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Input needed on running A:NR at PrezCon

ANR will get a shot this year as one of the 100 official tournaments at PrezCon 2016 Winter Nationals. I will be GMing the tourney.

I have some latitude on how the tournament will be run, but many constraints because of the nature of the convention.

The first decision I need to settle on is regarding card pool. Your thoughts are most welcome.

To elaborate on “the nature of the convention.” For those unfamiliar with tournament-centered conventions (WBC, EuroQuest, PrezCon), the idea is that attendees will usually be playing in scheduled heats of perhaps dozens of different games over the course of the week. If they do well, they may continue on into semi-finals and so forth.

There is also an ethos that needs to be observed and respected at these conventions. While tournaments are competitive–very competitive–there remains the expectation that they will be welcoming and accessible to new players. All events have a scheduled Demo, for instance, with the implication that a new player could attend, be taught the rules, and be fit to participate (no promises on performance of course!) in the event.

My initial thoughts:
Option 1–Restrict players to use only the cards that are available in a SINGLE core set.
Option 2–No restrictions on the card pool (up to the latest released data pack). But proxies (properly contained within opaque sleeves) are completely fine.

I would entertain any other options others might suggest as well.

Option 1 is certainly the most in line with What The Convention Is Supposed To Be About. It would give the event its best chance at building a following from the (small?) pool of people willing to try something new, or very casual Netrunner players who might be intimidated from playing in a higher-level event with hundreds of cards they don’t know.

The obvious worry is that this restricition will not interest the core group of players who will most likely make up the great majority of my participants: Netrunner players. That’s the group I should probably be most mindful of, if possible.

For my part, I would prefer the full card pool. But I would also be happy enough to finally have Netrunner get its foot in the door at one of these conventions–and I love the game enough anyway, in whatever format or venue–that I would not let the card pool restriction interfere with my participating. But I wonder how others would feel?


Speaking for myself, the problem with core-only tournaments is that core deckbuilding is sort of a solved problem right now, isn’t it? Play Criminal and Weyland, and your deckbuilding choices are largely made for you by the fact that the core doesn’t have a strong enough density of good cards (especially if you’re restricted to one core). I’d play in a core only tournament, but I don’t think I’d travel for it and I’m not sure I’d pay for it, excepting the argument that it would support the scene.

I much prefer the proxies notion, but I don’t really think that helps your beginner types since they won’t know what to proxy.


You could maybe try 1x Core + Big Box sets? I don’t think that would allow anyone to play the ‘neutral’ runners, though, since the card pool for them would be so small.

Given the idea of the tournament, I would definitely not want to allow all sets. A pretty good ‘split the difference’ would be to have it be Cube Draft. That’s definitely something you could Teach People and have them Play.

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I was going to recommend the cube draft, but that’s pretty hard to scale up, isn’t it? How many people is he expecting to see?


I was envisioning that not everyone in the tournament would be playing the same game at the same time? Otherwise, you have a point, it’s pretty hard to scale up Cube Draft past about 16 people.

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The schedule was released a few days ago. There will be three heats, followed by a cut to semi-finals/finals.
Heat 1: Monday, Feb 22 (9pm-11pm)
Heat 2: Tuesday, Feb 23 (10pm-12am)
Heat 3: Wednesday, Feb 24 (11am-1pm)
Semi/Final: Wednesday, Feb 24 (1pm–>completion)

Participants may play in any or all of the three heats, as they wish. Playing more often will give you a better chance of making the semi-final cut of course.

It would be a complete guess on my part how many will attend each heat. I would think a very small number, and so a cube format could be the perfect solution. But if I had a surprisingly large turnout, a cube plan could be a disaster. The idea at these conventions is that you are perfectly welcome to wander over at the start time, sign in, and expect to be able to play. There are no reservations beforehand.

I hadn’t really considered a cube option, because of my need to be extremely flexible.

Ultimately, there’s only so many copies of games at the convention… So for like 7 Wonders or Agricola, surely they don’t have 50 copies of the game so that 200 people could play it at once… But they probably don’t have only one copy either. You’re somewhat fortunate in that one Cube supports up to eight people. (The hardest things are the Starters) Figure out how many players other games can support, and try to support around that many people?

(Looking at the site, it looks like you could get away with 4 Cubes and be fine… 32 players seems to be the cutoff for their support…)

I agree with others, if you can get a few cubes together this would be the best format for an event like this (indeed, it is one of the best netrunner formats overall imho)

Core only is trouble for a tournament as it is only new player friendly. I can’t imagine signing up for this event as a netrunner enthusiast. In addition, the meta for a single core is completely solved: Criminal is distantly the best runner and Weyland Scorch has a towering lead over even NBN with absolutely no counter to the meat-damage game plan available.

Full card pool allowing proxies is probably more doable than you think. New players wouldn’t necessarily need to learn the entire pool; I have netdecked for my first tournament in many a CCG/LCG. The main drawback is it might buck the event trend of having the games be provided by the con (as you can’t possibly have people building decks from the whole pool on the day of the event).

What’s even easier than draft is “sealed”, the format WotC always goes for when they want one of their tournaments to be very very accessible (prereleases, and I think occasionally Game Days). In “sealed” you receive a pool of random cards, many more cards than necessary to build a legal deck, but only by about triple as many as you’ll use or so.

You could use the concept, maybe with a tweak, to have a very approachable tournament.

Essentially instead of taking the cube and having players draft it, which is going to be pretty frustrating for newbie players that don’t know what’s going to be “sold out” before their done building their deck and can possibly lead to analysis paralysis for newbies, you are taking the cube and dishing random globs of it to each player, and having them separate the wheat from the chaff when they build their deck. It’s much easier to look at a pool and say, “wow, I need to make sure I use this Femme I got or I’ll never break sentries, it’s the only sentry breaker they gave me” than it is to say “I can’t take this cool Lamprey over this over Mimic this pack because learning Netrunner in the demo earlier today taught me that good sentry breakers are among the rarest programs in the entire Netrunner card pool”

I would suggest each pool have a fixed portion and a randomized portion.

Sealed is generally considered to be less strategic and a bit more random than draft, but I think it’s a really wise sacrifice for ease of play here. It also provides something interesting for veterans , their random pool will be less solved and less obvious to build than single core.