Shadowrun Trading Card Game

Back in April I stumbled across a posting on one of the gaming forums I visit regarding the old Shadowrun Trading Card Game. I popped out to eBay and found a box of boosters (36 packs of 15 cards each) and found a spreadsheet that detailed the original game as well as the Underworld expansion. I extracted that and created a web page so I could track what I had and needed.

I also located a German site that seems to have the leaked Corp Wars expansion that was to be the next expansion. The site also had a list of 34 decks he’d gathered from other sites or had created on his own.

This gave me a lovely goal. Attempt to collect the game and try to get a few games together with my group.

I bought the booster box from ebay as well as a Starter box which contains the rule book (sort of important) and a sequence of play card. In counting the cards, the sequence of play card was counted in the total of 70 cards. I picked up a couple more Starter boxes so I’d have more rules for others who might be interested in playing and started in on ordering alphabetically and picking up some card boxes.

As I began collecting the cards, I found they were interesting in themselves with Stim Patches, Browse, Ally Spirits, FN-HAR weapons and Bulldog Vans. I was actually getting a little inspired just by handling the cards.

I figured that I just needed to get enough booster boxes and I’d have a set of cards. One of the ebay sellers seemed to have a lovely warehouse filled with full booster boxes and she was selling them for less than half what I paid for the first box. I picked up a few boxes the next time and merged them into my existing collection. The collection seemed to be going about right with 30 and 40 or the commons, 15 or so of the uncommons, and 2 or 3 of the rares with several with 1 or no cards yet.

I began going back to this ebay seller until at the end I ordered 5 boxes and then finally 4 boxes (I had some extra funds from computer consulting). At 10,000 cards, I should have had a complete set but I was missing three commons and had several commons and rares that were much lower than statistically they should be.

It was a tad frustrating. I mean, commons are supposed to be common, right?

So I can work around this. Our local gaming group had our Third Annual Thanksgiving Game Day coming up on Saturday and I decided I wanted to play SRTCG. I scanned in all the rules from the booklet and then retyped them so I’d have it as a full sized set of text vs trying to find things in the tiny booklet. I also captured all the deck configurations from the German site. It was fun as I had to do some interesting translations. I even had to make a few educated guesses.

As I built four decks for the Saturday game, I found it was easier to resort the card listing. So I made a couple of slight changes and refreshed the page.

Interestingly, the ones where I did not have the three commons plus quite a few of the low count cards (common, uncommon, and rare) were in the Objectives part of the listing. There were three or four singles in the other areas and they were all rares but only in the Objectives were there severe shortages in all types of cards with a few having higher, more normal card counts.

And then, the *ping* of realization.

I need more Starter Boxes!

It makes sense. Starter boxes are what folks buy to get the rules. So Starter boxes all will have a selection of each type of card so a complete game can be run with just the Starter boxes. Otherwise how could people play, become interested, and subsequently buy booster packs from the FLGS.


So I popped back on ebay. That seller happened to be selling full boxes of Starter boxes. Ten to a box and she had four full boxes. I actually had to wait a week or so for the next round of consulting funds to become available and then I dropped the funds into ebay and her pocket for four full boxes of Starter boxes.

About a week later, I had the boxes. Amazingly enough, upon opening the first box, I’d located two of the three missing cards in the set of 7 or so Objective cards in addition to all the others.

And for a plus, she was nice enough to drop 18 individual booster packs in as packing material 😀 I gave her a good rating (I’d been doing that anyway) and a nice bit of text on her ebay page thanking her.

I now likely have a complete set or two (or three). I learned the difference between Starter Pack and Boosters :) And I made someones Christmas.

After getting the new cards sorted and added to the inventory, I made a few discoveries.

The decks and boosters aren’t in any random order. I’d constantly see the same series of cards show up. Occasionally they’d be broken up with an uncommon or rare but there were obvious patterns. One was when I was going through the Starter boxes. They’d be in reverse alphabetical order and missing a few objectives from this series. So Assassination was followed by Wetwork which was followed by Tiki Head Enigma and so on back to Assassination. Since there were 20 in the sequence, the cards would come up 6 at a time and would be one or two off. Some of the others would also come up but not in the designated Objective section, as part of their normal rotation. I imagine if I’d keep detailed track of the cards as I went along, I likely could have broken the routine.

But another revelation with this. If you wanted to get a complete set, you had to buy Starter boxes and boosters. Some of the cards weren’t in the Starter boxes and certainly some of the Objectives weren’t in the boosters. It seems like a faulty marketing scheme. Since you had to buy Starter boxes, there would be other players who would be out their Starter boxes. I bought 44 Starter boxes and even with that, the Objective cards don’t statistically match the distribution of the other types of cards. Rares are around 3, uncommons in the teens, and commons in the mid to high 20’s.

Next step is I’m going to go through the cards and decks and see if I can evaluate them better than I did Unwired.

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Time is precious

Ok, sounds a little maudlin but in reality it’s been a busy 18 months. With gaming, motorcycling, and work I’ve had to cut short some of my postings. And since based on the site stats, it’s not a real busy site then not many folks missed me :)

I’ve been running the New York Missions for the past year. My only complaint about it is most likely with the group I’m gaming with. Essentially they’re really a go and shoot them up without a lot of finesse. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great time but the New York Missions seem to be dual layered. There’s a main run and then a back-story that should be followed up on. Unfortunately the group feels done and wants to move on.

We’re now heading over to Chicago to see what we can do with bug spirits. I’ll follow up with some thoughts on creating a campaign vs running an existing one in a different set of posts.

One of the things I’ve been doing lately is tracking down the Shadowrun Trading Card Game (SRTCG). I’ve found there doesn’t seem to be much of a card trading culture going on but you can find boxes for sale on ebay. I’ll provide more details in a follow up posting though.

And that’s it for now.

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Catalyst and Topps extend license

Looks like Topps is working with Catalyst while it works out the money troubles. On a positive note, they’re still working on a longer term contract with Topps.

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Sixth World Almanac is out on PDF!

Just picked it up so will be checking it out later. It comes with a new Sixth World Map which looks sweet.

Oh and the picture in the prior post? That’s the actual cover :)

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Attitude Blurb Is Up

Attitude looks to be the upgraded for 4th Edition Shadowbeat based on the short description on We won’t know for sure until the Table of Contents / preview shows up. Nice cover though:

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Sixth World Almanac pictures posted

It’s a mock up but they have a pretty good picture of the new Sixth World Almanac up on Facebook.

Looks pretty cool (cover’s a fake supposedly).

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Rob Spence lost his right eye in a shooting accident. He replaced it with a bionic eye and has now added a streaming video feed. You can’t hack his eye yet, but you’ll soon be able to view his “vision” of the world.

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Game Props

Woah this is pretty cool. The guy created a bunch of different ammo holders that hold enough for a weapon. So if you’re playing and need to start shooting, you pull out one of the holders and pull out a cartridge for each shot fired.

For props, I like using poker chips. Blue for a clip, red for 3 rounds, and one for a single round. But this is cool. I’ll be checking it out further.

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New Novel Planned

Phaedra Weldon is slated to have Dark Resonance published in 2010. Sounds like a Technomancer novel, eh chummer?

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Review: eBook Spells & Chrome

I have my electronic copy of the new anthology, Spells & Chrome edited by John Helfers. I’m reading it on my Commlink… er I mean iPad although my iPhone is really closer to a Commlink than the iPad.

I’ve been reading the eBook during my morning workouts so I’m planning on doing a review of the first couple of stories just to get it on the ‘blog then adding a paragraph review to this entry as I read. The problem is going to be how to review the story without giving away the plot.

Ratings are a simple x out of 5 system. ‘O’ is good, ‘u’ is half of good, and ‘o’ rounds out the rating to 5 positions. I like to read both for entertainment and to get ideas about gaming. The rating consists of weightings for the above; entertainment value and gaming ideas but also for the likelyhood of rereading the book again.

The cover of the eBook should be familiar to folks who have the 20th Anniversary edition of Shadowrun. It’s the same picture but with a Blue script for “Spells” and “Chrome” in metallic chrome like characters.

There are 16 short stories in this collection, 15 new ones and one reprint from Michael A. Stackpole. The authors are a mixture of both known and unknown authors. Jason Hardy, Steve Kenson, and Jennifer Harding being fairly well known to Shadowrunners.

In addition to the list of stories (which really should have had the author’s name next to their story), the table of contents has links to the Introduction, a page About The Author, a brief four page Shadowrun Timeline, a brief four page Shadowrun Terminology, and a couple of pages on significant events titled What You May Have Missed.

The first story, Trade Secrets by Jason M. Hardy is heavily into Augmented Reality (AR) with some nanotech thrown in for additional spice. The story was released free on Facebook a couple of months back so I read it then and again a few days ago. The descriptions of the environment bring up interesting ideas for playing in AR, assuming you can get your ‘runners into character. About the only complaint was that the plot seemed to be a much smaller part of the overall story.

Rating: OOOoo

Next up is Bloody Fingers by Jason Schmetzer. This is a much grittier story set in the Barrens, south of London. The story has representatives of most of the archetypes that make up a good Shadowrun team so it’ll be a familiar run to gamers. There are some good spots in the story. More turns than twists but Jason did a good job in telling a story.

Rating: OOOOo

As a brief interlude, let me drop a few lines about reading the book electronically. In general I like the iPad. It’s good for reading more gaming and computer related materials (reference stuff). Color, graphs, and tables are rendered quite well (I’m using Goodreader for PDFs).

I read books in a few places. For this eBook, I’m reading it at the gym. The iPad works quite well on the Elliptical machine and the time goes by pretty quickly. I read and swipe across the device to change pages. It’ll be good when the Barnes and Noble eBook reader catches up with the iPad.

I started Better Than by Jean Rabe yesterday and finished it this morning. It’s a pretty good story on the hazards of too much chrome and some of the Negative Qualities that can be selected. Several good ideas for GMs and Players.

Rating: OOOOo

And now a new Dirk Montgomery story called Caliban by Phaedra Weldon. In general it was a pretty good story and seemed to follow Dirks style pretty well. The story style is gritty which is something I particularly like. I have to say that the story dropped a few points with several typo’s in the story. Comlink and Commlink were used, sometimes in the same paragraph. At one point the two main characters talk about the PCC and the PPC, PCC as far as I know is the Pueblo Corporate Council. No idea what the PPC is and it was used several times. The worst part though?

but I had been paying attention enough to eek by

Really? Eek? Do you have a mouse in your pocket Dirk? I think you meant eke.

Other than that, the story was really well done. Typos are a particular annoyance for me and as you can see, I obsess over them just a little.

Rating: OOOOo (Tough call between 3 and 4 but ignoring the typos left it at a strong 4).

No Such Luck by Matt Forbeck is a pretty cool story. The plot seems strong and it moves along well. In one paragraph the Sears tower is mentioned and a sentence or so later, Manhattan. As far as I know, the tower is in what’s left of Chicago which is confirmed later in the story. Just the combination of the tower and Manhattan was a little confusing. And I don’t get why high ranking members of the Humanis Policlub would have a headquarters in a tall building in Chicago. Seattle sure, even New York but since Chicago was infested with Insect Spirits and even had a small, somewhat contained tach-nuc exploded, and was behind containment walls for some years, a Humanis Policlub location seems out of place. Still it was a good story.

Rating: OOOuo

Set in Los Angeles, Expectations by Kevin Killiany is a pretty good story. Flows well and everything fits together. Good corp info, good plot and a good run. About the only minor issue I have is that it seems, formulated. Almost a boilerplate Shadowrun. No real twists or surprises. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good solid story. I think its re-readability might be lacking.

Rating: OOOOo

Where the Shadows are Darkest by Steven Mohan, Jr. Overall a good story set in Lagos. Good use of area knowledge so helpful for GMs. A couple of typos in this story though. Comlink vs commlink, Ammit has an underline for some reason, and I think the book is infested with mice as eek is used again.

Or he could eek out a meager living,

I did really like the story though.

Rating: OOOOo

In Memory Of by Bradley P. Beaulieu is set in Sydney Australia. Bradley does a very good job with the story and with setting information. He brings the reader into the story and at the end, I was into the character enough to be happy for her.

Rating: OOOOu

Steve Kenson wrote Fade Away about a Yojimbo. A bodyguard but with a much deeper meaning. It has a lot of Japanese references which brings back memories of the 80’s when there was all that talk about Japan buying the US. This makes it a good read, if a bit nostalgic.

Rating: OOOOO

I’m getting ready to read the next story. Posting tomorrow. See you then, chummer.

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