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Guest (Beginner) Lobby on Jinteki.net

As many of you know, Netrunner is a game with a high barrier to entry for beginners. Even though jinteki.net already significantly lowers that barrier by providing access to the entire cardpool, there is still a lot to be desired in that matter.

A complete beginner to Netrunner (not having ever seen a physical copy or anything), after visiting jinteki.net for the first time ever, faces following problems:

  1. Not knowing rules - has to either watch a youtube video, read a rulebook (which he doesn’t have) or rely on met strangers to teach them.

  2. Rules have tons of gotchas and weird interactions, with no one good place to learn them all.

  3. Decks currently played draw from a huuge cardpool (currently about 1000 and counting) with often complicated mechanics.

  4. To play or even just watch a game you have to register an account. That can be a huger block to trying out a site than most think. E-commerce sites which enabled guest checkout observed sales increase sometimes as high as 45%. (1) (2)

  5. To play, you have to construct a deck. There are a few old Worlds Championship Winners’ decks added by default to the account, but they are not necessarily easy to play, evenly matched against today’s meta or even each other.

  6. Even in the casual room, you can encounter decks that are really not friendly for beginner games, sometimes even if you name the game e.g. “beginner here, learning the game”.

This change - adding a guest lobby - is attempting to solve problems 4, 5 and 6. Problems 2 and 3 are circumvented by limiting decks played in the lobby to only a few pre-constructed ones, carefully tailored for beginner use and balanced against each other. Basic strategy write-ups (targeted at people who never played even a single Netrunner game) for them would also be very useful, helping a tiny bit with problem 1.

Another change would be allowing spectators to be guests, except of course for no spectator games. Chat for unregistered players would be disabled outside of the guest lobby, to prevent abuse/spambots. Registered players would be able to join/create games in the guest lobby, but they would also be limited to one of the premade decks.

While I won’t get around to implementing the above for a while (got a few other plans to finish first), I invite all Netrunner teachers here on Stimhack to brainstorm the decks to be available for the guest lobby. The decks should be:

  • Simple to use and grasp, with clear victory path - obviously.
  • Representative of their faction - while SEA Scorch package in HB is certainly possible, it’s not necessarily very educational.
  • Not necessarily core only, but sticking as close to core+deluxes as possible - let’s make the shopping list as small as possible for potential beginners wanting to buy in. Let’s say the recently growing in popularity 1+1+1 format per deck. (this is up to discussion)
  • Current and legal - please think twice before including a card from Spin/Genesis cycle. The feature may not get implemented before rotation happens and even if it does, there already isn’t that much time left. Also, limit 1 Astro per deck - this isn’t archeology room! :wink:

Decks chosen from posted here will be used as the first iteration for the fixed decklists in the beginner room. After we gather some actual beginner feedback and winrate stats, it’s possible they will be further tweaked / teched against some matchups to approach the holy grail, 50:50 winrate ;-).

Ideas, comments and decklists welcome!

For technical discussion regarding this on github I created this thread: https://github.com/mtgred/netrunner/issues/1924


Why would we be concerned about shopping? If they’re playing on Jnet, they have access to the whole pool. If they decide to buy some cards in real life, why would they want to build “the beginner deck from jnet”? (If they were buying real life cards to play with their friends, they could just play the “whatever packs I own” format, while if they were buying them to play in a tournament, they’d probably want something more powerful than the beginner deck we designed with these limitations)

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It’s not going to fit all criteria (cost, dealing with rotating cards), but @TheBigBoy created teaching decks that I’ve been using with newer players to great success. https://runthenet.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/recommended-teachinglearning-decks/


Oh, that one is fairly recent, haven’t seen these yet. Nice find :slight_smile:

Beginner deck building efforts I know about, all fairly old:

While I understand your sentiment, some hypothetical beginners who started could be in situation “I like the online game, would like to buy some packs now - what to buy?”. I agree with you that jinteki.net is not the best place to make shopping recommendations. However, IMHO it would be far easier for them if the decks they started and grew familiar with had a lower price sticker. It doesn’t have to be 1+1+1, but it’s certainly preferable to e.g. 2+3+12.

As a still relatively new player, I think runthenet’s recently posted decks are really great for newer players to practice with! An awesome step after the basic learning phase with the other decks that have been mentioned…

Another new player and I have been playing a variety of matchups with these and they’re incredibly good at getting you to think about the nuances and flow of the game. They are definitely not the dumbed-down decks that most learning/starters are, and I can imagine them even being competitive a lot of the broader meta.


For what it’s worth, I think it is in Jnet’s best interest to encourage the purchase of paper Netrunner if for no other reason than to stay in the good graces of FFG.


On point number 1, how difficult is it to add in more pauses just for the beginner room? The 1990’s Micropose Magic the Gathering Game (often nicknamed Shandalar for the world it’s set in) had indicators for each action window.

Summoning a monster? Window pops us with opportunities to counter (that auto skip if there’s nothing you can do). Combat was a bit confusing because it would have separate sub phases for each phase of combat (Declare attackers; subphase, declare defenders; subphase, resolve damage; subphase, and some other phases I forgot).

It was a bit wonky because the game assumed what each phase meant so it was easy to get confused if you tried to declare defenders during the declare attackers subphase, but that’s something that could have been solved with a clear “do you have any instants you want to cast?” prompt.

If it would be possible to break down reaction phases (particularly during a run, but also clone chipping out a program at the end of the corp’s turn for Kate’s discount would be good to illustrate) seems like one big hang-up. Have text descriptions of what people can do when would probably help as well. Like how when the corp rezzes ICE, that also their only opportunity to rez upgrades that would affect that ICE (like corp troubleshooter).

Basically, have the related rules every step spelled as that window occurs with explanations of the window and highlights of anything they can do in that window (and if there’s nothing they can do, a prompt that says there’s nothing they can do right now).

Again, I have no idea how if this is feasible that having the game stop at each window would seem like a good way to highlight how the game works.

It would be a monumental undertaking.

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Whelp, that strikes my idea!

Maybe there’s a more practical way of highlighting windows and/or reaction opportunities? That seems like the hardest part to learn.

Would it be simpler to show a reference above the chat, in the space where there’s usually a larger picture of the card under your cursor? It could be shown only when your cursor isn’t above a card.

I’ve seen card-sized run and turn timing references that I’ve thought would work well in that space, but they might be a bit intimidating for a beginner/guest lobby. If it wouldn’t be too hard to change the reference image when the game state changes, then perhaps just the currently most relevant bit could be shown. For instance, when the Runner’s turn has ended and the Corp’s turn hasn’t yet begun, a reference image showing only the Draw phase of the Corp’s turn could show. Then when they click the button to start their turn, it could be replaced with a reference for the Corp’s Action phase. And so on.