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Review: 30 Years of Shadowrun RPG

September 29, 2019 by tekwych Cult of Games Member

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Shadowrun The RPG


A Role Playing game that brings together both fantasy and post apocalyptic science fiction  to create a world where Trolls, Elves, Humans and more must stand up to mega corporations in both the real world and the cyber realms using guns as well as magic.

From their website:

The shape of the Sixth World is not an accident. It did not fall into place by happenstance. It was deliberately designed, and it was not designed for you.

The megacorps of the world, dominated by the Big Ten, have somehow found new ways to flex their muscles and grind people under their heels. Governments are caught between wanting to collaborate and seeking power of their own. Occasionally, they’ll spare a thought for the good of their people. Maybe.

When the system is designed to crush you, the only way to live is outside it. Break away and try to build a life for yourself outside of the megacorporate path. You can fight to survive, thrive, and perhaps even earn a little justice.

Welcome to the shadows.

Players: 2+

Play Time: 1 hr up to an entire Lifetime

Age Range: 12+


Shadowrun is now on its sixth generation of rules, having been around for 30 years now.  The rule systems can cover almost any situation. The ability to use fantasy characters such as Orks and Dwarfs in a post modern setting that includes both magic and technology was created in 1989 by FASA corporation and now written by Catalyst Game Labs for Topps Corporation and by Pegasus in the German language. While the sixth generation of rules leaves every edition is still available digitally and player groups can take what works for their table. Game tend to work best with a Game Master and a team of 3-5 ‘runners’. Players can create characters  in the classic archetypes of Face, Muscle, Mage, Hired Gun , Computer Decker and more. The world itself is well fleshed out with over 80 years of history covered within the books and over 60 full length novels.

Ratting: 7 out of 10 (OTT - 2 Stars)


Components in this case are books. The core book covers everything and additional books flesh out the major systems like magic, weapons, the cyber system and lots of world building fluff. The books are always well manufactured with hard covers for the main books and softcover for the rest. Almost every game text from the last 25 years can be found in a digital format in English and many are also in German. There have been official dice and even a few miniatures  but these are rare and not needed. When it comes to dice you will only need standard 6 sided dice but you will need a LOT of them. Rolling 30 D6 for a skill test is not uncommon

Ratting: 8 out of 10 (OTT - 2 Stars)


The rule systems for the last two editions have been written by a team of freelancers each focusing on a specific part.  While the writing is good the editing has fallen off with this most resent edition. There is a large errata to the first printing of the sixth edition rules. The world building, short stories and novels are excellent including authors like Jordan K. Weisman, Robert N. Charrette, Nigel Findley, Carl Sargent and Lisa Smedman.

Ratting: 7 out of 10 (OTT - 2 Stars)

Art Direction:

The vision of Shadowrun is probably the most consistent thing for this game over the last 30 years. The look and feel of the world has been beautifully illustrated over the years by the likes of Luis Royo, Brom, Jim Nelson, Tom Baxa, Jeff Laubenstein, Andreas 'AAS' Schroth, Alyssa Menold, Bruno Balixa, Celeste Hansen, Daniel Reneau, Derek Poole, Gareth Keenan, Jack Hoyle, James Mosingo, John Stanko, Kat Hardy, Marco Mazzoni, Monte Moore, Péter Tikos, Sarah Lindstrom, Takashi Tan, Victor Moreno and my favorit artist ever, Echo Chernik. Their work pulls you into the world in such a wonderful way.

Ratting: 9 out of 10 (OTT - 2 Stars)


As an RPG there is infinite replayability. Weather creating new characters, new groups of runners or whole new scenarios, there is always something new the next time you get together to play.

Ratting: 10 out of 10 (OTT - 2 Stars)

Overall Opinion:

Shadowrun is the only game that I have played continuously for almost 25 years now. Others come and go, and even come back again but Shadowrun has never lost my interest. For those that want to play an RPG but can’t decide if they prefer Fantasy or Sci Fi, Magic or Guns, Shadowrun may be the magical dystopian future for you.

Overall Ratting: 8 out of 10 (OTT - 2 Stars)

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