My friend got this game at last years Essen spiel and we played only first two missions because rulebook was really confusing for us. I don't really like to leave games sitting on the shelf plus I feel somewhat bad because I mentioned this game to him before he decided to buy it.
So I wanted to clear some things up regarding the rules, new version of the rulebook is somewhat better but gameplay still feels just unpolished.
I decided to create this thread specifically about Cyberwarfare phase since I feel that it's most misinterpreted part of the rules and it's causing a lot of problems for us and as I see for other people too.
Let's start with Cyberwarfare phase (4) summary:
1. Choose hacker for this turn (each team chooses only one hacker). Player with initiative (resolved by bid in the initiative phase) starts this phase.
2. Player removes any installed programs from his Tactical Network (TN) (Player can remove only it's own programs).
3. Player pays System Resource (SR) running cost of it's own CW cards on TN denoted in the field "running programme" of each card in TN. (Cost of running hostile programs is paid in "phase 2" when calculating SR total).
4. Player draw up to CW 5 cards total, this number (5) can by modified by abilities and gear. In those 5 cards total player's installed CW cards and CW cards already in hand (from last turn) are counted. Only player's own installed cards are counted, not hostile CW cards on their TN, nor player's hostile CW cards on other team/terminal TN.
5. Player can use SR booster cards now. While we are on this point we can see what does it means to use it. Do we put now SR booster card faceup from hand in one of the 4 slots of TN and pay it's cost? I presume that player gets indicated SR immediately. Is SR booster discarded after use or it stays in game till it's discarded by another effect? If it stays there do we get bonus SR in "phase 2" of the next turn or do we get it in this moment in the next turn so phase 4.5? I don't see "running programme" cost on SR boosters, but I noticed that some other programs have their "running programme" cost set to 0, so if it's free to run this program every turn I guess that it would have it's running cost set to 0 just like other cards, but on the other hand it doesn't say anywhere that SR boosts aren't continuous effect like other programs nor that they should be discarded.
6. Player can use Sniffer cards, sniffers are clearly marked as one use programs and that they are discarded after use. When you play them from the hand, do you have to place them on one of 4 slots in your TN and after you resolve their effect you immediately discard them? What happens if all 4 slots are taken? You are not permitted to discard any of them or is there any specific rule on the order of discarding cards, for example first discard card from slot 1 or from slot 4?
After this part, if I understood this correctly, active player changes. So next player has a chance to choose their hacker/discard installed programs/run SR boosters/sniffers and so on, basically everything from 1. to 6. After 2nd player finishes that part, active player changes back to the player with the initiative and he is the first one who will perform one of the CW actions.
This isn't clear in the rules at all since in the summary it says to "repeat following actions" starting with the player with the initiative. Which would mean that player with the initiative have his first action before 2nd player chose his hacker, cards that he wants to keep installed, ran SR boosters and so on.
7. Repeat the following actions in player order starting with the the player with the initiative. During the player's turn they can choose to do the following (in any order) (this should honestly be just one point and read something like this: "Players alternate in taking one of these 3 actions in player order, until both of them pass or run out of SR") There is no need for "in any order" it just makes everything confusing.
7.1 Attack enemy TN
Attacking enemy TN is always done remotely, which in turn means that strength of each attack is decreased by 3. Attacker is the current player or rather chosen hacker of the current player.
a) The attacker reveals new CW card faceup in his tactical network and declares any supporting blank/booster CW cards facedown (limit 1 per offensive card). If there are any defensive programs running in the enemy TN the attacker has to attack the defensive program on the field with the lowest value.
Now there are many problems with this explanation. First off what does it mean to "reveal a card"? Usually with other card games "to reveal a card" means either revealing it from hand or turning facedown card faceup on the board (play area). In either case in each of those games it's always explained what does every action entail. In our case it says to reveal NEW CW cards faceup in our tactical network. Does it mean that we need to have existing offensive CW cards facedown already on our TN? If that's the case when do we exactly place them facedown on our TN? Or does it mean to play them from the hand and place them faceup in our TN? Also it's said cardS so plural. So we can actually play from our hand in this moment multiple offensive cards on our TN, or if we aren't playing them from hand then turning them faceup in our TN?
Next is "declaring" boosters for our offensive programs (1 per offensive program). It says that we declare them facedown, so we take them from the hand and place them facedown on some TN field (they use up the TN field right?) or again we need to have them already facedown beforehand somehow? What happens with boosters that are already faceup because we used them last turn and decided to pay running cost for this turn? I also assume that if we have 2 offensive cards and 2 boosters on our TN we must choose which booster is linked to which offensive card? Do we need to choose which offensive+booster CW card pair are we attacking with now or we can wait before actual test to decide with wich pair we attack?
b) The defender, if any,reveals a new defensive card from his hand to place in his Tactical Network or declares the first defensive CW card face-up already running in his Tactical Network and any supporting Booster program facedown (one Booster per defensive card).
OK so if there is a defender(enemy hacker) he can play a card from his hand faceup on the lowest value field of his TN or he can just declare that he is defending with already placed faceup defensive CW card in the lowest value field of his TN right? He can't do both? For example he has already one or more faceup defender CW cards in place and he wants to play one more from hand to mount a better defense? He can't have facedown defender cards? If he can when does he place them? Boosters are now placed facedown (limit of 1 per defensive card). It says after that if defender has no SR to install defender cards or he doesn't have them he can defend only with CanDo card.
c) Both players declare if they want to spend SR to boost their program strength (0-2 SR). Is this done secretly in the same time like with bidding for initiative? If it isn't it can be really awkward since maybe defender will wait to see if attacker pays something before he decides if he wants to boost it too or vice-versa. Also this boosting can be done without actual booster card, so it's a separate bonus.
d) Both players reveal their cards and pay SR cost. Are install costs for offensive and defensive programs paid now or they should be paid on install under part a) and now are only boosters paid. I also assume that "reveal their cards" means reveal chosen booster cards, since both offensive and defensive cards are already revealed by now. Again question about choosing attacking card, do we needed to do that in part a) or if we have multiple offensive cards we can choose now and leave our options open like that?
e) Opposed tests, where attacker counts offensive program strength + booster strength (if any) + 0-2 sr boost - 3 penalty for remote access + CanDo card against defensive card strength + booster strength (if any) + 0-2 sr boost + CanDo card. Defender win ties, if there is no defending program defender only counts CanDo card and he can't use 0-2 SR boost nor booster cards. Loosing program+booster pair are discarded, both winner and looser must discard all SR used for boosting/programs.
If defending program looses and after it is discarded there is at least one more defending program on defender's TN attacker has to repeat the attack targeting that defending program. So attack isn't successful till all defending programs aren't discarded. So to continue attack on next defender program attacker performs whole attack again with few changes. Next attack is still a part of the same CW action of current player's turn? Attacker can't install boosters/offensive programs nor defender can install defending programs/boosters between two of these attacks right? Can attacker choose different offensive program to continue the attack or he must use the same one for the whole attack? Attacker must pay running cost for booster+offensive program so he can attack next defending program in a row. I guess that both defender and attacker can pay again up to 2 SR to boost strength of their respective programs further? If attacker looses on opposed test, decide that he don't want to continue attacking after successful opposed test or he just can't pay running costs for next attack he looses and offensive+booster card are discarded right?
If he wins he can place offensive card that he used with linked booster on enemies TN. So only offensive card that he used for that attack+booster that it was used for it? What happens if all 4 fields are full on enemy TN? Let's say that defender just installed bunch of sr boosters/boosters and offensive programs, attacker attacked them and they had to do opposed test just against CanDo card, they won but now they don't have any place to put the virus in. What happens? Or if just one field is empty but he wants to place both booster and used offensive card on TN?
It's also said that hacker suffers any special effects immediately and that other ability triggers in the first phase on the next turn. Not sure about this since I don't know all the cards. Let's say that card has "-1 on ranged attacks on chosen character", does that mean that if I choose as a attacker that this character will be defender's hacker he will have -1 on attacks this turn, but if I choose someone else he will have -1 starting from next turn? Or it is just for some special effects that mention specifically defender's hacker?
It also says somewhere in the rulebook that when hackers TN becomes infected his or another TN member's cybershock level raises by 1 and he or some other member of that TN gets a wound. Is this just one time or if we infect already infected TN hacker gets another cybershock increase and another wound?
7.2 Attack a Terminal
Terminal can be attacked either remotely with -3 penalty to strength or directly if hacker is on or adjecent to the terminal.
a) It says that attacker draws facedown number of AI CW cards corresponding to the terminal's strength. Now if we go back to 6. we can see that we play sniffer cards there. Is it possible to play sniffer cards on terminal then and how? Or we need to wait to declare attack and draw cards so we use a sniffer now after drawing?
b) Same questions as with 7.1.a) for "declaring" and "revealing"
c) Conduct cyberwarfare battle, it isn't said where we reveal terminal's cards but I guess we reveal them all before the battle? Or maybe we need to reveal one by one till we get to the first defensive one? OK so more or less the same as with attacking TN, but I guess if attacker wins all cards are discarded from terminal if there are no additional defending cards? Let's say there's a terminal with strength of 1, so we draw 1 card for it and when we attack we see that this card is actually some worm, so since there are no defensive cards we are making opposed test against just CanDo card and we win. I guess that we just discard offensive card? Or let's say there are 3 cards, we reveal first one and see that it's defensive we successfully attack it and discard it, now we reveal next one and it's offensive one, we reveal 3rd and it's defensive, so we must make another attack against that 3rd card (paying running costs and up to new 2SR to boost it further). Let's say we win, I guess that 2nd card which is offensive one is discarded?
If we fail attacking a terminal and on terminal there are offensive cards they make attack against our TN. I don't know what happens if there are multiple offensive cards in which order they attack or if they all attack or just one of them. I guess all of them attack, we can defend with defensive program+booster in lowest value field on our TN + up to 2 SR or just CanDo card if there are no defensive programs on our side. I guess that if we attacked terminal remotely, terminal doesn't suffer -3 penalty when it attacks us back? Again what happens if there is no fields to put all terminal offensive cards in our TN? I know it can rarely happen, but let's say I attacked with just one worm without boosters and 3 other cards I have are also worms. Terminal I attacked is 4 strength terminal and when i reveal it's cards it's all worms, I fail my attack my offensive card gets discarded and terminal attacks 4 times with 4 different offensive cards, first card will slot in the field, but next 3 will have no place to fit into?
7.3 Purge/Protect System
a) Choose a defensive CW card and optionally a supporting program to attack a hostile Virus/Worm card in your Tactical Network (or protect your TN if there are no other enemy programs in your TN). So again now "choose" word is used, instead of "reveal", "declare". What does mean choose, choose defensive program from hand and play it by putting it faceup on the TN and paying it's cost or we must have one already in play? I think having one already in play will be hard since if we are infected I guess all of our defending programs are already discarded. Also we can play optional booster facedown. If there are no hostile programs this is whole CW action and we pass the turn to other team.
b) If there are hostile programs we can try to purge them by attacking them with our defensive programs. Cyberwarfare battle is similar except current player can pay up to 2 SR and defending hostile program can't, so owner can't use SR to boost his program installed as hostile, but that hostile program still gets bonuses from optional booster if enemy decided to attach it together with it. I guess looser program is discarded like usual. If current player (one doing purging) successfully removes hostile program+optional booster and there is another hostile program he can continue purging by paying running costs for his defensive program+optional boosters+paying another 0-2 sr boost?
After CW action is fully resolved next player becomes current player and can choose on of those actions and so on.
If player passes can he decide to take CW action next turn? So let's say 1st player passes, 2nd player infects his network through TN attack, 1st player now decides to purge his TN. Or he can't play anymore (just defend of course)? That would mean that cyberwarfare phase is over just when two players pass one after another.
Also it isn't directly related to this phase, but it's said that if TN is infected every character linked to that TN need to do cybershock test in first phase. Is that test for each of the hostile cards or just once for infected TN? Also in that phase it's described that when TN is infected and at the start of each subsequent turn from then on all characters will make cybershock test or get their level increased by 1. And nowhere in cyberwarfare phase is said that cybershock test needs to be taken, just that one of the members get their level increased by one and that same member gets a wound. Which to me isn't same at all.
A lot to work through , highly reccomend you download the latest rulebook, it has been reworked and most of the issues have been resolved :-
See files section
I also updated the detailed summary when they were released.
I don't have time tonight but will answerwhen I can unless anyone chips in or you read the new rules.
A quick glance and I can say the CW rules are clearer.
Maybe I missed something but I've read the new version of the rulebook. Not the version from bgg, but one directly from their website. I believe that's the exact same version.
If you find the time and will I would appreciate if you can provide any answers to those questions, especially how you play the cards exactly and when, I think that's the core of most of the problems.
Also I've read your summary pdf, it was really helpful and I appreciate what you've done for the game. But one thing I noticed, for example, was that I understood that attacking a terminal and drawing offensive card for AI will just trigger opposing skill test against CanDo card, but in last HIHBAH video I saw that they are using offensive AI card strength in the formula. That's just one example where I'm not 100% clear on the rules, so I just wanted to iron all the things out before trying to play it again.