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Shadowrun: Crossfire» Forums » Variants

Subject: Making a deck of cards from upgrade stickers rss

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Craig Groff-Folsom
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I've been reading a lot about this game after a few plays this past weekend. It seems that a lot of the game supports dynamic variability and replayability (dry erase character sheets, modular missions) but the upgrades on stickers adds an unnecessary permanence. Worse yet, one of the three base game missions requires 70 karma, which would likely take over 100 plays to level up characters adequately.

To me it seems a lot of this is a product of the game's release window. Coming on the heels of Risk Legacy and Pathfinder meant stickers and character progression were hot topics. However, this game seems to suffer from those aspects.

Since the only thing that differentiates characters as they progress is karma and upgrade stickers (unlike Pathfinder where your starting deck changes over time), why not allow players to build characters to fit the mission difficulty?

To this end, I'm thinking about building a deck of cards for the upgrade stickers. This way they can be easily shuffled (if you want to randomize a 70-karma character, for example) or moved around to build different characters for various missions. It seems like this would give the game much more replayability than running into a limited number of missions until you can "level up".

Has anyone else tried this? I'm deciding between transferring the stickers to index cards and just making an Artscow deck, but I'm curious if others have pursued this approach yet.
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Joshua Davis
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I photocopied all of the ones in my set and cut them all into separate slivers. I keep them separated by level, and I let people look through the sticker sheets to choose the ones they want. I then paperclip ones to my sheet. But your method seems a tad easier.
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B C Z
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I use 4x6 Index Cards which we write the character stats on. We haven't removed a sticker from the backing yet. This serves the purpose to keep the game pristine while allowing anyone to take any karmic award they like.

A few notes:

1/ You do NOT want random karma picks. You want to *deliberately* pick the rewards your character is using.

2/ There is a joy that comes from leveling up a character from nothing to 20-25 Karma. It may go slow, but you're learning the character's ins and outs and how to play the game. I wouldn't rob yourself of that experience in the beginning.

3/ You're free to jump-start to higher levels of Karma, but there is a big difference between someone handed a high level character and someone who "earned" their way there. That said, the High-Calibre Ops Character pack "expansion" has some pretty stong characters that have been premade.
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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byronczimmer wrote:
1/ You do NOT want random karma picks. You want to *deliberately* pick the rewards your character is using.


Have you done this, or are you just guessing? Based on what I'm seeing on the stickers, I don't see a lot of conflicting abilities.

Quote:
2/ There is a joy that comes from leveling up a character from nothing to 20-25 Karma. It may go slow, but you're learning the character's ins and outs and how to play the game. I wouldn't rob yourself of that experience in the beginning.


I'm glad you found some joy in it, but I've played enough games to know that if we don't start leveling up soon, my friends won't ever play again. Hence the variant.

Quote:
3/ You're free to jump-start to higher levels of Karma, but there is a big difference between someone handed a high level character and someone who "earned" their way there. That said, the High-Calibre Ops Character pack "expansion" has some pretty stong characters that have been premade.


If the game itself is going to hand me a character I haven't "earned", then what's the difference between that and me making my own?
 
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Rich Stokes
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My own advice after probably 40 plays is that, yes, character advancement is glacially slow. And yes, the game is really, really hard to beat when you start. But the thing which keeps us coming back is that the game gets easier mainly because the players get better with experience rather than the characters getting more powerful.

We found we can get through 2 missions in an evening session. That means wed have been playing for 3-4 weeks before getting any upgrades at all. This was quite shit, so we doubled the karma and found that getting 3-4 per session, which at least felt like progress. If you want to flatten it more, just give everyone 5 karma each 2 missions or something.

After all those plays, I still wouldn't want to try keeping up as a different role. Sure, I've played Mage 40 times, I have little idea how to play Face effectively.

At least now that HCO is out, there's more than 2 playable missions, which is what killed the game (temporarily) for us.
 
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Karl
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Dave41fan wrote:


Since the only thing that differentiates characters as they progress is karma and upgrade stickers (unlike Pathfinder where your starting deck changes over time), why not allow players to build characters to fit the mission difficulty?



Am I wrong in thinking the rules allow you to swap stickers around, so long as you have the correct amount of karma?

For example: I currently have fundamentals (5 karma requirement) on my street samurai orc (current ammount of karma acquired = 12). Now, from what I have read I can simply replace fundamentals with another upgrade worth 5 or 10 karma. As far as I can see I could swap them around after each game, so long as my upgrades do not exceed my current karma level of 12.

Therefore, a character with 40+ karma could swap and change their upgrades and try out numerous configurations. Even 20+ karma offers many permutations. Am I wrong in thinking this? If not, then once you level your characters up you can configure them in a way that you think best suits the upcoming mission.

Another point about the stickers. They do not appear to be permanently adhered to the character cards, so I am sure they are easily peeled off for re-use without leaving marks. Sure the stickers may end up a little tatty after a period of time, but this is a cyberpunk game, not some pristine Apple Inc anodyne future of whitewashed coffee shops and blue skys. A bit of tat only adds to the theme.

Of course I understand if you would want to keep it in good condition for trade in future, but why would you trade it away?? How could you trade it away?? surprise
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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Mirky wrote:
Am I wrong in thinking the rules allow you to swap stickers around, so long as you have the correct amount of karma?

For example: I currently have fundamentals (5 karma requirement) on my street samurai orc (current ammount of karma acquired = 12). Now, from what I have read I can simply replace fundamentals with another upgrade worth 5 or 10 karma. As far as I can see I could swap them around after each game, so long as my upgrades do not exceed my current karma level of 12.


The rules say you can cover an existing upgrade, but the one that was covered is just gone. It's not a matter of swapping back and forth, at least in the rulebook.

(Which is another argument for cards instead of stickers, because I agree with you that would be a good way to approach it.)

Quote:
Another point about the stickers. They do not appear to be permanently adhered to the character cards, so I am sure they are easily peeled off for re-use without leaving marks. Sure the stickers may end up a little tatty after a period of time, but this is a cyberpunk game, not some pristine Apple Inc anodyne future of whitewashed coffee shops and blue skys. A bit of tat only adds to the theme.

Of course I understand if you would want to keep it in good condition for trade in future, but why would you trade it away?? How could you trade it away?? surprise


Well, if you ask some people here, I'm blaspheming by playing the game wrong. They probably want me to stop abusing their precious sadistic game.

One of my two proposed solutions was transferring the stickers to index cards. I'm guessing that's about as far from maintaining good condition as I can get. Sticky or no, there's probably no coming back from an index card.
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Brandon M
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I just write the abilities on index cards, along with notes about starting life, nuyen, & hand.

I made a spread sheet with all the abilities from the base game & expansion listing the ability name, karma cost, ability text, and the number of available stickers available. Before we start playing, everyone passes around this print out, picks out new abilities (if they want to change it up), modifies their notecard if they change something, and then we play.

I actually don't mind putting stickers on the character cards. Its my game group that isn't comfortable with the idea of "messing up" my game.

I even bought the first character pack (on clearance at my FLGS), and they still won't use the stickers, even though that would leave me with a clean set of stuff.

Not that the number of stickers really matters: 1) we've never had 4 people all wanting the same sticker we have 3 of (or 3 people wanting one we have 2 of, etc) & 2) they sell the stickers separately, so that kinda throws out the material/physical limitation somehow being in the spirit of the game.

I love this game as is, warts and all. It's maddeningly random at times, the crossfire deck always seems to have the worst card for the current game state on top, and progression is glacially slow, BUT my group loves it, we play it 3-5 times in a night and you rack up the Karma once you figure out how to mitigate some of the luck in the game.

My group has a rule that we play at least one other game before we even entertain playing SR:CF. Because once we start, nothing else gets played that night.
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B C Z
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Dave41fan wrote:

Well, if you ask some people here, I'm blaspheming by playing the game wrong. They probably want me to stop abusing their precious sadistic game.


I think that you're deliberatly misinterpreting people's recommendations to go slow on the karma awards.

If you want to give each character 70 karma and play the game, go ahead, no-one's stopping you.

However, the character karma awards only make up so much ground, the rest comes from player experience, and that only comes from playing the game repeatedly. If anything, the karma awards are there to add spice or individuality.

As to getting a 'random' set of cards, I don't think I'd like that. I have specific reasons for taking specific karma awards depending on how many other players I'm with, which role I'm in and so on.

Do I think that the published karmic awards are too low? Probably. They are overly harsh for minimal gain and fail to give that balanced sense of advancement.
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Karl
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byronczimmer wrote:


2/ There is a joy that comes from leveling up a character from nothing to 20-25 Karma. It may go slow, but you're learning the character's ins and outs and how to play the game. I wouldn't rob yourself of that experience in the beginning.


I could not agree more. I think there is a tendency to think the end game is where the true game is and so there is a rush to get there. My first upgrades for my two runners has changed the game and how I play, and I am still getting used to them. The real joy comes from the progression of your runners and your own ability. I struggled with all obstacles for my first 11 plays, but a gradual appreciation of card synergies and the power of assists means I am dispatching obstacles much more efficiently, to the point where I can confidently delay dealing with some.

Only 3 karma points from my next upgrade and I cannot wait, yet I will wait as anticipation is best. Well, that and I can't make up my mind what my next upgrade will be.
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Karl
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Dave41fan wrote:


The rules say you can cover an existing upgrade, but the one that was covered is just gone. It's not a matter of swapping back and forth, at least in the rulebook.

(Which is another argument for cards instead of stickers, because I agree with you that would be a good way to approach it.)


This is true, yet the availability of spare packs of stickers does mean you are able to cover stickers over and over again, subject to your own personal finance. Therefore, removing them doesn't seem to break the rules.

JBMoby wrote:
2) they sell the stickers separately, so that kinda throws out the material/physical limitation somehow being in the spirit of the game.
 
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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byronczimmer wrote:
Dave41fan wrote:

Well, if you ask some people here, I'm blaspheming by playing the game wrong. They probably want me to stop abusing their precious sadistic game.


I think that you're deliberatly misinterpreting people's recommendations to go slow on the karma awards.

If you want to give each character 70 karma and play the game, go ahead, no-one's stopping you.

However, the character karma awards only make up so much ground, the rest comes from player experience, and that only comes from playing the game repeatedly. If anything, the karma awards are there to add spice or individuality.

As to getting a 'random' set of cards, I don't think I'd like that. I have specific reasons for taking specific karma awards depending on how many other players I'm with, which role I'm in and so on.


I'm glad you clarified, because earlier in the thread you stated in no uncertain terms that I did not want to do what I was proposing.

I'm not deliberately misinterpreting anything. This game is either going to be played with my game group at an accelerated rate (such as being able to occasionally play a high-karma character for one-off missions) or it's going to sit in my basement in a stack. This is the reality of how my game group works, regardless of how many times you tell me I'm wrong.

I understand that as I play more, I will learn more about the game. That's great. If I understand the point you're trying to make, the game will be hard until I as a player develop experience, regardless of the karma number my characters have. That's fine. I'm not waiting for 50 plays before I "unlock" half of the available missions.
 
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B C Z
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Good luck in your struggles, chummer.
 
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