Tabletop Game: Net Runner
"The greatest casualty of the early corporate wars was the middle class."
Flavor text for the Corporate War card
is a card game that depicts cyberspace combat
between a global mega-corporation
(the Corp) and a hacker (the Runner). The Corp's goal is to complete their secret agendas
before the Runner can hack in and spoil their secret plans for world domination. It isn't easy, though, as the Corp has strong defensive data forts protected by malevolent computer programs known as ICE
(once again short for Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics
). The Runner must use special programs of their own (called icebreakers) to break through and steal the hidden plans - to keep the Corp from taking over completely.
In 2012, Fantasy Flight Games bought the rights to Netrunner
, updated it to be consistent with its cyberpunk-noir board game Android
, and reissued the game as the Living Card Game Android: Netrunner
. Though there have been some changes (making the game an LCG and not a CCG, of course; providing "identities" for the Corp and the Runner, each with their own abilities; lots of flavor text overhauls with references to the Android
universe as well as lots of other sci-fi and fantasy), the game has been very well received so far.
This game provides examples of:
- Androids Are People, Too: In Android: Netrunner, the Hass-Bioroid faction specialises in AI and Androids. In the verse, they're running a PR campaign to get them accepted as people.
- Big Brother Is Watching: In Android: Netrunner, the NBN faction, besides owning almost all the media, specialises in knowing everything about the runner, which in game mechanics translate in "tags" that allow the corp to cripple the runner. There is even an NBN card named Big Brother.
- Bland-Name Product: "Diesel gives you flames!"
- Cast from Hit Points: There are several cards that give the Runner a significant boost, in exchange for unpreventable brain damage.
- And one that gives you money in exchange for brain damage.
- Clones Are Expendable: In Android: Netrunner, the Jinteki corp mainly sells clones to do work that humans can't or won't do, or to grow medical spare parts.
- The Cracker: The runner, possibly. In Android: Netrunner, the Criminal and possibly Anarch factions.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technology: In the original game, the "Omnitech Spinal Tap Cybermodem" In Android: Netrunner, "Spinal Modem". Both cards are cheap computers that provide a powerful edge, but also have a chance to cause unpreventable brain damage when things go wrong.
- Symmetrically, the Illicit ice from the Spin cycle. Rezing it gives the corporation Bad Publicity.
- Dueling Hackers: Represented by the corp sysop cards.
- Evil Inc.: All Corporation factions from Android: Netrunner more or less qualify, but Weyland deserves special mention. Their way of dealing with Runners is usually nothing short of assassination, and they don't mind blowing up a whole district just to get one guy.
- Everything Is Online
- Fan Nickname: Lots of them.
- Fan Sequel: Fan expansions to the original were common after it was no longer printed.
- Hollywood Hacking: You can kill programs with a virtual samurai or gangster, or bash down firewalls with a wrecking ball made of binary.
- Mega Corp.: The corporation is obviously the embodiment of this trope.
- Mind Rape: Several of the cards that deal brain damage.
- Must Have Caffeine: The card "Jack n' Joe": "There's too much blood in my caffeine system."
- Never Say "Die" / Deadly Euphemism: 'Flatlining'
- Playful Hacker: The runner, possibly. In Android: Netrunner, the Shaper faction.
- Psychic Powers: One of Jinteki's most closely guarded secrets is that they've developed these in their Nisei line of of clones.
- Shout-Out: Several; many to Magic: The Gathering, with whom the game shares a creator. Lots of references to other science fiction (especially Cyberpunk) and fantasy, too.
- Unusual User Interface: 'Decks', the computers that Runners use, can be anything from a juiced-up PC, to a cybernetic implant that runs off of your thoughts.
- Take Over the World: The card "World Domination". If the corp manages to score the card, it wins the game.
- The Verse: The original was set in the same universe as Cyberpunk 2020 (complete with rules for using the card game in the RPG). Android: Netrunner is set in the universe of Android.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In the original game, one of the Runner's possible victory conditions is giving the Corp enough Bad Publicity points that this trope no longer applies to them. Bad publicity was kept in the modern version of the game, but it only gets the Runners more financial resources to attack the Corporation and does not make them win by itself.
- Viral Marketing: The Corp Advertisement card "BBS Whispering Campaign".
- NBN's ICE "Pop-Up Window". Also, the neutral card "PAD Campaign" seems to imply this as well.
- We Will Spend Credits in the Future
- In Netrunner, bits are used as currency by both the Corp and the Runner.
- In Android: Netrunner, this is played straight, with credits as the main currency.