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Cyberpunk RED $30.00 $25.50
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Michael d. V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2021 16:08:23

Cyberpunk RED is great. This is by far the best edition to get into the game. I'm running 3 games on Roll20 as a DM and can't complain.

THE GOOD

  • Lifepaths are brilliant!
  • RED feels and plays like a fixed CP 2020 game.
  • New FNFF (Friday Night Fire Fight) rules ar much simpler and play better and faster: Hitzones and armor are simplified which is a big plus, Critical hit tables are cheesy! Autofire skill is a cool fix for what used to be an OP "delete oponent" option.
  • 2X skills bring balance to combat oriented play and put a real constraints on munchkin builds.
  • Role abilities are meaningfull and relevant. The solo is no longer the best role.
  • Martial and Melee combat are actually balanced vs gunfighting - which wasn't the case before.
  • Multiple ways to build a character. PROTIP: use the streetrat tables for your NPCs.

THE BAD

  • The "hold" action is the single most important battle-action in this game. If you play RAW and are entirely new or you join from 2020 this is far from clear. It took my group multiple sessions to figure this out. Basically following RAW you can't hit anybody who is in cover. You need to use the hold action to hit your target when he pops out of cover to do his thing. This makes combat VERY tactical but this is ABSOLUTELY unclear when reading the rules during a first pass. At the start this is a bit weird to manage but once you get the hang of it everything gells together for the better.
  • Recommended starting stats are WAAAAAY too low. At 62 points you won't hit anything. As a result combat is a bit of a drag. Start as a minor hero at 72 stat points and go full cheese from there. It seems like the game wasn't playtested at these lower stat builds.
  • They should have diversified the stats even more. Splitting REF into REF and DEX is smart but they should have doubled down on this concept. Why not tie the Autofire skill to the BODY stat (like you need a big frame to handle the recoil). Social encounters suffer a smililar problem and are very bland as all skills are tied to the same stat. I'm missing a seduction skill (based off COOL) and the persuasion and interogation skill should have had different underlying stats.
  • Not enough emphasis on non-combat play. D&D has the same problem yet cyberpunk is in a unique position to fix this but doesn't.
  • This game could have been more self-critical/self-reflective. RED is a 2020 Fix and Pondsmith could have added a chapter to explain how he fixed things and why. This could have helped many new GM/DMs run better games.

THE UGLY

  • The Netrunning role still breaks the action economy. This is still an example of bad game design. However I suspect Pondsmith to have settled on this version as Netrunning is such an integral part of the lore/setting. Word of advice though - do not allow an unexperienced player to run a Netrunner and limit the amount of Netrunners at your table to one.
  • The rules are all over the place. This sourcebook is hard to navigate even with the linked index.
  • The game lacks advice for new GM/DMs on how to handle classic cyberpunk problems such as how to handle the parts/hardware hoarder and the player that wants to cut everybody open for parts. Weirdly the solution is in the book but this is not addressed explicitly. Just give all enemies inferior quality gear. As a seasoned GM/DM I would have liked that Pondsmith would have made this more clear.
  • Pondsmith needs to look real hard at the Dark Horse Cyberpunk 2077 Worldbook. That's how you do a sourcebook/splatbook in 2020. Missed opportunity! The lore is way to dense. In 2020 people don't/can't read anymore.
  • Where are the adventure modules?
  • Limited Roll20/VTT support.


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Cyberpunk RED
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