"Simpler" port of ANR for online play

I was watching kiv (Spark Red Herrings) vs sorasakura (Hayley Stealth) when something struck in my mind when @kiv commented

If netrunner was designed to be digital from the first place, you probably wouldn’t have these kind of instant abilities where you can pass rail back and forth all the time. You’d probably have a simpler timing structure.

It made me wonder if making a “simpler” port (mostly by simplifying the timing structure of a run and reducing the number/scope of ability windows) of ANR online would

  • make the online experience much fun? (a-la Hearthstone)
  • be as interesting as the original table-top version?
  • not work because the cards were designed with current timing structure in mind?

Intriguing idea. The reason of HS’s popularity is the ease of usage of the UI, the easy rules, and the ubiquity of the platform. HS v. ANR is chess v. go, imho. Could work.


I like the idea, but it’s hard to envision a practical (or even an impractical) way to do it…

definitely yes. this is the main impediment to any online versions being as satisfying as playing in meatspace, imo.

[quote=“zogstrip, post:1, topic:7195”]
be as interesting as the original table-top version?
[/quote]possibly, I think it could be done, though it’s hard to say for sure. Some of the more bet/bluff type interactions (that make the game so interesting) depend on that “I could do anything at any moment” type of timing.

[quote=“zogstrip, post:1, topic:7195”]
not work because the cards were designed with current timing structure in mind?
[/quote]it would have to involve a partial rework of affected cards (which would likely be all or most of them). This becomes even tougher when you take into consideration how any changes would effect card power levels and costing. i.e.; if komainu is costed at 5 in part because of its relative weakness to parasite, do you need to increase the cost of it if the new timing structure makes instant parasite harder to use or set up?

It’s an interesting thought experiment, but ultimately it’s hard to see how a game this complex could become easy to play without the back-and-forth that is so easy in person and so hard online. also:

[quote=“spags, post:2, topic:7195”]
HS v. ANR is chutes and ladders v. go, imho.
[/quote] #fixedthatforyouspags


Timing structure of the run is actually fine, the problem is timing structure outside of the run when the inactive player can do things to interrupt the active player’s turn.

I have given this some thought and the main thing is that small tweaks are needed to make cards have their intended effect under a simpler timing system, but nobody wants to play a game that is “almost Netrunner”. You want the real deal so that your practice carries over into real life and not a streamlined, nicer to play version that doesn’t exist in meatspace.

It has been fortunate for Netrunner’s health that the game rarely bogs down into priority passing after every click. When it does things get boring real fast. Us old timers may remember the tedium of asking the Corp if they wanted to forfeit a False Lead after every click…


You could simplify Netrunner to have players act only during their own turns by letting the Corp put settings on their ICE, like armed or disarmed, and having it automatically rez if armed.

I’d probably rather player Netrunner though.


I think it could be done, but would be quite the rebalancing project.

1 Like

I toyed with the idea of making an online version of netrunner for a while recently, potentially just for private use (both jinteki and octgn don’t really do it for me, though of course jinteki is really getting there). However I came to pretty much the same conclusion mentioned in the OP that it has a problematic structure, and so took another look at how jinteki tackles it to see if the UI could be improved upon.

I ended up doing blackat instead, supposedly as a warm-up for it really, but honestly I doubt I’ll go any further with the client idea for various reasons. One of them was just simply that, yeah, it’s not only a hard game to move onto digital with serious elegance, but also those same issues are indeed present in meatspace too (see above with the constant False Lead check) - while normally they’re not an issue this only really happens by assuming certain things for the most part, not having to actually observe the paid abilities windows properly all the time and being allowed to reverse your plays if you’re too fast. The truth is we’re very unlikely to fix it in digital while these issues still exist in analogue.

So, then comes along this idea of a tweaked, streamlined version of ANR, which is something that I’ve pondered too, but not directly - I was thinking more of filter out the cards from my collection that create rules issues and seeing what I had left and what play experience that might give. Not sure, will have to see on that one. Really this is just a thought exercise on my part because I like to think about game rules and mechanics. It’s interesting to notice that other people are thinking along similar line

Ultimately though, as mentioned, nobody wants to play ‘almost netrunner’ (or at least very few). Making an online client is a whole heap of work, and making that for a niche segment of an already niche audience would take some serious determination with potentially little external reward. It could well be a significantly better version that may even have implications for analogue play if you really fixed the timing, but then it’s just not the official thing, so you’re still screwed.

Probably the most effective thing to do is to take the rules, improve and streamline them, then - sadly - re-theme it so you can package it as a different product and actually gain traction like that. But then you’re talking artwork etc.and it’s no longer netrunner, so what’s the point?


makes me think of something like Why I Run

if netrunner were designed from the ground up to be digital, i think not just in timing structure, but also card abilities, baseline actions, and lot of the core concepts would have been streamlined a lot. it would have been a completely different game.


I feel your pain in wanting something personally and obsessively having to skills to make it, but then not being able to afford the time.


I’ve been thinking and I’ve come to the same conclusion. It’s either a perfect replication of the meatspace version or a complete different game. There’s no point in building a lighter version which would only attract a very small amount of people. I’d rather spend that time thinking about how to improve jinteki.net.

Thanks everyone for your comments.


Nothing wrong with it being a new game.

It would have to be like hearthstone in a lot of ways, very little interaction on your opponents turns.

Lots More mandatory triggers, clone chip for example could be, Next time program is trashed, reinstall it for free -> trash clone chip. (over writing programs is now an issue.)

More traps on the corp side, might have econ cards trigger at the end of corp turn instead of at start.


There is, it turns out, a window on the corp turn before the ‘start of turn’ trigger where you can rez cards. The whole idea about rezzing at the end of the runner’s turn is actually overly specific.

It is handy when you are playing Spark Agency and you want to rez an advertisement at the end of the runner’s turn and at the beginning of yours.

That works really well in meat space, but not so well for a streamlined/simplified port. when the runner passes I would really want the game to resolve everything up to the 1st click.

The more i think about this the more i want to see what i could create. It wouldn’t be the same game but it would play nicely online.

1 Like

That’s actually where I learned about it!

I actually like it as is. Much better than magic online as far as waiting for responses. And not being able to react on your opponents turn in Hearthstone is why I play ANR instead of HS. Also I like ANR as a digital game because the chips for money, clicks, tags, etc is too clunky on the table top imp. You lose a little fun by not sitting face to face from somebody but I think the easier to read data makes up for it.

[quote=“Dylan, post:11, topic:7195”]
Nothing wrong with it being a new game.
[/quote]just to be clear, i wasn’t stating or even implying that it’s a bad thing

I wonder if people would be more interested in a Netrunner-inspired online game now that official ANR is coming to an end?

There is a Netrunner-inspired online game.

If there’s a Netrunner-inspired online game of the sort discussed in this thread - mechanically similar, but simplified for online play - I didn’t know about it. Mind sharing the link?

Or did you mean jnet? Jnet is great, but it’s not Netrunner-inspired, it is Netrunner.