All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG. Bring these games to your table!
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Note: We got an early copy of the physical Sixth World Begginer Box, which we've based our review on after a few play-throughs. Note that not all of what we discuss is present in the digital starter kit:
The Shadowrun Sixth World Beginner Box is a boxed set that introduces players to the rules for Shadowrun 6th edition. It's a great introductory set that has all the material you need to get a game started quickly. This includes a 24-page rulebook, a 24 page scenario, four character portfolios, a map of Seatle in the year 2080, scenario maps, a deck of equipment cards (which also includes spells and some NPC stats for the DM), and a set of 12 beautiful custom Shadowrun dice. You'll need a lot of dice, because Shadowrun has always been about three things: futuristic technology, magic, and rolling handfuls of dice--and 6th edition is no different.
A brief word on the world of Shadowrun--the game is set in an alternate future where magic of ancient legend has returned to the world in the early 2000s. The return of magic also brought creatures such as dwarves and elves, and even monsters such as dragons and ghouls into existence. This future is set in and around 2080, in a time when high-tech lasers and cybernetic implants are rather common. This future is a distopian one, with different national boundaries than we know today, and corporations controlling many aspects of daily life. You and your fellow players are shadowrunners--hired mercenaries that end up doing the dirty work for the corporations, often in the form of espionage, kidnapping, computer hacking, robbery, etc. Among the character options are deckers (hackers), a riggers (mechanics), mages, and street samurai (the muscle).
Now, for the quickstart rules. This is a nice 24-page set of simplified rules that give us a taste of what is to come in 6th edition. The quickstart rules don't include much in the way of character creation, but focus more on gameplay. If you're a veteran of the game, you may remember that Shadowrun's basic mechanics have been centered on forming a dice pool and rolling a bunch of dice. This version of Shadowrun, like recent iterations has us building a pool from an ability + skill and rolling a number of dice equal to the total. For example, if your character is attempting to hack into a computer, you would add your character's logic (representing her natural intelligence) and your electronics skill (her knowledge of electronics). You would then take that result and roll that number of dice to determine the effect. Each result of a 5 or 6 is a success, and contributes to the effectiveness of her attempt to hack the computer. Sixth edition places increased importance on the concept of 'edge', a stat that has been used in previous editions to represent the charcter's luck. Characters enter battle with edge points and more can be gained based on circumstance, such as having the high ground on a battlefield. This edition has expanded rules on gaining and using edge, allowing you to spend edge points in different amounts (1-5) to gain increasing bonuses on actions. Lower-end edge effects allow for things like buy a single re-roll or add to the outcome of 1 die. Higher-end edge expenditures let you do things like roll an additional die for each 6 you roll on your initial test, or increase your enemy's chances of having a critical failure. These are just some examples, but this edition really brings edge to the forefront as a major mechanic. At the heart of the game, you're still rolling a ton of dice and anticipating the outcome. Edge now makes that process more exciting, and players seem to enjoy thinking tactically to gain edge in combat. Veteran players will notice other changes to magic, combat, etc. that largely lean toward simplification. As well, there are some editing errors, particularly in the card set that can lead to confusion. It's likely that the core rulebook will clear up the confusion due to editing, and also possible that we'll see expansion on the rules that often aren't present in a starter kit like this.
The adventure book contains a simple scenario called 'Battle Royale', in which the runners find themselves in the middle of a gang war. Without spoiling too much, they'll have to find a way to rescue a high value target from the gangsters and get out safely to collect their reward. Players can choose from 4 character options: Frostburn--ork combat mage, Rude--troll street samurai, Yu-- Elf covert ops specialist, and Zipfile--Dwarf decker. Each character comes with an 8-page folio that contains an overview of the rules, some background and role-playing tips, and some charts for quick reference during the game. This makes it really easy to get started. The box includes a set of cards that have the stats for the equipment and spells that each character has, which also makes for easier reference. The scenario is about 24 pages with a lot of helpful tips for first-time game masters. There's even a map to help players and GM visualize the scene.
Overall, the Shadowrun Sixth World Beginner Box really has everything that you need to get started. First time players can get a game prepared in probably a couple of hours or less. The box retails for about $25, and it's an amazing value considering that a dozen custom Shadowrun dice will probably cost you at least $20. Not to mention the cost of the card set and adventure book. As a veteran Shadowrun player, this has me excited to play and run the game again. Though this boxed set doesn't present the full rules, it gives us a taste, and I like what I'm seeing so far. This preview of the game shows a lot of promise and it I can't wait to pick up the core rulebook when it's available in a few months.
[See our full review at GeeksAGogo.com](https://www.geeksagogo.com/single-post/2019/06/21/Shadowrun-6th-World-Beginner-Box-Reviewed--A-Great-Start-for-a-New-Edition)
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From the obligatory treats to share at game night to the nearly professional planning that some people put into convention supplies, we gamers really like our snacks. While I am not necessarily the best person to be giving advice on nutrition, I attend enough conventions to have some experience on the subject. After getting back from Queen City Conquest this past weekend, I thought it might be worth diving into the topic in relation to snacking (or eating in general) at conventions.
Most of us go into game conventions knowing our regular eating habits are going to be changed up for the duration, either a little or a lot. Maybe you’re not going to be eating as healthy as you do at home, maybe you’re going to be eating less frequently than you do at home, maybe there’s going to be a little more alcohol than normal. There are differences between large cons in big cities with many options or smaller cons with limited nearby choices for food or snacks, but your regular habits are still going to go off kilter.
It’s super easy to fall into unhealthy choices. The most convenient food to access or buy during conventions isn’t necessarily the best for you, leading to lots of fast food and few fresh, healthy options, and snacks are often just sweet or salty with little in between. Now, when you’re young and invincible, this might be just fine with a packed schedule of awesome gaming and not enough sleep, but as someone who is no longer young and absolutely not invincible, I can wreck myself during a convention if I’m not careful. I currently travel with an emergency supply of Tums, just in case. Not to mention, I know the crappier I eat, the larger the chance I’ll go home to develop a lovely case of Con Crud.
Here’s some thoughts on the subject:
- Water, Water, Everywhere. All good convention guides or tips will remind you to stay hydrated, and this one is no different. I’m touching on this point first because it is really so crucial. You can get your caffeine in whatever manner suits you, and you do you when it comes to the bars in the evening, but absolutely keep a water bottle handy. Most hotels and convention centers will have water out for the attendees, so make sure you take advantage. Even smaller cons will often note where the water fountains are or have bottles of water on hand. I mentioned that whole not being young thing anymore, so let me tell you that getting dehydrated becomes harder and harder to deal with as you get older. So yeah, drink lots of water.
- Healthy, Portable Snacks. While it seems easiest to load up on salty and sugary snacks, it is possible to bring some healthier snacks along with you. Celery sticks and carrot sticks are pretty easy to pack in small containers and actually keep quite well. Nuts are also quite portable and offer a relatively healthy boost. If you’ve got to mix in a bit of chocolate, make your own trail mix. It’s always nice to be able to choose what you want in the mix and not end up with a pile of what you don’t want left in the bag. I mean, raisins are fine but I don’t want THAT many in my trail mix.
- Don’t Let Yourself Get Hangry. Regardless of what your plans are for meals, make sure you pack SOMETHING to snack on in times of need. No one wants a distracted or irritable player or GM that’s in need of a snack at their table. Having a granola bar or couple of pieces of candy to tide yourself over will go a long way to making sure you get through the con in one piece. Let’s say you’ve scheduled yourself two 4-hour games in a row and then plan on getting dinner after that. Well, 8ish hours can be too long for some folks to go without a snack. Be prepared to keep your energy and mood up so you can enjoy the games you’re there to play.
- Go Easy on Yourself. I say this for two reasons. First, be kind to yourself. Maybe you intended to stick to your diet, but that goal went out the window on the first day of the con. Don’t beat yourself up over it. You can get back to your regular plans when you get home. Second, on the other side of the coin, don’t go completely hog wild with your choices. Just because you’ve decided to indulge doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a little kind to your body. Maybe the next choice after that deliciously cheesy and greasy order of pizza logs is a salad or something a tiny bit healthier.
- People Eat Together. Eating together is one a major bonding mechanism we use to grow closer to our friends. Take advantage of being at a con with all kinds of awesome people to plan meals together and enjoy each other’s company. Another option is to bring enough snacks to share at the gaming table. I have a handful of friends who will bring bags of candy to share with whoever even glances at the bag of goodies. Another friend always makes sure he has a couple extra water bottles on him to hand to folks who look like they’re in need.
Ultimately, the Sunday of the con comes around and you’ll see the over planner trying to hand off the leftover snacks they brought. Even if they have a ludicrous amount to get rid of, I can guarantee you they’re happy they brought enough to share and make it through the convention with some tasty snacks.
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