Business Casual

I’m thinking about starting some kind of regular beginner/casual play event at my FLGS, and I thought it’d be good to have a place where others with similar intents could throw around ideas and experiences. Here are some of my ideas for a beginner event.

Limit the card pool: run a tournament with only the core set. On one hand, I’d love to escalate to include other cycles, but on the other I think it’d be good to have a reliable night where anyone can come in and not stress over growing card knowledge. I also don’t want to pressure people into buying more cards than they’d like.

Reserve a few tables for open play. Not everyone wants to be thrown into a competition, and it might be nice to have a table or two for people who walk by and want to learn.

Send out an email about common microaggressions beforehand to those who pre-register. Quintin Smith did this when he ran a beginner’s tournament. A woman I talked to said she thinks it improved her experience at that tournament compared to the one she went to before, and I think it’s something worth keeping up!

Nothing revolutionary here, but I wanted to get the topic going.


At The Wizard’s Chest in Denver, the guy who runs the tournaments just keeps all the FFG draft cubes and starters after each draft tournament, so he can keep running draft tournaments with a buy-in of 5 bucks. You don’t get to keep the cards as you would in one where you actually buy a starter and a draft pack, but hey, can’t beat the price.

And draft is always wild 'n crazy, you don’t get ROFLstomped by a well-oiled machine the same you do in constructed, so it’s probably more fun for a beginner.

I think this would actually be a mistake, unless “other cycles” means SanSan Cycle, since Spin (Genesis) are (have been) famously hard to find. I think Core + 1x Deluxe is probably the best way to jazz it up as far as balancing cost and availability of necessary cards.

I also think it’s a good idea to give out Data Packs as prizes in some way that ensures they go to new players. I’m personally a fan of giving a Data Pack to the highest-placing participant who hasn’t registered for (Top 8’d?) a constructed event at the same venue, and ditto to the lowest-placing participant meeting the same qualifications.

Because, hey, I’ve basically been paying $15 / mo to play Netrunner since Core. I’d gladly step up my “subscription” a little bit to subsidize getting newbies up to speed.


This is great; draft cubes are another decent option, though that experience is more for casuals than beginners.

I’d love to see the actual e-mail he sent, I think it sounds like a great idea.

[quote=“kim, post:1, topic:4629”]
Reserve a few tables for open play. Not everyone wants to be thrown into a competition
[/quote]My thoughts have been along these lines, but even fursther - I think it’d be really awesome to have GNK free-play nights. I think there are a lot of casual or potential future casual players out there that would love to hang out all afternoon and play netrunner, (especially if they got a cool alt art out of it) but just have zero interest in any type of tournament format.

You do have to be careful with this one. On the one hand, it’s a good way to encourage people to play the game despite not having many cards. On the other, the players that visit that FLGS will probably still turn up, due to GNK prizes or wanting to try the ‘unique’ meta or whatever other reason, and it could well be that if they don’t turn up, you’ll find it hard to get enough players. It mightn’t be super good (or the reason for the tournament idea) for the beginners to be matched against the experienced players, even with the limited card pool.

I think I’d like to note that GNK prizes for a beginner’s event do seem a bit out of place. I know that @tomdidiot is running a beginner friendly tournament split into two pods (one full card pool, one restricted to one core + one deluxe). I’m not sure how the GNK prizes are being split, but I think the top prize from the restricted pod is Opening Moves (though could easily be “data pack of your choice”). I like this format a lot, it lets experienced players play full Netrunner, and beginners play Netrunner for prizes that they actually want! This also stops problems I brushed over in the previous paragraph: experienced players won’t be paired against beginners and probably won’t want to enter the limited card pool event. The only limiting factor here is number of players, it’d really suck if you only got two or three beginners turn up with 20 people coming for normal constructed.

As an addendum to this, you don’t want to have too many beginner-only or restricted card pool only events. Your players will want to play some real GNKs, too. I don’t know how common the beginner events should be and I love that they exist, but you certainly should be careful: hopefully without sounding too entitled or whatever, I don’t want all of the GNKs I go to to be Core Set Only. FLGSs only have so many times they can run Netrunner tournaments, and FFG only send a certain number of GNKs per season.

Something my FLGS does is have an all-day casual play session every month we don’t have a tournament, which is something I’m not sure a lot of other FLGSs do. They’re free, no-registration, turn-up-and-play, and they incidentally tend to be great environments for beginners, whilst being fun for more competitive players too (without intimidating words like “tournament”). We get a lot of casual players there that we don’t get at the tournaments or weekly events at the pub!

I like this idea a lot, but something I think would be even better (perhaps as well as?) would be encouraging the FLGS to display something along the same lines to that, or the ANRPC Code (in short: “don’t be a dickhead”) on the wall. Perhaps, if nothing else, you could put it next to the standings for only the length of the event?


Put it in the bathrooms. 100% more effective.


I think it is even more important to give newcomers a short we-want-you-to-feel-comfortable-here primer in person. That way, they know whom they can adress concerns to.

1 Like

It’s not quite an idea for a beginners’ event per se, but on a similar tack have you thought of restricting the players some other way than by set?

Locally, we’ve had a few casual tournaments where there have been extra incentives for certain less-used deck choices (e.g. a lucky dip from the hoard of spare alt art cards if you played one of the “worst” three identities as per the OCTGN rankings at the time). It might even work better if you enforced the restriction rather than it being a nudge, I don’t know? Similar kinds of restrictions might allow both experienced and new players to start on somewhat more of a level playing field in one sense, if the regular players aren’t all playing their usual “tournament meta” and the fact that there’s a special quirk means that people will be less likely to get all “serious game face” about it.

It mightn’t be the best for people just learning the game, but it might be be a fun idea to integrate those who do know the game but are more casual players or who don’t want to worry about having all the cards (but might be excited to play the cool new pack they did just get). Maybe everyone has to play PE and no-one’s allowed any ICE? Or everyone’s Weyland and no-one’s allowed Plascrete? Or you can only build a deck with sentries? Maybe you build a single deck but take one ID from each faction and randomly pick your ID before each match? I’m sure you can think of a dozen better ideas!

This is a good thread, thanks for making it.

We’re planning on running a beginner core set only tournament later this month here (which I can hopefully go to and help run). I think it’d be a good idea to do post-mortems on what worked/didn’t work at tournaments people run for beginners.

Prizes of data packs seems like a good call, something a new person actually wants rather than alt-art.

Another question that we should maybe talk about, how do people get the word out about the tournament/beginner event? It seems like something that should be advertised, and I don’t know what techniques anyone is using. Seems like something that would be useful to advertise, as it represents a good entry point for people that might not be actively looking for a Netrunner event. Any thoughts on this? I don’t really have any great answers.


A good on-ramp for newer players is critical for the long-term health of the game. Communities live and die by how they treat their newbies, and how their newbies treat the community.

I fear that CSO (Core-Set-Only) tournaments will make it hard to retain oldbie interest, and Core + Deluxe give you some really powerful decks and potentially a lopsided corp/runner balance. C&C added Atman, and there’s no Wraparound/Swordsman to stop classic Atman+Datasucker. It also added Same Old Thing, and with only big box corp economy available Siphon spam will be as degenerate as it used to be. Eater Siphon MaxX, anyone? On the corp side, there’s no plascrete to worry about (though there is IHW).

I like the idea of recurring drafts. There’s no drafting in my local scene because there’s no real reason to buy draft product (not even the Cyber War draft packs, and they had some cards that are 1x or 2x in the core).

I think you want to attract the regulars (so the newbies can mingle and integrate), but you want an environment where they’re not 100% gameface. What about cracking a GNK but randomly assigning some prizes (either promo product or other)? @Xenasis’s point about a data pack prize is a really good one. A lucky door prize of a datapack-you-haven’t-got-yet feels like a really good incentive for newbies (reduces total onboarding cost), and has the added bonus of incentivising coming back (“I just got these new cards! I can’t wait to put them in a deck for next week!”)

On advertising: Who are you targeting? I think this is one step beyond “learn-to-play” days, so you’re probably going to be looking at converting people who know about their FLGS and play something else (maybe that other Richard Garfield card game?). So I’d target local netrunner groups (to get veteran support and buy-in) and try and advertise through the FLGS (in-store and online - everyone has a bookface page these days). Mention that it’s explicitly beginner-targeted and play for low stakes (smoother prize distribution over the player pool, more door prizes, that sort of thing).

1 Like


They would be single-core + single Expansion tournaments, so, among other things, Siphon would be 2x, Datasucker would be 2x, Desperado would be 1x, there would be no Emergency Shutdown, there would be no Faerie, there would be no d4v1d, you couldn’t have MaXx and Clone Chip, etc.


That’s much less worrying. You could still put together a mean Katman but without RDI and Indexing it’ll be a bit tougher. Maker’s Eye + SoT?

I have no idea how the corps would go, though…

Archer / Troubleshooter all day erryday.

A cool thing locally that a store is doing is a B-sides event where they are limiting the identities to the lesser seen ones, that alone makes it much more interesting and casual. Cybernetics division vs professor is far less cut throat than, say RP vs Kate and lets people not be so serious.

1 Like

I think I’m gonna stick with CSO for the time being and see who it attracts first. A beginner was telling me that she wished she had a way to keep learning with other beginners, so I think having a regular CSO event might be a good start. I already have a handful of veterans that are interested in helping by hanging out and helping to parse out rules, so that’s not too much of a concern for me at the moment.

Advertising is gonna be the tricky part! I know within my own social circles some people who don’t feel comfortable at regular store events, so I’m going to see if they’d be willing to come out for something like this and if not, ask what would make them give it a shot. I’ll probably ask some other regulars to do the same. I doubt we’re going to get the event right on the first try, but I’m definitely interested in experimentation.

1 Like

Imma link to the SMC ANRPC Finals here, just because the range of alternative events looks so rad. Love seeing stuff like this.

Editing to signalboost some other atypical or casual-friendly tournaments:

And yeah, if anyone goes to any of these events, please post your impressions/experiences!