From first timer to a believer

So a few months ago I got Netrunner, but sadly there was no local meta to be found. I decided to take it upon myself to build a local play group, and managed to find a few players and get them all together in a Facebook group chat. We meet around once a week / two weeks with about 4 people attending.

In addition, there is a monthly board game event where we go to play in hopes to get new people interest in the game. So far only one person was interested and tried the game, but AFAIK he did not buy the game. I want to leverage the event for getting more people into the game. I’m going to make signs inviting people to try the game and having our players be ready to teach the game to newcomers.

The problem I’m having is how to turn a newcomer into a player. This would include buying the game, staying in contact with us and coming to a weekly Netrunner night. I’ll try to get a copy of the game for sell at the event (a local game store always has a stand). I’m not sure about how to take players from that to the next step. Any ideas?


From personal experience: Start a league night.

A 10-week league that costs $5 - $10 for the whole thing provides the store with incentive (selling dice/sleeves/data packs/snacks/drinks), and if the prize support at the end is interesting enough, and the weekly play easy enough to understand, then the players will come. Partnering with a good store is also key. (What, what, Mead Hall)

second everything here. I recommend emphasizing the casual nature: within reason proxies allowed, loaner decks available for players that aren’t fully “bought in” yet, etc. There’s something about a modest entry fee and light competition for novelty prizes that makes people more interested in sticking around than just “for funsies”

Also can be useful to target ex-magic players over board-game players; they having a gaping hole in their life where t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶u̶m̶o̶r̶ MtG used to be, and Netrunner seems cheap to them compared to MtG, instead of very expensive compared to one-off board games.

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From personal experience, a league is just as likely to drive away new players as it is to attract them. I know when I started I wanted nothing to do with a league – why pay $5 or $10 that I know I have no chance of winning from more experienced players? That’s just throwing away money. And on top of that, it’s “hey, come spend a minimum of $30 to buy a core set, then throw away an extra $5 or $10. Trust me, it’ll be fun.” When I was told that, I felt like I was getting scammed.

For me, what’s worked best is having basic (i.e. Core Set, no influence) decks that expose players to the basic mechanics, because Netrunner has a great set of core gameplay mechanics. Once they try a couple factions and see the obvious holes – “Man, I wish I could bring Mimic or Ninja into Shaper, Pipeline is awful!” – that’s when they tend to be interested in the build-your-own aspect of the game. That’s where they’re likeliest to go for it. The problem is, there’s no fast/easy way to get there besides demoing the game to a lot of potentially-interested people. For every person who joins our local crew, there are several who try the game and go “wow, this is neat,” but never actually jump in.

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Curious, Brodie- $5 to play in a structured setting for x weeks doesn’t appeal to you? Even if it’s just casual play?

Our league has a lot of benefits that I’ve worked out with the store. $10 for 10 weeks of play. Each week is 3 rounds of swiss. Winner of each week gets a prize, and there’s a random prize also given out every week. Every league member receives $1 off data packs for the length of the league. You also get one bonus point every week for bringing a new ID.

Winter league that starts in January will be introducing bounties on the top 4 league members.

Not when I was new to the game, it didn’t. As I said, at the time, and from the vantage point of someone completely new to the game, it seemed like a waste of money at best and an outright scam at worst. But that league didn’t have benefits like $1 off data packs during the league, and there weren’t as many prizes as you’re talking about.