Inspired by @FightingWallon’s thread about how to help new players, I realized we have a lot of arcane lingo we use in Netrunner, accepted as common parlance by experienced player, yet means nothing to a newer player.
I figured we could gather a lot of these “unofficial” terms and define them, to help newer players get in the groove.
I’ll start us off:
The Jackson Window: The action window a corp has between when a Runner has committed to making a successful run, but before they access. Infamously used to rez and use Jackson Howard, but is also useful for rezzing upgrades dealing damage.
Drip economy: Gaining an advantage in resources (cards, credits, ect) passively, without investing further resources into it. PAD Campaign, Sensie Actor’s Union, Wyldside and Beth Kilrain-Chang are all examples of drip-economy. Magnum Opus is an example of economy that ISN’T drip.
Fast-Advance: Also FA, or “Scoring out of hand”. The corp action of installing and scoring an agenda within the scope of a single turn, thus not having to have it installed during the Runner’s turn.
This usually requires gaining extra clicks in some way (for example Biotic Labor, Jeeves Model Bioroids), reducing the advancement requirement of Agendas (for example SanSan City Grid), or placing more Advancement tokens on Agendas than normal clicks would allow (for example AstroScript Pilot Program or Trick of Light).
What other terms in Netrunner were you forced to learn as you started to become more experienced? Let’s compile a list!
How about the truly terribly named…
Never Advance: Also NA, related to the shell game tactic. The corp tactic of installing an agenda either in a scoring server or in an unprotected remote without spending further actions that turn advancing the agenda. Next turn, the corp scores the agenda. This requires the agenda to be scoreable in a single three-click turn, barring the use of Fast-Advance support cards.
And the much better named…
Shell Game: A corp tactic wherein the corp player installs multiple cards undefended in new remotes, typically in some mix of ambushes, agendas, and potentially other, non-ambush assets or upgrades. The runner player must infer with little-to-no information which of the cards are agendas and which are useless assets or harmful and potentially deadly ambushes. This tactic is commonly seen used with Jinteki identites like Jinteki: Personal Evolution, but can be a fruitful (or desperate) tactic out of any corp.
When I started playing it took me forever to figure out what the hell people were talking about when they were “never advancing” agendas.
I think the tricky thing about a glossary might be figuring out how to both make it accessible to new players and keep it up to date. There are a bunch of older glossaries that are neither up to date nor frequently linked to, so it seems like compiling the glossary is not the hardest part of making it available (though of course it is a fundamental part).
Here are the options I can think of off the top of my head:
This topic/thread. It’s already here, it’s easy for people to add to, and it’s searchable. It’s kind of an awkward format for a reference, though.
The subreddit wiki. It already has a terminology page, and in theory multiple people could contribute to it. In practice the existing page is a bit short and hasn’t been updated in quite a while, and I’m not sure who has edit access to the wiki or who controls it or how they prefer to manage it.
A Wikia wiki. ANCUR and the Android Universe Fan Wiki are already on Wikia, and it would be easy to allow many people to contribute. But it would be mostly under Wikia’s control, with limited wiki features and lots of ads.
GitHub and GitHub pages. This is what I chose for the beginner’s collection plan I created. This allows for lots of control, no ads, and multiple contributors, but it’s trickier to set up and some potential contributors might be turned off by having to learn to use GitHub.
Stimhack.com would be a great place to put a glossary, if the folks running it agreed, but that wouldn’t cover providing a way for people to contribute to the glossary. Maybe the glossary source could be maintained somewhere else, such as GitHub, and Stimhack could host a periodically-updated copy.
“Tempo” is a word you’ll hear thrown around a lot. It kind of means “has lots of creds”, but there’s more to it than that. A good definition would be useful, but I can’t formulate one.
“Tempo” is actually notoriously difficult to define.
In general, ‘tempo’ is used as a noun, as in ‘I have tempo’ or ‘that play lost tempo’. It generally refers to being in control of the game, understanding where it is heading and having the ability to react to future plays adequately. As you stated, credit pool serves as a reasonable analogy, because having more money gives you more options.
However, more specifically, you can lose tempo by making a poorly advised run, spending much of your resources on a single random access on R&D or HQ, or accessing a bluff or trap card. (Usually spending credits, but sometimes you spend other things like clicks, cards, or installed rig pieces.) On the Corp side, rezzing the wrong ICE or suffering a setback from an Account Siphon can cause a loss of tempo.
This provides the opponent with a scoring window, which is an opportunity to score during which the opponent is probably unable to contest the scored or stolen agenda.
I like to think of tempo as a line for each player from the beginning of the game to the end of the game, or your preferred win condition. Actions that move you slowly along this line or even backwards lose you tempo. Making inefficient runs, going too low on credits with no way to get back up reliably, even purging virus counters can potentially lose you tempo.
Tempo means time, or speed, or pace. How quickly can you get to the win condition and close the game out?
The way I’ve always percieved “tempo”, is that it is progression of gameplan in comparison to your opponents progression.
“Gaining tempo” means progressing your gameplan faster than your opponent is progressing theirs, or setting your opponent’s gameplan back by making them waste resources on sub-optimal plays.
This is related to what @CrushU said about control of the game, because if you’ve progressed your gameplan faster than your opponent has progressed theirs, you have more resources to spare for disruption or reactive plays. You are, so to speak, “ahead in tempo”.
Haley Kaplan’s extra install gains you tempo, as you get to install more things faster.
Running a bluff-remote loses you tempo, as you expend resources without progressing your gameplan.
Using Emergency Shutdown on an expensive piece of ICE sets your opponent back in tempo, as they are forced to expend resources on rezzing that ICE again before progressing their gameplan.
Near-Earth Hub’s extra draw gains you tempo, as you can progress your gameplan without investing clicks.
Getting ICE trashed loses you tempo, as you need to invest additional resources into progressing your gameplan.
Dealing random net damage sets your opponent back in tempo, as it prevents them from straightforwardly executing their gameplan.
Just a clarification, never advance refers more to the threat of the face down card being an agenda. A never advance strategy could be to install a new face down card in a taxing remote every turn, for instance. It could be the Project Vitruvius, or it could be just another Adonis Campaign. Tends to work best in HB because of the taxing ice and having in faction access to six 3/2 agendas.
I do agree the name is really unclear for new players