One problem that’s caused Netrunner to slowly bleed players over time is that ANR isn’t friendly to lapsed or infrequent players. If someone doesn’t play the game for 3 months and then heads into a game store, they often get their butt kicked by new and powerful cards, decide it’s too much time and money to get back into the game, and quit for good. Magic, on the other hand, has a lot of infrequent players who primarily jump back into the game through drafts and prerelease tournaments. Neither of these formats require excessive knowledge of the latest releases because in draft, anyone can get lucky and draft good cards, and in prerelease, you’re all opening the new card pool at the same time.
Neither format has a perfect analogue in Netrunner: there’s technically a draft format, but it’s too expensive to ever get played by all but the most hardcore fans at conventions. I think creating something like these formats is important to making LCGs a sustainable format though.
Draft: what if FFG sold draft cubes to game stores, and suggested they hold them once a month for $5? Players who played in a cube and had fun might consider getting back into the game.
Prerelease: what if FFG suggested that game stores hold a ‘new cycle only’ night on every pack release day? When a new cycle’s first pack comes out, players would build a core + pack 1 deck, then when the second pack came out, they would build core + pack 1 + 2, etc. This would make each new cycle a jumping on point for lapsed players, rather than cycles not really mattering as they currently do. For at least the first pack of the cycle, they could provide a sheet of objectives that earn you prizes, like they did for the TD release event.
Any thoughts on these? Or other ways FFG could make the game easier to take a break from for a few months?