Sunday, 2 June 2013

Android: Netrunner - My Journey in a Dystopian Future - Part 3: Born to Run

What does a runner dream of if not running?

As I'm only a few months into my journey with Android: Netrunner, this blog series is not an expert's eye-view of the game, but an account of my experiences as I go along. In this article, we're going to discuss what I've learned so far about playing as the Runner. It isn't my intention to go into too much detail on card types at this stage. I just want to give an overview on the main points of being a subversive hacker in the Android universe.

As mentioned in Part 2 the main thing to remember as the Runner is to keep plenty of cards in your hand. If you make a run with just 2 cards in your grip and you end up falling on a Snare (in which the Corporation can pay 4 credits to do 3 net damage), you will flatline and lose the game. So keeping cards in your hand as you make those runs is very important. But how many do you need?

I tend to keep 3 cards in my hand if I think I might hit a Snare, as in the example above. If I'm running on a server that has a card advanced twice, I will make sure I have 4 cards in my hand before attempting the run. There's a chance the card at the end will be something like Project Junebug - I'll receive 2 net damage for each advancement token, losing all my cards, but not flatlining.

But when do you make these runs? On the first click? Second? Third? I've heard people say they never run on the fourth click and while I've been known to do this, I do see the wisdom in avoiding it.
If you make a run on your fourth click and end up getting tagged, your turn is now over and now the Corporation has the chance to take advantage of your tagged state. In the very least he can spend a click and 2 credits to trash one of your Resources, but if he has the right cards in his hand, he could do a lot worse. Scorched Earth, for instance is an Operation card that if played when the Runner is tagged, will do 4 meat damage (Like net damage, this is removing cards from the Runner's hand). If you planned ahead though and ran on your third click, you can now use your remaining action to pay 2 credits and get rid of that tag.

As the Runner you also have to consider what Agendas the Corporation has already scored. Take Private Security Force as an example.

If you make a run on your fourth click and get tagged, the Corporation player could use this ability to give you one meat damage - flatlining you if you have already lost all your cards during the previous run.
Of course, the Corporation might not have scored this Agenda, but could score it during his turn and then use the ability with his remaining click(s). But often, as a Runner, you just have to take that risk. It's all part of the fun.

So I tend to use the first click to gain a credit or draw a card and prepare myself for a run on my second and/or third click, and use that fourth click for damage limitation if needed.

There can, however, be an advantage in running on that last click. Some piece of Ice will have subroutines that say "The Runner loses a click if able". If you ran on your last click, you can ignore this subroutine and concentrate on the others.

Ultimately, it's down to the individual doing the running and just how aggressive they want to be.

Which leads me back to my opening remark. What does a runner dream of if not running?
As a Runner, you live to make runs on the servers of the big, bad corporation. This is how you're going to steal those Agendas. So get running. Yes, you're dirt poor, but this is almost always going to be the case for the Runner, so run anyway. If you have enough cards in your hand to defend against flatlining, then make a run, even if you're strapped for cash.
You will be forcing the Corp to pay credits to rez Ice, you'll be revealing Ice for future runs. And if you run early in your turn, you might even be able to break subroutines with clicks rather than credits.
There are players out there who religiously make at least one run every turn. I can't say I've ever managed to do that, but it's certainly something I'm going to try out. Aggressive running like this may be risky, but it'll keep the Corporation under pressure and spending credits to slow you down. And a Corp that is low on funds, is at the mercy of the Runner.

In Part 4 we'll be looking at the game from the Corporation's side of things, but for now....keep running.

No comments:

Post a Comment