Android: Netrunner

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Android: Netrunner
Android: Netrunner core set box
Android: Netrunner core set box
Designer(s) Richard Garfield, Lukas Litzsinger
Publisher(s) Fantasy Flight Games
Publication date 2012
Players 2
Age range 14 and up
Setup time < 5 minutes
Playing time 30-60 minutes
Random chance Some
Skill(s) required Card playing, Logic, Bluffing, Strategy

Android: Netrunner is a Living Card Game (LCG) produced by Fantasy Flight Games. It is a two-player game set in the dystopian future of the Android universe.[1] Each game is played as a battle between a mega-corporation and a black hat hacker ("runner") in a duel to take control of data. It is based on Richard Garfield's Netrunner collectible card game, produced by Wizards of the Coast in 1996.[2]


Like the original, the game is asymmetric and involves two players, one playing the Runner, and the other playing a Corporation. The runner wins by hacking into the corporation's computer network and stealing 7 or more points worth of agenda cards. The corporation wins by scoring agenda cards worth a total of 7 or more points. Additionally, the Corporation wins if the Runner is forced to discard more cards than they have in their hand, and the Runner wins if the Corporation can't draw at the beginning of their turn (due to an empty deck). While the game retains much of the gameplay of the original, there are some key differences.

Differences from the original[edit]

  • The original Netrunner game was sold in randomized booster packs and semi-random starter decks, similar to Magic: The Gathering and other collectible card games. Fantasy Flight's version has been built like its other Living Card Games. The expansions are sold in fixed, non-random sets, either as monthly packs ("Data Packs"), or, less frequently, deluxe box expansions. While this approach virtually eliminates the secondary card market, card speculation, and draft formats, it also promotes an equal playing field and game play over the value of the cards.
  • Fantasy Flight also re-released the original card set after this set sold out;[3] this is similar to the company's support of its other Living Card Games. Magic: The Gathering and other collectible card games do not re-release card sets, preferring to re-build the card base and help support a secondary card market and card pricing speculation.
  • The setting for the original game was based heavily on the Neuromancer novel. The game has been moved to Fantasy Flight's Android setting.
  • The original game had only two factions: Corp, and Runner. The new version splits the two factions into four Corps (Jinteki, NBN, Haas-Bioroid, and Weyland Consortium) and three Runner types (Anarch, Criminal, and Shaper). Every deck must have an identity card from one of these factions. This card grants a special ability, and sets deck-building constraints.
  • A deck cannot have more than three copies of a single card (by title) in it. (In the original game, no limit was imposed.)
  • In the original game, the corp had a maximum deck size for specific numbers of agenda points (for example, 18-19 agenda points meant a maximum deck size of 45 cards, 20-21 agenda points meant max 50 cards, and so on). In the new game, the relationship is reversed; a deck size interval is tied to a number of agenda points (for example, a 45-49 card deck must have 20-21 agenda points). This means that the corporation must decide between using the lower number for more consistency, the higher number for lower agenda density, or somewhere in between.
  • Some terminology has changed: bits have been replaced with credits, actions replaced by clicks, and data forts replaced by servers. Also, some card types have been renamed (for example, Prep cards are now Events).
  • Some mechanics have been simplified or otherwise altered.
    • In the original game, the "trace" mechanic was a blind bid, with both players revealing their bids simultaneously. Now traces are done openly, with the Corp bidding first, followed by the Runner.
    • In the original game, the Corporation would lose the game if they received 7 Bad Publicity tokens. In Android: Netrunner the Corporation can have any number of Bad Publicity tokens without fear of losing, but each Bad Publicity token gives the Runner a free "temporary use" credit to use during each run.

Due to these changes, cards from the two games are not interchangeable. Richard Garfield has stated that "almost all [changes] are reasonable simplifications or elaborations on the original mechanics", and that he is "confident that care was taken not to change for the sake of change."[4]



Each Data Pack contains 3 copies of 20 new cards (60 cards total), and is part of a six-pack "cycle". A new pack is released monthly. The first cycle, Genesis, was released between December 2012 and June 2013.


Expansion Name Release Date
What Lies Ahead December 2012
Trace Amount January 2013
Cyber Exodus February 2013
A Study in Static March 2013
Humanity's Shadow May 2013
Future Proof June 2013


Expansion Name Release Date
Opening Moves September 2013
Second Thoughts November 2013
Mala Tempora December 2013
True Colors January 2014
Fear and Loathing February 2014
Double Time March 2014


Expansion Name Release Date
Upstalk July 2014
The Spaces Between August 2014
First Contact Third Quarter of 2014
Up and Over Third Quarter of 2014
All That Remains Third Quarter of 2014
The Source Fourth Quarter of 2014

Deluxe Expansions[edit]

Each deluxe expansion focuses on two factions (one Corporation and one Runner) and contains three copies of 55 cards.

Expansion Name Release Date Factions Expansion Icon
Creation and Control July 2013 Haas-Bioroid, Shaper Brain
Honor and Profit May 2014 Jinteki, Criminal Helix
Order and Chaos Fourth Quarter of 2014 Weyland, Anarch Eye


Android: Netrunner has won the 2012 Best Card Game and 2012 Best Two Player Game, at the 2012 BoardGameGeek Golden Geek Awards .[5]


  1. ^ "Announcing Android: Netrunner". Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Critical Review - Android: Netrunner". Critical Review. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Android: Netrunner Core Set Will Soon Be Back in Stock!". Fantasy Flight Games. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tapping the Source Code". Fantasy Flight Games. Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  5. ^ 2012 Best Card Game "Golden Geek Awards 2012". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 

External links[edit]