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Sep. 3rd, 2013


You Can Forget the Click to Draw

Netrunner is a game that invites qualitative analysis. There are so many elements that make up the game: cards, credits and clicks (as well as Influence, agenda (points), damage, Icebreaker/Ice interactions) as to make the evaluation of individual cards a complex task. One recurrent element of (critiquing) analyses of a card’s utility is the fallacy of “Click to draw”. In essence, the story goes that when evaluating the utility of, say, an economy card like Hedge Fund/Sure Gamble, that you need to consider not only the click spent to play the card but also the click spent drawing the card. Lets call this the “click to draw” (CtD) analytic assumption.

This means that a card like Beanstalk Royalties/Easy Mark is not considered two credits better than simply clicking to gain a credit each time. Instead the net gain is thought to be only a one credit improvement, working off the basic equality of “one click = one card = one credit” (E). The basic equality is derived from the innate actions available to each side, where either Corporation or Runner may spend one click to draw a card, or spend one click to take one credit from the token bank. So under this analytic assumption, a Beanstalk Royalties is two clicks spent to gain three credits, vs. simply clicking for two credits, and so the gain is 0.5 credits per click expended over the baseline.

Setting aside the difficulty of applying this style of analysis to cards like, say, Daily Casts for a net gain of three credits (-1 click to draw, –1 click to play, –3 credits install cost = –5 credits, vs. 8 credits gained over four successive turns => +3 credits net gain) there are a number of problems with the inclusion of the analytic assumption of the “click to draw” and this is my small attempt to lay the fallacy to rest. The arguments for discarding this assumption are manifold: there are historical reasons, rhetorical or polemic counters, as well as some hopefully logical or analytical reasons to dismiss the notion.

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Jul. 29th, 2013


Beyond the Three Phase view of Netrunner: Sente

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If you’ve not read the first post in this (sub)series, you can find it here: Two Scales and Three Phases.

The idea of sente comes from the game of Go, and loosely interpreted it means initiative. The word originates in Japanese and according to Sensei’s Library stems from “playing first”. In Go, a player has sente, a move is sente, and a position can be sente. Having adopted a three phase view, I think that the concept of sente has further application to Netrunner to provide a more sophisticated conception of the flow of the game. Not only does the three phase view have an influence on deckbuilding and player strategy, it also impacts on the in-game tactics that can be employed, and sente refines that tactical view even more.

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Jul. 24th, 2013


Why the original Netrunner design was superior, Pt3

The end of term report card on the Genesis Cycle, again my series title becomes more and more irrelevant, but perhaps some of the card commentaries in the comparison tables below can start to bring it back to more relevance. For one or two of the assessments we’re getting back to the original “hyperbolic rhetoric” the original post started out with? Part 2 is here, by the way, if you want to review the comparisons between A:NR cards from What Lies Ahead, Trace Amount and Cyber Exodus and the original cards.

I should note a correction to Pt 2, whereby I drew no correspondence to original game cards with Woodcutter. With the release of Tyrant, I was able to align it with one of the Proteus Ice (Sandstorm) and this led me to associate Woodcutter with the Sentry variant of that Ice: Food Fight. On to the cards, before expending a few thousand words on Genesis as a whole:

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Jul. 12th, 2013


Re-evaluating Darwin

My last Icebreaker analysis copped a bit of flak on the Adelaide City Grid Facebook group that I run </shameless-plug>. Some commenters felt that I was unfairly critical of a certain Icebreaker:


Darwin, an evolution in AI ‘breakers?

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Jun. 5th, 2013


Icebreaker analysis circa Future Proof

Please have a look at the first essay in this series for some of the technical details.

Results are “current” up to Future Proof. Notable points here are the inclusion of the following new pieces of Ice (given that I included A Study in Static partially – based on existing spoilers at the time - in the last analysis):

  • Tyrant (Str 4 Barrier (0 subroutines) – ASiS);

  • Uroboros (Str 4 Sentry – ASiS);

  • Data Hound (Str 2 Sentry – HS);

  • Salvage (Str 0 Code Gate – HS);

  • Whirlpool (Str 1 Trap – HS);

  • Burke Bugs (Str 0 Sentry – FP);

  • Eli 1.0 (Str 4 Barrier – FP); and

  • Flare (Str 6 Sentry – FP).

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May. 28th, 2013


To Mullligans or no? That is the question.

The question of whether there is merit in the use of the Mulligans rule in Android: Netrunner has come up in my mind recently. Since I started to play the game, I have adopted my old approach to Mulligans, as a legacy of my long experience with the original game. As such, I deliberately never employ the Mulligans rule. Still, with the emergence of Andromeda as a second Criminal Identity and the clear advantage of being able to look at nine cards in a starting hand, and then choose to redraw this massive opening hand, I thought it worthwhile reconsidering my stance.


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May. 1st, 2013


Why the original Netrunner design was superior, Pt2

A Genesis Cycle Mid-Term Report

First off, apologies for the title but this is a continuation of a sub-series of articles on the correspondences between Original Netrunner (O:NR) cards and Android: Netrunner (A:NR) cards. Keeping the series straight means keeping the series title consistent and I started off the original post by being ranty, before deciding to do something useful with my time.

I was initially intending to report on all the cards available at the time of writing but my development speed wasn’t keeping up. The rate of producing the original article meant that if I kept trying to update it with the new monthly expansions I might never get around to publishing the first article, let alone ever completing the analysis. As such I decided to break out the Genesis Cycle expansion cards and leave them for this article. I think I’ll do another one, as an end of term report, wrapping up the cycle and the correspondence analysis, as a retrospective. If a few previewed cards creep in to the discussion, well I think they’re fair game for consideration even if we haven’t actually got them yet. What are previews for apart from fomenting discussion?

I think that the first thing to note is that a lesser number of correspondences (more NULL matches) indicates that in this expansion cycle, the game’s designer Lukas Litzinger is starting to stretch his “design legs” a little. While there have been no truly novel mechanics introduced thus far, the focus on tracing has remained throughout the cycle thus far.

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Feb. 6th, 2013


Icebreaker analysis circa Cyber Exodus

I got interested in a new programming language (Haskell, if you are interested) just about the time that Android: Netrunner came out. Given that I knew a fair bit about the efficacy of the various types of Program – Icebreaker in the original game, I was keen to see what the new set of breakers was like against the existing crop of Ice that could be found. Combining the two interests suggested writing a function that could calculate the cost of an breaker being used on a piece of Ice, and then applying that to all the relevant breakers in the same class.

By making it a program, I could simply extend the data as new expansion packs came out, and relatively easily compare the varying costs to break Ice across all the breakers. New Ice in the expansion packs gets added to the Ice data, so that when calculating the average cost to break with new breakers, it also stays up to date against all the Ice that the breakers might contest.

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Feb. 2nd, 2013


Whither Rolling Thunder (Information)

While little on the Internet is ever truly gone, I did find that in writing one of my recent essays on Android: Netrunner that it was rather difficult to find information discussing the nature of the experimental distribution mechanism called “Rolling Thunder”. This distribution mechanism was a monthly release of expansion (subsets) for the Legend of the Five Rings CCG (amongst others, vide. below), trialled by Wizards of the Coast in the late 1990s. I view this as a failed precursor to the Living Card Game distribution model that Fantasy Flight Games have managed to make successful with several games now, including A Game of Thrones, Call of Cthulhu, and of course Android: Netrunner.

While Google and Wikipedia might fail me, the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive did not, and so I thought I would like to resurrect the page that I was specifically looking for. The original compilation was made by Zen Faulkes, and sadly his web site Steel and Iron, dedicated to L5R, has gone the way of the dodo, but credit is due to him for the original work. NB: I suspect that any spelling errors (left uncorrected below) are the fault of the original authors, not Zen’s. Editorial comments below are primarily Zen’s until my closing remarks in the last few paragraphs.

Rolling Thunder Post-mortem

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Two Scales and Three Phases of Netrunner

'I decided to write this article well before encountering some of the opinions that I might be mentioning and detracting from later on. Hopefully none will take offence at what I’m saying, or consider it an attack. That said, I think there might be an emerging view of the nature of a Netrunner game that needs to be countered, or at least argued against, so this is – in part - an attempt at that.

When considering the strength of the two sides of Netrunner’s asymmetric game-play, there are also two distinct scales at which one can consider the question. There is a global scale, extended in time, during which many match-ups of players occur and might be considered. There is. on the other hand, a far more fine-grained scale of consideration of the strength of the two sides; that of the individual game.

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