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Two thumbs up is my overall impression. Since I have Augmentation, I’ll go ahead and give it a third thumb, it’s so good!

The Good:

Character sheets done right! [dice pools, combat actions quicklist (the mage even gets two added for Spellcasting and Counterspelling, as a reminder that counterspelling is a Free Action), condition monitors, some equipment info included]

Food Fight 4.0! [all the fun of the original, plus a little extra story! The inclusion of condition modifers for the bad guys was also a nice touch.]

Examples! [useful ones too, that include modifiers and not just the basics. Rules are more or less taken from the main rulebook. I’ll single out the Hacker and Counterspelling examples as particularly well done IMHO. I also like that the side bar graphics aren’t wasted space, but contain references, clarifications, etc.]

Bring out the best in art and layout! [All the text is easy to read; I love the purple lines + dice motif; it uses the best pieces of art; art is linked to examples; the examples have the “PDA? look seen all over Shadowrun, etc.; glossy paper; and finally, they've collected modifier tables at the back for easy reference!]

The Bad:

For the most part, only very minor quibbles in what is otherwise an excellent starter kit:

Ink [I can sometimes make fingerprints appear!]

Spellcasting rules [several references to “sustained,? but it’s only mentioned –once- what mechanical effect that has (i.e. a -2 modifier), and that’s in the reference table in the back].

Characters [For the quick start, it doesn’t really matter so much, but there’s no explanation of what the Qualities do or what you’re supposed to add to the Knowledge skill pool (though, for the record, the rules explain that they’re only present for “flavor? and won’t actually be used in FF4). Also the squares to represent stats is strange (a new player might think you can damage a stat) and redundant (there’s already a number, and they’re just taking up space).]

Random Thoughts:

If Catalyst ever needs to reprint the Shadowrun core book, they should at least consider raising the bar and make that book look more like this quick start! They made the new Battle Tech books look awesome, and prove here that Shadowrun can look just as awesome.
Thanks for the kind words, Eugene -- I'll be interested to hear what you think after you've run a game using the rules!

For what it's worth, we elected to pull the descriptions of Qualities and Knowledge Skills while leaving them in for a few reasons:

* the mechanics behind Qualities and Knowledge Skills are hardly unique to Shadowrun; they aren't some sort of "killer feature" that no other games have.

* they add a lot of little fiddly bits to remember.

* space was at a premium. wink.gif

* I think most of them are self-explanatory enough [and I believe I/we removed a few that weren't] to give players an idea of how they could be used in the game, or just as guidelines for roleplaying/personality.

Thanks for the note about the Spellcasting rules not having a good description of what Sustained spells are. I'll see if we can fix that up in the PDF at some point, and in the next printing of the QSR.

Also, I want to point out that Catalyst's Randall Bills really worked his backside off during the late stages of the QSR to tighten it up, re-write the examples, and make it great. Without his great help, it wouldn't be what it is!
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