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Issues with Organized Play

In a vacuum, of course not. In a game where the majority of the information is hidden and a lot of memory is involved, yes, being able to look at your notes of a Celebrity Gift 3 turns later gives you a significant advantage that you wouldn’t have otherwise had (unless you had the skill of memorization). Add on top of that the fact that you’re probably checking R&D a lot and can’t take notes on that. Nor can you take notes on anything you happen to expose, it all adds up which rewards the players with better memory, experience, and knowledge of the game. Is that the right way to do it? Should that part of the game be leveled out by allowing note-taking? I’m not sure, but I think the game would be drastically different if note-taking or card-lookup were allowed.

As for slow play, I have no idea how to help it move faster and enforce better, but there’s no reason to make it slower by adding note-taking as an option.

Speed would be an important skill if they mandated a chess-clock system in tournament play. They haven’t, so it’s not. They have, however, said that notes aren’t allowed. Whether you think that should be a part of the game doesn’t matter. The creators of the game have decided that it is, therefore it currently is an inherent part of a game that has a large amount hidden information and bluffing.

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I think speed is still an important skill even without a chess-clock system. @mediohxcore mentioned in his Regionals report that he worked hard on running his RP deck (which can go loooooong) very quickly. None of his games went to time.

As a side note, I think chess clocks would be bad ass, but I’m assuming I’m in the minority here.


I think chess clocks would be great. I’m all for penalizing slow players.

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I think chess clocks could be great. However, being all for penalizing slower players…? I just have to disagree.

I think the timing structure is ridiculous and has led to fast decks winning more tournaments simply because they have faster win conditions, not because they are the most consistent winners. Running can be very hard to do well, and asking people to play two games both sides in 65 minutes often leads to having two options in a lot of situations: low quality decisions or going to time (where now you get 0 prestige if you have less agenda points). I want to win because of the difficult situation I create as a corp, not because a runner made a hurried mistake.

As things stand right now, if I run corp first as NEH I have a distinct advantage in tournament gameplay, in my opinion. . Playing as corp first also leaves you with a set amount of known time to win as runner, where time is more of a problem (I think). Also playing NEH, or any fast-ish deck that can win fast, gets you more time as runner. Why would I bring glacier RP, or glacier ANYthing, when my game often will go 35-45 minutes? That leaves me with 20 or less minutes to win as runner. There’s a very complicated tree of decision making that goes into running on face down ice against a rich corp. How fast are we expecting runners to remember which ice (and often combination thereof) can be possibly rezzed by a corp at different credit levels?

Maybe people have to practice until it almost is autopilot, I can concede that; but I still think playing against slow corp decks and making calculated decisions is outside the scope of 65 minute rounds. I want to think about possibilities as I play (can you imagine? strategic thinking!), not play on autopilot because I know them all already for each possible board state.


chess clock is bad idea as its corp who thinks a lot during a run for example.

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It depends how widely you interpret the word “skill” I guess. Aptitude for the game might be a more appropriate term. It’s no different to a running race: if you don’t have the energy reserves to keep running and need to stop to eat, drink, rest, take a pee or whatever then you will be less successful than someone who can keep going. Nevertheless, the situation you describe is outside of the rules of Netrunner, it is enforced by the store in question. My personal opinion is that stores should be flexible in this regard and those that refuse to be should not be allowed to host OP events.

You do make some good points about leveling the playing field in Magic. I agree to an extent but I think the hidden information aspect in Netrunner is more significant. There are some decks that would simply flop without the surprise element. For example, if you knew for certain that your RP opponent definitely doesn’t have Snare or Fetal AI in their deck it totally changes the way you approach the game - you would become a huge favourite as the Runner because you could entirely ignore Komainu and just focus on building enough economy to break the other sentries. Historically, there have been a number of decks that did very well in swiss but sucked in KO rounds once the opponent knew how to play around them. Scouting and/or full disclosure would totally ruin these archetypes and that has a negative impact on the environment.

Certainly I don’t think most people would mind the idea of ‘mental fortitude’ being part of the skill of doing well in Netrunner (or at least in tournament Netrunner). Maintaining that level of concentration is hard, and that aspect goes into everything from deck construction to your packed lunch.

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Chess clocks are unreasonable for any game where priority passes as often as in Netrunner or Magic. We all take shortcuts to keep this game moving: I might make a run on R&D with an Eli in front of it and take all of 3 seconds, but if we had to pass priority back and forth as per the rules, it would take approximately forever. It’s pretty much out of the question.

Playing quickly doesn’t just get you the advantage of not going to time, by the way. Setting the tempo of the game is a form of psychological warfare. If you play extremely quickly, your opponents will tend to try to match your pace, even if they are in no way prepared to play well at that pace. Lots of my opponents make critical errors because they can’t autopilot their decks nearly as well as I can mine.

With regard to scouting and note-taking, I can see both sides of each argument. Personally, I would just make the scouting rule be that you NEED permission from both players to watch a match. That would allow people with surprising decks to keep things a surprise well enough without imposing that no players ever watch a match during a tournament, which is frankly ridiculous. I think that note-taking should probably be allowed. From my experience playing Magic, it takes almost no time, though I do understand if you want memory to be a skill tested by the game. I think that’s more of a preference thing.

The bigger issues with organized play, IMO, are the lack of clear floor rules, the lack of player base organization, and the shit prizes.


[quote=“mediohxcore, post:28, topic:1904, full:true”]
Playing quickly doesn’t just get you the advantage of not going to time, by the way. Setting the tempo of the game is a form of psychological warfare. If you play extremely quickly, your opponents will tend to try to match your pace, even if they are in no way prepared to play well at that pace. Lots of my opponents make critical errors because they can’t autopilot their decks nearly as well as I can mine.[/quote]

Interesting to me is that I take a somewhat opposite approach. People get so bent out of shape when you take time to do things, especially the fast players. I played against Justin K at nationals last year in the top 16, and if you saw videos of that guy he goes really really fast. When I saw how fast he went, I tried to slow down a bit more to compensate. He fidgeted almost uncontrollably to the point that he was knocking his dice around the play area. He still won but I would say that it was more the first time I’d played against Atman than raw skill.

I learned to play games from my dad, who has the nickname “Human Rain Delay” for his very slow and deliberate game playing style. He and I win a lot of games, and I would say it’s because the “fast” players suffer from ADHD when you take your time and they lose interest. A win’s a win in my book.

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For the record, I don’t actually think chess clocks are a viable/practical idea due to the crazy amounts of priority passing that happens as everyone’s mentioned. I still think that in a game with limited time, there should be some way of forcing slow players to play faster. If you’re sitting four points above me, you shouldn’t be able to suddenly start “thinking” more to drag the game to time. I’m not saying that it happens often (or at all); I’m just saying I don’t like the possibility of it. :confused:

Yeah, I agree. Hopefully they’ll get there. The very mediocre and lax (when local) prize support was the biggest surprise to me when I started playing, but I’m not really sure what more they could do for prize support.

I do: chess clocks. It’s unrealistic, but I’d love it, as I’d crush people with it. Literally.

My guess is that Jinteki: PE becomes the standard corp if chess clocks are implemented. You’ll win a lot of games from sloppy play if nothing else.


The only way a timer could be effectively implemented is something like Magic Online’s timer. That has it’s own set of difficulties, as you are constantly passing priority back and forth, and that program has it’s own skill tests in the form of working it’s auto-priority-pass structure.

Honestly, I’m not going to stop playing Netrunner in tournaments because they don’t allow note-taking. It’s not the most egregious error they’ve made… but it is a bit weird, and I see no reason for it at all. If you like forcing everyone to memorize everything, that’s your preference, but within the game of Netrunner there is nothing that mandates memorization on that level. Again, I’m not talking about knowing what all the popular cards do and how they function, I’m not in danger of forgetting how Eli works or what strength/rez cost he is…

Actually, I feel like the prize support is pretty good for Netrunner at the LGS level. If you win FNM, you get a foil alternate art card. No participation prizes, no playmat or deck boxes. Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds are a different story of course, but if you’re talking about cash prizes, well it’s just not big enough to support that yet I would think.

We absolutely need an Infraction Procedure Guide though, with common problems and their fixes and penalties. Definitely needs to be a recourse for game-corrupting mistakes.

It doesn’t “force everyone to memorize everything”—you’re free to memorize as much as you want or can. Not remembering the cards showed from, say, a Celebrity Gift, doesn’t prevent you from playing Netrunner. I’m sure some here coming from a Magic background is used to note-taking, which is totally fine, but Netrunner is not Magic. I suppose I just don’t see wherein the advantage lies of allowing note-taking.

I’m not sure what you mean by, “within the game of Netrunner there is nothing that mandates memorization on that level.” So feel free to expand on that point, if you like.

Now as for as scouting goes, I’d say there is a difference here between checking out a future top 4 opponent’s deck after you finish your match, and just casually watching your friend’s game when you’ve finished a match. I guess it’s a judgement thing.

Hidden information and bluffing has nothing to do with the ability to take notes. Are we playing the game Memory? If not, then nothing explicitly states that memorizing the cards you see is a skill you need to develop to play the game. For all we know, FFG has other reasons for not liking note-taking in its tournaments, and writing down hands is just a casualty of those reasons.

In addition, game companies are free to do what they like with their games, but those who do not listen to the concerns of their customer base tend to not do so well in the long term. There is a point to us expressing displeasure with aspects of the game we dislike.

Every game in which hands are hidden from opponents has hidden information. Magic and Netrunner are both games which include hidden information. What makes Netrunner different from Magic in that respect? That there is more hidden information? Where does the line get drawn for note taking? Technically the Runner has just as much hidden information as a Magic player, so should the Corp get to take notes, but not the runner?

My point is that Netrunner is not a game in which note-taking is logically an unfair advantage. The game Memory is. If you could write down what cards are where in Memory, you’d have an unfair advantage, but in Netrunner, it is only a preference of the game designers/OP team. It simply isn’t going to break the game or compromise the integrity of matches to allow note taking. It isn’t breaking it to disallow them either, but it’s just not inherently bad for the game.


I’m really confused by your argument. I understand expressing displeasure with the way the game is set up. That’s fine.

But constantly comparing the game to Memory makes no sense to me. In Netrunner, you’re able to have an edge on your opponent if you have a better ability to memorize when doing R&D access and counting cards to deduce where cards are going and what options your opponent is going to have. You’re rewarded for being better at remembering which draw is what card and being able to keep track of the corporation’s hand just like in Memory you’re trying to keep track of where all the unmatched cards are…

Which is why I don’t get why you’re comparing Netrunner and Memory. You could make the same argument for Memory. Shouldn’t we allow note-taking so that the winner of Memory is on the same playing field without memorization taking a part? I just don’t see how you can compare it. Netrunner has core mechanics that rewards the ability to count cards & memorize. It’s not built around that mechanic, but they’re a great way for a player to gain an edge.

Would it completely break the game if we allowed notes? No, but we would flatten a skill aspect of a game that I have yet to hear a good reason to level out. The main argument I’m hearing is that people who are better at memorizing have an unfair advantage, but you could make the same argument about people who are better at card games, deck building, strategy, or any other part of the game.

I think memorization should be rewarded as a skill to develop. For example, if you’re going to Index, it should be up to you to remember what cards the corp is drawing. You shouldn’t be able to just take notes on it and then just mark them off as the corp draws.

And to be completely honest, I also don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking notes, so that plays a big part in me not wanting note-taking to be a part of this game. If it were, everyone who wanted to compete on a high level would have to develop good note-taking skills because memorization could never compare to note-taking, and I believe that note-taking is less an inherent part of the game than memorization is (this, to me seems obvious since note-taking isn’t a part of the game at all).


This is essentially what I’m saying, only you have the reverse perspective. If note taking were allowed in Netrunner, I could make the same argument that becoming skilled at it is something that will gain you an advantage, and thus simply part of the game. Instead, my perspective is that while note-taking is not allowed by preference of FFG, neither memorization nor note-taking are core components of Netrunner. They can be developed as needed by tournament restrictions. I personally think note-taking is a better skill to require, as it is more accessible than memory techniques.

The comparison to Memory is because memorization is a core component of that game. Removing the need to memorize defeats the entire purpose of playing it. This is not the case in Netrunner.

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Memory is a skill, but it’s a tacked-on and superfluous skill-- a version of Netrunner where you had to constantly juggle three balls while making runs or else be forced to jack out would be “more skillful,” but it would clearly not in fact be a better game.


Note-taking doesn’t even completely eliminate the need for memorization, only alleviates it.

What I mean by this is that, even if you take notes on the corp’s hand, there will be some points where card uncertainty is diminished but not totally eliminated by your knowledge of their hand, and it’s not practical to continue taking notes about that sort of thing. If they show you pup and tsurugi with celebrity gift, and then place an ice, you pretty much have to memorize that fact even if note- taking is allowed. You’re not going to draw a diagram of the game board on your notepad and label each ice “pup or tsurugi”, or you would be slow-playing in anybody’s judgement.

Likewise for when the corp discards and shuffles back cards with jackson. Did they ditch that closed accounts now that you know about it, so it’s safe to start floating tags again? Or did they just want you to think that? Either way, you can be sure they discarded midseasons since you’re at 5 points. Etc.

In magic, if you thoughtseize your opponent in Standard or Modern, that information is good forever. In Legacy, they can brainstorm and put some cards back and shuffle them away. Just one of many reasons legacy is considered more skill-intensive.

IMO tracking this kind of hidden information is the real skill we should be trying to emphasize. Forcing players to do rote memorization takes their attention away from the true game.


Fair enough. I see where you’re going with this. I just think it would be cumbersome to play the game if everyone were taking notes every time they accessed anything. I also still believe that having to rely on memory for things that provide hidden info rather than relying on notes is a more interesting way of playing and might as well be considered a core part of the game. But I’m realizing how you could see notes are better, and if FFG decided otherwise, I would be ok with having to play around it. I wouldn’t be thrilled since I’m better at memorization than note-taking, but I would be fine with having to develop the skill. I do still maintain that note-taking is a more “superfluous” or “non-core” skill to ANR than memorization is.