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Shadow of the Beanstalk $49.95 $24.95
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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Shadow of the Beanstalk
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Shadow of the Beanstalk
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by John L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/08/2020 01:19:35

The art and the rules are terrific, and the setting straddles cyberpunk and space sci fi well enough that this book is a good supplement for anyone wanting to run a Genesys game set anywhere this side of a space opera. The setting took a while to grow on me but I appreciate it more as I'm reading into it. It's both darker and lighter, more hopeful and more sinister than I expected from a "cyberpunk" setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Beanstalk
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2020 23:00:02

In almost 30 years of gaming, I was always waiting for a cyberpunk setting that felt just right to me. Shadow Of The Beanstalk is that Goldilocks bowl.

It's intentionally somewhat generic, so that it feels like a place to tell my own stories rather than a place to respectfully repeat someone else's. But it's also full of enough ideas to prompt a thousand game sessions.

This setting's take on artificial life is my favourite I've seen in a cyberpunk game, and it's presented with a nuance that I've seen interpreted differently by different friends, which I think is a sign it's succeeded. A central question in the game is what makes someone alive, and the book gives you a lot of ways to explore it without answering it for you.

The art is absolutely beautiful and the book design in general is superior. One thing I'll mention is I bought the PDF, and the design looked gorgeous on a tablet, kind of making me feel like I was holding a futuristic device rather than just my regular old tablet.

If I deduct one star from an otherwise glowing review, it's because I'd have happily paid an extra few dollars to have all the required rules in this book. I do also own the Genesys Core book, but it would have been nice to have it all in one for less back-and-forth.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Beanstalk
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Colin J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/28/2019 22:06:45

An excellent setting, with very deep background with lots of character. It feels very alive. Combined with Worlds of Android (and the fiction), you can get as deep into this setting as you like. Plenty of great options for players to choose from - clones, bioroids, loonies from the moon, martian revolutionaries.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Beanstalk
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/02/2019 18:05:09

Like almost all FFG books, the production values are top notch. The content is... well, it's both good and bad. The mechanics are solid and thoroughly vetted, like the Genesys core rulebook and undoubtedly thanks to the predecessor Star Wars books. As such, it comes with all the benefits and flaws of the narrative dice system. If you don't like Star Wars, you won't like this much. Conversely, I enjoy the hell out of SW and Genesys so this is right up my alley. The expansions on Net "running", cybernetic modifications, and genetic modifications are well thought out and streamlined so as not to drag the game down when a character leverages those mechanics. The archetypes are decent, if a bit narrow, and typical of the genre.

The setting is where the book stumbles. Android clearly has years of development behind it as a setting, and a lot of creative depth that does not adequately come through in the SotBS book. To be fair, that's understandable given the book's size constraints and the need to address the game mechanics. What's frustrating is that the editors basically did a half-assed job at choosing what to present of said setting, and how to present it. There's a depressing lack of maps to put the district descriptions into better context. There are small write ups of one or two "notable" denizens per district but they mostly miss the mark. There's a surprising amount of text repetition (not concept repetition, but text), typos, and an overall lack of clarity ("L-platforms" are only explained, with one sentence, about 150 pages in, for instance). Given the futuristic cyberpunk setting, you don't need the authors to walk you through every neologism and slang term right off the bat as that allows the reader to gradually immerse themselves in it, but better editorial vision and cohesion would have made reading this less of a burden. There's clearly a need to pair this with the Worlds of Android book; that's fine. I'd be more than happy to pay for it since, despite the above criticisms, it's a good book and a great setting. It's just not really designed for people who are new to the Android world, like myself. Unfortunately, the Worlds of Android book doesn't exist as a PDF -- I'll nonetheless pick up a hard copy, but since I bought the SotBS PDF here that's a bit of a pain in the ass, to be frank.

Edit: The Worlds of Android book is out at DriveThru Fiction; it's a much needed addon and makes this purchase well worth it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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