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Subject: How would this be for casual-medium play with a gf? rss

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ace base
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Late to this party I know, but how would this game be just played casually? W like games like race for the galaxy, pueto rico etc.
 
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C&H Schmidt
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Obviously this depends on the girlfriend, but I (a girlfriend myself) learned this together with my partner two years ago, and we've been having a blast with it ever since.

With just the core set, you can play casually a great deal, and if you both learn it together, it doesn't matter that the learning curve to actually playing well is pretty steep. Because you're both learning!
My partner and I had some of our best gaming experiences ever that way, and Netrunner became my number one game (and is at least in my partner's top 3, I'm not quite sure).

The core set is a good one-box experience that will keep you busy for a long while. If you want to, you can at some point buy more cards, but it's a good idea to become familiar with the core set first, and it can be perfectly satisfying to never get any other cards at all.

Among my partner and I, I'm the one who's actually gotten a bit obsessed, been to a few tournaments and has tried her hand at competitive play, but I still have the most fun playing casually, trying out all the wacky cards and fun combinations (yes, my partner and I did go all-in over time, gradually buying all the cards until now we're only behind a data pack or two).

One thing to address: The revised core -- a new version of the core set with a different set of cards inside -- releases in two weeks, and you might need to think which one to get, the new one or the original one.
There is nothing wrong with the original; it's a great out-of-the-box experience, but lots of cards in it are no longer legal for tournament play, and the cards that are released from here on out are not meant to be played with the old core cards.
The new core is also supposed to provide a slightly more balanced version -- this is to be understood in the sense that the powerlevel of the cards is a bit more level; fewer very powerful or very weak cards. Whether you like one or the other better is certainly a matter of taste.

I hope you get into the game and have fun!

Edit: Race for the Galaxy is one of our favourite games to play together, too!
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Quick and blunt: I don't think it's a good choice for you / your case.
 
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To 2nd guy: why not?
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C&H Schmidt
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rattkin wrote:
Quick and blunt: not a good choice for you / your case.
Well, I obviously disagree.
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The ultimate answer is whether your significant other LIKES the game.

We JUST own the base set, not the brand new one, but the one before that. We keep meaning to buy expansions but other new games always win out.

My wife asks to play this all the time, she loves it.

She is a pretty light boardgamer, she can certainly handle the harder ones, but she likes games to wind down and relax with some wine, not as a way to be competitive. I figure netrunner would not go over great because it is purely competitive, but she loved the theme, and wanted to try it.

A few years later and she is still loving it. She ONLY plays corporation, she finds that side less convoluted and enjoys the mindgame of trying to hide stuff from the other player. I think corporation is easier to play. Not easier to play WELL, but fundamentally just easier to go through the motions and finish a game. The impetus to strike and strike fast feels mostly on the runner. She also loves tower defense games and turtling up in RTS games, so I can see how playing corporation gives that vibe.

We play it a few times a year still, and usually have to watch the WONDERFULLY done how to play video that fantasy flight did for the game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAslVfZ9p-Y

As VERY casual players, we find we generally split victories as the starting decks are pretty balanced. This is one concern we had with buying new stuff as then the deck-building aspect may imbalance the game for us. You have enough stuff in there to play a version of each corporation and the different runner groups as well, I forget what those groups are even called. You will have all the same base cards, and then maybe 20-30 percent of the deck that will swap out depending on which side you are playing. I find it has a good amount of replay-ability out of the box assuming you are not playing it constantly, but at that point you would start to drift away from 'casual' anyway.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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dragon0085 wrote:
To 2nd guy: why not?


Ultimately, competitive LCGs are specific games, that are all about conflict, reading opponent and being invested into the game, whether you play casually or not. I know of little stories where couples tend to play ANR with each other. My GF played hundreds of games, but she just doesn't tap into ANR, while I play competitively. That's not to say such cases do not exist, but it's rare (although you have one in the 2nd post, so...). Such game requires both sides to be equally invested, otherwise the more invested player (and there's *always* one), will win more and more, potentially discouraging the other side, eventually making it quit altogether. Netrunner is very competitive and very interactive. People who are not accustomed to tempo swings and everchanging board states, destruction of your own playfield just to rebuild, etc. - they will feel frustrated and powerless at this. Again, they're not BOUND to end up like this (people are different after all). But - more often than not - it will be the end result.

Rico and Race for The Galaxy are on the lower end of board game complexity. They're your average euro-ish point salad games with little to none conflict. That profile just doesn't fit the ANR audience.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I think this is probably the best board/card game ever created. I'd love more people to learn it and like it. But I've taught it to dozens of people and saw various scenarios. Just because it's great, it doesn't mean its for everyone.

By all means, try it out. But caveat emptor. I'd suggest something to ease that transition first, something that doesn't require deckbuilding, with far less complexity and so on, something you can quickly grab and play. Summoner Wars. Ashes. Blue Moon Legends. Hell, even Imperial Settlers or Alien Artifacts.
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C&H Schmidt
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Sebastian, you write this as if this is generally accepted fact, always true, in spite of two couples having already related their experiences of the game working well for them as a couples game.

So yes, what you describe may happen, but it may also not. Either way, we do not know enough about the OP and his partner as gamers to know how it will work for them. But to say Netrunner never works as a casual gamer's game is demonstrably untrue.

Edit: People denying the existence of permanently casual Netrunner players despite there being clear data that the majority of people actually play Netrunner entirely casually*, is one of my pet peeves.

*) From the publisher's sales data: They still make the most money from people who just buy the core set, and never anything else.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Gswp wrote:
Sebastian, you write this as if this is generally accepted fact, always true, in spite of two couples


Sure. But it's still anecdotal data. I have way more counterexamples. Then again things like "she ONLY plays corporation" is more like a confirmation of the rule, to me.

Gswp wrote:
So yes, what you describe may happen, but it may also not.


That's what I wrote, basically.

Gswp wrote:
But to say Netrunner never works as a casual gamer's game is demonstrably untrue.


That I didn't write, on the other hand. But, generally speaking, it's about the probability. The OP didn't state much, so I've used whatever little data he provided (which works kind of against this choice) and that probability. If you're curious, look at his games in collection. He asked about opinion. Here's mine. It's his job to extrapolate, judging from different opinions stated here - that's the beauty of having access to information.

Anyway, best of luck in there - hopefully you'll like it, despite the odds!

Quote:
The ultimate answer is whether your significant other LIKES the game.


This. Also: ... and both of you will stay equally invested (on whatever level)
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OK, fine, then I'm disputing that the odds of wanting to play Netrunner casually are so bad... See my point above. The casual Netrunner players are just not so visible online.

Anyway, obviously the OP has to decide for themselves, but I do not understand seasoned Netrunners trying to scare off "casuals" so much.
Playing casually, it's not actually that hard to learn, or that tough, or whatever, although I have the feeling that the Netrunner community want to wear that as a prize of honour.
If you play Race for the Galaxy, you can totally learn Netrunner.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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I don't think you've interpreted my claim correctly. I'm not claiming there's no place for "casuals" to play this game. And I'm well aware that a good chunk of sales is coming from casual play. People want to play it casually? Great, more power to them! I'm leading a local group of players, that currently consists mostly of casual players, we meet in a pub every week and play some games, while having a beer and snack. I comment on their games, if they want me to. I explain the rules. I teach new people. I judge their games, if they need it. I don't ever feel like casual players are "worse" breed or something like that. I was a casual player, after all.

But that's where the responsibility lies - sometimes it's just more fair to say "I don't think it's for you", rather than someone having a miserable experience and while jaded, describing this experience to other potential players.

What I'm saying is that it's just uncommon (to me), to see this game played by a couple. When they say "casually" it's usually (again, extrapolating from my data) people who are invested into the game somewhat (on a higher level than just kicking a RftG game and the forgetting about it), having some expansions, deckbuilding and whatnot - they just don't want to participate in tournaments, preferring the relaxed battles they can fight on their own kitchen table, on their own terms. And that is perfectly fine, too.
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Sebastian, you sound a lot like a hardcore player who thinks that no one would like MAGIC casually either. I have no interest in power gaming the game, I just want something fun with some strategy to play.
 
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If you can play Puerto Rico, you can play this thing. It's a bit more involved, it requires more plays to get a good hand on the game, but it should be fun.

I played Netrunner like this with a friend before getting competitive and it was fine.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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dragon0085 wrote:
Sebastian, you sound a lot like a hardcore player who thinks that no one would like MAGIC casually either. I have no interest in power gaming the game, I just want something fun with some strategy to play.


Then play it. You don't need my validation for it, after all. I've listed some alternatives you might want to try out first, though.

But keep in mind that MtG is substantially easier to play on an average level (opinion! no data to support it!), when compared to ANR. Its approachability is one of MtG's reasons for global success.
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rattkin wrote:
Such game requires both sides to be equally invested, otherwise the more invested player (and there's *always* one), will win more and more, potentially discouraging the other side, eventually making it quit altogether. Netrunner is very competitive and very interactive. People who are not accustomed to tempo swings and everchanging board states, destruction of your own playfield just to rebuild, etc. - they will feel frustrated and powerless at this. Again, they're not BOUND to end up like this (people are different after all). But - more often than not - it will be the end result.


I understand where Sebastian is coming from, being in much the same position, but I do think that he and I may not be all that representative.

So, while I disagree with the generalization, I think it's an important possibility to be aware of. With a meta of two, things will be great as long as both of you enjoy playing it at the same level (whether that's starter decks only, or slightly altered versions that both of you are familiar with, or dynamic core-only deckbuilding...)
It's like chess: if one of you wants to play casually and the other one starts memorizing openings, pretty soon it won't be fun for either of you.

But really, it's like most games in that regard.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Precisely. And I'm stressing that, because many games you can just break open and bumble through somehow, still having decent fun. It's just harder with LCG's. It requires upfront dedication. It's not rocket science, it's not elitist. It just requires dedication at higher level than most board games, otherwise you won't be able to play and understand what's going on, let alone draw any fun from it. If you approach it while knowing this, you should be fine.
 
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You can totally bumble through Netrunner and have fun -- like with other games.
It's what we did for the first few months of owning the game (nobody taught us, we taught ourselves using the rulebook, and we didn't actually make many mistakes), and we had a tremendous amount of fun.
I'm not denying Netrunner harder to learn than lots of other, lighter games, but this web page is literally for dedicated gamers and there are 100eds (if not 1000s) of games on it that are really hard to learn to play, so it's hardly something that makes it stand alone.

This "requires dedication to have fun" is a myth. Yes absolutely: like with Chess or Go you will not be able to appreciate the full depth and breadth of the game if you only play it a bit, but you can totally still have fun playing it a bit...
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Go is a great example. It requires tons of dedication to "really" play a competitive game of go, but two beginners can have a ton of fun playing at entry level.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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I don't think it's a good example. Go has simple rules and just one component - a stone. You can start playing right away, you just won't be good at it.

In LCG, you also have:
- cards
- tokens
- board positions
- specific names for cards
- card types
- keywords
- deck/hand management
- resource management
- time management (clicks)
- asymmetric play
- bluffing
- anticipation
- probability/chance calculation
- and finally: deckbuilding

But I'll stop here, because it looks like I want to prove by any mean, that the game is "hard" to get and that people should not play it :) That's really not my goal here, as stated before.

So, for the last time: I think the entry level is significantly higher than many games, but that does not automatically mean that people won't like it. I've merely stated, that the laws of probability suggest that it's a good chance it might be the case and so that people trying it should be aware of that. There is some perception bias, as people whose experiences resemble the topic title are more likely to click it and describe how and why it worked for them. But they are at least a testament that such scenario is indeed possible. I wholeheartedly agree. I just think it's (relatively) rare.
 
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I ended up getting the game. I was worried at first, but I realized Sebastian was viewing it from a super hardcore pov, and there is nothing wrong with just playing a game for fun.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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dragon0085 wrote:
I realized Sebastian was viewing it from a super hardcore pov


You couldn't be more wrong.

But if it works for you, then hey, it works for you, despite the odds. That's a great thing. Enjoy the game!
 
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rattkin wrote:
dragon0085 wrote:
I realized Sebastian was viewing it from a super hardcore pov


You couldn't be more wrong.

But if it works for you, then hey, it works for you, despite the odds. That's a great thing. Enjoy the game!


I wouldn't call you "super hardcore" like dragon0085 did. I can absolutely understand your point of view. I've played a lot of modern LCGs so far and typically it's quite hard to get your girlfriend into it - believe me.. I've tried more than once.

LCGs are a beast of its own. For the most part they're more complex than standard boardgames because of their ever-changing nature and a lot of tiny nitpicky rules. That doesn't mean you couldn't have fun playing it casually with your beloved. It just means you need to make sure beforehand to have taken all measures possible to provide a good experience. For example prepare two basic decks with not too much fancy and weird stuff going on so that your potential power level is equal. Start teaching with showing an examplary run - because it's the heart of the game and explains the most important mechanisms and the name of the game! Let your girlfriend start as the aggressor - a.k.a. the runner. While playing corp is fun it's the more tricky and moreoever the more depressing part to begin with (i.e. when your agendas get stolen pretty quickly because of your misplays).

Although I would maybe count as a more "hardcore" player regarding LCGs I succeeded in getting my girlfriend into the game. We managed to get a couple games against each other and I'm happy to play against her once every week.

Nevertheless it wasn't easy. As I've said I had to make sure to get her a soft and smooth experience.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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I'd rather stay away from dangerous "is it easy to introduce girlfriend into it" discussion. For what it's worth, my girlfriend plays 3 LCGs, but that's not the point.

The point is that it calls for equally invested and competitive-natured people. You can make the introduction as smooth as you want, but if highly disruptive/aggressive play is not someone's cup of tea, then he/she won't like it no matter what. The whole idea of Netrunner (let's forget about Notrunner for now) is "I'm doing what I can to thwart what you're doing, so that I win first".

And even if, as soon as one person starts to invest more, the balance quickly tips. But like I said, it doesn't necessarily always have to be like this.
 
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I also disagree w Sebastian. It is absolutely possible to enjoy ANR casually, as in w GF (or other low committment opponent). There are two key elements to making it work, both about decks. First, “gf casual” is not a deck building game. ANR is, in some ways, at it’s best just using the recommended first decks right out of the core set (either core set). That quintessential ANR assymetrical experience of bluffing, nail biting, etc works just fine w/o all the complexities of variable decks. And it can be played over and over with just those decks, at least in my experience. The second element is the more hard core player has to be ok w/ that experience. Any attempt to move to deck building or ‘following the meta’ will likely poison the experience. Moving to deck building requires much more commitment (knowing more rules, cards, etc) and introduces a liklihood of imbalanced decks (one person’s deck is much better) that throw off the gameplay itself. If you want variability, better to change up the decks by using other pre-built decks (tho it’s not so easy to find solid, balanced “casual” decks online).

[Note: Yes, there may be a possible middle ground of “casual deckbuilding,” I suppose. But that seems a delicate balance, requiring lots of special conditions to sustain it. Otoh, just playing the “core” or “casual” game w no custom decks seems to me to be perfectly and easily sustainable. And that is my rl experience as well.]
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Yeah, ultimately there are so many ways to play netrunner (and most other LCGs). Some ways are very complex and demanding, sure, so...just don't play one of those unless you're both interested in it.

You can play with the starter decks and see what you think. If you're both happy playing with those indefinitely, cool. If not, try deckbuilding with the other stuff in the core. If you want more deckbuilding, you can agree on a deluxe or two to buy and share for a while. If one of you doesn't want to deckbuild, buy the championship decks, or make your own. Or maybe you'd enjoy drafting and can make a simple draft cube. And so on.

If yours is the sort of situation where one of you is likely to sneak off to the game store in order to destroy the other's Core Weyland with some netdecked Hayley Turtle deck, then okay, not the right game for you. Also, relationship counseling might be in order.

Otherwise, you're probably okay.
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