Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

Android: Netrunner» Forums » Strategy

Subject: When and how to install traps rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Frank Brooks
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
By no means do I consider myself an expert on trap-making or bluffing, but I've put down some ideas I've had on the subject.

This side of the game I feel doesn't get talked about enough because it is not something you can make tables of and compare numbers-to-numbers with; it is a "soft skill" of the game and there is no one sure-fire way to successfully pull off traps. Another complication is that most discussion and criticism falls into theoretical space. "I always trick my opponents with..." "Who would fall for that?" "Obviously you haven't played against [this] deck." etc. Instead I feel discussion should hopefully become a place where different bluffing tactics can be explained. Like any sort of bluffing, it really is a person-to-person type thing and it is hard to put down in words the exact nuances that allow strategies to unfold. Following, I have attempted to differentiate between different types of trap ploys. Please enjoy:

+++

When including traps (or not including traps) it is important to think of the messages you are sending with how you advance agendas.

If you always install, advance once or twice, then score it the next turn: it is usually telling that when you play and advance, that it is going to be an agenda.

Doing this means that when you run out of agendas in your hand or want to sneak a trap in, a trap has to be installed the same way or else you will give away your bluff immediately to an attentive runner. Unfortunately, playing your traps in the same manor only gives the runner one turn to try and steal your "agenda". Plus your trap will only ever have 1 or 2 advancement counters unless another action (i.e. Trick of Light) is employed. Regardless, if they can't or don't in that one turn window then your trap has failed.

If the next turn you don't finish it off, you just gave away that it isn't an agenda. It is incredibly hard to sell that you "just can't finish it" that turn. An "easy" situation would be if you can somehow convince them it is a Priority Req or something else that needs to be advanced 5-6 times and it doesn't have nearly enough counters (approx. 2) and you only a couple creds. This is about the only time that you wouldn't be able to score it the next turn (since you wouldn't be able to have click gain enough creds to be able to turn around immediately and advance it) and you wouldn't just advance to 4 in hopes that you will be able to score it the next turn. Obviously you want to get enough creds to convincingly be trying to save up 3 to be able to 3-advance the next turn. Doing almost any other action may indicate that you just gave up on your failed bluff. Having reasons to stay low on creds is another way to keep the facade going. Rezzing an expensive region (hopefully behind already rezzed ice) is a way to stay poor. Hopefully they can run on something else (Archives for example) and you rez ice into poverty. Either way, at this point the only way to look like the reason you didn't score that turn was because you were too poor.

Many safe decks will run into the above problem. Usually this happens when there is only one remote server which has a bunch of ice on it, and you only score agendas in that. Unfortunately, this creates the above problem since you can't just stop advancing it if you have lots of money. Not advancing something after a while gives the impression that it is a trap. Therefore playing "one RS" decks have difficulty pulling off traps unless they can time the installation with the same time that the runner has amassed enough resources to attempt the gauntlet. This timing can be extremely hard to pull off since fast advancing requires immediate, fast response on the part of the runner.

I have come up with four ways to advance which can allow you to more easily slip in a trap amongst the agendas.

1.The first way is to only slowly advance taking 3-4 turns to finish off agendas. This is typically riskier play of course since it gives 3-4 opportunities for the runner to steal it. If timed correctly (like installing and advancing immediately after the runner just installed something expensive or finished a pricy run) you can let the agenda sit on the table for a couple turns in some degree of safety before finishing it just as the runner can finally afford to break the ice and steal it. Next time, you time it "worse" so that the runner is able to break in just before you "finish" and POW! This works especially well if they are able to advance faster than you though in order to get there (i.e. Stimhack, Sure Gamble, installing the appropriate icebreaker). If they could say "Ah ha! Now I can do it!" just as they play the cards that allow them to pass your ice, you have the right setting for a trap.

2. A second way is to always advance it really far and let it sit like that (maybe even at enough to score it, but just waiting there). This you might naturally do with Posted Bounty or Breaking News for example (but can be done with other agendas as well of course). Let it sit scoreable, so that when you get that second SE, you can just score it and BOOM, BOOM! Similarly you could have an Accelerated Beta Test sitting there ready to score as you quickly dig through your deck looking for that Precognition. For most situations this is also more risky than typical "single server, fast advance" since you invested the full amount of creds and clicks to score it, but just haven't do it yet, being very inefficient. Letting your Priority Req sitting at 3-4 for a couple turns would be extremely dangerous on the corp's part, so your opponent wouldn't expect to see an agenda actually sit at 3-4 for several turns unless you had shown earlier that you were willing to risk it earlier in the game. (An example of that would be if you were letting it sit there as you dug through your deck for something worth rezzing like Janus. Of course, just for effect you can keep drawing "trying to find it" when you already have the card in your hand.) Again, this is very risky, but if you can pull it off, you may be able to get a game winning 3-4 advanced Junebug.

3.A third way, which I'm sure we will see more of in the future, is for agendas that can be over-advanced for greater effect. Having a "Project" (or Braintrust) get several counters on it can lead to some pretty terrible situations for the runner. This can already be done to some extent with Mandatory Upgrades as well. Once it is believable that you are just trying to over-advance something, you may be able to get a huge Junebug or Ghost Branch off. "Letting" them steal a highly advanced Mandatory Upgrades could set them up for a flatline victory the next time. Unfortunately, due to the way scoring works in tournaments, giving them false confidence about stealing your agendas to set up large traps gives your opponent points which will hurt your tournament standings and therefore is not a strong tournament strategy. This gets into the whole debate about what would be a better way to score tournaments which I don't want to get into. Either way, letting them feel like they can steal your over-advanced agendas (which are hopefully only worth 1-2 points if stolen) will set them up to access big traps.

4.A fourth way is to have many remote servers all with advanced agendas/assets behind them. This has always been a way to play Jinteki by may be doable with some degree of success with other corps. Having many servers with a high percentage of traps amongst them allows for sneaking by agendas. The problem of course is that if only your traps stick around and new agendas get put in, then the traps become apparent. To avoid this, having an early play with a couple counters on it but not advanced again will probably be ignored for a while since it looks like a failed ploy. Of course once more and more 2-advanced agendas/assets appear, they will be probed and agendas will be lost. This is the riskiest and least efficient strategy of the bunch since you will lose agendas unless you are really lucky or have way more traps than agendas. Either way, this is a very difficult strategy to pull off especially in a tournament since lost agendas count against you even if you win. Fetal AI and Trick of Light have made this a little more effective since one is a trapped agenda and the other turns ruined traps into potential fast advance helpers.

+++

Of course there are other ways to bluff traps, but these were five ways I thought of implementing them. Do you have any ideas/criticisms?
6 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think it doesn't get talked about much because Jinteki doesn't feel 100% viable compared to the other Corps currently.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Finkle
msg tools
byronczimmer wrote:
I think it doesn't get talked about much because Jinteki doesn't feel 100% viable compared to the other Corps currently.


Well, Trace Amount should change that.

The real thing that needs to be kept in mind is how damaging hitting a Trap at a certain number of advancements is to the runner.

Running into a 1-2 advancement Project Junebug or Ghost Branch is not all that damaging to the runner. They need to spend a few clicks undoing the damage, but they'll come out no real worse for the wear.

A 3 advancement Junebug is a different story, as it will flatline a runner with 5 cards in hand.

Aggressive Secretary at ANY amount of advancement counters is enough to wreak some serious havoc on a runner.

I've found that the most convincing way to spring a trap is to pretend your agenda is a Priority Requisition. Play it and advance it twice. It's most convincing if you play it on a data fort that you don't *think* your opponent will be able to run next turn, but if they have something like Inside Job, Tinkering, Stimhack, or even Sure Gamble, they would be able to.

It's also feasible to slow-roll your agendas when you are short on credits, especially when they are behind unrezzed ice. Taking slow turns involving advancing a node once or twice with the other actions spent gaining money, keeping you around, say, 8 credits (signalling that a Tollbooth is guarding your agenda) is a feasible reason for having an agenda sit there with 3-4 counters on it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MD Chis
United States
New York
flag msg tools
mb
I think people tend to think about traps as purely bluffing mechanisms when there are other viable ways to use them.

Install and single advance a trap. Did the runner run on it? You just gained information and may even get some benefit out of the trap.

Repeat with a double advanced trap, or flip the script and install and double advance an agenda if you're feeling gutsy. You learn if they'll run a double advanced card.

For NBN, this helps figure out if you can set up Breaking News or not. I've played a Jinteki game where I saw they wouldn't run on a single advanced card in the open. The next time I drew my Junebug, I actually installed a single advanced agenda and scored it next turn. Anecdotal, but shows there is benefit to the knowledge.

The only guaranteed way for a trap to be effective is when you run upgrades like Ashe, Red Herrings, and Akitaro. You can drop in a trap and the upgrade knowing that no matter what it's bad news for the runner. Either they run it and something blows up in their face or they don't and you buy time to build the server around the upgrade.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
R N
United States
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
byronczimmer wrote:
I think it doesn't get talked about much because Jinteki doesn't feel 100% viable compared to the other Corps currently.


I don't agree with that now that Sensei, Snowflake, and Fetal AI exist.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Finkel
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
slacks wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
I think it doesn't get talked about much because Jinteki doesn't feel 100% viable compared to the other Corps currently.


I don't agree with that now that Sensei, Snowflake, and Fetal AI exist.


Sensei helps other corps more than it helps Jinteki, Snowflake is still a little awful, and Fetal AI is hard to score (but admittedly is pretty great).

Trick of the Light, though, is a huge boon for Jinteki. All together, I think Jinteki is even more fun to play than before, but only slightly more competitively viable.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bingo Little
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Faced a jinteki today who won with two totally ninja bluffs.

1. left a thinly defended remote with two advancement counters almost the entire game. I thought for sure it was a fail trap until he insta cashed after getting to 5AP to close the game.

2. Put a trap in under a two stack of ice and a newly created naked remote right next to it. Advanced the naked remote the next turn cycle for 2AP and 3 insta-installs. Damn.

Both of these meneuvers show balls. If you can't take the heat, don't Jinteki.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Stude
United States
Farmington Hills
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Been thinking about the subject of this thread a lot since I've primarily been playing Jinteki since I bought into the game and my lone self-built deck is a Jinteki gank deck of sorts. Here, after playing someone who I consider to be quite a savvy gamer a few games last night, are some more general thoughts about mindplay with Jinteki:

--First games with a new opponent can often be rough because you don't know how they think. Some aggressive players might stare at a double-advanced Junebug early game and be unable to resist the run, others might be safer players, willing to let you score an agenda to avoid running into an early trap. In the case of our first game last night, my opponent was the latter type and I got him to bite on very few bad runs the entire game. Had to really change up my approach over those games as the advance one or two and done technique was just not getting it done.

--When playing smart players, you have to be willing to do crazy, risky shit to keep them guessing. In one of our games last night, trailing and in a bit of trouble, I trashed my own Melange behind 2 pieces of ice to install a Snare, thinking he would never imagine me doing such a thing. He won the game on my next turn with a lucky R&D run, but my ploy would have otherwise worked as he was planning on running the snared server on his next click. The drawback to this mindset, as the OP mentioned, is that the results are widely variable.

--It might sound like common sense, but being a predictable Jinteki is a deathknell. Mix it up, avoid falling into patterns, and keep your opponent wondering what the hell you're doing. You need economy to do this well so don't neglect your melanges, hedge funds, etc.

I haven't yet dug into Trace Amount, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that shakes up my deck.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bingo Little
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Only when you have the nuts to install 2 remotes, one behind one ice and one naked, let the defended install be the trap and the naked be the agenda, advance the defended once and then next turn twice an the naked once, and only later powering down to score the I defended agenda... Only then will you have the mental fortitude to be jinteki.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Frank Brooks
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
So the one I didn't number (the one before that where I talked about pretending you just don't have enough creds to finish it off by being poor) I was able to pull off last night. I was playing NBN which tends to have no problem being poor. I installed a ghost branch behind a rezzed toolbooth and a rezzed Data Raven. He had made a mess of my HQ earlier so I installed the ghost branch over there as an attempt to look like I had dumped my agenda out of my hand. I was able to advance it twice and tried to get money. He ran on R&D one turn and Archives the next so I kept loosing all the money I had saved up by rezzing ice otver there (not letting me advance the ghost branch further). I then was able to advance it with a Matrix Analyzer and he saved up enough to make the ran on the ghost branch for four tags Next turn I used a Data Raven counter to Psychographics a Priority Requisition. (This was with the starter deck which is why that was in there)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Konstantinos Thoukydidis
Luxembourg
Esch-sur-Alzette
Luxembourg
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sciencebuster wrote:
Only when you have the nuts to install 2 remotes, one behind one ice and one naked, let the defended install be the trap and the naked be the agenda, advance the defended once and then next turn twice an the naked once, and only later powering down to score the I defended agenda... Only then will you have the mental fortitude to be jinteki.


Pff,, I see your naked agenda and raise you a first turn shell game with 3 agendas devil
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.