Review: Catalyst Game Labs – Sixth World Beginner Box (Shadowrun)

Sixth World Beginner Box
Sixth World Beginner Box is a cyberpunk fantasy quick-start box set of the new 6th Edition of Shadowrun, published by Catalyst Game Labs.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Sixth World Beginner Box is a starter kit for the new 6th Edition of Shadowrun. Although this set includes quick-start rules and an adventure to get you going, the true value is the accessories that accompany those core books. You always expect the rules and the adventure, but you may not expect everything else you get. Here’s what’s inside the box:

  1. A one-page guide on what’s in the box.
  2. Brief overview introduction to the Sixth World setting
  3. Quick Start Rules
  4. Four very detailed and illustrated character dossiers
  5. Battle Royale Adventure module
  6. A beautiful fold-out map of Seattle in the Shadowrun setting
  7. Stack of Tool Cards with stats for plenty of weapons
  8. Twelve Shadowrun dice
  9. A beautiful box to keep it all

Yeah, that’s a lot of cool stuff to include in this Beginner Box.

Obviously, this isn’t the first core rulebook or even starter kit we’ve seen for Shadowrun, but it is the newest. And what’s different? Well, for starters, Catalyst Game Labs has continued their efforts to keep the setting fresh by moving the timeline ahead to 2080 (5th edition was set in 2075). Second, the presentation of the rules has been altered in a form I feel flows better and is easier to understand. Third, you actually get more content without adding much space as a lot of the content has been simplified, streamlined, or just presented in a better manner. Fourth, you get quick-reference tables (for the GM) that contain overviews of additional content found in the core rulebook (such as a Skills list). A slimmed-down list of skills. Simplified magic. Simplified matrix use. And other stuff you can find in the series of posts provided by Catalyst Game Labs in the 6th edition posts on this website. (Go here.) In addition to all that, I find the layout cleaner and easier to read with artwork I actually like better than 5th edition (it’s a personal style preference; that’s all).

One of the first accessories to take serious note of are the character dossiers. These are not the simple 2-page pregenerated character sheets found in the 5th edition box. Oh no! These are fully-fleshed-out character dossiers that include detailed illustration, filled-in character sheet with descriptions on how to read it, overviews of the basic mechanics, background, tactics, tips, example run, and a bit more.  They are 8 pages long! If you are introducing Shadowrun to new players, these are a must have. Hands down!

The Battle Royale Adventure is a good introduction to the setting and gets you deep into the mechanics of the game. After all, that’s really the goal for a starter kit adventure. Not much more is needed to say here.

The rest of the accessories? They are awesome! The fold-out map is one of the greatest additions to the kit as it shows you a brilliant graphic representation of Seattle in Shadowrun. Oh, and there’s also a couple overview maps on the back for the adventure, but that’s not nearly as cool (although it is still cool). So why is it so cool? Because it contains a list of named places and where they’re located on the map!!! That alone can provide a GM with all they need to build an entire campaign… just fill in the details.

I love the dice; I love the cards; although I wish there were more dice (you can just buy more). Overall, this is a great starter kit for any new gaming group and an awesome tool for any existing gaming group to add to their Shadowrun games!

And by the way… you get all of this for $24.99!

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