Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Netrunner Vanguard Project

Here it is folks. The central datafort for the Netrunner Vanguard Project. I am your sysop and I hope you find everything that you are looking for here. If there is anything you wish to add please mail me and I will get your suggestions up. I would like as much feedback as possible on this so if there are any ideas here that you rabidly object to...

From WWWebster Dictionary:
Main Entry: van·guard
Pronunciation: 'van-"gärd also 'va[ng]-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English vantgard, from Middle French avant-garde, from Old French, from avant- fore- (from avant before, from Late Latin abante) + garde guard -- more atADVANCE
Date: 15th century
1 : the troops moving at the head of an army
2 : the forefront of an action or movement
van·guard·ism /-"gär-"di-z&mnoun
van·guard·ist /-distnoun

Info / History:
Back on January 24 Joe Rhodes Wrote:Everybody wants a new expansion. Netrunner Vanguard could be just the thing to promote interest until SI is released. It would be easy, just have 5 famous corps and 5 famous runners. They would be character cards. You start the game with them in play and they affect your starting bit level and hand size, they would also have special abilities, for example:

Max Forward
Runner Character
Starting Bit level:4 Starting hand size:4
All ICEbreakers in play are +1 strength

Corp Character
Starting Bit level:3 Starting hand size:8
Draw an additional card at the beginning of your turn

So what are we waiting for? Lets start posting netrunner vanguards and evaluating them to make sure they are not broken.

That one message pointed to a way to give some players a new fun way to play Netrunner and to fill in some of the holes that some people think Netrunner has.

The basic idea is that WotC would print some number of NR-Vanguard cards in a set. These would be released to the gaming community via The Duelist or some other promotional means. The cards would be used in concert with a Netrunner deck to create a new play experience. These cards would add some more flavor of the CyberPunk 2020 universe and bring a closer definition of "you" to the player. This also addresses the lack of "tribalization" that some think Netrunner needs. The main benefit is that the game will get some notice and player who have a starter will look at it again with this new twist. Many gamers think that Netrunner has fallen off the map, this would show them that the game is alive and evolving.

There have been two sets of rules advanced for this card set. The first is that the card abilities are not known by the player who has to live with them. This would call for a random selection at the begining of the game. I'm not so fond of that idea for constructed play. The Vanguards should be known to the players before they build their decks. This allows for constructed and sealed decks to use the abilities to their fullest extent. Since the Vanguards will set the environment that you play in, you should be able to plan for that. Your opponent gets to make your life difficult on the fly, and that is where the unknowns should come from.

Jack Henry-Rhoads had some words on rules:It is great to see this much excitement over my idea. But let us not forget the nature of Vanguard for mtg. Over here we like to play vanguard and I have some things to say about it.

1. Vanguard must always be played against Vanguard unless you are trying to handicap someone so that a newbie has a chance. If Vanguard was not played against vanguard it would be broken.
2. Vanguard can be played in several different ways. For instance you should be able to do the random thing and the constructed thing. You can also do Vanguard sealed deck, where each player gets a vanguard card, a starter and 2 boosters.

Netguard was used a lot in the early stages of development. It's an OK name but it reminds too many people of a spray on personal hygene product; "keep your data smelling fresh and clean with NetGuard".
Edgerunners (by Daffy) Based on the same in the CP 2020 game. To quote Stan the Man, "'nuff said."
Virtual Realities [or Virtuals] (by Argi) - Based on the assumption that the cards are an imposition of a specific game-altering reality to the cyberspace where the "Netrunner" conflict is taking place.
Alpha Constructs [or Alphas or Mentors] (by Argi) - the players are aided by an alliance with the great personalities or corporations of Cyberpunk 2020. You only use one card (each side), since you only get to ally with one Alpha and live to tell about it. They give you specific advantages/disadvantages while you live by their rules. Builds closer ties to RTG CP 2020 game, making better use of the license available.
Dioscuri (die-ohs-cure'-ree) (by Argi) - In the same line of naming expansions based on the Greek Mythos (i.e. Proteus), we name the two-sided cards after Castor and Pollox, twins where one was mortal and the other immortal. When Castor died, they were allowed to live in the upper and lower worlds on alternate days. Does that sound like the dual nature of Netrunner? If you can't pronounce it, we can go with Castor/Pollox. ;-)
Influentia - A tiny noise said "all we are trying to due is influence the way that the game is played". I thought about this and decided that no mater how the cards do change the landscape it will be because the cards are adding a new outside stimulus. This name works to describe the function of the cards no matter which design is final. Consortiums, Mentors, Regions, AI's etc are all influences that the player will have to deal with. Influentia is the medieval latin origin of the word influence. This could be seen as a fun little play on the word influenza, or the flu virus. All of the cards will be balanced so that they have an upside and a downside so the word-play kinda works.
Savant - I sat down one day and looked "Vanguard" up in the dictionary. Since vanguard is a form of avant-garde, I thought the play on words with Savant-Garde was especially funny. Jennifer Clarke Wilkes pointed out that most people only know the word savant in the context of "idiot-svant", a rather crude description of some forms of autistic behavior (Rain Man). It really means: a person of learning; especially, one with detailed knowledge in some specialized field (as of science or literature). Granted this idea came when the function of the cards was not well defined so it may not be nearly as appropriate now.

VIP - This concept was created by Netrunner France.

One thing that is very important is that all of the cards follow some thematic structure. A number of people have posted card ideas that have the player building a deck based on a particular runner or corporate character. These have been brought forth as "Identity" cards. The idea of taking on a specific character as your alter-ego is not bad, but the basic mechanic of Netrunner has you as the central character of the game. A specific identity being provided for you may not mesh with your play style.

Clans or tribalization have been pointed to as needed additions. Runner's don't really clan well with others as part of their defining characteristic. Corps can form consortiums and may well be able to tribalize in this manner. A consortium could fill the roll of a clan for the corporate side of the game.

The compromise for identity cards would be Mentors. The idea here would be that your teacher would have installed in you the values and method for success in their image. There are a number of CP2020 characters that could serve the roll of mentor quite well. One of the percieved "flaws" of Netrunner is that the player has no clear sense of who "you" are within the universe. Mentors and Consortiums define that and make it an integral part of the game.

The best idea that works consistantly for both the runner and the corp side is a meatspace region or location. Where the runner physically lives gives few restrictions on net activities and would definately effect life on the street. 
Corporations would be subject to local taxes, employment laws and gravitational considerations. The net would be subject to the local transmission systems and regional AIs. This has great potential on both sides. The main question to be answered regarding the regions is scope. Each card could designate a city or a state/contry/free-state, or the whole region. What level of granularity would we look for. Maybe one set of 6 cards (3 per side) for each region? One interesting twist that is added with location cards is the corp Upgrade-Region cards. The rules would have to make clear that all regional effects are cancelled for that fort.

There are two schools of thought on the location cards. One is that the cards will define a region as the location of the runner or corp. This would mean that a first set of cards would cover all of the regions in the Cyberpunk 2020 universe and describe what happens there. This limits the future of the sets, but then again we may only get one crack at this. The second school assumes that there will be future printings and concentrates on one region at a time. The card would then be specific to the effects of one city within a region. So we would concentrate one one place and pull 3-6 cities out of each region to explore. Many of the current designs could go either way.


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