It seems all gaming is taking a turn for the better, and going back to old classics. We have just seen the incredibly successful launch of X-Com on the major gaming platforms, (I am a happy boy) but table top and CCG gaming is also looking back at some of the greats and releasing them for the 21st Century.
One of the biggest re-releases is from Fantasy Flight Games, a reinvention of the classic CCG from Richard Garfield, NetRunner. Now, Richard Garfield was the mathematics professor who created Magic the Gathering and Vampire the Masquerade (formally known as Jyhad) but NetRunner was universally accepted as his crowning glory in collectable card games. Now I must admit that I only played the original a couple of times and was impressed, but I have played the new Fantasy Flight version and it is incredible. NetRunner was always more intelligent and challenging than its stable mates, so was more of a hit with mature gamers, add to it the high production values that Fantasy Flight is able to invest in games and you have something a little bit special.
The game revolves around hackers in the near future trying to bring down the corporations running the worlds societies through deception and greed. The Hackers (runners) have to steal the Corporations ‘Agendas’ through hacking resources and destroying the Corps servers. All high tech stuff based on the Cyberpunk 2020 RPG system, but it translated well into the game mechanic.
The main difference in the two releases is the way it is marketed and expanded upon. The original release was with random booster packs, the same way Magic has continued to expand. So you buy additional packs that have fixed amount of random cards in, sort of like football stickers (so I am told) where as the new version is branded as a Living Card Game. This means that the expansion packs that are released all contain the same cards, so everyone who continues to play past the initial starter box always has the same availability and flexibility as other players from the expansion sets.
The game plays ever so well, with no loss from the original core mechanic; it hasn’t needed any real changes over the years. The addition of the updated tokens for the various markers in the game are well designed and clearly defined, and there is a clear feel from the Android background the game is based is based on. The original game was applauded for its well balanced feel and incredible artwork, and the FFG version builds on this. The first expansion is rumoured to be available around December and I cannot wait to see if it delivers.
Incredible game, clean, futuristic but a retro classic…….try it, you will enjoy it.
Four out five nerds