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The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Kristy C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2017 05:26:04

I've read a lot of Powered by the Apocalypse books, and I admit I'm not a huge Cyberpunk aficionado. I picked up a copy of this to read to prepare for a game a friend of mine is running for our podcast, Perilous Pretenders. I have played a game of Shadowrun Anarchy, which is supposed to be Shadowrun "Lite", but I still found the mechanics to be quite clunky after being spoiled by the intuitive and story focused mechanics of PBTA games. I thought I was going to be put "off" the cyberpunk genre after that, not that it was the GM's fault, not at all. I just really wasn't sure how to roleplay my character and the clunky mechanics didn't help me feel confident trying more technological and sci-fi roleplaying. I felt a little unsure of how to roleplay in the cybepunk genre and didn't want to invest in a super hard to learn system if I wasn't sure I'd enjoy the subject matter. Yes, I've watched the Matrix (hated the sequels), and I've read a couple of Philip K. Dick books. Shadowrun is like that mixed with D&D races, and kind of felt a bit off to me. The Sprawl is straight up, 90's cyberpunk without the magical elements; felt more like Blade Runner and A Scanner Darkly (which is a good thing). This books feels kind of like Cyberpunk: For Dummies and breaks it down trope by trope for me, which I found incredibly helpful actually.

There is enough "crunch" here that I feel this might be a good gateway PBTA game for fans of games like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk 2020, but this game would also be a good introduction to the cyberpunk genre as its themes and key elements are explained in great detail in the MC (Master of Cermonies) section.

I really like the different faction clocks that keep track of the pacing and tension of the action in the story. There are clocks for the "mega-corps", legwork, health, etc...so you know where you stand and can plan just how desperate your actions will need to be to get out of the situation in one piece (or how heavily in-debt repairing your cybeware will be if you survive at all). Cyberware is a big part of this game; Everyone who plays must have at least one piece of cyberware and explain why they have it and who they owe (or how unreliable it is being from the black-market). I really like that its required, I feel it creates lots of interesting hooks for the MC and connects the characters more to the technological sprawl of the city.

One issue I can see is if you wanted to play an A.I. character (like in Blade Runner, a key film by Ridley Scott in the genre). For me, Blade Runner is my main reference point, never having read William Gibson's cyberpunk novels (which are the prime inspiration for this game, which named after his Sprawl trilogy). There is a brief paragraph, a bit vague, on leaving all of that up to the MC, so if you want to have different moves or mechanics as an A.I. in an all human campaign, you'd have to work with your MC and/or make your own mechanics. Which doesn't bother me, especially since this is a story-telling, role playing heavy system, but just something to keep in mind.

The artwork is a bit hit or miss for me, I'm afraid. The cover art is beautiful, stunning neons and gives that claustrophobic and impersonal feeling this genre is all about. The illustrations inside, however, appear simply to be stock photos that have were posterized and had the contrast turned up to 11. This tends to be a theme in a lot of indie games, probably because of budget restrictions, but still. I'd rather have less art and one or two well designed pieces to really pull me visually into this world.

Overall, I'm highly impressed and actually excited to play this (unlike Shadowrun). I'd probably give this a 4.5 instead of a 5 for the reasons issues I discussed, but they really are such minor details I'm okay with keeping the rating at a 5. Hell, i think I could even run this out of the gate, even though I'm newer to the genre; the MC advice is that thorough and well presented. Pick this up, especially if you like rules light systems and are looking for something a bit different for your gaming table than typical fantasy tropes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
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The Sprawl: November Metric
by Kirk T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2017 14:47:58

Great supplement to a great game! Highly recommend this setting for your Sprawl game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl: November Metric
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The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Skip O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2017 18:38:24

I really, really wanted to like The Sprawl. I love the PbtA ruleset and I love cyberpunk. Ultimately, two things killed this RPG for me. First off, both myself and my players hated how for every single mission, the players have to roll and decide if the employer will double-cross them or not. I’d rather just decide that as the GM. It ended up creating some awkward and unwieldy situations. Still, that could be taken out or tweaked.

The biggest thing I hated about The Sprawl, and the reason I quit running the campaign, was because of the clocks in the game. The mission clock was a bit awkward, but the biggest problem I had were the corporate clocks. They felt ham-fisted and forced. I figured if I was going to run an RPG I would have to tweak in order to feel right, I’d rather just run an RPG that works right from the start. That’s what I pay money for, after all – to buy an RPG and not have to create my own.

I do appreciate the effort to make a cyberpunk PbtA ruleset, but I didn’t end up liking The Sprawl.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
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The Downtown Dataheist
by Sayler V. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2017 10:19:53

I must echo what Diogo F. said: this is a brilliant setup to teach an MC how to run missions in The Sprawl. I'm hacking it right now(and the author gives tips for hacking it, too) for a fantasy adventure akin to Shadowrun(but set in Eberron!) that I'm running at my local convention for Memorial Day weekend! Thank you Hamish!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Downtown Dataheist
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The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2017 12:41:27

Design-wise, fantastic. The playbook and MC sheets are great looking without being overly cluttered, which is nice. A lot of games will have custom sheets that are entirely too-busy with their graphic design work, making it difficult to keep focus on any one thing. It's an accomplishment to create something that both looks good, and is easy to navigate.

I'm fascinated by the systems at play, and a sucker for anything PbtA, as well as the neo-noir cyberpunk themes at work. The systems are solid, clear enough to make easy use of and vague enough to be easily manipulated as dictated by the fiction. Getting in, reading, learning, and playing was a quick process for me and my group of 4 players. It should be noted that of these four, only one has played a game PbtA before, but the rest were quick to pick things up, proving once again that these fundamental systems are really hard to beat.

I like the inclusion of a Noon version, which causes less eye strain than the Midnight version, as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
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The Sprawl // NOON
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2017 13:40:32

Not my first PBTA game, but an interesting a fun take on the Apoc World formula.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // NOON
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The Downtown Dataheist
by Diogo F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2017 21:17:48

Really great and hellpfull in how run an adventure in sprawl



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Downtown Dataheist
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The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Fraser S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2017 20:25:27

In terms of genre emulation, which is what PbtA is great at imo, this game nails it. The mission based structure should appeal to everyone famililar with Dungeon World and the game text does everything you need it to in terms of setting up tone and creating the ever present megacorps present. I'm a huge fan of cyberpunk and had great fun playing this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
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The Sprawl // NOON
by Charles V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2016 12:35:48

This game is fantastic. Your characters will be immersed in a sprawl which provides missions, gives them enough room to try to prepare, and then relentlessly goes after them with consequences and countdown clocks.

It's Powered By The Apocalypse, but with a strong push towards running missions in a cyberpunk dystopia. So you get a unique framing device, and rules to make things work. The players are pretty much either doing Legwork to prepare for a mission, or are in the Action portion where the mission plays out. Countdown clocks for the Legwork phase impact the mission, as they represent noise the PCs make as they gear up, talk to player-generated contacts, and try to work through vague or contradictory job information. The Action clock shows the players how close their are to hosing the mission. Threats get their own clocks, as do the corporations which crouch above all this, giving the PCs jobs, hunting them, owning them. It's very easy to build in new threats from prior missions and have them haunt the PCs.

It's also a system which doesn't require a ton of preparation, even though things are a bit more structured than Apocalypse World. The playbooks are wonderful nods to various important characters in the genre (via both moves and even thanks to the list of names each one comes with). The cyberwear is useful and a great addition to the *World Engine. The game uses harm clocks and a harm move reminiscient of AW more than Dungeon World, which I think is appropriate - hit point inflation doesn't really fit the genre very well, I'd argue. And some cyberwear definitely can help take the sting out of getting hurt.

I wrote a review a while ago here and stand by that thoroughly. Basically if you want an awesome cyberpunk game, you have found one that I've gotten a lot of mileage out of. I tend not to run a mission in a single session, as the Legwork my players do becomes an adventure unto itself, but I've gotten through almost 5 missions across about 13 sessions so far. The world has been built up over time as things become interesting to people, and we're getting to the point where there are a number of hunting corporations and threats jostling for position against the players. I'm excited to find out what happens.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // NOON
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The Sprawl // NOON
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2016 03:28:10

Worth every dollar. A high quality, well developed, fun to play rpg. Good job. Would definitely buy supplements.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Trung B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/09/2016 13:49:58

As a huge fan of the cyberpunk setting, I have played the heavy hitter games like Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020. I've seen many hacks to integrate the setting into the system and didn't prefer them. However, Hamish Cameron chose wisely when he decided to bring cyberpunk to the apocalypse (world). Author Hamish Cameron opted to use the influence of William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy and delivers a great game that, I feel, captures the cybernetic heart and soul of what it means to play a cyberpunk game: Get some work, get paid, and deal with double crosses, corporations gunning for you, and create your own legacy as an operator in a world where if you don't find a use for the streets, they will find a use for you.

The Sprawl works wonderfully as a PBTA type game with most cyberpunk archetypes being defined in the playbooks. Cameron adds notable quotes to the intro of each playbook to help capture the appeal of each one and continues to help the book ooze chrome. The game flows beautifully as a narrative game with players defining what they're on the run from and what they're gunning for.

It's an excellent product that's a steal at the price and if you have any enjoyment of cyberpunk, you'll do yourself no harm by picking up The Sprawl.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
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The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2016 12:47:59

If you like PBtA games and cyberpunk, this is a 100% recommendation from me!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Rick S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2016 05:43:51

This is, in my mind, THE cyberpunk game if you wish to run games with that William Gibson feel.

As a longtime cyberpunk fan, I absolutely fell in love with it. Get this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Morgan E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2016 18:20:40

Great game for mission based Cyberpunk action, and it is a great implementation of the powered by the apocalypse rules for Cyberpunk gaming.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sprawl // MIDNIGHT
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2016 14:51:25

Now that I've had my hands on this for a day and I've been able to read most if it, I'm giving it a big thumbs up. I played Shadowrun before Second Edition was even a gleam in FASA's eye, and every version since. This captures everything I liked about Shadowrun, with the exception of magic. Though I liked things like Shamans, and Physical Adepts, I'm absolutely fine with the focus on Cyberpunk. There are so many things The Sprawl can handle well that were more difficult or time consuming in SR that I'm not missing the magical elements.

For example, when a character gets shot, even if the wound isn't that bad in terms of the amount of harm done, they still might lose a limb! The amount of harm affects that likelyhood, so a minor scrape is a lot less likely to do that then a cannon shot, but the chance is still there. Getting that fixed after the run is no big deal (unless the cyber-replacement turns out to have strings attached...) but everything works to drive home the danger and push the plot forward, and that's why I love Apocalypse World rules so much. That, and Hamish Cameron is really responsive to questions on Google+.

I like the look of the layout, but it is one of the most printer-unfriendly pdfs I've seen in a while, with a lot of dark backgrounds with white writing, so I won't be printing anything from this until a printer friendly version is uploaded, which Hamish said is being worked on, so I'm not taking any points off for that.

If this was my first foray into Apocalypse World or Cyberpunk, I think there might be some confusion, but a good grounding in either one of those would help with understanding the other. The text at the end of each Playbook (character sheet for those that don't already know how Apocalypse World rules work) are a great addition for helping players undersatand why they would and wouldn't want to pick a particular Playbook for a new game, and I'd suggest every author include something similar with their rules.

I can't wait to run my first game in The Sprawl, and seeing what trouble the Players get into!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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