Building My Runner Deck Part 1

In a previous post about Android:Netrunner I shared my early thoughts on the game and why I was drawn towards the runners.
In Netrunner there are three types of runner, anarchs, criminals and shapers.
Anarchs are described in the rule book as having a “strong contempt for the corporate oligarchs, the whole corrupt system, and often for society in general”. Anarchs like to watch the world burn, but also stand up for the downtrodden and oppressed.
Criminals on the other hand are “make self-interest an art form and don't care who gets hurt so long as they get ahead.” They embrace the criminal side and partake in other forms of criminal activity.
Lastly Shapers “are motivated by curiosity and a certain amount of pride.” “Because I can” would be the moto of a shaper. Raging against the machine or criminal activities are of little interest to the them.
Out of the three types of runner I'm drawn more to the anarchs and shapers than the criminals. But the type I'd opt to play more than the rest would be anarchs. The whole rage against the machine, standing up for the downtrodden appeals to me. It's me politically! The distrust of corporations, corrupt politicians, not having respect for authority all make up part of my paranoid delusional view point of the world.
In a world where mass government survaliance of the people goes on everyday, yet pass laws that hide their activities from exposure to the public. Corporations avoid paying taxes, and have a cosy relationship with those that are meant to be making sure they pay the correct taxes, where they buy politicians like a person buys hotels on a monopoly board to shape laws that favour them over the rights of the people. Where our elected officials spend more time and money hunting down petty looters at a riot and setting up kangaroo courts to send them to jail, and yet spend nothing bringing to justice and jail bankers that fixed global markets, laundered money for criminals and terrorists, or bought about a world wide economic recession due to shadey practices. At a time where a nations armies are more like corporate enforcers, invading other nations to further economic interests of corporations under false pretenses that they are a threat. With a complicit mainstream media gladly pushing the agenda of the politicians and corporations.
You would think I was describing the dystopian world of Android:Netrunner but in reality it's the world we live in today. I think that is one of the reasons I like cyberpunk. In the cyberpunk world a lone individual can make a difference, hit back at the oppressive regimes against the odds. It's Robin Hood, The Lone Ranger or any other character who stands up to be counted and takes a stand against corruption and injustice in the world.
I grew up watching the black and white Lone Ranger tv series. As a little boy one of the few childhood memories I haven't had erased is of my dad reading the story of Robin Hood to me and my brother at bedtime. There is this strong vein of social justice, standing up for the little guy in my DNA. Which I can trace back to these stories and my early days of reading Marvel comics.
So as you can see with my paranoid delusions of the current ill state of our society, its injustices and biases towards the rich and powerful, why I would be drawn strongly towards playing anarch. It's as if anarchs were modelled on me! Anarchs are like the Heath Ledger Joker but with a social conscious.
At the moment not having all the expansions for Netrunner I have a limited choice of runners, and an even more limited choice of anarch runners of just Whizzard and Noise.
So which anarch runner will I go with? Noise has been in Netrunner since the beginning being in the core set. And after listening to episode 28 of Run Last Click, Noise at the moment seems a popular choice in some of the local meta the hosts take part in. There is a nice piece of “flavour” text in the rule book about Noise. Noise also gets mentioned in the book Android:Free Fall. The image that comes across is that he is an elite runner, if not THE elite runner, who leaves no evidence behind that he was involved in breaking into corporate ice.
As for Whizzard I know very little about him. Well nothing! So if he were to go up against Noise who would win? It's hard to say but my gut says Noise.
Both runners have an ability that trashes corp cards. Noise everytime you install a virus program the corp player has to trash the top card of R&D. While Whizzard gets 3 recurring credits to trash cards with each round.
Each ability has its attractions. Indescriminate trashing or targeted trashing? That's the choice really. I'm going to choose the runner I know a bit about, or at least have an idea what he is about and that's Noise for my first deck.
I hope my political leanings haven't put you off. And that you have a better understanding why for totally non gaming reasons I have gone with Noise the anarch runner.

 

What Just Happened?

So the game is poised at 46 to 45 authority, not many turns had been taken. The usual tit for tat exchanges of low value attacks have taken place. The cards are lined up for your next go to do a reasonable amount of damage, well take out a base and allow a couple of points of direct damage. You leave the game to await your opponents next go.

Your daily routine in the meat world goes on while the pause of anticipation of your next move builds up.

Finally the message pops up that your opponent has taken their turn and you have been defeated!

You go back in to Star Realms, replay the last turn. Watching in disbelieve that this has just happened. Silently you mouth WTF? You rewatch the last turn again still stunned.
Then you just sit back in awe at the skill that has just been shown. Wow. Well played.
However I do wish folks on the Star Realms fan page would stop sharing experiences like this. They seem like precognition. They have a spooky way of happening to me not long after they have been shared.
Have you noticed I spend a lot of time writing about my loses and hardly ever about my victories? I think that this is the mark of a great game. That even in defeat the tales you tell of the game are exciting. Besides it would be boring if all I talked about was glorious wins, or how I grabbed victory against the odds. Plus I think just talking about wins seems a bit crass and just gloating. Or it can come across that way.
 

 

I need an intervention

Just thinking aloud but I seem to be stuck at the bottom of level 5 at the moment, well as you know I had a bad run of games recently. And I have made mention in passing that I win a couple of games then lose a couple, and don't seem to be making any progress in getting out of level 5.

So I thought I'd do a quick adding up of the number of games I am currently in the middle of at the moment in the app. I was shocked to discover I have 23 games on the go. Some players I have multiple games going on. So in reality it may be about 7 or 8 players. No wonder I'm not making much head way. Or if this is a weak excuse, I suppose I will just have to face the reality that I'm not good at the game. But if that is the case I'm having a blast playing and losing.

I wonder how many games others are playing at one go. Is this the sign of addiction? Do I need an intervention? Even at the height of my Words with Friends playing I never had close to that many games on the go.

Thing is I just LOVE playing this game (just in case you hadn't gathered that reading my posts). And I'd happily play even more games if people challenged me.

New Custom Minifig!

I decided my hacktivist needed company! I know hacking is meant to be a lonely activity, but hacktivists work together to bring down the “man”. So made another hacktivist.

Organising My Netrunner cards

Since buying my Android:Netrunner cards I've not managed to play a game! I did make a start organising them, but didn't finish that. And I definitely haven't got round to building my first deck.

Curse that amazing game Star Realms for side tracking me. Anyway Easter is coming up and I really want to get some games in. It's the only way I'm going to get better at the game and learn to play. Yes I know the very very basics, but still I need to learn more. Ideally I want to get up to a level that I can teach some-one to play. Well when I say some-one I mean Nath. I definitely think this is a father/son game we can both enjoy.

But with my immediate target of playing over Easter (Which I need to arrange with Jamie when he is free, hopefully next Tuesday when I'm hopefully getting the Imperial Assualt expansions and in Peterborough). I got my thumb out of my rear and finished off organising my cards. At the moment they are organised into runner and corp. Then each side is further broken down into programs/ice, hardware, agendas etc. With the neutral cards for each side also being broken down like this.

This is an initial organisation, once I get some index cards I want to break each section down even further in to the cards “alliance”. So all the anarch programs together, then the criminal programs etc. it should then make finding cards easier, and hence deck building.

My first deck that I plan to build will be an anarch runner deck. We will look into my deck building adventures in another post, and why I chose anarch as my first runner deck.

In the meantime “hack the planet”!

 

Third Time Lucky

All week I've been treading water. I'll win a couple of games then lose a couple of games, not making any progress breaking out of level 5. This was me bouncing along the bottom of the ocean not even coming to a final resting place. Darren the perpetual bouncing player at the bottom of the levels.

They say third time lucky. Which is a handy saying to believe in as a faint glimmer of hope for this weeks Casual Star Realms Tournament. Which as fortune and maybe a good omen (if you believe in that sort of thing) just happened to be the third tournament I've entered for Star Realms.

The first round draw was made and the pairings posted on the tournaments event page. My first round opponent in this weeks Casual Tournament was Flannelmann.

We traded the usual first two round blows knocking off the 2 authority and buying our initial ships. Then it's the throw a punch, then duck, repeat. With the odd rest bite for both as the cards throw up all coins.

At 22 authority for Flannelmann and 16 authority for myself with a camped War World outpost I'd effectively had a total 20 authority. “Come on cards fall right for me for once when I need them” I said to myself. As if appealing to the digits that make up the code of the app, hoping the ones and zeroes would take pity and be favourable to me.

The final hand played by Flannelmann. The Card Gods smiled on Flannelmann he gets the cards, combos, and draw more cards needed to deliver a knock out blow of epic proportions. 34 Attack points came hurtling my way.
If this had been a boxing match this would of been an upper cut blow, connecting squarely on my chin, lifting me clean off the floor, sending me flying into a crumpled unconscious mess on the ring floor.
So at the end of game one, the score is 1-0 to Flannelmann. Can I get my act together and stage a come pack and win the second game?
Once again we squared up, toe to toe. Jab, jab, punch. Federation ships repairing any cuts with their healing authority. Jab,jab, punch. Jab, jab, punch. Our authority drains away with each blow.
Flannelmann is down to 11 authority, I'm on 21 authority and I have an outpost out that can take 6 damage. So effectively 27 authority for me. I like this position. But I've been in this position soooo many times. Can I seal the deal and draw level?
Oh wait I'm in a good position, not the best cards for my next turn but they could of been a lot worse. However once more another great combo from Flannelmann and I'm out for the count, and out of the tournament.
What the heck? Hasn't Flannelmann read the script? They can't ad lib like this. I'm the people's hero (look in Darren world I am, which basically means my three dogs look at me that way). It clearly says on the label, “third time lucky”, and this was my third time! Good grief always the bridesmaid never the bride.
Final score 2-0 to Flannelmann. And a score line that is starting to become synonymous with my name. Well done Flannelmann, well played. All the best in the next round and beyond. May the draw be favourable to you, and the cards kind to you.
So true to form once more I run head first into the first fence, instead of clearing it into the next round.
During the last two weeks someone on the fan page posted a similar picture to the one below.
So as you may of guessed I've seen it now in a game. I was a bit miffed as I only had one credit and couldn't buy any. Luckily for me my opponent only drew three credits, so could only buy one. Which meant I was able to buy up the remaining two Cutters. But what an amazing first five cards for the trade row.

 

New Arrival Hanabi

Long ago I swore I wouldn't use Facebook, I'm a Twitter person. But with me getting into Dicemasters I started using Facebook more and more. What drew me in was the Dicemasters community. Where I have made some good friends, met and played online people from all over the world.

Since then I joined one or two other fan based communities for games I enjoy playing. One of the groups I joined was a UK boardgame and rpg trading and selling group.

I keep my eye on this group because it's possible to get a bargain. Other times the person selling wants too much and with postage I'd be better off buying the game new on Amazon with free next day delivery (I have Amazon Prime) because the difference in price is soo little. A lot of the time I'm too late to the party and stuff has sold before I even see it.

But last weekend I was online and looking at Facebook at the right time. I'd been hearing good things about Hanabi. It was on my radar, but not high up on my to buy list. Well we know my current addictions. However opportunity presented me with a bargain. Hanabi for a fiver and a quid postage. BARGAIN.

I was going to save about a fiver from the Amazon new price – cool!
Anyway the game arrived today. I was shocked I was expecting a bigger box. This is a nice small package, easily carry around able. So something you could easily pull out down the pub! The game is in excellent condition as the photos show. I'm really happy with this purchase and looking forward to playing the game.

 

TGOC Minifig Project Part 3

The minifigs.me stuff arrived this morning. It consisted of two torsos for the main figures of Alan and Lord Elpus, an acoustic guitar to use as prop for a particular photo for the project. A variety of heads, one or two will be used for the project the others I ordered to build up my library of parts. The Jaws tile is a present for a friends child who likes Lego and the movie Jaws.

With the excitement of this order arriving I used the bits I already had in to make the initial version of Lord Elpus.

My Lord Elpus minifig will play up the Lord side of the name, but have a hard on his luck feel. Hence getting pieces that have scuff marks. The top hat at the moment doesn't have any of those markings on. Mainly because I ordered the top hat before thinking to look if I could get one that had the scuff marks on it. Then browsing the other day I came across one that did. So that is on its way. Which means that this Lord Elpus is pretty close to the final version.

The Alan figure is still a work in progress. But here is the early “sketch” of him as a minifig.

I've not found any suitable hair yet, and I can't decide if I will give him a hat instead. And if I do what type to go for. So the hunt is still on. I may decide to go with a different head too.

As I said this is still a work in progress and still has a way to go before I'll have something I'm happy with that I feel captures Alan.

 

 

Another Present From Past Darren

Past Darren sure is a kind and thoughtful person, and knows Future Darren really well. Past Darren thought that Future Darren might just like the new Dungeons and Dragons Dicemasters set, which should also be coming with a promo card for the game too. Wow was Past Darren right. How did he know Future Darren loves Dicemasters, and would definitely love the latest release of the game?

So Future Darren opened up his present from Past Darren that had arrived today. There inside well padded was the new starter set, but no promo card. Maybe it was inside the starter set? I know it was nieve to think that it would be, but still I opened up the starter hoping to find it inside. Sadly the hope was ill placed. There was no promo inside the starter.

With my disappointment still fresh I decided to contact Wayland Games about it. Well it seemed right to let them know how sad I was inside that there was no promo card, especially since I had pre-ordered the starter from them.

So for your reading delight I've included my email to Wayland Games. I'm not expecting a favourable response to this email. But I do feel better after writing it and sending it.

I received my order today, which I had pre-ordered with you. One of the reasons I pre-ordered the Dicemasters D&D starter was to get the free promo card that was also being given out with it. I was very disappointed that the promo card was not included with my order.

It's a shame as tonight my post about receiving the starter will be mainly about my disappointment of no promo card now, instead of excitement and wanting to challenge other players via Google hangouts. I hope my fellow dicemasters players in the UK have been luckier than me. I'm sure when they read my tale of woe there will be those that will gloat and say I should of gone elsewhere. I can't wait to read those responses on Reddit and facebook. Maybe one will take pity on me and have a spare that they can let me have for an extortionate amount money.

As I'm pressing the send payment button in PayPal to pay for a card I should of received for free as part of my order I will try and think of you in a less than favourable light and not be too bitter. But I fear that I may fail at that as I look at the virtual digits flow from my bank account to the bank account of another.

I would say thank you for the prompt service in dispatching my order to me. But my disappointment stops me from showing such gratitude.

Darren Christie”

 

 

Fallen At The First Hurdle Again

This week I took part in the “March Madness SR Tournament” that was organised on the Star Realms Fan Created Community Page and run by Ben Jochum and helped by Nathan Jochum.

Apparently March Madness is something to do with the sport basketball in the US. Not exactly a very big sport in the UK. And we definitely don't have college teams for the sport like they do in the US. This of course is where some-one in the UK will comment “oh contrear Darren, we do have college basketball over here, and it is very popular”. Which would basically mean it has a middle of the night spot on one of Rupert Murdochs pay to view sports channels (also popularly known as Sky Sports) straight after a Monday Night RAW rerun.

I find this whole college sports thing the U.S. has fasinating. We naturally in the UK play football (the real football that actually involves teams from around the world in its World Cup, not that big commercial break that is broken up with minor moments of people slamming into each other like sumo wrestlers in body armour that is called football in the US). Football is our passion here. We follow our clubs whether they be Premier League goliaths, or non league minnows like Wisbech Town Football Club. This is what we get passionate about, followed by cricket and rugby. But even so there is none of this college sports phenonum here in the UK. And to me it seems odd, the nearest I can come to understanding it, is to equate it to supporting your local non league football team from which ever town you happen to live in.

Anyway the rules of this tournament were simple, sign up saying which college basketball team you were representing, your current level in the app. Umm college basketball team? As I've pointed out they don't exist over here (probably, if they do they are more elusive than the Lock Ness Monster, or a Tory Cabinet Minister without their hands in the pockets of bankers and big business). I did point this out and asked if I could represent my football team (Liverpool for the record) instead. This was politely rejected. However (and I do apologise I can't remember their name) it was pointed out that there was Liverpool in the US and that their local basketball team was Syracuse. So I went with that suggestion as the team I would represent.

The rules for the actual games were single game, single elimination, “for fun”, and Gambit expansion optional.

The tournament was being limited to 68 players, and the winner of this “for fun” tournament would have their team's logo displayed for the cover photo for the site for about a week.

The draw for the first round was made on Tuesday, it was Syracuse vs Ohio State. JoeC was representing Ohio State in this tournament. JoeC and I started with a our opening moves first thing Wednesday morning (UK time). However the majority of the games turns took place between 3:30am (GMT) and 7:30am (GMT) this morning. So yes you read that right I was playing this match at stupid o clock, and have little naps between plays!

I was pretty happy with the way the game was going. I was whittling down JoeC's authority, getting a good mix of ships and bases that were working. I felt I was in a good position. As the screen capture shows above. JoeC was down to 8 authority, I had a healthy 26 authority and an outpost camped to remove the sting from JoeC's next attack. Adding up the attack on my drawn cards I had 14 points to attack with on my next go. Enough to remove an outpost if one was played and the final 8 authority. Surely I was looking at my first tournament win here?

I left the app and awaited for the alert to say it was my go. I had a little snooze, woke up and checked the app. I'd lost! WTF how? It hadn't sunk in, I had left the game in a good position. What had gone wrong?

Feeling sick as a parrot I went into the app and pressed the replay last turn button. JoeC Hit me for 28 points of damage, but not before using the Blob Destroyer he played to knock out my outpost. That enabled the full 28 points to be delivered in one massive knock out blow. That Blob Destroyer allowed JoeC to snatch the win. Without it I'd have been left with 2 authority and the win.

Once more like an also ran horse at the Grand National I had fallen at the first hurdle. But JoeC played really well, and deserved that win. Star Realms is just full of these sort of moments. The “I was stearing defeat in the eyes, and managed to steal the win, against the odds stories”. You have to love a game that just gives you consistently those sort of moments.
To the victor JoeC I wish you all the best in the next rounds, and hope to see your team win. And a big thanks to Ben and Nathan for organising this tournament. My short lived stay in the tournament was a hoot. Roll on this weeks casual tournament, hopefully I will do better and get through the first round.

 

Krosmaster Arena the App coming Soon

I came across Krosmaster Arena on last years International Table Day when on the live feed that was being done by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton they played the game.

The instant I saw the game being played it struck me as a table top version of Final Fantasy Tactics. Wow how cool was that? I love Final Fantasy Tactics. I have the game on the PSP and Gameboy Advance. Only being a cheapskate has stopped me getting it on the iPad.

Despite loving Final Fantasy Tactics and finding a table top that I was sure I’d love, and that I thought Nath would enjoy playing too. I never bought it.

The thing that stopped me jumping on the Krosmaster Arena bandwagon was I was already at the time spread pretty thin across three or four games that had lots of expansions. And I really can’t afford to add another of those games to the collection where I knew I’d want to buy the expansions for.

At regular intervals I’d drift back to looking at the game, and nearly caving in and buying it. I’m so weak when it comes to this sort of thing usually.

Recently I found out that Krosmaster Arena is based around a French Anime called Wakfu (now on Netflix, so you can guess what I’m working through at the moment).

So why am I bringing this up now?

This morning on the Boardgame Geek Youtube channel they had the following video from Pax East.

UPDATE! For some reason the app I use on the iPad to write posts decided to go all foobar on this post. Putting multiple copies of the YouTube video in the post instead of just one, and deleting my final words.

Basically my final words went something like the following, and I can only say like because I can’t remember them exactly but I can remember the point I was making. So the sentiment is the same!

Anyway I thought that it was a mark of share evil genius, and cunning planning my the Krosmaster Arena folks to hook me in. I know I’ll but the app, and from the app crumble and want to get the board game. Finally they would have me in their evil gaming clutches.

I also made comment that it was ironic that a game so similar to the video game Final Fantasy Tactics but in the meat space was now becoming a video game which obviously will be compared by some if not most reviewers to Final Fantasy Tactics.

One aspect I also liked about the app is that figures bought in the meat space for the physical game have code numbers that can be entered into the app which would then allow you to use the characters in app. It sounds like a simple way to give the app Skylanders/Disney Infinity/Nintendo Amiibo like functionality And collectibility. Will we see app players also collecting the figures to use in game?

So I think that about sums up everything that this ipad app managed to trash. Hope you thought it was worth adding back in to the post.