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Android: Netrunner» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Android: Netrunner - Flash Review rss

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James Parsons
United States
Kent
Ohio
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Hi! I'm James, an attorney, butcher, baker, candlestick-maker, and avid gamer in Ohio. I enjoy writing brief, concise, easily-digestible reviews for games I've played. One such game is...

ANDROID: NETRUNNER Richard Garfield, Lukas Litzsinger, 2012

TL;DR

Pros: Unique theme and mechanics, exceptional asymmetric play, captures thrilling "cat-mouse" tension throughout the tempo of the game.

Cons: Growing entry cost, bouts of meta "staleness" (only applicable to competitive play)

I've played Netrunner on a regular basis for about three years now, and it remains my "main" competitive card game. It brings so much uniqueness and depth to the table that it may be my favorite game over all, card or otherwise. It captures a thrilling tempo of cyberpunk cat and mouse as one player attempts to discover all the corporations dirty secrets through swift "hacking", and the corporation frantically attempts to address their vulnerabilities while simultaneously either advancing their nefarious hidden agendas, or simply trying to kill the hacker.

Searching for something negative to say, the entry cost of owning the game in its entirety has become large, though remains cheaper than playing Magic: The Gathering competitively. Additionally, players at a competitive level will note months-long bouts of meta "staleness," when particularly strong cards are released, which the developers are slow to address via a competitive play restricted list.

Additionally, it is a difficult game to play casually with modest investment. A larger cardpool not only expands your toolbox, but your knowledge of other toolboxes. An experienced player with all the cards and a less-experienced player only interested in owning the core will simply be playing a different game. Casual play is certainly possible, but only in the specific confines of a household or group of friends.

Still, this is reaching into the nuts and bolts to find the bad. My overall experience has been overwhelming positive, and it is why Netrunner is the only game I have consistently played on a weekly basis for years.

I usually part with a brief story to highlight the game experience, but the sensation Netrunner most has to offer is nail-biting tension, and I've experienced too much of it to pin down a single favorite moment - there are many. Tension when both of you are so close to winning, tension when you make a last glory-run as a runner knowing death is imminent, tension as a corporation desperately searching for the tools necessary to kill a runner who has willingly taken a risk and left himself vulnerable for a turn. That is pure fun, and that is Netrunner.
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Mike Bialecki
United States
Costa Mesa
California
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CowboyHatValor wrote:
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Additionally, it is a difficult game to play casually with modest investment. A larger cardpool not only expands your toolbox, but your knowledge of other toolboxes. An experienced player with all the cards and a less-experienced player only interested in owning the core will simply be playing a different game. Casual play is certainly possible, but only in the specific confines of a household or group of friends.


This is both the best AND worst thing about Netrunner. The more you play, the better you get. Despite being a card game with "the luck of the draw," and deck-building -- the better pilot is going to win. That's as it should be. HOWEVER, let's say you and your buddy get into the game together. Things are great as you discover the game. It's a blast. And then your buddy starts plying on OCTGN and then Jinteki and maybe at the FLGS. You don't have the time for all that - just your weekly session with this buddy. Despite keeping up with the data packs, despite netdecking tournament-winning decks, you start winning fewer and fewer games. It takes thicker and thicker skin to show up to each session to get beat over and over again. Your friend is SO much better than you that you're not even learning anything anymore - you're just getting frustrated. All hypothetical, of course. whistle
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Tommy Roman
United States
Nashville
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I agree with your assessment regarding entry costs. However, once rotation starts and the first two cycles are removed from competitive play, this might be a good window for new players to figure out if they a] like the game and b] like it enough to make a more established intellectual/time/financial investment to maintain parity with veteran players.

As others have stated, the evolving card pool is both a strength and weakness of ANR. There are inherent limitations as to how quickly Damon and his fellow designers can respond to shifts in the meta and unhealthy combos. The "stale meta" effect might improve with a digitized format (should FFG pursue that avenue) because designer-player interactions could happen more quickly.

This is also a game that rewards the time devoted to playing: I think the skills gap between casual and veteran/pro players will only get bigger.
 
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