8-12-2019 - Updated review to reflect changed in 1.1 version of product and having run the adventure
-Disclosure- I received a review copy for an upcoming YouTube review series and podcast I am currently developing
I haven't played this adventure and I will update this review if anything changes in play. My star ratings are 100% based on game play, but I will comment on layout and design as well.
I did buy the Shadows of the Beanstalk rulebook, but I am not generally a fan of roleplaying in the cyberpunk/dystopian future genre. I haven't read much of the fiction that is the basis of the genre so I'm coming into this setting without many preconceived notions on how it "should be".
Brain Drain is a short, to the point heist adventure that does a very good job of showcasing the rules that are unique to the Shadow of the Beanstalk campaign setting. The adventure starts with 6 pages of necessary background and then starting right up with the call to action. The description of the hook and the first scene give the GM a lot of room to play bringing the scenes to life.
There are two unique aspects of the scenario that really elevate the product. There is a player facing "clock" that I think is inspired by other RPG systems. I enjoy seeing how others incorporate these tools into other games and it is very smooth here. I would like to have seen a physical handout for this mechanism.
Without spoiling anything there is an antagonist group that is statted and described in a way to makes them a challenge to different playstyles and party compositions. I wish more adventures would follow this path rather than stat and advise based on what the designers this is the one likely path.
The layout and design are top-notch, this looks as good as the adventure published by Fantasy Flight Games.
I ran this for a group of friends online and it was a lot of fun. I would describe it as an enclosed sandbox. The players had a lot of freedom to approcach the challenges before them without there being one best option. If you are using the full Network Encounter rules from the Android Setting, having a "Runner" will maximize the fun. It was a great introduction to Android Campaign Setting and does a great job of providing an introduction to what is different/new in Android for experienced Genesys players. The themes that I associate with the genre are all here and the premise is enough to carry this on to a full campaign with this adventure.