Android: Netrunner Full Review

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by FlowerSunRain, May 8, 2013.

  1. FlowerSunRain Contributor

    Netrunner is fabulous. The original game was very good, but it had some big problems. The new release is very good and has some questionable design decisions, but so far no problems. It is very accessible and, importantly, it is still very early in the run. You could easily get completely up to speed for just over $100. This is not something you can say about other LCGs.

    Vampire: the Eternal Struggle is one of the pinnacles of CCGs. It never stood a chance to be as popular as magic, requiring 5 players to make a good game and having a much less accessible theme, but it is simply amazing gameplay. Like a well-layered board game, a game a V:TES is not a race, but rather a number of consecutively occurring races to accrue incremental advantages. Unlike most long running CCGs, there isn't much in the way of blatantly overpowered cards, as the game sticks to a tight economy and is rather conservative when costing "unquantifiable" resources. This game is impossible to get in to, though. It is "dead", it has tons of cards, it has no card limit (and often times you really do want 10+ copies of certain cards), requires large tables and has player elimination. I loved it while I played it, but I sold my collection and I'm okay with that.

    Both of these games are PACKED with juicy design decisions. Not shocking, they are both designed by Richard Garfield!
  2. The original Netrunner was a really fun game, but it's been so long that the only design flaw I remember is the lack of support for multiplayer (not that it stopped us from trying, back in the day). I haven't played the revamped version, although I would like to.

    Doomtown was a very flavorful ccg set in the Weird West, cards had poker values, and combat was played out like hands of poker (kinda). It was a very well designed game that was relatively easy to pick up, and a blast to play.

    Legend of the 5 Rings is one of my all-time favorites. It added politics to the game like none I've seen, and the breadth of victory conditions gave each game a lot of depth. Victory conditions included Military (destroying all of your opponent's provinces), by Honor (acculmulating a certain number of honor points), Dishonor (forcing opponent under a certain honor point threshhold), Enlightenment (putting cards called "rings" into play), and various cards that give a special victory condition, like Helix Pinnacle or Azor's Elocutors in Magic.
  3. If you are looking for a 2-player game, Netrunner has no equal, at least insofar as I have experienced.
  4. Jason Waddell Administrator

    Jesse, do you do any deckbuilding with it, or just play with the default starter decks?
  5. With the original Netrunner from the 90's, tuning decks was a lot of fun. There wasn't a ton of depth even with the inclusion of the Proteus expansion, simply because there were only 570-something cards in the pool. Even so, there were enough options to keep a really good friend and I busy over the course of '96. There were enough cards to fiddle with your deck and make alterations, but I think they were a few expansions shy of being able to let deckbuilders really flex their muscle.

    Of course, I was 14 so take all of that with a grain of salt.
  6. Jason Waddell Administrator

    I didn't know it at the time, but I've since discovered that any thoughts I had about the world at age 14 were completely irrelevant.
    Jesse Hartman likes this.
  7. FlowerSunRain Contributor

    I do love Netrunner and I hope you enjoy it, however once you get to deckbuilding you will probably notice that Netrunner does carry over one of the design problems that people have with constructed Magic: heavy-handed hosers to counter powerful cards. It is really not interesting to be blown out by an "unfair" strategy and it is equally uninteresting to have your "unfair" strategy blown out by a hoser. Rock, Paper, Scissors is not the really the pinnacle of game design!
  8. Jason Waddell Administrator

  9. FlowerSunRain Contributor

    Precognition is a pretty poorly positioned card in the current state of Netrunner. Besides (extremely temporarily) protecting RD and knowing your next few draws, it doesn't really do much. There just aren't effects in the game that utilize your R&D's order or profitably shuffles your library. I think this was a pretty poor choice for the starter set, not only because it can be intimidating for new players to try to figure out how to best use it(as you noted), but because even when you are familiar with the game its rarely useful. It just isn't worth the cost of drawing/playing it over just about anything else. Most decks don't even want any effect like this. Of those that might, brute force decks strongly prefer Anonymous Tip and mind gamey Jineteki decks need economy to afford their tricks and can't fit these in.

    I'm glad you are enjoying the game!
  10. Jason Waddell Administrator

    Yeah, it's been a lot of fun so far. I plan to do a more in-depth review of the design once I've put in (significantly) more hours with it.
  11. Jason Waddell Administrator

  12. Eric Chan Hyalopterous Lemure

    I played this for the first time last night, and it was an absolute blast. The learning curve is fairly steep, and I felt like I was exposed to more information than I could reasonably digest, but despite that hurdle, the gameplay and strategy shone through. The most striking thing about Netrunner is how little it resembles Magic and the whole genre of TCGs, and instead feels closer to the resource management / worker placement genre of board games, in which you have a limited number of actions each turn that you can spend in various ways. Of course, the bluffing aspect of Netrunner is entirely unique, and allows for a whole range of interactions you typically don't find in either Magic nor board games.

    I can't wait to play this again.
    Jonas and Jason Waddell like this.
  13. FlowerSunRain Contributor

    I love the mechanics of the game, but as the datapacks have rolled out constructed play is already moving towards setting up combos that push aside the juicy interaction that I think makes the game most fun. I guess this sort of thing was inevitable, I was just hoping that the it would take a little longer for the card pool to get to this point.
  14. Jason Waddell Administrator

    Apparently some people do Netrunner cube drafting of sorts. I haven't played for a while because I gave it to an acquaintance (temporarily) but it's been out of my possession for a good 6 months or so.
  15. Eric Chan Hyalopterous Lemure

    FSR, could you explain what the combos that people have gravitated towards look like? Having seen only a very small fraction of the card pool, I'd like to know what a non-interactive combo deck even looks like.
  16. Something like this.

    You let the runner steal an agenda, then install project beale, midseason replacements for a million, the psychographics to overscore beale to win. Also, this does standard fast advance stuff, where you advance agendas really quickly using sansan and smaller pyschographics/midseasons.
  17. Actually that deck is super spicy, I might have to put it together.
  18. FlowerSunRain Contributor

  19. Eric Chan Hyalopterous Lemure

    Aw, that's kind of a shame. It takes some of the wind out of the sails when design and development don't do a careful job of balancing new cards for what seems to be an intricate and well-made game system.

    Is there any kind of ban list for constructed tournament play? Or really, any management of the tournament scene at all?
  20. The entire game design is checks and balances though; sure you can doomsday as corp, but you're a handful of credits from losing immediately to noiseshop, if they figure that's what you're doing.

    I found a sample deck; seems like Jackson Howard is, predictably, the problem card.
  21. FlowerSunRain Contributor

    I'm not commenting on whether or not its balanced, I am merely saying that the direction things are going is not the game I want to play. Lots of people seem to be enjoying it so its fine if I'm not one of them.
  22. Has anyone kept-up with the current Netrunner scene? I kind of fell out of it when my collection was destroyed by fire, but I would love to know how the game is developing.
  23. FlowerSunRain Contributor

    Changling Bob seems like our resident player. I sold my collection last month.
  24. Hello! Its great. Runners were doing pretty well until the beginning of this cycle of datapacks, they've since printed a bunch of good corp cards. Fast advance is still strong, as is tag 'n' bag, but other corp strats are totally viable and there's a few proper combos now. I have no idea how you build runner decks, except that you need your influence to get corroder, mimic and yog.0 if you're not anarch so why not be anarch.
  25. FlowerSunRain Contributor


    Have you tried the Netrunner limited format? As someone who likes the mechanics, but doesn't like the direction of the constructed metagame, it seems like it could definitely be something that I would like!

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