May 21, 2024

#UnboxingDay ~ Shadowrun Sixth World Beginner Box by Catalyst Game Labs

Brant Guillory, 21 April 2022 ~ #UnboxingDay

Shadowrun was one of the more creative settings to come out of the 80s-90s Gen-X fueled RPG world.  There were problems with the rules but the setting and stories were inventive enough that everyone jumped on it anyway. After a few other incarnations, Catalyst Game Labs has grabbed it, rebuilt the mechanics, rebooted the setting to shed the overarching meta-plots that were popular in the 90s (like the Harlequin plot).  So what’s in the new package?  Let’s check out the new beginner box.

The Actual Box


click images to enlarge

It’s a sturdy 2″ box with a tight lid fit.  There’s a cardboard insert to keep the dice & cards from sliding around, and once you remove that insert, there’s plenty of space in the box for more contents (cards, figs, maps, etc)


Here’s what’s in the box, helpfully printed on the back so you know.





The Character Dossiers

If you’re looking at those dossiers and wondering “hey, did the showrunners from The Magicians hire William Gibson to start work on a near-future sequel?” then you’re definitely not the only one.  That said, these dossiers are well-designed to help a new player jump into an archetype and instantly find the info needed, and quickly reference the important details as the game unfolds.  It’s not terribly different from the character folio presentation from Apocalypse World.


The Books

The starter rules give you a very basic overview of how RPG mechanics work, and just enough to get through the initial adventure, but it’s more meaty than you’d expect.  Yes, Shadowrun was calling something The Matrix a few years before the movie did.
In the adventure book, there’s a good amount of data for each “scene” (think “encounter”) but not a ton of illustrations. There are standard stat blocks for the NPCs and a quick overview of the Seattle area as it exists in Shadowrun.



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The maps are large and attractive, but very shiny and there’s almost no way to get the glare off of them, no matter what kind of lighting you try.


The Inserts

There are some folios with some additional setting info, as well as some general RPG-flavored info.  Again, they’re a bit wordy, but not too intense.


The Dice


They’re dice. They match the color scheme. They get busier as the iconography increases (troll head -> circuits -> snake)



There are NPC cards for the included adventure. There are “tool” cards for weapons, spells, comms, and more.  And all of them have the exact same card back.  Yep, no convenient sorting here!


It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays when we get a chance to get this to the table.

Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.  You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

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