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Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
 
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Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/03/2020 12:04:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This review is based primarily on the massive boxed set of the Cyberpunk RED jumpstart kit; I have also consulted the electronic version; this review was moved up in my reviewing queue due to me receiving a physical copy of the boxed set for the purpose of a fair and unbiased review.

Okay, that out of the way, let us start!

In the archive of the electronic version, there is a two-page standee-pdf for paper minis…and much to my pleasant surprise, the R. Talsorian crew has not simply put a sheet of paper in the box – instead, the standees in the box are part of a THICK, sturdy cardboard. A single little press made them seamlessly pop out of it. Kudos for going the extra mile with a material that actually withstands the rigors of play. Moreover, 12 plastic feet for the standees are included –assembling of the paper-minis was easy-peasy: Put the standee in the foot, done.

It should also be noted that the physical boxed set includes two custom d10s, and four custom d6s, using the Cyberpunk RED icon as the maximum number, with each number sporting red circuitry. The dice are black with red numbers, and unlike many comparable dice, the red circuitry elements so far haven’t worn off, so once again, the R. Talsorian crew did not cut corners here. Kudos.

Now, one glimpse at the archive will net you a 12-page pdf of pregens: The front side of these sports a high-quality artwork alongside a background story, with the fully filled-out stats on the back in an already ready-to-play filled out sheet. In the physical box, these pregens are printed on glossy, high-quality paper – thicker, and obviously made to be handed out and used. Speaking of which: The boxed set also includes 4 full-color maps, all of which come with grids and plenty of details. One map depicts a street-corner, another a dust-choked street, the third an apartment complex, and the fourth a bar. In their physical iterations, these are also glossy paper, with each map the size of 2 regular pages, so tabloid format.

Speaking of which: The box contains a EZ Reference tabloid – 4 pages. 2 pages are the basic rules, 1 page is all about the netrunning rules, and the final page contains 3 NPC stats. In the electronic iteration, two versions are provided: A 4-page iteration for regular printers, and a 2-page version for printers capable of printing tabloid-size. Yep, all rules fit on two pages. (And in case you were wondering, this booklet is actually enough to run the game if you’ve understood it once. Two pages. That’s super-promising for the final game.

Final game? Yeah, this is not a full-blown iteration of Cyberpunk RED; instead, this is a starter kit, and I’ll rate it as such – much like e.g. Pathfinder’s Beginner’s Box or the LITE-version of the Witcher RPG, this box is all about providing the tools you require to dive into the game in every way. However, this book does not provide the tools for you to make your own, fully-realized characters. It is a starter’s kit. That being said, as far as I could tell, this is not, and that is important, a dumbed-down version of the game – which is a good thing. I am not a fan of learning a dumbed-down version of a game, only to have to unlearn it later, so kudos for this decision.

Okay, this out of the way, the system employed is an evolution of the Interlock system, and veterans of Cyberpunk should have an easy time getting into the game’s rules. The rules book included in this set clocks in at 43 pages (already minus cover, editorial, etc.), and in the physical iteration, is a nice, perfect-bound softcover with glossy, thick paper. But didn’t I say that the rules fit on 2 pages? Yeah, well, the rule book? It’s not just dry rules – it is not only a brief introduction of roleplaying games, it also explains the crucial aesthetics of cyberpunk. This is in so far important, as Cyberpunk 2020 was firmly routed in the 80s and their vision of the future; it was a vocalization of hopes and fears of that age…and now that we have arrived in 2020, rehashing these would have, at best, resulted in feeling, well…quaint.

This game does not do “quaint.” The game moves the timeline ahead to 2045, after the fourth corporate war, which saw a small tactical nuke go off in the center of Night City at its conclusion. The power-dynamics of the world have been thoroughly shaken by this catastrophe, and while some might assume a somewhat post-apocalyptic tint, I’d actually not subscribe to that. First of all, tech and construction can negate radiation; the detonation has catapulted dust into the air, tinting dawn and dusk in crimson shades. Hence the RED. This is a strong angle – why? Because Night City is inhabited, Because the mega-corps have fragmented, emphasizing a dog-eat-dog struggle to come out on top, a notion of the urban jungle. If anything, this reminded me of the fantastic dub-step-y metal-song Red Sun from Metal Gear Revengeance (btw.: That OST is the perfect Cyberpunk soundtrack…):

“Golden rays of the glorious sunshine Setting down, such a blood-red light Now the animals slowly retreat To the shadows – out of sight

Arid breeze blows across the mountains Giving flight to the birds of prey In the distance machines come To transform Eden – day by day“

Those lines perfectly encompass for me the feeling of Cyberpunk Red. More so than the original book, the notion of the city as a jungle, as popularized in post 2000s weird fiction, can be considered to be the proper leitmotif for the game – and in such a world, everyone has an angle, and style is just as important as everything else. Not only is Cool an ability score, social combat/intimidation provides a massive debuff to those you beat. Cyberpunk is a mindset, and one that is conveyed as much via mindset, as via aesthetics.

Attributes are btw. Intelligence, Willpower, Cool, Empathy, Technique, Reflexes, Luck, Body, Dexterity, Movement. The final book will have three ways to construct characters; Hit Points are derived from Body, with wound threshold and death save as further derived stats.

The basic resolution mechanic used by Cyberpunk Red, is to add a Stat, the associated skill, and roll 1d10, then compare that with the DV (Difficulty Value) – if you BEAT the DV, you succeed. Combat is essentially opposed skill check. This, of course, results in an emphasis on ABILITY. If you are good at something, you might not even need to roll; if you suck at something, you’re vulnerable in that regard. Much like the Witcher RPG, this means that the RPG a) can be pretty deadly, and b) that your abilities matter more than in e.g. d20-based games. I can’t provide detailed analysis on the rules of the jumpstart kit, primarily because the rules here are intended for the pregens, etc. Netrunning is also covered, and before you ask, there are proper reasons for the by now quaint notions introduced back in Cyberpunk 2020 to now longer apply – as noted, this does not cater to quaintness, it knows no sacred cows. The tweaks made to the combat engine in particular are, as far as I could judge with the material presented and the playtesting frame I had, rock-solid, though judging such a system without access to the totality is an exercise in speculation – for now, it looks better than the 2020.

As a long-time Shadowrun fan, this should not exactly make me happy, considering how SR hasn’t exactly handled sweeping changes particularly well. And this is where Cyberpunk Red is genuinely superior, at least in my book.

You see, beyond the basics in the rules book (which btw. includes full explanations of slang), the box contains a second such book – the world book, which explains in a rather in-depth view how the world changed from the Cyberpunk 2020 status; this world book contains 50 pages, and is also a glossy softcover.

The world book is an example of the most efficient world-building I have seen so far in RPGs, period. In these few pages, the book not only presents an overview of how the world changed. It also includes the information how you stay out of trouble; how communication works, the weaponry you’re packing, stats for vehicles and their details, how you’ll score jobs, and the like. From food to media, this covers all. As a comparison: FAITH’s Tiantang is more than TWICE the size of this book, covers only one location, and failed utterly in answering ANY of these questions. I can see this new Night City. I can SMELL it. I love it.

I also love the commitment to “realism” - yes, you can do amazing things with cyber-prosthetics, but there are limits. This is grounded, where Shadowrun, for a while now, has moved ever more towards the edges of science-fantasy, and the system supports and mirrors the playstyle – Cyberpunk RED provides a more pronounced unity of theme and rules. And that is coming from a long-term, die-hard Shadowrun fan.

The world book also contains one adventure, as well as several encounter outlines/mini-quests, supplemented by screamsheets, essentially tabloid-like headline articles that serve as great handouts. These encounters, and the adventure (which is, funnily enough, about keeping your apartment complex!), were surprisingly fun, but also represent the only aspect of this set that imho is not as newbie-friendly as it should be. There is no read-aloud text, and the material is pretty text-block-y. An experienced GM will have no issues here, but novices might have a harder time.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level – the sequence of the rules-presentation, to the extent they are relevant here, is precise, didactically valid, and does a great job teaching the system. On a formal level, I noticed a few minor typos (it’s instead of its, etc.). Layout is a HUGE improvement over e.g. the Witcher RPG – these books look slick, stylish, and awesome. The level of quality of the cover artwork is also retained in all of the copious interior artworks. These books are gorgeous. As noted, the production values of the box are fantastic. The pdfs comes with detailed, nested bookmarks that make navigation simple and smooth as well. The cartography is full-color and neat.

Okay, in context: The Witcher RPG, when I read it, felt like a mess; it was only when I played it, after having digested the somewhat labyrinthine structure, when I really got to enjoy it. Cyberpunk RED not only has superior production values, it also has superior precision regarding its rules, a smarter, more streamlined presentation – it is genuinely one of the most easy-to-get into games that is not rules-lite that I’ve ever seen. This is not only smooth in how it teaches the rules, it is smooth in how it teaches the aesthetics and adapts them for a new age, writing an aesthetic that is still indebted to classic Cyberpunk, and yet radically novel in its transition of the concepts to a new age, in its reframing of what cyberpunk means in this new era. Mike Pondsmith, Cody Pondsmith, David Ackerman, J Gray and James Hutt have achieved a remarkable feat here, and I am not engaging in hyperbole when I’m saying that I want this game right now. I want to play the finished game. I want a whole ton of books for that world. I am truly excited about this, and if the final book can maintain this quality, we might be looking at a #1 Top Ten spot. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

One caveat, though: As noted above, this is the jumpstart kit; whether the final book can live up to this awesomeness remains to be seen. For a long-term game, this lacks the customization options and transparency regarding some rules details, obviously.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Mark H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2019 15:20:35

Wonderful art and well put together. For a jumpstart "preview" kit of the upcommin RED edition - this is a wonderful product for the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Matthew S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/20/2019 15:55:28

Cyberpunk Red promises to be a return to 2020 form after less successful iterations of the setting, and improves upon a lot of what went before.

Style High points: The graphics and artwork surpass any previous version of the game, while still being evocative. The layout is a stark red and black outline around the page, with a few callouts rendered as grafitti. The artwork is full-color, competently rendered art, depicting Edgerunners and their equipment in dismal environments. No Nagel knock-offs or Prepper Barbies to be found.

Low Points: The physical version of the books are in a square format, and the PDF version suffers. While the body of the text is in a two-column format, each chapter header uses a page-width column instead, forcing to you to pan or squint. The Screamsheets at the back of the World Book look like they're out of the 2020 edition, with no nod to the 25 years of page layout software evolution in or out of the game.

Substance The setting has advanced 25 years, to 2045. Night City has been destroyed and rebuilt, and no one's in control any more. Corporations, gangs, and Nomad packs are the powers that be, seizing territory and keeping what little peace is to be had. The NET is broken, and its treasures are now hidden in off-grid systems Runners essentially have to walk to. Cyberware has stalled, at least locally, and Night Citizens are keeping up with a DIY aesthetic.

High points: It's cool to see the setting take a hammer to its sacred cows. Corps aren't the enemy they used to be, and come off as more human than monolithic. The NET has had a functional revision that, while a little contrived, makes running fast and puts it directly in combat time, and is easily going to be the most significant change to gameplay.

Low points: It's a jumpstart, there's not a lot of crunch for a crunch-heavy system. All the toys are listed on the pregens, and that's all you get, despite about four adventure's worth of GM material. Notably missing is what makes each Role unique: only the Netrunner gets any Role-specific rules provided. Setting-wise, there's been almost 3 decades' worth of technosocial change in the real world that makes a once edgy setting feel like retro-futurism. This is probably unavoidable, and difficult to balance between a new edition, a videogame license that takes things ahead another 30 years, and 30 years' divergence from the real world.

Attitude is Everything It's a promising update, though I'm going to recommend buying the physical box over digital. It doesn't yet feel new. I'm hoping, in particular, for changes to the rules that recognize queerness, disability, and mental health have dimensions that older rulesets were not respectful of. Won't know until we get closer to the release date.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Ehn J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/16/2019 23:29:25

I was gifted this product for review purposes.

That out of the way, I went into this with absolutely no idea what to expect. I'd read shadowrun 5e and a bit of other stuff that could possibly relate, but this was my first foray into the world of cyberpunk. And what I saw did a lot to separate itself out from the rest of the crowd in its worldbuilding. But I'm getting ahead of myself; I'd like to start with the mechanics.

The first thing I'd like to touch on is the new combat system (which is as the book labels it "Thursday Night Throwdown", or TNTD), which is very player friendly. There's no attempt to make a completely realistic combat system which completely grinds the game to a halt in order to make for a slower experience. Instead, the gunplay is presented in a way that can be gotten across quick and easily, making for a more frantic and fun experience. Combat allows both offensive and defensive contributions, and while the base system may feel a bit too basic for those wanting a tactical masterpiece, I believe that the flow of combat is enhanced by what's being done here. Efforts were made to make melee combat viable despite the prevelance of guns, something I appreciate (something that's a bad option isn't an option to me), although there are patches here that I think could be abused by a savvy team (such as suppressing fire). Regardless, you won't be leafing through 500+ pages to find out how to shoot your gun, leading to more time getting to feel like a free wheeling badass.

The social mechanics as well as the stat system also follows this rule of simplicity, with 10 stats you can have along with very clear ways of determining success and failue through simple checks with reasonable levels of ease. Doing anything in Cyberpunk RED should be quite easy, which is nice as there could have been a lot of needless complication. I'm sure the finished product will add more complexity, but for a demo, this is quite nice and will help a lot in getting me into the vibe of setting up a proper game for even the newest of players.

There is an issue here with the netrunning system. It's comprehensive, but that's the problem. Of anything presented here, it has the most options by far, and tries to cram a lot of information into the same amount of space that similar concepts that are less complex are given. The ideas behind it feel more scattered in how they're presented, and I find it difficult to recommend including netrunners in a first run of this. Where everything else just feels like a teaser, the netrunner rules feel like a fully fleshed out subsystem. Let me say though that the netrunning does NOT take the player out of combat and cause a party split, but it will cause the GM to have to have different encounters set up for both netrunners and 'meatspace' players, so those who want to incude netrunning may want to consider having more players who can interact with this aspect of the game to validate the effort of including it in their game more properly unless you're okay prepping what amounts to a second encounter for situations where players want to involve themselves in this subsystem.

Enough about the mechanics though, it's time to talk about the worldbuilding. And let me tell you, I was not expecting nearly this much detail about the world in this product. There's about 40 pages given to this topic, which helps give you a sense of what's going on. From what I can tell, it's 25 years past CP2020, and there's been quite a few changes. It feels as though there's been a scaling down of widespread tech in a way that I wasn't expecting, with communication and conflict being on a smaller scale. This isn't a bad thing, and personally I think it helps push things into a new direction that's different from what one would expect. The world feels even more gritty than I would have expected, with permanance being a rarity in all facets of life.

A lot of the worldbuilding took me by surprise, and while a solid amount of the book is dedicated to the well known location known as Night City, there's plenty that's just about the world surrounding it. While there's enough detail to be daunting here, I think that it hits the high points of the world well enough where you have a strong understanding of the setting, even if you wanted to run the game in other places. The book itself is interspersed with quotes from what I assume to be important NPCs from the world which help to give a bit more color to things, mostly setting the mood and letting you know that things are going to be bad. And might I add that the line about what does and doesn't apply to cyber psychosis was well appreciated by quite a few friends of mine.

As a small aside, the slang that typically comes from books like this feels very natural. I have an issue when RPGs have their own slang to include while playing that makes it feel very stiff and robotic and breaks immersion, but the CPR slang has a very natural feel to it which makes it seem like something that you could reasonably say without feeling silly. It's a small but important detail to worldbuilding that I think helps the strength of the overall product, and something that definitely makes me feel like I could integrate it into my games and lexicon.

The sample adventure as well as a lot of other things made sure that you'll have groups who are prepared to 'rock out' properly once the dice hit the table, and while the gear and other such things are quite barebones (especially compared to the comprehensive netrunning section), this is absolutely enough to give people a taste of things to come before the full release is at our doorstep. Any issues I have can easily be chalked up to 'it's just a demo', and if I kept saying "I wish it had X thing in it", by the end of it I'd be complaining that a demo kit wasn't the full CRB. The only thing I'd like to see in the full release is for netrunning to be portrayed in a cleaner fashion, but that's something editing could clear up, and isn't a big fear of mine for this product

For my first foray into the gritty world of cyberwear and circuitry, I would say I'm definitely intrigued. There's a real style to the book that feels like there's more to come, that I've only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as this system is concerned, and it's got me hooked.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by James S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2019 11:05:14

I am a longtime Cyberpunk fan, starting with CP2013. I ran a 7 year campaign in the 90s. I was...disappointed with CPv3 for many reasons not least of which that it seemed to be a completely unrelated take on the genre and ignored what was great about the game. Cyberpunk Red seems to be the sequel to CP2020 that I had wished for. I cannot wait to see the full game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Haden H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2019 00:30:42

Long time Shadowrun fan. The 'new' holder of the IP - Catalyst Game Lab is doing a horrid job in the new 6th Edition of Shadowrun. The Starterbox was full of errors, and just poorly produced. Cyberware is worthless, and there is no punk feel felt anywhere in the universe anymore. Magicrun it has truthfully become.

I jumped ship to Cyberpunk RED. Opening up the Jumpstart Kit I was amazed at the production value and well editied information that grabbed my love for Cyberpunk. The art, the feel of the world. Dripping cyberpunk style with some Mad Max tossed in. I can't wait until the core book comes out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Kazuli K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/10/2019 09:35:32

As a Cyberpunk 2020 aficionado, I can safely say I will only be using the Cyberpunk Red rules from now on. The importance of having streamlined rules cannot be underestimated, particularly for those with a busy work schedule. As a product, the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit from R. Talsorian Games, delivers on its goal to introduce new people to the hobby and the Cyberpunk universe, so it is worth giving it a try. I also believe veteran players will benefit from using the updated ruleset in their 2020 games. For a more indepth look: Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit Review



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Derrick L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/06/2019 14:53:47

I got a hold of my phyical copy of the JumpStart Kit while at GenCon this year, and I was pleasently surprised how nice this set was. RTalsorian has REALLY upped their production on the box set and on the interior art, with the entire two book set being full color with tabletop maps, standees The artwork is really top notch. While I haven't played this new iternation of Cyberpunk yet, the rules seem really smooth with some much needed modern tweeking. It is also clear there is much more to come when the full version of Cyberpunk RED is eventually released. It's especially nice to have RTalsorian putting so much effort into this new generation of CP RPGing.

Great to have Cyberpunk back!

~O



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Bryan B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/04/2019 07:01:08

I haven't played 2020 for (coincidentally) well over twenty years. I've been chomping at the bit for a modern edition of it ever since Cyberpunk 2077 and Cyberpunk Red were announced.

Finally, I get a taste of what Mike and team are putting together for the modern era of Cyberpunk, and though I've only skimmed it, I (mostly) love it so far.

It's a peculiar mix of old school and modern RPG sensibilities that streamlines what my corroded memory recalls of 2020. It seems like they've gone to some lengths to pair down some of the unnecessary chaff from 2020's era into something sleeker and simpler (and yet, still crunchy enough to avoid blandness) without losing the flavor of that grand old game.

That said, the production values themselves are sleek, flashy yet somehow understated, and also consistent with the flavor of the past.

I'm eager to put this on the table and see how it all shakes out. Provisionally, it's a 4/5.

But if it plays as fluid as it looks, it will be love. {{Edit}} But not a pure love as I'm not entirely sold on the somewhat post-apocalyptic setting they are going for with the current timeline. It seems to me like they are trying to dial back a bit too much of what I love about the genre to make it more gritty when there was already plenty of room for that. They are, to me, narratively trying to scuff and tarnish the chrome a bit too much. I suspect were I to run this, I'd kick the timeline forward into a new chrome-age rather than the wastebasket Night City is in The Red.

However, I've missed this, and until I got a look at this, I didn't realize how much. We've (my friends and I) done a lot of Shadowrun in our years, but I never quite groked how much I missed the unique taste of Cyberpunk.

Hit the streets choomba. There's a city to burn...once it's been rebuilt so we can tear it all down again.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Jonathan D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/03/2019 12:58:42

Perfection. Enjoyed my games at GenCon. Can't wait to run it myself and get my hands on the new full game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Jackson F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2019 23:27:37

I used to run campaigns of Cyberpunk 2020 all the time for my TRPG group and during that time I absolutely fell in love with the world that R. Talsorian delivered to us. Needless to say, I was excited to say the least when Cyberpunk Red was announced.

It turned out to be everything I wanted and more!

All of the confusing and needlessly complex parts of CP2020 have been streamlined and made much more player friendly. Netrunning is now a comprehensive and fun class to run, instead of a confusing 40-paged nightmare. Combat is now quick and exciting, allowing players to move through turns in rapid succession instead of calculating "how many bullets hit where" on the target person. All in all, being a player has never been easier or more fun.

GMing has also been made a dream with various different options and play styles provided by R. Talsorian in the one adventure provided by the Jumpstart Kit. This is a great intro for players who want to start GMing in the world of Cyberpunk.

The Rulebook itself is much easier to understand than 2020's core book. Necessary tidbits are bolded or given massive text boxes. They also provide examples for all skills and netrunner abilities, getting rid of the chance for misinterpretation by players and GMs. The art is gorgeous and the layouts are sleek. The Rulebook provides you everything you need, and keeps you wanting more.

The World Book provides amazing and shocking details about the events that have occured before and during the "Time of the Red". The amazing art from the Rulebook carries itself over into the World Book, continuing the trend of sleek and edgy stylization that has been made a staple of Cyberpunk. A must read for GM's and a fun insight into the world for players.

Overall, I am beyond impressed by the quality that has been provided by R. Talsorian Games. I can not recommed the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit enough!

See you in Night City, Choombahs!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Gary H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2019 22:57:59

I dont normally write reviews so I'm going to present this in bullet points.

This as somehow maintained its gritty feeling while still streamlining the mechanics. Wow

I love how this is written. Straight and to the point. So many rpg products I read and play these days are so overwritten and their content stretched to increase page count hat it detracts from the content. This product is efficient and I love that

the art is desperate, gritty, dark, evocative, inspiring, beautiful and maintains the feeling of Cyberpunk.

Net running my biggest fear was that net running would be slow and unplayable. Holy smokes I'm 100% sure that we will have net runners in mygames. I love what they have done with the mechanics and the lore to support those mechanics.

Combat still feels deadly but also feels streamlined and spead up. Fantastic.

mechanics are very logical and easy to understand and use at the table without sacrificing that gritty dark future Cyberpunk feel.

Pre Gen characters are great but still provide some customization. I can see keeping them around for quick pick up pcs or npcs.

This product has surpassed my expectations in every way. I haven't played Cyberpunk in over 20 years and I can't wait to use this in the coming. weeks



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2019 13:54:33

There's a whole heap of goodies in the download or in the box, depending on which version you have. Apparently the box also contains dice, otherwise there's no difference in the contents. Two books, reference cards, maps, pregenerated characters and some standees... everything you need to leap back into the near future.

Where to start? The 45-page Rulebook seems promising. This begins with The View From the Edge, an essay that sets out the stall of what it means to be cyberpunk. This paints the picture from the earliest days, when cyberpunk was the province of science-fiction authors, through the fictional alternate history that permeates the game from its first incarnation as Cyberpunk 2013 and then Cyberpunk 2020 - don't worry if you are not familiar with these games, you'll get the idea. However, the Fourth Corporate War has cut a swathe through everything, and much of what the cyberpunk of 2020 thought was normal is no more. Even Night City was a casualty, a nuke apparently. We're now in 2045, but there's still a place for the hip, freerolling, wired-in cyberpunk, operating more on the wrong side of the law than the right.

A brief precis of what a role-playing game is, for those who don't know, and a glossary of streetslang - you gotta sound right, choombatta, and then on to section 2: Soul and the New Machine. This takes a closer look at the philosophy, the look and feel, of cyberpunk... and reminds that, a major corporate war and the use of nuclear weapons later, there are few if any vestiges of civilization that would be familiar to people in society today. Players need to remember that it's personal, style over substance, attitude is everything, and you need to live on the edge. Oh, and rules are there to be broken. Then there's a look at Roles (read: character classes). There are nine: Rockerboys, Solos, Netrunners, Execs, Techs, Lawmen, Fixers, Medias, and Nomads (not all are covered in the Jumpstart). Next an overview of the character sheet, follwed by details of what everything means in terms of playing the character game mechanics-wise. The skills used for the pre-generated characters are explained.

Next up, 3: Lifepath. This is the system for generating a background for a character, and even with pre-generated ones there is scope for putting your own spin on the character that you are going to play. At each stage you may choose an option or roll for it. There's an example of how to do this, along with explanations of what this means for the player... and how it provides a bit of fun for the GM as well. All that backstory ready to exploit!

Then comes 4: Putting the Cyber into the Punk. This looks at the uses and abuses of cyberware, how to be stylish about your enhancements, and how the end-point of the exercise is survival - yours. With a few scary notes on cyberpsychosis, there are details of the various types of cybernetic enhancement you can have. Just remember: it's as much about fashion as it is about utility. We then move on to 5: Getting it Down. This covers how you actually play the game, when its time to use game mechanics rather than role-play to advance the plot. A lot covers combat because, let's face it, that's when you need to get the dice out... and of course it's a part of the game that most people enjoy. There's also a bit about task resolution, especially opposed tasks, when you want to use one of your skills to accomplish something.

Next, my favourite bit: 6: Netrunning in the Time of the Red. This explains the gear you need to go netrunning and how to use it, both in-game and in terms of game mechanics. This includes getting into brawls in the Net, which can be as deadly as doing so in the meat world. There are also times the Netrunner will have to go along with the rest of the infiltration team and brave the dangers of that sort of combat as well. This ends with an example Netrun, then back to real-world combat with 7: Thursday Night Throwdown, a variant on the original Friday Night Firefight rules. It's all an aid to streamline combat, to give you all the thrills without getting bogged down in the minutae of the rules. An alternate to brawling, the use of Reputation as a competitive sport, is also covered here. Finally there are summary cards of each of the pregenerated characters.

Speaking of pregenerated characters, there are 6 of them, with rather silly names - Torch the Tech, or Grease the Fixer... well, you may change those to something a bit more sensible if you prefer. Each comes with a page of backstory, character portrait and a full character sheet, as separate cards to give to each player.

The second book (or PDF) provided is the World Book. This provides 50-odd pages of background, setting, and adventure, starting with 1: Welcome to the Time of the Red. More detailed recent history explaining what the Fourth Corporate War was and how much damage it did to the world you now inhabit. The United States is fragmented, no longer a superpower. Night City, even 20 years later, is still a mess. The rest of the world is also in a state of flux. A good chance to make your mark, you might think, if you survive long enough, that is. Megacorps also suffered, but there are still corporations flexing the muscles pretty much unchecked. Then 2: Dark Future Countdown gives a detailed timeline of events from the 1990s onwards to the present day of 2045.

It may be battered, but Night City is still there, according to section 3. This gives a potted history from its foundation in 1994 to the present, bombs included. It's in the middle of a veritable fury of rebuilding, plenty of opportunity there. Just avoid the Hot Zone Wasteland, where the central business district used to be. Plenty here on politics, public services and law and order... yes, there is some! The next section 4: Everyday Things gives the lowdown on living there, aimed particularly at newcomers (which players will be, even if their characters are not... it's often best to play the characters as new arrivals too, so both can learn together about their new home). Vehicles, weapons, getting the news, shopping, it's all here. The food sounds terrible, though.

We then move into GM territory with 5: Running Cyberpunk Red. Plenty of good ideas about how to make the environment come to life for your group, opposition they might face, activities they can engage in. There are some sample encounters you can throw in whatever is happening, whatever the characters are trying to do. Finally, there is a fully-fledged adventure, The Apartment. The basic idea is that all the characters in the soon-to-become party live in the same apartment block, one of the few privately-owned (by one of them) blocks in the entire city. Someone wants to change that, gobble it up... and so the party needs to unite and fight for their home. There are notes on the other residents, and suggestions as to what might happen: pick and mix as you choose. There are some plans too. But that's not all. A collection of Screamsheets present more ideas for further adventures which you'll have to flesh out, three of them.

This contains all you need to get going, to see if the new version of Cyberpunk appeals. It doesn't matter if you don't know the original game, but if you do it moves the timeline along in a logical and believable manner. If you don't, just jump in and enjoy the delights that await!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2019 10:07:29

I have thoroughly enjoyed the new RED update to the Cyberpunk lore and gameplay. Can't wait for the official release of the product. Until then, I'll be playing The Witcher.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Sean C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2019 18:31:08

I recently started Cyberpunk 2020, but I had some trepidations on using it in the future. Mainly due to the netrunning. Cyberpunk: Red fixed netrunning in the right way. Instead of the netrunner having their own hour long netrunning session, Cyberpunk: Red has allowed netrunning to occur simulatniously to what is happening in meat-space. The only criticism that I have is in relation to Thursdaynight Throwdown. I am a big fan of the level of the complexity and level of detail in Fridaynight Firefight. I completely get the purpose of simplification of the combat system in order to facilitate the retention of new players, but I hope that the Corerule book comes with some optional rules to use something similar to Fridaynight Firefight. I am going to keep Slammin' it on with this kit!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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