Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Writings of a Noob "Explaining" Netrunner.

On Friday night I had a board game marathon. I know how to party hard. We kicked things off with a few cans of soda and a riveting game of Carcassonne. After trying it at PAX for the first time it has become an instant favorite. Good thing one of my housemates owns a copy! After winning the game by two little points (which was marvelous because originally we thought that he had won by one point, but it turned out that one of my farmers round-about-ly connected to three completed cities, booyah) we moved onto a surprisingly confusing session of Toboggans of Doom. I've had that for a while, a PAX of yore purchase. It's fun for the most part, but needed more play testing before it emerged into the heaving world of sleek gameplay instructions and cards that are fully colored in.

The shiny new box! Netrunner came out a little over a week ago.

Against my better judgement, it being past midnight and myself being exhausted, I agreed to play Netrunner, the newly released (re-released?) card game from Fantasy Flight. In the 90s, Netrunner was a collectible card game (CCG) that was, apparently, loved greatly by my housemate and his twin brother. Considering the way the game is played, though, the collection aspect was a challenge and ultimately the game failed.

Bear with me as I attempt to explain my experience playing Netrunner. It's not untrue to say that I was extremely confused for the majority of the game. It was tons of fun though! The story here is that one player is a hacker of sorts, and the other is an evil corporation. The hacker must steal Agendas from the corporation, and the corporation sets up Programs to keep the hacker out. This is the sort of game that would benefit greatly from a playing mat, at least to start out. It was difficult for me to keep track of which cards were supposed to go where.

You can't tell from this photo, but there was high action going on.

Eventually I figured out the turns: hackers get four actions, and corporations get three. I played the hacker, so I made sure to lay down a variety of Icebreakers, cards that would allow me to break through the protective Programs that the corporation player laid down. My objective was to collect seven points worth of Agenda cards, and I came so very close. As the game progressed, I had three Icebreakers, a Hardware card that allowed me extra RAM (very helpful), and a lot of additional Link points to prevent Tagging from the corporation. As I write this I feel that I'm making little to no sense. Forgive me, maybe?

KNOW THIS! Netrunner is a lot of fun, but, as with all complex board and card games, make sure you have a solid understanding of the rules before playing. Also, go in with a lot of patience. Since my housemate was such a fan of the original CCG, and loves reading game manuals, he knew a lot about the gameplay process and he helped me along. There was a lot of me showing him my cards going, "Will this be useful?"

A close up of the "Action" card and my character card, complete with money tokens.

Ultimately he won because he set me a mega trap. As the hacker hacks into the Programs set by the corporation, the hacker doesn't know what he or she will find. The corporation can be protecting valuable Assets and Agendas, or it can be creating a trap. As I executed a Run, what ended up being my last Run, I uncovered a deathly trap, one that caused six net damage and destroyed me. If only I had picked a different Program to Run through.

The card on the left brought certain death. The right brought winning.
Unknowingly, I chose certain death.

Thanks for sticking around, I know that this probably made no sense whatsoever. In order to get better at writing about board, card, and tabletop games I guess I'll have to play them more. What a drag!


*all pictures are property of abitofgeek/MJ. Netrunner is property of Fantasy Flight!


Not a bad post. I had a similar first game, even being taught by a FFG employee. I couldn't get my head around the glossary of terms at first. A couple of weeks later I got my first game in with a friend who had also bought it. That game took about and hour and a half. The next was over in 20 minutes.

The learning curve is a little steep, but once you get into it, it's very addicting.

I used that trap to destroy my first opponent, always look before you hack!

We ended up playing again a few days ago and I managed to remember to reveal a card this time. I won, which was wonderful :D

I think one of the most interesting parts is playing with different characters and thus different items. It'll take a few more play throughs to really understand it all, but that's OK because it's still very fun and it only stands to become more fun!

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