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The Account Siphon (not) heard round the World


#1

I was hanging out with @hhooo and @Basoon this past weekend, as we prepped for an SC in PA, and we were watching some older video from Worlds. I stumbled across a couple alarming things in this game between @Basoon and @jesseo_o. Here I have cued the video up to the turn that has the most alarming play:

Marshall begins his turn with 6 credits, and he takes a counter of off Adonis and goes to 9.
Mandatory draw.
Click 1: Draw a card
Click 2: Green Level Clearance, putting him up to 11.
Click 3 Install an Upgrade in the Adonis remote, netting him a credit off of EtFs ability, to 12. Here is the misstep. Instead of adding a credit to his pool, he removes 4 singles, and grabs a 5. He sets the 5 down in front of R&D, and then discards a card to end his turn. As Ben starts his next turn, Marshall reaches out, and puts the 5 back in the bank.

In the same game, a more minor error, on Marshalls turn that begins at 8:25 he starts the turn with 14 credits, installs Vitruvius going to 15, and then Biotic Labors. He moves a 5 credit piece off for the BL, then spends an additional single to advance, followed by Shipment from Sansan, leaving him at 9. In essence, paying 5 for the Biotic.

I know mistakes happen at all levels of play (lord knows, watch some of my games), and I do NOT point this out in any way to be a slam at Marshall (who I quite like, and is a stand up dude). This is more a cautionary tale about taking shortcuts when using counters to track credits. Both of these mistakes were due to “change” being made/not made when playing cards. Could a similar mistake be made using dice? Probably, but I bet this happens a lot more often with credit counters, and probably a lot more than most people realize.

(Also, I realize a sharp-eyed viewer commented about the 5 credit loss in the youtube comments, but still thought it worth bringing up as this was the first myself or @Basoon had seen it).


#2

Personally, counters are harder to play with. I’ve done both and I know its different for each player, but this sort of thing happens. The best thing to do, be it dice or counters is to have a place where you always keep your actual money. I use a tray. Some people use their IDs. Others keep a line up at the front of their playmat. Doesn’t matter much, but you gotta have a place and a system you can trust and work with minimal thought.


#3

Key point here.

I always talk through credit amounts (eg, playing Sure gamble, paying 1 from prepaid and 4, gaining 9) whether I’m using the tokens from core or opaque contrast d6.


#4

Yes, I always say something like “Biotic for 4, adv adv adv” or something. I also say “click 1” or “first click” in taking actions. It creates at least a phantom of a memory person can think back to to remember where you’re at. Just vocalize everything to be clear, and reinforce it with tokens or if you must…dice.


#5

I’m on that boat too, but I’ve had players complain about how they can keep track of the game state just fine and that the narration is annoying.

“It’s for me! Not you.” :wink: Is usually my response. Anyone else experienced similar?


#6

Whenever I’m playing an opponent who uses credit tokens (good), but then puts random-crap-tokens on their cards instead of actual credits immediately like the cards say (bad), I have to resist the urge to slap them in the face. If you do this: you’re wasting time and inducing mistakes, stop it.


#7

Agreed. Are you really that lazy that you can only be bothered to pick up one token to put on Kati instead of three? And even if you’re in a hurry to do other stuff on your turn and can’t be bothered to dig out the change for Daily Casts right now, you have my whole turn to sort it out! Hate that ‘each token is one usage’ kind of crap. Saves no time and unnecessarily makes the board state harder to read.


#8

If you’re putting the same tokens, oriented the same way, on Kati, it’s weird. Flip the core set tokens over, and only put one per activation, and it’ll help keep them separate from your real creds if you’re one of those ‘pile creds on the ID so no one within 100 yards can tell how many you have’ people. If you’re neat with your creds either way, it literally never matters whether you put creds on Kati by 3s or by activations.

That being said, tokens are horrible. unless you use them the exact same way Timmy Wong does. Way off in the corner from the play area, arranged in a quickly readable fashion, and without ever having very many of them :wink:


#9

There are lots of reasons why these things happened - the limited time we had for these games, the pressure of playing for Worlds top 8, perhaps in my mind over-concentration on what I would be doing 2 turns ahead without concentrating on making the correct change. Throw into the mixer that I’d come from the other side of the world, spent the last two days chasing my luggage and playing a long day of Swiss, and there are plenty of factors that made mis-counting more of a risk than normal.

Everyone makes mistakes when playing - there is so much to compute in Netrunner and our minds are probably just too limited to do it all efficiently, which is one of the reasons I love the game so much. Oftentimes the level of play you want to get to sits just out of reach, taunting you and making you want to play a bit better, work a bit harder.

On this occasion my mind was wrapped up in getting to 7 points, planning 2 or 3 turns ahead and denying Ben as many credits as I could in the early game to stop him getting going. I remember looking at my credit pool that turn and thinking something was amiss, but it’s much harder to go back and fix it when you aren’t watching a video replay and when your mind is working on overtime already in-game. In a less pressured situation I might have been able to run my own mental replay, but in this instance I didn’t have enough mental capacity!

Anyway, all those things are far more relevant than whether I was using dice or tokens or taking shortcuts. Ben missed a few Desperado triggers here and there, but they’re much harder to notice because he isn’t physically throwing pieces away. That’s generally my argument for using tokens - even when you do screw up, it’s easier for others to see what’s going on (even on replays).


#10

I use poker chips (much easier to handle than cardboard chits; stay in stacks much better) stacked (in stacks of five with one remainder pile) at the front of the playmat wherever there is the most space. I used to use 1’s and 5’s, but recently switched to all 1’s because it is too distracting to make change. I will keep the reds and one green in Plano just in case I have one of those games where I get really rich for some reason, but even then it’s really just because I run out of whites. I do still use the original credit chits for recurring credits since they can just be flipped over to mark use for the turn. Not gonna get into the dice vs markers thing again. If you do use markers, give chips a try.

Re time pressure, I find the way ANR tourney rounds are timed to be interesting. Coming from a chess background, I am accustomed to time issues, and of course no one would expect a game played in thirty minutes to be of the same quality of one played over hours. Ability to handle time pressure is part of the deal. What is strange to me about netrunner is there is no attempt to track who is actually using the time. I guess the answer is to get a lot of practice playing your decks so you can play accurately quickly.


#11

If nothing else there are huge practical issues in trying to do that. With the number of back and forth timing windows in Netrunner it would be almost impossible to accurately measure, it’s not like chess where you have simple uninterrupted turns, if you used something like a chess clock you’d have to hit it back and forth 10 + times on any run against a couple of ice or more.


#12

Very true. At least now they make touch sensitive chess clocks so it wouldn’t be super loud. Clearly there is a practical challenge, but rather than run the clock for every window, maybe it could just be there as a deterrent, one can hit it if their opponent settles in for a big long think. Could limit the amount of time in the tank, even if it’s not a perfect measurement of every window in the game. Games going to time is definitely the thing I like least about netrunner tournament play.


#13

At the last SC, I was up as corp something like 5-4. I had a 3 point agenda in HQ that I was very concerned about losing. And there was about 6 minutes on the clock.

I absolutely had the thought that “If I just consider my options for a good long while, then take a slow turn, I could conceivably either run out the clock or leave the runner with far less time than they need, possibly causing a misplay.”

I didn’t, because I’m not a terrible person. But this was an SC. If it had been game 3 of Worlds, I think people (certainly not me, cause I’m not gonna be there :wink: ) are going to have a bit more temptation to do something like that.