How to Demo Netrunner

Ok, there’s been a ton of talk about how to grow the Netrunner community lately…a lot of heated debate and good back-and-forth on some other threads. This has me thinking that our meta here in Utah needs to do a bit more work on the ground to attract new players at the LGSs who aren’t supporting NR currently. A couple of us want to start doing Netrunner Demo Days at those stores and I want to get some feedback on how y’all would run a Demo Day at a store.

Our current gameplan is thus:

  • Schedule a NR Demo Day with a specific store
  • Market that Demo Day with the local crowd leading up to that day (use any available channels to market)
  • Coordinate with the store to possibly have some NR products on hand
  • Show up with 2-4 of our players and 5-6 types of decks to demo
  • Have a laptop + monitor to play the Netrunner tutorial videos to attract attention
  • Bring Netrunner swag to capitalize on the sick nasty Cyberpunk theme
  • Evangelize Netrunner.

Does anyone have any creative ideas they’ve used or would use to make a Demo Day really hit home? Probably going to sacrifice a lot of good evenings and Saturdays to cover all the stores we want to cover, so want to make these impactful. No idea is a bad idea!


Great ideas. You should ask the stores to put up fliers announcing the demo days. Include a flier next to the Netrunner products in the store so that someone interested in buying the game just based on the box may be curious enough to attend and try it out before purchasing.


FFG puts out demo decks that stores can order from them. I’m not sure how much they cost, but I’m given to understand that it’s not a ton.

I’d advise against making the decks overly complex in the name of showing off different archetypes. All that’s going to do is drive up the rules overhead you’ll be exposing new players to. The demo decks, for instance, have no tracing ice whatsoever and go so far as to omit Kate’s link value from her demo ID.

If you’re building your own demo decks, I’d try to keep the cards mostly limited to the Core Set. I wouldn’t want new players to see something cool in a demo I ran, then be disappointed after buying the Core Set because they couldn’t do that thing. (So no Keyhole, for instance.)

I think I’d want to build a Runner deck that’s more traditional, like ‘big rig’ Shaper, and then a Runner deck that’s got more tricks, like maybe Criminal with Parasites – something that shows off what you can get up to when you start mixing and matching faction strengths. Similarly, I’d want a traditional/glacier Corp deck (so HB?), and then a flatline deck. I’d try to avoid SEA Source Scorch, as experience has shown me this can be a big turn-off or negative play experience for new players. Maybe Jinteki but sneak in some Ghost Branches and a couple Scorched Earths?

Starting with the tutorial videos is a great idea, by the way! Guaranteed to attract attention and a useful teaching tool.

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Yeah we got our hands on like 12 of those FFG demo deck sets and distributed them to our players so they’d have an extra tool to teach new players.

Interestingly enough, whenever I get a chance to teach new players the game I never seem to have good “teaching” decks on hand… which is a missed opportunity on my part.

Got a list of some basic decks that should work. A little core Weyland and Jinteki and some Gabe and Kate should do the trick.

@Xenasis and I were doing some demoing recently so here’s my two cents.

Giving out stuff is a great way to get people engaged. Any spare promos or IDs you’re happy to part with are obviously the best go to, though you could use draft cards. If your playgroup is anything like ours you should have a bunch of Store Champs Chaos Theories hanging around that are perfect for this.

We decided to go beyond the core set, adding cards from the relevant faction’s deluxe expansion. This made the decks more interesting to play with and let the factions shine a bit more. Having the Criminal deck include Tri-Maf Contact instead of Armitage Codebusing is a great way to show off the factions. Sticking to deluxe expansions makes sense because people can easily have those as their go to after the core set.

Bear in mind that the flavour of Netrunner really pops when you first encounter it. We’re sort of used to it by now, but people more used to fantasy themed or abstract games are often really interested when they see Netrunner’s flasy cyberpunk aesthetic. Bear this in mind when making card choices - Drive By is much cooler than Infiltration. It seems odd to change cards in a deck based on artwork and flavour but these are the kinds of things you should bear in mind when constructing teaching decks.

Leave out as much as you think you can rules wise. Tracing for example, is a rules explanation in and of itself and you can probably leave it out of your starting decks. Particularly try to avoid a single card that requires them to learn way too much at once. A classic bad include in a teaching deck is Viktor 2.0 - it involves tracing, power counters and brain damage.


I think showcasing deck types makes it kind-of interesting for new players after they’ve learned basic rules. I’ve seen several new players gravitate towards a certain kind of deck whether it be HB with Next ice, Weird Nasir decks, or decks just staying true to cards that belong to certain IDs.

Perhaps picking different match-ups where IDs stay true to their strategy will help players really get interested. Sure, they might go through a phase where they hate that NEH beats everything (even though it didn’t win worlds), but at least they’re interested at that point. Other good examples of interesting IDs would be IG, CI, Noise, Geist… Just picking IDs or strategies that involve different cards and aren’t just copying a decklist from a different ID within faction.

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Here is something I wrote in summer 2014 on this subject:

I still think taking someone through a run is the best way to start them on the path to learning the game. It just helps you bring all of the pieces together when you are first learning.


Are you willing to share some teaching decklists that include cards which are not in the core set? I enjoy teaching the game to new players, but so far I stuck to core set.

BABW and Basic Gabe are good decks to teach on. They have simple abilities that say “if you do this, you get rewarded with this” and are easy to build around, while also leaving out complex mechanics.


Giving out stuff always works (see: Costco samples). And coincidentally I went on a spree of buying up the more common promos (Swordsmans, Pops, Adonis) on the cheap right before Worlds when everyone was selling their stuff for extra Worlds $$$…so I’ve got a boatload of promos to distribute to the interested. Boxes too actually.

Excellent point about building the decks with the most flavor…I love that! Wouldn’t have thought of it either.

Thanks for the ideas. Just curious, did you have much success doing those demo days? Would you do it again?

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That’s funny because I remember this comment and have stolen the idea when I teach! I set up a midgame situation and let the new player attempt a few turns of runs. It seems to be much easier to digest.

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Having two players from your playgroup play a scripted demonstration game with a stacked deck seems like a good idea. Online card games always stack the deck for the tutorial so that new concepts are encountered in the correct order, and it seems like there’s some merit to that for netrunner too. Have the corp play Hedge Fund Ice Ice, let the runner bounce off both centrals. Then the corp installs an agenda in a remote, puts a gear-check ice in front of it and advances it. Runner draws until he finds a breaker, but it only works on centrals, so the runner starts hitting R&D a lot to race (I’d say just do 1 HQ access while HQ has no agendas so that the procedure for that is demonstrated correctly but the randomness of HQ accesses doesn’t ruin the script.)

I’m not sure exactly what you would want your script to be, but I think guaranteeing a representative game is a good idea.

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Very standard Netrunner with a few criminal tricks. Silhouette seems like a perfect ID to use to teach people with.

An Anarch deck with a bit more synergy in, and really shows off one of the key approaches of the faction. We chose Ed Kim as our ID because he’s got a good a generic ability that’s easy to understand. He’s also in a deluxe expansion.

Standard corp deck. Swap the Viktor 2.0s for something else - see my post above. I found in teaching that new players really enjoyed inflicting Brain Damage and it allowed me to get too aggressive and get punished when it looked like I’d win too easily. Might be worth pushing that theme a bit more.

This ID might be too skill intensive for teaching games, but it incentivized net damage with no potential for the “whoops you’re dead” thing that prematurely ends a good intro game. Obviously the ID isn’t in a deluxe expansion but if someone really takes to it you can offer them one of your spares for free.

Generally the experienced player doing the teaching wouldn’t play EdKim or Jinteki, these decks existed more for newbies to use. I’m a fan of giving people options in terms of factions and IDs because it gets them invested immediately.


I’m not sure I actually like Chum for teaching games. I’ve been playing for 2 months and I’m still not totally sure what it does (if you security nexus the ice after Chum do you take the net? I don’t even know.)

Positional ice is kinda tricky in general, and even though it’s considered weak atm, beginner play probably makes it even weaker. A beginner is more likely to stack ice super super thick on one server to an extent that’s inappropriate, so if they topdeck Chum it will be like 4 credits to install, or 0 credits to install somewhere where it won’t do anything. ETC.
Why not just go with Pup?

On the other hand, I like an Offer You Can’t Refuse even though it has an abstract interaction with the rules of the game. It’s an exciting effect that could really reel a player in.

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