll start to carve a little more thoroughly into that minutia of a game turn, as well as starting to talk about Interrupts, which is turning out to be one of the best parts of the game.

    Randall N. Bills

    Also posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary 5

    Shadowrun 5 Sprawl Gangers Logo

    Brawls erupt on the streets of Seattle, blood spills into the gutters and bullets are almost as common as rain.

    This is the world of Sprawl Gangers.

    When designing the game, I wanted to add more depth to the battlefield than just relying on different weapons and terrain. To give players more interesting options during the game, Sprawl Gangers gives each gang a number of specialists, each one with their own unique contribution.

    Today I’d like to cover possibly my favorite of the specialists; the Decker.

    Deckers are console cowboys, master hackers that can access the wireless world of the matrix using their cyberdecks and control any connected electronic device.

    Some of these electronic devices are part of the terrain for Sprawl Gangers – certain markers are designated as “nodes,” and these are access points for a decker to hack into the matrix. A decker that successfully hacks a node gains an advantage – and this is often represented by additional objectives for a Mission’s victory conditions. In addition, a decker that controls a node can scan it for paydata—important information that the gang can then sell after the battle for significant financial gains.

    In the cyberpunk future of Shadowrun, electronic devices are everywhere; this includes cameras, sensors, and a multitude of other means of tracking a gang’s movement. A decker can access and use this information to provide “Matrix Overwatch,” helping his gang defend against sneaking opponents, providing early warning of attacks to protect his friends, and even assist with planning the gang’s next moves in the ebb and flow of the battle.

    Deckers can also use the matrix to inflict penalties on enemy gangers! A decker can fill an enemy’s field of vision with augmented reality spam, making it difficult to connect with any target. Advanced weapons are not immune to a decker’s charms, either—a smartgun link can be switched off through the Matrix by a skilled decker, rendering a weapon temporarily useless.

    Some pieces of terrain are also hackable; they can be controlled by a decker. Doors can be closed and locked, bridges can be retracted, and elevators lowered to street level or frozen in place to strand an enemy ganger on top of a precarious position.

    Deckers can enter cybercombat with other deckers, engaging their opposite number in a duel of hacking skills through the matrix. The Black Hammer program is a form of Black IC (intrusion countermeasures), a dangerous set of code that can inflict harmful neurofeedback into an enemy decker’s brain, possibly injuring or even killing him.

    Ultimately, deckers won’t turn the tide of battle all by themselves, but they are nigh-essential to the gang’s overall ability to improve and grow over the length of the campaign. Deckers provide access to additional funds, help control the battlefield, and give the gang more flexibility to react to the changing tides of combat.

    Ross Watson

    Also posted in Uncategorized | 3 Responses