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How do we save Netrunner?


Sure, if you’d play more than a Corp and a Runner game per match.


This shows well the game can stop anytime. If they believed in it, they would have made another Shaper or Crim or Anarch vs NBN or Jinteki or HB or Weyland box.

And continue to translate cards but that’s another story (price = price x 2, there, or you can buy L5A for half price).

Inconsistent policy at best.


Well german cards (all lcgs) are just about 2/3 price of the english ones here in germany…


I don’t see how this argument works. For one, if you did faction vs. faction boxes, you run into the Data & Destiny problem all over again. I don’t think FFG wants to introduce more minifactions, so that’s out. Maybe FFG would just have cards for the current minifactions in said box? But then you don’t get the fun of new identities, which is unfortunate. Maybe you do all three major runner factions in said box? That opens up balance issues, I think: runners now have somewhat more cards than each corp. That’s a solvable problem, of course: you can skew each corp in the next cycle of big boxes to have slightly more cards, knowing that the card pool will even out once the cycle in complete. But then for the two years (?) of a big box cycle, the corps have slightly more cards, which is its own problem.

Look at this from a new player’s perspective, too. You buy a revised core, you play games on the kitchen table or whatever with some friends, you find out you like the game. After a couple months, you decide, “hey, we’ve played this game a lot, it’d be fun to get some more cards.” Your options at the moment are, roughly, all at similar price points:

  1. Buy a data pack, maybe two, three if you’re feeling really sure. Depending on the group, I imagine it could be difficult to get new identities, new agendas, new breakers, etc. for every faction people enjoy playing. And packs are balanced vs. the whole cycle, not as individual packs (or so I have heard), so you may find out things get wildly skewed.
  2. Buy a faction vs. faction big box. Maybe everybody in your group loves Crim vs. Jinteki, for instance, so you’d be all set. But anybody who doesn’t like those factions gets more or less left out in the cold.
  3. Buy Terminal Directive. This is slightly more interesting than buying a big box, actually, so maybe people do that.

Either way, whether you buy TD and play that for a while, or decide not to, you’re still faced with the other two options, and they haven’t gotten any better. To compare this to other board games, it’s like you bought an expansion and only the red player gets new tricks. Lots of fun for the red player, maybe less fun for other people.

Compare this situation to post-Reign and Reverie. You play games with a revised core, you decide you’d like to get more cards (an “expansion” for your game, if you will). Now you have this option to buy a single package, with new identities for every faction (so you have a lot of new and different matchups available), new tools for everybody (same), and so forth. I’d wager that looks more attractive to new people, and I think it’s also a lot easier for game store owners to sell to people who come in and say “I like Netrunner, and want something else, what should I get?” Maybe it’s less exciting for competitive-minded people, who don’t so much care about what faction to play and just want to play what’s going to win.

But for non-competitive-minded people, it’s a significantly better option for “what do I buy next?” And it lets FFG show off the factions a little bit more, so maybe people will be interested in buying that big box as their next purchase.

Anyway, that’s a wall of text, so I won’t talk about the Android-based boardgames, or the Worlds of Android book (which is gorgeous, and wouldn’t have gotten produced on a whim), or the mentioned Android settings for their new Genesys RPG system, or…I think FFG is interested in seeing this game and the universe continue. The translation situation is something I can’t speak to, though, being fortunate to live in a primarily English-speaking country…


In addition to all the benefits for new people of an all-faction deluxe, I’m hopeful that it means that they’re considering eventually rotating some deluxes. Having all-faction deluxes means they can work on figuring out the right number of deluxes to make the card pool a good size, rather than being stuck having to have a multiple of four deluxes legal so every faction has one.

At a minimum, I’d like to see Cache Refresh use the latest all-faction deluxe instead of the player’s choice of deluxe, because I think that would make the format more new-player-friendly.

I think translation depends mostly on what distributors ask for. FFG’s not going to pay for a given translation if none of their distributors want it.


This is a good point, actually. People have complained about the low amount of love Cache Refresh gets from FFG, so they could be introducing this as a way to make CR into Revised + Reign + Cycle.


Actually, that’s a really damn good idea. The Core+R&R+Cycle model is a really low buy-in. $130 right now for all of it, and I doubt with just that pool that all the packs would be necessary to be competitive in CR.


I still don’t like CR because I don’t own Revised, I just have a set of every card from it, so finding out what I’m allowed to play is a pain. (1 Stimhack? What in the hell???) Apart from that little caveat, I think it’d be a great model for the format.


NRDB has a “Show Cache Refresh format compliance” option in Settings; better yet, you can select “Use 1 Core Set” and it’ll only let you add the appropriate number of cards


I know there’s tools out there that help, but I don’t know off the top of my head how many of each card I’m allowed when formulating decks. I mostly build decks in my head and just writing them down, so having to use a specific resource really chokes my ability.

Conversely, if there’s more support for the format, eventually it’ll be easier to figure out from other decklists, so supporting the format will help get me interested on that front, too.

EDIT: This is getting off topic now, anyway. :sweat_smile:


I have every card. 3 cores, every big box and data pack. That is like 700 bucks. Nobody in my town plays “competetively”… a handful of people play in the biggest city in my state. I feel many people play as a kitchen table game and not like people playing Friday Night Magic. I’d kill for a few people around here that wanted to grind and formulate decks with me, but it isn’t going to happen. I have Jinteki for that. I’d love to play more, but nobody is interested. The 2 guys that played in my town said go hell with it since the mwl and rotation happened since they “couldn’t use their cards”, but it was legion and l5r that really got them out of it.


Remembering the price of those boxes, you get 3x the amount of cards in a datapack for 3x the price of a datapack.

So, R&R or 3 datapack essentially are the same. Instead that with DP, you can target cards you actually want.

Not sure the “casual player” is better with that. The only thing you get is the very relative security that these cards won’t rotate, if the game keep for x seasons.


I think what you are not taking into account is how successful Netrunner has been for FFG as a boardgame!
This may be because you only see it as a competitive game (lots of high-profile players tend to evaluate everything with a competitive lens as well, but that is not all Netrunner is).

Because Netrunner is released with a boardgame core box, it has drawn on quite a different pool of players than your run-of-the-mill competititve card game. I am one of the many who would never have gotten in if it was a purely competitive game for which you buy starter decks and separate small packs.

I’m not against starter decks, but I don’t think they should replace the core set. FFG would be dumb if they did that – they have said themselves in the past that the core set accounts for substantially more than 50% of their Netrunner revenue (I don’t remember the exact number, unfortunately), which suggests that the casual players who buy the core with maybe a few expansions and play that as a boardgame are in fact in the majority.

I’m not saying FFG should not cater to competitive play, but they should not only cater to competitive play, and for casual play, the core set is great.


I don’t know, I guess I have a really different impression of the game right now. There are new-player questions everywhere, we just got a friend in, our group got another couple of newbies… Of course it’ll take a while until this is seen at the high-level tournaments again; new players need time to grow (heck, I’m an “old” player and I’ve never played at a high-level tournament).
This gloom and doom somehow doesn’t seem appropriate.

(Before the announcement of the Revised Core, I remember that everything was really gloom and doom, and at the time, I understood it more – it wasn’t even clear that FFG would release any more product at that point because Red Sands was ending and Kitara not yet announced --, but I am pretty sure that being all gloom and doom and “we need to save the game” at a time the game actually seems to be on an upswing again is counterproductive to that goal.)


I think the best thing FFG could do to Save the Game ™ would be to just put out an article or so every week just saying… Literally anything. SC roundups, or HAVE A SPOILER SEASON.

Spoiler Seasons get people more excited for a release than anything else. [citation needed] Instead of just doing one article and then releasing the set a thousand years later [citation also needed] announce the set and show one (1) Identity, and maybe a card it combos with, and then a small card for the other side, then the week after a trickle of spoilers, then a big spoiler discussing in depth some more cards and with high-rez images of every card so people don’t have to see this when the set has been fully spoiled.


Give this person a job!

(Prob not at FFG)


at NZ nationals yesterday, my partner and another former player were talking about why they don’t play anymore. The amount of knowledge you need to know about the game, in terms of meta cards, card interactions, new cards, etc., even if you know the game, is extremely daunting.

“Why can’t I just play what I played before?”

The barrier to entry for someone who stopped playing probably a year or more ago is so huge, and perhaps even moreso than a brand new player because they have a lot of preconceived notions about the cards, strategies, and meta that are no longer relevant whereas a new player comes with a clean slate. And I think this is especially problematic after rotation.


This is an interesting point. It’s funny, but if one keeps up to date with the game, the shift in the meta can feel (ahem), glacial; however if you were gone for an extended period of time, I would agree that jumping back in could feel even harder.

Does the same feeling apply to games like MtG for lapsed players? I’d imagine not because the rotation of cards is so “fast” that you’d be learning a smaller card pool to get caught up to speed.

However, I’d think if you gave a lapsed “competitive” Netrunner player a few decks that are considered modern meta, they’d be up and running quickly–but their deck building abilities would more likely be hindered by being out of the (ahem) data loop.


This is going to be a long one from a card game veteran but also a noob in Netrunning. I won’t suggest a solution for the problem as I don’t know it, but I want to stress out the two biggest issues with keeping this game alive - SITUATIONAL GAME MECHANICS and SALES POLICY.
This is based on my humble opinion and I think many people will disagree with this (also, my apologies for my English, it’s not my native language).

When I first saw this game I thought the rules were pretty complex, but I was determined to give it a try. I’m a huge fan of the CyberSpace concept, I love Gibsons’s Neuromancer and Cyberpunk’s netrunning. I also love card games and have been playing various since 2001 (starting with Magic the Gathering during the Oddysey block). So… I bought the Revised Core Set together with the Creation and Control expansion and started playing.

I quickly noticed that Netrunner is based on situational plays - your success is heavily dependent on having the right countermeasure to whatever the other player is playing. Killers break sentries, fracters break barriers and decoders break code gates, and then there are some effects that you can’t break through (“when encountered” and “traps”) unless you have that one specific card that can let you ignore those effects. The runner also needs to use different cards to prevent net damage, brain damage, meat damage, being tagged and prevent the Corp from scoring an Agenda within one turn (Clot). You can create a strong and fun-to-play deck, but if you don’t have “that one specific card” that saves you from an effect from “that other specific card” your opponent is playing, you may end up dead very soon. And if you do, it’s not a fun game.

It’s a super advanced rock-paper-scissors game. Some of us like it, others despise it.

It’s because situational mechanics look cool but are terrible when it comes to creating a friendly-competitive environment and even worse when it comes to bringing casuals to start playing. An experienced Netrunner player will make sure to have the right card at the right moment, but a newbie will often end up stuck and frustrated because (an example) he or she won’t have a Fracter, when the opponent will have a powerful, run-ending Barrier. Or he/she will become tagged and won’t have a Misdirection to remove tags before there’s a BOOM! on the table. And it’s not only about new players. Many people simply dislike when they need to put “that one specific card” in their deck just because somebody else could be playing “that one specific strategy” that they have no other way to counter. That’s why many other games resigned from those mechanics a long time ago… and they’re doing just fine.

Also - money. It’s always about money.
Yeah, Netrunner is much cheaper than keeping up to date with Magic the Gathering, but it is the XXI century. People play Hearthstone and Gwent online, with extra visual effects, easy access, they don’t have to travel to a local shop, they don’t have to search for people playing the game and - most importantly - they can start having fun without paying a single dollar. MtG may be expensive, but it’s a game with a tradition and lots of support from it’s developers.
On the other hand, people can choose the Netrunner, that has already nearly 50 (!) expansion packs… you don’t “have to” buy them, but there is a high chance that you will need to buy some of them to enhance your collection, allowing you to create various decks. And it’s hard to get singles - it’s not a card gathering game.

And this brings me to the final point… I feel that FFG is not supporting this game enough (again, this is just my opinion here). There are no social media fan pages created by FFG and the dedicated website releases only info on new products to buy (New Playmats! New Data Pack! Maybe you also want to buy the new Star Wars pack?) but hardly ever I see articles that would explain the lore or design thought behind cards. Most things we have, like the NetrunnerDB or this forum, have been created by the player community.
Also, I have never heard of events like “Learn the Netrunner” organized by FFG (for comparison, Wizards of the Coast keep on organizing such events and it brings lots of people to play at our local store). Most of my friends who are playing card/board/battle games (including shop owners and tournament players) have never heard of this game or were not interested in learning it at all. One of my colleagues even told me: “Man, seriously, why are you buying Netrunner? You know FFG is the EA of board games, right? They will sell you an incomplete box of cards that you won’t be able to fully enjoy unless you buy two more and a dozen of expansion packs to make it work. They care only about money, not about the quality of their products.” And it was hard for me to disagree because the sales policy behind Netrunner seems very unfair - actually, it looks like a money-making-machine instead of a live game, and if it wasn’t to Team Convenant’s videos on YT I wouldn’t even give it a try.

And please, don’t get me wrong. I love the idea behind this game but it’s also not the first card game I’m playing. I see the differences between Netrunner and other (tabletop and online) card games. The game mechanics are complex which already makes it hard to attract new players and the sales policy makes it even harder.


Some good points, but I certainly don’t think FFG’s problem is that they’re milking the game for money too much. If anything I wish they were a bit greedier and paid it more attention.

The big problem sees to be their apparent obsession with being a ‘board game’ company. That is, everything is kitchen tabe first and therefore the games don’t need any sort of community support. It’s also why incomplete playsets aren’t a problem; only ‘weirdos’ who want to play competitively get hurt (greater variety and less consistency arguably make for a better ‘box only’ experience).

It looks like they are slowly adapting to the fact that LCGs (excluding games like LOTR) can’t be treated the same way as normal board game products, just with more expansions. However their resources also appear too thinly spread (another issue) to change things around quickly.

As for practically ‘saving’ the game, I think patience + the kind of personal proactive measures described above are the order of the day. FFG does seem to slowly be changing. Also pray to whatever god(s) you worship that the LCG part of the company (or just Netrunner) gets either split off or bought by someone who really wants to make money out of it.