We finally played Shadowrun Crossfire. First impressions are that the game feels very familiar. If you have played just about any deckbuilding game, such as DC Deckbuilding, then you will have that same familiar feeling. The one thing that stood out was where many games say they are co-operative and turn out not to be, Shadowrun Crossfire is extremely co-operative. Win or Lose as a team.
How does it work ? Players Pick ..
Players pick a race: Dwarf, Elf, Human, Ork, or Troll. The differences between the races is amount of Health, Starting Handsize and Starting Money; Troll has 7 health, 3 starting handsize, and 2 dollars (nuyen) vs Human with 5 health, 4 starting handsize, and 3 dollars.
Players pick or are randomly given one of four classes: Decker, Face, Mage, or Street Samurai. The only difference between the four classes is the amount of class card they get. A decker has 4 decker cards (green) where a street samurai had 4 street samurai cards (black). Other than that all four starting decks have the same number of cards and at least one of each color: Decker Green; Face Red; Mage Blue: and Samurai Black.
Decks of cards representing the Black Market or shop, where players can purchase new cards at the end of their turns, Obstacles that confront the players in two decks-normal and hard, and the Crossfire deck or events that help and hinder the players throughout the game.
Turn order is: Play Cards resolving all non-damage effects; Resolve damage’; Take damage from an undefeated Obstacle; Draw & Purchase cards; and End the Turn.
Play cards is easy, play as many cards from your hand, one at a time. Set cards next to the obstacles you want to affect. Each player will start with at least one obstacle in front of them, but players can play cards on ANY obstacles. There were plenty of times when it made more sense to take out someone else’s than my own due to an effect that obstacle had, such as the obstacle that ignored all generic damage. If a card does damage wait to resolve. If a card has an effect, resolve that effect.
Resolving Damage is a matter of looking at the damage line of an Obstacle and defeating each damage icon in order. Example: 2 generic/1 red/2 black/ 4 generic. To defeat the obstacle each of those levels of damage has to be defeated. This can be done at one time or over several turns. A player has to be able to inflict enough damage to defeat a level on their turn. So I could not inflict one generic damage, end my turn, and Barb does another generic damage to complete the first level of damage. I have to do 2 generic damage on my turn. Reads more complicated than it is. In fact, damage was one of the easier parts of the game and working together to defeat obstacles was a lot of fun. Defeated obstacles give money to all players.
Take damage was easy, if there is an undefeated obstacle in front of you, you take damage (listed on each obstacle).
Draw and Purchase cards seems easy, but for whatever reason whenever this came up someone would get excited by the ability to purchase something and forget to draw. If you have 3 or less cards, draw two. THEN spend any money you have on cards in the Black Market.
The scenario determines victory conditions and how long a game is. Crossfire, the scenario we choose, consisted of three scenes representing different waves of enemies and obstacles. Each scene was more difficult that the last. Each new scene increased the number of obstacles and because of the event deck increased the difficulty of the obstacles.
At the start of each turn a new event card is drawn, the event affects all players for the turn. At the end of the turn the event is discarded and a new card drawn. The discard pile becomes a modifier to cards. Many cards will check the number of event cards in the discard pile and if there is enough have an effect. Completing a scene fast is better for the team.
That is a good overview of Shadowrun Crossfire. As you play through a scenario you build your deck which you modify through purchasing Black Market cards, you get money by defeating Obstacles, you win by defeating all of the Obstacles or Boss (no boss in our scenario) AND after you win you get Karma (experience) points that you can spend in increments of 5 to permanently modify your character.
Each game starts with the same base deck, so the modifications allow you to be different. But expect to go through several plays before you actually get enough Karma points to put the “stickers” on your player board.
Shadowrun Crossfire is a mid-level of difficulty to learn, I think the primary hurdle will be players learning and understanding that they can and should work together.