Random HQ accesses: Not so Random

I came across this thread on reddit and I thought to start a small discussion here as well. But before I do that, I’ll let you in on a small secret.

Let’s say i present you with 5 cups and a ball. I ask you to put the ball under one of the 5 cups. I will find the cup with the ball 10/10 times. This is a well known magician effect. I won’t reveal the entire effect, but what I’m about to explain is a great part in it.

Humans are terrible random number generators. If the cups are placed like this(with left being your left)
1 2 3 4 5
Cups 2 and 4 are most likely to be chosen. The center cup is next, the cup nearest to the dominant hand after that, and the last cup(number one in this example if you are right handed). This is further abused by not placing the cups in a straight line, but a bit jagged towards the magician, like so
With cup number 4 being chosen the most, and number one close to never.

As accesses in netrunner need to be random, such an approach in netrunner is not allowed(keeping your agenda on position one). However, the only one who is fully in control of the randomness during access, is the runner. Thus if the runner is not randomizing his access, I will manipulate in order to force you into drawing that snare with a greater chance. I love the psychological aspect of this game during accesses, so I keep my HQ in hand, faces facing me so I can mess with the runner. Anyway, this post is becoming way to long already. For randomizing my own accesses I use my watch to pick the number I want to pick(the second on the clock) as I hate using dice. What do you do to randomize your access?

Please use a randomizer during your HQ accesses


Dice every time.

Also, if it were up to me, it would be illegal in tournaments for the corp to shuffle their hand for HQ access while they can see their own cards.


I noticed this myself, and realised I could quite easily manipulate runners into very rarely choosing the agenda in my hand. The effect was strong. A lot stronger than I’d eve have expected. It so perturbed me I started rolling a dice every time I accessed, and blind shuffling my hand, as accesses are supposed to be random.

I hope everyone starts using a dice.

I know it’s a shady grey area, but ultimately, the runner decides if the access is random. But I get the point

On the dice note, at the moment the only thing I use dice for is ms. Kati and to deside who starts which side. And even that’s too much dice for me

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I can see why you would want to randomize as the runner at high levels of play, but I find it more fun to play by picking. There are entertaining opportunities for mindgames without the runner rolling a die for picking.

Some people use dice incorrectly by rolling a 6 and taking the 5th card (giving it an increased probability of being picked), don’t do this :stuck_out_tongue:

As the corp, there’s no reason to insist on the runner using a dice for access though, right? (Assuming no illegal states like marked cards).

But it’s unavoidable to have a little bit of wear on the sleeves. Without some outside influence, it is extremely hard to be even reasonably random on HQ accesses. I would insist on dice or some other outside determinant, but this game has revealed to me a dice-hating subculture that I never knew existed before. It’s super weird.


A little wear is one thing, but if you can distinguish cards then that meets the definition of marked cards. If you’re worried about runners distinguishing your cards, resleeve your deck before a tournament.

I just shuffle HQ facedown and then present for picking facedown. Not interested in potentially letting my eyes give anything away.


Yet do you really shuffle though? I thought someone posted numberophile’s vid about shuffling somewhere around here. Even with only 5 cards, it’s pretty rough to get a real shuffle in

Wasn’t introducing the “poker” element (as in don’t allow the human element to be boiled out of the game) into ANR a core goal of the design team?

I would imagine the ability to manipulate card placement in HQ during an access boils down to a duel of who reads the other the best does it not? Seems to be in line with other non-technical corp strategies such as body-language, control of eye direction, and displayed confidence in a turn sequence.

I wouldn’t want the manual to win solely lie on the page of a spread sheet.

The rules say HQ accesses are supposed to be random. There is a lot of opportunity for bluffing, but HQ access is not supposed to be one of them.


The language is that the runner choses randomly. The presentation of the cards by the Corp is irrelevant in the language of the rulebook.

Yes. For large Cerebral Imaging hands, we’ve frequently shuffled the hand (which is almost a deck at that point) and the Runner has made a cut to select their access.

That’s just bad, as you can control all agenda’s to the top or bottom of the stack

Well yes, but if you assume your opponent is cheating when they shuffle their deck, all bets are off anyway.


And people say they don’t like psi games. Those are the most human element. The emotions they bring out are irreplaceable.


I’m forwarding this question up to Lukas WRT what the Corp is and is not allowed to do with his cards during HQ Accesses for the purposes of Tournament play. The last super detailed non-card question I had (the legal uses of tokens in this game) took like 3 months to get an answer, but it was totally comprehensive and should stick for the entire existence of A:NR. (I semi expected to see it in.the FAQ - but I guess not a lot of other people asked about it.)

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I think this question has been answered before. Lukas is ok with the corp shuffling their hand and the runner picking whatever they choose. I don’t think he’s been asked whether the corp can look at the hand while they shuffle it, but he has seen it happen before and not said anything.

I suspect that this will stay legal just because it’s the easiest thing to do.

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I have fun moving certain cards certain places sometimes. If I wasn’t allowed to do that, I’d totally stop… but as it stands if I notice a trend with the runner always picking the middle card or something. … I’m keeping my agendas on the edges. :smile:

Of course having an opponent use a die or other randomizing tool neuter some of my Jeti Mind Tricks.

Edit: (super rules lawyer mode)

That said - there are situations that can arise from when exactly the access happens… like, is the access only when the runner SEES the card? Or is the access as the die roll accepted? What about players who roll a die, than choose a different card than what is represented on the die after seeing the Corp’s facial reaction (If the Corp is looking at their hand for example). Or players who change their die roll access from left to right to right to left based off of nothing in particular? If the access isn’t until the Runner’s hand touches a card, could the Corp shuffle again after the die is rolled, but before the Runner reaches out to flip a card over from HQ? Etc.

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Just don’t look at your cards and try to influence the pick. In this scenario, you’re both being asshats.