Pop ups: I’m sure we all know them. Do you remember the really obnoxious ones from the early 2000s? Flashing gifs claiming you’ve won a prize, only to clog up your system with malware or make money for a faceless corporation by farming your personal information.
Well today we’ll be looking at three advertisement cards from Downfall that seek to do just that: a neutral card that seeks to make a different resource than credits, and a pair of NBN cards straight from GameNET’s arsenal, getting money off the runners staying plugged in.
But just what is “GameNET”?
Most of us like to play video games, and the future world of Netrunner is no different. Naturally, like everything else in New Angeles, even gaming is controlled by a megacorp.
85% of gamers use NBN’s own GameNET to game on every day, accessing the subscription service from any device – be it a PAD or a full VR rig.*
While the gaming monolith itself doesn’t appear until Uprising, that doesn’t stop other Corps from using its tools now, such as:
Most players will draw parallels to PAD Campaign, but this is also similar to CPC Generator, since both cost 0 and both pay the Corp for the Runner taking a basic action. The difference is that this card will always pay at least 1, as even if they run and trash it right after you rez it, it pays out for that run, giving you at least a 4 credit swing after they pay the trash cost. Plus you get the credit when the first run starts, meaning that credit can be used for rezzing ice or for traces during the run.
Congratulations — you are the one Billionth visitor, and you’ve won a prize!!.
I liked this card so much I drew the art for it, something I know is going to make me smile whenever I see one rezzed on either side of the table.
An ice with a familiar NBN feel: similarly to Pop-up Window, you’ll rake in some revenue whenever a runner walks through this. Similarly to Slot Machine, it’s got high strength for its low cost, so it will be a pain to break for some popular decoders such as Engolo. Place it on a weakly-defended server like archives, and suddenly farming for cards such as Crowdfunding or Datasucker might not feel as profitable.
Your next line is: “but why break it?”
Well, the Runner may win a free credit each time that ad shows up during a run, the Corp gets 3 credits if left unbroken, so to keep running through it can be a lose-lose situation: concede and the Corp is infinitely rich, or drain yourself constantly just to deny them 2 of the 3 credits.
Outside of the glamorous full immersion wonderland GameNET offers, New Angeles is still the bleak, corrupt cyberpunk city we’ve come to know and love. Escapism is a powerful thing, but you can’t hide from your responsibilities forever.
Unlike any other advertisement in the game, CSR Campaign doesn’t give the Corp credits, but rather lets them race through their deck and accelerate their game plan, assembling kill combo pieces such as Hard-Hitting News and Boom!, drawing agendas to exploit a scoring window, or preparing tools to sneak through an agenda with fast advance. This card is certainly a high priority for the runner to answer, but if you punish them for trashing it with cards like NBN:Controlling the Message, you’re winning either way.
As all these cards are advertisements, they have natural synergy with Spark Agency: Worldwide Reach. Spark gives you even more credit denial shenanigans, letting you drain the runner’s credits at unexpected times and messing up their trace math.
Let’s look at the decklist I used during playtesting:
Spark Agency: Worldwide Reach
1 15 Minutes
3 Project Beale
3 Global Food Initiative
3 AR-Enhanced Security
1 Quantum Predictive Model
1 Data Ward
3 IP Block
2 Slot Machine
3 Data Raven
3 Pad Campaign
1 Adonis Campaign
2 Marilyn Campaign
2 Tiered Subscription
1 Lady Liberty
2 Product Placement
2 Mumbad Virtual Tour
3 Hedge Fund
2 Hard Hitting News
2 Threat Assessment
1 Market Forces
1 Exchange of Information
This deck’s game plan is to win the economy war (though ironically Economic Warfare doesn’t appear in the deck) by spamming assets and rezzing advertisements on your turn and theirs, to drain credits off them while giving you a steady econ for the game. Some never-advance to sneak out an early ARES can mean that your assets will probably never get contested.
Tiered Subscription is especially good in Spark, since you want to rez it at an unconventional time, such as when you think the Runner is looking to make a run, and it’s even free!. A well timed rez can sap the vital credit needed to beat IP Block’s trace (Remember, there is no rez window in encounters! You have to rez this at the same time a you rez the IP Block.), or even save one of your other assets from being trashed. If the runner does contest your econ assets, they should dip low enough that a Hard Hitting News coupled with your constant drain will stick 4 tags. Any runner not able to clear three of them looks to be in range of a Whizzard-seeking missile, and any runner not clearing all four will be getting the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals.
And that’s all from me for today! As a playtester on Ashes I’ve been very privileged to see the set grow, to provide feedback, and to see the cards come to life. I hope you enjoy the whole set as much as I have.
As always, keep running my friends.
– Akira (@Blonde Haired Hacker Catgirl)
* To read more on GameNET see page 94 of The Worlds of Android by Fantasy Flight Games