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Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America $19.99 $9.99
Average Rating:3.0 / 5
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Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
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Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/09/2013 16:12:35
Sprawl Sites: North America, is a collection of places each described with a color map in two versions (one with numbered areas for the GM and one without for the players). Each location has a short description keyed to the map, a set of adventure seeds and a piece of a linked adventure that visits all of the locations. Quite a useful resource if you are a fan of maps, the adventure seeds are mostly interesting and enough to inspire a run as needed. Though a brief notation on the matrix security for each of the locations would have been a useful addition to the descriptions provided.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/21/2012 05:53:48
http://www.teilzeithelden.de
---------

Catalyst Game Labs ist äußerst umtriebig in den letzten Monaten und wirft kleinere Spielhilfen für Shadowrun zu geringem Preis auf den Markt. Eine dieser Spielhilfen ist das uns vorliegende Sprawl Sites: North America. Es stellt uns verschiedene Örtlichkeiten in den Städten der 2070er vor.

Erscheinungsbild

Die pdf ist in zwei große Teile geteilt. Fließtextbeschreibungen und schwarzweiße wenige Illustrationen im ersten Teil, farbige Karten, in zwei Ausführungen (mit und ohne Beschriftungen), im zweiten Teil.
Gänzlich ungewohnt fehlt im ersten Teil jegliche Form von Shadowtalk-Unterhaltungen. Mit 32 Seiten hat das Dokument einen sehr übersichtlichen Umfang und das Frontcover ist von einer farbigen Illustration einer Szene im Sprawl geziert, in der man einige Metamenschen auf einer stark befahrenen Straße sieht.

Ein Inhaltsverzeichnis gibt es nicht, genau so wenig wie einen Index. An wenigen Stellen hätte ich erwartet, dass Hyperlinks im Dokument erlauben, an einzelne Stellen zu springen, diese sucht man jedoch vergeblich. In Zeiten, in denen eBooks und digitale Dokumente generell einen immer höheren Stellenwert einnehmen, finde ich das nicht kundenfreundlich.

Inhalt

Nach einer kurzen Erklärung, welchen Anspruch das Dokument hat, namentlich einige fertige Locations und dazugehörige Abenteuerideen zu liefern, gibt es noch einen wichtigen Hinweis. Im Rahmen der Texte findet sich auch ein geschlossenes Abenteuer, welches die Spieler durch die acht Örtlichkeiten führt. Die Reihenfolge der Orte ist nicht die der pdf, stattdessen weist ein Kasten auf die korrekte Reihenfolge hin. Hier wären z.B. Hyperlinks angebracht gewesen.

Was ist nun also der Zweck dieses Buches? Ganz eindeutig dem Spielleiter Karten und Beschreibungen ex machina zu liefern. Die Örtlichkeiten sind so detailliert beschrieben, dass sogar Spielwerte aufgenommen werden, so u.a. bei Chemsniffern, Maglocks und der Barrierestufe von Wänden und Fenstern.

Zugegeben, das macht es einfach. Das Buch ist ein wenig Selbstbedienungsladen für Spielleiter, die wenig Zeit oder Lust haben, etwas selbst auszuarbeiten. Geht es um Werte von NSCs, die man treffen kann, wird ein Seitenverweis auf die englischen Quellenbücher gegeben. Im Großteil der Fälle ist das das englische 20th Anniversary Grundregelwerk.

Den Lesefluß stört, dass manchmal mitten im Text der Font gewechselt wird, aber das ist nur ein kleines Manko, dass dem Drucksatz geschuldet sein wird, eine durch vier teilbare Seitenanzahl zu erschaffen.
Grundsätzlich ist nichts an den beschriebenen Orten auszusetzen. Viele von Ihnen referenzieren auf Seattle und/oder Denver, es ist aber auch ohne weiteres möglich, die Orte in jede andere Stadt zu transferieren. Die insgesamt 8 vorgestellten Locations sind: Barren Blocks (verkommene Slumgebiete), das Rathaus, eine Spielhölle, eine Lone Star Station, ein Luxus-Hotel, ein abgewracktes Motel, ein Einkaufszentrum und ein Trideo Studio.

Mir gefällt der Detailreichtum gut, denn nicht nur technische Ausstattung, sondern auch anwesende Personen zu Tag- und Nachtzeit und vor allem – was ist, wenn die Orte nicht in dem sozialen Umfeld liegen, an welchen sie erdacht worden sind, werden beschrieben. So hat es zum Beispiel Auswirkungen auf das Rathaus, ob es in den Nobelvierteln von Seattle liegt oder in den Redmond Barrens.
Auch die Handlungsideen wissen zu gefallen, umfassen sie doch kleine Dinge von „Brecht in das Rathaus ein und platziert eine Handgranate in einer Schublade, ohne, dass ihr gesehen werdet und das Ding explodiert“ bis hin zum das Buch durchlaufenden Faden „Schiebt einen terroristischen Angriff in die Schuhe Unschuldiger“.

Ja, richtig gelesen – in dem großen Run geht es etwas handfester zu und treibt die Spielercharaktere an moralische Grenzen und vielleicht sogar darüber hinaus.
Hervorheben muss ich an der Stelle, dass keine der Abenteuerideen out of the box zu nehmen ist, sondern Eigenleistung der SL benötigt. Dabei unterstützt die Spielhilfe aber sehr gut durch die detailreichen Beschreibungen.
Schade finde ich, dass die Karten so unterschiedlicher Qualität sind, am besten gefiel mir das Rathaus. Das Einkaufszentrum ist zudem sehr klein und die Karte erinnert an die Übersichtsschilder in Einkaufszentren, an denen man erkennen kann, wo man gerade ist. Für Battlemaps jedoch sind alle Karten generell zu klein.

Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis

Ich gerate ins Grübeln und muss bedenken, für wen das Quellenbuch adressiert ist. Der SL, der wenig Zeit oder Lust hat und sich an dem Material bedienen wird, wird die ~ 10 USD nicht als zu teuer finden. Der Spielleiter hingegen, der selbst gerne Geschichten und Orte entwirft, wird das Quellenbuch als nette Ideensammlung empfinden, für die jedoch der Preis zu hoch ist. Ich denke schon, dass viel Arbeit in das Material geflossen ist und auch gute Arbeit gemacht wurde, mutmaße aber, dass mit einem nur leicht niedrigeren Preis ein höherer Anklang beim spielenden Volk zu finden wäre.

Fazit

Sprawl Sites: North America ist ein Selbstbedienungsladen mit gut ausgearbeiteten Örtlichkeiten für den Spielleiter ohne Freizeit. Auch wenn der Preis in meinen Augen etwas zu hoch ist, hat das Quellenbuch eine Daseinsberechtigung. Die Ideen für die Runs machen einen guten Eindruck und verlangen danach gespielt zu werden und der Hauptplot ist etwas zu derb für meinen Geschmack, passt aber gut in die Sechste Welt hinein. Für die Zielgruppe ist das Buch durchaus empfehlenswert, was mich stört, ist der Preis, denn andere Spielhilfen mit dieser Seitenanzahl kosten ungefähr nur die Hälfte.

Unsere Bewertung

Erscheinungsbild 3.5v5 Gewohnter Shadowrun-Standard, hübsche Karten
Inhalt 3.5v5 Acht Orte mit spielrelevanten Informationen, dazu Karten - praktisch
Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis 2.5v5 Andere Spielhilfen mit ähnlicher Seitenzahl kosten die Hälfte. Zu teuer!
Gesamt 3.16v5

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Yann B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/14/2012 15:24:29
I love Shadowrun. I really do. I remember picking up the first edition books and playing them during my lunch breaks at school. And the group I play with regularly now use maps and online tables every session.

But these maps just aren't of the quality I was hoping for. Most of them look like the kind of thing you could easily make with one of the tile based programs available on this site. The mall map is particularly disappointing - it looks like a low quality version of the kind of "you are here" map you might find on an information sign in a modern mall. We're talking some filled in polygons and a color key. It's something you could put together in photoshop in a few minutes.

Buyer beware. There are some very talented and creative folks working on Shadowrun, but at this price point I was really expecting something with a little polish.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by jeffery v. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/09/2012 07:32:07
This product was way too short for a ten dollar purchase price. All it consists of is 8 sample sites, and a lot of it is pictures to bolster the page count. Shame on you, Catalyst Game Labs, for charging ten dollars for this.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 08:02:21
Originally Posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/22/tabletop-review-shadowr-
un-sprawl-sites-north-america/

Maps and miniatures are two things that never spring to mind when I play or run Shadowrun. Sure I have a few Ral Partha Shadowrun minis lying around and I tried the terrible oversized figure game, but I’ve never felt that ANY incarnation of Shadowrun lent itself particularly well to miniatures or map based combat and considering I don’t know anyone that actually uses either very often, I think it’s safe to say I’m in the majority here.

So I found it a bit surprising when Catalyst Game Labs released Sprawl Sites: North AmericaL which is designed specifically for his sort of tabletop gaming. I was intrigued by the very concept by the attempt to revive the Sprawl Sites concept, which was last used in what, First Edition? Oy. What I found was a product with some nice ideas catering to a very niche market of Shadowrun players (those that actively used maps with players and/or minis) but that really needed to be retooled in several ways.

Sprawl Sites: North America is thirty-two pages long. You start with your nice cover art, while pages 2-16 go into detail about each of the eight locations presented with in. Pages 17-32 then give you the full colour maps to use with players. There are two versions of each map, one with legends and extra detailing for DMs and one without any of that for the players. The maps aren’t especially well done, although I might be spoiled from the various maps we’ve reviewed here at Diehard GameFAN. You’re going to really have to blow them up if you want to use them with miniatures, and as the maps aren’t all that detailed, players will be less than impressed. These maps look like they were done with Microsoft Visio or a generic RPG map maker from a decade or so ago. You’re also not given a scale for any of the maps, so when you’re printing them out at a larger size if you want to use any of them with miniatures, it’s going to be somewhat guess and check. I do need to emphatically point out that I don’t believe CGL made any of these maps with miniatures based play in mind but rather as schematics or floor plans, but then if that’s the case one would think they’d all look like the “Mall of the World” map. Who knows?

The best map of the lot is the City Hall one, while the “Mall of the World” is by far the worst. It’s like something you would see in an actually mall saying, “You are here.” It’s also very small for a mall – possibly one you’d see for a town of about 20,000 people. I was really disappointed by the quality of the maps and I honestly don’t think I’d use them with my players. I’d rather have the DM one for a reference guide if I was to use the location, or I’d give some bigger, better (and cheaper) maps already laid out for miniatures use. Of course, then I’d get strange looks and asked if I was needed a D&D Minis or Heroclix fix by my friends.

The flavor text in the first half of the supplement is the real reason to pick this up. Each of the eight locations had three sections of descriptive text to flesh out the area. The first is “Structure and Security,” which talks about the armor and structure rating of everything on the map along with any nodes, keylocks and commlinks. This is handy for when things start getting blown up or hacked by your players. A good DM will use this information when he describes the locale to his players in descriptive terms to help paint a mental picture. The second section is “Typical Occupants” and gives you an idea of what NPCs to expect and present to players. City Hall will have bureaucrats, the mall will have rent-a-cops and shoppers. The “No Tel Motel” will have things like hookers and drug dealers. So on and so forth. Both sections are very informative and will really help you to make the maps come to life if you choose to use them.

The final section is “Adventure Seeds” and it’s the best part of the supplement. Each location has between four and seven adventure seeds, each with a very different plot. You can re-use the maps as recurring locations in your campaign or just take one from each. The last adventure seed for each map is labeled with the phrase Frame Job in italics. The Frame Job adventures seeds are part of an interconnecting set that forms a full adventure for players, allowing the DM to get the full use out of the maps and the $10-20 spent on this supplement. Frame Job is a weird little story where a Mr. Johnson hires the players to fake a terrorist attack and have it blamed on a set of unsuspecting patsies. There isn’t a lot of substance here so the DM will have to make up the bulk of the adventure on their own, but that’s what adventure seeds are all about. The seeds and maps together can make a nice quick evening of play for those times when you don’t have a long adventure to throw at your players, or if you just don’t have much time to put something together. Each adventure seed can work as a nice hour or two of play, but a creative DM can stretch things out much longer. The key is to make sure it doesn’t come off as padding…

The one big problem with the adventure seeds for Frame Job is that the locations are listed alphabetically in the supplement, but that’s NOT the order the Frame Job scenes take place in. This means you’ll have to flip back and forth through the supplement to find what is next. Because Frame Job is the core thing being sold here (complete with black sidebar about it as soon as you get past the cover), it would have been smarter and easier to lay out the locations in the order they occur in it rather than alphabetical. After all, when was the last time you bought an adventure where the scenes were out of order? At least this thing is only fifteen pages of writing, so it’s not as if you’re flipping through a core sourcebook trying to find what comes next. The text even gives you a head’s up that things are laid out alphabetically rather than with Frame Job in mind, so that’s something in its favor.

The eight locations in Sprawl Sites are Barren Blocks (ghetto –like area), City Hall, Gambling Den, Lonestar Station, Luxury Hotel, No Tell Hotel (sleazy hourly hotel sort of place), Mall of the World and Trideo Studio. These are fun generic locations that can show up in any major city. Hell, you’ve probably used or encountered several of these location types in your foray into the Sixth World already, but now you have maps and detailed information about the locations. I really enjoyed the location ideas and adventure seeds. The maps were sub-par but for me, it’s the text and substance that matters most. Besides I can always use other maps if need be.

All in all, Sprawl Sites: North America had a lot of potential, but it just doesn’t live up to what could have been. The adventure seeds are neat and the maps are a fun idea, but what’s here isn’t something I’d pay $9.99 (for the PDF) for and especially not $19.99 (for the print version). If you’re fine with the quality of the maps, you might be able to get your money’s worth out of this. It’s just with supplements of the same length like Safehouses and Magical Societies being roughly the same length and only $4.95, Sprawl Sites: North America feels a bit overpriced. You can definitely have fun with this supplement; don’t get me wrong. It’s just you could have fun with other Shadowrun products that are either cheaper for the same page length or contain a lot more substance more the same dollar amount.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Sites: North America
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/19/2012 22:49:07
‘Sprawl Sites’ could very well be a time-poor GM’s best friend, although if you do have the temporal resources to invest you’ll find a wealth of great ideas which could be extrapolated for full-blown runs. The design of the book is very simple – there are eight varied sites (from the Barrens to a Lone Star Precinct to a Trideo Studio and more) complete with a bit of descriptive flavour text and relevant history and then a host of plot hooks. Those familiar with the 2e ‘Sprawl Sites’ book should feel a sense of familiarity here. There is clear evidence of some forethought into the breadth of plot hooks and there is specific reference to covering a spectrum of moral choices- some are simple protection jobs, whilst others involve wetwork with civilian collateral damage. There are plenty which play on characters’ existing contacts; a simple effort of changing names and filing off serial numbers will suffice. An effort has also been made to provide hooks which leverage unique atmospheric elements to each location – it is very difficult to translate them to another locale (I’m thinking of the No Tell Motel section in particular).

The actual text of the book is half (16 pages) of the total page count; with the second half given to two full-colour maps of each location. The first copy is for GMs and has a full key of rooms and the like, whilst the other is clearly for players. As someone who very rarely uses maps with the players (and miniatures even less than this) I didn’t get a lot of value from this section. Individual value will vary on this section, dependant on group play preference.

I’ll be integrating this into my standard GM kit for Shadowrun, and have already printed a copy and attacked it with a highlighter for future reference. Given the price point of other recent small-size SR products though, I question whether this should have been indexed at the same cost. In terms of quality, ‘Sprawl Sites’ is clearly the equal of ‘Magical Societies’, ‘Safehouses’ and any of the Shadowrun Missions series, yet has a starting price quadruple that of these titles. Bringing the price to an equivalent level would be a sensible move for this otherwise sound and useful product.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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