First Wave Cyberpunk Tabletop Roleplaying Games #cyberpunk

In this series, we’ve been tracing all of the various vectors that converged to create the first wave of cyberpunk art and the real-world cyberculture that it spawned. We’ve explored the literature, the anime, the art, movies, and television. And we’ve touched on some of the early computer game efforts. Now it’s time to explore another important viral vector: tabletop roleplaying games. First up: Cyberpunk 2020.

The first pen, paper, dice (theater of the mind) roleplaying game to bring the world of cyberpunk lit to the tabletop was Mike Poundstone’s Cyberpunk which was first published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988.

The edition that really put this game on the RPG map and solidified it as a game to play was the 1990 second edition known as Cyberpunk 2020. The first edition was a boxed RPG (all the rage at the time) which included a 44-page Handbook, a 38-page Sourcebook, a 20-page Combat Book, four pages of player aids, and two ten-sided dice.

The Cyberpunk 2020 edition of the game also came in a box and included a 222-page rulebook and a 24-page reference guide and adventure.

Cyberpunk v3.0 was published in 2005 and updated the timeline of the game to 2030. Last year, R. Talsorian released Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart, another boxed beginner’s gateway into Poundstone’s Cyberpunk universe. This starter set (and the full Cyberpunk Red to follow) is meant to be a bridge to the world of the hugely anticipated, but perpetually-delayed roleplaying video game, Cyberpunk 2077, finally slated to be released this fall.

Next up: GURPS Cyberpunk and I.C.E.’s Cyberspace!


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