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Is the GNK a successful format?

Netrunner seems to have a catch 22, where there aren’t enough events year round to sustain a large playerbase (among other things such as lack of news and product), yet the one type of year round event (the GNK) doesn’t get enough people to work in many cities. This makes me think that GNKs aren’t actually a viable event type. I imagine FFG’s goal with GNKs are two-fold:

  1. To serve as a ‘warmup tournament’ for players new to the comp scene.
  2. To keep people playing when there’s no SCs or regionals to go to.

I think they serve purpose #1 pretty well, as GNKs are short, swiss only, and casual (ie most people allow takebacks), making them less intimidating than SCs. But if FFG was creating a kit solely for introducing players to OP, they could do even better. Imagine if instead of GNKs, FFG sent out a kit once a year with prize support for 3 tourneys: a core only tourney, a cache refresh tourney, and a full card pool tourney. Wouldn’t that be the perfect ramp up to OP?

So the GNK only makes sense if it also accomplishes purpose #2. I’m curious how many cities out there successfully use GNKs to keep the meta going? The only city I hear about them being big in is SF, but there may be more. The other LCG I play, Game of Thrones, uses fan run tourneys to keep people playing, which seems more successful to me, but FFG obviously can’t force that to happen for every LCG they make. Is there a better way to keep people playing that FFG can introduce?


Constant casual events are important for getting people interested and keeping then playing. Core -> Cache -> Standard isn’t a path everyone goes down, and certainly not once every four months or whatever. I don’t want my format to only have one casual tournament a year. That’s awful. And OP ramping up doesn’t mean a change of format. If Cache Refresh is popular enough, keep playing and running it, but few people do that progression.

The audience for Netrunner is generally a market that doesn’t seem to have a lot of free time. Once a week is a difficult ask, so you can’t do something like that. I know I can get to one a fortnight at best.


One local store in my area is doing every other week and that has started to gain traction. For the most part it’s casual play (as it should be, in my opinion); I do really like the idea of different types of kits (Cache Refresh, GNK, etc).

I’d pose that we try to look at this from the Organized Play side as well. Perhaps the folks in OP are saying, “We’re not like That Other Game and with a smaller player base, GNKs make the most sense. It’s up to the local community to create the environment which the players play.”

Fair Point, Hypothetical Organized Play.

However, I think the missing link is rewarding the folks who are doing the ground work for the game. I would LOVE if OP did something (an alt art card, a play mat, some tangible reward) for the Community Organizers.

Back to the point–I think the GNK is okay-ish…it’s what got me started playing weekly in a store for a while (and consequently acting as somewhat league organizer in my area). Though it was knowing that there were a group of players consistently playing that got me more invested.

The series of Core -> CR -> Full is a great idea if you have a lot of new players, and GNK is just a prize set so there’s no reason why you couldn’t do that series. It’s up to the tournament organizer to decide what’s the best way to use it. FFG OP has many problems (mostly slow communication), but I’m not sure we can pile on this as well. Even in the GNK instructions they say you can use the kit in various ways (series, demo, generating interest for new players, etc).

It sounds like the store may be running the GNK as a Swiss tournament because they are very comfortable doing that, or maybe the local T.O. hasn’t gotten feedback or hasn’t been creative in trying out different formats. The solution is to communicate to whoever (store and/or local player acting as the T.O.) is running and/or deciding the event on what type of event would serve the local community best. The only thing to consider is the cost of the kit, which I believe is $15-20 USD. Most stores want to recuperate or make a small profit on GNK’s, so a store may not be very interested if can possibly lose money on getting a GNK and not enough people show up. So, there’s no real difference between using a GNK as prize or using fan-made prizes (assuming the fan-run tourneys have fan-made prizes), besides who can order the prizes.

There’s creative solutions for recovering cost as well (i.e. splitting the kit for multiple events, or using it on a league that last multiple weeks where someone may feel better paying in more because the event is longer than just 3 rounds of Swiss, etc.)

They do, but nothing unique specifically for T.O.'s. If you look at the contents of a GNK, SC, etc., you would notice odd numbers. Like, there’s 17 alt-arts or 33/65 in SC+ events, or 5 playmats that are supposed to go to Top 4. That’s because one of each of these prizes is supposed to go to the T.O. for their efforts (excluding byes and plaque). They used to be more explicit about it in the instructions, but don’t seem to anymore.

Most T.O.'s don’t take the extra prizes especially if they play in the event, but it’s perfectly fine to do so or use it as incentive to convince someone new to be a T.O.

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Locally we use our kit for league prizes - participation and then choices for top 3-4.

League is twice a month (currently using a Modded format) with open play on the off weeks.

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Our GNKs are great – we use the kits as prizes for a variety of small tournament formats.
So far we’ve had:

  • Regular constructed
  • Cache Refresh
  • Core only

And in another group, we’ve done cube draft with prizes from a GNK.

It obviously doesn’t need special kits to do all of these; the GNKs work fine.

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I think that’s pretty widespread actually, TOs use GNKs to support all sorts of events, not just “standard” constructed Netrunner.

Also, remember that in a lot of places there aren’t enough players to be able to just have a weekly casual game night. Having an actual event, with prizes, once or twice a month, helps draw in players from further afield, who wouldn’t have made the trip just for a casual meet-up.