It is the future. Humanity has spread itself across the solar system with varying degrees of success. The Moon and Mars are colonized. A plan to terraform the Red Planet is well underway, hindered only by a civil war that has broken out and locked down many of its habitation domes. On Earth, a massive space elevator has been built near the equator to the sprawling megapolis of New Angeles, stretching up into low orbit. It is the hub of trade in the solar system, and most people refer to it as the “Beanstalk”.
Computers have continued to advance along with discoveries in the field of neurobiology. This has led to brain-mapping, a method by which a human mind can be stored electronically in sophisticated mind-machine interface devices. The physical mouse and keyboard are archaic relics; gestural interfaces and virt displays are commonplace. Elite users “jack in”, plugging the computer directly into their brains.
Enormous megacorporations, called corps by most, influence every facet of daily life: food, threedee, music, career choice. Jinteki and Haas-Bioroid redefine life itself, making clones and bioroids with braintaped, artificially-intelligent minds. The Weyland Consortium owns a piece of everything that goes up or down the Beanstalk, and everything goes up or down the Beanstalk. And NBN shapes what you think and dream, with the most extensive media network ever conceived on Earth under their control. More data flows through the network every second than was ever expressed in the first five thousand years of written language. It is a surveillance network, a financial system, a library – it is the backbone of modern civilization. And it is also the only weakness the corps have.
The network is forever evolving and moving, impossible to completely pinpoint or lock down. Rogue operators-computer specialists with the hardware, software, and raw talent to challenge the system-use the sprawl of the net to their advantage. Some want to expose the rot that lies at the heart of the system, and to awaken the teeming billions to the hypocrisy of their corporate masters. Others just want to earn a profit, or express themselves in the ultimate medium. Whatever their motivation, the actions of these individuals intersect in a common cause: that of digital independence. They are runners.
What is this?
This is Android: Netrunner, an asymmetrical living card game that came out a tad more than a year ago. In it, players will either take the role of a megacorporation, trying to advance their shadowy agendas of financial control and worldly power, or of a runner, an individual trying to steal the Corp’s agendas to either strike a blow for the people, make a profit, or because fuck it, why not?
What makes Netrunner stand out is that each player plays completely differently. The Runner has no idea where those agendas are hidden, or what byzantine pieces of protective software, named ICE, they have protecting said agendas. The Corp, on the other hand, has to protect those agendas from a relentless attack by the Runner, desperately trying to stall them long enough to succeed.
Hoi, this sounds cool, chummer! How does it work?
Well, I’ll type it up in a nutshell, but if you want the full skinny, you should either read this here rulebook
or watch this here tutorial. Or both. Preferably both.
The whole game revolves around certain cards the Corp player has, called Agenda cards. They look like so:
Each agenda is worth a certain number of Agenda Points, which is the number listed to the bottom-left of the picture (in this case, 1 point). The CORP is looking to play this card, and advance it a number of times equal to the cost in the upper right corner of the card(2 times). When they do that, they score the agenda, and get both the Agenda Points, and the usually-sweet benefit listed underneath the card.
The RUNNER, on the other hand, doesn’t care about building stuff up. They just want to steal it. If a Runner accesses an Agenda, usually through one of their runs, they just outright steal it. They don’t need to pay the cost located on the card. They also don’t get that benefit listed underneath, just the Agenda Points.
The first player to reach 7 Agenda Points wins the game. Each player also has a unique way they can LOSE the game:
For the Corp, business must go on, despite these intrusions. Spending all your resources to keep out one little script kiddy will make your Corp a laughing stock, and you will be dissolved. If the Corp ever has to draw a card, and they have none left to draw, the Corp has lost.
For the Runner, all of your software (and most of your hardware) is plugged into your head somehow. Electricity and internal organs (the brain, most notably) tend to not get along very well at all. If the Runner ever has to lose a card from his hand, and he has nothing left in his hand to lose, the Runner has FLATLINED, and loses.
These situations are listed for completion’s sake, but 90% of games (especially in the starter set) are resolved by scoring points.
At the start of the game, each player draws up to five cards from their deck to form a hand. If this hand is not to their liking, they may take a mulligan, reshuffle and draw a new hand, although they are stuck with the second result. Each player then takes 5 credits, and the game begins, with the Corp always taking the first turn.
The Corp begins their turn by mandatorily drawing a card from their deck. They then have three actions, or “clicks”, to use during their turn for whatever they see fit. Here’s what the Corp can do during their turn:
Your R&D is the fancy name for your deck. lInstalling cards means to place them down on the table. All Corp cards are installed face down, so the Runner doesn’t know what is what. Agendas and Assets must be installed in their own Remote Server, which is simply a separate stack aside from your hand, deck and trash. Cards called ICE can be installed to protect your Servers, and also your hand, deck and trash, as those can also be juicy targets for runners. It’s important to note that you don’t pay the cost listed on the card when you place it down, but when you choose to flip it face up and active. Tags and virus counters will be discussed a little later. After the Corp has spent all of their clicks, they must have a hand of no more than 5 cards. Excess cards must be discarded.
Then, the Runner takes their turn. They have 4 clicks to spend, but they do not start their turn by drawing a card. Here’s what a Runner can do with their clicks:
After the Runner’s clicks are spent, he also discards down to a hand of 5. Play then returns to the Corp, and continues in this fashion until the game ends by one of the conditions listed above.
So where does this running thing fit in?
I'm glad you asked.
Runs work in the following fashion: First, the Runner announces his target, which can be either the Corp’s HQ(his hand), R&D(his deck), Archives(his trash), or any of the Remote Servers he might have set up to either house Agendas, Assets, or Ambushes. After the target is announced, he begins his run. If there is no ICE in between himself and the target, then the run is successful, and the Runner may choose whether or not he wishes to access a card. If he does so, then he either looks at the installed card(for a Remote Server), picks one card at random(if running the hand), looks at the top card(if running the deck), or looks at all cards(if running the trash). If the card accessed is an Agenda, it is stolen. If the card accessed has a trash cost, then the Runner may choose to pay that much in credits, right then, to force the Corp to trash that card immediately. Otherwise, the Runner simply sees that card.
If there IS ICE in the way, however, the Runner must encounter all pieces of ICE, one at a time, starting with the outermost piece closest to him. If it is un-rezzed, the Corp must decide whether or not to pay the cost to rez it. If they do not, the Runner skips that piece of ICE, and moves on to the next. If it is rezzed, the Runner must encounter it. Each ICE has a list of subroutines on it. These subroutines WILL HAPPEN unless the Runner can break them with certain Icebreaker programs.
There are two big things to remember when it comes to Icebreakers and ICE. First, each piece of ICE and Icebreaker has a listed strength at the bottom of the card. An Icebreaker CANNOT interact with a piece of ICE unless it is at least as strong, if not stronger. Therefore, most Icebreakers can be temporarily boosted in strength for a credit cost. Second, almost all ICE is in one of three forms: Barrier, Code Gate, or Sentry. An Icebreaker CANNOT interact with a subtype different from what's on its card. Once the Runner breaks all subroutines he chooses to, any that remain unbroken happen, and then the Runner may proceed. Note, that if the Runner is past the first piece of ICE, and doesn’t feel good about his chances, he may jack out and end the run. The first piece of ICE, however, must be encountered.
Other quick things: Tags are tokens that can be given to the Runner, and represent the Corp starting to get a fix on where they might be in the real world. When a Runner is tagged, the Corp can spend clicks and credits to force the Runner to trash certain cards, and they are subject to other effects being triggered for certain cards. It’s often dangerous for the Runner to remain tagged for long.
Traces occur on certain Corp cards, and are essentially a bidding contest. Each trace comes listed with a small number on it, which is the trace strength. Each runner has a number in the upper left of their identity card, and this is the runner’s link strength. After a trace is initiated, the Corp may openly spend any number of credits in their pool to increase the trace strength by 1 for each credit. The Runner may then openly spend any number of credits in their pool to increase their link. After this occurs, the modified trace strength is compared to the modified link strength. If the trace strength is greater, the effects of the trace occur. If the link strength is equal or higher, nothing happens. After the trace is over, both the trace and link strength return to what is printed on the cards.
Bad Publicity is an effect the Corp can suffer, and represents their heavy handed tactics being leaked to the media, with them suffering the backlash for it. For every bad publicity the Corp has, the Runner gets 1 credit for free from the bank to spend on every run they make. If that credit is not used, it is returned to the bank.
That’s…a lot to keep straight. And there’s so many weird terms here…
Like I said, what I typed is a crash course. Watching that video up there will explain the basics much more smoothly than I did just now. Besides, this thread is meant to show people who either haven’t heard about Netrunner, or those who were on the fence about it, how great this game is. So odds are, whomever you’re playing won’t know any more than you! Equal playing ground! Plus, there will probably be the odd vet that pops in(myself included) to give non-partisan advice!
So how will this work here?
I’ll send each player a PM with their hand in it. Any card plays will be put onto a board, that will look like so:
After each player’s turn is over or when events occur that would change the board(like rezzing ICE, trashing cards, etc), the board will be updated. If multiple people wish to play, we can certainly arrange a “winner stays” system, or some kind of queue. Considering that this is aimed towards new players, we'll be using the starting decks for ease of learning. Perhaps, if this goes on long enough, we can bring deckbuilding into the mix.
OP shamelessly stolen from Farangu without even his permission!