Three Tips to Help Your First Android Netrunner Game Stay Fun

Most card games are complex beasts, especially collectable and living card games, where each card has some way of altering the basic rules. It can make actually enjoying the game right out of the box difficult.

Android: Netrunner is no exception, especially as each of its two sides, Corp and Runner, have different playstyles and completely different cards. It means you can lose the game almost as soon as you start. While the game’s manual is thorough in terms of laying out the rules of the game, it’s a little sparse in terms of helping new players, well, play.

This short beginner guide will help you ensure that your first few games of Netrunner will go for long enough for you to get the hang of it.

Note: The focus of this article is on playing with the Jinteki and Shaper starter decks from the core set.

Get Your Mind on the Money

The Armitage Codebusting card, from Android NetrunnerYou’d think the Corp would be the only side in Netrunner that would be focused on the bottom line. After all, a corporation needs buy new servers, employ system administrators and fund its plans for world domination. But the Runner needs to keep an eye on income, too – those programs and consoles don’t come cheap.

That said, though, the Corp shouldn’t take its cash flow for granted. In my first game of Android: Netrunner, I watched as my Runner opponent financed his installations through two Armitage Codebusting cards and wound up with more than enough money to break through the ice on my remote servers and R&D – at least, what ice that I could to rez. Even with a couple of Hedge Funds, I was pretty short on bits credits.

I learned my lesson, and in future games I’ve made sure to have a Paid PAD Campaign or two going so that I can earn at least one bit credit (sorry, force of habit from the mid-Nineties) every turn without trying. Not only that, Melange Mining Corp. came in handy in my most recent game (I’m surprised my opponent didn’t trash it at his earliest opportunity; I didn’t have any ice on that remote server).

Give Yourself a Big Hand

‘Cos, hey, no one else is going to, right?

The Net Shield card, from Android NetrunnerIt’s easy to neglect the importance of your hand size or all the duplicate cards in your stack when you’re the Runner. But as the Corp’s starter deck is Jinteki, which is all about dealing Net damage, ensuring you have at least three cards in your hand when you make a run is a must. I won my first two games with my stepson Troy in about five minutes; in the first one, he managed to score a Snare! from my HQ, and in the second, he played The Maker’s Eye and nabbed two agendas when he accessed R&D – with only one card in his hand. Two Net damage and flatline.

So if you’re playing the starter Shaper deck vs. Jinteki, make sure you’ve got some Net damage buffers like Net Shield and plenty of cards in your hand before running.

Keep The Corp On Its Toes

Funnily enough, I wrote the above two tips as an aid to making sure your Android: Netrunner games don’t end in five minutes. But there’s another problem: Having long but boring games.

My first game of Android: Netrunner. Photo by Andrew Stingel.
My first game of Android: Netrunner (that’s my hand in the top right). Photo by Andrew Stingel.

See, while Android: Netrunner is a two player game, the onus of aggression is squarely on the Runner, and as a lot of what the Corp player does is a mystery, the Runner is tempted to sit back  and build his or her resources. But really, that’s the Corp’s game. And two Corps is no fun.

So Runners, take a few chances. You’re the men and women of action in this game, and the only way to stop the Corp from over-resourcing is to force the Corp to spend credits on rezzing all that lovely Ice. Play your own game of bluff; get two levels into that heavily protected remote server, jack out and then run that innocuous one the Corp’s been ignoring for the last little while now that the Corp’s out of credits. Even if there’s not an agenda card inside, you’ll still have a better idea of what the Corp is up to, and you’ve put pressure ion the Corp to manage its resources.

Are you curious?

What strategy or tip helped you enjoy a game more after you’d learned it?

How have you found Android: Netrunner so far?


Android: Netrunner – The Card Game

Card images sourced from Meteor Decks and CardGameDB. Featured image by Andrew Stingel.

2 thoughts on “Three Tips to Help Your First Android Netrunner Game Stay Fun

  1. Pingback: Am I Biting Off More Than I Can Chew? - Rob Farquhar - Game Master

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