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Neal's Last Words


Neal's Last Words

by Byron "Neal" Massey

Neal'S Quest for the Truth

I have some questions and the technical manuals haven't been much help. Drop me a line if you have information.


WotC and the DCI are famous for their bizarre rulings on cards. In Magic, they sometimes change their minds several times in a few months. The first group of questions has to do with the official rulings on cards and game mechanics.

1. How come has the "successfully trashed" errata and every other card in the game doesn't? Why can you save your Imp with Umbrella Policy during a run, but not if you sell it to

"The Shell Traders, have you seen the errata on that thing?" Yeah, I know, big Imp trees are to easy to sell and save with Joan of Arc and On the other hand, no one has introduced any errata to stop Psycho Tycho or Artificial Security Directors/Corp War. Why the special prejudice against misc.

I'd like to see errata for Joan of Arc that says "...being trashed by the Corporation..." That would fix everything that is wrong with all the Joan-abuse in Netrunner.

Another thing I'd like to see is a very specific ruling that says "Any effect triggered by the trashing of a card(s) does not take place unless that card(s) is placed in the trash or Archives before the effect takes place."

2. How come the Corporation has to rez a piece of ICE before a Runner saddled with a Ball and Chain encounters it? The Runner should have to declare that he is committing the two bits, then the Corp should be able to decide whether to rez or not. If he decides to rez, the two bits should be paid and the ICE encountered.

3. If you use a Death from Above on a New Galveston City Grid fort, how come you only pay for the revealed Nodes, Agendas and Upgrades? Shouldn't you just just pick the cards you are willing to pay for, trash them, and call it good?

4. How come Ice Transmutation doesn't affect extra subroutines that are not printed on a piece of ICE? You can process "end of turn" or "start of turn" effects in any order you wish. How come you can't make Minotaur's extra subroutines come up and then make Ice Transmutation double them?

5. Why can't a Dr. Dreff stored in HQ throw ICE at a Runner using Shredder Uplink Protocol? How come a Dreff in R&D can't throw ICE at a Runner using Private LDL Access? Dreff is in the fort that is being accessed, he should be able to use his power. The Shredder errata even says you access upgrades in HQ.

6. How come Omniscience Foundation has to be in play at the end of the turn to work? If it was previously rezzed, its effect should happen, just like a Preying Mantis still does brain damage at the end of a turn if it is trashed during that turn.

7. Shouldn't Emergency Self-Construct save you from Homewrecker, Quest for Cattekin, or other "unpreventable" damage? All it does is "Prevent yourself from being flatlined..." It doesn't prevent any kind of damage.

8. Why does Remote Detonator forget what fort you accessed when you use Shredder Uplink Protocol or Private LDL Access? It says "Play only if you made a successful run on a data fort this turn. Trash all rezzed ice on that fort..." A Shredder run is considered successful when you pass the last piece of ice on Archives, but the fort that you successfullly ran was HQ.

9. How come a program installed with Sneak Preview doesn't go from the trash to your hand at the end of the turn?

10. How come you can't use Japanese Water Torture to forgo unwanted actions from Bargain with Viacox?

11. The Shell Traders, have you seen the errata on that thing?

WotC Policies

Netrunner is a study on how to make a great game unsuccessful. These are some questions for the one-hit-wonders at WotC.

1. How come WotC's last good game design was Netrunner? Can't they figure out any other rules for card games besides each "monster" having a "strength" and "toughness"?

2. WotC lost money on Netrunner because of massive overprinting (caused by massive overconfidence). Why did they refuse to do smaller printings of expansions when the game was still fresh? The new policy at WotC and Five Rings is to put out small expansions on a monthly basis. Netrunner has a dedicated and commited fan base. Wouldn't this policy fit perfectly with the Netrunner situation now?

3. How come WotC won't print the Contract cards in the Duelist? The expense would be minimal and the sales would increase dramatically for that month.

4. Why won't WotC have the Netrunner world championships in conjunction with the Magic championships in Seattle? It would cost nearly nothing to host this side event, and it could be open to all comers. Would it really hurt to have a real Netrunner World Champion? Prizes would be minimal, but at least people would have a place to go and compete for the title.

5. How come Netrunner isn't even in the catalog, when Jyhad is?

6. What's the real price on the whole Netrunner property? Would they sell the game to someone who cares at a reasonable price?

Playing the Game

I'm sure you've noticed that Netrunner has some quirks. Murphy's Law seems to combine with a few bad apples in the card mix and produce an occasional stomach ache. A few play variants can provide some relief. These questions are the symptoms.

1. How come Bartmoss only blows up when your Umbrella Policies and Joan of Arc are uninstalled?

2. Weren't Code Viral Cache, Time to Collect, Death from Above, Enterprise, Inc., Shields and Precision Bribery bad ideas for cards?

3. Have you ever locked a Corporation down with Doppleganger counters? It's tough against Loan from Chiba.

4. Did you ever try playing a game where both sides are allowed to stack their decks before starting? It's really fun.

5. What were they thinking when they made Polymer Breakthrough?

6. Have you ever been able to beat a Corp that installs four or five City Surveillances in the first turns? Ok, maybe with TagMe. Other than that?

7. Viral Pipeline, is it too powerful?

8. How come there is no way to get rid of Bad Publicity points?

9. How do you stop Psycho Tycho?

Netrunner on the Net

Netrunner seems like the perfect game to play and discuss on the Internet. Let me know how much the Netspace you occupy in your real life.

1. Which Netrunner web pages do you visit regularly?

2. Do you read the netrunner-l mailing list?

3. Have you ever played a Netrunner game on the IRC chat network?

4. Have you ever used Ken Hudson's NetNetrunner Java application?

5. Would you like to join a NetNetrunner league, or play night, for regular competition?

That's all the questions I have for now, I hope you enjoyed reading them. I'm currently working on a new bit engine using Floating Runner BBS, Top Runners' Conference, and Let me know if you come up with a good proportion for these cards.