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Android: Netrunner» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Playing the Corps: A Gamer Girl's Perspective rss

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Tiffany Severs
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*Special Note* I will preface this review by saying I have ONLY played the corporation (corps). Therefore, I can speak to strategies/rules for that side of this fantastic asymmetrical card game, but I really have no depth of understanding to how the runner works. Maybe someday I will switch and play runners…but I doubt it.


Components
Component-wise, this is obviously a Fantasy Flight game. Cards are very high quality, and it is super simple to separate the runner/corps cards because they have different colored backs! This persists all throughout the expansions, so when you buy one, you can just flip them over, “bam! bam!” give the reds to your runner, blues to the corps. The cardboard came out super easily, and didn’t rip while punching out everything (insert hallelujah chorus). The credits also double as advancement tokens for the Corps, which is nice (more on that in the rules). You don’t have to trade money for advancement tokens, you can just flip them and play them directly on agendas without having to do a lot of swapping with the bank. The only thing that was slightly confusing was the red and blue tokens, which act as various counters depending on card text for the corporation and runners (corps = blue, runners = red). Where Android: Netrunner really shines is its artwork. The cyberpunk, dystopian future really comes through on the art and flavor text for almost every card. A visually stunning and very appealing package!


How to Play (for the Corps)
Objective: Score 7 points worth of agendas before the Runner steals them...or do enough damage to kill the Runner...


First off, there are terms in the rules that can be super confusing if you just don’t replace the words in your head right from the start. So here’s the breakdown: your hand is called “HQ”, your draw pile is called “R&D”, and your discard pile is called “Archives”. Cards will refer to these different aspects of the corps, but that is all it means. Also, the money in the game is called “credits”. They come in denominations of 1s and 5s. I guess they just wanted the terminology to be thematic, so there ya go. I would recommend making an index card as a cheat sheet until you get it down.

Next, let’s talk about the different types of cards corps have at their disposal.
Ice - this is how you are going to protect yourself from the runner. The runner is going to try to access your servers, HQ, R&D, and possibly even Archives to steal agendas from you! Ice are like computer programs that will beat up on the runner and make it extremely hard for him/her to access your agendas. You always place Ice facedown, and HORIZONTALLY in front of you. This creates what’s called an “empty server”, which in you can then place agendas, assets, or even traps! Yay! There are so many different types of ice, and what ice you like/decide to play really depends on your play style. Suffice to say, you want ice, and lots of it. The thing about ice is...you don’t pay the upper right hand cost INITIALLY. You just place it, and if the runner decides to “make a run” against that particular piece of ice, THEN you pay the cost to “rez” it (which again...fancy word for “flip it face up”). This can be quite the game of cat and mouse, because maybe you don’t have enough money to rez that ice….but the runner doesn’t know that. If you place enough ice in one server, it might be enough to scare them away. Again, a lot is going to depend on your play style. *Side note* you can also protect your HQ, R&D, and Archives with ice as well...in fact...DO THIS!! Too many times I, personally, have set up intricate multiple iced servers just to have the winning agenda stolen from my hand (HQ). ARGH!

Agendas - these are the only cards in the game worth points. You want to score these cards before the runner “makes a run” and steals them. They have advancement costs (number of coins you must spend and place on them) in the upper right corner, and the points they are worth are in the middle left area of the card. You will place agendas face down vertically in front of you (in an empty server [behind ice] - remember, only one agenda/asset/trap per server). After all...you don’t want the runner to know that you’ve got an agenda you’re working on!
Assets - these are cards that have various boosts for the Corps. Many are steady streams of income, other give you special abilities, there really are (again) lots of options. Most of the time, you will go ahead and pay the upper right corner cost (to “rez” these cards) so you can go ahead and start using that special ability/getting money from that card. These will (most of the time) go in servers behind ice. There will typically be a trash cost in the bottom right corner, and if the runner gets past your ice and accesses the card - they can pay the trash cost and make you discard it! > Major bummer, so definitely put some ice in front of your really good assets….again….like I said, you need tons of ice.

Ambushes - these are the traps you can use to trick the runner and do some really nasty things! You will install them behind ice vertically...just like agendas, and most can be advanced...just like agendas. Most of the time, they do something awful a number of times equal to the number of advancement tokens on them. So, you could have one real agenda you’re advancing slowly, and an ambush you are advancing aggressively. This could fool the runner into running on the ambush server and BAM! You get to make them discard cards, take tags, or any number of horrible things.

Upgrades - these card enhance your abilities, and have various effects - ranging anywhere from increasing your hand limit, to possibly decreasing the cost to rez ice in a particular server. Typically you can pile upgrades onto one server, but there are certain types that you can only have one type of in each server (ex: a region upgrade is pretty powerful, and you can only have one type per server...but you can still pile other types in there if you want!).

Operations - these are probably the easiest type of card to understand. Pay the cost, play the card, do what it says.

GAMEPLAY
As the corps, you will always start the game. Shuffle your deck (the core set comes with four premade ones) and draw five cards. Don’t like ‘em? No problem! You can call a “mulligan” - put them back in the deck, shuffle, draw again. That will be your starting hand. After that, draw an additional card, and the game begins! You have 3 “clicks” (or actions...again...thematic terminology) to spend for your turn. Here are your options:

1) Draw a card. Be careful though!! At the end of your turn, you will have to discard down to 5 cards. You don’t want to have to discard good cards out of your HQ.
Gain 1 credit. Hopefully, you can get some cash flow going pretty quickly, but if you need a quick buck, you can just spend one click and take a credit.
2) Play (install) a card facedown. The card can be a piece of ice, agenda, asset, or upgrade. In the most basic terms, though, playing one card = one click. You don’t HAVE to play all these types of cards facedown, but it is usually a good idea to leave the runner guessing.
3) Play an operation card. These are action cards that might give you money, draw cards, do detrimental things to the runner, or any number of cool abilities.
4) In addition to spending a click, you can spend one credit and advance a card. So, you can take that money, flip it over, and it will be a shiny white circle laying on top of the card you want to advance. What could it be? An agenda? An asset? A trap? The runner doesn’t know...mystery! Intrigue!
5) In addition to spending a click, you can spend two credits and trash one of the runner’s resources IF he/she is tagged. Some ice, operations, etc. add tags to the runner.
6) Finally, you can spend ALL THREE clicks to purge virus counters. These are nasty things the runners can add to your side of the table that can reduce ice strength, or to their side of the table to beef up their stuff. So, you should seriously consider this option because while it might seem like wasting a turn now, it could give you some long term gain.

The only thing I haven’t really touched on is “tagging” the runner. Many cards will have trace^x where “x” is a number. This is the initial power of your trace, but you can add credits to make it more powerful. If your total is greater than the runner’s links + the money they spent, congratulations!! You successfully tagged them! Now, you can trash one of their resources, or play one of your nasty cards that does something horrible to them when they’re tagged. >

Thoughts

Obviously, I am in love with this game. It was my first delve into the LCG genre, and boy, was it a hit! I had never experienced a game where I and my opponent were doing two completely different things to accomplish the same goal. I believe it really is two games in one, because playing the corps is a COMPLETELY different strategy/play style than playing a runner. The secrecy and intrigue is very high in this game, and there are so many ways you can manipulate the runner into doing what you want them to do. You can either make intricate systems with multiple ice in each server, or you can go the route of tagging the runner as quickly as possible and just destroying them. Every faction of corporation gives you a completely different feel, and when you start to deckbuild and combine the different corporations, the possibilities are truly endless. And with so many expansions, there are always cool new cards coming out for you to integrate into your deck. You definitely have to have a poker face though, so if you do not like deception, DO NOT play the corps.

As far as a purely gamer girl’s perspective goes, playing the corporation does present some unique challenges as well as opportunities to get out of your comfort zone. As women, our instinct is to be nurturing and a little “soft” when it comes to playing games. I’m not saying we don’t play to win, but we don’t go out of our way to completely annihilate the other player. We tend to go with strategies that provide fair and balanced play between each competitor, ensuring a hearty give-and-take to our gameplay experience.

You CANNOT do that as a Corporation.

Go ahead - advance those ambushes, get your tagging ice right up front, hold on to those two Scorched Earth cards until just the right moment and BOOM!!! You’ve won without really advancing any agendas. Sure, you can keep up the charade and put out some low scores to lure the Runner into complacency, but girls can be hard-core about going for the throat, too! Also, making unbreakable ice fortresses is pretty satisfying, too. Don’t be afraid to really take on the role of the corporation and really get sucked into the theme of this game. It truly is an immersive experience, and one I plan to partake in again and again. Thanks for reading!!
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Grant Whitesell
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Great review!

I absolutely promise you that playing the other side of the table will make you a better Corp player. I also enjoy Corp more than Runner, but I used to get shut out a lot until I started Running more. Knowing what the thought process of a good Runner helps you decide the deployment of your ICE, when to rez, whether you overdraw to get to the piece you need, etc.
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Tiffany Severs
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Thanks so much for reading and the kind words, Grant! This is my first review ever, so I was kinda nervous! . I totally agree with you. I do need to play the runner, but the corps is just so much fun. I promise I will play the runner soon! .
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Lech Karol Pawłaszek
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Welcome to the game, Tiffany!

Pretty nice review. We feel your excitement. But you have to play as a runner! You're missing half of the game!

Write "Playing the Runners" as well.

PS also - please write "Playing the tourneys" some day, too.
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Taylor Kitto
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Cool review. Just one little thing. Agendas aren't the only cards that are worth points. there are many assets and one operation that I can think of, that are worth points. sometimes -1 point. E.g. News team, offer you can't refuse, public support, the 5 influence executives, shi kyu, etc.
 
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Tiffany Severs
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Thanks!! I definitely will after I've played and feel comfortable as the runner. I haven't played in a tourney yet, but maybe someday! . I will definitely write about that experience when it happens! Thanks for reading!
 
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Tiffany Severs
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Ahh yes! I do remember news team! Some of those others don't sound familiar though! Must be from expansions I don't own yet. . Looking forward to getting those and trying new avenues of scoring. . Thanks so much for reading!
 
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Mark Robinson
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tiffany_severs wrote:
I haven't played in a tourney yet...


Excellent one sided review Thank you. I believe to play in a tourney, you end up having to play as a runner as well as a corp..
 
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Tiffany Severs
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Thanks so much!! . I always wondered about that...guess I definitely need to get my running strategy down.
 
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Taylor Kitto
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it's funny, My wife doesn't like playing the corp because she said she feels like a monkey trapped in a cage the whole time and it stresses her out. She loves playing as runner though and routinely beats me with her Hayley deck hehe.
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Tiffany Severs
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Ha! That's hilarious. I can definitely see where she's coming from, though. It is stressful, but I totally thrive on that and love the experience. Maybe I will feel like a rat in a maze playing the runner, so I and your wife can commiserate.
 
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