Review: Free League Publishing – CY_BORG

CY_BORG is a dystopian cyberpunk role-playing game, written by Christian Sahlen and published by Free League Publishing.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about CY_BORG here
Purchase CY_BORG here (paid link)
Find other CY_BORG posts here

CY_BORG is a dystopian cyberpunk game built on the chaotic mechanics that form MÖRK BORG (although it’s a standalone and doesn’t require MÖRK BORG to play). It exhibits the same atmospheric design (you can read about that in the MÖRK BORG review here), but if MÖRK BORG is doom metal then CY_BORG is doomcore, it’s punk brethren! It maintains the same dark atmosphere, albeit this one after an apocalyptic event whereas the other is building up to the apocalyptic event. This creates something of a wasteland within the center of the City of Y, although the every other theme within the game supports that dark atmosphere anyway and the wasteland is just like an added bonus. The game is heavily influenced by its many varied random tables and is effectively human-centric (as opposed to a fantasy sci-fi theme that includes elves, orcs, etc.). However, the game also maintains that OSR feel and simplifies many of the sci-fi mechanics featured in other sci-fi games (such as weapons).

In all honesty, CY_BORG is very much like MÖRK BORG but includes all the standard cyberpunk elements (corporations, punk runners, dangerous streets, cybernetics, and cool weapons). The biggest difference between it and other cyberpunk games is that OSR feel where your games involve some type of labyrinthine structure (like a building) with something in each room and random encounters. It’s effectively a blend between old and new.

There is one other awesome thing that needs to be pointed out… with the purchase of the PDF, you get a Location Pad! The Location Pad is a collection of 34 mini-locations for CY_BORG, each one fitting into an easy-to-print, single page. I love this included accessory; it really enhances the value of what you get for your purchase! To ease your GM mind, the core rulebook also includes a number of adversaries and excellent random tables for creating adventures (which can then be set in any one of the places in the Location Pad).

CY_BORG is a definite different approach to the cyberpunk theme; not that it’s a new approach (I’m looking at you SLA Industries), it’s just that it combines that doomcore atmosphere with OSR-styled mechanics, urban horror, and cyberpunk all at once!

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