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Shadowrun: War! $18.00 $12.06
Average Rating:3.1 / 5
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Shadowrun: War!
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Shadowrun: War!
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Diogo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2011 05:18:39

I was very disappointed with this book. I hoped it would be a book about the state of warfare in the Sixth World. Instead, half the book talks about Bogotá, as if the entire war between Aztlan and Amazonia happened there. By the way, the book HAS NO MAPS. NOT A SINGLE ONE. The other half talks about other hotspots, that, also, make no sense, given past fluff. The only chapter that really has any salvation, is the one about new rules and gear and even then, you should take care with some of them (some of them existe purely for munchkinism). I had really high hopes for this book, perhaps, that's why I was so disappointed in the end...

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: War!
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/21/2011 00:00:21

Shadowrun: War! is an incredibly dense sourcebook – there is a lot of information in this title, and it will take a while to digest. The largest segment of the book deals with the escalation of the ‘Atzlan Situation’ as it progresses from global hotspot to open warzone. In true Shadowrun-sourcebook style, there are exhaustive notes on the history of the location, the movers and shakers (individuals, corporations and other groups) and the running commentary from the forum-style posts of the NPCs. This last feature has always been a favourite of mine in Shadowrun publications, as it provides everything from alternative perspectives, idle banter and street-level info that isn’t part of the public record. It moves into sections on the other Global Hotspots, areas when the level of tension and militarisation is a cause for concern. In these areas, war is imminent and it discusses a range of ways that shadowrunners can influence events and what sorts of roles they should expect to play in these areas. The final chapters describe life in the military, for those groups interested in running a slightly different game (in the same vein as the ‘Shadows of the Underworld’ sourcebook from SR2) and there is more than enough info and game mechanics to get a group playing. In true Shadowrun fashion, the rest of the book is given over to new gear, mostly military grade – everything from combat drone, to military naval vessels to new cyberware and more mundane weaponry. There is enough new swag here to keep even the most hardened shadowrunner very, very happy. Again, reference to the material is made easy by the simple tables in the back.

My major gripe with this book lies in the writing, and is a matter of personal taste. I have noticed that whilst the second- and third-edition books relied on the shadowrunners slang to substitute for swearing (which gave the game its own flavour and was neat), the more recent writers are instead placing a proliferation of real-world four-letter words into the publication. I am seriously wondering, when SR has gone to lengths to establish their own turns of phrase, why the writers felt they needed to do this. It is isn’t necessary, it’s not edgy, and it actually detracts from the game. The sheer volume of profanity is also slightly off-putting.

This aside, I’d be tempted to buy the book just for the new gear it presents.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: War!
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2010 10:02:15

I'm usually generous when evaluating Shadowrun books, for a number of reasons, but even I noticed some problems with "War!"

From what I gather, this was originally supposed to be a generic supplement on how war is conducted in the Sixth World, but the concept was changed to that of a "story arc" book like Emergence and Ghost Cartels. Either of these would have been fine on its own, but it looks like the book that actually hit the shelves was a strange mix of both that does neither well.

The first half of the book is devoted to moving the Shadowrun metaplot forward by describing a war between Aztlan and Amazonia, something which has been hinted at for a while now. Unlike the previous titles mentioned above, which give you a broad timeline with a definite series of events, along with several adventures or adventure ideas for each major stage of the story, you get a handful of chapters that look like a big stream of conscience, with disorganized and somewhat redundant thoughts on the city ob Bogotá and what's going on in there. An actual description of the events that lead to the start of the war doesn't appear until chapter 2, and there are no maps at all. The authors themselves could have really used one, since there's no mention of Bogotá being right in the middle of the Andes mountains - it's instead described as being surrounded by jungle.

In the end, the feeling I got from reading this part of the book is that it went through no editing at all. I have no way of knowing whether this was actually the case, but it feels that way. Things are just sort of tossed together in there. You have a description of how the war starts, but not of how it ends (and no explicit indication that they intended to leave the end of the war for a future supplement). They mention it's a big war, and that fighting happens on lots of places along the border, but nothing outside of Bogotá is described. The Aztlan and Amazonian forces are given cursory descriptions. When you get to the descriptions of how wars are fought on the Sixth World, you get told they're basically the same as they were on the 20th century, despite all the high-tech and magic described in nearly every Shadowrun book.

There are /some/ passages here that are still good, like the one where they describe example shadowrunner teams that could be used as PCs or adversaries, but again, they don't seem to have developed much beyond the draft stage.

The "Global Hotspots" chapter is a better, with short, punchy vignettes about several other places around the world, each followed by 3-4 campaign or adventure ideas. I wouldn't have minded if the whole book had been written in this format. The brevity of each "hotspot" description leaves little room for factual errors or stream-of-conscience style rambling, so it's definitely an asset. Most of the campaign ideas are also pretty good!

Finally we get to the game information chapter, which is a bit of a mixed bag. It has information on how to run a mercenary/military campaign in the Sixth World, nothing how it differs from a standard "shadowrunners" game, which I guess is serviceable. There are also rules for post-traumatic stress disorders and when to ask for Composure tests during a war, which are fine. There's also a list of military gear, from load-bearing vests to nuclear warheads, which seems to suffer from some editing problems of its own if the forum discussions about it are anything to go by. Personally, I didn't pay much attention to it, as most of the gear and rules contained there already exist in GURPS, which is what I use to run my Shadowrun games.

All in all, I don't feel this is worth the price of purchase.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
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