Here's a gamebook that leaps into the game with no introduction or skirting about! From page one the reader delves into the gameworld the writers present. Cyberpunk derives its name for two words - "cyber" short for the word cybernetic or a fusion of flesh and technology, and "punk" from an early 1980's rock music style that epitomized violence, rebellion, and social action in a nihilistic way. The game itself takes place in the bleak year of 2020. To survive you need two things on your side: cybernetics and attitude.
The game itself is well thought out and put together and the sidebars and quotes added in through the guidebook draws the reader into the gameworld. The core rules are well written for the experienced gamer, but may leave neophyte gamers a bit confused, as their is little explanation to any role-playing terms that appear through the rules.
Character creation is fairly simple and reminds me of a combination of AD&D and WhiteWolf gaming systems. The statistics and skills are on a 10 point system that really works quite well. One of the more interesting stats is Humanity. As your character gains cybernetics his ability to understand and live with humans decreases. If your Humanity decreases too much, you forget to eat and sleep and can involuntarily go on killing sprees. If this should happen, the player should start working on his next character.
Probably the most fun portion of character generation is the "Lifepath" in which, by the roll of the die, you discover your past. Family ranking, lost loves, enemies gained, even childhood environment is uncovered via the "Lifepath". I've often turned to this chart for rolling up NPC's in other gaming systems. The equipment and cybernetic lists make up a large section of the book and is well organized and easy to follow.
Performing actions, known as skill checks, is done through a very undefined system. The difficulty levels of actions are vague listings of easy, average, difficult and impossible. Little definition is given as to what is easy, which may cause confusion for both players and GMs alike. Aside from a few small problems, this game is a well done RPG in the little-used genre of cyberpunk.
Highs - Easy to read, well organized, fun character creation, good setting
Lows - Not suited for starting gamers, difficult skill and combat system
Final Call - A good Blade-runner/cyberpunk-style game, that may work best for WhiteWolf fans.
Cyberpunk 2020, version 2.0, R.Talsorian Games 1990.
List price: $20.00
List price: $21.95