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Subject: This Just In! New NBN article series on CardgameDB.com rss

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Lluluien
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Hey guys!

I've finally got the first article posted in my new NBN faction strategy series on CardgameDB.com. Give it a read and let me know what you think in the comments:

http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/index.html/_/android-net...

Big shout-out to EmeraldGuardian for his new Jinteki series on CardgameDB as well; the style and theme of his article there was my inspiration to tearing up the fairly clinical articles I had written and rebuilding them with the same sort of thematic treatment in mind.

Hope you all enjoy it! If you did, stay tuned on CardgameDB.com for future episodes; I've already got the next two articles almost completed and tons of ideas for future ones!


Episode 2: http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/index.html/_/android-net...
Episode 3: http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/index.html/_/android-net...
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Lluluien
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Here's the first article as a teaser for the rest of the series!



Welcome to This Just In!, an internal NBN broadcast for training and continuing education for cybersec personnel in using our superlative information network to trace, tag, outpace, and frag any Runners who dare to show their face on the corporate grid. I'm your host, Cybersec Sergeant Scrier.

In this inaugural episode, we're going to give you a quick run-down of the basic NBN server defense strategies so all you knobs can look a little less lost when we move on to more specific and advanced strategies, and so all you transplants from the other Corporations can get a feel for how we might do things a little differently around here.

Standard disclaimers here. Insufficient resources - that's on the Suits, nothing we can do about that. Bad intel on the Runner dossier - that'll be on one of you chuckleheads. A changing security environment over time - that's just the nature of technology. Murphy whizzed in your cereal this morning? Some days you just have bad luck. Don't lawyer me to death on all the little exceptions here. These are general guidelines, but obviously some decisions will need to be made on-the-fly or we wouldn't need you dolts.



This Just In! is a new article series dedicated to providing you with guidelines and strategies to help you adopt the NBN faction for your Corporation play in Android:Netrunner. This first article in the series will focus on introducing you to the basic "look and feel" of playing NBN and provide general defense strategies for each server you need to protect. This will establish a common baseline game plan that we can use to highlight strengths and weaknesses of each of NBN's unique ICE in upcoming articles. Some of these strategies may change on a game-by-game basis depending on factors like which Runner you are facing or how unlucky your draws have been. Please feel free to adapt this advice if you find yourself in a different set of circumstances than the ones we explore here. Without further ado, back to Sergeant Scrier!


HQ Defense

Information travels at the speed of light, and it's almost impossible for even us to keep up with it. By the time our media campaigns reach corporate headquarters, that information has already been extracted, parsed, lexed, filtered, transformed, spin-doctored, split into catchy little sound bytes, and doled out in accordance to some statistical model of human psychology that's so complex even the crypto nerds can't understand it anymore.

If the Runners want to try to sift through petabytes of information on the workstations of a few thousand corporate drones, they can go right ahead. They will think they're clever when they spoil a plot twist every now and then, but in the time they've wasted, the show will go on without them. By the time they figure out the climax has come and gone and there's no room in the denouement for the poor little script-kiddies, it will be too late!


NBN has a fairly extensive toolset for the "Fast Advance" style of play.

- A rezzed SanSan City Grid (Core).
- A hosted agenda counter on a scored Astroscript Pilot Program (Core).
- A Psychographics (Core) operation while the Runner has multiple tags.

These are all ways to circumvent the normal advancement mechanics in order to place extra advancement counters on an agenda than would otherwise be allowed in a turn (or reduce its advancement requirement, which is often - but not always! - the same effect). NBN's decks typically have agendas with relatively low advancement requirements as well, such as Breaking News (Core), Astroscript Pilot Program, Private Security Force, and the upcoming Project Beale. These factors together normally keep NBN from feeling too much pressure from the Runner via HQ; once an agenda is drawn, NBN typically needs just a few turns to make an opportunity to score it. Often, HQ will only require enough defense to make it bothersome for the Runner to scan multiple times in a turn against a 1-in-4 or 1-in-5 shot at an agenda. Since NBN typically has quite a few operations for tag punishment (Closed Accounts (Core), Big Brother (Trace Amount), Psychographics) which can't normally be trashed, together with high trash cost assets (Marked Accounts, PAD Campaign) and upgrades (SanSan City Grid, ChiLo City Grid (Trace Amount)), this gives HQ even more inherent resilience.

Light HQ defense does make you vulnerable to Imp and several Criminal tools, but these problems can often be dealt with by other means that won't always require you to reinforce your HQ defenses. As one example, Imp is more common in Noise than Whizzard, and Noise is vulnerable to both click denial and resource destruction based on his typical reliance on Personal Workshop and Wyldside. Several relatively cheap ICE threaten tags, and these ICE are a pretty significant deterrent to Noise. As another example, remember that Account Siphon (Core) gives two tags to the Runner, and while it's debatable whether or not NBN has the most potent tag punishment (we're very jealous of Scorched Earth (Core)), it's far less controversial to say that they have the most versatile tag punishment suite as a whole.


R&D Defense

Can you imagine having the source code to the universe? Anyone that knew how to write the code would be a wizard. What if I told you that we had it? Well, not for the universe, but we had it for people? For societies? For culture?

Marketing Research and Development is where the magic happens. That's right, we've got a few hundred Gandalf prodigies running around in a lab from an egghead's wet dream, figuring out exactly how to tell you what to think, how to feel, what you believe in, who you like and don't, and what time your sandwich should be ordered from which restaurant with mayo-or-mustard-thankyouverymuch-and-a-Coke. Except down there, they don't conjure spirits and mix potions and draw perfect little hermetic circles. No, they're stirring up philosophy, neurology, biochemistry, cognitive psychology, social anthropology, and neuro-linguistic programming into the perfect Pied Piper science for making all us manipulable little lemmings dance. It's bloody scary.

And it's bloody important, too. We know that, the other Corporations know that, the Runners know that, and ALL of them want it. This is priority target #1, and the best of the best of you will be assigned here with the thankless task of keeping them all out. I keep telling the R&D eggheads they need to work up some of that YOU SHALL NOT PASS hoodoo, but who listens to me? I'm just the cybersec sergeant, right?



Because of the heavy representation of fast advance mechanics in NBN that we observed in our discussion of HQ defense, HQ is a relatively weaker attack vector for the Runner than it might be for other Corporations, thus making it a less desirable target. For the same reasons, remote servers are less likely to house agendas that can be stolen as well, since they can often be scored the same turn they are installed. Once these two targets are eliminated, there's only one reliable target left open to all the Runner identities - R&D. This makes R&D by far the most important server in the game for our best defenses. Because of the popularity of the fast advance mechanic in Corporation play (over all factions, not just NBN), the current metagame for Runners puts a heavy focus on powerful R&D attacks like Medium (Core) and Maker's Eye, making it even more important.

Having a variety of defensive measures for this server is a key consideration as well. If all of the defenses are heavy and expensive, then we might not be able to erect them in time to prevent severe damage, and they are vulnerable to shutdown and economic denial strategies vectored through HQ. If all of the defenses are light and cheap, then we might not be able to tax the runner resources enough to prevent them from running rough-shod over all our server, especially in light of a few particularly troublesome riggings available (Yog.0, Dinosaurus, Personal Touch, and recurring credits, to name a few).


Archives Defense

Just how much security do you knobs think we should dedicate to walling off Corporate Archives? The place where all the half-baked ideas and bad reruns go to die? Which ones of you want to guard the bloody trash cans? That's a trick question, you dolts. You'd be surprised what you can still find in a good-ol'-fashioned dumpster dive, and when you're searching digital dumpsters, parallel processing will let you check every one of them all at the same bloody time.

So we lock it down too, right? Not so fast. If we go taking cybersec resources away from other projects and don't log any intrusion attempts for a few days, the Suits come down here and start their blathering about wasting time and personnel and lighting money on fire. As if they know what's going on, because the VERY NEXT DAY after we tear it down, some HQ drone will accidentally round-file the wrong bloody media stream and sure enough, the Suits are back in here belly-aching about "OMGWTF why did you let those bastards into our servers?!??!"

So do we lock it down? That's a really good question. I'll let you know when I find out myself. I need to remember to ask the R&D gurus what the right psycho-babble phrase is to tell the Suits "It's not my fault your bean counters are schizophrenic knuckledraggers. Now kindly get out of my bloody office."



How you defend Archives is likely to be one of the largest factors for variations in how your defenses are played. There are currently only a few methods for Runners to hurt NBN via running Archives: Sneakdoor Beta (Core), Noise virus milling, charging Datasuckers, and Notoriety (Trace Amount). A single small piece of ICE is often adequate here to dissuade the Runner from freely take advantage of you in these cases, though you may want more protection in some cases (such as Gabe with a Sneakdoor and Desperado, or late game against Noise threatening to win with one Archives run), and may not need any at all in others (Shaper with no Notoriety, or Whizzard with no Parasites or Datasuckers installed yet).


Remote Server Defense

When you're assigned to remote deployment, you'd better keep a close eye on your marching orders, because things move fast outside the central DMZ. One moment you'll need to set up quick-and-dirty to patch in the news team on no notice so they can scoop another network, hoping to whatever god the R&D guys told you to pray to that you can drop the feed before some Runner blows through your half-baked firewalls. The next moment you'll be bored out of your mind babysitting the advertising campaign for version whatever-they're-up-to of the new augmented reality tablet, only to be infuriated when SanSan branch calls and asks why you don't have the virtual gateway up that they ordered two hours ago, as if you could read their minds when they didn't put the bloody order through.

There's one thing that's certain though. We may not build firewalls as wide and tall as Weyland or Haas-Bio, and we may not get the same style points as the Jinteki guys do for popping the Runners' brains like a zapped bug, but there's something to be said for doing things the old-fashioned way. When the traces go down and the tags start popping up, it's fun to close these jokers' bank accounts and send them an invoice for all the damage they've done, payable in pain, 18% gratuity added for parties of 1 or more. There's nothing quite like the look on these punks' faces when the meatheads drag them back to Headquarters for a "corporate relations seminar" where we remind them that computers can't, in fact, solve all their problems. *cracks knuckles* It's nice to get a reminder once in a while why I love my job.



How to manage your remote servers is a complicated topic that can vary quite a bit based on your deck design. Even though this one single topic could be the topic of several articles in the future (and probably will be!), there are a couple of general guidelines that apply to almost all NBN decks.

First, Astroscript Pilot Program (Core) is one of the most powerful agendas in the game, particularly for its advancement requirement. One first goal for nearly any NBN game will be to score one of these as fast as possible, since the free advancement action made available by the hosted agenda counter on this scored agenda enables so many future combos, such as chaining additional fast-advanced Astroscripts, fast-advancing a Breaking News with a click left over to Closed Accounts or destroy Personal Workshop, and so on. Since NBN's ICE has relatively weak stopping power in comparison to ICE from Weyland and HB, it's best to do this early while small End the Run (ETR) ICE can still be effective.

Once the Runner has started assembling a rig, remote servers should be used to harrass and induce analysis paralysis. While Runners will often be able to break into an NBN server, you should make them question whether or not they want to by ensuring that their runs are frequently rewarded with assets that are expensive to dismantle and the occassional trap to keep them on their toes. NBN's ICE features extremely strong tracing and tagging capability, so make sure to take advantage of the tempo control aspect of tagging as well by including multiple forms of tag punishment in your deck. Tags the Runner must remove significantly slow down their economic growth, and occassionally you'll be rewarded with the opportunity to use a tag that lasts til your turn to pay them a visit with Private Security Force (Core).

If you would like a more in-depth look at an example of NBN remote management strategy, you can check out my NBN "Never Advance" deck here on CardgameDB.com. I created this deck around the concept of a very specific remote server installation strategy (as you might guess from the name), and reading the detailed deck strategy there can start you thinking about the kinds of questions you should consider when developing a Remote Server strategy for your own deck.


That concludes the first episode of This Just In! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read the article, and please leave me any feedback in the comments to let me know if you did or didn't like it. Stay tuned for the next episode where Sergeant Scrier and I will start profiling each individual NBN ICE - here's a teaser!


Next time on This Just In!...

Data Raven

DVR. Ha! I wish I could go back 40 years ago and buy a beer for the marketing genius bastard that sold that hook to all the television-numbed fish. For all you knobs in the room, that device isn't a Digital Video Recorder. No, that device is really the Distributed Reconnaissance Vector, DRV, or Data Raven for you dolts too slow to put it together on your own. Back in the day, our own eyeballs were the best tools we had for combing through video surveillance recorded by this network of appliances. We had buildings full of personnel working 'round-the-clock hunting for the same information we now get through a collection of facial and gait recognition, retinal scanning, voice spectrum analysis, and transformation insensitive pattern matching trojans that are backdoored in almost every DVR, webcam, cell phone, traffic camera, video game console, and retail kiosk in the developed world. Your bloody toaster probably has them installed too, but I'd have to check with Engineering to be sure.

Now nobody gets past the Ravens without being seen. Nobody. The Ravens see everything.
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Teky Teky
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I've read the second without reading the first one, I will do it asap!

You make want a NBN deck

 
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Lluluien
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Episode 3 is online!

http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/index.html/_/android-net...
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Shawn Burk
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Love this thread, and the article series. As a new player with barely 5 games under their belt who has never played NBN before (but will next session) I'm finding this really great. That, and the flavour of the stories and descriptions of the card and world is fantastic. I feel like I'll be spoiled by this series when I go to read any others. Awesome stuff, can't like it enough.

So for the greenest of the green NBN player, would you suggest more fast advance or tag punishment? My first drafts of a deck tended to be a fair bit of both (have core x2, C&C, all datapacks except Trace and Exodus though they are on their way) but seemed to miss that unifying feel of a deck with a streamlined gameplan.
 
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Lluluien
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Deadsider wrote:
Love this thread, and the article series. As a new player with barely 5 games under their belt who has never played NBN before (but will next session) I'm finding this really great. That, and the flavour of the stories and descriptions of the card and world is fantastic. I feel like I'll be spoiled by this series when I go to read any others. Awesome stuff, can't like it enough.

So for the greenest of the green NBN player, would you suggest more fast advance or tag punishment? My first drafts of a deck tended to be a fair bit of both (have core x2, C&C, all datapacks except Trace and Exodus though they are on their way) but seemed to miss that unifying feel of a deck with a streamlined gameplan.


Glad you enjoyed the articles; thanks for the kind words!

I think that other than Scorched Earth, winning the game via tag punishment can be pretty tricky to pull off. I'd probably recommend exploring the rush/fast advance capabilities of NBN first, then try building an NBN Scorched Earth deck to feel out some of the strengths and vulnerabilities of each of these.

If you enjoyed this article series, you may enjoy the thread on my NBN Never Advance deck as well. That will get you into a few other topics such as non-Scorched tag punishment and Runner economic taxation:

[Deck] Unveiling NBN "Never Advance"
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