Review: Catalyst Game Labs – Dirty Tricks (Shadowrun)

Dirty Tricks
Dirty Tricks is a fantasy cyberpunk supplement for Shadowrun written by Adam Bruno, Jason M. Hardy, Joe Rooney, Scott Schletz, R.J. Thomas, Michael Wich, Robert Wieland, Thomas Willoughby, and Russell Zimmerman and published by Catalyst Game Labs.
By Cape Rust

Learn more about Dirty Tricks here
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Dirty Tricks is an everything you wanted to know about dirty politics but were afraid to ask supplement for Shadowrun.

“We have footage of the candidate doing unspeakable things with a midget, two sets of one armed Siamese twins, a six pack of soy lube and a jar of peanut butter.”
“If we release that he’ll just get more free publicity and besides all of that stuff is kind of “in” right now.”
“OK then what if we reveal that his daughter is an Ork?”
“Great Idea, that will ruin his campaign quicker than his propensity for running thru dry cleaners naked with small cleanly shorn varmints tapped to his thighs….”


This 162 page sourcebook contains 159 pages of content. This sourcebook contains extensive background information on some of the more popular forms and activities that historically and in the future will put the dirty in dirty politics.


This is another one of those books form Catalyst Game Labs in the Shadowrun series that makes me wonder if the creative team over there is crazy or full of geniuses. On one hand, this book is chock full of really interesting information on the history and future of dirty politics; on the other hand it does have some really interesting information on the current state of politics in the Shadowrun world.


Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Catalyst Game Labs knows what it takes to put out a good looking product. Their only downfall seems to be their propensity to use pictures from older products. In their defense, they normally re-use great pictures, but for those of us who have spent the last 25 years “in the shadows” we always hunger for new and original products and pictures. The cover of this supplement is awesome; it tells the entire story of dirty politics in Shadowrun, (which is not an easy story or concept to convey) with all of the cyber goodness one would expect. I did feel that using zoom-ins of the same picture over the next two pages was a bit overdone. The pictures inside fit the theme of the book but the photo negative pictures were used a bit too much when it was all said and done. The print, borders and formatting were all top notch and not surprising coming for Catalyst Game Labs.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Giving the mechanics of this book a 10 out of 10 was easy because there really are not many to speak of. There are a few mentioned in the Game Information section at the end of the book, but other than that there isn’t much crunch. Some people might be annoyed by this, but I had absolutely no problem with it; after all it is a sourcebook, not a stat book.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
The only drawback to this supplement is that if you tend to play run-and-gun Shadowrun adventures, political intrigue might have little or no place in your game. The smartest and most often longest lived runners seldom ask too many questions of their Mr. Johnsons, and any running involving political intrigue would require quite a few of those questions, but because this is a Deeper Shadows sourcebook, that should be expected. Some of the information in Dirty Tricks could easily be used in any system in which politics of any type are involved (I.E. every RPG). This book actually wouldn’t be bad to read if you are majoring in political science or even just taking a class; I wouldn’t recommend referencing it as a source but it is a fun way for a gamer to learn some interesting about dirty politics of yester year and how they were accomplished.

Overall: 9 out of 10
This book was full of information and interesting stories from front to back. The layout was great and for the most part the art was great. I would have liked to have seen a few new gear items that would help the runner in their execution of dirty politics, but other than that I have very few complaints. One of the best things that this sourcebook does is give the GM the chance to mix political intrigue with some of the more violent activities that Shadowrunners normally engage in; so the street samurai will have just as much fun as the face at the table. When it comes to politics in Shadowrun, if you are not cheating, you are not trying, and if you get caught, you are not trying hard enough. They are not just tricks, they are Dirty Tricks!

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