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Old 04-08-2013, 12:54 PM
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Default Access HarmlessFile.datZ - Talking about Android: Netrunner

Android: Netrunner has been blowing up everywhere I look, and since I got back from PAX it's damn near all I play.

Netrunner is a two player card game where one player is a corporation, and the other player is a hacker trying to steal their datas - essentially, the runner is playing offense, and the corp is playing defense. As the corp, every resource you have is vulnerable to the runner; they can run your HQ and peek at your hand. They can run your R&D and see what you've got coming up in your deck, They can even run your archives to pluck points out of your discard pile. What the corp has on the runner is information - almost everything the corp does is hidden until the runner starts poking at it. Is the ICE in front of R&D going to flatline me, or is it just a Cell Portal? Are the points in the corp's hand, or are they already installed in that undefended remote server? What you don't know definitely can hurt you in Netrunner.

For serious competition, I could easily see Netrunner ending up as the #2 game behind MtG. It's a strikingly good marriage of theme and design, and as long as Fantasy Flight are good stewards of the cards and organized play, there is a lot of room for expressive play and bluffing even at low levels of experience. If you have someone who is willing to play with you, or you want to play via G+ Hangout, grab a core set - it's $30 on Amazon and you get more than enough cards to play with and explore all the possibilities of the game right away. Better yet, get your friend to drop $30 so you don't have to keep disassembling your runner/corp decks to play against one another (Comb Stranger).

And since I get this question literally every time I've taught someone the game - it is not a deckbuilding game in the Dominion sense. It is like MtG, only the boosters are not randomized. See Living Card Games.

Some more resources:
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:58 PM
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The asymmetrical play is one of the biggest reasons I find Netrunner fascinating. I'm still in the learning phase, partially because of the standard FFG rulebook syndrome, but I'm looking forward to the next time I get a chance to play.

I'm still trying to figure out which corps and runners I want to play to start doing some real deckbuilding. Corp-wise I'll probably go with Jinteki or NBN since they seem more active than the Weyland and Haas-Bioroid, and HB's powerful ICE has the issue where you can spend clicks to get past some of the nastier subroutines. Runners I'm thinking of going with the Shapers, but I need to look at the cards a bit more, since I'm a little more experienced on the Corp side of things.

My biggest advice though, is after playing with one of the starter decks the rulebook recommends, go and build a deck and never look at the starter ones again, at least with the Runners. Both starter games I've seen ended up with the runner frustrated due to the lack of hardware in them.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:50 PM
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I'm playing NBN for corp and Noise for runner at the moment, although all the factions have stuff I like. Shaper has Personal Workshop, Test Run, and Chaos Theory. Jinteki has Chum. HB has Janus 1.0.

If you want to get active, stick Snares, Junebugs, Aggressive Secretaries etc. in your deck. I like fucking with the runner and making them scared to run stuff even if it doesn't have ice in front of it. If you run Trick of Light, those advancement tokens will never go to waste, either:

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Old 04-08-2013, 06:54 PM
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What's the best netrunner product to pick up starting out?
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:00 PM
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What's the best netrunner product to pick up starting out?
The Core Set's all you need to start, it's like getting 7 preconstructed decks, with room to customize them. And since corp and runner use different cards, you have enough for two to play in a single core set. I just picked up some of the data packs after playing two dozen games in the last two weeks, but I'm not really close to exhausting the novelty of the cards from the core set.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:02 PM
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Why the hell didn't I play this at PAX.

Or... like 15 years ago, for that matter (I mean, I played a few games back then, but not a lot).
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:09 PM
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Why the hell didn't I play this at PAX.

Or... like 15 years ago, for that matter (I mean, I played a few games back then, but not a lot).
If you come to Prime we can play there!

And yeah, I keep having to remind myself that it's a 15-year-old game, it's really weird. The new cards are a lot prettier, though.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:19 PM
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I'd like to check this out. I'm not crazy about the Magic model of game design, but the asymmetry has me intrigued.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:20 AM
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I don't want to shit up the thread by being a constant downer on something that someone's clearly very excited about, so I'll say my piece and leave, but I purchased Android: Netrunner several months ago, prompted by a flurry of Internet love/praise, and I haven't been so disappointed in a game purchase in years (the only thing I resent more when I look at my shelf is Arkham Horror). My wife and I are always looking for good 2-player games to fill the void left by RftG (which we've sunk 100s of hours into), and a meaty asymmetric card game sounded like exactly what we needed, but it absolutely does not live up to the hype. I feel like I'd be doing everyone a disservice if I didn't take a moment to warn them away.

The theme/flavour, and how they are integrated in the mechanics, is aces, but I found it a giant disappointment in pretty much every other respect. The rulebook is the usual FFG exercise in frustration, the deck-building feels overly restrictive and uninteresting, it is actively stressful to play as either faction (as the corporation you feel helpless and unable to defend everything you need to, and as the runner every corporation server is a potential den of vipers), and the game almost feels too cutthroat and unbalanced-- I've had a game end in the first few turns on more than one occasion, and in every instance both us were like "That's it? Really? Another game, I guess?"

The novelty of the mechanics was enough motivation for us to give it weeks of play and wait for it to "click", but it never did, for either of us. I have no idea what everyone sees in it. I just feel like we're missing something, as if the fun is hiding in a hidden compartment in the box that we failed to find. I had suspected that everyone who loved it was just riding nostalgia for the original, but it sounds to me as if pence is a recent convert, so I dunno. Buyer beware.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by JBear View Post
stressful to play as either faction (as the corporation you feel helpless and unable to defend everything you need to, and as the runner every corporation server is a potential den of vipers)
This is my favorite part of the game, different strokes and all that - although playing runner gets a lot less scary once you learn the Ice and their rez costs. Playing corp is about appearing more dangerous than you are, and playing runner is about finding the corp's weak point and exploiting it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:56 AM
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the deck-building feels overly restrictive and uninteresting
This is kind of my beef. I loved Netrunner back in the day (although I got into it right after it died, so I could pick up $5 decks and $1 boosters), and I picked up the new version but haven't played it yet. I did build a couple decks though, and I'm not really liking the faction identities. The thing I always liked about the game was the emphasis on bluffing and information control, and having a faction identity basically gives away your deck's gimmick before you even start playing.

That said, even though I never played with a cutthroat enough group for this to happen, I'm told there are some pretty degenerate turn-1-win decks out there, so apparently this is an attempt to limit abusive synergies? I dunno.

Quote:
it is actively stressful to play as either faction (as the corporation you feel helpless and unable to defend everything you need to, and as the runner every corporation server is a potential den of vipers)
This, on the other hand, I love. You basically can't shore up all your weaknesses, so as runner you need to carefully balance the risks of multiple runs per turn vs letting the corp have more time to amass resources and progress agendas, and as the corp you need to misdirect the runner into going after data forts that are either acceptable losses or outright traps. So, YMMV.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:13 AM
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In practice, the faction identities seem more restrictive for runner than corp. There isn't too much tinkering you can do with Noise or Kate aside from adding economy and tutors. But you can get tricky with corp decks - off-faction Neural Katanas, Aggressive Secretaries, and Scorched Earths can all throw the runner off-balance.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:48 AM
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I much prefer the simplicity of the deckbuilding over, say, Magic. All the balancing is done when the deck is put together, so you never worry about the right scale of red mana to blue mana and never get screwed in play. Once the game starts, all your cards might as well be the same color, because there's no unique costs. The cap & varying faction values make me think "ooh, how much do I really want this card" as opposed to "what are the best cards okay here's my awesome deck I'll need... ten mountains and five islands".

As for knowing what you're up against via the identities, that's kind of an unsolvable problem. You're never playing in a vacuum outside of, say, randomized anonymous internet matches, so you're always going to have an idea of what they're running, if they don't outright tell you. Even if you do run completely blind, nobody plays one match with a deck and completely rebuilds it afterward. And even assuming the perfect anonymous game, the magic lasts all of three rounds until you see a couple ICE and figure out the gimmick. That's just a part of playing a game with card synergy. The strategy is more like poker (you know what you know and you know what you don't know) vs Yugioh (fuck it RED EYES BLUE DRAGON). And there is still enough wiggle room to customize, since up to a third of your deck can be assorted out of color cards, and probably another third are going to be white.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:18 AM
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JBear, that stress seems like exactly what I'm looking for. I love that feeling in games. I'm more excited to check this out now.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
The rulebook is the usual FFG exercise in frustration, the deck-building feels overly restrictive and uninteresting...
I actually like the deckbuilding mechanics, mainly because it keeps decks mostly thematic, which I love, and it's really nice for having some information of what you're going up against, while still having some wiggle room to add unexpected cards.

The rulebook however is garbage, even by FFG standards.

In my first game I did have a lot of frustration, feeling like I wasn't able to do enough as a corp to stop the runner, but part of that was the matchup/the runner's lucky hand (first couple of turns he drew his "can bypass the first piece of ICE" cards), and part of it was because we got a lot of the rules wrong.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:43 AM
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Yugioh (fuck it RED EYES BLUE DRAGON)
I have this no-monsters deck that usually wins on turn four. Dragons are for chumps.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:41 AM
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Picked up the core set yesterday.

... running is hard, you guys.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:29 PM
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... running is hard, you guys.
Sometimes you face-check a Rototurret. Hopefully before you have any programs installed.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:30 PM
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So is there a more comprehensible version of the rules somewhere? I think we mostly muddled through correctly, but pretty unsure of a few things.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:25 PM
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Okay, like, with servers. When my agenda or asset is scored or stolen or trashed, does the sever remain in play or does it get trashed (seems like it should still be up, but I couldn't find it in the rules)?

Likewise I assume that HQ, R&D and Archives all have their own servers? Lost my first game as the corp because we didn't figure that out until about halfway through and when I split the ice I had in front of them it left me wide open (also spending all my credits on my cost 8 Archives defense since I had been milled for like three agendas, and then having the runner just hit the other server I had an agenda running in since I was broke and couldn't rez its ice).

Can you put ice down for a server without an agenda or an asset yet? Upgrades? Do programs hosted in locations other than the rig cost MU? I played Dijin which explicitly hosts 3 MU of programs, but what about those viruses I can install on Ice?

Also unsure about just getting credits with the starter decks, since there's cards that let me get them it is better to just dig with draws or should I spend cycles to build up money at 1 per? Guess I want to try and end turn with 5 cards in hand just incase of damage from the corp usually.

Also when can I choose to score an agenda? Like say an unrezzed Private Security Force with four counters on it, when I rez it does it cost counters or is that just a threshold and they stick around? Do I need to choose right then to score it or keep it around, and if not when can I score it?
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:24 PM
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Okay, like, with servers. When my agenda or asset is scored or stolen or trashed, does the sever remain in play or does it get trashed (seems like it should still be up, but I couldn't find it in the rules)?
Yes. Any ice or upgrades in a remote server remain in play if the other stuff inside is scored, stolen, or trashed.

Quote:
Likewise I assume that HQ, R&D and Archives all have their own servers?
Correct. HQ, R&D, and Archives are your three central servers. Upgrades can be installed in their Roots, and ice can be installed in front of them.

Quote:
Can you put ice down for a server without an agenda or an asset yet? Upgrades?
Yes and yes.

From p.13: "If the Corporation creates a remote server by installing ice, the server exists, but is considered to be empty."

The upgrades in a remote server should just look like agendas and assets to the runner; this got me and Comb Stranger before. From the FAQ: "An upgrade is installed in a remote server in the same position as an agenda or asset. The Runner should not be able to tell what type of card is installed in a remote server by its position. This is different than installing an upgrade in a central server, where it is always installed in the root"

Quote:
Do programs hosted in locations other than the rig cost MU? I played Dijin which explicitly hosts 3 MU of programs, but what about those viruses I can install on Ice?
Yeah, parasites take up the runner's MU. Make sure to remind the runner if they "forget" about those and fill up their rig. ;]

Quote:
Also when can I choose to score an agenda? Like say an unrezzed Private Security Force with four counters on it, when I rez it does it cost counters or is that just a threshold and they stick around? Do I need to choose right then to score it or keep it around, and if not when can I score it?
You don't have to score it right away, you can score it pretty much any time during the corp's turn. p.32, "Timing Structure of Turns", is pretty handy once you have a few games under your belt, scoring agendas is the yellow symbol.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:28 PM
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You don't have to score it right away, you can score it pretty much any time during the corp's turn. p.32, "Timing Structure of Turns", is pretty handy once you have a few games under your belt, scoring agendas is the yellow symbol.
Wait, I just read the official FAQ and I can still use abilities of scored cards as the corp? So it shouldn't even matter except for "When you score" abilities?
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:33 PM
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Wait, I just read the official FAQ and I can still use abilities of scored cards as the corp? So it shouldn't even matter except for "When you score" abilities?
There are a few cases where you might leave something out for a while, but not so many in the core set. Nisei Mk II and Private Security Force are just extra abilities you get after you score them, for example.

Last edited by pence; 04-10-2013 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:55 AM
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Agendas stay face down and you stick advancement tokens on them one at a time with the advance action. Once they have enough counters on them to score it, at any time on your turn you may score it as a free action.

When scored, agendas are turned face up, advancement tokens are removed and they're moved off the server into a special out-of-play area where they can no longer be stolen or advanced, but you may then use any activated abilities on the agenda itself, like the Private Security Force's Ѳ: Inflict 1 Meat Damage. Like with assets, anything that requires a click must be done on your turn, while things that don't (like Nisei Mk II's ability) may be done at any time. After an agenda is scored, the server it was hosted on becomes vacant, and you may play another agenda or asset in its place.

Assets work a little differently. Once an asset has been placed, you may at (almost) any time, during either turn, pay its rez cost to activate it. It then flips face up and its abilities become available, but stays where it is and continues to occupy server space until either the runner accesses it and pays its trash cost to destroy it, or you decide to overwrite it with a different agenda or asset. A popular trick is to place a Pad Campaign face down and leave it that way through the runner's turn, so they don't know if it's a valuable agenda or a lowly Pad Campaign. Then you pay to rez it just before the start of your next turn, and it activates immediately.

As for keeping five cards in hand, you usually don't have to. There are only three cards in the base set that can hurt the runner during the Corp's turn (Private Security Force, Scorched Earth and Neural EMP), and the first two require you to be tagged. You can only get surprised with a tag on your turn via NBN's Breaking News agenda or Weyland's Posted Bounty agenda, which are 2 and 3 point agendas respectively, and difficult to rush out in one turn. While it's entirely possible to pull off (I've done it to pence twice), the corp will rarely have the clicks to do it all in once turn. Also note, you only lose when you must discard a card and you have none, not when you run out of cards. Four cards is enough to absorb a Scorched Earth or an entire round of Neural EMPs or Private Security. When Weyland has a Private Security force scored, an agenda advanced twice and three credits on hand, then you should start freaking out.

Quote:
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There are a few cases where you might leave something out for a while, but not so many in the core set.
To be clear, those cases are Posted Bounty and Breaking News. You ideally want to score them at the start of your turn so you have three clicks to abuse the tag that they put on, for your Scorched Earth/Closed Accounts/Psychographics etc. Breaking News is basically worthless if you score it at the end of your turn, because the tags just go away immediately. Posted Bounty is even more worthless (if you use its ability), because they'll just spend a click and pay off the tag, and you've given them a bad publicity forever. Bad publicity is very bad for you; it gives them an extra credit to spend each run, and they stack.

Oh, and if you do "forfeit an agenda" with Posted Bounty's ability or Archer's additional cost etc, they leave the game completely, rather than going into your archives. Once scored it is literally impossible for the runner to ever steal them.

Last edited by Comb Stranger; 04-11-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 03:39 AM
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Last match came down to the final agenda, thought I was out of it after Archer trashed half my rig (RAMPAGE!), tagged me and left me open to a hand-clearing scorched earth but somehow I managed to crawl back. She wold have won on the next turn, or if I didn't have a bank run to drop her funds before approaching the final agenda (five pieces of ice in front of it, only two rezzed though).
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:34 AM
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Come to think of it, that's not an atypical game, either. Netrunner has so much drama without resorting to dice, I love it.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:21 AM
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I managed to win as Runner once with four brain damage. That was pretty exciting.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:37 AM
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I managed to win as Runner once with four brain damage. That was pretty exciting.
Hit an Edge of World? I had a game like that, too. I think of it as the cost of doing business as a runner.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
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I managed to win as Runner once with four brain damage. That was pretty exciting.
Wow, that's pretty rad.

Oh, not that it matters but I adore this game.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:59 PM
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I managed to win as Corp in a game that was tied 6 - 6 by faking a really bad tell. I was playing very conservative, and the runner was starting to trash my R&D while I had no recourse, so I dumped a snare I had been holding forever into a remote server, along with SanSan City Grid. It was a bad bluff, because the runner should have realized there was no ice that could stop him on that server, but he changed direction anyway and ran straight into the Snare. Flatlined him with meat damage on my turn.

My opponent was an MtG player, and had the legitimate complaint that there isn't much interaction during the other player's turn. Very few instants or activated abilities. I can't say I ever felt like it was a problem; the other player's turn usually has me on the edge of my seat.
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