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Where do we go from here?
A Short Future History of Netrunner

by Douglas Kaufman, TRC Chair

Poor Netrunner. You'd think a really well-designed collectible card game done by Richard Garfield, licensed from popular R. Talsorian, and marketed by Wizards of the Coast, would have more oomph. But it was not to be: for whatever reason (speculations are best reserved for another article) it never sold well enough to please its corporate masters, and now Wizards has announced that it will no longer support any of its C-list titles, Netrunner included.

What does that mean for the TRC? Frankly, not much, at least not in my opinion. The major blow this delivers is the certainty that from now on there will be no more official expansions for Netrunner. This is sad, but since the release of Classic was such a surprise anyway, a lack of future supplements hardly counts as devastating news. Netrunner was moribund before this happened, now it is merely more so. In fact, in a strange way this opens up greater possibilities for expansions.

The most likely method will be through Apprentice or some other form of Virtual Netrunner. A fitting place for the game, actually—and it might allow for some of the previously created virtual expansions to actually find an audience.

It also means lack of prize support from WotC for tournament organizers. This is a blow as well, but I imagine the upshot will be prize packages bought on Ebay or coming from the organizer's private stash. And to be realistic, most enthusiasts don't play NR for the prizes anyway.

Does lack of support from Wizards mean that the TRC is useless or should be abandoned? Not at all, in my opinion. In fact, if anything, it makes us more vital. A fan club for a going concern like Magic is just a bunch of people sitting around admiring their hero. A fan club for a game no longer supported by its original publisher now has a mission. Here are some of the things that we could do:

  1. Continue to organize large-scale events like GenCon tournaments and Gridlock Weekend.
  2. Seek other publishers for Netrunner cards.
  3. Design virtual expansions and publish them through Apprentice or other software.
  4. Create the "Dioscuri" cards and try to get them published in Top Deck magazine.
  5. Continue the listserv to discuss the game.
  6. Continue the TRQ to let the membership know there are other players out there.
  7. Update the rankings list.

The TRC is a fan club, not of Wizards of the Coast, but of the game of Netrunner. That game continues to exist even if the publisher is no longer "supporting" the game. Yes, it's nice to be part of a living, breathing thing—but not necessary.

Douglas "Rabbi Small" Kaufman, TRC Chair

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TRQ #24
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TRQ #23
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TRQ #22
TRQ #21
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TRQ #20
TRQ #19
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TRQ #18
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TRQ #15
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TRQ #11
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TRQ #08
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TRQ #04
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TRQ #01