When I first got into Netrunner two years ago, it felt like something special, and I’d hoped that its community would look different from that of collectible card games’ old guard, like Magic: The Gathering. I’ve met a lot of other Netrunner players since then who say this community is friendly, welcoming, and yeah, better than Magic’s. Yet when I look at my Netrunner friends, a majority of them are still twenty-/thirty-something white guys. (I’m a 28-year-old Vietnamese-American lady.) To their benefit, they’re with me in wondering why this is the case, why a game with such diversity within its lore doesn’t see it reflected in its player base. The Android Universe.
My husband and I have a pattern around our board game play together: I bring home games that sound interesting to me, and he gets to comb through the rules and teach the both of us. When I brought home my first set of Netrunner cards, I remember understanding the basic premise of play: he, as the corporation, fills his servers with secrets, as I, the scrappy runner, gather the right programs to hack past his security measures to steal what they protect. We take turns playing both roles, but we’ve had our druthers from the start.
AGENT DECKER is a mission-based deckbuilding game for one player where you’ll acquire gear and skills by facing obstacles. The alarm raises every turn, so you must pick who you take out. Do you go for the cool weapon, or take out the security camera?
Card games can teach math and memory skills, as well as strategic thinking, psychologist and sociologists say. Also, the conversation and friendly rivalry that come with sitting down to play cards can strengthen family ties. Family games also can build children’s confidence: The rules are the same for everyone, and it is fun to play a game in which anyone can win.
And that’s exactly what the Different Play Patreon is for. Patreon has grown into something of a crowdfunding darling over the last year and it’s perfect for individuals, groups or undertakings that need regular subscribers to support ongoing work, as opposed to the one-off projects of Kickstarter. Different Play are confident that they can pay a fair rate for the writing, art and editing that each of the games they are supporting will demand. Having just broken $700 per game, they’re also able to commission art and spend more time on the layout of the work they publish. This money, combined with their own collective mentorship, makes way for the sort of games they want to see, both in terms of production standards and design, and it’s in discussing their design processes that Mark returns to that subject of particular importance to the team: emotion.