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Subject: I wrote a thing about my troubled relationship with this game rss

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Joe Field
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I have issues with Netrunner. It should be straightforward. I should love Netrunner.

But it's complicated.

It'd be swell if you'd post your own thoughts and experiences.
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Jay K
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Really excellent well written article.

I completely concur with your assessment. This is the main reason why I primarily play The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. The game is cooperative and so you don't have a constantly changing opponent meta game. It has the same deck-building, but the card pool takes much longer to evolve. So it is typically evolution rather than revolution. Plus if you are new then you can net deck and borrow decks from experienced players as a way to understand what synergies you require to beat a scenario.

I also prefer Star Wars: The Card Game because it requires you play an entire objective set and so limits your deck-building options thus cutting that investment and making the game more accessible.
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Steven Tu
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Man, I'm with you on this one. I wouldn't say that I'm SUPER GOOD with ANR, but I'm pretty decent. And I've invested a lot of time into the community, and that's great, I wouldn't change that ever.

But the new cards... They keep coming, and coming, and despite it not being MTG-level ridiculous, I find myself wondering if I can afford it all. Mostly the time. The money too.

I've got 3 datapacks and one deluxe (ahhh data & destiny, I love you so) waiting for me to pickup at my FLGS (which is not as local as I would have liked, it's a bit further than around the corner), and I haven't had time, and I frankly am not distraught by it. And that sucks. And I think I'm going to move into being selective with datapacks and expansions because I frankly hardly use 10% of all the new stuff ever.

Sigh. I love the game. I still cite it as being the best card game ever.

But I'm playing so much more Hearthstone now. Mostly on the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
loo
. sorry if TMI
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Joe Field
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JK777 wrote:
Really excellent well written article.

I completely concur with your assessment. This is the main reason why I primarily play The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. The game is cooperative and so you don't have a constantly changing opponent meta game. It has the same deck-building, but the card pool takes much longer to evolve. So it is typically evolution rather than revolution. Plus if you are new then you can net deck and borrow decks from experienced players as a way to understand what synergies you require to beat a scenario.

I also prefer Star Wars: The Card Game because it requires you play an entire objective set and so limits your deck-building options thus cutting that investment and making the game more accessible.

Thanks man! Glad it chimes with you. I'd hate to be alone in this.

Ah, LotR LCG. A man after my own heart. It is such a great game, even if location lock is the most frustrating thing EVER.
 
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Joe Field
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Tuism wrote:
Man, I'm with you on this one. I wouldn't say that I'm SUPER GOOD with ANR, but I'm pretty decent. And I've invested a lot of time into the community, and that's great, I wouldn't change that ever.

But the new cards... They keep coming, and coming, and despite it not being MTG-level ridiculous, I find myself wondering if I can afford it all. Mostly the time. The money too.

I've got 3 datapacks and one deluxe (ahhh data & destiny, I love you so) waiting for me to pickup at my FLGS (which is not as local as I would have liked, it's a bit further than around the corner), and I haven't had time, and I frankly am not distraught by it. And that sucks. And I think I'm going to move into being selective with datapacks and expansions because I frankly hardly use 10% of all the new stuff ever.

Sigh. I love the game. I still cite it as being the best card game ever.

But I'm playing so much more Hearthstone now. Mostly on the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
loo
. sorry if TMI


The best ever? I'm not going to argue with you.

I'm considering stopping my subscription to the data packs, and playing with what I've got until I can build a decent deck.
 
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Steven Tu
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BanjoChutney wrote:
Tuism wrote:
Man, I'm with you on this one. I wouldn't say that I'm SUPER GOOD with ANR, but I'm pretty decent. And I've invested a lot of time into the community, and that's great, I wouldn't change that ever.

But the new cards... They keep coming, and coming, and despite it not being MTG-level ridiculous, I find myself wondering if I can afford it all. Mostly the time. The money too.

I've got 3 datapacks and one deluxe (ahhh data & destiny, I love you so) waiting for me to pickup at my FLGS (which is not as local as I would have liked, it's a bit further than around the corner), and I haven't had time, and I frankly am not distraught by it. And that sucks. And I think I'm going to move into being selective with datapacks and expansions because I frankly hardly use 10% of all the new stuff ever.

Sigh. I love the game. I still cite it as being the best card game ever.

But I'm playing so much more Hearthstone now. Mostly on the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
loo
. sorry if TMI


The best ever? I'm not going to argue with you.

I'm considering stopping my subscription to the data packs, and playing with what I've got until I can build a decent deck.


Building a decent deck isn't really the problem, it's keeping up with the meta and when playing, not feeling like you have to read half the cards. A while ago I could see an identity across the table, and know more or less which ICE he dropped. Then within 3 turns I could tell for certain what was on the table. Getting surprised then was fun.

Now, well, I'm clueless :/ sit across someone, every card flipped/played is me "er, sorry, can I read that?"

Sigh :/
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Conor Hickey
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I have everything up to Data and Destiny and I'm not going to bother with the next cycle, I just don't like the idea of the '6 in a deck' cards and a few other mechanics seen spoiled.

It's a great game but there does come up a point where I have to admit that I have more than enough cards to play this game (non-competitively) for all eternity, and have a great time doing so.
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Robert R
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Although initially I was upset when they announced set rotation, now I wonder if it should have been started sooner (ie in 2016 instead of having another years worth of cards to add to the pool before it starts in 2017).

I haven't played it as much in the past 3 months, but it is still my favorite game.
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Richard Linnell
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I'm here with you all. I've actually got the last 3 datapacks and Data and Destiny sitting unopened in my pile of netrunner. Lack of Opportunity to play, and the lack of desire to learn the cardpool, meta, and strategies has left me saying "meh", even though I love the game. Plus, it's so damn hard to bring new players in, since they have to learn so much of the cardpool. Remember the good old days when new runners could get by with the following advice: Be cautious until you have a sentry breaker, Run often, and don't end your turn tagged.
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David Boeren
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Honestly, the money shouldn't be that big of a factor. $15 a month retail, not hard to get that down to $12 or less. As far as performance-oriented lifetyle pursuits go, that's chickenfeed. How much does it cost for a gym membership? How much for martial arts lessons per month? A tennis coach? If you wanted to be a competitive chess or go player, how much would you be spending on tutors and books per month? Yeah... If this is your chosen competitive pursuit, you really lucked out on the cost factor.

As far as time vs. aptitude and all that. I'd like to be a fairly good (not even expert) chess player. I have some books on the game that I occasionally browse through. Sometimes I get up the enthusiasm to login to a chess site and work through their free training problems.

But, I don't really DEVOTE myself to it. I have too little time and too many other things I want to spend it on. This is approximately the same position a board gamer finds himself in w/ respect to LCGs. So because I don't put in my study time, I know I will never be that good. I can only get so far on my innate smarts and a handful of secondhand concepts I might pick up along the way.

The key though is to realize that this is how it works. I am fully cognizant of the reason I don't kick ass at chess, and I accept this set of tradeoffs. Because I have come to peace with sucking at chess, I have time and energy for other things, and it is not the fault of the game. The game doesn't suck, and it's not anybody's fault that someone else is willing to practice harder than I am, nor do I begrudge them their higher level of skill and understanding.

I actually AM a lifestyle game guy too. I played Warmachine/Hordes for 8 years every week. Then I switched to LCGs, where I mainly played Call of Cthulhu, but I've tried all of the other LCGs. Netrunner was my second, at least until Doomtown bumped it down a notch. The games I devoted myself to, I was able to play at a high level. The games that were my "seconds", I wasn't as good at. There is no mystery to this, that's exactly what one would expect. You get what you put into it.

The best thing any of us can do is be honest with ourselves about what we want to be and what each choice carries with it in opportunity cost. We're gamers. Minimaxing should be second nature to us, so why does it suddenly become a foreign concept whenever the nature of LCGs is discussed? Just pretend the hours in the day are action points and go to town. Figure out how to spend them best for you. Everyone's answers will be different, because we each get to assign how many victory points each pursuit is worth to us.
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Dave Kudzma
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I have a friend that's an avid MtG player. He travels the country going to events, and he's very good. He's a great Game of Thrones player, and quite a few other constructable games. Not long ago he confessed that he simply couldn't "get" NR. He said he just couldn't seem to make a deck that worked the way he thought it would; he'd read the cards, shuffle up, and the results would be different that expected. That's ok though, cause he's no less awesome for it.

I really liked your article, thank you for sharing.

Quote:
Netrunner is a sausage-fest. I’ve seen one woman playing in one tournament


Personally I've seen very few women playing NR, and I'm not sure why that is since I see quite a few playing MtG these days. I think this is F2F gaming in general. However, I'm seeing more and more women playing games in recent years, and I'm happy with that trend.

Quote:
I can’t honestly say I’ve ever seen a black person play Netrunner.


I know it's not what you meant, but, meet Netrunner developer, Damon Stone:



Over the years I've always thought it odd that there wasn't more racial diversity in science-fiction related events I've been to; gaming, or just conventions. I was even at a panel where George Takei was a guest at a Star Trek convention, and he mentioned the very same thing. I think this is also slowly changing as well.
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Joe Field
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Lack of diversity's definitely not something unique to Netrunner, but it's very concentrated in my meta.

Damon is an awesome ambassador for the game. He can also dance like a demon.
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Great article Joe. Mirrors how I feel about the game. I wish there was only NR so that I could go all in. But alas, too many other games, and as much as I love it to bits I just cannot - do not want to - keep up.
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Quote:

But there’s one problem the community is not actively addressing, and it’s a big one: Netrunner is a sausage-fest. I’ve seen one woman playing in one tournament. I can’t honestly say I’ve ever seen a black person play Netrunner. I’m prepared to believe that this could be an anomaly to my local card-game scene, but at best it’s weird, and we need a conversation in the community about how to make the game interesting and appealing to a wider audience.


Where I live there's not many white people who play the game (most have quit).

As for the ladies... I think one of the guys here has got his girlfriend into it. The rest of us failed. My wife has played a few times - she got the hang of it, did well even - but she didn't like the theme and didn't have a good time playing.

I don't think this is something "the community" can address. Believe me, nothing would make me happier than living with my own permanent opponent for this fantastic game.
 
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David Boeren
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Women seem rare in most lifestyle games, perhaps it's just less socially acceptable for them to spend a lot of time studying a single game?

I haven't seen any unusual racial balance though, Netrunner seems to get about the same mix as any other game here.
 
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Larry Witte
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My 11-year-old daughter has been playing NR tournaments with me since she was 9. She's played some top players (current national champion and another top four worlds finisher) and enjoys the game a lot. I always question how long we will stay in the game, but I also jokingly tell her that she's the future of Netrunner.

It is a bummer that the game is so male-oriented. I was a competitive runner until injuries ended my participation. Women are 55% of road race registrants. FFG has reached out with a lot of female runners and characters (Caprice, chairwoman Bass, Oracle Mae, etc.), but it hasn't broadened the playing demographic.
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r3gamer wrote:
Although initially I was upset when they announced set rotation, now I wonder if it should have been started sooner (ie in 2016 instead of having another years worth of cards to add to the pool before it starts in 2017).

I haven't played it as much in the past 3 months, but it is still my favorite game.


By my conservative projections, based on average time b/w announcement and release, the first data pack of cycle #8 (which is the one that triggers rotation) won't hit stores until March/April/May 2018. Now, if the schedule speeds up then that will move up ... but 2018....

-tpl
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Lluluien
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Tuism wrote:
Man, I'm with you on this one. I wouldn't say that I'm SUPER GOOD with ANR, but I'm pretty decent. And I've invested a lot of time into the community, and that's great, I wouldn't change that ever.

But the new cards... They keep coming, and coming, and despite it not being MTG-level ridiculous, I find myself wondering if I can afford it all. Mostly the time. The money too.

I've got 3 datapacks and one deluxe (ahhh data & destiny, I love you so) waiting for me to pickup at my FLGS (which is not as local as I would have liked, it's a bit further than around the corner), and I haven't had time, and I frankly am not distraught by it. And that sucks. And I think I'm going to move into being selective with datapacks and expansions because I frankly hardly use 10% of all the new stuff ever.

Sigh. I love the game. I still cite it as being the best card game ever.

But I'm playing so much more Hearthstone now. Mostly on the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
loo
. sorry if TMI


I feel you on all this, Tu. Very much akin to my own feelings on it.

I wish this game had been out when I was in college, and I would've put thousands of hours into it instead of MMORPGs; it would've been easy to find opponents there. That's pretty much what keeps me from playing now. It's not that I don't have the time, it's that I don't have anyone to play with at the times of day when I have the time.

None of that will stop me from saying this is the best card game ever made, and I don't see that changing... ever, frankly. And if it does, I don't mind being wrong about it; it's a good thing for gamers if someone ever tops Android: Netrunner.
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Lluluien
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dboeren wrote:
Honestly, the money shouldn't be that big of a factor. $15 a month retail, not hard to get that down to $12 or less. As far as performance-oriented lifetyle pursuits go, that's chickenfeed. How much does it cost for a gym membership? How much for martial arts lessons per month? A tennis coach? If you wanted to be a competitive chess or go player, how much would you be spending on tutors and books per month? Yeah... If this is your chosen competitive pursuit, you really lucked out on the cost factor.

As far as time vs. aptitude and all that. I'd like to be a fairly good (not even expert) chess player. I have some books on the game that I occasionally browse through. Sometimes I get up the enthusiasm to login to a chess site and work through their free training problems.

But, I don't really DEVOTE myself to it. I have too little time and too many other things I want to spend it on. This is approximately the same position a board gamer finds himself in w/ respect to LCGs. So because I don't put in my study time, I know I will never be that good. I can only get so far on my innate smarts and a handful of secondhand concepts I might pick up along the way.

The key though is to realize that this is how it works. I am fully cognizant of the reason I don't kick ass at chess, and I accept this set of tradeoffs. Because I have come to peace with sucking at chess, I have time and energy for other things, and it is not the fault of the game. The game doesn't suck, and it's not anybody's fault that someone else is willing to practice harder than I am, nor do I begrudge them their higher level of skill and understanding.

I actually AM a lifestyle game guy too. I played Warmachine/Hordes for 8 years every week. Then I switched to LCGs, where I mainly played Call of Cthulhu, but I've tried all of the other LCGs. Netrunner was my second, at least until Doomtown bumped it down a notch. The games I devoted myself to, I was able to play at a high level. The games that were my "seconds", I wasn't as good at. There is no mystery to this, that's exactly what one would expect. You get what you put into it.

The best thing any of us can do is be honest with ourselves about what we want to be and what each choice carries with it in opportunity cost. We're gamers. Minimaxing should be second nature to us, so why does it suddenly become a foreign concept whenever the nature of LCGs is discussed? Just pretend the hours in the day are action points and go to town. Figure out how to spend them best for you. Everyone's answers will be different, because we each get to assign how many victory points each pursuit is worth to us.


Isn't that pretty much what everyone's saying in here? "I'm not playing this as much as I want to even though it's a great game, because I don't have the time required to invest in learning the changing metagame, keeping up with cards, and so on."

Incidentally, it's easy for someone who isn't in this situation to forget this but:

Keeping together a play group for this game requires far more time and attention than all the rest of those pieces if the people in your group aren't already invested enough to each be interested in personally investing that effort each of their own accord already.

That's really the only thing in my eyes that's bad about Netrunner, but that's not something that the Netrunner design team can do anything about. All the things that make this game hard to keep up with - and therefore hard to maintain a consistent group of players for - are all the same things that make the game so damn good.
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Lluluien
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Should've said this first instead of reading the replies and getting caught up in replying to them!

Great article, OP. I actually read it this morning from your link in the Ashes thread. I'm glad someone is still writing instead of jabbering at a webcam
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Lluluien
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wittela wrote:
My 11-year-old daughter has been playing NR tournaments with me since she was 9. She's played some top players (current national champion and another top four worlds finisher) and enjoys the game a lot. I always question how long we will stay in the game, but I also jokingly tell her that she's the future of Netrunner.

It is a bummer that the game is so male-oriented. I was a competitive runner until injuries ended my participation. Women are 55% of road race registrants. FFG has reached out with a lot of female runners and characters (Caprice, chairwoman Bass, Oracle Mae, etc.), but it hasn't broadened the playing demographic.


I wonder how much of this is just the difference in personality between men and women (that's probably "nuture" and not "nature" but we could have a 1000 post long discussion about that which I don't think is relevant to my point).

My wife, for instance, also does computer programming for a living, so you'd think the whole Cyberpunk theme would resonate with her too, right? It doesn't though. I think you have to have a certain personal level of cynicism as a lens through which you view the world in order to "get" it, because Cyberpunk as a genre is in some ways one fictional (we hope it stays that way) interpretation of the end-game of all the flaws of capitalism as it effects business and government.

My wife doesn't find that to be any kind of interesting cultural exposé on how society is trying to address these kinds of problems or anything akin to that sort of thing. Just depressing.

I wonder if some personality differences aren't factors in the gameplay itself too. My wife apologizes to me every now and then for not being able to "get" Netrunner because she knows I love it. In that sense though, she isn't talking about the theme; she says it's because she just doesn't feel like she has enough in-born cunning to play it effectively and more importantly, that she just doesn't care about winning enough to invest the time that would be required to be a good opponent.

I think that "winning" thing is an especially good point, and I can't speak for anyone but myself in this, but "cares about winning" seems to be a very male-dominated trait.

As a related example: after playing 100 games of Munchkin (so many friends over the last 15 years liked the game), I can't stand it anymore and refuse to play. Most of the time, the guy that plays 2nd best wins it, and that hacks me off. (I give it 10-to-1 odds someone will say that this just means that playing Lluluien-suboptimally is playing Munchkin-optimally, but I dismiss that now as semantics; someone else can argue about that.)

I don't think it's an accident that all my friends that like Munchkin hate Netrunner, and I love it.


Edit: It should be noted that I think the personality trait "cares about winning" is typically more often a flaw than a virtue, so I want to make sure that any women reading this understand that I think the fact that Netrunner appeals to a flaw in the male character, and not a virtue, is what makes the game male-dominated
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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The "problem" with Netrunner is that (almost) everything about it is hard to measure. I think that it doesn't get any traction with some people, because the gameplay is very obscure, obfuscated: things within things within things (Dune). It's just so hard to determine who is doing good, who is doing bad, who is "winning", how to "win", is that card good, or bad? Is this play wise, or stupid? I mean, look at the Worlds Final game between Dan and Timmy. Though it looked like Dan is going for the win, it was absurdly close almost all the time and the tides could change within seconds.

It's all about time investment vs return. I don't necessarily buy the argument about expanding cardpool and that it is hard to grip. You don't have to do this "manually", as in: reading all the cards and trying to predict the possible iterations. You just have to play a lot. Chances are, you will with people trying all the "current" strong archetypes, and that's how you are learning about the state of the metagame and it's variations - you'll see it live. In practice, it's easier than it sounds. It just requires time and this, in practice, is harder than it sounds, because time is the most precious currency.

This attracts certain people, but does nothing for others. Compare it to a typical board game, with little to none hidden information, less preparation time, less rules, less memory component, obvious goals and progress measurement. Some people just don't want to invest that much and they are able to get the same "fun/achievement" yield from other games, that we strive for while playing ANR. It's easy to look at them from above and think of them as "lesser kind", but it's just not true. Fun and enjoyment is subjective. Just because someone needs to win at absurdly complex card game to feel good, doesn't mean others automatically doesn't have the access to that kind of feelings while doing other things.
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Joe Field
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lluluien wrote:
Should've said this first instead of reading the replies and getting caught up in replying to them!

Great article, OP. I actually read it this morning from your link in the Ashes thread. I'm glad someone is still writing instead of jabbering at a webcam


Ace, thanks man. Very nice of you.

By the way, how good is Ashes?
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BanjoChutney wrote:
lluluien wrote:
Should've said this first instead of reading the replies and getting caught up in replying to them!

Great article, OP. I actually read it this morning from your link in the Ashes thread. I'm glad someone is still writing instead of jabbering at a webcam


Ace, thanks man. Very nice of you.

By the way, how good is Ashes?


It's good enough that I've probably written 8-10 articles worth of replies to strategy questions over there and have considered doing an article series of "X vs Y" precon matchups (used to write stuff for Netrunner and really enjoyed it, but haven't for a long time). I haven't done much with the deckbuilding aspects of it yet because of the same problem I have with Netrunner: no players. Plenty of my friends have found it fun playing the precon decks against each other though.

It feels at least as deep as Magic to me, but not as deep as Netrunner. I feel like that's good for my prospects of having other players if I go out and evangelize it, and fantasy seems to be a "safer" theme for a game of this type with regards to how it appeals to people. It's worth saying as a followup to that that I believe Netrunner has achieved the best matchup with theme to mechanics that I have ever seen in a game, but some people just want to play fantasy stuff.

The art in Ashes is @#%(ing amazeballs, full stop.
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Nice article. Right from the beginning (I was a playtester for the base set and first cycle), I knew I would never bother keeping up. But I still love the game itself, independent of the card churn and meta (things I actively dislike).

The key for me was finding a decent way to play in "draft" mode. The official draft mode is lame, but now that the card set is so huge, you can basically create a cube and play forever if you have a like-minded group. I'll plug my method, but there are a lot of ways to skin this cat if you're interested.
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