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Increasing Diversity In The Netrunner Community


Is this the thread that @bblum promised when the Euro thread was closed?:

If so, I’m glad to see it. If not, hopefully’s Ben’s efforts can be combined with this one, since already has a good starting point with the rules laid out.


This is an interesting idea. I might do this for the next tournament, usually I know/ask if people came together so they don’t have to play first round, asking if they may want to is an easy next step.
FWIW, I think doing achievements is a great way too make a “tournament” more accessible, but it’s not going to get more people to come, just maybe have higher odds of retention.


Yes. :slight_smile:


I’ve stopped playing outside a select group of friends, but one of the largest issues I’ve encountered with getting anyone outside of the stereotypical demographic into a hobby is disposable income. I have no problem dropping large amounts of cash on my hobbies because I can afford it, but I am also in the demographic that has the highest disposable income. When you only have a little bit left over after necessities are taken care of, hobbies, whether they are card games, miniature games, or whatever may not stack up against a night out, a new music album or new clothing.

I’ve tried to get my girlfriend to try my various hobbies, and it’s always a nonstarter. I just asked her why she thinks that is. Here is what she said:

  1. When she’s relaxing, she is not interested in doing something mentally taxing, she’d rather watch tv or a movie, or hang out with friends and talk. If she has to play a game, she prefers simple games that she can unwind with. Her favorite video games are open world exploring games and racing games.

  2. Makeup and clothing take up a lot of her disposable income because women are judged more on their appearance than men.

  3. Her disposable income is better used on practical things like kitchen appliances and household organizational items.

  4. Feminine hygiene products are expensive.

  5. Games that revolve around combat are a non-starter, as well as themes of violence.

  6. Game nights and tournaments require a large commitment of time. At home, you can just play a couple of games and walk away.

She had a few more issues, but these were the main ones.


Would your local store stop supporting the game if your group decided to meet in pubs/cafes instead? Those kinds of spaces tend to be much friendlier to people who aren’t typical card game players (ie. straight white dudes).


1 - I assume that “community” != “tournament players”.

  • Show prospective community members the bookstalk about the lore of the universe before you even mention clicks, credits, tags, or how cool Jackson Howard is.
  • Focus on people who you think could be interested in sci-fi, cyberpunk, technology,
  • Talk about the great times you keep having with other players, but avoid make it a tale “dudebro” greatness - because even if that’s there, there’s so much more.
  • When you start to teach the game to a new player, start with the lowest possible rungs. A deck that does one thing. Cards that don’t require memorizing complex timing structures.
  • Be patient, be kind, be receptive and responsive to the feedback coming from the people you teach/talk about the game to.
  • Do not play to win. Play to have fun, You are here to make friends, not to bury everyone.
  • Accept that your new opponent most likely will never buy cards and/or compete in a tourney. If they actually feel like doing the latter (in which case, whoa, congrats!), lend them your cards, train with them, go there with them and talk about your (and their) games once it’s all over. Help them experience the fun with a friendly (=your) face around.

I’m not listing the “dont’s”, because I believe we can all imagine what they are. A simple one is - don’t make negative/jocular/biased comments about other people, especially based on the qualities described in #3 below.

2 - Is anyone trying to direct people from listed groups towards this forum (or gather feedback/suggestions)?

I mean, this is a place dedicated to Netrunner, so prospective community members may actually not know that we are exploring such questions and need their input. Maybe we should have a questionnaire, ask around, and report back?

How about getting a diverse game reviewer or two to look at Netrunner and asking about their honest opinion about the game’s setting, general mechanics, and playability?

3 - A sample adapted from a friendly org…

Diversity in our community means more fun for everyone. This document outlines both expected and prohibited behavior.

The Netrunner community thrives through its people and the desire to play a great game in equally great company. We put people first and do our best to recognize, appreciate and respect the diversity represented among us. The Netrunner community welcomes everyone who understand and accepts our goals and wants to contribute towards them in a healthy and constructive manner. As such, we have adopted this code of conduct and require all those who participate to agree and adhere to these guidelines in order to help us create a safe and positive community experience for all.

These guidelines aim to support a community where all people should feel safe to participate, regardless of:

Family status
Gender identity or expression
Marital status
Sexual orientation
Native language
Race and/or ethnicity
National origin
Socioeconomic status
Geographic location
Any other dimension of diversity


4 - Apologies if I’m a bit dim. Do we mean to inspire through our exemplary community spirit and community building skills other game communities out there? I guess that “simply” requires doing our best to get more diverse people on board and let them be vocal about the Netrunner community being a great group of people.


I’ll reply from direct experience in a different card game community: create “safe spaces”. This can take many different shapes, but it’ll help create the best environment possible and highlight the demand from these communities for playing NetRunner :slight_smile: It could be a specific subforum with specific rules?


We’re looking for input on how to write a code of conduct to make all of stimhack into such a safe space. We’re also trying to hold this thread to an even higher standard still. Any specific suggestions for rules?


A starting point for this might be the UK Stimhack Slack Channel code of conduct, which is linked here …

UK Stimhack Slack Code Of Conduct


Yes, but bear in mind there are lots of players living in areas with too few players to have regular casual meets, so their only in-person interaction with the rest of the community is at tournaments that they have to travel to. That’s partly why tournaments are important, it’s not just about figuring out who the best at running nets is. (And also why it’s important for FFG to really push more casual-friendly formats like Cache Refresh, but that’s irrelevant to this thread.) So encouraging players who are by nature or by culture less competitive to attend tournaments anyway is important, and might indirectly help to increase diversity.


@trnd7 - do you mean an online space here? What would make it a ‘safe space’.


I didn’t have specific suggestions in mind but I certainly can do some digging to provide links, if needed. That being said, rules should be the result of this very community (its moderators leading the charge) creating them, not a copy/paste (and I’m sure you’re aware of that). What about creating a discussion specifically about this topic, so that it becomes a collective and participative effort?


A general comment on the thread, so that we don’t lose focus. While ideas for expanding the player base in general are welcome on Stimhack, this thread is specifically to think about how we can reach out to the currently under-represented demographics.


Yes I meant online, because it’s infinitely easier to create a sustainable and accessible change that way. Start small but broad, then in time you’ll see this trickle down to real-life communities in an organic way. It’s very important that this never feels “forced” (although you have to know right now that some people will not accept that change, whatever shape or form it takes) and the effort is allowed to take many different shapes. It will take a very long time but the seeds of positive change are never truly the most rewarding actions. (by the way I forgot to congratulate this community and its mods on this thread :slight_smile: )


Definitely a good point (I’m really lucky to have avid players of all levels in geographical proximity). Netrunner needs more “fun events” or things like Terminal Campaign, where you have a good excuse to get the cards to the table and not spend a nail-biting afternoon thinking about byes, strengths of schedule and the local/global meta of the moment.

I think a great example of a fun event is the Learning League with prebuilt (and public) decks that have the right power and complexity level to get new people going fast.


I wanted to add something: the game itself has an amazing diverse background of characters. Seeing the new Bios ID in Terminal Directive felt like an amazing achievement, it’s extremely rare that a game (videogame or not) portrays somebody from a minority group in such an open and appealing way. Beyond the game mechanics, the game setting has a lot of potential to attract players of diverse backgrounds to the game and thus create an amazing reach outside of the traditional channels. Even more reason to support this effort, as it blends with the efforts of the game creators to depict a diverse world :slight_smile:


I think that what I’m trying to get across here is not so much that one cannot strive to be better, but that little will actually change when the rubber meets the road. I don’t think the suggestions being made on this thread will end up having any measureable effect on diversity.

Ultimately, the heart of the matter is not so much that women are driven out of the game but simply not being driven in to it. In other words, as long as Netrunner is unappealing to women there won’t be many women playing Netrunner, no matter how nice the community is. Gains, wherever possible, will be extremely small.

In that sense, I think the comments being made on this thread seem more about games like League of Legends or Overwatch that already have a sizable female base and which have extremely toxic communities than Netrunner.

Keeping things realistic , here’s a bunch of stuff that would be welcome:

  • Stimhack updating more often (Difficult, requires volunteers)
  • Basic strategy guides (I actually wrote some, should repost them at some point)
  • Basic deckbuilding guides (Same as above)
  • Cheap ways to get into the game (Purcharse guides, decks with small requirements, etc.)

None of this will make women jump into the game on any measureable level, but I think it helps groups who struggle with Netrunner and, hence, women.

I also feel it’s very important not to be condescending nor arrogant. Women do not want to be singled out or coddled. Being always regarded as a “woman” as opposed to a “person” is a massive turnoff to women. They just want to enjoy the game and efforts should be made to normalize that.

This is a not a miniminal effort at all, it’s a very substantial effort. Remember you are asking someone to work for several hours and then come back every two weeks for more work.

And it’s not just that. Someone has to put them together, record them properly, then edit the audio, then publish it then reach to the community and hope it’s actually listened to. A lot of work goes into these things and it’s both ungrateful and unpaid.

Also remember that you are asking women themselves to do that work! Which makes sense but also puts them in an uncomfortable position.


There really isn’t a realistic way for the community to make the game cheaper to get into, and FFG has shown no interest in creating a model of lower cost to entry.

I’ve often thought about ways of making that entry better and cheaper, the most obvious would be bundling cycles after a year or something like that so you don’t have to chase data packs. Making them a little cheaper after a year would also be nice, since people who are already into the game are buying by the pack anyway and people who are catching up could use an incentive to buy in.

But FFG doesn’t really care about that stuff. I think, no judgement against them, they see this as a business that has a period of intense interest and a decline and when it declines they try to get people hooked on a new game instead. There’s no long term support for their games and, from what I can tell, not much of an incentive to do so.


@arthur_barnhouse - these are good comments, but please note my mod note earlier - this thread is not about how to get more people in general to play netrunner.


@ErikTwice - I think there are things which can be done with podcasts which don’t require more effort beyond a phone call or an email. It could be as simple as reaching out to the best non-CWM players and asking them to be a guest on the podcast - not to talk about diversity, but to talk about Netrunner.

None of this will make women jump into the game on any measureable level, but I think it helps groups who struggle with Netrunner and, hence, women.

I reject the concept that women struggle with Netrunner, any more than any other demographic.