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Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook $19.99
Average Rating:2.7 / 5
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Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
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Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Eric P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2019 12:50:44

Shadowrun is the first game that my group started playing together and has held a dear and special place in our hearts since 1989. No matter what games we branch off and play, we always come back to Shadowrun. It's very hard not to come at this review from an emotional place, but I will try to be as objective as I can.

ART - While I really like the Technomancer archetype, the Troll Street Samurai just looks horrible. That's not a troll. It looks like Henry Cavill (complete with super hair curl) with horns and some tusks. What happened to the Orks and Trolls as "trogs" idea from every previous edition? They even have a pretty good looking Ork as the Face. It breaks from the background of the world. Orks and Trolls are not pretty and that's a HUGE part of the history of the world. On page 56, for example, the text refers to orks making people nervous with just their presence and trolls as "the walking embodiment of everyone else's nightmares." The art doesn't represent that. There are one or two good pieces of art in the book, but the rest just doesn't stand up to the quality of previous editions. The "magey" person on page 91 looks neat and dynamic. The dwarf (?) person on page 110 looks amateurish at best. They've pulled a "scratchy' aesthetic into the art that just doesn't scream "Shadowrun" in tone or feel.

RULES - The rules are a disaster. They're inconsistent and, despite the claim of simplification, made complex by that inconsistency.

  • The book is missing important facts (like unarmed damage).
  • Systems that were made simple by similarity in earlier editions are now needlessly complex. For example, the split of how mages handle spirits and technomancers handle sprites means you have two disctinct rulesets for thematically similar characters.
  • The expanded EDGE rules seem like something that could have been great, but are just unfinished and unrefined.
  • Editing is inconsistent throughout the book, with references to rules that don't exist, and the rules seem rushed and as if the developers ignored playtester feedback.
  • Cyberware and gear all do the same thing, giving you EDGE, but you cap at TWO EDGE per turn. And you can earn EDGE circumstantially or through roleplay. So don't mess with your character's Essence but adding machine to the meat! There's no need.
  • While I agree that the Initiative Pass system needs an overhaul, the switch to one Major action with a gaggle of Minor Actions just doesn't work. It's almost an action point economy system that just misses the mark with the Major/Minor split. You need to have a chart on hand to figure out what you can do in a turn. They should have just said speed enhancers give you extra action "points" per turn and it takes so many action "points" to do a thing. That idea needs refinement, of course, but the 6e action system is nearly incomprehensible. I need to spend a minor action so that I can attack more than one target with a major action? But I can throw a grenade or an AOE spell and I don't have to spend that minor action for multiple targets?

FEEL - One of the core concepts of Shadowrun has always been the juxtapose of the modern world (represented by Seattle) being surrounded by the "nature-friendly" world of the Native American Nations (represented by the Shamans and Tribesfolk in the game). This has been phased out over the past two editions. 4e had the radical eco-shaman and 5e's occult investigator and street shaman at least had some tribal elements in the art and mentor spirits. That's all gone in 6e. I can't even find a reference to the Great Ghost Dance or the Treaty of Denver. The game world feels like I'm playing Cyberpunk in Mega-City One with elves and sexy trolls. It's too bad. Shadowrun has faded into the genre where it used to stand out. I can play the new Cyberpunk edition and it feels like the same game.

FINAL - Overall the game feels rushed. I think that the developers saw the minor peak in interest in the genre (via the success of Altered Carbon on TV and the hype around the Cyberpunk video game) and tried to capitalize on that. They bought into the D&D 5e hype that simple equals "accessible" and tried to simplify the game with inconsistent results. Any game where you're playing with decimal points worth of increments (i.e. Essence loss to enhancements) is not going to fit into a "simpler is better" format. If they had stuck with shortening the skill list, clarifying how deckers and technomancers participated on runs, and refining EDGE it could have been better. With all the inconsistencies between functions (combat, spells, technomancy, decking, etc.) it feels like we're going BACK in time to an era where you had multiple game systems under the hood to just play one game. I think that Shadowrun 6e is a step back. It feels like an experiment with no hypothesis to guide it. Or a project that endured dramatic scope creep.

I apologize if I slipped too much subjective opinion into this review. I tried to lay the facts out as objectively as I could. Shadowrun is an important "world" for me and mine, so a little emotional coloring will bleed in. I sincerely hope that this edition will be seen as a "beta" version of the game and the developers will come back at us with a complete product in the near future.

Thank you for your time.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Raymond J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2019 17:12:09

I wanted to like this game. Been playing SR since the 90's and the new version has some good ideas. The game needed to be less complicated, so I was hopeful upon hearing that was the direction the developers were going. Sadly it is painfully obvious that the current version has not had enough playtesting or enough editing. Catalyst Game Labs has made some big changes (attack and defense rating) assuming that an expanded Edge system would fix everything. And, while there are some good ideas here (the new Trolls for instance) they are not sufficiant to carry the game. The game reads like its half done, and the editing is simply awful. All in all a very disappointing experience.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Pete D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/10/2019 13:04:40

This book was extremely poorly edited and the rules can't have been play tested. I just wasted $20 on a game that is unplayable. Catylist should be ashamed of putting out such a poor product.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/25/2019 11:11:51

It's bad, it's really really bad. Some of the core concepts are allright, some are not, but most importantly Catalyst's poor editing process continues. Such a mish-mash of good and poor ideas, with some concepts obviously having gone to press while still in the process of revision. You made metatypes more flexible, but then completely removed the balance between different attributes. Atrributes and skills cost the same to level up in place, but have dramatically different costs in character generation. Melee combat dmg makes no sense. You removed Force from spells, but had to backdoor add in again on many of them, kept Force for spirits, but made it so it was impossible bind spirits but binding sprites in the matrix was fine? Copy and pasted sections have numerous references to elemtents from previous editions that were removed, like grids. Was no one coordinating this?

Advice to Catalyst? Get an editor, get a project manager for all the freelancers you have workign for nearly free. That's two different people by the way. Completely redo this edition, it's barely useable as is, and in no way an improvement over 5th edition, was also riddled with errors, but at least better than this.

But everyone has been telling you this for years, and you haven't and won't, so I really would prefer you hang it up at this point.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Thomas W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/18/2019 08:57:31

Shadowrun Sixthworld has been getting a lot of bad reviews and many 1 star ratings. While there are many problems with the system and the missing information in the rule book, I don't feel all the criticism is warranted. With objectivity in mind, I'll list the good, the mixed, and the bad of the book.

The Good: By far, the best thing about the book is that rules are extremely simplified from previous editions. The list of skills has been reduced to 19. This, along with other simplifications, make character creation a lot quicker.

The matrix is much more playable in this edition. Although it can still be complex, you don't have to worry about keeping track of marks like you did in 5e.

Finally the artwork is generally pretty good. Although not all the pieces are great, it generally sets the tone for the game and none of the art stands out as completely goofy.

The Mixed The Edge system is a mixed bag. On one hand, I like it because it encourages fast combat and taking risks, but on the other hand it sometimes simplifies things too much. Essentially, rather than keeping track of all kinds of weapon and armor modifiers, there are just a few modifiers that can give players or NPCs a point of Edge which can be spent on rerolling dice or performing various manuevers. This speeds things up since in previous edition there were so many modifiers that went into attacks that combat could sometimes slow down to a crawl. However, because you can only gain two points of Edge a round and edge can be saved up (rather than spent the round it was earned), combat becomes less about tactics and more about taking big risks (Do you spend the edge this round or wait until later?). This isn't a terrible idea, but it can lead to situations where weapons, armor, and cover become relatively unimportant (More on that below).

The Bad The worst, as has been pointed out is fact that the writers overlooked some important information in their rush to get the book out. How much essence do you start with? The answer is 6 as long time players know, but this isn't mentioned in the book. How much damage do unarmed attacks do? (The answer is strength/2 rounded up, stun damage.) This is also not mentioned. While this missing info is easily found on the internet, the book feels a little rushed because of it.

Th other bad thing is that armor is a lot less effective in combat. Rather than allowing a player to soak damage or giving bonus defense dice, it gives a defense rating which is compared to an attacker's attack rating each round. If the defense rating is 4 points higher than the opponent's attack rating, you get a point of edge which doesn't even have to be spent on defense that round. While this eliminates the problem of "walking tanks" of previous editions ("I don't need cover because I can soak the damage!"), it makes all but heavy armor mostly ineffective.

Conclusion So Shadowrun 6th World Edition is a mixed bag. There is a lot to like. It overall is quicker to make a character and there is generally less to keep track of. This might annoy some veteran Shadowrun players who like the complex rules and fine tuning their characters, but I really like quicker character creation and gameplay. However, the missing information makes the book feel incomplete and the edge system has the unintended consequence of making armor and a lot of tactics much less important.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Tom D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2019 06:22:09

Yeah, this is pretty bad. Has some really nice ideas and some good changes but, generally speaking, feels only half finished and introduces a few fairly fatal flaws in the system. I'll be sticking with previous editions for now and seeing whether this edition gets fixed in coming months / years.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Nathan P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2019 15:41:33

Alright; Let me get this out of the way in the first place. I'm not a fan of the new mechanics and I much prefer the crunch of older shadowrun versions. That said, I'm not one to judge a thing without understanding it and so wish to approach this with some thought for others who are getting into SR6 with what I assume the design intent was; a less crunchy D&D 5e style simplification of the rather complex and convoluted Shadowrun system. Unfortunately even therein we run into some major problems.

So I'll just ignore all the magicrun, metatype simplification, skill dropping, and armor changes that mostly old shadowrun players care about and just ask "From a new player who seems excited about the mechanics, should I get this game" and I would say at this point, no. Leaning into a 'maybe' to 'tenative yes' once they fix the myriad errata problems.

We'll get the easy one out of the way first. This book is an editing nightmare and somehow the shadowrun team gets worse and worse every time. Even after the 10 page pre-release errata you still can't jump and while they explain that characters have essence, they don't explain how much or how it affects characters. Naturally these are things that editing and errata can fix, but catalyst typically donesn't update its PDFs often, so expect to be using errata for a while.

Lets ignore the character balance like melee & magic changes. I get the feeling the target demographic isn't to mindful of these things, as for the most part they are building reasonable characters rather than trying to work a mechanic to its core. If you don't have to worry about munchkins or Powergamers, you probably won't run into too much issue here from a first readthrough.

However there is one major issue I have with the new system that I believe will heavily affect new players and old alike. The new Edge system. From a conceptual perspective I actually like changing edge from a super-powered but limited stat to a new resource pool, but from an implementation perspective it outright fails. Namely I take issue with how it replaces all conditional modifiers. Yes this very heavily simplifies the game, similarly to how advantage/disadvantage simplified D&D 5e; Unlike D&D however, the new system doesn't just make 'tripping sub-optimal' but makes a good deal of tactical play wholy non-functional.

The Demonstration

Lets look at a pretty basic senario and see how it would play out in both 5e & 6e in general terms. A group newbie shadowrunners get in a shootout with small dispatch of lonestar. They are trading shots back and forth from cover in pretty close conditions and the shadowrunners want two things to occur. First, get their sam into melee range to wreak havoc. Second, Get their decker to a nearby door so he can jack-in and hack it open (the server looks pretty tough and the decker thinks its far safer to just crack the door open through direct connect). Lonestar reinforcments are closing in and the shadowrunners are in a hurry to get up high. The Weapon specialist gets a bright Idea and lobs a smoke grenade in-between the groups. No one on either side has thermal-vision or any other way to bypass the smoke.

Previous Editions: Smoke goes off, the sam charges & the decker moves to the door to start hacking. With the shitty coniditons the officers arn't able to line up a good shot on the decker or sam until its too late. The newbie officer who is a poor shot can't even land a solid hit and is reduced to providing pressure by shooting in the general direction of the enemy rather than actually hitting. Sams in their ranks hacking them to pieces and relying on his armor to soak up their small arms fire. Decker pops the door as the wounded officers make a tactical retreat while shooting at the armored swordsman. the runners move into the open door using the smoke as cover, leaving everyone no worse for wear save the bloodied but alive sam and maybe a pistol round in the nerd.

6e: Well to start, in 6e most players would realise that this serves no purpose given the conditions, but ignoring that, lets say they did try this stunt. Smoke goes off, since no one has a way to see through the smoke, no penalties are given. The Sam or Decker moving up would provide easy targets for shots, leaving them very wounded before they even got to their positions. Further the sam, who normally relied on some pretty heavy armor to shrug off a good deal of damage, now only gets a bonus Edge each combat round, which will likely be wasted given that he's already probably maxing out his edge per round on attacks alone. Meanwhile, since the newbie isn't getting penalties, they can still land some shots. Once the decker pops the door, their previously tatical retreat into the doorway becomes a panicked run as lonestar continues to lay down fire at them through the smoke. All in all at the end of this the shadowrunners will be far more banged up than the previous version.

Even if you reverse the situtation; lonestar trying to delay the runners by throwing down smoke and holding out for backup to arrive, you get a similar problem. Since smoke no longer penalizes shots, it now fails as a stalling / cover tactic; only providing any kind of bonus if you can see through it, it fails as a 'lethality avoidance measure'.

The Crux

This issue stems from one simple failure of the new system, it doesn't consider intent. Rather it just assumes that the point of all engagements is to neutrilize the enemy as fast as possible and in the most direct means possible (I.e. shoot it with bullets). Even if you assume intent, the game intentionally prevents you from maximizing this by way of limiting edge gain to 2 per combat round which a character 'in their element' will likely already be getting (An armored street sam will likely get two edge just from getting shot at or attacking, often both.) thus wasting it.

There is some hope though for those who are willing to implement house rules. While I've yet to test these things in implementation, from an 'on paper' view they may yield results. Namely in altering the edge cap to either

A: A basic raise on edge cap in a round. This may yield some problems with characters being able to max-out their edge bank just by getting shot at and not spending any, but that is rather more likely to really lay on the hurt than spending some of that gained edge to help survival.

B: and likely my favorite. Make the edge cap a 'banking' cap, with the 'residual' draining off after the action that caused it. This really encourages spending edge but may draw out an engagement more. A street sam standing in smoke (lets assume you're granting intent for the bonus edge here) will wind up getting a ton of edge, but can only keep two of it. It both encourages using edge on the action that gives it, and prevents super-banking in a single action. (E.X. Four people shooting at an armored sam with pistols. The sam is running at them in the dark, and only the sam has low light vision. Each attack save the last gets him two points of edge (1 for armor, 1 for darkness), however the last person has armor piercing rounds bypassing his greater armor. On the first attack he choses to spend a point and bank a point. On the second he rolls poorly, and so decides to spend both points as well as the one he just banked. On the third attack he rolls very well, but since he already banked one point of edge, he can only bank one point rather than two, so he spends the extra on a re-roll to further style on the poor goon. On the third attack he only gains one point of edge and must spend it or lose it, he gets injured but comes out with only a minor wound from the pistol and two edge to show for it.)

Assuming the Use of the B house rule in the above senario, you can get a far better situtation. With the sam's charge through the smoke, each attack against them is likely providing 1-2 edge which they can then spend on dodging or soaking better. Rather than the first shot being easy to dodge or soak and the followups not caring about any of their modifiers, assuming them to be a naked pycho standing in a well lit room; They now are able to choose two of their edge points to 'bank', spending the rest on the dodging & soaking actions.

This also works in reverse; with the officers holding out able to spend plenty of edge on survivability as the shadowrunners spray shots.

While this doesn't cure all of shadowrun's woes; I think it goes a fair bit in fixing some of the heavy imbalance with a rather simple change. As I said before however, this is simply on paper and I would need to test it in game. As I also said, I'm not one to judge without understanding (or atleast I try to be) so I'm already planning to run a game with a couple of Grognards and a couple of more crunch-adverse players. I will test the waters and see how it goes from there, then assess the game fully on its own merits and as a new edition to a long-standing ruleset.

For now my score represents what I believe to be the game's current state. Once the errata is fully out and all the myriad technical and editorial problems are fixed, I would up my score more towards a 2.5 ~ 3 / 5. Alright for newcomers but likely to annoy fans of the old crunch and all-in-all not my cup of tea.

P.S

Why the hell do sharks have hardened armor 6. seriously, they just ignore rifles and shotgun blasts like its nothing. And the only other things that really get hardened armor are like dragons. Like I get that sharks are tough and all, but seriously. I'm pretty sure If I shot a shotgun slug at a beached shark it wouldn't just ignore the shot like I tickled it. You have to get like 5 NET hits for it to even acknowledge a pistol shot, and thats before it attempts to soak. Jesus, I'd rather just fight the dracoforms; atleast you expect those to be durable.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Nicholas B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2019 10:13:11

A hot mess would be a vast improvement. This is an example of a game dev coming up with what he believes is a really cool new mechanic but it's only half-baked at best. As with most CGL products this was not playtested very thoroughly if at all. Add in major departures from all prior editions and you have something worse than D&D 4e.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Romaric T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/08/2019 03:20:42

interesting new game mechanics have been introduced and it is fun to have new things coming on for SR but this book is full of errors, mistakes and omissions to the point it is not acceptable for a professionnal product it would have been better to take 6 to 12 months to check the book and test the mechanics further some rules are completly broken, the gear section provide stats incoherent with the rules, character advancement may become frustrating, etc. you will find a problem almost in every pages. on the good point the book is really beautyfull - at least the people in charge of the art creation did their job.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ben T.
Date Added: 09/04/2019 14:48:56

Unfortunately this rulebook is a mess of missing rules, unclear interactions, and broken gameplay that assumes you have played a previous edition of the game to understand what is supposed to happen. I was excited about the release of a new edition of Shadowrun after having enjoyed fifth edition, but am very dissapointed to find the state that the sixth edition of the game is in.

What are the pros? I like the condensed skill list, I like how the changes to metatypes theoretically makes it easier to make more varied characters, and thats about it.

The cons are many bu the worst to me is that Character creation is broken, its easy to fall into traps that make your characters severaly handicapped. An example is not getting powerpoints as an adept when you increase your magic rating during character creation. Another is that it is easy to game the system as well, you can lose 5 points of essence as an adept and lose magic but no power points.

There are many issues with this edition and I recommend you do further research before deciding to purchase this game.

My recommendation is to not purchase.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Mike R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2019 04:00:36

I really enjoy, as others have said, the more narrative aspect of the game. I always found it a slog to deal with 30 dice and a ton of numbers, I know many people with be disappointed that you do not have to employ Theoretical Mathematics to play the game any more but it leaves an opening for simpletons like myself to ease into it. My only real grip is that they entirely gloss over the races, giving a very light touch to make a character but not alot of background info. I assume this is to sell more info later in another book which is irritating but the trend in tabletops, parse out little by little dollar by dollar. I also bought the boxed set and yeah there are some rough edges but it is beautiful and works fine to get a game going, especially with new players to what used to be a daunting game for new people to engage with.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Dean S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2019 20:46:08

For the most part I like the new changes. I understand that a lot of people are annoyed about the 'crunch' or meticulous bonus-grabbing parts have been replaced by a more narrative, streamlined Edge system but for myself and my players that is absolutely brilliant. We get to focus more on our characters/story rather than it becoming a tactical wargame.

If you are new to the game or (like us) found that the meticulous advantage-crawling adjustment bonuses/penalties, the disparate mechanics for the Matrix, Magic and Mundane tasks were getting in the way of enjoying an intriguing and fun setting than this is the edition to play then you will probably enjoy 6E

If you enjoy the crunch of meticulously adding every bonus you can wrench out of your gear and abilities or you enjoy your maximum Force rated spirit replacing every other team member (as you did in 5E) then this might not be the edition for you.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by dan t. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2019 15:13:15

For all that is good, intresting and innovative in this edition it is let down completly by scattered and missing rules.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/29/2019 00:02:28

A much needed improvement over 4th and 5th edition, but the quality of the printing is kinda weak. I know some will expect more and be hurt by disappointment, but the game is still very good despite the flaws, and this edition has changed things way more than 5th did and for the better.

Positives
  • Unique definitive setting. Shadowrun has had great world building.
  • Streamlined (FINALLY). Although this is still a complicated system, the last editions were needlessly difficult
  • Diverse character creation. Classless system that lets players fill a role on a team that the GM can build around. The depth of what you can do unique to you is amazing.
Negatives:
  • Editing/playtesting. At the time of writing this, some rules seem to be left out. In step 3 of character creation, nothing is written about the karma carrying over to step 4, which is obviously whats supposed to happen. Unarmed DV isn't written anywhere, ect. It's a mess.
  • Same old mechanical traps. Shadowrun has always been a game where people min/max a lot, but I can't help but feel sad that it costs so much karma for the Aptitude quality and taking that skill to 10 is so expensive. Certain weapons are just plain better than others. Some people enjoy this, but it's a bit steep.
  • Some art is recycled. Catalyst commissions very good artists but the last few books they've been recycling very recent artwork, it's not like everything is old, but can't help this hurts the quality of the book.

I'm sure the next few core books and an update far in the future to this one will satisfy me, which is why it gets a 4/5, with the positive changes beating the negative editing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2019 18:10:06

The game is poorly constructed, obviously did not go through any serious playtesting, and is not significantly "easier to learn and play" as they put out as a big selling point. Shifting the cognitive load is not the same as reducing it. Would not recommend. 1 star.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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