Android Mainframe Review – 2 years later!

Android Mainframe Box Art
Android Mainframe Box Art
Released 2016
Designer Jordi Gené, Gregorio Morales
Publisher Fantasy Flight Games (Website)
Players 2 – 4 (3-4 players best)
Playing Time 20-30 minutes
Category Area Control/Management
Hand Management
Player Powers
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

So it’s always worth checking old servers after all

So looking through a few bits and pieces over on Board Game Geek, I noticed I had left a review score for Android: Mainframe.  That was one of my first reviews and one that I had started doing video for even!

But in the trapping of a dying desktop and url/hosting issues, I lost the review.  I figured it would be one I would write back up, and let things sit.

Then I found something while trying to get the YouTube page in some form of order.  I found my first ever released video review.  It is as bad as I remember :p

Don’t believe me?

And I have to say, overall my thoughts have not changed.

There have been a lot of new games come out over the last couple of years, and with restricted playtime, I haven’t been playing Android: Mainframe as much as I would like.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to, it’s just that there has been something else to play.  As for some time my playtime was solo or two player, Android: Mainframe just didn’t really suit.

Android Mainframe Components
There isn't much to it component wise, and that helps make Android: Mainframe fairly easy to reach for
Android Mainframe Gameplay
One interesting tactic is to close an opponents square for them, restricting their scoring ability

Even with this in mind, when I moved all of my board games in the spare bedroom, even unsorted I left Android: Mainframe in a position where I can easily reach it.  True, all of the Android games are together, but that is only because of Mainframe and wanting to play New Angeles one day soon.

Funnily enough, the closest competition to Android: Mainframe that I have seen of late is Dragon Castle – and they are not remotely similar in gameplay.  It’s the way that after the game my brain keeps a hold of what happened that makes it feel so satisfying to play, and it takes very little time to get a game happening.

With Fantasy Flight announcing the end of Android: Netrunner on October 22nd, I was thinking of a big run of Android games to see the series off – then I remembered that’s near PAX time, and I wasn’t going to take them all on the road.

Might make an exception for Android: Mainframe though.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Android: Netrunner has been cancelled effective October 22, 2018

Android Netrunner Feature

As one system is saved, another ends

I love the world of Android.  My second Blatherings episode was even how I loved the game but just couldn’t play it anymore.

Android: Netrunner ended for me at ‘Rotation’ – when the original cycles of cards were being dropped from competitive play.  The timing just seemed right to me – I wasn’t playing it as much as I wanted, and the complexity made it a chore to teach new players.

This was just a time for me to put down the cards, and enjoy watching and occasionally helping a community enjoy a game I once played with a passion.

But I love the game, and I am happily keeping all the cards I have collected to date.  As I said in the Blatherings, if any of the people I used to play wanted a game I would be up for it.

But in an announcement from Fantasy Flight, come late October this will be the only way to play.  No new packs will be printed or any Android: Netrunner products will be sold by Fantasy Flight, and organised play will no longer be supported.

Android Netrunner Core Set 2.0
Android: Netrunner Core Set. A competitive card game that plays brilliantly socially.

This is sad news indeed.  According to the announcement, it’s a simple case of Wizards of the Coast and Fantasy Flight not renewing the licensing agreement that allowed Fantasy Flight to create and publish Android: Netrunner.

Well, I say simple.  Anything in business situations like this are never that straightforward.  But the impact on the community is clear – no more official support.

But whereas Warhammer Quest was recently saved with the revamp to Heroes of Terrinoth, I just can’t see Fantasy Flight doing something similar with Android: Netrunner.  The world of Netrunner is deep in lore, and this lore is built from the factions in the game.  Warhammer Quest just needed ‘generic fantasy’ to use the mechanics with, Android: Netrunner I can only see as the game it is.

Unfortunately, Netrunner players have been in this situation before.  Richard Garfield and Wizards of the Coast first released Netrunner in 1996 and began catching on well.

And then – it stopped.  Wizard basically decided to stop.  Sound familiar?  The reasons are probably wildly different, but the effect is the same.

The community really pulled together even back then, and players were still playing the original Netrunner up to 2012 when the revised game was released by Fantasy Flight.

Netrunner Original Starter Box
The original Netrunner was very 90's. But Richard Garfield has a talent for asymmetrical card games.

I have no doubt that the community will pull together the same way with the revised game.  It is already a very strong community, and the news of the effective cancellation will only ensure they rally even more.  Given enough players, I might even be able to continue semi-regular casual tournaments with a games group or two.

Truth be told, this news has me thinking of getting the revised core set and the last 2 cycles, just to let me jump into any game with the groups that will probably keep playing.

From the sounds of it, this won’t be the end of the Android games from Fantasy Flight as a whole.  I really enjoy Android; Mainframe, Infiltration is still a great game even solo, and one day I will finally get to play New Angeles.

But come October 22nd, I will definitely feel sad when the servers are taken down on the second life of Netrunner.

See the official announcement here, including thoughts from lead designer Micheal Boggs and the head of studio Andrew Navaro.  It’s worth reading just for this alone.

Until then, I am secretly hoping that Reina can pull something out of her hat 🙂

Netrunner Reina Roja
The Red Queen's new look. A freedom fighter with many tools at her disposal.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

New Android: Netrunner Data Pack – The Devil and the Dragon

Android Netrunner Data Pack The Devil and The Dragon

They just keep pulling me back in

So a quick one today.  As mentioned on the second Blatherings, I probably won’t play Android Netrunner anymore.  A lot of the reasons are outlined in the episode, but it’s not because I don’t like the game itself.

Today on the Fantasy Flight website, there is an article on the new data pack.

Summary of me reading through the article:

Yep, Weyland finally getting boosted.  Hope they are meaningful.  New Criminal Runner.  Yep blah blah.  Wait… What?!?!

This is the card that stopped me:

Android Netrunner ID 419

Within a minute, I had half a deck forming in my mind.  Possibilities swimming through my head of different ways I could make a corporation player sweat.

If you don’t play Netrunner, this probably won’t make much sense to you.  Netrunner is a game of bluffing and timing, and this runner identity puts pressure on your opponent that can change both.

If the corporation has to effectively show you the first card they put down each turn, that’s a lot of guesswork removed for the runner.  If the corporation wants to keep the secret so to speak, they have to spend money, which could mean they can’t afford other tricks later.

This can still be double bluffed and all sorts of tricks played by both sides, but this is the game of Netrunner I love.  The What If game.  The possibilities are endless if you play Netrunner the way the community considers casually – you never really know what’s in the deck, but you can maybe see your opponents plans.

For competitive players that use very specific combinations over and over for maximum efficiency, this can be a real threat, as your workings can be exposed or your economy suffers.  Which is the lesser threat?  As the corporation player, thinking their opponent probably already know what cards are in play, confirming the strategy of the deck lets them defend better against it.

The lesser of two evils the card game.  I wish you could see my smile.

For the Netrunner players out there, two other cards caught my interest.  NBN has finally pulled out the EULA, and a new program for Apex caused an eyebrow raise.

Android Netrunner ICE Endless EULA
Android Netrunner Program Consume

Endless EULA is a very mean card that will cost the Runner a lot of money to get through no matter what.  But the flavour text just makes me smile.  Be honest, who does read those agreements anyway!

Consume is a novel way of making money, especially if there is a way to protect it from another card called Apocalypse that trashes all corporation cards while turning over all runner cards.

And this is what I love about Netrunner – possibilities.  Theme.  Stories can be plaid out during matches, much more so than almost any other CCG/LCG I have played.

Pity I won’t be buying this one either.  But the game still looks like a lot of fun.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

JohnHQLD Blatherings Episode 2 – My history with Android Netrunner

JohnHQLD's Blatherings Podcast

They say when you love something, set it free.

In the first of my experimental episodes,  I talk about my history with Android Netrunner.

I am excited to be able to share my thoughts like this, but I did find an issue that should have been obvious when I started.  My idea was to do small bite-sized sessions of about 10-15 minutes, but I have a lot of history and things to say about the game.  This means I recorded almost 100 minutes of my Blatherings!

Now I had a small conundrum.  I don’t like the idea of multi-part episodes, especially while I am trying to build the podcast into something we can share.  I think it’s already an ask to flip between two different formats over the first few episodes to find a groove.  So I cut down the episode to 35 minutes – still longer than I wanted, but a lot better than over an hour!

Let me know if you think these sessions are too long, just right for the content, or anything else you have to say about my Blatherings 🙂

Enjoy your weekend and talk soon!

JohnHQLD