Saturday, September 8, 2012

Every 100 Games Series - Andriod: Netrunner

My 3,400 game played was Andriod: Netrunner, which is the latest Fantasy Flight Games Living Card Game, in the vein of Warhammer: Invasion, this game isn't a gambling game similar to Magic or my favorite Lord of the Rings: Trading Card Game. However, it used to be in 1996, when it first came out. FFG now has the license and has changed it into, the much better format, of the Living Card Game. So here is what I think:

I can't say I've ever said anything bad about an FFG game's components, they are just absolutely great! the cards are very sturdy, the artwork is excellent and thematic, the various tokens are extremely thick and well done. I think everything makes sense with how they've laid out the cards, which is important in these types of games where everything is on the cards and needs to be quickly assessed.

Game Play
Netrunner is a card game, where two players each have a deck of cards that they play against each other. One player plays as the Corporation and the other player plays as the Runner or Hacker. So I imagine something like a big heist movie, where the little smart guy is trying to get into the big bad corporation's computer system in order to shut down the security or change traffic lights for a clean get away. The goal of the game is to get 7 points, or if you are the Corporation empty the hand of the Runner, or if you are the Runner empty the deck of the Corporation. The Corporation essentially builds different servers and protects those servers with defense cards. The Runner then attacks those servers, trying to defeat the defense cards that are there, and then claiming the reward that the server has at the end to score points or in some cases be surprised and punished. Because these cards are originally played face down, the Runner really doesn't know what to expect until they go into the server for the first time.

What is very interesting and unique about this game is the complete difference between Runner and Corporation goals and game play. As a Runner you get 4 action, the Corporation only gets 3. As the Corporation you get to draw a card every turn, the Runner doesn't. The game just plays very differently for the different players, which I think makes the strategy of this game have a much higher threshold to obtain. By its nature, an LCG will have plenty of strategy, at least in the deck building portion of a game. Having two different decks, both a Corporation deck and a Runner deck, I think will compound this deck building strategy. In the game itself, the strategy is much more on how well you bluff as a Corporation and choosing the right servers to deal with as a Runner. This of course, will be set up from how you've built your deck.

My Thoughts
As a big Warhammer: Invasion fan (as of this writing I've played over 250 games of it), Andriod: Netrunner seems more complicated and more intimidating than Invasion. The two deck system turns me off, at least as a competitive player. The reason being is the time I'd have to invest to build two good decks. A lot of times, the drain that people talk about in these games is the money drain, but for me there is also the time drain. I'm a board gamer first and foremost, so I can only invest so much time in learning about the different cards and the different types of decks and would have to do this both for a Corporation deck and a Runner deck. One thing I did find interesting, is that according to what Corporation you chose, the number of cards and the number of cards from different factions that were in your deck changed. I thought that a very nice touch on the deck building portion of the game.

Now, as to what I think of the game itself, right out of the box and not from a competitive standpoint, I liked it. I enjoyed the two games that I played of it and how thematic it really felt. The sneakiness of the bluffing really makes the game feel like a Corporation trying to hide those important assets. The games I played lasted around 45 minutes, but just like any game with lots of text, the more you play the less you have to read and know what things do. We had a few rule questions, but not too many.

My Recommendations
The CCG Player - I'd say this is a must buy. As I said before, I'm primarily a board gamer, but if I was a CCG player I think this is right up their ally. A lot of deck building strategy, a very thematic feel, and a less expensive option than Magic or WoW: TCG.

The Dominion Player - Not so much for this person. Even with the pre-constructed decks, this is feels like it is a few steps up Dominion lovers, who only love Dominion. There are other card games out there that would help them work there way up to enjoying this, but this isn't the starting step.

Ameritrash Players - I think these people will love this. I do feel that this is the most thematic card game I've ever played and theme is what the Ameritrasher is looking to see. Some of the really powerful cards are great smack down fun. I almost won my second game on turn 2, with a hidden card that the Runner thought was important to get and yet turned out to almost destroy him.

Myself - Yes, I'm making a recommendation to myself. As an Invasion player, do not purchase this game. The game is a good game, you like it, but you only have so much time and money to invest in LCGs, since you are a board gamer at heart. You've already heavily invested in Invasion, so that is where you should stay. However, if you could time travel and have the choice to choose between the two without pre-investment in one or the other, then it might be a tough choice.

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