paxeast2Catalyst always has a table full of amazing looking books, miniatures, and games. This year there were several new products they were showing off. Three Shadowrun 5th Edition sourcebooks, and three tabletop games. Dragons, Deckers, Vikings, and more.

Shadowrun: Hard Targets

Hard Targets is a book about death. It’s got wetworks, gear, and tactical info. It also contains adventure hooks for an in-depth look at the city of Havana in the Caribbean League, a political and criminal hotspot that lends itself to all sorts of wetwork jobs.

Shadowrun: Data Trails

Decker’s delight in this sourcebook. Technomancer’s too. This book is all about the Matrix and the flow of information. There’s even a section in here for non-Matrix users, and how their actions can effect the digital world.

Shadowrun: Rigger 6.0

Vehicles. Jets, boats, and hot rods. This book is jam packed with everything a Rigger could desire, including detailed rules on vehicular combat.

Wrath of Dragons

Forget resource management. Wrath of Dragons is a resource destruction game. Players each control a dragon that constantly pillages and destroys various regions every century. The game features resource destruction, card drafting, and dragon leveling. I had a chance to play this one, and it was a ton of fun. I’ll have a more detailed review in the near future, but for now you can check out the rules here.


Based off the hit show on The History Channel, Vikings is a game of pillaging and plundering with all your favorite heroes from the show. Gather your resources in the Winter for your Summer raids.


Another game in the Vikings universe, Jarl is a tile laying, strategy game where the goal is to capture your opponent’s Jarl. Pieces move as indicated on their tile, and every time you move a tile it’s flipped, revealing a different move set.

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Data Trails, A Sourcebook for Shadowrun’s Matrix

Shadowrun Data TrailsThe newest Shadowrun supplement from Catalyst Game Labs, Data Trails, is a guidebook to the virtual world known as the Matrix. It includes background information on artificial intelligences, dissonance pools, electronic personality ghosts, and more. The book also contains options and material for characters adventuring in the Matrix, particularly deckers and technomancers. It has programs and gear, as well as intelligence on hacker culture.

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Gen Con logoCatalyst hit the show this year with new products delivered just-in-time for every category. The highlight was Shadowrun: Crossfire, Catalyst’s new deckbuilding card game that’s also cooperative and progressive (meaning progress can be tracked from game to game). Crossfire should be available at retail in September for $60.

New Shadowrun roleplaying products available at Gen Con included the:

  • Beginners Box ($20)—An introductory product with essential rules, dice, a standard adventure, and a 1-on-1 adventure (GM and single player).
  • Runner’s Toolkit Alphaware ($60)—A campaign setting in a box with handouts, maps, background information, and job book—designed especially as a next step after the Beginners Box.
  • Street Grimoire ($50)—Book of advanced magic.
  • Run & Gun ($50)—An advanced combat book.
  • Stolen Souls ($45)—A campaign sourcebook for Manhattan.

Gen Con also saw the release of the first Shadowrun novel, Fire & Frost ($15). Five more novels will ship in the next 18 months.

More in the roleplaying category, Catalyst had Beyond the Gravastar ($25), a campaign setting for Cosmic Patrol, and the new Valiant Universe RPG ($40), which applies the Cue System from Cosmic Patrol to the superhero genre.

An advance shipment of the Bravest Warriors Encounters card game made it to the show, though it wont be available in general retail until October. A basic two-player set full of inside jokes from the cartoon sells for $13. By combining red and blue boxes, though, the game can accommodate four players.

For BattleTech, Catalyst finally had the Introductory Box Set ($60) back in print. This is the one with new higher-quality plastic.

Following up on Alpha Strike, the simplified faster-playing BattleTech rule-set that the company launched last Gen Con, this year Catalyst had BattleTech Alpha Strike Companion ($40), a supplement that adds some strategic-level options to the game, and a series of four Lance Boxes ($20), which include two new mechs and two previously released mechs (plus Alpha Strike cards) each. Four additional Lance Boxes will be released in September and October.

In the board game category, Catalyst had two new expansions for The Duke, Siege Engines (5 tiles for $8) and City Troops (12 tiles for $13). The tiles in Siege Engines are red and do not go in the bag. Instead, they’re available in a central pool to both players and can be substituted for certain other tiles already on the board.

Last but not least, Catalyst was previewing two new games tied to the Vikings TV show on the History Channel. The first is simply called History Channel Vikings and is a game of exploration, conquest, and resource management. Available for $60 in March (timed to launch with the new season), the game has a constructable map and sees players crewing a longboat as characters from the show.

The second Vikings game is Jarl ($45), which plays exactly like The Duke but includes new pieces made of an imitation stone instead of wood. In fact, though it won’t be advertised as such (license restrictions, I assume), Jarl can be played in combination with The Duke.

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Gen Con 2013 logoPremiering at Gen Con and attracting a crowd of eager fans were printed copies of Shadowrun 5th Edition. The book was available in three versions: Standard, a full-color, hardcover for $60; Standard Limited-Edition, with the same contents but a red leather and gold stamped cover for $100; and Deluxe Mayan Limited Edition, which for $200 comes with a red leather slipcase embossed with a golden Mayan calendar and is bound with 100# paper, gilded edges, and a dragon-textured red leather cover.

The recently released abstract strategy board game, The Duke, was also prominently featured in Catalyst’s booth, with several demo tables and a super-sized floor version. Five future expansions for the game were available early at the show: Customization Tiles, Robert E. Howard, The Musketeers, Arthurian Legends, and Robin Hood, each containing 4-8 new tiles.

For BattleTech, the main new product was Alpha Strike. This is a simplified, faster-playing version of the game. It doesn’t change the essential nature of BattleTech. The standard mechs are all there, for instance, but the stats and mechanics have been streamlined. This makes a Battletech version that should be easier to introduce to players of other miniatures games and a version that supports large battles (dozens of mechs are feasible). In addition to the Alpha Strike book, Catalyst was selling Ad Hoc Unit Cards, a quick-reference resource not currently scheduled for general release.

In terms of future products, Catalyst was demonstrating Crossfire, a Shadowrun card game that should be available in November. And I found out from Loren Coleman that the company has a new Asian-themed, tile laying game planned, Paico, and recently acquired a license to produce two games based on the web-comic and YouTube cartoon, Bravest Warriors.

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Shadowrun 5th Edition

Shadowrun Fifth EditionThe fifth edition of the Shadowrun roleplaying game has been released by Catalyst Game Labs in ebook format, with preorders for print editions being accepted at the company’s website.

For those not familiar with the game, it’s based on a futuristic Earth controlled by megacorporations and a pervasive computer network (the Matrix), yet filled with magic and mythical creatures. Characters can be samurai, shamans, deckers, or a variety of other archetypes.

The changes from 4th to 5th edition Shadowrun aren’t drastic. The cyberpunk aspects have been modernized a bit. Hacking the matrix has been simplified some, mostly to make it’s mechanics and timeline more consistent with other tasks. Gear quality now places a limit on dice pool hits. And magic has been tweaked some.

Also available now are free Quick-Start Rules and a 4th-edition-to-5th-edition Character Conversion Guide.

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