Belated update

Hardwired Cyberpunk

There's a nice little free rule set for a light cyberpunk skirmish game called Hardwired. (Link here.)

[EDIT: the beta rules have been removed since I downloaded the rules in early April. Sorry. The game is now being prepared for a commercial release.]

(Now known as EXPLOIT ZERO : CYBERPUNK ESPIONAGE AND MAYHEM thanks to some silly copyright IP thing.)

Cyberpunk and Steampunk are 2 of my favourite genres. Even more than fantasy or SF. So having a free rule set that focuses on solo and co-op play is a BIG deal! I finally managed to clear some time to set up the table and run a quick game. I made lots of rules mistakes the first time round. Mainly spawning twice in a turn. No wonder I was quickly overwhelmed! Also made an error in that Combat Augmentations need to be activated with dice rolls every turn. Yikes.

I got the rules right on my 3rd try.

A quick run through: scenario is the Agents (or Runners if you're coming from Shadowrun) need to kidnap a corporate suit from a conglomerate that's their client's major rival. No questions asked.

The escort moves about 8" into the map before spotting the Agents. The escort (lowly security guard types) mill around in confusion and only 1 manages to drag the corporate suit back the way they came.
The Agents move in and use a combo of drones and combat to take all 4 escorts out before getting hold of the corporate suit. She puts up a massive struggle every step of the way so that the Agent responsible for her only manages to move 4" during his turn.
The other Agents settle down to hold off the incoming guards who've been alerted by the gunfire.
They manage to hold off the guard even when the alarm escalates to security 2 (bringing in SWAT type OpFor).

The corporate suit struggles all the way and the Agent only manages to move 4" each turn for another 2 turns.
However, once they near the map edge, the Suit gives up and the Agent manages to drag her off map, winning the game despite taking wounds from the pursuing H-SEC.

It's free. It's a rough draft. But the mechanics are solid. Each Agent gets 3 actions represented by 3 dice: d10, d8 and d6 which also represents deteriorating performance under stress. A success is 4+. The dice are also the Agent's health, and taking a wound removes the highest dice type first.

Combat Augmentation Programs, Specialisation Protocols and various equipment help differentiate the 4 classes: Ronin (ranged specialist); Razor (melee specialist); Splicer (hacker/cyber guy) and Sawbones (support).

The OpFor are called H-SEC (Hostile Security) here, running the gamut from lowly security guard types (with only a single d6 for actions) to higher level SWAT type security forces (2d8 dice for actions) to actual paramilitary mercies for hire (3d10 action dice). They only have 1 health but make up for it by swarming. And they are like a glass cannon: the d8 and d10 types hit hard but still only have the 1 health.

The AI is basic and calls for you to employ common sense. I find that setting up mission parameters helps guide me when making decisions for the AI.

There are nice decisions to be made. Tradeoffs between better capabilities vs lower number of actions. And what responses to take.

Crafting missions well is probably critical. You could (but it'd be pretty boring) set a target in the middle of the map then have the Agents go get it or hack it. Parameters for the H-SEC are also useful.


  1. Nice game and write up. Glad you like Hardwired. I'll make a note to send you a copy of the full version once it's released. Take Care.

  2. Thanks! Very kind of you :-)


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