Published on October 14th, 2013 | by Across the Board Games Staff
Casual Netrunner for the Non-Competitive Player
By Amanda Chan
(Editor’s Note: Netrunner was originally a CCG made by Wizards of the Coast in the 1990s. Recently, Fantasy Flight acquired the license to the game, made some relatively minor core mechanics changes and released the game as Android: Netrunner the LCG.)
When Fantasy Flight Games announced they were re-implementing Netrunner within their Android universe, the buzz was intense. The first set of core boxes released at Gen Con, then immediately sold out. Next, the core sets at the retail store level dropped, and immediately sold out. Now we are currently in the second cycle of data-pack/expansion releases. The pattern is steady: they are selling out fast.
I stepped up as Game Night Organizer for our local game store, Gamma Ray Games, and I took what I hope is a different approach to hosting regular Netrunner events. Other shops around town are running on-going leagues and seem to be focusing on competitive-level play-testing of decks. I want to do everything but that.
The first event of significance I hosted was a draft. Some local players came up with the initial idea and shared it on their site. My friend Jake Morris and I ran our own version of this style of draft at the Raygun Lounge (Gamma Ray’s board game cafe) not long after we discovered the framework for the game. We built our draft pool around the cards that we felt were The Most Interesting, which I admit is completely subjective. As more data pack expansions are released the pool will only improve, making this is a great option for a different way to build your game.
The first major tournament I hosted was a casual one immediately following the release of the Creation & Control expansion. This was a straightforward tournament that I used mostly as a trial run to see what sort of things I would need to consider for running future events. With my fantastic luck, Fantasy Flight released rules for a revamped tournament format the very week my tournament was scheduled, so there was some last-minute scrambling to change my tournament tracker. All told, the tournament was a success and every player walked away with some swag.
The next event I will be hosting is the team-variant of the game: Big Sell Out. I have been told it is effectively the Netrunner equivalent of Magic’s “Two-Headed Giant” game mode, a 2-on-2 team format. Big Sell Out was initially designed for the original Netrunner, but folks on the internet updated it for Android: Netrunner and once again Jake and I refined it for this tournament. I currently have five teams participating in a round-robin style tournament, and every team will receive some form of prize support. If you’re interested in looking over the rules of this home-made team format, they can be found right here (Google Doc link).
If folks out there are interested in a more casual (and in my opinion, more creative) style of gameplay for Android: Netrunner, there are definitely ways to make it happen. I strongly encourage people who are invested in this game to explore other avenues, to try new things. I will be continuing to try out new formats for this game I love and I’ll keep posting updates as I go.