Before I respond to some particular points raised i’d like to highlight that my attempt has been to address issues I have with the game in broad opportunistic strokes. Obviously I think that there’s a decent chance of the changes i’ve made having the effects i’d like, but I can’t be certain of the net result until it’s been played. Also bear in mind that to put down every interaction and consequence that i’ve thought about would take quite some time, so as thorough as i’ve attempted to be in my responses i’ve also limited myself to the immediate concerns.
Whilst one of the things i wanted to change was the ease with which the Corporation could Fast Advance 1 or 2 agenda points, i also wanted to remove the ability of the Corporation to Never Advance 2 point agendas without support, and more generally i also wanted to change the ease with which the Corporation could score 1 or 2 agenda points, using 2 for 1 and 3 for 2 agendas, with or without support.
For 3 for 2 agendas the ease with which they can be Fast Advanced and the ease with which which they can be scored without support are separate things because they can’t be Fast Advanced without support. If the ease with which 3 for 2 agendas could be Fast Advanced were the only the thing i wanted to change about 3 for 2 agendas, i could, as @Industrial_Memetics suggested, have given errata to those support cards that enable 3 for 2 agendas to be Fast Advanced instead of changing the agenda ratios on 3 for 2 agendas. Though there may well be a better combination of errata by taking this approach, i have some general issues with it. Firstly, i think it would be difficult to do this without making those support cards less playable. In general i want to increase the need to use support cards, especially in order to make strong plays. Secondly, i wanted to minimise how often the Hack document would need to be referred to, in game or otherwise, in order for someone to use the errata. Giving errata to the Fast Advance support cards rather than the agendas would mean creating lots of individual errata that are specific to those cards rather than ( what are effectively ) one or two errata that are applied systematically to a number of cards of a specific type and with a specific agenda ratio. Thirdly, ( right now at least ) i want to avoid getting into a cascade of tweaks that lead to me being in a constant process of producing what would in effect become a new game with it’s own set of cards. I think the ‘support card errata’ approach is more likely to lead to that, which is why for the most part i’ve avoided individual card errata.
In any case, the ease with which 3 for 2 agendas could be Fast Advanced was not the only the thing I wanted to change about 3 for 2 agendas. I also wanted to change the ease with which 3 for 2 agendas can be scored without support, and also to remove the ability to Never Advance 2 point agendas without support. The ability to Never Advance 2 point agendas without support exists because 3 for 2 agendas exist. For 3 for 2 agendas the ability to Never Advance them without support and the ease with which they can be scored without support are in effect one and the same thing. That said, I think both that 3 advancements without support costs is too little to pay for 2 agenda points and that 2 agenda points is too much reward for one Never Advance play without support costs. I think the existence of 3 for 2 agendas means that 2 agenda points can come too easily, too quickly and too early to a Corporation, and reward any good fortune the Corporation may have too highly. I also think that the existence of 3 for 2 agendas has a negative effect on the playability, one way or the other, of any 4 for 2 agenda, 3 for 1 agenda, ice in general, and other cards, not least of all because of the speed at which they allow the Corporation to progress, even without support cards. But i’d like to put those latter reasons aside because i want to emphasise that ( as you can see from what i’ve said above ) i have reasons for wanting to get rid of 3 for 2 agendas that are inherent to them. I think that even if i were designing a ANR 2.0 i would avoid creating 3 for 2 agendas, with perhaps the exception of something like Merger.
NEVER ADVANCE AND 3 FOR 1 AGENDAS
This brings me to @Industrial_Memetics comment about Never Advance and the lack of motivation a Runner has to run an unadvanced server knowing that there are no 3 for 2 agendas in the game. Never Advance as a tactic ( and to some degree as a strategy ) is something i want to keep around and it’s possible that @Industrial_Memetics is right in saying that an unadvanced, possible 3 for 1 agenda will not be considered ( or actually ) worth running in the Hack version of the game. However, i think that there are factors that I hope will make 3 for 1 agendas worth running in the Hack. Firstly, i think a large part of the reason that 3 for 1 agendas aren’t considered worth running ( or including in a deck ) is simply because of the comparison with 3 for 2 agendas, which are of course worth twice as much as 3 for 1 agendas ( or 1.75 times as much or 1.83 times as much if you think of them in terms of how many multiples you need to win with agendas with those agenda point values ). With 3 for 2 agendas gone that relative value changes. Secondly, i think that 3 for 1 agendas are, in one sense, worth more now that eleven agenda points are needed to win. I realise that sounds counter-intuitive if one is thinking that in the Hack 3 for 1 agendas are now worth 1/11th of the total agenda points needed to win, as compared with 1/7th of the total agenda points needed in standard ANR, but at the same time the number of agenda points available has gone down relative to the number of agenda points needed to win, and as a consequence i anticipate it becoming more dangerous, both the longer the game goes on, and sooner than ‘match point’, to let any agenda be scored. If the Corporation is forfeiting agendas, or if the Corporation has a high enough proportion of 3 for 1 agendas, then it’s more likely, given the Hack’s ratio of agenda point availability to agenda points needed to win, that the Runner will have to steal ( or otherwise get into their score area ) some 3 for 1 agendas in order to get enough agenda points to win. Thirdly, i think the Corporation is more likely to play 3 for 1 agendas and that a Runner that lets the Corporation score more and more 3 for 1 agendas risks giving them too much of an advantage as the game progresses. ( This is especially true, of course, if the Runner isn’t using that time to gain some advantages of their own, which i want to become more of a valid tactic . But that’s an aside.) This advantage can come in the form of small burst effects, swords of Damocles, and ongoing effects ( when i add later cycles to the Hack ), and also the ability to forfeit an agenda, the significance of which i think will change given the lower number of agenda points available relative to the number of agenda points needed to win. I don’t think all these factors will amount to the Runner being motivated to run an unadvanced, possible 3 for 1 agenda on all occasions, but i think that there’s a decent chance that they mean that the Runner will be motivated to run those unadvanced, possible 3 for 1 agendas on some occasions. That level of motivation to run possible 3 for 1 agendas on some but not all occasions is about where i’d like it to be because i want there to be an inherent reward in 3 for 1 agendas that counter balances the extra advances needed to score that 1 agenda point.
There are also two other bluff and bait areas in the game which I intend to be more playable in the Hack. The first of these is supported Never Advance, and the second is the use of ambushes and other advancable tricks. In short I think both of these will become more playable in relative terms because 3 for 2 agendas have disappeared, and more playable in absolute terms because of the likely higher cost of getting through ice in the Hack ( which is due to a number of changes ). So overall I don’t see the types of Never Advance I want to exist disappearing from the Hack version of the game.
@Industrial_Memetics. I think you’re right to say that increasing the score requirement will benefit flatline tactics, in a few different ways. It means that the Corporation has a longer game over which to put together a flatline combo; it means that the Corporation can at least attempt to, if not actually inflict a larger total cumulative amount of damage over the course of the longer game; and it means that the Runner is more likely to get to 0 cards in their stack, both before the game is won and earlier in the game.
Of these three I am happy with the latter two effects ( a larger total cumulative amount of damage, and a greater likelihood of reaching 0 cards in the stack ). They are one of the reasons why I increased the agenda points needed to win to 11. I anticipate that these two effects will strengthen non-flatlining damage tactics without making them too strong because, in and of themselves, they don’t end the game ( in the way that they would in combination with aggressive high damage flatline orientated cards ). I intend that these two effects, along with the other consequences of a longer 11 point game, will encourage, generally advantage, and even necessitate the Runner building larger decks. I also anticipate that these two effects will increase the threat of low damage non-flatlining orientated meat, net and brain damage and i’m intending that this, along with the Runner building a larger deck, will mean that a more varied range of damage avoidance, prevention and mitigation cards will be necessary, preferable, and come into play.
This leaves me with high damage flatline orientated cards gaining the benefit of a longer game over which time the Corporation can put together a flatline combo ( whether that’s with cards in HQ or with card effects from the board ). There are a few things that I think will counteract this effect. Firstly, i’m intending and expecting that the Corporation will be building larger decks ( in order to avoid the Runner leveraging the longer game to deck them ), and consequently it will take a little more time to find the components of a combo. Secondly, tagging has changed in the Hack such that, whilst it will generally be more costly for Runners to avoid tags from tracer ice, tags are often now removed when a tag based effect is used. This means, for example, that landing a double Scorched Earth requires that the Runner has two tags, not one. Thirdly, everyone’s favourite insta-double tag method, Breaking News, now costs one more to advance, as discussed above. Fourthly, Scorched Earth specifically is now 5 influence, making it more costly to splash. Fifthly, I think there are damage avoidance, prevention and mitigation cards in the card pool that didn’t get used, or used much, because the primary concern was double Scorched Earth, because there was more limited deck space, and because other damage effects weren’t threatening enough. As mentioned above i’m intending that the Runner will need a larger deck and be encountering an increased threat of a wider range of damage types, and that consequently there will be room in the Runner’s deck for, and a greater need of, a more varied range of damage avoidance, prevention and mitigation cards. I still see Plascrete Carapace being used in the Hack, but I anticipate it being used alongside other cards in order to protect against a range of damage over the long game.