Android: Netrunner is a card game for two players set in the dystopian future of the Android universe. One player assumes the role of a Runner, a rogue hacker armed with bleeding-edge gear and software, while the other player controls a powerful Corporation that will stop at nothing to achieve its goals.
In Android: Netrunner, players alternate taking turns, beginning with the Corporation. During the Corporation's turn, he has three clicks to spend. The Corporation can spend his clicks to perform a variety of actions, including gaining credits, drawing cards, installing cards, and advancing agendas. The Corporation must carefully divide his efforts between defensive actions, such as protecting his servers from the Runner, and offensive actions, such as tracing the Runner or advancing agendas.
The Runner has four clicks to spend during his turn. The Runner can also spend his clicks to perform a variety of actions, including gaining credits, drawing cards, installing cards, and making runs. During a run, the Runner attempts to hack into the Corporation's servers in an effort to hinder the Corporation and steal his agendas. The Runner has several different targets to choose from when initiating a run; choosing where and when to run is a key part of an effective Runner strategy.
The objective for both players is to score seven agenda points. The Corporation scores agenda points by advancing agendas; the Runner scores agenda points by stealing agendas from the Corporation. Agendas are cards that only appear in the Corporation's deck.
The Corporation also wins if the Runner is flatlined (see Damage) and the Runner wins if the Corporation must draw a card from his empty draw deck.
In Android: Netrunner there are four different Corporate factions to choose from. Corporate factions are important for deckbuilding (see Deckbuilding) and each Corporate faction has certain cards affiliated with it. These factions are:
- Weyland Consortium
In Android: Netrunner there are three different Runner factions to choose from. Factions are important for deckbuilding and each Runner faction has certain cards affiliated with it. These factions are:
Some Corporation and Runner cards have no faction affiliation. These cards are called neutral cards and can be used in any deck of the corresponding side.
To prepare a game of Android: Netrunner, carefully follow the steps below.
Choose Sides: The players decide who will play as the Runner and who will play as the Corporation. Then, each player places his identity card faceup in his play area and takes a corresponding deck.
Note: New players should use the Shaper and Jinteki starter decks for their first game.
Create Token Bank: Gather the credits, advancement, brain damage, tag, bad publicity, and generic tokens into piles. Keep these piles within reach of both players.
Collect Starting Credits: Each player takes five credits from the bank.
Shuffle Decks: Each player shuffles his deck. After shuffling, each player offers his deck to his opponent for further shuffling.
Draw Starting Hands: Each player draws five cards from the top of his deck to form his starting hand. After drawing starting hands, the Corporation may choose to take a mulligan by shuffling his hand back into his deck and then drawing a new starting hand. After the Corporation decides whether to mulligan, the Runner decides whether to mulligan as well. If a player takes a mulligan, he must keep his second hand as his starting hand. When the players are satisfied with their starting hands, each player places his deck facedown in his play area.
Players should become familiar with the following terms before reading the rest of the rules. Refer to the “Glossary” to look up other terms as needed.
Active: An active card's abilities affect the game and can be triggered.
Inactive: An inactive card's abilities do not affect the game and cannot be triggered.
Install: This is the game term for playing a card onto the table.
Credit: This is the basic unit of wealth, represented by .
Click: This is the basic unit of work, represented by .
Rez: This is the act of flipping a facedown card faceup. The Corporation installs his cards facedown and must rez them in order to use them.
In Android: Netrunner, the play areas for the Corporation and the Runner differ significantly from one another. However, both players have a credit pool, identity card, score area, and click tracker.
Each player has a credit pool where he keeps the credit tokens he has available to spend. Spent credits are returned to the token bank.
Each player has an identity card that is placed faceup in his play area. The identity card does not count toward his maximum hand or deck size, and is always active during the game.
Each player has a score area that holds his scored or stolen agendas. Agendas in a score area add their agenda points to a player's score.
Each player has a click tracker that he uses to track the number of clicks left that he has to spend on his turn. This is a game aid only and its use is optional.
In addition to his credit pool, identity card, score area, and click tracker, the Corporation's play area includes his servers and his ice. There are two types of servers: central servers and remote servers.
The Corporation has three central servers: Headquarters,
Research and Development, and Archives. Each central server also has a root.
Some cards enter Archives faceup, and some cards enter Archives facedown. Facedown cards in Archives should be oriented horizontally so that the Runner can easily see them. Both the Corporation and Runner may look through the faceup cards stored in Archives at any time, and do not need to maintain the order of its cards while doing so. The Corporation can also look at the facedown cards in Archives at any time; the Runner cannot.
The Corporation has no remote servers at the beginning of the game. The Corporation creates remote servers by installing cards. Cards in remote servers are active if rezzed and inactive if unrezzed.
There is no limit to the number of remote servers the Corporation can have at any given time.
The Corporation installs ice to protect his servers. Installed ice is always dedicated to a particular server and placed in front of that server. Ice can protect an empty server. Ice is active if rezzed and inactive if unrezzed.
In addition to his credit pool, identity card, score area, and click tracker, the Runner's play area includes his grip, his stack, his heap, and his rig.
This is the Runner's hand of cards. The Runner begins the game with a maximum hand size of five cards. Cards in the grip are inactive.
This is the Runner's draw deck. The stack is kept facedown within reach of the Runner. Cards in the stack are inactive.
This is the Runner's trash pile. The heap is kept adjacent to the Runner's identity card. This is where Runner cards are placed when they are trashed or discarded. Cards in the heap are faceup and inactive. Both the Runner and Corporation may look through the heap at any time, but must maintain the order of its cards.
This is where the Runner installs his cards. The rig is separated into three rows: one for programs, one for hardware, and one for resources. Cards in the rig are active.
There are six types of Corporation cards: identities, operations, agendas, ice, upgrades, and assets. All cards except the identity card are shuffled into the Corporation's deck at the beginning of the game. Corporation cards are installed facedown, and are inactive unless rezzed (see Rezzed and Unrezzed Cards).
Identity cards indicate which identity the Corporation has assumed.
The Corporation identity card defines the Corporation's faction and describes the identity's special ability. It also provides a minimum deck size that must be observed when deckbuilding (8) and the amount of influence available for spending on out-of-faction cards (9). See Deckbuilding for more information.
Note: The Corporation's identity card also represents his HQ for the purposes of card installation: ice protecting HQ is installed in front of the Corporation's identity card, and upgrades installed in the root of HQ are installed behind the Corporation's identity card.
Operations represent singular occurrences and are always trashed after being played.
The Corporation pays credits equal to the play cost (1) of an operation to play it. When played, an operation's abilities as listed in its text box (4) are resolved. Then, the operation is immediately trashed. Operations are never installed.
Agendas are valuable pieces of the Corporation's data, and are the only cards in Android:Netrunner that are worth agenda points.
The Corporation installs agendas in remote servers. Agendas are the only cards in the game worth agenda points (11). Agendas have an advancement requirement (10) that must be met before the Corporation can score them (see Advancing a Card).
Agendas cannot be rezzed and are only active while in a score area. There can be only one agenda or one asset installed in a remote server at a time.
Ice defends the Corporation's servers against intrusions by the Runner.
The Corporation installs ice in front of any server. Ice is not active until it is rezzed by paying credits equal to its rez cost (12).
A piece of ice has one or more subroutines () in its text box (4) that the Runner must break during a run or suffer their effects (see Ice) if the ice is rezzed.
Upgrades are improvements to a server that provide the Corporation with a wide variety of benefits and bonuses.
The Corporation installs upgrades in remote servers or the roots of central servers. Upgrades are the only card type that can be installed in the root of a central server. An upgrade is not active until it is rezzed by paying credits equal to its rez cost (12).
There is no limit to the number of upgrades that can be installed in a server. When the Runner accesses an upgrade, he can trash it by paying credits equal to its trash cost (13).
Assets provide the Corporation with resources and connections that help him advance and score his agendas.
The Corporation installs assets in remote servers. An asset is not active until it is rezzed by paying credits equal to its rez cost (12).
Some assets can also be advanced, giving them the appearance of agendas and potentially misleading the Runner. When the Runner accesses an asset, he can trash it by paying credits equal to its trash cost (13).
There can be only one agenda or one asset installed in a remote server at a time.
There are five types of Runner cards: identities, hardware, resources, programs, and events. All cards except the identity card are shuffled into the Runner's deck at the beginning of the game. Runner cards are always active while installed.
Identity cards indicate which identity the Runner has assumed.
The Runner identity card defines the Runner's faction and describes the identity's special ability. It also provides a minimum deck size that must be observed when constructing a deck (6), and the amount of influence available for spending on out-of-faction cards (7). See Deckbuilding for more information.
Hardware is the array of physical tools at the Runner's disposal.
The Runner installs hardware in his rig by paying an install cost (9).
There is no limit to the amount of hardware the Runner can install in his rig.
Resources are a wide variety of connections, assets, and skills that aid the Runner.
The Runner installs resources in his rig by paying an install cost (9).
There is no limit to the number of resources the Runner can install in his rig.
When the Runner is tagged (see Tags), resources may be trashed by the Corporation.
Programs are digital tools at the Runner's disposal, primarily used as a means of intrusion.
The Runner installs programs in his rig by paying an install cost (9).
Programs are the only card type that have a memory cost (11). The memory cost of his installed programs can never exceed his current memory limit (see Programs).
The Runner uses a program subtype called an icebreaker (4) to break ice subroutines during runs (see Icebreakers). An icebreaker's strength (12) must be equal to or greater than the ice it is interacting with.
Events represent singular occurrences and are always trashed after being played.
The Runner pays credits equal to the play cost (13) of an event to play it. When played, an event's abilities as listed in its text box are resolved. Then, the event is immediately trashed. Events are never installed.
In Android: Netrunner, the Corporation and the Runner alternate taking turns. Android: Netrunner is unusual in that the Runner and the Corporation are governed by different rules. Players should familiarize themselves with the rules for both sides.
The Corporation always takes the first turn of the game.
Each player, during his turn, takes actions by spending clicks. A player can only spend his clicks during his own Action phase, and he must spend all of his clicks in each Action phase. The Corporation begins his turn with three clicks ( ) and the Runner begins his turn with four clicks ( ).
The Corporation's turn consists of three phases, which he performs in the following order:
- Draw Phase: The Corporation draws one card from R&D.
- Action Phase: The Corporation has with which to perform actions.
- Discard Phase: The Corporation discards down to his maximum hand size, if necessary.
The Corporation draws the top card of R&D. This does not cost the Corporation any clicks.
Note: If the Corporation's R&D is empty when he attempts to draw a card, the Runner immediately wins the game.
In his Action phase, the Corporation takes actions by spending . He can only take actions during his Action phase, and he must spend all three of his clicks during his Action phase.
The Corporation can perform any of the following actions as many times as he likes, and in any combination, provided he can pay for them. These are listed in the format of “cost: effect.”
- : Draw one card from R&D.
- : Gain 1 (one credit).
- : Install an agenda, asset, upgrade, or piece of ice.
- : Play an operation.
- , 1: Advance a card.
- , 2: Trash a resource in the Runner's rig if the Runner is tagged.
- : Purge virus counters.
- Trigger a ability on an active card (cost varies).
Whenever the Corporation spends clicks on one of these actions, he is considered to be taking an action and cannot take another action until the current action fully resolves.
When the Corporation has spent all of his clicks, his Action phase ends and his Discard phase begins.
For , the Corporation draws the top card of R&D and adds it to HQ.
For , the Corporation takes 1 from the bank and adds it to his credit pool.
For , the Corporation installs a single agenda, asset, upgrade, or piece of ice from HQ, placing it facedown on the table.
Note: When an asset or upgrade is installed, the Corporation can pay its rez cost to rez it at almost any time (see the “Timing Structures” on pages 32-33). Ice can only be rezzed when the Runner approaches it during a run (see Approaching Ice).
When installing a card in a server, the Corporation can first trash any cards already installed in that server. Trashed cards go to Archives faceup if they are rezzed, and facedown if they are unrezzed.
If the Corporation chooses to create a remote server when installing a card, he installs the card by placing it facedown in a discrete location in his play area. Agendas, assets, upgrades, and ice can all be used to create a new remote server. If the Corporation creates a remote server by installing ice, the server exists, but is considered to be empty. An empty server can still be run against by the Runner.
Note: Installed cards cannot be rearranged or mixed-up by either player except through card effects.
The following entries describe the installation restrictions and associated costs of each card type:Advancing a Card).
Note: A remote server can have only one agenda or asset installed in it at a time.
If the Corporation wants to install an agenda in a remote server that has an asset or an agenda already installed in it, he can install the card but must trash the existing card first as part of the install action. The Corporation does not have to trash upgrades in order to install an agenda or an asset.
If the Corporation wants to install an agenda in a remote server that has an asset or an agenda already installed in it, he can install the card but must trash the existing card first as part of the install action.
Unlike an agenda or asset, there is no limit to the number of upgrades the Corporation can install in any server, central or remote.
Note: The Corporation can only have one upgrade with the region subtype installed per server or server root, as listed in the text box of these cards.
When the Corporation installs a piece of ice, he must install it in the outermost position in front of the server and pay an install cost equal to the number of pieces of ice already protecting that server. The outermost position is the position farthest from the server, in front of any other pieces of ice that are protecting the server.
When installing ice, the Corporation can first trash any ice protecting that server in order to reduce the install cost. Then, he installs the new piece of ice in the outermost position in front of the server.
For , the Corporation plays an operation from his hand by paying its play cost. He then places it faceup in his play area, immediately resolves the effects of the operation, and trashes it.
For and 1, the Corporation adds one advancement token to an installed card. Agendas can always be advanced while installed. Cards other than agendas can only be advanced if their text box allows it. There is no limit to the number of times a card can be advanced.
Note: If a card's text box says that the card can be advanced, the card can be advanced even when the card is unrezzed.
To score an agenda, the Corporation turns it faceup and places it in his score area, resolving any conditional abilities on the agenda that use the language “When you score.” The Corporation cannot score an agenda until it is fully advanced. Scoring an agenda does not cost a click and is not an action.
While an agenda is in the Corporation's score area, it is active and adds its agenda points to his score.
If the Runner is tagged, the Corporation can spend and 2 to choose one of the Runner's resources and trash it (see Tags).
For , the Corporation removes all virus counters hosted (see Hosting) on cards, returning them to the token bank.
Some cards have abilities with trigger costs that require the Corporation to spend one or more clicks. These abilities list the icon in their trigger cost, and the Corporation can trigger these abilities only during his Action phase.
The Corporation begins the game with a maximum hand size of five cards, but card effects can increase or decrease this limit. If the cards in HQ exceed the Corporation's current maximum hand size at the beginning of the Discard phase, he must discard down to his maximum hand size.
If the Corporation must discard more than one card from HQ, he chooses and discards cards from HQ one at a time until he is no longer above his current maximum hand size.
Cards discarded from HQ are always sent to Archives facedown, regardless of whether they have been previously accessed by the Runner.
After the Corporation completes his Discard phase, the Runner begins his turn.
The Runner's turn is divided into two phases, which he performs in the following order:
- Action Phase: The Runner has with which to perform actions.
- Discard Phase: The Runner discards down to his maximum hand size, if necessary.
In his Action phase, the Runner takes actions by spending . He can only take actions during his Action phase, and he must spend all four of his clicks during his Action phase.
The Runner can perform any of the following actions as many times as he likes, and in any combination, provided he can pay for them. These are listed in the format of “cost: effect.”
- : Draw one card from the stack.
- : Gain 1.
- : Install a program, resource, or piece of hardware.
- : Play an event.
- , 2: Remove one tag.
- : Make a run.
- Trigger a ability on an active card (cost varies).
Whenever the Runner spends clicks on one of these actions, he is considered to be taking an action and cannot take another action until the current action fully resolves.
When the Runner has spent all of his clicks, his Action phase ends and his Discard phase begins.
For , the Runner draws the top card from his stack and adds it to his grip.
For , the Runner takes 1 from the bank and adds it to his credit pool.
For , the Runner installs a single program, resource, or piece of hardware faceup in his rig. An installed Runner card is active and does not have to be rezzed like a Corporation card.
Note: The Runner's cards are always installed faceup and in a vertical orientation.
If the MU costs of the Runner's installed programs ever exceed his available MU, he must trash his installed programs until he is no longer exceeding his available MU.
The Runner can choose to trash any number of his installed programs at the beginning of an install program action.
There is no limit to the number of resources a Runner can have installed.
There is no limit to the amount of hardware a Runner can have installed.
Note: The Runner can only have one piece of hardware with the console subtype installed at a time, as listed in the text box of these cards.
For , the Runner plays an event from his hand by paying its play cost. He then places it faceup in his play area, immediately resolves the effects of the event, and trashes it.
For and 2, the Runner removes one of his tags.
For , the Runner initiates a run against the Corporation (see Runs) in order to steal the Corporation's agendas and trash his cards.
Some cards have abilities with trigger costs that require the Runner to spend one or more clicks. These abilities list the icon in their trigger cost, and the Runner can trigger these abilities only during his Action phase.
The Runner begins the game with a maximum hand size of five cards, but card effects can increase or decrease this limit (see Brain Damage). If the cards in the Runner's grip exceed his current maximum hand size at the beginning of the Discard phase, he must discard down to his maximum hand size.
If the Runner must discard more than one card from his grip, he chooses and discards cards from his grip one at a time until he is no longer above his current maximum hand size.
After the Runner completes his Discard phase, the Corporation begins his turn.
Runs are the heart of Android: Netrunner, and provide opportunities for the Runner to steal the Corporation's agendas and trash his cards. In a run, the Runner attacks one of the Corporation's servers in an attempt to access cards, using his installed programs to help him pass the Corporation's ice.
Because most runs pit the Runner's installed icebreaker programs against the Corporation's installed ice, it is vital that both players understand the functions and subtypes of the Corporation's ice and the Runner's icebreakers.
Ice is defensive software the Corporation installs in front of his servers to protect his valuable data. There are four main subtypes that can appear on a piece of ice: sentry, barrier, code gate, and trap. Ice also has separate abilities called subroutines.
Subroutines are abilities of a piece of ice marked by the symbol. If the Runner encounters a piece of rezzed ice and does not or cannot break its subroutines, the unbroken subroutines trigger and resolve one by one.
In addition to preventing the Runner's access to the Corporation's servers by ending his run, subroutines can pose other hazards if allowed to trigger, such as damaging the Runner or initiating trace attempts (see Traces and Tags).
Icebreakers are programs with the icebreaker subtype that the Runner can use to overcome ice encountered during a run. Each icebreaker has a strength, an install cost, and one or more subtypes that reflect which kind of ice subroutine it is designed to break.
The Runner uses icebreakers to interact with and break subroutines on ice. An icebreaker can only interact with ice that has equal or lower strength than the icebreaker.
In addition to this strength requirement, many icebreaker abilities can only be used to break subroutines on particular subtypes of ice. For example, an icebreaker that has the ability “1: Break barrier subroutine” can only use this ability to break subroutines on a piece of ice with the barrier subtype. It does not matter if the ice has additional subtypes, provided it has any subtypes referred to by the icebreaker's ability. If an ability does not restrict itself to a subtype (i.e., “Break ice subroutine”), it can be used against any piece of ice.
Many icebreakers allow the Runner to temporarily increase the icebreaker's strength by spending credits. This helps the Runner deal with stronger pieces of ice, provided he has enough credits to spend. This strength increase only lasts only while the current piece of ice is being encountered, unless otherwise noted by card abilities. After an encounter with a piece of ice, the icebreaker's strength returns to the value shown on its card. This applies to any other strength modifiers given by icebreakers as well.
Runs typically transpire in three phases. Not every run will include all of these phases. Players are encouraged to use the following text in combination with the “Timing Structure of a Run” diagram in order to fully understand the intricacies of runs.
- Initiation Phase
- Confrontation Phase
- Access Phase
To initiate a run, the Runner declares the server that he is attacking. The Runner can only initiate a run against a single server per run action.
After the Runner declares the server he is attacking, he gains 1 to spend during the run for each point of bad publicity the Corporation has. Then, both players check to see if there is ice protecting the attacked server.
If there is ice protecting the server, the run proceeds to the Confrontation phase.
If there is no ice protecting the server, the run proceeds to the Access phase.
The Confrontation phase consists of approaching a piece of ice and then potentially encountering that ice. A Runner approaches each piece of ice protecting the server one at a time, starting with the outermost piece. The Runner must pass each piece of ice in order to approach the next piece of ice protecting the server, continuing until all pieces of ice have been passed or until the run ends.
If the Runner passes all pieces of ice protecting the attacked server, the run proceeds to the Access phase.
When the Runner approaches a piece of ice, he must first decide whether he wishes to continue the run or jack out. If he decides to jack out, he ends his run and the run is considered unsuccessful. The Runner cannot jack out while approaching the first piece of ice during a run.
If the Runner decides to continue instead of jacking out, the Corporation has the opportunity to rez the approached piece of ice and any other non-ice cards.
Note: The Corporation can only rez ice when it is approached.
If the approached piece of ice is rezzed after the Corporation has the opportunity to rez cards, then the Runner encounters it.
If after rezzing cards the approached piece of ice is not rezzed, then the Runner passes it. He then continues the run by either approaching the next piece of ice protecting the server or proceeding to the Access phase if there is no more ice to approach.
When the Runner encounters a piece of ice, he has the opportunity to break any subroutines on that piece of ice. After the Runner finishes breaking any subroutines that he wishes to break, each unbroken subroutine on that ice triggers in the order as listed on the card. If a subroutine ends the run, then the run ends immediately and no further subroutines on that piece of ice trigger.
Note: Breaking all subroutines on a piece of ice does not mean the ice is trashed. A passed piece of ice remains installed and is approached during every subsequent run against the server it protects.
After the Runner breaks all of the ice's subroutines and/or any effects from unbroken subroutines resolve without ending the run, he has passed that piece of ice. He then continues the run by either approaching the next piece of ice protecting the server or proceeding to the Access phase if there is no more ice to approach.
After the Runner has passed all of the ice protecting the attacked server, he has one final opportunity to jack out. If he chooses to continue, the Corporation has one final opportunity to rez cards. After rezzing cards, the run is considered to be successful and the Runner accesses the Corporation's cards by looking at them. The type of server attacked determines the degree and method of access, and the Runner must access cards according to the following rules:
- R&D: The Runner accesses the top card of R&D, and any upgrades in its root. Unless the Runner scores, trashes, or is forced by a card's text to reveal the card, he does not show cards accessed from R&D to the Corporation.
- HQ: The Runner accesses one random card from HQ and any upgrades in its root. Any cards the Runner does not score or trash return to HQ.
- Archives: The Runner accesses all cards in Archives and any upgrades in its root. The Runner turns all cards faceup when accessing them, and does not need to keep them in order. The Runner steals all agendas in Archives and cannot trash cards that are already in Archives. After accessing Archives, all cards in Archives return to Archives faceup.
- Remote Server: The Runner accesses all cards in the server. Note: Installed ice is not in a server and is never accessed.
If the Runner accesses an agenda, he steals it and places it faceup in his score area, resolving any conditional abilities on the agenda that use the language “When you steal.” While an agenda is in the Runner's score area, it adds its agenda points to his score. The Runner cannot decline to steal agendas he accesses.
If the Runner accesses a card with a trash cost, he may pay credits equal to its trash cost in order to trash it to Archives faceup.
When accessing multiple cards, the Runner accesses them one at a time in any order he likes. For example, the Runner may access a card from HQ, then an upgrade installed in the root of HQ, and then another card from HQ, if he has the ability to do so.
When accessing multiple cards from R&D, the Runner must draw them in order from the top of the deck, and must return any cards not scored or trashed in reverse order, so as to preserve their positions in R&D.
The Runner must fully resolve his access to a card (steal it, pay to trash it, etc.) before accessing the next card. If the Runner scores an agenda that gives him seven or more points, he immediately wins the game, even if he would otherwise access more cards.
After the Runner has accessed all required cards, he returns any cards not stolen or trashed to their original play states. For example, an unrezzed card in a remote server returns facedown to that server, and a card accessed from HQ returns to HQ.
After a Runner finishes accessing cards, the run ends. The Runner returns any unspent bad publicity credits to the token bank, and the Runner resumes his Action phase.
Though the Corporation spends much of the game repelling the Runner's intrusions, traces and tags give the Corporation opportunities to attack the Runner.
Some card abilities initiate a trace on the Runner. Traces are marked by the language “TraceX” on a card, with X equaling the base trace strength of the trace. Traces pit the Corporation's trace strength against the Runner's link strength, both of which are increased by spending credits.
The Corporation acts first during a trace, openly spending any number of credits to increase his trace strength by one point for each credit he spends. There is no limit to the number of credits the Corporation can spend on the trace.
After the Corporation spends his credits, the Runner has the opportunity to openly spend credits to increase his link strength. The Runner's base link strength is equal to the number of links () he has in play. The Runner increases his link strength by one point for each credit he spends. There is no limit to the number of credits the Runner can spend on the trace.
After the Runner finishes increasing his link strength, it is compared to the Corporation's trace strength. If the trace strength exceeds the link strength, the trace is successful and any “If successful” effects associated with the trace are resolved. If the link strength is equal to or greater than the trace strength, then the trace is unsuccessful, and any “If unsuccessful” effects associated with the trace are resolved.
Certain card effects result in a tag being placed on the Runner. As long as the Runner has at least one tag, he is considered to be tagged. While the Runner is tagged, the Corporation may, as an action, spend and 2 to trash one of the Runner's resources. Certain card effects can also trigger off of the Runner being tagged, and it is usually dangerous for the Runner to remain tagged for very long.
While tagged, the Runner may, as an action, spend and 2 to remove the tag, returning it to the token bank. The Runner can repeat this action as many times he likes, provided he has the clicks and credits to pay its cost, and as long as he has a tag to remove.
Many cards and ice subroutines inflict damage on the Runner. The Runner can receive the following three types of damage:
- Meat damage: The Runner randomly trashes one card from his grip for each point of meat damage done to him.
- Net damage: The Runner randomly trashes one card from his grip for each point of net damage done to him.
- Brain damage: The Runner randomly trashes one card from his grip for each point of brain damage done to him, and his maximum hand size is permanently reduced by one card. The Runner takes a brain damage token to track this.
Note: The only differences between net and meat damage are the cards that inflict and prevent them.
When the Runner trashes multiple cards for damage, the cards are placed in his heap in the order they were randomly trashed.
If the Runner takes more damage than the number of cards in his grip, or if he has a maximum hand size of less than zero at the end of his turn, then he is flatlined and the Corporation wins the game.
If at any time a player has seven agenda points in his score area, he immediately wins the game.
If R&D contains no cards and the Corporation attempts to draw a card, the Runner immediately wins the game.
If the Runner is flatlined (see Damage above), the Corporation wins the game.
The following sections describe additional important rules and information not addressed in the previous sections.
There are two different types of card abilities in Android: Netrunner: constant abilities and triggered abilities. The following information explains how these abilities function in the game.
Constant abilities continually affect the game as long as the card they appear on is active and any other specified conditions are met. They are not triggered and do not have costs associated with them. An example of a constant ability is the card Experiential Data, which reads, “All ice protecting this server has +1 strength.”
In order to use a triggered ability a prerequisite must be met. This prerequisite is either a trigger cost that must be paid (paid ability) or a trigger condition that must be met (conditional ability). Once an ability is triggered, its effect is resolved immediately and can only be stopped by prevent or avoid effects. Players must follow all restrictions on the cards when triggering abilities.
If a conditional ability uses the word “may” in its description, it is an optional conditional ability. The decision to trigger the ability belongs to the player who controls the card, provided the ability's trigger condition is met. If a conditional ability does not use the word “may” in its description, it is a required conditional ability. It must be triggered when its trigger condition is met, although the exact time of resolution may vary (see Simultaneous Effects).
Note: Ice subroutines are required conditional abilities that can be broken, in which case they do not resolve.
There are several other terms and concepts that players should know when resolving abilities.
Whenever there is an opportunity to trigger paid abilities, rez cards and/or score agendas (usually at the beginning of a turn and after each action), the player who is currently taking his turn gets the first opportunity to act. He can trigger as many abilities, rez as many cards, and/or score as many agendas as he wishes in the order of his choosing. When he is finished, the other player gets the opportunity to act. When that player is finished, the first player gets the opportunity to act once again.
After both players have had at least one opportunity to act and a player declines to act, then the players cannot trigger more abilities, rez more cards, or score more agendas until the next opportunity to do so.
For more information on the intricacies of triggering card abilities, rezzing cards, and scoring agendas, consult the timing diagrams on pages 32-33.
Some card abilities use the words “prevent” or “avoid.” Prevent or avoid effects are the only effects which can disrupt another effect. A prevent or avoid effect states what it is preventing or avoiding, and an effect that is prevented or avoided is not resolved. Prevent or avoid effects can be triggered whenever the effect they are preventing or avoiding is resolving.
Unless otherwise noted, a card with text that refers to its own card title only refers to itself and does not refer to other copies of cards with that title.
If an effect prohibits a player from doing something, usually by using the word “cannot,” it always takes precedence over other effects unless another effect explicitly overrides it.
When trashing a card as part of a trigger cost for its own paid ability (), the effect on that card will resolve even though the card is no longer active.
Some effects expose one or more cards. Generally, only unrezzed installed cards can be exposed, unless an ability specifies otherwise. An exposed card is revealed to all players, and then returned to its previous state. If multiple cards are exposed by one effect, they are considered to be exposed simultaneously.
When one or more abilities have the same timing trigger or can be triggered at the same time, each player chooses the order his own abilities trigger. A player can trigger an optional conditional ability before a required conditional ability if they both have the same trigger condition.
If players ever want to perform simultaneous effects at the same time, the player whose turn it is resolves all of his effects first.
“Hosting” is the result of placing a card, counter, or token on top of a card, creating a relationship between the host card and what is hosted. If a card allows other cards to be hosted on it, those cards must be hosted on the card when they are installed, unless a card says otherwise.
Hosted counters or tokens can be spent without affecting their host. If a trigger cost requires one or more hosted counters or tokens, those counters or tokens are “spent” by being returned to the token bank from the card the ability appears on.
If a host is trashed, all cards, counters, and tokens hosted on it are also trashed. This cannot be prevented.
The state of hosting is distinct (but not exclusive from) the state of installing. Most cards are hosted on another card when they are installed. If a card is hosted but not installed, the card is inactive.
Some card abilities require the Corporation or Runner to forfeit an agenda. When a player forfeits an agenda, he selects any agenda in his score area and permanently removes it from the game (it does not go to Archives or the heap). He no longer scores points for the forfeited agenda.
The following symbols appear on cards:
: This symbol stands for credit. It always appears with a numeral, such as 1, which means “one credit,” or 3, which means “three credits.”
: This symbol stands for a single click. Multiple clicks are represented by multiple symbols, such as , which means “two clicks.”
: This symbol stands for recurring credit. It always appears with a numeral, such as 1, which means “one recurring credit,” or 3, which means “three recurring credits.” Any recurring credits a player spends are replaced on their host card at the beginning of that player's turn. A player can only spend these credits as instructed by their host card.
: This symbol stands for link. It is always used with a quantity, such as +1, which means “plus 1 link.”
: This symbol stands for memory unit. It always appears with a quantity, such as +2 which means “plus 2 memory units.”
: This symbol stands for subroutine and only appears on ice. Each symbol marks a single subroutine on a piece of ice.
: This symbol stands for trash. It is used as a self-referential trigger cost in a card text, such as “: Draw 2 cards,” which means “trash this card to draw 2 cards.”
In a Living Card Game, players can customize their decks by adding and removing cards, creating a unique play experience.
Deckbuilding is a great way to experience the game in a completely new way. Instead of adapting to the game, you can force the game to adapt to you. Deckbuilding opens up new strategies, new experiences, and ultimately can lead to more exciting games where you feel more invested. When you deckbuild, you do not just participate in the game; you actively shape how the game is played.
When first building a deck, it is usually a good idea to modify one of the starter decks rather than start from scratch. After playing Android: Netrunner a few times with different decks, you should have a general idea of what the various cards do. Pick your favorite faction, and then modify that faction's starter deck by switching out some cards for cards from other factions. In most cases you will want to build a deck at the minimum deck size, as it makes your deck more efficient. Don't worry about building the perfect deck–enjoy the process and try out cards that are appealing to you and seem fun to play with.
When building a deck from scratch, it is generally helpful to sort your cards by faction. Once you have sorted the factions, choose one and separate those cards by card type. You will want to make sure you have a good mix of card types in your deck. Adding cards from a second core set greatly increases the number of options you will have.
One thing to consider when building a deck in Android: Netrunner is how to spend your influence. It is a good idea to use as much of it as possible, since there are many powerful cards in other factions. If you aren't sure what to add, look for broadly applicable cards like icebreakers or ice. For the Corporation, a surprise rez of an out-of-faction ice can be an important turning point in the game!
Another thing the Corporation should consider is how much ice you have in your deck. You will want to make sure you put in enough to stop the Runner. We recommend building about 17-20 pieces of ice into a 45-49 card deck. Also make sure you have enough ways to generate credits quicker than the regular “ for 1” action. Having a strong economy will give you plenty of credits to spend and put a lot of pressure on your opponent.
Once you've built your deck, it is time to play some games! This is where you will begin to understand whether or not your deck is working. Do you have enough resources? Is your ice too expensive? Are you drawing your icebreakers fast enough? Figure out what the weak points of your deck are, and try switching out some cards. Looking through your cards again, you may even have another idea for a different deck!
When building a deck for organized play, players must observe the following restrictions:
- A deck must be associated with a single identity card, and cannot contain fewer cards than the minimum deck size value listed on the chosen identity card. There is no maximum deck size, but the deck must be able to be sufficiently randomized in a short period of time. Identity cards, reference cards, and click tracker cards are never counted as part of a deck and do not count against the minimum deck size.
- A deck cannot have more than three copies of a single card (by title) in it.
- A deck associated with a Runner identity can never contain Corporation cards, and vice versa.
- A deck cannot contain out-of-faction cards with a total influence value that exceeds the influence limit listed on the chosen identity card (see Influence below). Cards that match the faction of the identity card do not count against this limit.
- A Corporation deck must have a specific number of agenda points in it based on the size of the deck, as follows:
- 40 to 44 cards requires 18 or 19 agenda points. (Note: Identities in this set have a 45 card minimum)
- 45 to 49 cards requires 20 or 21 agenda points.
- 50 to 54 cards requires 22 or 23 agenda points.
For decks larger than this, add 2 additional agenda points to the 54 card deck requirements each time the number of cards in the deck reaches a multiple of 5 (55, 60, 65, etc.).
For example, a 66 card deck requires 6 additional agenda points (2 at 55, 2 at 60, and 2 at 65 cards). This gives a final requirement of either 28 or 29 agenda points.
A player may wish to include cards in his deck that do not match the faction of his identity card. He is restricted, however, by the influence limit on his identity card. The combined influence value of out-of-faction cards in his deck cannot exceed this limit. Each card's influence value is represented by small blue orbs near the bottom of the card.
Neutral cards are not part of any faction, can be used in any deck of the side they are affiliated with, and generally have an influence value of zero.
Note: Some cards do not have any influence value (this is different than a card that has an influence value of zero). These cards are identified by their lack of an influence box. A card without an influence value cannot be used with an identity card that has a different faction affiliation.
Accessing: The act of a Runner looking at a Corporation card as part of a successful run, which he can then trash or steal.
Action: What a player performs on his turn whenever he spends one or more clicks.
Active: A state in which a card's effects and abilities are able to be used and affect the game.
Advancing: The act of putting one advancement token on a card that can be advanced. Agendas can always be advanced.
Advancement Requirement: The number of advancement tokens that must be on an agenda before the Corporation can score it.
Agenda: A Corporation card type that is installed in remote servers and is worth agenda points.
Agenda Counter: A counter used to track various effects on agenda cards.
Agenda Points: A value on agenda cards. This value is how many points an agenda is worth while it is in a score area.
Anarch: One of the three Runner factions available to a player in Android: Netrunner.
Approach: The step of a run in which the Runner makes contact with a piece of ice and decides whether or not to continue the run.
Archives: The Corporation's trash pile. A central server.
Asset: A Corporation card type which is installed in his remote servers and grants him various benefits.
Avoid effect: An effect that stops another effect from resolving.
Barrier: One of the four subtypes of ice which the Corporation can use to defend his servers.
Click (): The basic unit of work in Android: Netrunner. Players spend their clicks to perform actions and trigger abilities.
Code gate: One of the four subtypes of ice that the Corporation can use to defend his servers.
Constant Ability: An ability that continually affects the game provided its card is active.
Corporation: One of the two sides available to the player in Android: Netrunner; the opponent of the Runner. Referred to as “the Corp” on card text.
Credit (): The basic unit of wealth in Android: Netrunner.
Credit, Recurring (): A credit that, when spent, returns to its host card at the start of that player's next turn. A player can only spend recurring credits as instructed by their host.
Credit bank: The supply of credits not yet in play.
Credit pool: The supply of credits currently available to a player for spending.
Criminal: One of the three Runner factions available to a player in Android: Netrunner.
Damage, Brain: A unit of damage that requires the Runner to trash one card from his grip at random, and reduces his maximum hand size by one card.
Damage, Meat or Net: A unit of damage that requires the Runner to trash one card from his grip at random.
Derez: The act of flipping a rezzed card facedown, inactive.
Discard: The act by which a player moves a card to his trash pile at the end of his turn if he has exceeded his maximum hand size.
Effect: The resolution of a card ability.
Event: A single-use card type that is played by the Runner during his turn and is trashed when its effects are resolved.
Expose: The act of revealing a card to all players. Only unrezzed installed cards can be exposed unless otherwise noted. An exposed card returns to its previous state after being exposed.
Flatline: A condition that results from the Runner being forced to trash more cards than he has in his grip, or from having a maximum hand size that is below zero at the end of his turn, and which causes the Runner to immediately lose the game.
Grip: The Runner's hand of cards.
Hardware: A Runner card type which is installed in the Runner's play area and grants him various abilities.
Haas-Bioroid: One of the four Corporation factions available to a player in Android: Netrunner.
Heap: The Runner's trash pile.
Host: A card that is currently holding other cards or counters.
Headquarters (HQ): The Corporation's hand of cards. A central sever.
Ice: A Corporation card type which protects his servers from the Runner.
Icebreaker: A program subtype which enables the Runner to break ice.
Inactive: A state in which a card's effects and abilities are ignored.
Influence: A value that appears on certain cards which is used in deckbuilding. Influence restricts the number of out-of-faction cards in a deck.
Install: The act of placing an agenda, asset, ice, upgrade, hardware, program or resource card onto the table. The Runner installs cards in his rig, the Corporation in his servers.
Install cost: The cost which must be paid in order for a card to be installed.
Jack out: The process by which a Runner voluntarily ends his own run.
Jinteki: One of the four Corporation factions available to a player in Android: Netrunner.
Link (): A value that increases the Runner's link strength during a trace.
Link strength: The Runner's total strength during a trace; the sum of his links and the amount of credits the Runner spends on the trace.
Maximum Hand Size: The maximum number of cards a player can have in his hand during his discard phase.
Memory Unit (MU): A unit of space available to the Runner to install programs. The Runner begins the game with four memory units.
Mulligan: The act of drawing a new hand at the start of the game. Each player gets one mulligan per game.
NBN: One of the four Corporation factions available to a player in Android: Netrunner.
Operation: A single-use card type that is played by the Corporation during his turn and is trashed when its effects are resolved.
Power Counter: A counter used to track various effects on cards.
Program: A Runner card type that is installed and grants him various abilities.
Prevent effect: An effect that stops another effect from resolving.
Research and Development (R&D): The Corporation's draw deck. A central server.
Resource: A Runner card type that is installed and grants the Runner various benefits.
Rez: The process by which the Corporation reveals his installed cards and allows them to take effect; once rezzed, a card is turned faceup.
Rez cost: The credits that the Corporation must pay in order to rez a card.
Root: The portion of the central server where the Corporation installs upgrades.
Runner: One of the two sides available to the player in Android: Netrunner; the opponent of the Corporation.
Score (noun): The number of agenda points a player has on agendas in his score area.
Score (verb): The act of the Corporation turning an installed agenda faceup and adding it to his score area. An agenda must have at least as many advancement tokens on it as its advancement requirement to be scored.
Score Area: A place where each player places his scored or stolen agendas.
Sentry: One of the four subtypes of ice which the Corporation uses to defend his servers.
Server, Central: A type of server which includes R&D, HQ, and Archives.
Server, Remote: A server built by the Corporation. Assets and agendas can only be installed in remote servers.
Shaper: One of the three Runner factions available to a player in Android: Netrunner.
Stack: The Runner's draw deck.
Steal: The act of the Runner adding an accessed agenda to his score area.
Strength: An attribute of programs and ice.
Subroutine (): An ability of a piece of ice which interferes with the Runner if allowed to trigger during a run.
Subtype: A card descriptor.
Tag: An effect that, when acquired by the Runner, can allow the Corporation to trash the Runner's resources.
Tagged: A state which describes a Runner when he has one or more tags.
Trace: An attempt by the Corporation to tag or damage the Runner.
Trace Strength: The Corporation's total strength during a trace; the sum of the base trace strength on the card initiating the trace and the amount of credits the Corporation spends on the trace.
Trap: One of the four subtypes of ice which the Corporation can use to defend his servers.
Trash: The act of moving a card to its owner's trash pile.
Triggered Ability: An ability that has a prerequisite that must be met or paid before it is used.
Upgrade: A Corporation card type that is installed in any server and grants the Corporation various abilities.
Virus Counter: A counter used to track various effects on virus cards.
Weyland Consortium: One of the four Corporation factions available to a player in Android: Netrunner.
Original Game Design: Richard Garfield
Game Development: Lukas Litzsinger
IP Development: Daniel Lovat Clark
Rules Text: David Hansen, Michael Hurley, and Lukas Litzsinger
Editing: David Hansen and Lukas Litzsinger
Graphic Design: Michael Silsby with Chris Beck, Shaun Boyke, Dallas Mehlhoff, Andrew Navaro, and Evan Simonet
Cover Art: Imaginary FS Pte Ltd
Art Direction: Zoë Robinson
Managing Art Director: Andrew Navaro
Licensing Coordinator: Deb Beck
Producer: Lukas Litzsinger
Production Manager: Eric Knight
Executive Game Designer: Corey Konieczka
Executive Game Producer: Michael Hurley
Publisher: Christian T. Petersen
Android Universe created by Kevin Wilson with Daniel Lovat Clark
Playtesters: Patrick John Haggerty, Brent Bartlett, Patrick Burroughs, Chris Long, Mendel Schmiedekamp, Brian Olmstead, Christopher “Tarnis Phoenix” Seefeld, WiL Springer, Mike Linnemann, Bryan Bornmueller, Maximum Deb, Joshua B. Grace, Andrew Fischer, Erik Dahlman, Nate French, Damon “Stormaggedon Dark Lord of All” Stone, Francesco Moggia, Andrew Baussan, Brad Andres, Nathan LeSueur, Kalar Komarec, Andy Christensen, “Lovey the Snake,” Joseph Houff, Patrick Burroughs, John Laughlin, Brent Bartlett, Jon Waddington, Maya Waddington, Aiden Tanner, Chad Tanner, Becky Zamborsky, Steve Zamborsky, Kevin Ancell, Jimmie Hardin, jeremy barrett, James Abele, Michael Hurley, Michael Silsby, Julia Lewandowski, Mat Nowak, Josh Bailey, Johnny Anderson, Engoduun, Noshrok Grimskull, Emmanuel “Playful_EE” Estournet, Wormhole Surfer aka Ludovic Schmidt, JudgeWhyMe, The_Little_Bug, Hugo “Ophidian Lord,” Will “Kennon” Lentz, Richard A. Edwards, William Edwards, Kathy Bishop, Eric Damron, Joe Becker, “The Shadow,” and Nick Jordan.
Wizards of the Coast Licensing Approvals Team
Senior Creative Director: Jon Schindehette
Editorial Review: Jennifer Wilkes Clark
Associate Brand Manager: Hilary Ross
Netrunner is a TM of R. Talsorian Games, Inc. Android is TM & © 2012 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Netrunner is licensed by Wizards of the Coast LLC. © 2012 Wizards. Wizards of the Coast and its logo are property of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. Android, Fantasy Flight Games, Fantasy Flight Supply, and the FFG logo are trademarks of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Living Card Game, LCG, and the LCG logo are registered trademarks of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.