|Fear and Loathing
Announcing the Fifth Data Pack in the Spin Cycle
|Android: Netrunner The Card Game | Published 12 September 2013|
“Can a single voice still make a difference? Probably not, but that won’t stop me from trying. What GRNDL does to the environment is nothing short of criminal.”
The futuristic world of Android: Netrunner is one of vertiginous discrepancies between achievement and poverty. Megacorps like Jinteki, Haas-Bioroid, and NBN have developed custom genetics, bioroid manufacturing, mind-machine interfacing, and other advanced technologies that were previously limited to the realm of science fiction. Still, as they move from one technological advance to the next, these megacorps are at least partially responsible for stabilizing social policies that mire countless masses in overcrowded, unsanitary living conditions. They have translated uncountable dreams to reality, but they have helped to shape a world in which such dreams seem far removed from the daily realities of the sprawling billions. Instead, such teeming populations live in the shadows of the megacorporations’ towering corporate headquarters, and while a privileged few may consider how technology can help them become immortal, the vast majority experience mundane desperations, fear for their jobs, loathe their limited social status, and fight a daily war for survival.
The sixty new cards of Fear and Loathing (three copies each of twenty individual cards) translate this dichotomous existence to your games of Android: Netrunner. On the one hand, you have powerful and exploitive business entities like GRNDL (Fear and Loathing, 97), and on the other, you have the beaten down and fearful masses. But there are other categories, too, and while many people may be driven to silence, the game’s Runners and other spirited individuals, like the investigative reporter Tallie Perrault (Fear and Loathing, 83), are driven to action.
Make Them Pay
The megacorps of Android: Netrunner have granted humanity access to the solar system and its resources, and as they have opened up that access, they have immediately set their sights upon the most efficient ways to attain those resources. Of course, many consider such practices exploitive and fear the impact they may have upon the planet’s ecosystem if allowed to continue unchecked.
Now, the access and abuses accelerate as Fear and Loathing introduces GRNDL to the game. While businesses like NBN and Jinteki invest heavily in their public images, the GRNDL division of a Weyland Consortium subcorporation could scarcely care less about PR messaging. Instead, they work at fracking, and work is good. While bleeding heart environmentalists and media staffers with axes to grind may try to slow the division’s work, GRNDL has plowed ahead, finding and refining all manner of resources. Accordingly, GRNDL offers Weyland players a huge early game advantage, starting with ten credits, though they come at the cost of one bad publicity.
Of course, GRNDL wouldn’t be such a successful investment for Weyland, nor would its practices be so controversial, if its exploitive practices had been limited to a single, historical abuse. It’s only because of recent environmental disasters that it merits continued attention from both Consortium executives and activist protestors, and the GRNDL Refinery (Fear and Loathing, 99) serves as an example of how GRNDL can continue to help Weyland Consortium operate deep in the black.
But even as Fear and Loathing offers Corp players the opportunity to pursue riches and advance their agendas with a variety of new Gray Ops and Black Ops, it offers Runners new ways to make megacorps pay for their arrogance.
For starters, every Corp player knows better than to leave his servers protected by just a single piece of ice when he plays against a Criminal Runner. Criminals can simply bypass those layers of ice with the event, Inside Job (Core Set, 21). However, Fear and Loathing adds new tricks to the Criminal arsenal with a console that ensures that Corps seeking to rule by intimidation will suffer if they can’t fund the tech to back up all their posturing.
Whenever a Criminal sporting Blackguard (Fear and Loathing, 85) exposes a Corp card, he forces the Corp to rez that card, if it can. Yes, the console also provides an additional two MU, but those certainly aren’t worth the Blackguard’s eleven credit install cost. Those credits are an investment in all-out economic warfare: Each time you expose a card, you force the Corp to spend credits how you want it to, rather than how it would prefer. As long as you can keep exposing cards, you can keep steering the Corp’s funds away from advancing agendas, funding expensive operations, and otherwise conducting business as usual. It’s possible that an early Blackguard may lure the Corp into installing fewer cards than it should, simply in order avoid having to rez those cards when they’re exposed, and that would leave the Corp vulnerable, once again, to your Inside Jobs and other tricks.
Meanwhile, any Runner can take advantage of the work that Tallie Perrault invests in exposing the different Gray Ops and Black Ops activities that Corps fund. Whenever the Corp player trashes a Gray Ops or Black Ops operation after resolving it, Tallie Perrault heaps a point of bad publicity on it. This makes her a highly visible Corporate target, and it’s not necessarily safe for the Runner to associate with her too often. Each time she assigns the Corp a point of bad publicity, she also gives the Runner a tag. This can feed right into the sort of tag-and-bag strategy that Weyland Consortium often employs, but the bad publicity Tallie Perrault heaps on Corps can also make the Runner’s job much, much easier…especially for the sort of Runners who might use the fruit of Tallie Perrault’s investigative efforts in more direct and morally ambiguous manners.
It’s naive to think of Runners as noble vigilantes who patrol the network for the good of the common people, and in fact many would be quite simply delighted to use the megacorps’ dirt against them. For such Runners, a well-timed bit of Blackmail (Fear and Loathing, 89) can lead to an easy pay day.
Make Them Fear You
In Android: Netrunner, you don’t need your opponent to love you. But it doesn’t hurt to make them fear you. Wield the blunt force of GRNDL’s wealth and resources, or Blackmail the game’s megacorps. With Fear and Loathing, the Spin Cycle further amplifies its focus on bad publicity, tagging, and the various games within the game. Bluff your opponent, or force his hand. Run the network like you’re on a quest, work to save face, or completely ignore public opinion. Fear and Loathing gives you new tools to play the game the way you best enjoy.
Look for Fear and Loathing to arrive at retailers early in the first quarter of 2014!
Based on the classic card game designed by Richard Garfield, Android: Netrunner The Card Game is a game for two players set in the dystopian future of Android. It pits monolothic megacorps against subversive netrunners in a high-stakes struggle for the control of valuable data.