Ask The Readers: Shall I Give Shadowrun 5th Edition Another Chance?

Recently I had the chance to play in a Shadowrun 3rd Edition game. We initially planned to play something else, but one of the players couldn’t make it, so we decided to play a one-shot using another system. The other two players and I quickly decided that Shadowrun could be fun.

I always loved to play the game, even though I am no fan of the rules. With the help of the GM I quickly built a pretty cool character: a Japanese-American adept who primarily fights with his two heavy pistols and wears expensive armored clothing looking like an executive’s suit. I’m not sure how viable this character will be in the long run, but for a one-shot he was fun to play.

The adventure the GM ran for us was one of the introductory adventures either from the core rulebook or the free quickstart booklet – I can’t remember. But the important part was, that we all had a blast and decided that we would love to play Shadowrun more often. Sure, the rules are a bit crunchy, but if you get used to them, they work pretty well. Of course it helped a lot that the GM knew the rules by heart (or just improvised pretty well).

For the last months I’ve thought that the Shadowrun rules weren’t my thing and that using a different ruleset like Savage Worlds would be more to my liking, but I realized that for the full Shadowrun experience you need the Shadowrun rules as clunky as they might be. Since I actually bought a copy of the SR5 rules a while back, I am now considering giving it another chance. Yes, just reading the rules gave a headache last time, but perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mood last time. So what do you think? Shall I give Shadowrun 5th Edition another chance?

And what about the recently released Shadowrun: Digital Tools Box? It contains everything from the Beginner Box and the Runner’s Toolkit: Alphaware and it’s supposed to help newbies and veterans alike to get into Shadowrun 5. Do you think it could help me get into the game more easily? Please share your thoughts below.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

6 thoughts on “Ask The Readers: Shall I Give Shadowrun 5th Edition Another Chance?”

  1. Always try new things, if you had fun while playing it it can´t be all bad.
    🙂 If you are asking if you should Run it that is of course a totally different beast.

  2. The new rules are, indeed, more complex than I would prefer (with several extra levels of complexity in some places) but it is not that difficult to run or play with a little effort.,

    I say, give it a game or two and then decide to move it to another system or not.

  3. I have run it – or am still running it… but for my tastes nowadays, it’s too complicated. I just declined any further tricks as a GM in this system. Playing? No problem… 😉

  4. You know my opinion about Shadowrun, Michael.
    Ask yourself – is it the rules or is it the setting you like?
    Though I have some difficulties with the inherent logic of SR it still appeals enough to me and a couple of my players to go back to it now and then and play some simple scenario.
    Just not using the original rules… 🙂

    1. I think it’s a combination of both. I love the setting and while I don’t like everything about the rules, they support a certain type of gameplay which feels to me like an integral part of what Shadowrun is to me. I don’t like the sometimes unnecessary complexity of the SR rules, but I haven’t found a replacement system yet, which gives me that certain SR “feel”.

  5. Absolutely you should.

    Shadowrun is definitely one of those games that like you said where you need the rules, sucky as they may be, to get the feeling. There’s a reason people go for OSR systems despite Fate being right there: the silly rules are part of the atmosphere.

    There’s a lot of things in the SR setting that could make for a wonderful narrative rpg experience, but if you want the genuine feel of an SR run you almost need to use the rules.

    And ultimately you want a good time at your game. I’ve been in periods in my life where I’ve felt a bit of shame for using systems like dnd and SR when I know all about the much better and more well-constructed systems, but I’ve come to realise that the important part is that everyone playing has a good time, and SR definitely can be a very good time, despite its clunky system.

    So ultimately I wouldn’t worry about it. As long as you’re having fun it doesn’t matter what the system is.

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