September 07, 2012

And an excellent classic returns to print..

I am a happy board gamer tonight.  I finally acquired my copy of Android: Netrunner from my FLGS.  I was hoping a friend might be able to score me one of the GenCon copies, but that ended up being a bust. 

Netrunner represented one of the more interesting variations on the collectable card game genre when it was released.  At the time, MAgic was the game in town.  You bought cards, you built them into decks, and squared off against the same pool of cards in your opponent's deck.  With Netrunner, your opponent was using a completely different pool of cards than you.  One player is the corporation trying to advance their 'evil' agendas, and the other is the 'Anonymous' of the day, hacking into the Corp's servers and liberating the agenda cards to score as their own.

Until Netrunner's release, I can't recall a CCG that used a format like that.  Not only that, but they were using art and terms from the R. Talsorian Cyberpunk universe which I was fond of (though I had not played any Cyberpunk yet.)  It was a great thing overall, but I was disappointed when it only got two expansion sets and then was dropped by Wizards of the Coast.  I was busy with work and social life at the time, and couldn't buy many boosters for the game.  I don't know if it was a general falling out in the CCG market or something specific to Netrunner, but it was just done. 
Either way, Fantasy Flight Games has revived the title in their Living Card Game format.  They've dropped the Cyberpunk background, and are using their own Android property as the setting for the game.  No worries there, I like the original Android board game, and Infiltration is pretty good too in the same Universe.  And while Richard Garfield, the original creator, isn't directly involved, he has given his blessing to their reworking of rules/cards/mechanics.



The cards definitely benefit from the reprinting. Most of the original game cards were black background with white text and late 1980s '3d' art or hand drawn art.  The new cards typically match the colors of the factions, with nice hand drawn or CG art and black text on lighter background.  They also continue the trend of being borderless that started with the Game of Thrones and Cthulu LCGs.

The Living Card Game format makes me happy in many ways too.  I don't have to go booster chasing (like I still do with the World of Warcraft TCG) for the cards.  They publish packs in series of six released one a month.  I don't know yet what the format of the packs will be (or their name, it varies from LCG title to title, I'll just call them chapter packs for now.) The packs contain about 40 cards in a three per card mix (excluding special cards that you cannot use more than three of,) and typically run around $15.00 USD per pack.  Infrequently, they release a larger box of about one hundred cards that provide major additions to the game.  I would expect these larger boxes to contain new runners, corps, or new factions to advance the story along with more neutral cards too.  These larger boxes are usually about $30.00 USD.  The nice thing about this is that you buy these once.  No chasing rares or fighting the market for the cards you need to make that competitive deck. One purcase of the base game and you have everything you need to play for two people.  By the time the first story sequence is wrapped up in the first six chapter packs, you have the flexibility to keep two to four constructed decks around.  Overall, I'm very happy with the LCG format.

Gotta wrap this up for now, but I'll post more on the gameplay tomorrow.  For now, I have to re-read over the rules for The 51st State: The New Era.  I want to teach it to a friend tonight.

Posted by: Tom Tjarks at 05:29 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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