When WizKids unveiled HeroClix, a turn-based combat game played with miniature figures of DC and Marvel characters, they created a whole new dynamic in tabletop gaming and became the first company since Mego to produce toys based on both major comic publishers at the same time.
As hard as they tried with their figurines, WizKids could only do so much with the sculpt and paint of a one-inch toy. Now they've adapted the basic mechanics of HeroClix into a larger scale, the collectible action figure combat game Shadowrun: Duels.
It's 2063. The world of Shadowrun Duels is ruled by
magical creatures and cybernetic weaponry. To survive, you'll need the latest laser-guided machine gun and the most arcane magic spells. Every piece of gear you use to customize your figure directly impacts your chances of survival. Game play is fast and deadly. On the mean streets of Shadowrun Duels, life is short - so come armed to the teeth!
Set in the universe created for the Shadowrun RPG, Duels takes place in a futuristic setting where magic and technology exist side by side. Discarding some elements - like the need for a dungeon master or a continuing story - and adding others (a way to win), Shadowrun: Duels shares a sense of style with the old game without stepping on its toes or replacing it.
There are six figures in Series 1, as well as the ToyFare-exclusive Kellan Colt.
A human female Shadowrunner, Kellan is new to shadowrunning but has a great deal of natural talent, a headstrong determination, and a good judgment of others. She is a jack of all trades, dabbling in magic, technology and the Matrix, and is competent (though not superior) in all three. She has a weakness for wanting to protect others, in particular less fortunate individuals who have been ground down by the powers that be. She is willing to learn the fine points of running and often teams up with a veteran runner for missions.
Articulated at the neck, shoulders, wrists and waist,
Kellan stands just over 5¼" tall. Her left arm and hands are molded from translucent scarlet plastic that simulates a burning magical energy. She's dressed for combat, wearing big boots, a removable bulletproof vest and a knife strapped to her arm. The figure doesn't really bear much of a resemblance to the box art, though she is sculpted well.
In order to save money for such a small-run figure, the majority of her sculpt is reused from Series 1's Kyushi, with only the head and left arm being new. The majority of her weapons come from Series 2 figures, and the body will show up again as Midnight in that same series. The figures are all sculpted by the crew over at Plan-B Toys.
To keep the game different each time you play, the characters come with a variety of accessories. Called "gear" in the game, these items have a unique point value and give the player specific dice for as long as they are in play. Kellan's gear includes the flak jacket, a dragon amulet, stun baton, grenade belt and a survival kit. You can equip your figure with up to 12 points of gear for each game.
In addition to the accessories, each figure comes with two extra hands that have pegs in the palms to help them hold their gear. A set of dice of varying color and shape is included in the package, as well as a figure-specific tape measure that shows your movement and attack range.
Each figure includes a black display base
that displays their name, point value and combat statistics. The base can be opened to store all the accessories when not in use. Measuring 5" wide, the base houses the game's three combat dials - one for movement, defense and attack. Each successful attack lowers a dial of the attacked player's choice, and the character is removed from play when three bullet holes appear on the dials.
Played on a tabletop or other large, flat surface, the minimum suggested dimensions for a Shadowrun: Duels game are 5' x 5', and the figures must start at least 48" apart. Each player takes turns playing items of "terrain" (these can be anything, from plain cardboard markers to actual miniatures) that hinder movement and attacks.
The game is easy to learn and really fun to play. The tape measure thing is a bit odd at first, but it makes sense after just a few rounds. The accessories give a nice bit of variety to the proceedings without fundamentally rewriting the characters. The dials on the base take the place of complicated rulebooks and character stat sheets, saving you time and space. You'd have to spend quite a lot of money to have any major selection of accessories, but none of the figures can yet hold everything they're packaged with, and more cool figures are on the way for October's Series 2.