Friday, 14 February 2014

Netrunner - My New Obsession

Friday, February 14, 2014

Share it Please

I remember when the original Netrunner CCG was relased in the mid ninetiees and how it was lauded by both Inquest and Pyramid as one of, or even the best card game around. However it really never took off and even though this was a period where I was religiously reading and re-reading Gibson's Sprawl trilogy and liked the look of Netrunner I never actually tried it.
This is what Netrunner looked like back when.
Over the years I've been checking up on the game now and then to see how likely a reprint or remake of it was so when the announcement that FFG had picked it up for use with their LCG model I was very excited. Sure, they had transplanted it into their in-house cyberpunk setting of Android, but seeing as that is as much a derivative of Gibson as Cyberpunk 2020 ever was I really didn't have a problem with it. Besides, I really liked the world they introduced in the board game, even though the board game itself sadly never managed to grab me, so this would give me a new opportunity to explore it. Of course the card art changed a lot with FFG's cards being more conceptual (ICE especially!) and with more of a cartoon feeling to them. They lost some of the grit in the process, but overall I think they are an improvement. Although I love the old Hostile Takeover card!

Still I held off actually investing in Android: Netrunner until january 2014, 18 months after the games release. It has certainly not been for a lack of interest from my part, but rather a concern that I wouldn't have any opponents to play against. Sure I could always go down to the local CCG den and play some random dude, but that's not really what I'm into - I want to play with my friends. So I've been biding my time, hoping it would catch the eye of some of my buddies. In the meantime I got into Star Wars as that seemed to be an easier game to introduce into a group of non-LCG players.

My friend Anders have also expressed interest in Netrunner, as he's a fan of the Cyberpunk genre, and mentioned that he might get the core box so we could try it out. However in the end it was Claes who picked it up first. He was really getting the Star Wars LCG as he really enjoyed that, but an extra large paycheck last month(?) lead to him picking up a core set of Netrunner as well. This was all that was needed for me to completely loose it and immediately order most of what's been released so far! Which is kind of silly since we've decided to work through the expansions gradually anyway. Haha!

Claes bought Creation and Control and some datapacks as well so we're certainly invested now. I even think Anders might spring for a core box one of these days! I'm the kind of person who do a lot of research and planning as I get into a new game. I spend hours going through forums, reading about game strategy and trying to analyze how the game... "fits together". Netrunner has certainly not been an exception as has constantly occupied a couple of my browser tabs. I'm not a big fan of netdecking (for any kind of game) but I still enjoy reading about peoples thoughts when they put together a deck or an army for a miniature game or what have you. The thought process is always interesting and can give you ideas for creations of your own.

That doesn't look like any kind of Japanese I've ever seen! Space Japanese perhaps?
So far we've only met to play Netrunner twice, and the first time I acted as the tutor as I instructed Claes and Anders on how to play the game and helped them during the matches. They played twice, Claes using the default core Shaper deck and Anders using the default Weyland deck. The first game was over in just a couple of turns but the second one was looooong. I think they played for two hours and most of the time was, of course, spent reading the different cards as everything was new to them. In the end Claes won both games although the second one was very close!

Yesterday I played Claes and I had put together my own Anarch Noise deck using core+What Lies Ahead. It's heavy on virus cards and only use the three basic Anarch ICE breakers. Claes quickly put together a Haas Bioroid deck using the same set of cards and we went at it. The first game I won fairly quickly as I got a Medium going and Claes didn't realize how quickly I could go through his R&D looking for agendas. However I really felt that my economy wasn't anywhere near where it needed to be so tweaked the deck a little before we went at it again.

The second game went on longer and Claes protected his R&D better this time. I still was strapped for credits in the game, but managed to snatch enough agendas to get to six, same as the Corp. In what I thought would be the final turn I used Stimhack to easily break into his obvious agenda server only to run straight into an Aggressive Secretary! Eek! She fried almost my whole rig (never rely to heavily on Djinn if you can avoid it!) and it looked like it would be an easy win for HB. However, the next turn Claes didn't advance the other possible agenda and after some quick Infiltration work to make sure it wasn't another Secretary I decided to chance it and made a run with just Yog.0 installed. Claes didn't rezz the first piece of ICE and the second I was an Ichi 1.0 that I could simply allow to hit me as I ran past it and grabbed the final agenda for the win!

However, it turned out that the first ICE was a Rototurret that would have stopped me cold and that Claes had simply misremembered which kind of ICE it was. This kind of put a damper on the victory, but looked at the next couple of turns and I would have gotten a Mimic out anyway the turn after. It would probably have ended the same but still.

Anyway, it's really a great little game with loads of depth and the whole bluffing thing going on that I enjoy immensely! I can only imagine how it would be playing with Jinteki. Hopefully I get to try that next time as I built a deck for them when I did my Anarchs. I'll probably put together a review for Netrunner later on, but first I need to play it some more. :)

4 kommentarer :

  1. Excellent post.
    I should mention that I've got something on the burner that might interest you.

    1. Judging from the final picture in your last blog post I'm guessing something cyberpunkish. And we sorely need more of that in todays gaming environment! :D

  2. Netrunner is a great game! I normally don't even like card games, but who can resist that much theme and the unique asymmetrical mechanics. Real pleasure to play.

    1. Exactly! This is probably the most thematic card game out there. Hell, it's one of the most thematic games period! :D


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