Wired Neon Cities - Minimalist 80s Cyberpunk Game
Wired Neon Cities (WNC) is a game by Scott Malthouse (Trollish Delver Games). It is Pay What You Want.
This is a cyberpunk game by way of the 1980s. Think chiptune, Genesis games and bright colours.
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WNC impresses with a fast character creation. It has iconic
classes like Hacker, Mechanic, Gunner, and more. The classes feel
unique and have their own gimmicks. For example, the Doc is the only one
who can do a Surgical Action and heal 2 wounds. The Face can reroll
tests related to personal interactions. As a player, you might enjoy
adding Augmentations to your character. These serve to distinguish your
character further. And they add some advantages to your repertoire. E.g.
a Derma Shield increases your wounds by 2 for 1d3 rounds once per
combat. WNC uses a simple d6 system. Each character has four
attributes: Brawn, Nimble, Mind, and Person. You have an array of
numbers you can distribute. It says what number you have to roll for a
success. So, if you have Brawn 3+, you need to roll a 3 or more. Combat
runs smooth, too. WNC uses a round-based combat system with Initiative.
Each successful attack deals one damage. There is no armor in the game.
You don’t make an opposed test or roll against Armor Class. No, you
either test your own Brawn (melee attacks) or Nimble (ranged attacks)
score. So it is one roll with your attribute. Characters have a number
of Wounds. If characters are down to zero, they are out of combat.
Non-Player Characters (NPCs) die. Some Augmentations can make you harder
to hit, and some increase your Wound score. Status Effects (prone,
stunned, poisoned etc.) and combat options (Bull Rush, Parry etc.) make
the combat system surprisingly versatile for a minimalist game. The
rules fit on 2 pages. The game can be a bit unclear at times because of
the small word count.
Can I use a Surgical Kit (heals 2 wounds) without the Doc class? If I have the Doc class, do I need it to take a Surgical Action?
The Eagle Eye Augmentation gives you a +2 bonus. On what? Attack or damage? Probably attack. Luckily, the bonus only works once per combat. Otherwise, it would be too powerful. Also, I would like to see more stuff. More items, weapons, hacker gear, Augmentations, drones, yadda yadda yadda. I hope that Scott puts out some supplements in the future. Speaking of drones and hackers, the rules here work well. Mechanics can make drones (e.g. a Spy Drone or Gun Drone) by making a Mind test. I find it a bit redundant to have to roll for it. Players will likely want to try as long as they have the money and time for it. So the test only serves as resource management. I like the mechanisms for Hacking. The Hacker needs to collect a number of successes to break into a system. For example, a complex network needs 3 successes. So, after 3 fast rolls, everyone knows the result. That means you don’t have to spend hours for a mini-game with one player when he tries to hack something. And everyone else is bored. I’m looking at you, Shadowrun. Game Mastering WNC is a breeze because the game is so easy. The rules for creating opponents are ingenious. NPCs just have one number they roll against for tests and combat, and may have special actions. But that’s it! Example:
Juicer: Drugged-up psycho. 5+, 5 wounds, special action: Make a Test. If successful, Juicer regains 1 wound.
How does it get any better than that? I can create opponents on the fly.
Stick some special gimmick on them to make them unique. Done. Kudos for
including an example setting. Glow City is a sprawling metropolis
without government - ruled by three mega-corporations. This is more a
teaser than a fully fleshed out setting. But it should be enough to get
you started. WNC uses a simple layout and good stock art that fits the
theme. There are some minor typos. All in all, the game is easy to read
and easy to understand. Trollish Delver Games has already published
several good lightweight
This one doesn’t disappoint either. And it is PWYW. If you like the
rules, you can also get a Fantasy version and a sci-fi version: In
Astounding Interplanetary Adventures 1
- WNC fits the bill of an ultra rules lite game with enough flesh to make it feel like cyberpunk.
- The system is dead simple. The use of a single d6 makes it lightning fast. But it comes at the cost of having not a lot of room for subtle tones - modifiers have a strong impact. This is offset by the fact that many Augmentations only work once per combat. There is not much room for mechanical character development.
- Please give me more gear, items, whathaveyou.
- You can easily expand and mold the game to your needs. Steal some ideas from In Darkest Warren 1, for example.
- WNC is a game that makes me want to play it. The rules fit together nicely and are wonderful in their simplicity. It would also be a good introductory system for beginners. No weird AC, grid based combat, and complex sub-systems.
- I would like to see an open license for this game. That way, others could add to WNC, translate it etc.
Give it a shot. P.S. Here is the link again.** Pay What You Want. What do you have to lose? 1