For those of you that follow me on other social media platforms you realize I love Netrunner. It is a card game that extends out of Fantasy Flight Games Android universe. Originating from the Cyberpunk setting by Talsorian games Wizards of the Coast made a card game for it in the 1990’s. The game lapsed until Fantasy Flight Games took up the licence and overlaid their Android Universe to the setting. What I would love to see is a role playing game made of this card game.
What is it about?
In essence, the game is about computer hackers working to reveal the mega corporations deepest darkest secrets. The card game involves one person playing the corporation and another playing the hacker. The corporation tries to bring their agendas to reality (by scoring agenda cards). The hacker attempts to steal those agenda cards before they can become a reality. It is all very William Gibsonesque. There are nuances and other ways to win but this is the core experience to the game.
Sounds one-dimensional – why an RPG?
The surrounding material of the Android Universe is anything but one-dimensional. Listen to the story on the cards and there are so many interesting stories to tell. The argument of humanity – androids and clones. Are they human? Do they deserve their own rights? Two of the major mega corporations make their money hugely off the dehumanization of this technology. Media is insanely invasive (like it isn’t in real life) and everything is marketable. Then there is the expansion to other-world colonies in our system. The riots on Mars, the lunar explorations, the space bean stalk.
Netrunner is a stepping stone
The card game is very varied in actual fact. There are a number of tactics to take and on each card these tactics simply weave more into the Android universe. Netrunner sets up the paradigm of a vivid near future reality that is deep and interesting. There is even a book called The Worlds of Android that brings the setting to life. It uses a lion’s share of the artwork from the card game and the characters created in it. With Fantasy Flight Games tendency to make a game out of everything the book surprised me. Why not go that little extra and make a Role Playing Game out of it?
Sadly, there is no official game. The plus side is that there is the setting book as mentioned above. One could go back and revive a Cyberpunk game and use that book as the complete setting. Or maybe you want to take one of the brilliant universal games out there and apply it? Cypher system and FATE would both be awesome. The key I think is not to focus it from just the card game standpoint. There is so much going on here. Perhaps the players take on the role of mega-corporate specialists. Or a campaign focussed on private detectives. Rebels on Mars or perhaps they are rogue clones fighting for equal rights.
Whatever the case there is a wealth of material here to use and enjoy. Interesting, thoughtful games that would be so engaging. Take a look at Android, Netrunner and the other surrounding games. There is a wealth of material that will blow you away and make you wonder exactly why you never thought of gaming there before!