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As the other popular War! thread is specific to the mechanics (gear & rules thread located here), I would like us to provide constructive feedback on other components of the book. Specific feedback please - not just ‘I love it’ or ‘I hate it’.

Imagine the time and effort you put into GMing your own Shadowrun games. Now remember how you felt after a game that was not well-received. When your players were whiny little fraggers you blamed them, when they provided constructive feedback instead, your GMing skills improved. smile.gif

Gear & rules aside (again, please use the other thread for that), I’d like to provide feedback to the artists, writers, directors, editors, layout-ers, etc on what we as consumers like from this book and want to see more of and what we would like to see changed/improved.

So... what specifically did you like/not like about the art, layout, topic choices, flash fiction, use of tables, ease of reading, clarity, page count, etc?
Here are some of my own comments on the artwork. IMO, it appears that some serious effort was put into procuring art relevant to the content and the layout was excellent. Overall, my opinion is that the quality of the artwork was high. Here are some quick comments on the individual panels:
[ Spoiler ]

My critical feedback is not on the art that is there, but on the art that is not there:
1) I would like to see more art that demonstrates new ‘stuff’. War! introduces a lot of new ‘stuff’, and a few pictures would help increase the ‘cool’ factor as well as make it easier to understand. As an example, the picture of the Sangre trees greatly helped me understand how best to describe their “Engulf” power.

2) The overall quantity of art in the whole book seems low. It was one of the first things I noticed. I counted 34 pieces of art (besides the cover) for 179 pages of content. That is only 1 per 5.3 pages. To compare, I did a count of art in other books:
Street Magic: 1 per 3.6 pages
Unwired: 1 per 2.7 pages
Runners Companion: 1 per 2.4 pages
First, the title of the book is misdirecting. It should never be called War!. It should have been called Target: Bogota, Bogota 2073, whatever...
While some of the gear were not well-thought/designed, the chapter would be improved if there were pictures for some of the weapons and vehicles.
Also, what is wrong with maps? Seattle 2072 has a lot of maps and this really helps for people who have never been in Seattle...

Doc Chase
I feel like a parrot.

I feel that the book's layout was an egregious failure. Several pieces of art were all right, some were blatant CG in the foreground that didn't look like it suited the drawn background at all. Some pieces of art carried no attribution and were put on a page that didn't allude to that picture, leading people to wonder why the hell a picture of a Cardinal is on a page talking about a rebel leader - when the Cardinal's description was the page before.

One thing (of several) that this book needs is a timeline of the war. There really isn't one. Scholars of Shadowrun history know there were several events over around 2-3 decades that led to open warfare. The war is alluded to in several books since the end of the Yucatan campaign in SR3. It's further alluded to in War!, but it isn't outright talked about. We receive a sourcebook about Bogota that's supposed to be the center of a warzone but we don't actually see the war.

The war skips the obvious hotspots. Caracas was the known headquarters of KondOrchid, a AA-rated shipping company that rivaled Maersk in the amount of freight it moved. Caracas was also the front for the Ghost Cartel running Tempo. Aztechnology all but shuts KondOrchid down and invades/occupies the Free City of Caracas for nearly a year before this war starts.

Why isn't the conflict even alluded to there? Caracas makes sense as a flashpoint. Amazonia left it alone because they didn't want to deal with the people and the CC/UN established it as a Free City so the Azzies wouldn't roll in. Instead, they snap up Maracaibo, Venezuela's oil capital. It's clearly the front line in a conflict, but instead we get mountainous Bogota, who only has some coca fields and gem mines, thin air and little jungle as it gets seeded with demon trees.

(Doc wants a cracker, by the way. Or some NERPS.)
QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Jan 13 2011, 07:05 PM) *
Caracas was the known headquarters of KondOrchid, a AA-rated shipping company that rivaled Maersk in the amount of freight it moved.

Technically, KondOrchid headquarters were in Guayaquil, Ecuador. But KondOrchid nonetheless has an important presence in Caracas area.
Doc Chase
QUOTE (Nath @ Jan 13 2011, 08:38 PM) *
Technically, KondOrchid headquarters were in Guayaquil, Ecuador. But Caracas nonetheless has an important presence in Caracas area.

Ghost Cartels, IIRC, did make a point of AZT and Interpol rolling into Caracas, regardless. Rivieros' company was also in that part of South America.
On the War locations:
1) I really liked the "Bogota Travel Bible" on page 6. This entire section could have been boiled down to a few segments like this which would provide plenty for GMs to work with.

QUOTE (Brazilian_Shinobi @ Jan 12 2011, 09:59 PM) *
First, the title of the book is misdirecting. It should never be called War!. It should have been called Target: Bogota, Bogota 2073

2) I agree that the Bogota section was too long overall. Specifically sections like the Bogota history (p13-31) or History part 2 (p.32-50) which lose readers for pages could to be cut or shortened to only a couple pages of highlights each ... unless this really was supposed to be yet another "Locations" book.

3) I liked the character spotlights (p45-50), but missed the "Story Plot Ideas" sections with each that spell out an issue/conflict/twist for a GM to pick up and run with.

4) Mercenary groups (p51). I'm very happy that we have some coverage on these. It was a little wordy here as well, however. To a GM, the mercenary groups are really just parallel to the gangs of a street campaign. The GM really wants to know a name and a few salient features that make each group different from the next. Such as that mage-heavy group, or the merc group that almost always air-drops, etc. For example, in a street level gang, everyone remembers the Halloweeners.

5) I did like that p72 starts to cover what war might be like in 2070ish times with new technology, the use of magic, & the use of paranormals.

6) There was a nice section hidden on p.71 (should have been in a separate box?) that covers some basics of guerrilla warfare in one tidy package for someone unfamiliar.

7) I just got to Bogota Neighborhoods (p.96). As a first impression from a reader ... I can't take any more Bogota at this point.
ok... took a break.
This section is pretty dry. It feels like someone had pages and pages of research that they didn't want to go to waste so it got put in here. When I edit fiction for other writers, this is the kind of thing that gets compressed immediately. These neighborhood sections and hotspots are great, but they need to be compressed to about 25% their current length - and add a specific run idea at the end of each one (issue/conflict/twist).

8 ) Global Hotspots. I like this style much better!! Quick review of the major points for the location followed by specific run ideas. Nice work. Perhaps the addition of something similar to the "Bogota Travel Bible" from page 6.

9) What is missing: Personally, I didn't mind the lack of maps so much, but I know this is appreciated by many readers. What I did really miss was the Desert Wars / War Games that get so many references in other books. I really was looking forward to seeing some run ideas that involved runners getting caught up in the middle of something as fun as that.


War! didn't have enough maps and data to accurately say it's about a single war. It didn't have enough of a story and personality to say it was a plot book.

Reads like a collection of scraps that really need a developers touch and a little more cohesion.

The art also needs some work. I'm getting sick of seeing almost nothing but touched up stock CG pics. There's a local artist here that does some mean pencil work (check out the spirits in SR4A), but he'd rather make t-shirts than work with CGL because Randall wouldn't answer his calls about sending a check until they had more work for him. Work they tried to get him to do before getting paid for the last job. And that was this year for you folks wondering if CGL has changed their ways.
I guess my biggest problem with War! (besides the broken rules and inconsistent fluff) is that often the writing holds little to no information.

Imagine a Shadowrun book that would say :

Run idea
The runners are called by their fixers for a meeting in a bar with Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson offers them a job. They have to do something illegal for a certain amount of money. This task should be a little bit difficult but not impossible. It should also be illegal. The runners will have to go to some place East of the city, where they'll have to get inside a building to do their job. The place will be guarded by security guards. There are several guards there and some security devices. The guards should pose a threat but the runners should still be able to do the job. There should be something interesting to surprise the runners. Once they have down their job, they might get betrayed by Mr Johnson.

In some places, the writing in War! feels like this.
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