Would Netrunner benefit from the introduction of a new resource/currency mechanic? (aka why am i spending credits to use icebreakers?)

The premise

This is a thought that emerged mainly from the fact that runs -at least for my group- no longer offer the thrill they used to when first playing Netrunner. There is still the suspense of what is hiding behind that server, or what the HQ run will bring, but when I first started playing, there was also the suspense of what piece of Ice I am going to hit.

Most runs I make now are done after im sure i have the necessary credits and/or icebreakers. A piece of Ice will be flipped, I ll pay the cost and move on. Yes, subroutines will still hit me, but they are not that huge of a part to the game for me anymore.

Adding a new mechanic to it all

So the question is: Do you believe Netrunner could add an interesting layer of complication (but most of all excitement) to a run if a new kind of resource was introduced?

For example, today you need credits to install stuff, but for using Icebreakers? Where’s the logic in that? If you had another resource you needed to juggle, something like ram memory, energy, or something-that-actually-sounds-cool, maybe runs could be a little more interesting and risky.

Or from the Corp’s side, as it is, it currently costs credits to rezz ice, but actually managing it (meaning keeping it rezzed) could again require a form or resource. Allocating it optimally could keep Ice rezzed, or actually pump its strength, or boost a subroutine of the currently encountered Ice at the expense of another rezzed piece.

Yes, it could be a bit too much, but…

I know, this is hardly something that could be done in Netrunner without fundamentally changing how things work (would almost certainly require a Netrunner 2), but it always struck me as odd that you know, the only thing i need to hack a server is install a program and then keep paying cash over and over. Its obvious that it was done from keeping the game from becoming too complicated, but still… something of this sort could add a lot to a game I already love.

I don’t think it’ll happen because stealth exists. I think it probably upsets all sorts of timing balances. I get where you’re coming from but don’t think it’s a good plan. Imagine away about how credits are used to break ice. It’s a necessary abstraction and core to netrunner imho.


I think maybe a fourth type of ice and breaker could introduce a new level without changing the mechanic of the game. Don’t think you can change currency I.E. Faust without breaking the game which Faust pretty much did. If there was a.new type of ice and breaker maybe they could be neutral with splash so both corp and runner would have to find a way to fit them in.

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If you check the rulebook in the core box, there is already a fourth kind of ICE, Trap, and it’s paired with a fourth kind of breaker, AI.

Sounds like you’ve just played lots more Netrunner and the ‘suspense’ isn’t there. You add a new mechanic, you get the suspense back, but then you’ll lose it again once you’ve played that mechanic long enough. You’d be chasing your tail.


Yes, you can be entirely right on this. Maybe it would make a difference maybe it wouldn’t. I believe it would make things interesting if it was something that didn’t stack, or at least stacked up to a limit and then recharged. You have 10 units of that new resource you can only allocate that much per run or something like that. So it could add an element that focused purely on running.

Stack limit or recharge rate etc would be affected by resources/hardware/other programs ofc.

Does this post have anything to do with the most recent MtG set introducing an alternate currency for the first time in dozens of years in a set that released last week?


Wow, really? Honestly haven’t checked magic in more than a decade, ill go check what that is! Can’t imagine it having the same application as it would here though :stuck_out_tongue:

Trap ice isn’t exactly good. I meant a new type you would have to have a program
To break with. Also about suspense I read in these boards a while back during the whole I’m quitting the game meta one of the reasons some top guys were fired was the games been figured out and I think it’s true. The days of gotcha ice are gone

ICE has never really been about hitting the runner. It acts mostly as a way to say to the runner, get your act together or face consequences. If we changed the currency, there would still be little difference in how the game plays, except now there is this ubiquitous new currency. There’s already a tonne of stuff to track and math, let’s not add another thing to that.

If runners aren’t taking risks on early ICE, maybe the corp needs to play more aggressively. Threaten to score an early corporate sales team or something.


Maybe I didnt describe it well, but the whole point is that its a fixed or recharging currency that you need to allocate, not something you earn and can stack in piles like credits.

There are more than 4 kinds of ice. Mythic is the fifth.

I think we should stay away from prescribing new mechanics to a game already as complex as Netrunner. Let them fix Stealth (as they appear to be doing) and give the new packs some time to simmer.

Now, what if we just used the already-existing “currencies” in different ways?

Like… I dunno… having ice breakers fueled by discarding cards instead of credits? There’s no way this could go wrong, right? Right?

I still think we’ll eventually see Noisy breakers make their return, by letting you get through ICE on the cheap but taking a unavoidable tag afterwards. Hopefully whatever is in that server is worth possibly getting explodified.

Mongoose is a good example of limiting how you can use your existing resources


I kind of like the ubiquity of credits. They don’t just represent money, but also favors and influence with groups.

The icebreaker example always made me think of movies like hackers. Or paying extra on their power bill.

Or maybe they have to pay microtransactions to get credentials to get where they need to go in the net.

Netrunner is weird, but super neat.

Those are called Clicks.


I do think there would’ve been some interesting design space gained if there was notions of RAM or power management, where programs could have an “offline” or “online” state.

Maybe when I run at server X, I take my decoder and killer offline and swap out my normal fracter for a highly power-efficient but RAM-intensive fracter

But at this point, we’re talking a totally different game. Not even just because of the new mechanic directly; very few decks manage to slot more than the minimum breaker suite they need to get into a server. If your runs were using power instead of credits directly, Netrunner would be less of an efficiency game and more of a rig-management game.

An interesting idea, if purely theoretical.

If it were only Icebreakers that used MU, being able to turn them off and on would work.

Because there’s a whole bunch of other programs that do other crazy things, turning things off and on sorta doesn’t work… Would be mildly interesting if you paid to install the program, but couldn’t use it for a turn while it was booting up, and could turn programs on and off, needing to spend a turn waiting for any program to boot, in order to juggle memory more interestingly…

I suspect there’s design space for a hardware that does something like that. ‘You may install Programs onto Backup Drive. Programs hosted on Backup Drive cost no MU and their text box is blank. At the beginning of your turn, you may un-host a Program on Backup Drive. At the beginning of your turn, you may host an installed Program onto Backup Drive.’

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