Shadowrun Duels: First Look

I got hold of two Shadowrun Duels prototype figures this weekend, and opened one of them up (Kharkov the Street Samurai) to check out what the game's all about.

The Figure

The figure is about 6" tall and made of some kind of plastic that feels a little rubbery (the limbs give a little when you move them). The longcoat is made of a more flexible material and it almost feels like you could take it off, but you can't. He wears an armor piece/breastplate that also feels like it might be removable (but again I wouldn't try it). He's packaged wearing his non-game hands (the ones without the posts to accept gear). He has a katana scabbard on his back, a wakazashi scabbard at his hip, and a post on his back to accept some other piece of gear (though I'm not sure which one--maybe something that isn't delivered with this particular figure.)

Articulation-wise he bends at the knees, hips (front and back only), waist, hands, elbows, biceps, shoulders (the shoulders are ball joints) and head. The painting is nice and detailed.

The Accessories

He's delivered with the following accessories: Two removable "game hands" with posts, a katana, a wakazashi, an SMG, a pair of goggles, and an unidentified piece that looks like a walkie-talkie with a grenade taped to it. Each piece has a number and a dice marking on it to indicate how many slots it takes and how much damage it does. He also comes with a tape ruler indicating the distances for his attacks (see below). Rulers have "damage tracks" that indicate attack ranges. Green is Long range, Blue is Short, Yellow is Close, Black is Tech, and Red is Magic. (Not everybody has Tech and Magic, obviously. Kharkov doesn't.)

He also comes with various dice: in his case, three D6s (yellow, black, and green), one yellow D8, two black D4s, and two white D6s.

The Base

The base comes in two pieces as you can see in the pics. The top piece contains three independently movable clicky-gauges, one each for head (initiative and movement), upper body (weapon/attack value), and lower body (body/defense value). In the middle of this piece are two posts to accept the holes in the bottom of the figure's feet.

The second part of the base, which hooks together with the first, is a cup to hold the dice during game play, and a receptacle to hold gear, rulers, and other goodies outside the game. It contains a cheat-sheet for the different dice types.

The Rulebook

The rulebook has 16 pages. It starts out with the typical "Here's what Shadowrun is all about" intro and then goes into the rules for the game. (This is "Alpha Version Revised 11/25/02", by the way). I'm not going to copy it all because that would make lawyers mad at me. :) Instead, I'll paraphrase.


Each figure has 12 gear slots. Each piece of equipment has a number indicating how many slots it takes up and the dice of attack or defense it adds. (For example, Kharkov's gun is 3 (d6)).

Players roll off to determine who is the "first team." This designation changes throughout the game. Play moves to the left of the first team. Figures are placed on the playing surface, with opposing team members at least 48" apart. You can use books, boxes, etc. to indicate terrain.

You assign dice based on the gear your character has. Everybody picks up to six dice simultaneously and places them on their figures' bases. These are used for initiative, attack, defense, etc. When they're used for the round they go back in the dice cup. New dice are chosen at the beginning of each turn.

The damage tracks on the tape measure indicate the colors and types of dice you can use for the attack type. Green uses green dice only; blue can use blue and green; yellow can use yellow, blue, and green. Black and Red can only use their respective colors with no others added in. (This isn't quite clear to me yet, because later on they talk about using them with other dice. I think they're referring to their being alone only when they're used in conjunction with the Tech and Magic slots on the rulers.)

Distances are measured from the edge of the figure's base. They recommend using a 5' by 5' area for the game. Initiative is determined by the Head value of the figure plus any optional black, white, and/or red dice you want to roll. The value of these is added to the Head value to determine initiative. Ties roll off.

On a turn, a player can: Move, Attack (up to 2 per turn, against the same or separate targets), or end the turn. Movement is determined by the Head value, plus additional (optional) white dice. Red and black dice can be added to the roll. Figures can move in any direction.

When attacking, a figure can target any other figure within range (range is determined by the weapon being used and the range markings on the ruler). The defender can try to dodge. (By the way, at this point I note that the book is not arranged properly--the pages are out of sequence. This might explain why the rules seemed a bit confusing. I'll try to make sense of them, but no promises.) Attack and dodge occur simultaneously.

"Bad Karma" can occur during the attack roll, indicating something went wrong. If any of the dice have the same numbers, this indicates bad karma. These dice are removed and put in the dice cup.

To do damage, the attacking player adds the dice to the Weapon value. The defender adds his/her dice to the Body value. If the attack is equal to or greater than the defense, damage occurs. Attacks do 1 click of damage for each die. Shield markings on gear block some damage of the same color as the shield (yellow shields block yellow damage, for example). Shields can also show up on the character's clicky dial.

"Aces" are bullseye symbols where the one should be on the die. They don't count for the weapon value but add to the damage. They ignore shields and aren't affected by bad karma. Aces can cause special damage: stun, called shot, extra damage, or technical superiority (defender loses one piece of gear).

Damage gets assigned to one of the three combat values (defender's choice). Figures are eliminated when three bullet holes are visible anywhere on the three dials. If a figure gets eliminated, point values for both teams are rechecked and the team with the lowest value has two turns to drop the opposing team's value down to their level or below, otherwise they lose the game. (The figure's point value appears next to its name--for example, Kharkov's is 2, and so is Agent Midnight's.)

I've posted large scans of the back of the package and the two fronts as well (these are 275-400K each, so slow modems be aware):

Back panel
Agent Midnight

That's it. If you have questions, email me or post 'em to Dumpshock.