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Subject: Good playing habits rss

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El-ad David Amir
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After more than a hundred games of Netrunner (including organizing the New York City tournament) I notice that some players are more fun to play against. They are not necessarily better at the game itself; rather, they have several playing habits that make information regarding the game state transparent and accessible. I identified two behaviors which I believe can make the Netrunner experience better for both sides: tracking information well, and narrating the game and your actions.

Tracking information
Track your resources. This is especially important for the Runner. First, use counters for your Clicks: it is frustrating when both sides need to backtrack the Runner's turn after every Run in order to figure out how many Clicks are left. Additionally, physically track your MUs. This idea has been discussed in various other threads and after following it for several games I am hooked. Have four MU counters (I use the Bad Publicity ones at the moment), place them on Programs when installing, and acquire additional ones when installing a Console or a Mem Chip. This will prevent situations where the Runner finds out he has been running Programs he could not support.

An important related habit is keeping your stuff organized. Most importantly, in my opinion, is to have a tidy pile of Credits. If the other player cannot count your Credits, they're either going to repeatedly ask you to count them or suffer an unfair disadvantage. The play area should also be kept organized and visible to the other player: as the Runner, stick to the Programs-Hardware-Resources structure, and as the Corp, make sure the Runner can identify Upgrades on Main Servers, which Ice is rezzed/unrezzed, whether Archives has hidden cards, etc. By tracking resources, both players can immediately see what is available for them and what they are facing.

Narrating
The other player should be aware of every action you take. They should not be required to be unusually alert to do so. The easiest example is the Corporation's initial draw: announce it! Your turn begins? As you draw the card say "Mandatory draw". This also has a nice benefit to the Corp player himself- I got to the habit of chaining other mandatory actions. "Mandatory draw, Mandatory PAD campaign" saved me many forgotten Credits. "Wyldside, draw two". "Aesop's, I will sell this Mem Chip". Narrating is especially important for triggered abilities: during the New York tournament, several people did not notice that Santiago is actually gaining money from running their HQ. Even the best players might forget his ability if the Runner player does not announce him gaining two Credits each time (or three with Desperado).

(Going back to tracking information, you might also want to rotate once-per-turn effects to denote they have been used. This seems to clarify matters with Aesop's- the Corp might not notice you used it or think that you gain these Credits through a Click.)

Narrating is most crucial during runs. There is a lot of information and decisions going on, and a hasty player could make bad moves or, even worse, neglect to supply his opponent with information that might be crucial for their decision making, leading to an unfair situation. Common examples include a Runner breaking through all rezzed Ice without giving the Corp opportunity to rez upgrades and the Corp player rezzing Ice when the Runner wants to Jack Out. Here is a hypothetical example where the Corp is HB and the Runner is Criminal. HQ has a Wall of Static up front and two unrezzed pieces of Ice, plus an Upgrade in root.

Runner: I run against HQ, Corroder breaks Wall of Static.
Corp: Wait, I rez Experimental Data first.
Runner: Okay, I will pay another Credit.
Corp: I rez Enigma.
Runner: Peacock breaks that.
Corp: Both subroutines?
Runner: No, just "End the Run", I'm out of Clicks anyway (the Runner does not track his Clicks well.)
(Immediately after)
Corp: I rez Viktor 1.0.
Runner: Wait, I'm using my Cortez Chip.
Corp: Okay, I pay five then.
(...)

In my opinion, a Run should follow the flow chart at the end of the rulebook, with the Corp usually taking the role of narrating the action and the Runner answering (since the Corp has most of the initiative once the Run actually began).

Runner: I will run against your HQ (moving a Click token to signify a spent Click.)
Corp: Wall of Static. I rez Experimental Data.
Runner: Spend a Credit off Cyberfeeder and another Credit to boost Corroder plus a Credit to break the Subroutine. I'll keep running.
Corp: Rez Enigma.
Runner: Two Credits to boost Peacock, two Credits to break "End the Run". First subroutine triggers but I'm already out of Clicks.
Corp: Continue running?
Runner: Yep. I will use Cortez Chip against the last piece of Ice.
Corp: (Flipping an unrezzed Ice) Viktor 1.0, I'll pay five Credits.
Runner: Two to boost Peacock, four to break both subroutines. Run successful, Santiago gains two Credits. (There are no more upgrades, so the Runner can safely continue.) Access a random card. (Corp shuffles his hand and the Runner pulls another Experimental Data.) Trash both Experimental Data (paying Credits.)

The Runner gives the Corp an option to rez any upgrades instead of just paying for Corroder immediately (HB has a couple of in-faction options: Experimental Data and Corporate Troubleshooter.) Then, the Corp starts inquiring the Runner, one Ice at a time- even giving the Runner an option to Jack Out before rezzing Viktor 1.0, an opportunity the Runner uses for his Cortez Chip. The Runner announces how he's breaking each Ice, and when he takes the Credit off Cyberfeeder.

Summary
Netrunner includes a lot of mental calculations by both sides. The addition of a bluffing element turns the game into the brilliant masterpiece that it is. However, the game could become frustrating if a player feels cheated due to a misrepresentation by their opponent (even if there was no intentional foul play). By adopting a few good playing habits the game will become more fun for both sides.
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Owen Compton
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Tangent: on the topic of narrating then I find I quite enjoy - where I remember inbetween spending forever thinking through my actions - narrating an actual story of what my Runner/Corp has been up to lately. While completely impractical for seasoned, quick players, like many of the regular posters on here, then my group are theme junkies and generally a bit more casual so dig that sort of thing
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IirionClaus wrote:
The easiest example is the Corporation's initial draw: announce it! Your turn begins? As you draw the card say "Mandatory draw". This also has a nice benefit to the Corp player himself- I got to the habit of chaining other mandatory actions. "Mandatory draw, Mandatory PAD campaign" saved me many forgotten Credits.


I decided at one point to take my credit before my card so I would remember. I'm not sure if this counts as being able to do beginning of turn effects in any order, but I thought it was helpful for remembering it.

Also, I agree that announcing what you are doing is also favorable -- there's enough hidden information that you should make public information. It also saves players from having to recheck what opponents have every turn. This is a habit we do in 7 Wonders and is good to do in general.
 
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I'd have to say that the whole "narrating" thing actually greatly annoys me when my opponent attempts to it for me.

ME: I'll run this server. (With three unrezzed ICE).
THEM: I rez Chum. Do you want to Jack out?
ME: No, I'll keep going.
THEM: Are you sure? The next piece of ICE could end up doing you a total of 5 net damage if it is a Neural Katana. You only have five cards. You'd take five net damage and you'd have to stop your run anyhow because of that.
ME: I'm fine with it.
THEM: Or it could be an Archer. I notice you have no sentry breaker, so that could be a massive mistake on your part to run into something which will destroy your other programs.
[And this goes on forever...)

I realize this isn't quite what you laid out, but it's what seems to happen when people over-narrate. I think at this point in the life of the game, people are likely to make mistakes as shown in your example for narration. As long as they get corrected with minimal fiddling, all will be well.
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Justin
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Azgard12 wrote:
I'd have to say that the whole "narrating" thing actually greatly annoys me when my opponent attempts to it for me.

The examples the OP gave and the example you gave were entirely different - gaming versus metagaming.
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El-ad David Amir
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Azgard12 wrote:
THEM: Are you sure? The next piece of ICE could end up doing you a total of 5 net damage if it is a Neural Katana. You only have five cards. You'd take five net damage and you'd have to stop your run anyhow because of that.

Oh, no, turning the game into a gameshow with the Corporation as the host is a BAD IDEA and poor sportsmanship in my book (unless the two of you know each other very well outside of the game...). Spiking good ideas with passive-aggressive behavior often leads to unpleasant results.
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Ben Finkel
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I secretly love to be "that nitpicker", so I'll point out that it's Experiential Data, not Experimental.
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El-ad David Amir
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Azeltir wrote:
I secretly love to be "that nitpicker", so I'll point out that it's Experiential Data, not Experimental.

:-o

I did not notice that till now!!

Long live those nitpickers.
 
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Samantha RD
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Actually, my hubby and I seem to have unconsciously gotten into this habit. We play out our turns going:
Action 1: Take a money
Action 2: Install something (corp) etc.

I find it helps both parties keep track, especially during runs. Particularly as I tend to get over-excited, you know:
'Hah! I rez Neural katana. You're dead!'
Hubby: 'Actually, I still have three cards, see? You have to deal me more damage than I have cards.'
*cue cursing from the corp side of the table*


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Ger Lot
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The Sacred Voice wrote:
Tangent: on the topic of narrating then I find I quite enjoy - where I remember inbetween spending forever thinking through my actions - narrating an actual story of what my Runner/Corp has been up to lately. While completely impractical for seasoned, quick players, like many of the regular posters on here, then my group are theme junkies and generally a bit more casual so dig that sort of thing


Up on this

We're playing through an epic story; a battle of ideas and wills with life and assets on the line; it should matter!

If anyone plays me in the future please forgive my evil voice narration of scored agenda's text (modified)

"And in tonight's BREAKING news; runner spotted in eastdown district close to the...wait wait, this just in; A FIRE HAS BROKEN OUT in exactly the same area!!!"
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Malefact
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IirionClaus wrote:
Azgard12 wrote:
THEM: Are you sure? The next piece of ICE could end up doing you a total of 5 net damage if it is a Neural Katana. You only have five cards. You'd take five net damage and you'd have to stop your run anyhow because of that.

Oh, no, turning the game into a gameshow with the Corporation as the host is a BAD IDEA and poor sportsmanship in my book (unless the two of you know each other very well outside of the game...). Spiking good ideas with passive-aggressive behavior often leads to unpleasant results.


I think this sort of situation is difficult to make a call on, since, as you say, the context of the relationship between the two players is important. But as long as your opponent isn't obviously annoyed by this sort of behaviour, I feel it makes the game better.

Netrunner is full of mind games. Supposing there's s two-advanced card sitting in a remote server with two unrezzed ice, I run it, and the corp lets me past both. Before I decide to access, the corp says "nice rig there. Would be a shame if something were to happen to it". That is perfectly legitimate behaviour, and in line with the corp being, well, evil. By forcing me to think about whether or not the advanced card is an Aggressive Secretary, the corp is trying to manipulate my behaviour to get an advantage.

If a runner is considering a run on any fort with unrezzed ice, no sentry breaker, and is down to 1-2 cards, I will peek at the ice, ask them how many cards are in their hand, and smile.

***

Speaking of good behaviours - I have started taking a die with me to track the number of cards in my opponent's hand. Stops me having to ask them so often - unless I want to mess with their heads.

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astroglide wrote:
Azgard12 wrote:
I'd have to say that the whole "narrating" thing actually greatly annoys me when my opponent attempts to it for me.

The examples the OP gave and the example you gave were entirely different - gaming versus metagaming.

I wasn't trying to be snippy, it's just that "narrating" can quickly turn into what I've described. I'd say announce actions or something. The reason this- and adding extra steps such as tracking MU with Bad Publicity (which is a great idea, but hear me out) extend the game rounds, take more time, ect.

I don't know about other metas, but the players I have been playing take (on average) about twice as long as me and still mess up/don't narrate, don't track everything. And when time gets called and we end up with a 5-1 when I should have rightfully won the second game, I start trying to think of ways things could have gone faster. That's all.
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Jay Killjoy
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My friend and I play all the time, we both narrate every move quickly so we know what we are doing - and we narrate the runs as you originally described.

A run at a server with something installed should never be "I run here and pay blah to break blah" ... It should only be "I run HQ" by the runner or whatever to give the corp a chance to respond (rezzing, etc).

I wish I could agree that it is annoying the Corp says things like "Are you sure?? That could be..." But some of this plays into the bluffing mechanic.

I even call out when I am installing Ice... Smiling while I say: "I install Archer face down here over my HQ - notice I have the Agenda to sac and 4 credits, your turn" even though I just installed an Ice wall.

Granted, this is with my best buddy so I can't say I would act the same with strangers.





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Jay Killjoy
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Oh and I agree counting MU is a waste of time. When you install a program you look really quick and do some simple math in your head (that is pretty much counting to 4 or 5 or even 6!).

I'm always aware of what my opponent has for memory and I'd probably call them out immediately if they installed over without trashing.


 
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El-ad David Amir
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JayKilljoy wrote:
Oh and I agree counting MU is a waste of time. When you install a program you look really quick and do some simple math in your head (that is pretty much counting to 4 or 5 or even 6!).

Except some people fail to do that. And as Corp, I don't want to spend my mental resources counting the Runner's MUs ... during the NY tournament, players miscounted MUs several times (including during the finals- two players, the organizer and five spectators, and we all missed the fact that the Runner had five MUs installed).
 
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I especially like the idea of tapping cards that are once per round. I've been putting a credit on my PAD campaign at the end of the turn and then grab it at the beginning, which is effectively doing the same thing but can be a little misleading.

My experience is that narrating your actions is common in a number of competitive CCG's for exactly the reason IirionClaus goes over in the OP. However, I think it is rare/bad form to narrate your opponent's actions, rather you pause (and stare longingly into their eyes) when it is time for them to do something until they tell you to proceed. This helps other players get into the habit of narrating their turn as well.
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IirionClaus wrote:
JayKilljoy wrote:
Oh and I agree counting MU is a waste of time. When you install a program you look really quick and do some simple math in your head (that is pretty much counting to 4 or 5 or even 6!).

Except some people fail to do that. And as Corp, I don't want to spend my mental resources counting the Runner's MUs ... during the NY tournament, players miscounted MUs several times (including during the finals- two players, the organizer and five spectators, and we all missed the fact that the Runner had five MUs installed).

I'm not going to insult the gameplay or oversights, but there are tons of different numbersets to keep track of. Strength, number of subroutines, trace values, credit values, number of tags, number of BPs, costs... all in additon to MU.

Should I put a number of counters on each card which can trace equal to the trace so my opponent can see it? I don't think so- that's unnecessary slowing of the game. I think the oversights at the tournament are majorly due to the game being relatively new. The reaction to track MU with another counter set seems a little knee-jerk to me when- really- all MU amounts to is being aware that you're counting up to 4. Maybe even a bit higher.

(That said, I'm not against it, just taking up more time. Heck, I'll try it. I'm just tired of opponents slowing games with counting out things/narrating in a much more controlling way.)
 
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El-ad David Amir
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Azgard12 wrote:
(That said, I'm not against it, just taking up more time. Heck, I'll try it. I'm just tired of opponents slowing games with counting out things/narrating in a much more controlling way.)

Ouch, sounds like you had a nasty experience with a really annoying player... I never had the misfortune of playing with someone as controlling as you describe- the worst that I meet was asking for the Runner's cards in hand every once in a while, which I think is completely legitimate.
 
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Jay Killjoy
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When I play Weyland I like to ask how many cards are in the runners hand just to keep them paranoid.
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Brian Bankler
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Don't do other things and then draw a card as a final action. Draw the card first, and if you are still planning on doing other things, do them. But you may have gotten a better option.
 
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Bankler wrote:
Don't do other things and then draw a card as a final action. Draw the card first, and if you are still planning on doing other things, do them. But you may have gotten a better option.

I actually hadn't heard this one until yesterday.

I agree that as the Corp it generally makes sense. As the Runner, information changes on an action-by-action basis... so...
 
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Someone (xombe) made playmats for the original game that make it easy for both players to clearly see all the various counts and thus see at a glance the state of the game:

corp

runner

I'd love to see these redesigned to work with this new version of the game. I agree with the OP that the game is much more enjoyable when the state of the game and the actions being taken are made clear to both players.

As others have noted, words can also be used to obfuscate what is going on and to confuse or misdirect your opponent. This is extremely obnoxious. Please don't do it even when you play with good friends because it can quickly become a bad habit. Information that is supposed to be public should be clear and obvious. Information that is supposed to be hidden should not be discussed.

Just my $.02
 
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CD Harris
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IirionClaus wrote:
JayKilljoy wrote:
Oh and I agree counting MU is a waste of time. When you install a program you look really quick and do some simple math in your head (that is pretty much counting to 4 or 5 or even 6!).

Except some people fail to do that. And as Corp, I don't want to spend my mental resources counting the Runner's MUs ... during the NY tournament, players miscounted MUs several times (including during the finals- two players, the organizer and five spectators, and we all missed the fact that the Runner had five MUs installed).


It's a fair point. It's an easy mistake to make. I did it in the Icebreaker Tournament with 2 FFG judges watching the game and none of us noticed. I only realized it after the game ended. Granted, I'd only bought the cards that morning and know better now, but for new players, a tracking method can be a real help.

I refuse to use the click tracker, though. I just state which action I'm taking as I use each up ("1st action: Draw; 2nd action: take 2 bits with Magnum Opus; 3rd action: Run your HQ....; 4th action: Pay two to remove tag. Your turn.") By saying out loud as I use each action, it sets in my memory and my opponent's, so I almost never lose track even if I stop to think a while at some point. New players, again, should probably use the tracker just so they have one less thing to think about.
 
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A note on your narration example:

"Mandatory draw, Mandatory PAD campaign"

Technically if you drew, the time to take from the PAD is over.

Take the credit first.
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El-ad David Amir
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byronczimmer wrote:
A note on your narration example:

"Mandatory draw, Mandatory PAD campaign"

Technically if you drew, the time to take from the PAD is over.

Take the credit first.

You're completely correct! I wonder how critical this is, though. I think that as long as the only "Start of turn" effects are gaining Credits, this order should be fine (not legal, but leading to identical technical results). I'll start working on changing my habit, though.
 
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