15 Minutes… spent Hacking the Egg!

To those of you who have been present and active in the European (and not only) metas, 5N00P1 should be no stranger. Visiting various events around the globe, organizing some of them, and always eager to make things better (or more interesting) for other players out there, he also does not shy away from experimenting. In my search for the less usual Netrunner events, I found out about “Hack the Egg”, which he’s at least partially responsible for.

If you’re wondering whether “Hack the Egg” is about ostriches, penguins, or other fowl straddling around the planet (or maybe about springtime bunnies hopping around with baskets full of eggs), wonder no more! It’s a fun alternative format in which you get to add two 3/0 “egg” agendas to your Corp deck and hunt for them as the Runner. You can of course score them as the Corp as well, and keep them for the next game. At the end of the tournament, the eggs you manage to keep or snatch from others count towards a special tournament prize and they blow up your deck with useful / useless “egg” agendas.

Still, the event itself is not everything – it’s always better to get all the information straight from the source, right? Thus, I am very happy to have dragged 5N00P1 into our virtual interview construct (of course we have one) for “15 Minutes”. Let’s go!

Vesper: Hello, 5N00P1! Great to have a chance to talk with you about Hacking the Egg, but first… I am quite sure you are really eager to tell us what’s the funniest (or worst) translation of an Android: Netrunner card into German 😉

5N00P1: Love to do this and potentially inspire some people! Honestly I have just stolen this idea and you might want to interview the mindset behind that, I think he posted about 4 – 5 ideas on Stimhack and I just took one 😉
German cards….. So, this is not that easy and we have lots of discussions about German cards, translation errors and so on 😉 but the funniest name we have from my perspective is “08/15”. Beyoken would make a quiz out of it. It’s Vanilla in the original version and this has something to do with wrong translations, World War I, and a German machine gun (yes, totally honest) and not getting the pop culture connection to “ICE, ICE, Baby”. As a result we called our KoS Team at Worlds 2018 “08/15”. 😀 If you are really interested about the German source for the card’s name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_08#MG_08/15

Vesper: Now I see I need to go deeper :leo_squinting.gif:… And I am truly surprised that someone manage to “translate” such an innocent piece of ICE, turning into a machine gun. Rototurret must be so jealous.
Right, onwards to hacking the egg (we are so not on time for Easter with this one) – who gave you the idea and how did you go at first at adapting it into real life? Were there other options considered – perhaps coconuts?

5N00P1: I might not have been clear enough on this. Germans made the name of a machine gun the synonym of “an ordinary thing”, so we use the word “08/15” today without knowing this tiny detail. And Rototurret is a bit to long…. Perhaps we can get Archer into our German vocabulary?
But back to the topic.The guys inventing “Hack the Egg” did it for Easter, I just got the timing wrong and ran it the first time around Halloween. The idea came from Fridan on the Stimhack Forum. I don’t know him, but I think he is British. I was reading about casual events and wanted to do such an event, as from my point of view there are enough competitive events in my meta and the idea of playing a bit differently was appealing to me. With the timing, pumpkins would have been better, but I’m a lazy guy… no, I’m just not good at graphics design and as you need specific cards for Hack the Egg (the Egg Agendas), I took what was there and invested my time into creating the event and spreading the word.

Vesper: Thank you for the clarification. Languages are hard, especially when guns are involved… It seems the eggs for the event should have at least been painted to be little pumpkins? Well, was it hard to “sell” the event to the local meta as something that’s not really the “vanilla” experience of Netrunner? Also, how did you feel not playing in the event yourself? One of the main reasons I never wanted to organize anything is that I prefer participating!

5N00P1: Little pumpkins would have been great, yeah – but this was outside of my skill set, so I just made it “hack the egg” and honestly it doesn’t matter 😉

Was it hard to sell? I think yes and no. You have some people that are hooked immediately, but other seem not to care. I got around five people coming for sure and then I convinced some others, talking to them for over a month during every meetup. Especially the one that never went to a tournament before.
So I would say “yes, it’s hard” and for a reason I never thought about, to participate in such an event you need a special deck, as I used a very limited card pool, meaning you can’t take your “regular” deck and use it for this event, you have to build it from scratch.
As you have extra agendas cards fo forfeit, deck design becomes more interesting, influencing card choices towards cards like The Shadow Net or Archer and Tithonium. On the other hand, I’m not sure if for new players the deck building aspect is that interesting. It’s still a huge card pool and you have to decide e.g. for a deluxe box for Runner and Corp. I was quite happy that this attracted some people from outside of the meta, with a few players needing more than a couple of hours to drive to the event.
Not playing (as an organizer) is a hard question. It’s one of the difficult things that prevented me from running events, just like you said. On one hand, I’m not organising an event that some one else would, but it still might reduce the overall number of events in our meta. On the other, we had only a few events that were not “vanilla” ANR and I thought I need to do something to support our meta. Two events per year is something I can do. As we are travelling a lot, there are plenty of other events to attend, as well.
During the event itself there was so much to do, I hardly missed playing. You get crazy judge calls, you talk to people a lot, and so on 😉 For me, 14 players was a lot to take care of the first time. And, of course, the tournament software (Excalibur) had a bug :D, resulting in players being paired too frequently to play only one side, e.g. the Runner.

Vesper: Haha, well – you can’t have proper Netrunner without viruses or (Burke? meh…) bugs appearing in the least favourable moment. Glad to know that it all went well in the end.
Looking at the HtE 2.0 results, it had quite a unique mini-meta going on. So, in that vein, what are your personal favourites for serious competitive play and for fun, janky games? Also, do you feel better when you Run or when you Corp?

5N00P1: Yeah, I agree HtE 2.0 was its own meta, as people adapted to it and took time (hours, not days) to prepare their decks. The deck building restrictions were: 1 x Revised Core Set , 1 x Deluxe Expansion of their choice for Runner and Corp, and the last Cycle (which was Kitara).
The limitation to a single Deluxe Expansion had an impact. It was funny, when someone chose Data and Destiny and played Sunny against someone also on Data and Destiny with all the tracer ICE.
What I liked about this meta: it is not as defined as in “standard” Netrunner, so good deck builders like it too, as they have a chance to build a good deck, but don’t compete against the “hive mind”.
Things I like… that’s a good question. People would say I’m a Nexus guy, so I played a lot Nexus Kate, Nexus Ayla and Nexus Reina, with moderate success. I also like playing glacier Corp decks – last year AgInfusion, this year Mti, and I think its power level is a bit to high. Currently I’m playing Tag Me Liza, which as a deck is fun, but your opponent might be a bit steamrolled.
For janky or fun games, I love draft, I have a ready Graveyard Cube at home and planning a draft event in December in Berlin (called “Dickes B”) with the official Draft cards (containing cards from the old Core Set up to the Lunar Cycle).
Otherwise, I enjoy almost everything. I was playing Apex with Assimilator as my Runner or Tennin as my Corp in a tournament. Both make sense to me, as I enjoy the competition but love the casual events too.
I usually feel better being the Corp, except from playing against destructive strategies like Apocalypse or Siphon Spam.

Vesper: You like your cards in many flavours, then. Neat! Playing Netrunner is sometimes like choosing food: all cuisines can be interesting, given the right palate.
Let’s get back a bit to organizing, since you have the experience – what is the easiest or most fun thing about organizing an event? And, if you had unlimited budget and time, what would your dream Netrunner event look like?

5N00P1: I would not agree with my experience level for events 😉 I have only organized four so far!
Most fun for me is to see that you have all these people playing the game you love and having fun, what’s more to expect and wish?
Often, before an event, I am not 100% sure if everything works as expected and a bit unsure, but when it all comes together, it’s a lot of fun! The easiest… It’s the format. I have so many different things I would love to do, but time is so scarce… Highlander, Revised Core only, Core 2019 only, Old Core + Genesis + Spin only, Beyoken’s sparring decks tournament or any of the ideas of casual tournaments from Stimhack. You see, there is plenty to do 😉
Unlimited budget and time, this is a tall ask. I’m thinking about such topics a lot: how was Worlds organized, what about Euros?
In 2017 at Euros, we had Day 1 with 5 rounds of Swiss, Day 2 with another 5 rounds of Swiss, and Day 3 with the Top 16.
In 2018, we had 8 rounds of Swiss on Day 1 (this was like hell). Day 2 was the Top 16. 8 rounds of Swiss – even more than at Worlds. I appreciate that more people can play more games! The year before you needed to dedicate three full days for the whole event, but ~ 50% of the players where kick out after Day 1 and it was lacking side events.
So, I think what they made this year with more rounds of Swiss and the Top 16 on the next day was a better decision. But what I love for example, (and I think I influenced the Barcelona players who I visited a while ago – maybe with the exception of Marc) to have a Top 3 cut on the same day, like we do at German community tournaments. It makes it possible to run a big event on one day and have another one the next day, where also everyone can participate. Otherwise, I don’t have so many dreams. Often, especially for bigger events, I would like an evening event the day before (for those travelling), but I understand how hard it could be for the organizers to set one up.

Vesper: OK, I think I know who to talk to if I want to discuss some format and event ideas bouncing around in my head. Your passionate involvement with the game and its structure (as well as attention to player fun) is really obvious now 🙂
After all this serious talk, let’s be a bit less serious for a change. If you were the personification of a program from the card pool, which one would you be and why? And what about the same for a piece of ICE?

5N00P1: ICE is easy. I was thinking about Thimblerig and Architect, but as I’m good in adopting things that are already there I would say Thimblerig – it’s not changing the installed ICE, so everything is as before, but usually it does make a difference!
Personification of a program? That’s easy! ICE are also programs 😉
What about you, are you a Hijacked Router?

Vesper: Haha, your true Corp nature shows. Me, a Hijacked Router? I’d rather be e3 Feedback Implants (one of those cards I wish was still in the card pool).
What do you think the completion of this sentence should be: “In 2020, Netrunner will…”?

5N00P1: “… be the game we love and play and we are proud of what NISEI has achieved.”

Vesper: That’s very humbling (and I share your hopes!), but at the same time I see you’re not interested in holographic cards, a VR implementation of Netrunner DB and Jinteki.net, and Worlds being broadcast by major sports TV channels. 😉
Let’s step even further into the future – if you lived in the world of Android, would you fight the Corps or work for them? Or maybe you’d choose a totally different path to follow?

5N00P1: Actually no, I’m just happy with it as a hobby that is not to big as it could be, which means we are playing for cardboard & mouse pads and this is a major reason why Netrunner is so welcoming for new players!
Uh…. would I be a Runner? Seriously? Actually, I don’t know. I would wish I’m not a Corp slave (what is the cyberpunk word again?), but I’m not sure if I would be brave enough for that :D.

Vesper: I guess you mean to say you wouldn’t like to be a sarariman in the far future. And yeah, with your interest in the game and the community I see you more as someone similar to Sunny LeBeau – white hat during the day, black hat during the night ;-).
How about a question from our previous guest – Richard: “If you were going to bring in a character that’s been referenced in the Android universe, either in fiction, in flavour texts, or other Android products, who would it be and how would you want them represented?”

5N00P1: Is it bad that I have to tell you that I don’t read the flavour text? But I know some characters from their cards and I would like to know more about Caprice Nisei, but perhaps that has already happened I’m just not aware of it.

Vesper: I have to admit I have some favourite flavour texts from Netrunner cards… but I usually don’t pay attention to them, either ;D At least now we know we should never team up for trivia quizzes that include questions about flavour text.
And as for Caprice, you could always try playing her and following her story – either in the Android board game or the upcoming Android RPG setting from FFG.
All good things must come to an end… Is there a question you wish I had asked? Also, is there anything you’d like me to ask the next person on “15 Minutes”?

5N00P1: Perhaps even The Worlds of Android book contains information about her? But yes, don’t team up with me for “running in italics”.
We could have gone deeper into the idea and outcome of the “Hack the Egg” event, I think. It was hard to sell the idea, but what made it easier for some was that they could use their Terminal Directive decks, as they were just playing that campaign. I think I also underestimated the time that single round tournaments would take, but my motivation was to have more games, so more people meet and to reach the stage where you play opponents of your skill level earlier. So, there were more games going to time and even more games ending earlier resulting in people waiting for the next round, so I am not 100% sure that is a good idea to be followed in the future. Additional issues could come from stealing the eggs as runners in one-sided tournaments.
Honestly, I think we think too much about tournaments instead of just fun events, but I don’t have an answer to that.
Here’s my question for the next person: “What kind of alternative format would you be interested in attending and why?”

Vesper: Thank you so much for sharing your enthusiasm and ideas for organizing things with us 🙂 I’m pretty sure everyone’s looking forward to more great events in the German meta that will inspire us all to have more fun with the game.

If you want to learn more about the most recent edition of “Hack the Egg”, you can find a great double report on the Flatline blog. Some names and faces may appear familiar, you have been warned!
For a better view of the meta/results of the two “Hack the Egg” events so far, you should visit alwaysberunning.net: Hack the Egg 1.0, Hack the Egg 2.0.
Finally, you can find 5N00P1 in all the “usual” Netrunner places (jinteki.net, Stimhack forums, Stimslack, etc.) under that username. A good brand is great to have 😉

And that’s it for the fourth edition of “15 Minutes!” Join us next week for…. A very special couple of guests ;D

P.S. Special greetings to our friendly accidental cousins from the German podcast of quite a similar title, that I learned about from 5N00P1… They’re definitely more “15 Minutey” than we are. At least four times more, judging by the length of their latest offering 😉 Tschüss!