Agenda: Security • Adv: 4 • Score: 2

When you score Project Ares, the Runner trashes 1 of his or her installed cards for each advancement token on Project Ares over 4. If the Runner trashes at least 1 card, take 1 bad publicity.

Who wants to start a war?
Haas-Bioroid • Emilio Rodriguez • Opening Moves 10
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Project Ares
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Reviews

Project Ares is usually quite bad. As tiedyedvortex explains, a blank 4/2 is absolutely terrible given lots of other options, a 5/2 with 1 trash effect is still very bad, and Mandatory Upgrades is better as a 6/2. It starts becoming playable if you expect to take it up to at least 8, though.

Generally that means traps and Mandatory Upgrades in the deck as well. HB has two great advanceable ambushes in faction, and can easily import a third if it wants. The key is that these agendas are worth a mere 2 points when stolen, but when scored for ridiculous values they have a massive impact on the board state. That asymmetry is the reason to play them. You can expand this by also including Project Vitruvius as another over-advance target. Your deck could easily include 9 overadvance agendas and 9 ambushes. Project Ares means that when you take it to 8 counters and pass the turn, they consider the possibility of losing the game from flatline, or losing their rig. And in a deck built on ambushes, the single bad publicity pales in comparison to wiping their rig. The real cost here is having the resources and patience to advance it that many times, and the deck's commitment to a particular style of play.

Compare it to Government Takeover and Vanity Project, where the gain from the steal is basically the same as the gain from the score. You're risking a lot more by putting them out there. Granted, Project Beale would be amazing if overadvanced to 11 (then worth a full 6 points), but its the only agenda available to the faction to overadvance, and it only has Ghost Branch as a native advanceable trap.

So, no, I don't think it's the worst agenda in the game. It's just very niche, with only a very specific deck type that can pull it off.

(Democracy and Dogma era)
291

This is, in my opinion, the worst agenda in the game.

Firstly, it's a 4/2, in a faction with two 3/2s (Accelerated Beta Test and Project Vitruvius). If you aren't planning on over-scoring Ares, then it's a blank 4/2, which makes it strictly inferior to Project Vitruvius, or another in-faction 4/2, Efficiency Committee, which at least gives you 3 extra clicks.

So you would have to over-score it to make it worthwhile. It's not too difficult to overadvance it by one: you're effectively scoring a 5-advance agenda and getting one less point, which is justifiable if you are getting enough value.

But if you only over-score by one, then the result is simply "The runner trashes 1 of his or her installed cards and you take one bad publicity". That's a terrible deal. Consider this: one of the best runner cards in the game is Desperado, because it gives you a credit after every successful run. A bad publicity gives you a free credit before every run, whether or not it is successful, meaning that a bad publicity is more valuable than the best console in the game and the runner would gladly make that trade. Especially since you are never going to hit their Desperado--it's the runner's choice, so they're just going to trash a spare Clone Chip or Datasucker or Symmetrical Visage or something else they don't really need and can easily replace.

So scoring Project Ares as a 4/2 is bad, and scoring it as a 5/2 is actively worse. But, you only ever take one bad publicity: maybe it could be efficient if you go for 6 advancements?

But again, if you're going to try to score an agenda for 6 points, you could score a Mandatory Upgrades or a Vanity Project. Scoring a 4-point agenda, or getting an extra click every turn, is vastly superior to telling the runner to trash two cards and taking a bad publicity. So Ares is still bad with 6 credits.

Let's take it up to 11--eleven advancements, that is, give or take. If you can pull it off, you can utterly destroy the runner's entire rig. With no breakers and no economy, you are basically assured victory. This is the optimal play for this card, giving you the best return for that bad publicity.

But even at it's best, Ares falls short of other agendas. Any technique to score something with 9 points or more could be better applied to Government Takeover or Project Beale, likely winning you the game outright.

The fact is, this is simply not a good card. And I don't foresee that ever changing.

(Data and Destiny era)
I agree that it's not a great card; it's fun though. —
I do think there is one use case for this card. Custom Biotics, Midseasons, Psychographics. Haas $$$. —