Netrunner sounds like a dangerous thing to get into

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I like board games. But LCGs are a never ending purchase stream of collectable, sleeve-able, ROFL-stomp-bait.

LCGs are the sane end of the spectrum that ends at Magic: The Gathering.

Yes, there are regular releases of cards into the LCG pool, and you’ll need to keep up with them if you wish to play competitively, but the “data pack” expansions are relatively cheap ($10 at CoolStuffInc) and released monthly with a yearly deluxe expansion at about $20. The packs are not randomized. One purchase of each gets you 3 copies of each card, which is the limit you’re allowed to put in your deck.

Compare that with M:tG and you’re looking at quarterly releases that (due to the randomization and rarity levels) require many hundreds of dollars to statistically grant you a playset of each card.

As a recovering M:TGer, LCGs are a kind of methadone to help keep you off the hard stuff :smile:


I totally agree - it’s a habit, and it’s pretty clear that their business model is to get you hooked so you buy more cards. But it’s a FAR less abusive business model than games like Magic.

It’s kinda like the difference between WoW and Candy Crush. They both want to get you hooked and take your money. But one takes a steady monthly payment and rewards you with actual fun, whereas the other is just a constant treadmill sucking up as much money as you throw at it and then demanding more.

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I was heavily into MTG in the late nineties; I even had a couple Moxes! But I dropped it when I started traveling.

Last year I was dangerously close to getting back into it. I even got the Netrunner core set on release. I was so ready! I genuinely missed CCGs; deck building, collecting, games, all of it.

Thankfully Heartstone came out before I could fall down that rabbit hole.

Pros: it’s cheaper and I can play it any time, anywhere.

Cons: I can literally play it any time, anywhere.

Result: I play an awful lot of Hearthstone.


Well, unless you’re this guy.


Everything probably costs more when you are that guy.


I’d like to point out that Netrunner does a wonderful job of representation when it comes to race and gender. There’s a post somewhere on the internet that discusses this… can’t find it at the moment… But suffice it to say that the game is not only mechanically brilliant, but it has a lot going on at a thematic level as well. I mean, it’s not perfect, but it actively considers how identity would work in the sorta-near future and builds that into the world.


Note that Netrunner was originally designed by Richard Garfield, the inventor of Magic and of CCGs… and it has a level of depth and intelligence in the design that few other CCG designers have, and none did at the time of the original release.

Fantasy Flight have removed the annoying, money-sucking CCG aspect, tidied up the game’s rules, smoothed the flow and themed the world more clearly. It’s another success in their now-habitual pattern of taking great old games and somehow making them better.

(They even managed to improve Cosmic Encounter for **** sake. That really ought to be logically impossible, since anything that can be done for that game had already been done by thirty years of the internet.)

I’m a very big fan of asymmetric games, and Netrunner is the no-question, no-contest, all-time winner in the “asymmetric two player card game” category.

I’ve never played the original Netrunner, but I found the reboot pretty underwhelming. I have no idea what the game’s status is as of now, but when I played it a couple of years ago, it was a strictly two player affair (tough luck if you’re having a group of friends over). The asymmetric game play seemed to largely favor the runner, and winning involved a great deal of luck (to that point that I pulled off some miraculous last minute turnarounds). None of this has endeared the game to me, so I am puzzled by the spectacular amount of praise it has received.

I like that you didn’t specify which game was the fun one and which was the evil one. :wink:

In order:

  1. Yes, it’s strictly two player. I fail to see how this is a criticism; that’s behaves-as-designed. If you have a bunch of friends over for a game, you play something for more players - that’s not a flaw in Netrunner.

  2. The asymmetric play does not particularly favour the runner. However, the runner is easier for a beginner to play well, so it may seem that way if you didn’t like it enough to play much - or if your group was inexperienced.

  3. Winning involves some luck, but not an overwhelming amount - deck design and play count for far more. (And for the corp, bluffing skills.)

On the skill / luck scale - it has more luck than Dungeon Twister, slightly more than Pandemic (but is less prone to immediate lucky wins or losses), less than Magic, enormously less than Talisman. This puts it nicely in my preferred sweet spot for luck affecting gameplay, but that’s a personal taste issue.

The biggest flaw in the game is the one common to all CCG/LCG designs - game prep vs play time. Deck design takes some work, compared to just getting a board out. (That’s why the Nighfall / Dominion style of deck builder got popular…)


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