Metatron’s Cyber City: Syndicates is a virtual tabletop game of theft and strategic violence.

The year is 2074. International conglomerates have largely succeeded in concentrating the wealth of the world, and much of the population of Earth has been forced to resort to subsistence farming beside the chemical swamps and ruined coastlines of the old world. On the reshaped shore of the Pacific, a city first founded as a research station and model city has swollen to a population of 20 million: Cyber City. Even a single square meter of land can be licensed from the Cyber City Zoning Board and declared a subsidiary corporation with the same legal status as a sovereign nation, and the militarized and mechanized Cyber City Police Department maintain only a tenuous grasp on order as they navigate the web of conflicting laws and enmeshed national boundaries.

Above (or some would say beneath) it all stand the Syndicates, shadowy criminal organizations that wield power to rival the Congloms. In Cyber City, the most powerful of these is the Tetrad, a shaky alliance of the remnants of the Sicilian Mafia, the Yakuza, the Triad, and the Russian Bratva. Though they may dispense justice as often as they undermine it, they are primarily motivated by profit, and Cyber City represents an unprecedented array of profitable opportunities for those with more firepower than scruples. The Syndicates routinely infiltrate the physical and virtual territories of Congloms, governments, religious institutions, and even other Syndicates, thereby stealing, planting, or destroying various objects, data, and people of value.

The player of Cyber City: Syndicates walks into this web of espionage and theft as a newly-appointed Operations Overseer for WARAC (the Williams Asset Retrieval Assessment Corporation, one of the Tetrad’s many corporate fronts). The player collects Operatives and Equipment represented by digital cards, select teams of five Operatives from that collection best suited to randomly-generated missions, and guides those Operatives through operations via a turn-based tactics-style grid. Violence between Operatives and security forces is always expected, and plays out mostly via gunplay mechanics utilizing Energy, Ballistic, and Nano weaponry. Slicers often accompany Heavies to inflict virtual violence on the target’s data and Drones, and rare Psychers can inflict mental violence, sending enemies into a panic.

Menu elements will be exploded around the player (the OpOv is conducting each Operation from a highly-optimized virtual command center, after all), and risky real-time mini-games can add to (or detract from) an Operative’s rolls. Head-to-head multiplayer between rival Syndicates is possible, but planned for a later version, as are digital booster packs and additional target maps and organizations.

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