7 Reasons Why Netrunner Is Bad And Not Good Like Everyone Else Thinks It Is

Posted by Martin Falder on 25th April, 2014

This is a guest article by friend of the site @Afal, who makes rad games which you can find here, and who has also never actually played Netrunner. Please enjoy this quality Content.


If you’ve been living under a rock that doesn’t have wifi you would have missed the time when Mat “The Pillowfort” Jones said that he wanted to try the card game Netrunner sometime on the Oh No Vidéo Games zunecast. The next episode got highjacked to be an Netrunner exclusive show which was unfortunate since there were literally no video games being made for the cast to talk about; and if there were, it would never get discussed because Mat “The Pillowfort” Jones was too busy play The Net Runner to play any video games.

This time then became known as the “Video Game Drought” where literally no video game got played because people were getting too excited playing a card game for nerds. By then, not even Tom Smith’s sequel to the hit indie smash The Best Dinosaur, “The Best Dinosaur 2: The Even Betterer Dinosaur”, was enough to distract Mat “The Pillowfort” Jones and Martin! (the exclamation mark is silent) from talking about retrodisplacing kiloflops or whatever they were saying.

Only one man named Josh “The Cool One” Orr was able to keep a cool head while the nerds were going on about hacking the gibsons or whatever. Josh actually thought Netrunner was not actually good. Josh was right.

In this article I will explain the seven (7) reasons why Nerdrunner isn’t good and why you should not play it. This will probably be a very long article so I’ll stick an animated gif every now and again to keep your interest, because people these days don’t like reading a lot without an animated gif of a dog doing something adorable

Dog on a computer


Reason Number 1: It makes twitter boring to read

@dril, @ShippamsPaste, @PLANETJEDWARD. All of these twitter accounts I just listed in that sentence fragment have one thing in common. They don’t talk about Netrunner.

Imagine how awful @dril would be if he tweeted about Netrunner:

Mat “The Pillowfort” Jones on the other hand, never stops talking about Netrunner. I have no idea what he’s talking about when he’s talking about Netrunner because he uses these words that don’t even make sense. It’s not like Mat “The Pillowfort” Jones’ brand to do the same tweet over and over again so I have no idea why he’s doing this.

I can’t even understand jokes on twitter any more. I can’t be with the cool kids any more because everyone is talking about netrunner. I mean what even is this:


I don’t get this new meme.

Reason Number 2: It is like a worse version of the Pokémon Trading Card Game


Everyone remember the Pokémon trading card game like 15 years ago? If you were not one of the privileged to be born in the 90s the card game Pokémon was simple:

  1. Get some pokemon cards.
  2. Take out all the “Energy” and “Trainer” cards and throw them in the bin because they are literally useless.
  3. All you’ll have left is pokémon cards.
  4. The bigger the “HP” is the better the pokémon was.
  5. Shinies trump regular cards regardless of HP.
  6. No one has a Shiny Charizard regardless of how much they try to convince you.
  7. There wasn’t any “rounds” or “hands” or whatever. If you had a lot of big number pokémon you were allowed to brag as much as you wanted about how good you were at collecting pokémon.
  8. Apparently there were actual real rules to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game but no one ever wanted to deal with that nerd bull shit.

Netrunner doesn’t work like this. You have to take time to build a deck. There are no shinies (How can you have a card game with no shinies?). Most of all you have to LEARN the rules of Netrunner. Which takes me to my next point…

Reason Number 3: The rules doesn’t make any sense

Rez theActive Install in the Click? What does this even mean? Click Tracker? Is this some Google Analytics type shit? Am I going to have to do some Black Hat SEO and Maximize my Gigadrive in order to Webscale my Enterprise Cloud Architecture? Do I need to Synergise the Content for my Brand? If a Cookie Monster Virus is on the Mainframe will I need to type “Cookie” to get rid of it?

I had to take a second look at the cover to make sure I wasn’t reading an O’Reilly book. There wasn’t an animal on the front cover though. There is a woman though which confused me because, despite being set in the future, the pronouns used in the rulebook are male. Apparently despite our long history of great lady hackers (Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Hedy Lamarr, Kate Libby) they aren’t even acknowledged in the primary reading material for this card game.

But enough politics in my games, more about how to play. You have two sides which are the Corporations and the Runners (one is supposed to be good and one is supposed to be evil I think, although that has been left open for interpretation). Corporations have a HQ, R&D, and Archive (also known as a Hand, a Draw deck, and a Discard Pile), and Runners have a Grip, a Stack, and a Heap (also known as a Hand, a Draw deck, and a Discard Pile).

Anyway that’s where I got up to in the rules I got lost soon after that. You need some special level reading comprehension to get through all the rules, and there’s a lot which seems like too much just to play a card game. If I had a deck in front of me sure I could work it out, but there’s something else you need before playing.

Reason Number 4: You need someone else to play with you


In the age of modern online single player videogames you really don’t need another person to play with, but with a traditional offline multiplayer tabletop game you need someone else. So in order to play I need to overcome a few obstacles

To start with, I live in the middle of nowhere. More accurately, I live in Wales. Being the intelligent type of person, naturally I’ve made friends with people who live near London. This means to see people I like being around (this sounds like a poor thing for me to say but remember: I live in North Wales) I have to take the following trip to London, hoping that I get a Virgin Train rather than the the Two-Carriage unairconditioned hand car known as Arriva Trains Wales:


As much as I like my friends, making a trip down just to play a card game just isn’t worth it (“oh but what about the internet? do they have that in Wales?” I hear you say AND I’LL GET TO THAT LATER).

This means that if I want to play the card game Net Runner I will need to find someone locally. Not only that, someone who’s willing to learn the card game Net Runner with me. I imagine it would be a lot harder for me to learn from someone who has played before, and I really don’t want to learn from Mat “The Pillowfort” Jones. He took nearly half an hour to trying explain how to play Love Letter. There’s only 2 rules in Love Letter; which are written down; on a card; that you can hold in your hand.

I really don’t want to imagine the conversation I’d get with someone if I asked if they want to play Netrunner with me. “Hey want to play this card game with me? Uh no it’s not like poker. Uh… no I don’t know the rules, I was wondering if you could learn with me. What’s it about? You know the last scene in Hackers where they try to get the Garbage file before the police and The Plague get them? It’s a bit like that. You haven’t seen Hackers? It’s a quality film. Do you want to see it at my place? No? Oh ok then.”

Maybe I shouldn’t have compared Netrunner to Hackers, unless The Netrunner Experience is enhanced by playing in a revolving telephone booth.

Anyway.. moving on..

Reason Number 5: Playing online is not a good alternative


Fortunately I don’t have to look far to find people interested enough to play a card game. Apparently there are many people on the Inter Net that probably have an interest to play a card game but either can’t be bothered to buy the game, or want to play it on a digital device or something.

Unfortunately, starting a random game with someone on the Inter Net is rather intimidating. I have no idea if the person on the other side has played before. Which means I’ll have to either lurk in the chat or ask people on social media sites if they want to play.


Also the client is broken or something. I can’t get it to work. I can’t connect to games or whatever.

Reason Number 6: Deck building


I really don’t like games where there’s a deck building element. I once played the imaginitively namedDC Deck Building Game. It was the worst game I’ve ever played, and that’s not because I lost when playing it (well ok, that may be part of it). First off I have no idea why someone thought this was a good thing to make. It’s like if DC Inc. got together and said “You know what would be really cool? What if we put The Joker on a playing card” and then laughed to themselves. Well they actually did it. The Joker is on a playing card. Good Job DC.

The worst thing about the game (other than having Mat “The Pillowfort” Jones trying to explain it to you) is that it feels like there’s no skill to the game; and if there is, its tactics are probably easier to see by people who have played the game a bit. The game feels incredibly unbalanced to a point where if you mess up the tiniest bit (and you won’t know this when playing early on) then it will screw you over for the rest of the game. I had like a hundred weakness cards and not even having Bizarro helped me get a good score. I still had the lowest score of the lot.

How I remember any of those words I have no idea.

Netrunner is a different kind of Deck Building. Rather than on the fly, you should be building it before playing a game. This means you have to balance the cards yourself and work out valid combinations. Even if you have valid combinations you aren’t sure if they are any good unless you play with someone else. I mean you could test your build on your own but that’s just like playing chess on your own. I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’m going to stop soon.

Reason Number 7: It’s not a video game

Apparently a good way of ending your listicle is to end with a light hearted point and this is the one I’m going to go with. Netrunner is not a video game.

I’m not sure if you’ve all noticed *pushes glasses up to face* but this website is called “Oh No! Vidéo Games!” not “Oh! No Vidéo Games!”. Like Gone Home, if you don’t get into the game at all and just play however you wanted, you can easily finish netrunner in a minute. You can probably even flip the table and say you won. I really dislike these games which claim to be “open” when you can literally get the key to the attic straight away and win the game. I play games to finish them not to get into the lore or the story.

Why did Gone Home even let you go to the secret area straight away allowing you to finish the game straight away? They didn’t even say that I wasn’t allowed to do that either like WTF? Who allowed this foolish design flaw in my video game?


Not like Triple A games are any better. I played Tomb Raider and that just put me on this one road bull shit. Why can’t I go explore to this place? Why is there invisible walls everywhere? If the sun queen is literally at the top of the hill why can’t I go there right now and just set her on fire or however you kill ghosts or whatever? Why are they saying I’m not allowed to do that?

Video games. I don’t know why people pay real money for these things.

2 Responses to “7 Reasons Why Netrunner Is Bad And Not Good Like Everyone Else Thinks It Is”

  1. Sorry guys, I’m an idiot.

  2. sean says:

    I just started getting into it, and I’m attracted by the asymmetry. Most games have players that go for the same goal, same mechanics, etc. CTF for example, has two flags and everyone does the same thing: capture the enemy flag and defend your own. Left4Dead2 allowed you to play the infected, and that asymmetry was awesome, like two games in one. Netrunner is similarly asymmetric, even more so, however the text coloring (instead of “trashing” a card, it goes to the “archive” or the “heap”, just words for the same damn thing). Similarly the cards in your had are either “headquarters” or the “grip”. Words for the same damn thing. That said, even chess calls pieces color names like king and queen, and for no apparent reason, a moving stone tower and rare once per game king move is called “castling”.

    I’ll end it on my new favorite quote. “Comparison is the root of complaining”

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