Netrunner

The network is omnipresent, the crux of modern human civilization, and while visionary corporations seek to secure their most valuable data on the network, the elite hackers known as netrunners seek to steal it.

In 2012 Fantasy Flight Games relaunched this acclaimed assymetrical card game, originally designed by Richard Garfield in 1996, and it immediately became a big success. The theme—slightly jigged to fit FFG’s Android universe as seen in the games Android and Infiltration—seems a bit dated to me now; cybercrime, cyberpunk—anything with ‘cyber’ in it, really—seems to firmly belong to the 90s, the birth of the internet, William Gibson, and an unfortunate film with Keanu Reeves in it (Johnny Memnonic of course, not The Matrix). But perhaps that’s why it appeals to gamers so much, for the retro or nostalgia value depending on your vintage.

Quite apart from the theme however, this is a very original game of hacking and corporations and ‘jacking in’, and monthly extension packs enhance the endless possibilities for those who enjoy deckbuilding. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to play it, so this summary and reference doesn’t yet have the benefit of personal experience behind it. If you have some suggestions for its improvement, please let me know in the comments below!

Update Log

Date Version Changelog
Apr 2015 2.1 Clarifications added to upgrades in remote servers and use of card abilities; small typos fixed
Aug 2013 2 New setup/play area sheet; improvements to summary in general
Jun 2013 1.1 Various errors fixed and clarifications made
May 2013 1 Original release

12 Comments

  • Rob says:

    Something that I think would be a great addition to this guide would be a set of scales on the smaller “play reference” cards. If there was one scale on the left and right side of the card one could be used to track the runner’s link and the other side could be used by both players to track agenda points. When I do things like this I just use small paper clips to slide along the scale. Thank you for producing so many amazing guides!

    • Universal Head says:

      Interesting. I haven’t yet played this game yet but when I do (and I intend to) I’ll give that idea serious thought. Thanks!

  • Michael Norrish says:

    Typo on page 3 of v1.1: “You may to break any subroutines on an encounteredpiece of ice (in any order)”

  • Mark says:

    Jumping on here really late, but did you ever manage to get a game in on this UH? I’m sorta kinda thinking about picking this up (two player games are a lot easier to organize than group games).

    • I’ve played it a few times and enjoyed it, and would love to have the opportunity to play it more – you really need to play regularly to discover all its intricacies. However I don’t think you can go wrong with this one if you have any interest in this style of game, it’s been universally praised.

  • gamov says:

    I’ve learnt this game from the rulebook, not an easy feat. This summary helped. There are some remarks:
    Typo:
    >Corporation Play Area> ICE: ‘placed’ instead of ‘place’

    Add (those are small notes but affect greatly the gameplay):
    Other notes:
    – Card abilities only apply to themselves unless otherwise stated and can be used multiple times unless otherwise stated
    – An upgrade is installed in a remote server in the same position as an agenda or asset. The Runner should not be able to tell what type of card is installed in a remote server by its position

    As usual, Cheers!
    Gam

  • So awesome! Thank you!

    Wondering if this is correct:

    Page 3:
    “Spend [click] to draw the top card of R&D; add it to HQ.”

    Rules, page 12:
    “The Corporation draws the top card of R&D. This does not cost the Corporation any clicks.”

    • The ‘Corporation Turn’ section notes the Corporation draws a free R&D card in their draw phase. However, during their turn, one of the Corp’s available actions is to spend a click to draw a card from R&D.

What do you think?