(Core Set Perspective!)

Oh hi, didn't see you there. New to HB, aren't you? Let's take a walk.

You know, when people start here at EtF, they often ask us the same things - 'Why the robots?', 'What do we do, exactly?', and 'Did that woman with the drinks just look at me funny?'?'. To that last point, no she absolutely did not. Stop worrying, calm down and relax in the pool later or something. To the other points I will answer you with this - we manage time. The old saying goes, 'time is money'. No, 'money is time', and here at EtF we make one so that we can properly harness the other. We do this by ensuring that the financial capital we need is generated by our most simple daily tasks. Start a new project? Capital. Improve our defenses? Capital. Nearly everything you do will contribute to our efforts as a whole, and you will find that the funds you may have needed to finish a project will have been saved ahead of time by simple, regular work.

Imagine, if you will, a new line of physically appealing manpanions are scheduled for release. Money is tight. Time is tight. In a different branch you might have to decide between making the deadline (but leaving them vulnerable to vandalism), or delaying their release for the sake of ensuring company secrets are protected. Not with us. With us, you can install those defenses and use the money gained from that to release them on schedule. Perhaps you're a little short on scratch for your next (ahem) financial side project? Normally you would have to slow things down to get in a position to benefit from such things. With us it doesn't matter. Keep doing what you do, and you'll find the means to make money are available far more often (more than you would think) without distraction.

That is Engineering the Future, combining time with money into a single, self-perpetuating unit, so that when that challenging future does come (and it will always come), you'll find it arrives crafted to the exact form you had envisioned. Understand? Now, go forth young Haasling. Go, manage your time efficiently, and hopefully don't screw things up for all of us by getting greedy and squishing it into a horrible mess you can't clean up. Don't worry too much though. If you do screw up, the pool is always open to relax...

Long-winded fan-fiction aside for a moment: this is like Desperado for a Corp player and in my opinion, just as (if not more) impactful. While the console will reward you for every successful run, it's contigent on you:

A) Finding it (only one in the Core Set)

B) Installing it

C) Running successfully

EtF will only give you the 1 once a turn, but is available from the start, requires no upfront investment, and will in most cases remain a guaranteed nudge to your credit balance until the end of the game. One other way of looking at its benefits - it essentially lets you install a second layer of ICE for free.

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(Core set only perspective)

In a faction that is already quite flush under normal circumstances, this gives Gabe yet another way to make piles of money and then feel smug as he uses better breakers from Anarch. But is also has another benefit I didn't appreciate at first - threat. First things first...

Mad Dollar, you say?

In a game where making 3 or 4 is generally a damned fine deal, the net 7 you can gain from this is huge. Just to put the amount of money into perspective, this card will give you:

The same as a Hostile Takeover without any recurring penalty.

The same as a Melange Mining Corp. for only 1 click.

Only 2 less than Stimhack, without the brain damage.

3 more than the universally cherished Sure Gamble, with a much lower cost to entry.

Now for that second benefit...

Exposed assets, you say?

When a game is close, the Corp. and runner don't have that many credits between them. This can make every run count, and therefore can make trashing Corp. assets Iike PADs and sexy manbots a tough call, because you might leave yourself unequipped for stealing agendas when they inevitably appear. As a result the Corp. will sometimes feel confident enough to leave them out in the open, smug and convinced you don't have the clout to tackle both.

'We'll see about that', you think, and install this as you loosen the cuffs on your tux. Suddenly those exposed assets have just given the runner one of the best economic boosts in the Core Set. Considering their rez costs, net 7 is 8 turns' worth of PAD Campaign, 3 turns' worth of Adonis, and the best part is you can then run again and trash them far more comfortably, with the same money they've just given you. 'Bet you wish you'd protected them now, eh buddy?' You'll then think, and then they will, if only to lessen the sheer number of Benjamins you'll be scooping for their arrogance otherwise.

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Instead of taking all 8 credits from this bank vault, take just 7. Remaining 1 sell to Aesop for 3, because the only thing better than loads of cash is even more cash. And love, but there are no combos for love. —
Oo nice idea! Only thing about Aesop in the Core Set is there's only one of him. These were in his early-closing days obviously. —
You could always keep this BJ *cough* with one credit on your table, until Aesop opens again. These gold wirstwatches you snatched from bank patrons are not going anywhere, because who'd pay 2 creds and a click to deprive you of them? —
In most cases this is going to cost you two clicks to gain 7 credits, not one click. It costs a click to install, and another to make the run, and if you aren't benefiting from other successful run triggers, it's certainly part of the cost. Also, many decks are able to play around it, either by not installing remotes, defending their remotes, or putting cards in remotes naked that can be trashed before the run is successful, destroying the server (IE: Jackson Howard). That said, good card is good. —

(Core Set Perspective)

First important message to all new players: this card is very good. Yes, one brain damage is a high price tag, and yes that does suggest that you definitely shouldn't be foolish with it, but you must also not be too shy to use it when an opportunity presents itself. Within the Core Set it's one of your best ways to threaten the corporation; nothing else gives you this much money upfront this quickly.

I've got to that point now where I think Stimhack is great, so I want to write this down before I forget the feeling of it being terrible. Because this card is frightening when you start. It oozes a sense of venom and self-harm. 9 temporary credits in exchange for losing both a card and your maximum hand size seems crazy.

'Who would use this?' you may think, and for your first few games you'll probably hold it in your hand when it comes up and go,

'Uh, yeah...hi. You look very...juiced. I'm going to just going toooo...put you in this heap heeere. No no, I'm fine without the brain damaging stims thanks. Yes, I know it's a lot of money, but money isn't everything right? Ha hahh...Yeah mmmkay, bye...'

And you play your third Armitage Codebusting instead and tap for precious life monies, feeling good about yourself that you made the right choice and said no to drugs. And, sure, that's a perfectly reasonable response. Then over time another voice will chime in, an angry, dissapointed voice. And it will say,

'Sure it's reasonable...if you're LAME! You're an Anarch, damn it! Why are you pussy-footing around worrying about things like 'money' and 'brains'? You know what else cares about brains? Zombies. Are you a zombie? You look like a zombie...I can almost hear the corporate buzzing.'

(Don't think zombies have wings actually Gus)

'Shut up! I know a corporate bug-zombie when I see one. Whatever, you might as well be. Thanks to you being a massive wuss, the Corporations won. Their plans all went through, but oh goodo, you're fine. The world is now f*cked, but at least you have your brain right? Better enjoy it, because there'll be a bullet in it soon now that nothing can stop them. Know what? You might just be the most selfish assh@le I've ever met. Better a little braindead than all dead brain!' and then he probably passes out.

Nevertheless, inspired by this you bite the metaphorical bullet and put worries about personal safety aside. You stim up, plug in and run, and you do it, you save the day. Becuase you were willing to take risks, you've just thwarted the Corporations evil plans to...request something in a hurry or speed up the Q&A process...ah, who cares. Points are points right?

To sum up, with one of these in hand you can burst through most of even the steepest ICE match ups. Its presence alone can influence a corp player and make their decisions for them. Whatever your target might be, they need to keep in mind that they will at some point need more protection for it than they expect. And the fun thing is this target server could be anywhere, because the boost it gives you is univeral, good for any breaker and any program requring credits. You know where an Account Siphon or Maker's Eye will hit you, you don't know where a Stimhack will. It can turn a seemingly suicidal 'hail mary' run on an impenetrable server into a glorious victory, snatching the winning agenda from right under the corps nose, and suddenly they're not so smug, because you've just won the game. And if you win the game, you won't even care about the brain damage.

'Good job, kid.' that angry Anarch will then grunt, 'You saved just saved the world.'

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Great review! I think it is worth mentioning that in the Core Set, Anarchs can make very limited use of this card without splashing breakers from other factions since 2/3 of theirs are no boostable (no I'm not counting Wyrm). At one influence, this card really shines in Shaper and (especially core) Criminal, since their breakers are usually a lot less efficient, but can be boosted. Also worth mentioning that you can use the credits for trashing cards, not just getting in a server. —
Having had the chance to play a lot more recently, I absolutely agree! A fairly basic Core Kate running Gordians and Ninjas benefits hugely from this, and feels like an excellent alternative to running the full Anarch suite. —

(Core Set Perspective)

Legends speak of a dragon that lived in the early net. Like all dragons, this one seemed fierce, deadly and without mercy. But this was not true. Behind her ferocious exterior was in fact a pained heart, for although she seemed to be the terrifying incarnation of death itself, all she really wanted was to care and nurture. She wanted to feed and nourish her many children, and give them strength when they were too weak to have it themselves. So strong was this wish that after years of anguished internet swimming, she roared her desperate plea into the void - and something answered. What answered? Not sure. But whatever 'It' was came forth and offered her a deal:

"Ah, Wyrm..." It said, "Is Wyrm ok?...Not too informal? Ok, good. Found it's always polite to ask. Anyway, you want to make some little green serpents of your own, right? Well, I can't make them for you, but it just so happens there is a little clutch of green squigglies just waiting for the care of someone like you. See, they love ICE. Big ICE, small ICE, puzzling ICE, nasty ICE; all kinds really, they're not fussy. Now, the little ones they can handle by themselves no problem, but the big ones...Oh, the big ones. You've seen them haven't you, in the distance? Such majestic, terrifying (probably delicious) creations they are. How your little squirmypoos would love to chew on a Golden Ring or Giant Wallbird, but too often they just respond with their high strength by going,

"DONG!" or "Caw! F*ck off." and they can never reach it before some evil human purges the little critters back to being helpless. So sad ='( They'll never get them by themselves, but you...With your amazing ability to extend and retract (for 1 a time), you can go up to the big ICE, grab it by the throat (or whatever a golden ring has), and bring it back down to your little babies, so they can eat it instantly. Imagine the possibilities if you carved out a little place to call home as well (eh?) They'll never go hungry again! If that is your wish..."

And so delighted at this prospect was the excited Wyrm, that she said yes(!) immediately, and It granted her wish before dissapearing with an ominous chuckle. And for a time she was happy. But then, after all the time spent feeding her little babies, and as she started to feel a little peckish herself, she realise she had been tricked. For although she could feed others to her heart's content, she could now never eat for herself unless, that is, she spent 3 per subroutine, and let's face it, even she knows that's never going to happen.

Translator's Notes: Other versions of this story also mentioned Wyrm mingling with a Datasucker in their carved out chambers for added potency, but that's another, far more explicit story; not for the faint hearted or easily flustered.

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(Core Set perspective! (Kind of. Might need to stop saying that soon.))

And now we come to this. The card I've been dreading, but would need to address eventually. This agenda is the reason 3/2s are viewed with such fear. The cause of innumerable 6 points being scored off the board. It's fast, it's vicious and if not stopped in its tracks, will squish you right under its wheels. It makes perfect sense use it(them) in almost every NBN deck as well. Why risk your precious points when you can score one at a discount with a SanSan City Grid and then cascade the scoring tokens on the other two? Why indeed? That is the sheer power of the 'Astro Train'. You've almost won and you've never even been in danger.

It puts the fear of News in everyone. It causes runners to howl at the moon in rage. Yes, with three of these in your deck, you will never agai-wait what's that?...New rules?...How new?...How ruley, exactly? ...

Erm, just a second everybody!

...

swift excusing of oneself

puzzled reading

identifying of passage

iris dialation

slow befuddled exale

rising excitement

risen excitement

attempt to regain composure

failure

second attempt

mild success

casual reappearance

...

Well, hello again. Sorry to have kept you waiting. So, yes, as I was totally saying before, this card is decent 3/2 with the added bonus of giving a little cheeky kick to your next project, hopefully whatever key agenda your deck is designed around. Unlike Merger, it won't punish you for failing to protect it, and if you can score it then you get a little bonus.

How nice! =D

It's unlikely to win you the game by itself or anything absurd like that, but if you can find the one copy you're allowed, it can be a good thing to include.

I suppose it also makes sense thematically that you'd only have one, I mean, how many times do you really need to tattoo the moon? Now let's all lower our PADs and share in a moment of silence (sad or otherwise) for the train's soon to be last journey to Victory Station, SanSan City.

Choo choo.

Secret posting with thumb. Trashtag:

oneisenough, astrocarriage, mergingintensifies, neverevenplayedatournamentandimstokedaboutthis

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Trashtags need to be a thing! Love the review. —
As a Geist fan, I approve of trashtags —
Holy crap! I didn't know about the change. They finally did what needed to be done 3 years ago. —