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Android: Netrunner – First few games, my thoughts…

Afternoon All,

netrunnerboxFinally gotten around to playing a few games of Netrunner.

The one thing that really sticks out, is the fact that unlike every other game I can think of, both sides play differently.  Take Magic for example, you both build decks and play the cards based on cost of that card and then play cards to attack your player, that’s nothing like Netrunner.  Netrunner has two players, the Corporation and the Runner.  The runners aim is to steal Agendas from the Corporation and the Corporations idea is to ‘Flatline’ the runner (kill/stop them) or complete a number of Agendas.

So the Corporation player is always on the defensive and then Runner on the offensive.  Of course there are cards that can be deemed offensive for a Corp player and likewise a Runner can play cards that protect themselves or counter Corporation cards.

Anyway I’m running off here, let’s go back to basics.

When you start the game you first build a deck.  It would appear that you want as few cards as you can so to make sure that you’ve always got good cards in your hand, however the downside to this is that the Corporation player ‘looses’ if they run out of cards (they must add one from the deck into their hand each turn) and the Runner must play with what’s in their hand when they likewise run out.  So the Corporation can’t sit back and wait for the Runner to run out of steam, they need to complete Agendas if they can’t defeat the Runner.

Within the core set (available here) you get 248 playable cards, of which 3 are Runners (one Criminal, one Anarchy and one Shaper) and 4 Corporations (Jinteki, NBN, Hass-Bioroid and Weylend Consortium).

Each runner plays in a different way and that’s true with the Corporations as well.  I’ve played the Jinteki deck and it took a game to understand the deck from the Core Box so next time its time to use another Corporation or a Runner.  Like I said though at the start, both sides play in different ways and within each side the Runners and Corporations play different.  So with just the Core Box cards you can play a lot of times.

I would suggest you follow the guidelines and pick the Shaper and Jinteki decks for your first few games.  When you’ve done that you can start to mix other Runner/Corporation cards into your deck.  Other Runner/Corporations ‘cost’ when you want to include them in your deck, however you have a set limit so you can’t take too many.  Better to understand the cards before you do otherwise it can be costly using cards that are no use (like in any Card Game)

When we played the first game we got the ‘Startup’ wrong.  This was because even though I’d read through the Rulebook, I forgot about the start and couldn’t find it when we did start (it’s on Page 2 I think but most of the rules are much later).  So the next day I re-watched the video that I linked before and then made sure I know how to start the game.

Even though we got the start-up wrong, we did play the rest correctly (we did make a few issues but we sorted them out when playing) and so only a few games later and we’re good to go.

These pictures were taken during our first test game.  I won the game because I installed a damaging card into a Remote Server and lured the Runner to have a run at that Server and BAMN!  It did enough damage to Flatline him and the Corporation win the game….

What we learned from our first game was for a Runner to make sure they can keep a few cards in their hand (these cards absorb damage done) and to try and make sure they install a card to offer them some protection from damage if possible within their deck.

From the Corps point of view we learned that you need a poker face but also need to be careful so that any Agenda you want to protect (and your R&D/Archive Deck) are well protected.  Credit is king, so try and get as many Credits as you can to help pay for all that ICE.

So what’s a Remote Server, an Agenda and R&D/Archive Decks and what the hell is ICE (not the kind you drop into drinks).

Very simply this post is beyond trying to teach you all that.  I suggest you view my last post with the Video in it or better still, go out and buy it and play it to learn the rules, however I’ll summarise stuff.

Corps want to protect Agenda’s, to do this they create Remote Servers, install an Agenda and then protect that Agenda with ICE (think of this as a firewall etc).  The Runner then makes a ‘Run’ against a Server and if they bypass the ICE (by using Cards installed within their Deck, or by Event based) they get to see what’s installed at the Server and if it’s an Agenda they get to steal it.

Now to also help the Corporation, they can install Assets which the Runner won’t know is just an Asset until they make a run and reveal it.  Some Assets help the Corporation for example by giving them a credit boost each turn, or may in fact hurt the Runner (see the Cards above in my pictures).

The R&D Server is the ‘cards available’ that you pull cards from, and the Archive Server is where any cards used/trashed go.  Runners can make runs on these servers and if they reveal Agenda cards here they get to steal them.

Lastly to complete an Agenda for a Corporation, they need to ‘Advance’ that Agenda.  This costs your actions for a turn and a credit.  Runners please note, you can also advance Asset cards…  once an Agenda is fully advanced (its met its requirements) then the Corporation can ‘Score’ it, and if they have 7 Agenda score or more they win.

Phew!  Sounds tricky but it’s not that complicated.  We’re still learning but have all the basics down and I’ve very much enjoying playing it.

I’ve also started to look into storage for my growing collection of cards and started to look for Playmats (similar to those used in official competition) more on those in a future post.

Anyway until then,

Cheers
MBM

 

Android: Netrunner – Living Card Game

Greetings,

Afternoon!  This blog is about Fantasy Flight Games game called ‘Android: Netrunner’. It’s based in the Cyberpunk world (ie William Gibsons books, Neuromancer etc) where Corporations run the world.  I love playing Cyberpunk games, so this is why I wanted this one when I heard it had been released.

Netrunner-BoxI got bought this last year (for my birthday) but never spent any real time looking into it.  I’m not the worlds biggest fan of card games but with a semi-regular card game night down at a local pub and less time to play wargames I decided to open up the box and have a look and see if it’s something I can get my teeth into.

In the 1990’s I used to play a bit of MTG, but a lot of Star Trek and the original Netrunner game (Wizards of the Coast).  Recently I’ve played a number of games, so I hope I have an interest in this, shall we find out?

First off the box, it’s rather huge for a card game (29.5cm x 29.cm x 7cm/11.5′ x 11.5′ x 3′), but the quality of the box is excellent I think.  The cardboard used has a texture and the quality printed that you expect from Fantasy Flight Games plus the cardboard is thick which is good.  Last thing about it is, how heavy is the box? The answer, not that heavy, I’d say about 1.5kg.

Anyway if I suspect correctly, it’ll mostly be empty space – so let’s open it and find out. Here are a number of pictures that’s inside the box.

So what do you get?

  • Rulebook – Full colour, 36 pages and sized as USA Letter (215.9mm × 279.4mm)
  • Sheet of Cardboard Tokens – Full colour, printed on both sides, same size as the box and 3mm thick
  • Fantasy Flight Games catalogue (small booklet showing of their other games)
  • Card Decks – Full colour – 252 cards in total (134 Corporation Cards, 114 Runner Cards, 2 Click Tracker and 2 Reference Cards)
  • Empty Space – lots of it!

Ok so let’s go into a bit more detail.

The token sheet is nice and thick, around 3mm and all the counters are punched out already so are super easy to move and you wanted, fit back inside the sheet for putting it away.  I won’t be doing this.  A simple sealable plastic bag will suffice and won’t be as fiddly or time consuming.

Now the main box, and I was correct.  Here you get the 2 card decks almost lost upon the empty space and cardboard filler.  I’ve turned the cardboard filler upside down so you can see how much space it actually takes.

This kind of thing bugs me.  I know they want their products to be noticed on the shelf but seriously, no need for such a large box…. well perhaps not at first inspection.  But what happens if you intend to increase your card collection and thus require more storage?  Well you can fit it all into the box and with a simple bit of modification can make a decent job of it (a future post).

So here we have pictures of the two card decks.  My thoughts are that these cards are very thin and will easily get damaged.  So a purchase of some card protectors would seem to be paramount if this game is to be played a lot.  That is very common and I plan to do that, it’s not that costly but make sure you find card protectors that can be shuffled.  That’s very very important.

Now swiftly we come to my over all feel of the game now that I’ve read the rules.  The rules seem to be easy to follow, but are written in a manner where important bits can easily be overlooked.  The quality of the rulesbook is good.  It’s going to survive many a thumbing through but on it’s own it’s not good enough for you to learn how to play the game.

I suggest you watch this video as it does a pretty good job.  FFG are doing a decent job of these, so I’d recommend with any of their games that you play along with the video.

Right that’s enough for this introduction to Netrunner.  Next post will be explaining and my comments on game play plus I’m looking into storage for my now increasing number of cards I have.

Until then, cheers
MBM

Call of Cthulhu – LCG

I’ve not played CCG’s for a long time, perhaps over a decade.  I can remember in the 90’s playing the original Cthulhu CCG, Netrunner and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

For me I used to find with the time required for Wargaming or RPG games, the CCG’s allowed that quick pop to somewhere, play a game or two and pop home without the need to re-pack a hundred miniatures or a large bag of books.

So at the club we’ve been discussing resurrecting a card game night and the first of these happened last Tuesday.  This post isn’t a detailed post of the game and how it works (I’ll do that in the near future) but just my thoughts and a lot of research to find out what else is available.

I have had the Call of Cthulhu Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games for a few years.  I originally bought it to play in house with my better half, but she’s never shown any real interest, but we agreed to give it a go and we did just that.

I should really start to take pictures when I participate in games as pictures do say a thousand words, however it’s not the vital for this quick post (well I hope not!).

There were three of us, Gavin (from TOR Gaming), The Goat (from the club) and myself.  Gavin didn’t want to take part (as it is a 2 player game) and acted as rules referee.

We placed the Story Board out on the table and then sorted out which Factions to play.  We stuck with the factions that were contained within the three pre-packed packs (to make things easier to start) and then added then Neutral Cards.

There are 7 factions to choose from, and you build your decks (of 50 cards we later found out) using any 2 of these.

  • The Agency
  • Miskatonic University
  • The Syndicate
  • Cthulhu
  • Hastur
  • Yog-Sothoth
  • Shub-Niggurarth

I chose Cthulhu and Shub-Nigguruth and Goat chose Miskatonic and Agency.  The decks were shuffled and we each placed 3 spare cards face down (not from our decks) next to us and these acted as our Domains.  Domains are used to provide the resources required to play a card.  We then placed the story cards down and turned over 3 of these and placed one onto each of the empty Story slots ready for us to play.

Here’s some blurb taken from the rules-booklet you get with the core game box, it de we have a basic o

The focal points of the Call of Cthulhu LCG are the story cards, which are drawn at random from a fixed common story deck and placed on the game board between the players. During the game, players take turns playing character and support cards from their hands and then using these cards to achieve success at these stories.

While characters are committed to a story, they may face op-position in four different arenas: Terror, Com­bat, Arcane, and Investigation.

Every turn, as a story resolves, the active player may receive success
tokens on his side of a story card. When a player has accumulated

five success tokens on his side of a story card, he wins that story. A player that wins three stories immediately wins the game!

Goat took the first turn and we slowly started to play, very slowly.

It didn’t take long for us to get the basic rules of the game sorted.  You both take it in turns, add one card as a resource under Domain (if you wish) as you use the Domains to pay for cards to be played.  Early stages of the game saw Goat winning two stories of which we then discovered he had played an invalid character card.  You may only play faction cards if your Domain has resources associated with that faction.  We allowed him to continue as this was just a game to learn the rules and the outcome didn’t matter.

Many turns later and Goat was easily winning.  I had a series of cards that basically required huge resources to play, one of which was a Deep One card that the action text allowed it to give one wound to each of my opponents characters upon being added to a story.  This card killed off many of Goats characters.  He had the ability to deal with it but didn’t for some reason and I suspect this card won the game for me.

I also held Cthulhu himself and played him, he though sadly has an action that requires each player to sacrifice a character card, that of course meant me as well, which in the end cost some cards that were very expensive to play.  I played Cthulhu too early though, he’s the card you play to grab that final story.

So the game continued for a little while and I ended up being handed a win as the Goat could have easily picked up the final story.


When the game ended we all concluded that it had promise.  I also have the The Order Of The Silver Twilight Expansion which adds the Order of the Silver Twilight as the 8th faction, plus unlike the Core Game Set, you get multiple copies of each card so when you start to build your own deck you can add more than one of each card into your deck.

Once I returned home I did a quick check to see that the game is still very active and there are a large number of additional themed card packs available as well as a active forum.

After a bit of research at both Fantasy Flight Games I learned that there are:

3 Deluxe Expansions – These are single boxed and contain all needed (rather than split into separate packs as the other expansions are)

  • Secrets of Arkham – This expansion features a new 10-card story deck which provides an alternative to the story deck provided by the Core Game Set.
  • The Order Of The Silver Twilight Expansion – This expansion contains 55 new cards, 40 of which are from this new faction. There are also two cards for each of the other factions – The Agency, Cthulhu, Hastur, Miskatonic University, Shub-Niggurath, The Syndicate, and Yog-Sothoth – as well as a neutral card. There are three copies of each card in this expansion.
  • Seekers of Knowledge Expansion – This expansion contains 165 cards (55 cards with 3 copies of each) and is primarily focused on the Misktatonic faction but does contain new cards for each of the other Expansions.

Expansions – Which each expansion containing 6 packs which introduce 20 new cards with 3 copies of each.

Miscellaneous

  • Call of Cthulhu Card Game: Bag of Cthulhu – A bag containing 24 smaller and 6 larger Cthulhu Statues (plastic) that the smaller ones can be used as Wound/Success markers.  The larger ones come with the core game set and are used to indicate a domain has been used.
  • Cthulhu Domain Statue – 6 larger Cthulhu statues that can be used (rather than spare cards) as domains.

I’ve linked all the above to Amazon (where possible – which took ages!), but do note that the Core rules and Deluxe Expansions are good value, but the Expansion packs work out to be anything from £5 upto £50! (at time of writing) that means you should investigate which ones you require unless you happen to have around lots of cash to spare, or are insane.

As with all CCG’s I recommend you spend your time learning how each card fits with the others.  I did find that during one of the final turns in the game I managed to play one card to sacrifice another to then draw another more powerful card for free…

That’s it for this post.  We are due another game soon, and I’ll make more notes on that so I can post a decent blog about how the game turned up. I plan to purchase a few expansions, a set of card sleeves and deck protectors so that I can play many times without the need to re-purchase anything.

Until then Huzzah!