Tabletop Review: Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3

Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
Cost: $7.95
Page Count: 38
Release Date: 12/14/2013
Get it Here: DriveThrurpg.com

Oh, Shadowrun. Leave it to you to release two supplements the very day I go on vacation for a week without any internet. So these reviews are later than I am comfortable with and then my readers would like, but at least they are getting reviewed, right?

Thankfully Gun H(e)aven 3 is an exceptionally easy product to review. It’s a thirty-eight page supplement in the same vein as the Para series, Mil Spec Tech and Used Car lot. Each page is devoted to a specific item. You get a piece of art to showcase said item (in this case, guns), some snarky JackPoint commentary and finally mechanics. It’s worth noting that the mechanics side of this piece gives stats for both Fourth/20AE AND Fifth Edition. Catalyst Game Labs has been doing this a lot lately and it’s nice to see them supporting the most recent version of the game as well as the previous version which some gamers have been slow to adapt for reasons ranging from limited disposable income to edition wars drama. This way fans of both versions can purchase this supplement and it also gives CGL more potential profit than if they only released this for a single system. WotC’s Dungeons & Dragons has been doing a similar thing with their Sundering line, but CGL has been giving mechanics while D&D has been going systemless. Point in the favor of CGL.

Unfortunately, Gun H(e)aven 3 is insanely priced. Eight dollars for roughly thirty guns? Without the art and copious amounts of white space, this supplement would be about ten pages tops. Hell, you can go to the last two pages of the collection and see the mechanics are repeated in a condensed fashion and each edition’s stats are less than a page. There’s so very little content, perhaps a paragraph PER PAGE, that it’s hard to justify the price tag on this, especially when similar releases like, say, Parazoology 2 has more pages, better art and a ton more content in terms of both mechanics and Jackpoint jargon. I realize there isn’t much that one can say about a gun without starting to get repetitive, but man, you are basically paying for a supplement that is more than 50% blank space per page. That’s just wrong to me.

Another big problem I had with Gun H(e)aven 3 was this following paragraph: “Not all of the standard modifications listed with the weapons in this book are detailed in Shadowrun, Fifth Edition. A book with more weapons and combat options called Run & Gun will be released shortly after this book, providing details on these modifications.” Why does this bother me so much? Because this means Gun H(e)aven 3 is incomplete and you need to purchase a SECOND SUPPLEMENT to actually get full usage out of this one! That’s insane. What’s worse is that said second piece isn’t out yet, meaning you have to wait to actually use this properly with Fifth Edition. So not only has there been some bad editorial decisions here, but Gun H(e)aven 3 comes across as a cheap cash grab that only the most devout (or stupid) Shadowrun fans will pick up. It’s kind of insulting and I feel bad for the author because I’m pretty sure this is editorial all the way.

Now aside from these two big quibbles, Gun H(e)aven 3 is a nicely done piece. The mechanics are solid, the Jackpoint banter is fun to flip through and you get thirty new weapons to add to your game, not that you probably needed them. I did find it a bit odd than some of these guns were complete junk that the Jackpoint crew ripped on. At first I was like, “Why devote an entire page to a weapon you’re basically saying players shouldn’t use?” but honestly, it would be weird and unrealistic if every firearm was a must have piece of awesomeness. By having crappy weapons in addition to high quality ones, the Sixth World becomes just a little more fleshed out in ways other games aren’t. If you’re really unhappy with all the gun options presented to you throughout both 4e and 5e or you are unable to stat out new items yourself, then yes, you may want to pick this up because now you have several dozen new options for your players and NPCs to equip themselves with. My personal favorites in this collection are the Krupp Arms Kreigfaust, the Winchester Model 201, and the Shiawase Arms Incinerator, the latter of which is probably going to be the favorite of many who pick this up because hey, flamethrower.

Overall, let’s give this supplement a thumbs in the middle. It’s deeply insulting to be told that you need to purchase another supplement in addition to the one you just purchased because the team behind it couldn’t be bothered to throw in a bit more mechanics, especially when so much of this release is blank space. It’s doubly so to do it at such an inflated price. There’s no way you should be paying more than five bucks for Gun H(e)aven 3 and even then, it’s really more of a curiosity piece than anything which will truly add something new to your game. I mean, if you want to spend eight bucks on a bunch of guns you could come up with yourself in a few hours and fit the stats into two or three pages of Microsoft Word, knock yourself out. I’d personally be pissed if I had spent money on this thing, though, considering how little you get for the price tag.

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