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Stimhack Chat - Worlds Review by Foilflaws

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/stimhack-chat-worlds-review-by-foilflaws/

Discuss the latest article here.


Like, the Gunslinging was cool, but as Spags mentioned having Terminal Directive or even the new New Angeles board game to try out would have been a ton of fun. I also would like to suggest to Damon/organizers that they set up some sort of FFG tour, so that people can see what it’s like to work there, maybe show the factory to see how games get boxed up and sent out. I’m sure people would be interested.


Had to miss worlds after going the previous two years. It’s heartening/upsetting that it sounds just as amazing as usual. Here’s hoping to see you weirdos next year, and that something kicks CTM in the goulies. (It’s fine, it’d still probably be on top.)


I love the chicken/egg nature of the Red/Yellow dominance. It really is futile to speculate about which of the two came first, and which is a reaction.

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It’s not futile from a design perspective. If you’re looking to address an imbalance, it’s integral to understand how that imbalance came about. Just because Anarch has been dominant for a long time doesn’t mean that there aren’t multiple reasons for that. I’d argue that we should have a seen a lot more runner diversity post-Temujin, but CTM made even that economy not enough. Anarch has the best tech for dealing with it by a long shot. It’s a pretty clear chain to go from CTM => Whizz/Anarch => SYNC/anti-Anarch.


may I please see this glacier Sol? curious about that.

I think you want to start from https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/37857/release-the-hounds-1st-belgian-nationals-2016-, add 3 Data Wards, 1-2 Scarcity of Resources, not sure if there will be some defensive upgrade, maybe SanSan is enough.

Here’s a hypothetical and potentially unproductive question, but I feel there’s been enough discussion to warrant phrasing it this way:

What if CTM was the only card never printed?

In an alternative universe, if we had all the horrors of Mumbad and a few packs from Flashpoint… But CTM never existed, would the competitive scene be more diverse in terms of faction representation? I think it’s entirely possible.

Which brings to mind: why on earth would they print it? Bigger question: is it the primary job of game designers to ensure fun, diversity, and representation? Or is it the primary job of game designers to ensure that the top 0.9% of fanatical competitive powercard players can converge on a hair-splittingly homogeneous faction/deck representation and validate their own investment in the game?

By means of an analogy, Apple is a company that, for a long time, catered to its Chris Dyers and Ben Nis. It catered to the eggheads and diehards who disdain bad tech, if you get my parallel. First, power user love bought Apple a lifeline in the market. Subsequently, that same focus bought it many years of dominance. Right now Apple is in the “Is there a viable anarch stealth build?” and “DLR nasir thread” realm of pleasing curious and less competitive customer personas with their design and marketing decisions. A lot of eggheads like me are getting restless and looking for another tech company to follow.

Who’s to say, eh?

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Political Assets and CtM just go too well with each other,imagine CtM without SAU and Bankers,it would be a lot more fair.I do agree that they should figure out how to make other corps better rather than nerf NBN straight,since the lack of diversity is much due to other corps are not really strong against some of the best runner decks right now.Spoilers gave me much faith in the future meta.


Right, the Weyland ID where you sacrifice an agenda to add advancement tokens on an ice that can be advanced or whatever eyeroll

The job of game designers in the “subscription model” market has nothing to do with balance, fun, or Weyland cards. It’s about ensuring that the 0.9% of players that are Ben Ni are so good it makes the rest of us think our stealth Nasir deck is just one key card away from success. And we’re willing to keep playing to find out whether that’ll happen or not.

You should read the whole spoilers as the whole “forfeit an agenda” thing is actually worth consideration if not outright strong,and the ID states “Place 1+X adv counters on any cards (X=the agenda point of the forfeited agenda”.
And I really don’t know any one who think Stealth Nasir deck is even close to good.

That’s… harsh. Maybe, rather than malice or some other impure motive, maintaining a balance between multiple asymmetric factions with 1000+ cards is just hard? Especially with a card game, where you can’t make easy changes once released in the wild.


@SimonMoon last word was perfect. I’m hoping to make it next year, along with some other Seattle people. Thanks for the article and editing work @FoilFlaws

Ultimately game designers have two jobs, one of which is a necessity and one of which should be the driving force behind what they do.

The necessary goal is that they have to make the game a commercial success, because otherwise FFG won’t be willing to print cards any more. The idealistic goal is that you want the game to be as fun and interesting for as many people as possible. Obviously, the kicker is how you actually accomplish the two goals. I don’t have access to FFG’s sales data, so I can’t tell you how much of their revenue comes from casual players compared to tournament players, or how much they feel high profile tournaments like Worlds boost overall sales. It’s also clear that the two goals overlap a good deal; the more people have fun, the more the game is likely to be a commercial success.

However, ensuring people have fun usually means that you need to cater to all audiences. My design philosophy always used to be that you should cater to the casual player first, and that if you make cards interesting, elegant and open-ended enough that your average kitchen table group can have fun then the tournament die-hards will still be able to grok their top tier deck from the cards and get their own satisfaction that way. Designing cards specifically for tournament players is more likely to alienate a large portion of your player base.

I don’t really have a particular problem with CtM from a design perspective; it’s an open ended, fairly elegant card that ties in to what the faction is trying to do. The problem really is the critical mass of cards that surround it (EoI, HHN, political assets, GFI and Breaking News, to compile a shortlist) that enable the deck.

That obviously then feeds in to a whole new discussion about how much designers should be looking at the meta when creating new cards, but I’ve already waffled a ton in this post so I’ll shelve that for now.


Crim came first. Then Shaper. Then Anarch.

Things are somehow ok with runners. Yellow dominance lasts too long.

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We seem to have come around again to the quarterly event where datapack releases / MWL stabilize enough for a deck to establish itself as the strongest deck. Which only seems to inspire nerd rage that everything is broken and needs to be fixed.

Like any ecosystem, winners and losers emerge: there will always be a best deck. It is absolutely impossible to balance 1000s of cards such that all strategies are equal (the same applies to people in society but I wont digress into politics). But if there is one thing I have observed in netrunner is that the ecosystem does not stay that way for very long as it evolves very quickly.

CTM enjoy your time at the top of the tree. I predict that over store champs every deck is going to be primed to knock you off your perch and when you fall you will never get it back. Your various alumni - NEH FA, NEH Asset spam, HB Foodcoats, IG Prison, RP Glacier, Weyland Tag n Bag are all testaments to this.


Agree. As @mediohxcore says on the latest Run Last Click podcast, CtM (and NBN more generally) is currently at the top of the tree because EoI is the only reliable plan to score 7 points as corp. (At least, the only reliable plan that isn’t CI7). As soon as a decent defensive upgrade gets printed, other corps also get a viable plan and things should get shaken up.


Agreed, although we have several decent defensive upgrades already, but unfortunately we also already have Rumour Mill. Probs just because I’m slightly bitter about how hard it hosed the particular Palana build I was on for 6 months beforehand but I really think that things would be significantly more versatile up at the top tables if that one card didn’t exist (given that PolOp was already pretty decent hate…). More Palana/ETF would likely lead to more shaper at least and generally open things up a bit, plus the presence of Caprice in the meta, whatever else people think about her at least potentially hates out Blackmail a bit

CTM felt very out of touch when it was printed. After a whole cycle of overpowered assets, I looked at that ID and thought “this is precisely the worst thing that could be printed for the current meta.” And then all the new tag punishment feels heavy handed, tagstorm decks have actually been viable for a long time and we didn’t need EOI, HHN, etc. to make it staggeringly obvious how to build them.

It’s tough to balance card games, for sure. But if you look at a lot of peer games, their factional balance, while imperfect, is far better than the ANR worlds top 16 was. I’m thinking of Hearthstone and Magic in particular, Thrones also seems a little disbalanced. I wonder if Damon’s philosophy is “continue to print powerful cards for every faction, accomplish balancing through MWL changes only” which is a fine approach but if it is, it didn’t work through the first two MWL iterations. It’s great to see powerful cards and interesting lines of play open up, EOI is a really cool design just like Faust, but it worsens an already homogeneous competitive meta.


Classic British waffling. Dan would have called ctm a shit card. Redo worlds plz until we can find a champion with conviction.