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Ideas to help the community help newbies

I’m new to Netrunner, but I’ve read enough and listened to enough podcasts to pick up that there is some discussion in the community about the challenges the game has in attracting new players. Here are a couple ideas from my first month or so in the game as a newbie.

1) Play the game by the rules
Experienced players tend to develop a shorthand and fast play style that assumes both players know what is happening and how the rules work. So, for instance, a player might say they are going to run a remote with three ICE on it, toss 6 credits from their pile, and ask to see the card. This works because they have counted all the costs and know what it will cost to break everything. For a new player, though, this is mystifying and also frustrating. You do not learn how various cards interact with your ICE or how you might build better servers.

A related issue is to actually play through the timing structure. I’ve already gotten some push back on this idea, but think about this from the point-of-view of a player learning the game. It takes very little effort during the game turn to articulate clearly what point of the timing structure you are in at any moment and whether, for instance, you are using or passing on a paid ability window. A simple “No action. Do you have one?” will do it. This helps teach new player how the game actually works and how interactions happen.

I would add that it would also help more experienced players. I’ve already had the experience as a new player of having to explain to a veteran that there is, in fact, a paid ability window (1.1) that is in my turn but before “when your turn begins” effects happen (1.2). I think this is because some people play the game without actually using the timing structure.

2) Explain why you won
As a new player, I don’t have fun being crushed by Tier 1 decks, but I hope one day to beat them, so it is good to see how they work. Keep playing those decks. What I would like, though, is after you crush me for you help me see the key points in the game where you locked in the win. This is usually before the game actually ends. There are usually key decisions made in the game along the way that open the door for you to win. It would be great if you could point those things out after the fact. Most newbies don’t mind losing, but it can be frustrating to have no idea why you lost or what decisions you might have made that would have helped.

I’ve found most people I play on Jinteki to be friendly when they know I’m new at the game. (There have been a couple exceptions.) I’ve found my face-to-face games at my friendly not-so-local gaming store to be fun and the people there to be very welcoming. That said, I think there are ways the experienced player community can make the game experience more inviting to new players.

Thanks you to the community for making my first month in Netrunner a good one. I look forward to much more. I hope one day I’ll be in a position to invite other newbies into the game.


It’s great that you bring this topic up. I always try to be friendly and welcoming to newer players, but as a veteran of the game it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of a newer player.

I can relate to shortcuts making the game difficult for newer players, though. As someone who mostly plays decks filled to the brim with Shaper bullshit or arcane combos, It’s really useful to actually go through the combo step by painstaking step. Otherwise it’s easy to confuse even experienced players.

It’s actually really useful to say “My Wyldside triggers, I draw 2 and lose a click, the my Chronotype gives me my click back” a few times instead of just drawing two and assuming everyone gets everything. Not that WyldCakes is an arcane combo, but it was the first one that came to mind.


Very key note for your point #2 that a LOT of people do not like unsolicited advice.

Offer to help them understand more, but don’t just launch into it. If they aren’t dying to know how they coulda played better, you come off power gamery and you can easily put people off.

Just a very very important note.

Be friendly, offer to help, but don’t jump in if they don’t want you to. You were new once too… remember how fun the game was to figure out. Would you have liked it if someone just told you what you did wrong?


There are two runners that I think everyone should play at least once. Not to get good with the Runner, but because that runner highlights some fundamental things about Netrunner.

Everyone should play one game as Adam. Adam is the most aggressive at Running, he’s literally forced to do so every turn. Having a good example of the absolute extreme on the Aggression scale allows better perspective for when you should and shouldn’t run. (As an aside, I feel every player should also play a Corp game AGAINST Adam to really understand how Scoring Windows work, since Adam’s are among the clearest to see.)

Everyone should play one game as Nasir to understand the Timing Windows inside of a Run. No other Runner has to deal with them so intensely. (By the same token, playing with Marcus Batty on the Corp side is highly recommended.)


Thanks. That is a good example. In a turn or two the new player will pick it up and will know something about the game that they did not before.

Netrunner actually has a lot more issues with a low number of people playing their first ever game more so than the retention rate after they play their first ever game. Keeping existing players happy enough to be ambassadors for the game would help, that’s not really where I’m at right now. Different art and a lower price point for the entry level products would help. Maybe people can teach first games in a better way and go from great to greater on how appealing the game is when you actually play it, but I’m pretty sure Netrunner has an “adclicker problem” not a “subscriber per ad clicked” problem.

I’ve been away from the game for a long while (my fault, of course) and I’m totally lost with it now. The game speak or terminology describing kinds of decks and deck fundamentals seems to be too high a hurdle to get across. It’s a shame really. It would be my favorite game, but I don’t want to waste anyone’s time having to describe Apex (turning cards over?,for what?) and so forth. Being a skeptic, I also think that it could be my laziness. Not wanting to put forth the effort to get back into this awesome game. Cheers! :slight_smile:

I’m sorry to hear that!

If you do want to give Netrunner another try, you might find Sneakdoor Melbourne useful. The Meta Snapshots are quite good at hitting the highlights of what’s changed. I also like their Big List of Decks for learning about archetypes I’m not familiar with, but it looks like it’s not completely up to date at the moment.

As for Apex, it’s not as complicated as you might think. A bunch of Apex’s cards have abilities with “trash an installed card” as the cost. The facedown cards can fuel these. You still suffer some from Apocalypse, because you can’t use those cards for their own abilities any more, but you at least get some future benefit from them.

(Also, you don’t have to worry about Apex too much, because it’s not very competitive, so you won’t encounter it that much. Though it is getting a new card some time this cycle, so I suppose in theory that might change.)

Made a new thread, where we can crowdsource a glossary for newer players. A glossary of all the arcane terms and deck names we’ve all gotten used to.


Like it, they are really confusing at the start.

It would be even better, to have a wiki as a resource.