Game Spotlight: Android Netrunner The Card Game

We don’t just mess about on the XBox One. My husband and I have recently gotten obsessed with card games. No, we don’t play poker or go fish. Not that those games are bad. We just don’t play ’em. During our childhood, the card games we played involved monsters, trap cards, and the Shadow Realm. Okay, so Alex is the Yu-Gi-Oh guy. I mostly collected Pokemon cards. My favorite is the original, fat Pikachu card.

Anyone got a holographic Magikarp to trade?

We paid a visit to our local, now-favorite card store called Emerald Tavern. Don’t let the packed space fool you. Outside of the large variety of awesome card and tabletop games practically tumbling out of their overpacked shelves, Emerald Tavern also has a space full of empty tables for card players to commandeer, as well as tiny tables to sip a coffee and munch on a tasty cakeball. In an attempt to break our increasingly anti-social tendencies, we made a plan to pay Emerald Tavern a visit once a week during card meetups. Emerald Tavern is great about letting card lovers come in groups, even Meet Ups, to their shop. They even have tables on their patio for folks wanting to play outside. I can’t give away too much about Emerald Tavern though. They’ll be featured soon on this blog so keep an eye out.

At first, we started with a very basic game. Since I’m a n00b and can’t seem to even figure out how to play first-person shooters, we settled on buying a deck set of Adventure Time Card Wars. Worried that the game may be a bit too easy for us, Alex went nosing about other sections of the store while I engrossed myself with all the single player, gardenscape games.

IMG_3203-960x540Alex returned with a large, chrome-looking box and said, “This one is about fighting corporations!”

We spoke to an experienced card-player, who also happened to be the manager of the store, and he could do nothing but praise the game for being unique in its balance between players. Unlike most games, where each starting-deck (NOT deck-building) for either player is balanced in power to make the game fair (and mostly chance-based); this game according to the manager gave the Corporations more power over the Runner.

“Just like in real life,” I breathed.

Determined to take down these faux corporations, we purchased the game and went straight home to play. Man oh man, if I thought Adventure Time Card Wars was initially frustrating to play… Android Netrunner had me crying like the sore loser that I am. The game’s premise is, as the shopkeep said, Corporation versus Runner. Here’s a quick breakdown of the game, very very simple! I’m not an expert at this game at all. I’m pretty sure I won by some illegal move yesterday.

Set in a cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic future, there is an ongoing battle between the power-hungry megacorporations and hackers who call themselves Runners. The cards and abilities are all based on tech specs. In this universe, Runners can physically hook up to the internet — kinda like Neo when traveling through the Matrix — and the card types vary from cash resources, to hardware to help cut program costs, to even events that can lead to card or credit draws. The goal of the game is to score 7 agenda points or cripple the opponent before the points are scored. This game can be found online as well, so you don’t have to buy the box sets to play. We really like to listen to music while we deck build and play, so it’s up to you.

The Corporation:

You can either select one of four identities to play as the Corporation (CORP):

Goober (1)

The goal of the CORP is to either score 7 agenda points or decimate the runner via net, brain, and or meat damage. There are other ways to win the game but remember, this is just a summary. Anway, the CORP as you can guess is foul, cruel, and inhuman. Alex is really good at playing CORP and has a tendency to play Glacial. Simply put, it means he puts down a bunch of Ice or barrier/monster cards to stop the Runner from accessing his hand, which may contain agendas. Ice can also be used to protect Resources and Development (R&D), or the draw stack, and Archives, also known as the discard pile. Protecting these stacks, also called central and remote servers in the game, increases the CORP’s chance of winning.

The Runner:

There are three identities to play as the Runner:


The goal for the Runner is to ALWAYS BE RUNNING. The Runner is encouraged to run, or try to gain access to, the central and remote servers installed by the CORP. By accessing these servers, the Runner has a chance of pulling an agenda card and effectively stealing it. The Runner also has to score 7 agenda points to win the game. However, the Runner cannot cause net, brain, or meat damage to the CORP. They can, however, use special cards to force the CORP to discard money, or credits, and cards. This increases the Runner’s chance of scoring unprotected agendas sitting in the Archives or the remote servers. That or the Runner drags out the game long enough that the CORP runs out of cards to draw from R&D, doesn’t have enough money to score any agendas, and can’t rez any Ice to protect their cards. Literally, force the CORP to go out of business, tank, no government buy-outs.

Decks can be purchased in sets or as packs at your local card game store. Android Netrunner, like Magic and Yu-gi-oh, allows deck building. This means players can custom build their decks to have maybe the best cards, the strongest cards, or cool draw 3 cards, to increase their chances at winning the game. Netrunner has become so popular that there are tournaments being held, with cash prizes for the best players. However, like most tournament card games, a lot of powerful cards have already been retired and considered off-limits to play at a tournament. Brings back memories of those Pokemon card game tournaments I’d hear about on the news.

Check out the Android Netrunner tutorial and maybe give the online version a try before purchasing your first packs. As always, continue to be kind and tender to one another.

All image credit goes to Fantasy Flight Games.


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