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Aditya Rajani

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Android: Netrunner

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Android: Netrunner is a card game originally designed by Richard Garfield that is based on a fantasy dystopian future of the Android universe. It’s a two player game where one player takes control of the evil “Corporation” and the other takes control of the “Runner”, a genius megamind hacker. Netrunner is an intense game where players can get completely immersed into the fictional environment and go head to head to gain the upper hand. Chances are that you’ll forget to grab a cup of coffee when you actually start playing!


In Netrunner, two players battle each other out to gain control of “agendas”(special cards) which has points on it. First player to score 7 or more points wins the game. The role of the person playing “Corporation” is to advance their agendas as far as possible. In contrast, the role of the person playing “Runner” is to hack into the corporation’s agendas and score points. The most intriguing aspect of Android: Netrunner is its asymmetrical design. By asymmetrical, I mean to say that both players will have entirely different roles to play and each player will have different cards and objectives. This concept makes it an exciting, tensed and forehead sweating card game where players have no time to relax. Each action can have consequences in the latter part of the game.


The game begins by first selecting the role the player wants to play, i.e. as a Corp or as a Runner. The Corporation gets 4 clicks (chances) per turn and always goes first. First click is to draw a card from the deck. In every turn, the Corp player has to draw a card from the deck without fail. The rest of the clicks can be spent on various activities like installing (placing) cards on the table, protecting the “trump” card (which may/may not be a points scoring card) by installing firewalls, which are called “ice” cards. There are three kinds of ice cards through which you may protect your trump card, “barrier”, “code gate” and “sentry”. The clicks can also be spent to gain credits (coins) or drawing more cards from the deck.

In addition to the above mentioned possibilities, a Corp player might even set up a “trap” and make it look like it’s a trump card and try to put as many ice cards as they can in the hope that the runner might fall into that trap and face consequences written on that card. One interesting thing that I forgot to mention earlier is that the Corp player places its card face down. That means only the Corp player knows what’s in that card and the Runner is completely unaware of the identity of those cards. But there are several one-time “Event” cards where the runner can uncover the identity of any card of its choice provided the runner chooses to install that event card.

The runner’s job is to attack those Corp player’s servers by by-passing any barrier or ice-cards that the Corp player has installed. The runner bypasses ice cards by installing programs (cards) of the same type as that of the ice-cards installed by the Corporation player by paying the same number of credits written on that program card. Similar to Corp player’s click options, the Runner can also spend their clicks on drawing more cards from the deck or gaining more credits. In addition to program cards, there are various other cards available to use like Resource cards, Operation cards, Event cards etc. where the runner can even trash specific cards by paying credits if the card has a trash value.
Netrunner is all about strategy. Hence, optimal use of resources is of utmost importance if have any chance of winning.


Android: Netrunner is a perfectly balanced and a highly-strategic game creating a huge amount of tension between the two players. They have their own advantages of playing as a Corp and as a Runner. There can be moments where you are so close to winning but one wrong move can hamper your chances and turn victory into defeat creating a state of complete madness and aftermath of discussions. At this moment, one can only think of “So near, yet so far!”

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