A CollectibleCardGame with a cyberpunk theme. One player is the Corp, a soulless mega-company of the not-distant-enough future, and the other player is the Runner, a brave computer cowboy out to liberate information from the Corp. I have a feeling that some of our members can relate to this conflict in one way or another. I haven't picked this one up in a while, but the good reviews I read for it at have renewed my interest. Anyone want to learn?

One aspect of Netrunner is that of a BiddingGame, as the Runner and Corp make blind bids to escape or perform (respectively) a trace. Successful traces are usually bad for the Runner.


Netrunner is an UnbalancedForcesGame? in which each player has different goals and mechanics. One player is the Runner, a hacker who attempts to break into the database of a Corporation and liberate the Corporation's secret plans, known as "Agendas". If the Corporation can enact seven points of Agendas, it wins; if the Runner can expose seven points of the Corporation's Agendas, the Runner wins. Also, if the Runner can force the Corporation to empty its draw pile, she wins, and if the Corporation can force the Runner to empty her hand, the Corporation wins.

Hackers use "decks" (computers) with "Icebreakers" to crack the "ICE" (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics) protecting the corporate databases. Hackers run the risk of "flatlining" if the ICE is too powerful and fries their brains. As you might guess, Netrunner draws heavily on William Gibson's SF novel Neuromancer.

A complete Netrunner game... consists of two games in sequence, with each player taking first one side, then the other.

--Ron_Hale-Evans?, SeattleCosmicGameNight20030201

I find it a little surprising that no one has gone ahead and created a full-on Neuromancer game, be it card, board, cardboard, or video. I am aware of various cyberbunk forays in RPG-space but none has, to my knowledge, been all about Gibson's vision. Perhaps this is because Gibson doesn't want his ideas sullied (... any further than the Johnny Mnemonic and New Rose Hotel movies), but I'm a little worried that it's because the rights to the names and characters are tied up in the entertainment industry somehow. Is that irony? I'm never sure.

Anyone up for designing a Gibson-esque game for piecepack/Icehouse? The piecepack tiles can represent the matrix, while the Icehouse pyramids represent the icons for corporate databases. Beyond these obvious mappings, I'm not sure where the game would go, or how it would evoke a sense of corporate shenannigans and independent cyber-espionage operations. Ideas?


A few small quibbles. There's no requirement that a "complete game" consists of each player taking a side. I've played for an entire evening by just trying one runner after another against the same corporation played by my opponent. Also, Netrunner is not actually a "notable ... exception" to the spin-off effect described by Paul on the CollectibleCardGame page, since it's actually based on and licensed from R. Talsorian Game's Cyberpunk2020 role-playing game.

Richard Garfield incorporated more 'intra-gaming' into Netrunner than his previous two trading card games. Not only is there the blind bidding mechanism of the Trace, but there are also a number of individual cards that invoke game-like events. One of them says, in effect, "The runner hides his money, and puts some in his hand. If the corp guesses how much, the runner loses it. Otherwise, the runner keeps it, and gets to make a run wherein she may skip one piece of ICE on the way in." Wizards of the Coast still maintains a Netrunner page.


BoardgameGeek page for Netrunner

I like Netrunner compared to other CCGs I've played (Magic is actually the only other one but I've watched a few others). The idea that the Corp and the Runner are so different yet relatively balanced is great. It reminds me of the way all three races in the computer game Star``Craft are so different yet remarkably well balanced. I also find the theme very intriguing and well executive (the flavor text is truly hilarious). It shares the main weaknesses of other CCGs in my opinion, including an excessive luck factor (card drawing) and of course the built-in addiction factor (you have to buy cards to play--lots of them being better).